At what age did you learn how to shoot a gun?

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tonydahose
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At what age did you learn how to shoot a gun?

Postby tonydahose » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:24 am

I am asking this because me and the mrs. are having a disagreement on not only when but if i should teach the kids how to shoot a gun. My wife is very scared of guns. When i brought home my gun while in the police academy and showed it to her, she burst into tears :rolleyes: . I am mentioning this just so you get an idea of where I am at here. My dad never had a gun and I have never hunted. I think the kids should be able to know how to shoot a gun. I was thinking around the ages of 10-12 would be a good time. My wife is a teacher with a minor in pyschology and she says that kids just don't have the reasoning (i cant remember the exact words she used) at that age to be responsible with a gun. Right now the gun is locked up tight in a safe and the kids don't know the code and they know not to go near the safe. (i plan on getting one of those biometric safes with a fingerprint opening soon.) I have tried to get my wife out to the range to shoot so she wouldn't be as scared of the gun but to no avail. My son, who thinks way too much while he is in bed before he falls asleep (takes after the mrs., my daughter puts her head down and is out in a second just like daddy..lol), came up to us a few nights ago and was worried about bad men coming in and hurting our family. We consoled him and told him that i check the door to make sure it is locked, the alarm is put on and that it is super loud & would wake us up and call the police at the same time. I also mentioned that if they somehow made it up the stairs that i would get my gun and make sure they didn't harm us. I tucked him back in bed and then he asked me how Mommy would protect us if I was at work? (he knows that she doesn't like the gun) I told the mrs. what he said afterwards just so she could come up with an answer for later on and she didn't know what to say. I told her that maybe she should come to the range with me so she would know how to use the gun. The answer was let me think about it which is a giant step for her. Sorry for the long story, so what age did you learn to shoot? what age do you think the kids should learn? and finally at what age do you think the kids should be able to get into the safe to protect themselves if necessary? On that one I am thinking 18, the allure to go see the gun and handle it when mom and dad are away just seems to high for a kid to me.
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Postby Sequimite » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:36 am

I think I was 14.

I don't think a child should have active possession of /access to a gun until at least 16 - 18. The more years of training, the better off they will be when they have their own gun. I did not own a gun until my youngest child was 18 because I didn't trust that I would be more clever at keeping it away from them then they would be at getting to it. To me that was a bigger danger than the threat of someone coming into our home to hurt us. Most people are shot by friends or family.
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Postby BigBill5953 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:15 am

I was 12-13 when I first shot a gun. My dad took me to the range and he brought his .22 and .410 double barrel that he was given when he was 12-13. I've still got the target paper that we shot that day.
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The tiny holes are from a .22 LR. The biggest holes, like the one close to the tip of the Worker, are .410 slugs. (The range wouldn't let us shot any kind of birdshot.) The holes that are the size of the one by the Dodo tip are from a .357 Mag that a guy next to us was shooting.
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Tony for making this thread. I know it is an important question to wonder but this thread made my remember all those memories from that great day. Thank you Tony.
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Postby xceptnl » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:41 am

I learned at a very early age (9-10), but only became proficient when I became a Boy Scout. I would suggest the mental capacity to understand the why and the ethics behind safe gun handling are more important than the actual function. This will be extra important (IMO) with a significant other who is not a gun person.
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Postby The Deacon » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:43 am

Grew up without a dad but my mom was nowhere near as over protective as one might expect under the circumstances. Think I was 9 or 10 when I got a Daisy BB gun for Christmas, graduated to a Crossman pellet rifle a few years later. Didn't get my first firearm until I turned 18, a Mossberg 144LS .22 target rifle that I still own. Back when I was an NRA instructor, I taught kids as young as 10 to shoot .22. Really depends a lot on the child though. There's no fixed relationship between physical age and level of maturity/responsibility.
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It’s never too early to talk about gun safety.

Postby Pinetreebbs » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:44 am

Even if a child’s parents are totally anti gun they need to teach their children about guns and guns safety. Firearms are fascinating tools and sooner or later most every child is going to be exposed to one. To keep our children safe, it is much better that they know what firearms are and how to handle them safely.

