I fired my first gun at the age of nine. Shotgun with the old man. No ear pro. No warning. BOOM! That was an experience I never forgot. When did you first fire a gun and when were you bitten by the bug? [Memo to Mchall2006: You might want to discuss that whole aiming thing with your young ‘un.]

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92 Responses to Question of the Day: How Old Were You When You First Fired a Gun?

  1. I was 10. Boy Scout summer camp, shooting .22LR on a 50ft range. The next time, I was 15, shooting a 12 gauge at clay targets (Boy Scouts again).

    The first time without grownup supervision… I was 18. Shooting my Dad’s .22/.410 over/under with some friends.

    • (My oldest [10] is keeping up with me… his first time was this past summer, shooting my Marlin No. 29 off the back deck. He did surprisingly well: I drew the sight picture for him, and he never missed the 4″ target at 60′.)

    • Me too, nine or ten at Boy Scout camp. With an adult to child ratio that would make modern parent have a conniption.

      • No conniptions around here. One of my boys’ friends, the 12-year-old neighbor kid, recently made a respectable showing in 4-H state-level skeet competition: 3rd individual, 1st team. Being in semi-rural Colorado might have something to do with it.

      • One more vote for scout camp. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time. The “adult” to child ratio was 1:8 or 1:10 and the “adult” was probably just barely 21. There would have been an in-training-councilor as well, but he would have been all of 16.

    • + 1…Working on my Rifle and Shotgun Merit Badge at summer camp was the best memory I have of being a Scout (and I have a BUNCH of great scouting memories). I was hooked with my BB gun but that Merit Badge galvanized my passion for shooting.

  2. 10. My uncle’s 2 1/2″ .357 snubbie DAO with a 12lb? trigger. i was able to pull the trigger 3 times before my finger gave up

  3. Y’know, thinking about it I really cannot remember when it was. It just seems like we’ve always been shooting.
    Huh.

    • I don’t remember the exact age either. I remember it was before I went to school. So ~ 1960-1961. My dad had just got 10 Mil. Surp. M1 carbines for $60.00 + shipping. I helped him unwrap them from some kind of waxed papper, and clean the gunk off them. We were both so excited, that we had to try one out that day.
      I still have that rifle. Great memory!
      Guy22

      • I do remember being able to mail order those guns straight to your house. I couldn’t talk my old man into letting me order the m1 carbine. All the guns in his house were for hunting or pest control. As a consolation he let me pick a 16 gauge shotgun out of the sears catalogue and it was delivered by mail about 4 weeks later.

  4. That’s too young, IMO. She has no shred of comprehension of what she’s doing or the danger involved.

    I was 12 or 14 . I was sat down after my Grandpa shot and killed a black bird with a .22…where he showed me the dead animal via the rifle he used. He then explained firearms, shooting, safety rules…watched me shoot at a target for about 50 rounds. Then he handed me a box of .22’s and told me to kill all of the black birds decimating his cherry tree’s (told me where to aim, what direction to shoot, etc). πŸ˜‰ He walked in the house and left me to my own. :0 A fair amount of birds died that day. (I’ve only hunted a couple of times after that experience)

    Looking back, I’d never do the same with my Grandson but it worked out. Never hurt anyone or myself (birds were another story). The cherries at the end off the day were good too. πŸ˜‰

    After that, I got into shooting with the boy scouts where it was a bit more careful/complete instruction. I learned a healthy respect for firearms at a fairly early age.

    • Not sure why she is looking at the trigger instead of the target but I didn’t see any safety violations, so I don’t know what the concern would be. My friend’s 5 year old son fired my M4gery. From a secure rest. With two adults stationed on both sides and a hand on his back. What is the problem?

      • I didn’t say there were glaring safety problems. I’m saying a kid shouldn’t be pulling the trigger thinking it’s a toy. She obviously has no idea what a firearm really is, the danger, etc. That’s the problem. IMO, that’s just too young.

  5. Eight or ten, I think. 22s at a YMCA summer camp (don’t remember enough to know if they were real, or pellet guns.). 17 at a buddy’s house shooting clays with his new O/U 20 gauge. Hooked me.

  6. I was five or six and my brother was four or five, we shot a 28ga. tried to hold it like rambo, didn’t work out so great; closely listened to my dad’s advice ever since.

    • I was 4 or 5 also. Hard to remember exactly. My dad and I would go down to an old reservoir and shoot a 10/22 at an old VW bug that was half submerged. Good times. Been shooting ever since.

