What To Pick For Your Child’s First Gun


Picking your child’s first firearm can be an important choice. They’ll likely remember this gift for the rest of their lives (and, hopefully, be able to keep using it and/or pass it on to their children), and their experiences with this weapon can shape their approach and feelings about firearms in general later in life.

So, when you’re choosing your child’s first firearm, there are few things to consider:

  1. Can you pick a weapon that helps to instill the habit of gun safety? Zach Dunn says that he likes to recommend a bolt-action .22 for a child’s first firearm. Why? Dunn writes, “I like the single shot .22 for first-timers because the process of loading a single shot is a great way to instill firearms safety in your child. And your child is going to have to learn to make every shot count. Single shot rifles also are a great way to conserve ammunition in an ever-changing world.”
  2. Quality of build. If you buy your child a firearm with solid construction which can last the test of time (if cared for), they can pass the weapon on to their kids, a family memento passed on for multiple generations. Why not pass on a family memento that has practical uses and not just sentimental purposes?
  3. Heft. This choice will likely only apply to shotguns as most parents aren’t likely to buy a rifle firing larger than .22 rounds for a child’s first firearm, but, if you’re buying a shotgun for your child (or, if you’re buying your child’s first shotgun), the heft of the gun can help to lessen the kick, making handling the weapon easier for the child. Dunn says that he likes pump-action shotguns for this purpose.

Of course, you’ll also need to factor in what you can buy with your available budget. Some excellent firearms choices are not cheap, but, once you know what you can spend, use the above three suggestions to help narrow down the choices to purchase a great choice for your child’s first firearm.



  1. I used a 22Hornet/20gauge, single shot, breakaway to teach my children. I have picked up a second one so both my kids have the same firearm for teaching my grandchildren. Although I will note that an air rifle would make a good choice as they can be used in the back yard or even indoors to learn proper safety, handling, and maintenance of a firearm!

  2. I started teaching my boy and daughter with a pump BB gun. We lived in a rural city and had room for that. Time my son was 11 he had even shot my .270 and shotguns plus a friends AR. Got his own .22 from my uncle and now 23 has several weapons. His favorite is MVP in .223 that he makes people jealous putting faces on targets : ) he beats me and I used to put 3 in a quarter at 100, sad getting old. Lol

  3. Hard not to wander from the topic of first gun. As there is the business of proper training. That relationship between father, son, and grandson can be most gratifying. Anyway, if the child of either gender appears to have an interest then a good air rifle, and or. 22 would be a good choice. Single shot would be a good platform to instill responsibility, and safety. Use noise cancelling ear muff so children can hear your instructions. Be nice to later let them participate in the purchase of their own gun if situation warrants .

  4. I started with a red Ryder B.B. gun the graduated to an Ithaca single shot lever action .22 started my kids out the same way but had to buy them Henry’s, cause I wore out the Ithaca. Now it’s the grandkids turn each gets there own pump B.B. gun then a Henry lever .22 from grandpa

  5. I start my youngsters, both boys and girls, at 9 years with a .410 / .22 over & under, that has been handed down thru three generations now and they progress from there. The first to use this firearm is now 56 yo and an avid hunter

  6. My gun was a 30.06 Springfield bolt action rifle at age 12, I still have it at age over 72. That is one rifle I won’t part with. Killed many deer with it and a couple elk.

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