I learned about childhood gun safety the hard way, before I was in kindergarten. Later, when I was twelve and wanting a gun my Mother sent me to an NRA gun safety class at the direction of a cousin who was a big sportsman and knew a lot about guns. After which I was allowed to purchase a .22 rifle.

I gave my first gun safety lesion to our sons when they were 4 and 6 years old. I decided it was time when the younger one intently looked at my single barrel 20-gauge shotgun and proclaimed, “I could shoot that gun.” Based on my own childhood experience, see below, I decided to give them a talk about gun safety that included a demonstration. I spoke to them about real guns versus cartoon and TV guns. While cartoon characters get shot, look like Swiss cheese and are OK; real guns do not work that way. Real guns are serious things that are dangerous and should always be treated as if they are loaded. I took them out to my wood lot and fired that 20-gauge into a gallon paint can filled with water and the lid sealed. The noise, the site of the water going everywhere, the huge hole in the front and the blown out back made quite an impression. “This is what real guns can do.” I told them they would be able to shoot the guns all they wanted when they were older, but only when they could handle them safely and under my supervision. I also told them to never play with or hang around any of the friends if they got hold of a gun.

Over they years both sons have safely used firearms and as adults enjoy collecting and shoot firearms. When the oldest son was about to go into the Army I cautioned him when they got to firearm training. He was a little insulted and said he knew how to handle a firearm. I told him, yes you do, it’s the other guys you need to worry about.

The Hard Way: My Father moved us to La Paz, Mexico where we lived for a few years. He had some long guns shipped to our house there. It included a 30-30-lever action rifle. The day the guns arrived we had company including two other boys close to my age. While the folks were talking in the living room we were pilfering through the crates. At some point the two boys and I had a discussion about my ability to fire one the lever action we found. I had never done so but I watched TV westerns enough to know how the cartridges fit in and that the lever made it ready to fire. I walked to our kitchen area where my Father had safely put a green box of cartridges, Remington I think. I asked one of the kitchen maids to hand it to me. Not being able to read English or knowing what was in the box she handed me the box. Cartridge box in hand, I walked past the adults into our foyer, took out a single round, pushed it into the receiver, operated the lever and proceeded to pull the trigger. Wow! Lucky for everyone in the house, including the maid nursing her baby in the next room, the round went into the floor.

It’s never too early to talk about gun safety.
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Postby 1623 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:12 am

My Father was very proactive and started me off with a Daisy Model 111 at the age of 8. I clearly remember when we bought it and I still have it today. It was a big deal for me because even before that moment I knew that both he and my Grandfather collected and now I was part of something special.

We started shooting .22's at a local sand pit about a year later and joined a club/range shortly thereafter. He also began paying dues for my NRA membership in my early teens and I became a life member at 21.

He was firm and adamant about my respect and care each time I held a firearm from the moment it came out of its case until it was put back in, but he never tried to instill any fear about what guns were, just proper handling and common sense. I knew that the business end of a barrel was not a place I wanted to be unless we were cleaning the gun after shooting.

The last thing you want is to be fearful of the weapon that you're employing. Respectfully, if your wife can overcome her fear and uncertainty, it will only add to the positive reinforcement with your kids.

I feel that it is imperative for a parent to carefully teach their child/children about gun safety at the earliest age possible and to continue to guide them for as long as you deem it necessary. While advice from others will help, only you as a parent can determine when your kids are of sound enough mind to handle such a responsibility.

Best of luck Tony, I'm sure you and your family will make the right choices.
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Postby chuckd » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:19 am

I was 8 or 9. I believe I was 8 when i shot my first 22rifle and 410 shotgun, then at 9 I shot my first 12 gauge. I hope to teach my new nephew at a young age, because it is best to get the principles of firearm safety and the proper respect needed for the handling, use and ownership of firearms ingrained in their head at a young age.
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Postby Holland » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:25 am

16 for me
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Postby Pinetreebbs » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:50 am

It would be good if you could at least get your wife to go to a good gun safety class. Guns are everywhere, being familiar with them makes you safer and better parent.