  7. Not counting BB guns or cap guns, somewhere around 10 at a Boy Scout camp. Got my first .22 rifle when I was 12. Cap guns? I have a black&white photo of me at the age of 4 or 5, holding (finger off trigger) a Nichols Ranch Stallion .45 MkII revolver (“nickle-plated/engraved”). It used 6 cap-firing “bullets” that had to be loaded through a loading gate, just like a Colt SAA. It came in a folding-top cardboard box, with two sets of grips (black and white), and six “bullets” in a plastic belt-loop type of holder. I still have it, in the original box, with all of the accoutrements, in working condition. “Hi, my name is IdahoPete, and I am a gun accumulator.”

    All those wasted years …. no wonder I have been trying so hard to make up for lost time and missed opportunities to buy guns.

    • Bet it used the “greenie stick em caps” too. Round peel and stick decal like caps that you put in the primer area of the cartridge and when the hammer struck them they sent the plastic bullet down range. Loved em.

      • Sort of, but this was a pre-projectile cap gun. The cartridges had a brass case and a metal “bullet” insert that fit all the way into the case, touching the base of the brass case. You stuck the cap on the base of the “bullet” insert, assembled the cartridge, loaded, and when the hammer hit the brass case the cap went bang. Did not send the metal insert downrange, which was probably just as well for my brother and I.

  8. 21 for me. A professor of mine was former FBI and she got me a one-on-one with the local Sheriff’s training officer (who was a Marine).

    XD .45, revolver (.38?), Remington pump-action (buckshot & slugs), and finished with a M4 carbine.

    Best damn day of my life.

  9. Six years old. My Dad was assigned to the 7030th Support Wing, Wiesbaden Air Force Base, Wiesbaden, Germany.

    Started with a small, bolt action 22lr. Do not know where it came from.

    So, I purchased a Chipmunk bolt action, 22lr. made by Oregon Arms Company. Started by son, then my daughter on this one.

    One bullet at a time. Sure taught them the value of one bullet.

    Today, my son makes CERTAIN of every shot, when we hunt. Daughter does not like to hunt, but does like to shoot.

    Oh yeah, both when they turned six. Amazing how responsible children can be, even at an early age.

    • “Amazing how responsible children can be, even at an early age.”

      It’s all parenting. Seems to be a lost art in this country. I use the word art because even noodle sculptures are considered art. I don’t get it, but it is. I guess the global point is: kids are blank canvases and parents are the artists. The most important aspect is to put something to paper. Don’t worry how it looks because someone, somewhere will find it beautiful.

  10. 14 yrs old on a marlin model 80 .22 that I’m working on now. Unless you count duct taping 12 gauge shells to the end of a BB gun. Folks…. Secure your ammo too.

    • Ha! that reminds me of a time when I was dumber than now. Has anyone here ever fired an arrow out of a shotgun? We would cut the shells off and dump the shot out, leave the wad, load the shell and muzzle load the arrow. They’d go forever if you could get them to survive the initial blast.

  11. BB gun-5 or so. Was allowed to shoot a .22 while closely supervised by my father at about 7. Got my own .22 for Christmas when I was 11, and my first big boy gun, a Marlin 336 .30-30, from my parents when I was 13. I still have and treasure it.

  12. I became increasingly aware of my interest in guns, hunting, and fishing when I was 9-13 years old. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to explore it much as a kid and I sought to satisfy my desire with fishing and hunting magazines and day dreaming. Full stop for decades. Starting at about age 45 I grew interested again in guns. Now at 50, I really want to go fishing again and see how much I get into it.

  13. I can’t remember. I can remember my grandfather teaching my brother to shoot when he was maybe 8 or so…I would have been 12 then, but I also remember that I’d been shooting before that?

  14. I don’t remember my first time shooting a rifle. I was too young. I’ve been shooting either pellet guns or .22s for as long as I can remember.

    I do remember the first time I shot a shotgun though.

    My dad had just bought a break action 20 gauge single shot. The shotgun he already had was too big for me and my brother. I got home from school and asked my mom where my dad and brother was, and she said they were out back shooting. I asked if I could go back there too and she said yes. We live on three acres and have a hill/cliff area in our backyard as a backstop. The entire back acre was inclosed in fences and weeds so I trudged my way back through weeds and grass taller then me. It took a good 10 or 15 minutes to walk maybe 100 feet. I finally got back there and my dad explained the difference in shotguns and rifles to me, and asked if I wanted to shoot it once. I said yes. I wasn’t that big, so my dad basically held the gun to my shoulder and I pulled the trigger after aiming. It kicked a lot harder then the .22s I was use to, but it was awesome.

    Then after my brother shot a few more times (he was bigger and older then me), we went back up to the house and it turned out my dad had cleared a path back there that apparently I did not see. So walking back was easier then walking to. Its probably been about 13 or 15 years or so since then, but I still remember it.

  15. Shot my dad’s Python when I was 5. Got my first gun (10/22) for Christmas when I was 8. Picked out my first 1911 when I was 12. And so on in that fashion. Guns have always been a part of me, even being born and raised in Seattle. 24 y/0 now.

