Are NERF guns a good idea for kids?

This is a discussion on Are NERF guns a good idea for kids? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am wondering if NERF guns teach young children (elementary school age) poor gun safety and desensitize them to shooting at human targets. I had ...

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Thread: Are NERF guns a good idea for kids?

  1. #1
    Member Array Walden's Avatar
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    Are NERF guns a good idea for kids?

    I am wondering if NERF guns teach young children (elementary school age) poor gun safety and desensitize them to shooting at human targets. I had no idea where to post this, but it is kind of a training thing.

    Most people agree that children should be introduced to firearms in a controlled environment under the supervision of a competent adult. In this way children can learn how to safely handle guns and come to respect how dangerous a gun can be. NERF guns, on the other hand, are far less dangerous and do not require the same sort of safety lectures. Young kids may not fully understand the difference between NERF guns and firearms, and such a misunderstanding could lead to improper gun safety later in life. Also, children prone to mental illness might first be exposed to the idea of gun violence by NERF guns. NERF guns are very different from violent video games in that you are shooting at a real person. Maybe children should not be exposed to the concept of fighting with guns until they are old enough to paintball (maybe middle school age).

    This question is not motivated by hoplophobia in ANY WAY. I grew up around guns, I hope to raise my kids around guns, and I hope my kids will raise my grandkids around guns. This is not a call for an assault Nerf-weapon ban (although that would make more sense than most of the proposed gun control bills). I am just wanted to hear if or how people approach Nerf guns while training young children.
    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." - St. Augustine

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array NCSoxFan's Avatar
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    I believe the key is spending time with your kids and explaining play from reality. I grew up with toy guns, watching shoot'm up movies and turned out okay. With every suggestion of banning firearms, movies, video games or toys we drive further away from the point that the issue is human judgement.
    ruger91 likes this.

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    Member Array rwponline's Avatar
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    Before my kids received any toy guns, they were taught basic gun safety with real firearms. Once they understood real firearms, they were allowed to play with toy guns as much as they wanted.

    How early? For my kids 3 or 4 was the right age to introduce them to basic gun safety. If they see a gun without an adult (they trust) they:
    1. Don't touch it
    2. Leave the area/house immedately
    3. Tell an adult


    I would never let my kids go to other houses without demonstrating understanding of those rules. To remove any temptation from my kids they have supervised access to my guns anytime they wish. When they handle real guns, I pay special attention to the care and respect they display. If they ever started treating real guns without the respect they deserved it would be a huge red flag.

    Having said that, I love nerf guns. My kids learned real quick about finding and firing from cover, pieing a corner, keeping track of ammo, and plenty of other important gun skills they wouldn't have learned from watching TV.

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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    They had cap guns and BB guns decades ago. Didn't hear much about mass shooting, strangely.

    For every gun I have, my kids have two nerf guns. That means they have a LOT of nerf guns. My house is littered with foam bullets. I walk into at least one ambush a day. A few are full auto with a respectable cyclic rate. They shoot the holy mother out of old Dad.

    And I don't mind a bit.

    It ain't nerf guns that have brought us to where we are.

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    It's amazing to me that with all the hype and speculation about kids and toy guns these days one might think that my generation (born in 59') would have killed themselves off ages ago.

    Want to minimize mental illness in kids? Get em off of the drugs.
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    I have only used NERF guns and cannons in fights at the Office at Work! Everyone has one or two with reloads and you soon learn how to bounce projectiles off of the ceiling tiles into the cube where the BG is at! My daughter was never taught anything about guns but she knows I have them and carry them on me. My granddaughter is not at the age yet to be introduced to them, she just knows that I don't like the current president and she agrees with me on that. She is a quick learner at 10 YO.
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    Member Array thephanatik's Avatar
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    If it isn't NERF guns, its sticks shaped like guns. It doesn't matter, kids use their imaginations. Kids have been playing "cowboys and indians" since the 1800s?

    I hardly think kids today are desensitized. They know the difference between real and fake. I bet that there's more guys and girls today that would cringe seeing an animal skinned and gutted than 100 years ago.