Sometime wives/husbands listen a little better to others, especially for gun safety, driving and computer operation. Police departments in two different cities we lived in previously offered a women's gun safety class. In both locations my wife attended. Both times they recommended she replace her Colt Detective Special .38 snub nose recover with a longer barreled handgun for better control. In both classes they took back that recommendation after they saw her targets. :D
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Postby phillipsted » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:08 pm

xceptnl wrote:I learned at a very early age (9-10), but only became proficient when I became a Boy Scout. I would suggest the mental capacity to understand the why and the ethics behind safe gun handling are more important than the actual function. This will be extra important (IMO) with a significant other who is not a gun person.
Couldn't have said it better myself, Xceptnl. My Dad started me early to ensure that I knew safe operation of firearms - but Boy Scouts turned me into a fully skilled shooter.

As an interesting side note - the Goshen Boy Scout reservation near Lexington VA has several shooting ranges for different skill levels and types of firearms. These were funded through a donation by the NRA in the name of gun safety.

TedP

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Postby Stuart Ackerman » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:29 pm

I was 10 and it was with a Webley .38...
Do it NOW...the earlier the better...

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Postby DAYWALKER » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:33 pm

Aloha tonydahose,

LONG time no see! Hope you and yours have been well.

ANYWAY...my soon to be ex-wife was the same way with my daughter. I had my daughter doing a lot of "things" with weapons from a VERY early age. In terms of guns, I had her training with airsoft replicas of what I actually have, and shooting pellet guns. The pellet guns/rifles my soon to be ex-wife could stomach. However, I then graduated my daughter to the real steel stuff. This is where I appreciated the fact of teaching her with the airsoft replicas. Because they replicate almost exactly what their real steel counterparts do in terms of oh let's say, blowback slides, mag release, slide lock on empty, etc...when she handled my G22 it was like second nature. When she was in early grade school, she could name all the basic parts of a shotgun, AR-15, as well as parts of the revolver and semi-auto's. Down to discerning the diff between the de-cock lever and slide release on a SIG! I'm so proud of her... :p Anyway by the time she was in 7th grade she could safely inspect the G22 and give it back to me "cleared". I may get reamed for this, but I would give her the G22 LOADED, sometimes one in the chamber and say, "Okay. Clear it and give it back to dad." She had gone through this many times with the airsoft Glock, so she'd drop the mag, rack the slide, out flies a .40 round, rack again, and once more, lock the slide back manually, check the barrel, then give the G22 back to me, handle first, then hand me the mag after she retrieved the round that flew out. By the time she was in 9th grade, she could field strip an AR-15, reassemble, and function check it. And all that shooting with the airsoft as well as pellet guns taught her not only nomenclature, but gun safety, as well as trigger press, AND going through shooting drills not allowed on any straight down the line range. She also learned the difference's between many different semi-auto pistols, revolver's, and rifles thanks to her uncle who has tons of everything. Reason being for example, she's at a friend's house, perps breaking in successfully, friend's dad owns a gun, friend doesn't know how to use it. But my daughter would.

With the way thing's are going on in the world, I'm glad I taught her the thing's I did. Yes, some might deem them "unsafe", but that's a relative word.

I too, like Deac', grew up without a dad. I shot a LOT of BB/pellet guns at an early age though, and did not shoot a real gun (H&K USP 45) until I was out of high school. However, all that shooting with BB/pellet guns, learning trigger press, breathing, muzzle awareness,sight pic, etc. taught me a lot. So much so that I won Top Gun in my Corrections basic training and have yet to be beaten during our annual re-qualifications after almost 13 years. I got laughed at in BCT when asked if I was shooting to practice for the Top Gun and I said, "Yeah." Classmates were like, "With what? Revolver? 357? .38?" My answer, "Revolver...Crosman. .177" ;) No one laughed after I was received my Top Gun Award from the Department Director. My daughter shot several real guns for the first time several years back, only because we don't have a range here. We went to this spot where hunters zero their guns. She was bored with my Ruger 22, so I let her shoot my G17. It kept stove piping on her, so i thought her wrist was limp, she said it wasn't. I then let her shoot my G22 and she was hooked. So much so I got her her very own matching G22 like dad's. I showed her my Taurus Judge SS that day and she was like, "Hmmmm, no. I'll pass on that one." :D

