When You Should Teach Your Kids To Shoot


If you are a parent and a gun owner, you have no doubt asked yourself when you need to start teaching your kids how to shoot.

Sure, you already know that you need to teach them from the earliest age possible basic gun safety rules (and keep every firearm out of reach of any kid who is too young to learn those rules yet), but gun safety rules are about keeping from accidentally shooting the firearm which is, typically accomplished by teaching the child to stay away from the gun. What we’re talking about, though, is when you teach your kids how to use the gun.

Fortunately, for us, Karen Hunter has some thoughts on this exact subject from different firearms experts. Hunter provides thoughts from Fred Mastison, President of Force Options Tactical Training Solutions, who says,


When you should start taking your kids to the shooting range differs, but I believe it is child dependent. Some kids simply mature earlier than others. I personally started my kids on shooting airsoft and BB guns when they were five. By the time they were seven, they were shooting a Crickett .22 rifle. Now, much later, they are both exceptional shots and capable of running any gun under the sun.

Several experts recommended using smaller caliber weapons for a child’s first firearm, but Jessica Kallam, Remington Media Relations Manager, had an interesting other perspective on why you may want to start your kids with a smaller caliber weapon. Kallam says,

In my experience, kids are often intimated by the muzzle blast and concerned about recoil, so I suggest starting them off with a .22 rifle and working your way up from there. My daughter’s first trip to the range was with a Remington Model 597. She had a blast. After numerous discussions about safety and a review of the firearm, I started her off with one round in the gun. Once I observed that she followed all of the safety rules, we loaded the magazine and had a ton of fun shooting balloons. I prefer Shoot-N-C targets, reactive metal targets or balloons when taking a kid out for the first time. The instant gratification adds to the fun.

Really, the answer to when to start training your child how to shoot is going to be a personal one, and it’s going to depend, at least in part, on when your child is emotionally ready to use a firearm. Still, when that time comes, the advice, pretty much across the board, is to start them with small caliber firearms. After all, you want your child to grow up with your love of shooting, don’t you?



  1. Yes, I started my Grand kids(4) at age 5 (boys) and (7) girls with Cricket 22’s. First step is gun
    basics and safety along with range safety terminology – every session going over basics for
    a couple of years. Always watching and emphasizing basics with much on trigger finger and control. 3 of the 4 I let shoot at the range at their own pace and control at ages of 6 & 8. The 4th who I had less time with took a couple of months longer but what a smile on his face when I said he was on his own (age 6 +). They all shoot great out to 100 yds and have much fun. Over the past year taught them the difference between semi-auto’s and revolver’s and safety for both. Have shot 22’s of both and do great. Just recently started with 38 special revolver at 6yds – they hit the bull every time now and handle the pistol well. Again always going over the basics – they even understand bullet trajectory. So teaching kids is the right thing to do and starting around the age of 5 with handling/ sighting and dry fire until comfortable with live fire at 10 yrd target is excellent method.

  2. my kids started shooting when they were about 7 years old all 3 are now in there 40 and 50 are still good shouters and we still all hunt

  3. A small caliber firearm that the child can handle safely. Bench-rested with plenty of supervision. Interactive targets appear to work the best, for all ages.

  4. MY children were shooting a .22 before school age. FIRST, they went with us to the range and watched/learned the safe handling if guns. THAT was a treat for good behavior. LATER, we practiced open sight alignment in the kitchen using drawings and fingers how to line up the sights and where to place the target. NEXT, they were treated to shooting the .22 at the range with close supervision, scores were counted, AGAIN a treat for being good. I started my them off with the .22 carbine and bird shot at small balloons at about 20 yards – hard to miss. THEN we went to the range with targets at 50 yards and worked at hitting the X (center). 80% or better got an ice cream cone after. When my daughter was in High School she could shoot better than most of the boys. One of my granddaughters got her first buck just 45 minutes after the first day of deer season – a BIG 7-point buck = took pictures to school that Monday to show the boys. Teaching children about firearms early eliminates the “guess factor”, and instills confidence and respect. Ignorance supports accidents and hurt. MOST people that know little to nothing think that guns kill people (news & Hollywood). Guns kill people just like spoons make people fat and cars make drivers drunk. 99% of guns protect others, get used for (lawful) sport and harvest all-natural food for the family.

  5. Excellent tips. The parent will know when it’s time and hopefully will be a bonding experience!

  6. Never mind punching holes in paper. Kids will get bored, and that can be dangerous. Kids want to see something happen when they squeeze the trigger, balloons or just tin cans. Another, important, point. Until everybody is fully familiar with ALL safety rules, they should be a habit. Only then work with more than one kid. Remember the old saying on the farm? One boy, good boy, two boys, half a boy, 3 boys, no boy at all! Another thing, stay away from automatic weapons! It’s easy for a kid to forget that it will fire again, without doing anything to it. Use a bolt action, lever action, even a pump, so they have perform an action before it will fire again.

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