And no, Playskool is not introducing its own line of licensed .22 replicas of Berettas, Glocks, or 1911s. A good friend of mine has two adolescent sons who already froth at the mouth whenever they see, smell, or even think about guns. They already have the damn-near-perfect “First Rifles” for young shooters, Marlin bolt-action .22s, and they shoot them with adult supervision as often as the weather and their parents’ schedules allow. My friend wants to introduce his boys to handgun shooting, but his current brace of 9mms and .357s are too large and heavy for young hands to grip securely. He’s looking for the right tool for the job, and asked me to recommend a good beginner’s handgun for his young shooters . . .
And so I put the question to you, our Armed Intelligentsia: which gun would you use when safely introducing your adolescent sons to the joys of handgunning? Small grip size, mild recoil, and cheap ammunition are prerequisites; everything else is open for consideration. I’m pretty sure most of us would choose a .22 of some flavor, but in the interests of inspiring a lively discussion I’ll hold my fire for now and weigh in after hearing some of your suggestions.