Train her Tony. I am sure you love the heck outta her like how I love my daughter. Oh yeah, last year I was cleaning a Beretta and my daughter's boyfriend saw it and oohed and ahhed over it because it was, "a gun he uses from one of his video games". I locked the slide back and said, "Here. Feel the real thing. Go ahead, check out the trigger." He stared at it for awhile, my daughter watching the whole time. Several minutes went by, and she grabs the Beretta from him and goes, "Oh here! You do it like this! CLACK!" He had no idea how to unlock the slide!!! :p

Right on Tony for posting this. Good to see you again sir.
Take care :cool:
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Postby Dr. Snubnose » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:16 pm

Ay CHAD!!!

I started shooting at the age of 13. Sure I had pellet pistols, slingshots, boomerangs, and throwing knives before that. It was at Military School (high school) where I had my first real exposure to powerful firearms. We started with very heavy competition .22LR Rifles. Once the mechanics were learned we shot the old O3Springfield Rifles, and then graduated up to the M-1 Carbine and M14s. We did some shooting with BARs and 50 Caliber Machine Guns....Was fun.............Tony your wife is right in the fact the children under the age of ten don't have the cortical regions of their cortex mylinized which inhibits their abilty to do abstract thinking. So yeah after the age of 10 is a good age to start children with firearms training. I offer this opinion as a firearms instructor and Psychologist. Doc :)
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Postby tobii3 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:17 pm

7 or 8 when I got my Daisy Red Ryder. 9 when I learned how to shoot my Uncle's .22. First Turkey Shoot when I was 10...and lost. Won it the next two consecutive years, then became the Turkey "Turkey" when the Judges decision awarded me Third year in a row. That was back when no one was afraid of guns. It also contributed to me joining the Service...all our Turkey Shoots were done on the Army base Firing Ranges.

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Postby Evil D » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:41 pm

I grew up in the country...we didn't "learn" how to use a gun, we were sort of thrust into it, whether through hunting or just shooting cans in the back yard. Ironically enough, the first person who ever allow me to fire a gun was my grandmother.
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Postby Tank » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:36 pm

I was 13 when I learned out to shoot.
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Postby DAYWALKER » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:51 pm

Dr. Snubnose wrote:Ay CHAD!!!

So yeah after the age of 10 is a good age to start children with firearms training. I offer this opinion as a firearms instructor and Psychologist. Doc :)
AYloha Sifu!!!

Good to see ya!

I somewhat agree to this...however, the only reason why I did not start my daughter on REAL firearms earlier was because her hands were a tad small yet, and she could not operate the controls on the Glocks or SIG226. :rolleyes:

Put it this way, and I'm not just saying this because she's my daughter, but I'd prefer her by my side in a..."situation" that called for firearms 90% over the guys I work with. Probably due to the training she had ingrained from an early age.

When she first fired real guns, she jumped from a bull barrel 22 pistol, straight to a snappy 9mm, and then fell in love with the 40S&W round. Only difference she experienced that first day was recoil and muzzle blast. I thought she'd freak out over it, and she somewhat did going from the 22 to the 9mm, but thankfully she took control over it. ;) God I wish she shot my Judge that day... :p

Take care Sifu! :cool:
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Postby Pockets » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:21 pm

13 ish. Not very well, however :rolleyes:
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Postby Eee » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:30 pm

I was 16. I was in Air Cadets, so we got to use .22lr and .223s on military ranges. I'd used bows in Scouts from about 11, which helps with the range discipline. These days our scout troop use air rifles and bows as young as 10, obviously under very close supervision. My daughter, who is 13 has used both.
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