Teaching Your Children About Firearms

Teaching Your Children About Firearms

This is a discussion on Teaching Your Children About Firearms within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been wrestling with this for a while now. I have made a point to educate my daughter on firearm safety from the moment ...

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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    Teaching Your Children About Firearms

    I have been wrestling with this for a while now. I have made a point to educate my daughter on firearm safety from the moment I purchased a gun for my home. My issue is not about children learning firearm safety, but more about when is it appropriate to teach your child real firearm usage and technique. My little girl is 10 years old, and she is fully aware of the dangers of firearms (she has been reminded twice a month for 5 years) but just recently she has expressed interest in shooting. My daughter is not your average 10 year old. She is a straight A student, devoted to her martial arts discipline, and wise far beyond her years. I want to give her the opportunity to shoot, but since I was not brought up in a home where guns were prevalent, I am not sure how to approach this. My instinct tells me to show her everything I know, and let her try my AR. I am 100% confident that she can handle it, and even be a proficient shooter, but is this too young? I have only discussed the "last resort" or "worst case scenario" with her. I had not considered the fact that she would want to shoot for sport. She actually mentioned competitions, similar to her martial arts tournaments. I would really like to get some input from those who were brought up around firearms their whole lives. Is 10 years old too young? What do you think is a good age to begin practicing the skills of marksmanship?
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    Have you considered finding a 4H, or similar youth shooting team in your area?

    They would likely have available instruction and equipment.

    There is no set age, it depends on the individual child, and their maturity level.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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    Senior Member Array Devilsclaw's Avatar
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    Every situation is different but 10 is pretty young in my opinion. We started with air rifles around the 4-5 yr range and they do lots of bb gun competitions around here for the younger kids. Depending on the kid a little bit, from 10-12 might be starters for some supervised .22 shooting. Just my opinion, but I see lots of dads push things a little because its something they are into. Then again I shot my first bird when I was just under 4 but I think I was a little ahead of kids these days.
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    What age do you begin teaching your children about the dangers of cars?

    Not to cross the street without looking both ways, not to ride in a car without seatbelts, not to grab the steering wheel out of mommy's hands or not to stick arms and heads out of the windows?

    Start small, start early, start easy. Progress as they are able to absorb the concepts.


    A funny thing... when I lived in Germany there was a kindergarten across the street. It had a miniature streets painted on the playground complete with miniature stop signs and traffic signals. kindergarten kids on tricycles were introduced to the very concepts they would have to learn later when they underwent formal driver's training.
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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    There is nothing in our immediate area. We would have to travel quite a bit for that. I just feel weird taking her to our local shooting range with me...at age 10. She is very mature for her age, and is reading at a college level...in 5th grade. Especially with her martial arts, she has exceptional discipline and respect, but I have only been shooting for 5 years, and I am still a novice. I really need to find something local where she can get real professional training. Unfortunately, Flint doesn't have anything. I really just want to know when others let their children start shooting. I believe she is ready...but maybe I'm not ready. I just don't want her to be a victim like so many stories and articles in the news.

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    VIP Member Array OutWestSystems's Avatar
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    My view is that the kids will start to learn about about firearms when thy can truly understand the finality of a firearm, which means they must be able to understand death of a person.
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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys, and I really appreciate honest opinions. I know my daughter wants to learn it as a skill, similar to how she approaches everything else. I am amazed everyday at how well she can do anything she attempts. We were bored one afternoon, and she decided she wanted to play guitar. She studied and practiced, and now she can outplay me all day long. She is more mature than many adults I know. My problem is that of dealing with harassment over this.

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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    My little girl has had to see a quarter of her family members pass in her life. She knows.

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Each kid is different. I started taking my daughter at 7. She is now 12 and has zero interest in firearms, but she has the knowledge about firearms and safety. She knows what they're about and why I have them and carry them. She knows I'm a stickler about safety and security when it comes to firearms. She also attended the Community Education Event in which I gave a lecture about firearm safety, so she got to hear it all again while I gave it in front of a couple hundred people.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangRob View Post
    ... when is it appropriate to teach your child real firearm usage and technique.

    My little girl is 10 years old ... a straight A student, devoted to her martial arts discipline, and wise far beyond her years.
    Seems to me that if she's that good, in terms of basic judgment and reasoning as appears to be the case from your description, and that she's very much aware of the utility as well as the competitive aspects of the shooting sports, then by all means it's time to open the flood gates. About the only problem I'd really have with it all is the recoil on a 10yr old. Depends on the kid, on the firearm in question. IMO, with the right technique and padding, it shouldn't be an issue. If she's basically at the point she has exhausted all the other lower-caliber rifles you've got, I'd say it's time for a 5.56 AR, depending. If she hasn't done the .22's yet, I'd suggest those first, until she nails the fundamentals.

    Ditto on the idea of a local shooting sports team thing, 4H or whatever.

    A decent regional range might also have this sort of thing. Some of the shooting competitions for young'uns that I have seen revolve around the .22LR rifles and pistols, often indoors. Precursor to biathlon style shooting, really, but you've got to start somewhere.

    If totally without basic resources and uncertain where to turn for instruction, you can always go to the US Army/Marines guides on marksmanship, which highlights the M-16 platform in significant detail, in terms of learning its maintenance, shooting.


    USMC Pistol Marksmanship, MCRP 3-01B, November 2003

    USMC Rifle Marksmanship, MCRP 3-1A, February 1999

    Rifle Marksmanship with the M-1 Rifle -- official Army Signal Corps training video: part 1; and part 2.

    Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship, U.S. Marine Corps, video
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Seems to me that if she's that good, in terms of basic judgment and reasoning as appears to be the case from your description, and that she's very much aware of the utility as well as the competitive aspects of the shooting sports, then by all means it's time to open the flood gates. About the only problem I'd really have with it all is the recoil on a 10yr old. Depends on the kid, on the firearm in question. IMO, with the right technique and padding, it shouldn't be an issue. If she's basically at the point she has exhausted all the other lower-caliber rifles you've got, I'd say it's time for a 5.56 AR, depending. If she hasn't done the .22's yet, I'd suggest those first, until she nails the fundamentals.

    Ditto on the idea of a local shooting sports team thing, 4H or whatever.

    A decent regional range might also have this sort of thing. Some of the shooting competitions for young'uns that I have seen revolves around the .22LR rifles and pistols, often indoors. Precursor to biathlon style shooting, really, but you've got to start somewhere.

    If totally without basic resources and uncertain where to turn for instruction, you can always go to the US Army/Marines guides on marksmanship, which highlights the M-16 platform in significant detail, in terms of learning its maintenance, shooting.


    USMC Pistol Marksmanship, MCRP 3-01B, November 2003

    USMC Rifle Marksmanship, MCRP 3-1A, February 1999

    Rifle Marksmanship with the M-1 Rifle -- official Army Signal Corps training video: part 1; and part 2.

    Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship, U.S. Marine Corps, video
    Thanks for the info. I do not have anything smaller than 9mm right now...although 5.56 is technically smaller. That is a big round for a girl who is 5'1" and under 100lbs. I worry about that, but anything in 22LR is hard to come by here. I believe she can handle it though, since she can physically take down her mother, and routinely gets to be the "demonstration dummy" in karate class. She is a tough girl.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangRob View Post
    Thanks for the info. I do not have anything smaller than 9mm right now...although 5.56 is technically smaller. That is a big round for a girl who is 5'1" and under 100lbs. I worry about that, but anything in 22LR is hard to come by here. I believe she can handle it though, since she can physically take down her mother, and routinely gets to be the "demonstration dummy" in karate class. She is a tough girl.
    Then an AR with an average 'range round' and a decent padded stock should be no problems, even if she's a tad recoil sensitive. It's not a big cartridge, even with the stout stuff. >5ft and >100lbs, regularly stumping for "crash dummy" status? Heck, yeah. Bring it on.

    I'm sure she'll have a great time learning to out-shoot her dad and everyone else on the range. Sounds like she'd make it her mission in life, and probably achieve every bit of her goals.
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    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    MY son is 6. At the age of 5 we did our first trip to the range where he shot a 22LR, 22 revolver, 22 semi auto & AR15 in 223. Click this link ---> Took my 5-year old shooting He was more responsible on that trip than he has ever been in his life before that. I attribute that to the constant and ongoing lessons in gun safety he has had since he was old enough to know what a gun was.

    Jim Cirillo, in "Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter" talked about educating children young & taking the taboo out of the gun. I took it to heart and it has been successful for my family. If Wil asks to see a gun I do not deny him. I clear it & ask him "is it safe?" and he replies "let me check." He tells me he needs to see with his own eyes and then proceeds to do a visual and physical check of the weapon even though he saw me clear it. This from a 6 year old.

    At Walmart, about a year ago we were in the sporting goods area and in front of a group of adults he decided that was the appropriate moment to walk to the gun case and announce that you never point these at anything you dont want to destroy, never put your finger on the trigger till ready to shoot, never think a gun is not loaded and know what you are shooting at and what is behind it because "when you shoot it, you own it." Several of the grandfatherly types shot big smiles at us. Little man made me proud.

    It is NEVER too early to teach kids about guns, gun safety, and responsibility. It builds character.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Then an AR with an average 'range round' and a decent padded stock should be no problems, even if she's a tad recoil sensitive. It's not a big cartridge, even with the stout stuff. >5ft and >100lbs, regularly stumping for "crash dummy" status? Heck, yeah. Bring it on.

    I'm sure she'll have a great time learning to out-shoot her dad and everyone else on the range. Sounds like she'd make it her mission in life, and probably achieve every bit of her goals.
    It won't take much for her to be a better shot than me. And everything she tries, she nails it. I am so glad that she learned from my mistakes. I feel good about letting her pursue it if she wants to. If it doesn't work out, I won't be upset, since she is so focused on her karate. I feel good knowing that it is cool for her to try it if she wants.
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    Member Array MustangRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 357and40 View Post
    MY son is 6. At the age of 5 we did our first trip to the range where he shot a 22LR, 22 revolver, 22 semi auto & AR15 in 223. Click this link ---> Took my 5-year old shooting He was more responsible on that trip than he has ever been in his life before that. I attribute that to the constant and ongoing lessons in gun safety he has had since he was old enough to know what a gun was.

    Jim Cirillo, in "Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter" talked about educating children young & taking the taboo out of the gun. I took it to heart and it has been successful for my family. If Wil asks to see a gun I do not deny him. I clear it & ask him "is it safe?" and he replies "let me check." He tells me he needs to see with his own eyes and then proceeds to do a visual and physical check of the weapon even though he saw me clear it. This from a 6 year old.

    At Walmart, about a year ago we were in the sporting goods area and in front of a group of adults he decided that was the appropriate moment to walk to the gun case and announce that you never point these at anything you dont want to destroy, never put your finger on the trigger till ready to shoot, never think a gun is not loaded and know what you are shooting at and what is behind it because "when you shoot it, you own it." Several of the grandfatherly types shot big smiles at us. Little man made me proud.

    It is NEVER too early to teach kids about guns, gun safety, and responsibility. It builds character.
    Yeah, my little girl knew from Day 1 about safety. I am so proud that she thinks about it as a competitive sport to dominate. We have much different views on firearms. I see them as only a defensive tool. She watched the Nordic Combined in the Olympics and saw the potential of competition.

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