When it comes time to get your child started in shooting, there are several things that need to be considered.
But, before we get into how to pick out a gun for a kid, let's first talk about firearms safety and why it is so very important to learn at the youngest age possible.
The Importance of Teaching Safety:
Not too long ago, I had a friend and his teenager come over to show me their small collection of .22s. If you haven't already heard, I'm one of those “gun nuts” the liberals have warned you so much about. So when I heard the word “gun” I invited them over.
Anyway, they came with a rifle and a few pistols. There were several times where the boy muzzled me—one of the pistols was actually loaded. Thankfully, I didn't bite the big one.
After an intense lesson on gun safety, we moved on. Somehow, my friend failed as a firearms safety instructor. We should all be safety experts when we handle a firearm, whether loaded or not. Safety is everyone's concern.
I told him that he must never hand someone a loaded firearm. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like in an actual fire-fight. Other than that, I can't think of any other reasons why one person would hand another person a loaded gun. If I'm wrong on this, please feel free to let me know in the comments.
Let's move on.
I often hear, “what age should I buy my kid his/her first gun?”
More on that later, though. What you need to do is measure your kid's maturity level. How does he/she handle life. Do you feel as though they can handle the responsibility of the power that a gun affords the operator?
Is your child smart enough to be taught the safety rules? Disciplined enough to follow them? Does he roll his/her eyes each time you remind him of something—no matter how stupid? Have you already begun instructing on your own guns? What I mean, is what do you teach them about your guns? You are teaching them about your guns right?
I don't mean how to shoot them. But, what a gun does. Why it does it. How it does it. What to do if a gun is ever seen without an adult present. Ya know, common sense stuff. If you're not already teaching your kids, start. Now. Before you regret it.
What kind of gun?
Well, I'm a firm believer that people need to work up to things. Think about it like this, when you first got a driver's license, you didn't jump right into the biggest truck you could find. More often than not, you started out with a regular sized car, and then moved up to a truck. If that is what you drive today, anyway.
As I said above, the first gun I ever shot was a 12 gauge, and it wasn't the best experience.
Why? Well, because it hurt like hell. I didn't' have the butt-stock seated in my shoulder pocket properly, and the gun smashed into my body. I urge you to start your children off with a .22lr rifle, instead of a 12 gauge shotgun.
The reason for this, is if you want your kids to have an enjoyable experience in anything, don't hurt them. Sounds simple, right? Well, you'd be surprised at how many people start their kids off with a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun.
To a little kid, the kick from a 20 or 12 gauge will feel the same. When he/she gets older and masters the fundamentals of shooting, like: stance, breathing techniques, aiming, target acquisition, etc—moving him/her up to a shotgun is easier. At this point, they'll be comfortable with, and know how to properly hold, a gun.
There are a few different guns that I recommend for people wanting to get their kids into shooting. A single shot is beneficial for obvious reasons. It limits the amount of shooting that can be done at one time because there is only one round.