    That being said, you should ALWAYS teach safe firearm handling. You could encourage trigger finger discipline with their NERF guns and teach some basic tactics so they can make "clean shots" on the "bad guys" where someone isn't behind the person they are shooting at. Try to make a game of it, where they have to find cover/concealment that gives them a clear shot with nobody in the background.
    tcox4freedom likes this.
    Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation. - Rule #23 in the USMC rules for gunfighting.

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    My son is 3.5, and for the past two Christmases, my brother has given him NERF guns. His little hands are just big enough to wrap around and squeeze trigger now. I've been teaching him to not point at people or the dogs or mommy's fragile pretties, and we've started trigger discipline. I can't wait to teach him to slice a pie.

    When he brings out the NERF guns, it's a great opportunity to talk about the difference between real and fake ones, and also about real ones that come in different colors.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

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    Senior Member Array Lish's Avatar
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    With 5 boys we have a full Nerf arsenal. No kidding, one wall in the garage is nothing but hanging Nerf guns in many sizes and capacity, marshmallow shooters and extra "ammo" I honestly don't use Nerf for teaching gun safety, just fun.

    BB guns, paintball and my handguns, I use those for teaching.
    pgrass101 likes this.

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    Me and my boys play Nerf tag all the time with Nerf guns, we have a few rules.

    1) no Nerf guns in the kitchen (don't want a dart getting in to supper)

    2) No shooting Nerf guns at anyone or anything that doesn't have a Nerf Gun

    3) You can ignore rule #2 if a cat is on the dinning room table

    4) you can ignore rules #1 and #2 if a cat is on the kitchen cabinets

    5) You can not place cat food or other items to purposely entice cats to get on the cabinets or table
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

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    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...teach 'em the difference between NERF and NEF and let 'em at 'em...if playin' shoot-em-up as a child had any bad effects, this country would have turned legs up looooooooooooong ago...
    tcox4freedom likes this.

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    Member Array Nosler Guy's Avatar
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    I have less of a problem with Nerf guns than I do with realistic looking airsoft guns. At least the Nerf guns shoot a soft projectile and the guns are easily distinguished from the real deal. I had a 5 year old kid point what looked like a full size 1911 at me one time. I had a closer look and realized it was an airsoft gun but at first glance I really thought it was the real thing. We played with Nerf guns quite a bit growing up. None of us ever became deranged gunmen because of it.
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    Member Array rutcrazed's Avatar
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    Now that there is funny!

    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    Me and my boys play Nerf tag all the time with Nerf guns, we have a few rules.

    1) no Nerf guns in the kitchen (don't want a dart getting in to supper)

    2) No shooting Nerf guns at anyone or anything that doesn't have a Nerf Gun

    3) You can ignore rule #2 if a cat is on the dinning room table

    4) you can ignore rules #1 and #2 if a cat is on the kitchen cabinets

    5) You can not place cat food or other items to purposely entice cats to get on the cabinets or table

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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    My brother and I made guns all the time (pvc pipe), used nerf guns ALL the time, I remember getting realistic looking M-16 toys that we shot each other with all of the time. We eventually graduated to BB guns, bow and arrow, and potato guns. The difference was our parents. They taught us what the difference was between them and we never had an issue.

    It is as we know, the child and the parents, not the guns!
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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nosler Guy View Post
    I have less of a problem with Nerf guns than I do with realistic looking airsoft guns. At least the Nerf guns shoot a soft projectile and the guns are easily distinguished from the real deal. I had a 5 year old kid point what looked like a full size 1911 at me one time. I had a closer look and realized it was an airsoft gun but at first glance I really thought it was the real thing. We played with Nerf guns quite a bit growing up. None of us ever became deranged gunmen because of it.
    I bought an airsoft Beretta 92 to shoot the neighborhood cats with who were "making deposits" in my back yard. To assuage my wife of the severity of the gun I said "shoot me in the back with it" It was at that very second I felt a lot worse about what those cats were going to be dealing with. That thing hurt!
    BigJon


    "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" ~ Mark Twain

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