  16. I was eight. My cousin was with me at the time and was still seven. I remember a Ruger Mark II, a Marlin .22, a Ruger 10/22, a Springfield M6 Scout, and there was a larger caliber pistol that I was allowed to fire single shots out of, with my grandfather holding it in my hands. For a while it was only when I visited my relatives out of state, now it’s pretty much whenever I’m on break from school, and I still manage some range time during school. Just got back from shooting ten minutes ago.

  17. About 8 or 9 at a shooting gallery firing .22 shorts. I’m not sure what kind of rifle it was, but it was tube loaded through the butt. I didn’t know how to use the sights and my grandfather didn’t either, which probably helped because all the sights were slightly bent (yeah, they did that on purpose).

  18. 4 or 5 years old. My father took me out to shoot mistletoe out of a pecan tree with a bolt action J.C. Whitney 16ga shotgun. He braced everything up to me, crouched behind me, and helped me hold it. I pulled the trigger and shot it down. Nothing teaches gun safety like blowing a limb out of a tree at that age. You learn they’re fun, but dangerous.

  19. 9 or 10, as a Boy Scout. Single shot, bolt action rifle (brand unknown). Next experience was ROTC (took 1st place during initial, post training test!).

  20. Well, from what my dad and grandfather say, I started shooting at 2 with a bb gun, then shortly after, graduated to a .22lr rifle.

  21. I was one month shy of my 6th birthday at summer camp, on the rifle rang, our instructor was a retired Marine gunnery sargent. Needless to say there was no horse play, and I learned to have the utmost respect for guns!

  22. Had to be 6 or 7. It was my father’s bolt action .22lr. The thing felt like it weighed a ton at the time. It was a regular thing for my brother and I to go in the back yard (we lived in the woods) and plink. When I was 10 or 11 my dad gave me a single shot 20 gauge for Christmas. I felt like Ralphie in Christmas Story.

  23. I’m a huge fan of teaching a child early but…something just doesn’t seem right here. The isn’t shooting. She is merely yanking the trigger like it’s another toy. Not really any teaching about respect and gun safety going on here.

  24. 5yrs old. A Stevens Model 26 Crackshot .22 single shot. Still have it 45 yrs later, still shoots great and other than normal wear on the wood and bluing still looks damn good.
    According to my Granma before she passed away in 2010 @ the ripe old age of 95, the best she could remember Granpa had bought the .22’s sometime in the early ’30’s used for $4 each. He had two, my cousin and I got one each because they were the guns we had learned to shoot on.

  25. First shots – 6 – pistols and rifles
    First rifle – 7 (22 Remington 514 single shot)
    First shotgun – 9 (20 ga. A5 Browning)
    First pistol – 15 – (22 Browning Challenger)
    Still have them.

  26. Was 7-8 yrs old on a hunting trip with my step father. About 10 yards at a can with 3-4 in .357 revolver. I swore that gun was going to take my head off with all the recoil and my 80lb body. A year later, first 12ga. experience. Some time in there first .44 mag as well. Obviously, no hearing protection in all cases. The gun seed was planted then. It took some time to sprout as an adult, but I know it was these early experiences that brought me back.

  27. I was probably 3 or 4 when my dad and my grandfather took me out to shoot a .22. I had ear protection but no eye protection. I have absolutely no recollection of whether or not I was able to hit the target or not, but it sure was a lot of fun!

  28. I was 15, so a little late to the party. It was at my best friend’s dad’s house out in the country. I shot an SKS and a ruger MkII 22lr. I hope he’s not reading this because he was iffy about letting me shoot so I regailed him with stories of my previous gun exploits. Which were entirely untrue.

  29. BB gun at 2 (or so I’m told). My grandfather made me a custom stock and taught me the basics of firearm safety. The .22 was not long after that, and my favorite thing to shoot was his .22 revolver. Unfortunately he wasn’t big on ear protection, and all the .22 revolver shooting left me with tinnitus bad enough that I failed the Army physical hearing test and couldn’t get into the military.

    My son is now 5, and he’s about ready to shoot for the first time. My daughter is 4 so it’ll be another year for her. They have seen and handled all my firearms and know enough never to touch them without my permission. In a proud poppa moment today, I went over a family member’s house with the kids. They had an airsoft 1911 pistol on the table (man those things look real!). My kids looked at it, but never touched it. I left them alone in the room while I was doing some other things, and they still never touched it.

    • Our freedom of speech does not apply to private property.

      You foreigners really are ignorant dbags lol omg bff foad

      • which you defend with MAH GUNS MAH RIGHTS GET OFF MEH PROPARTAY!!!!!!!!! *shoots black people*

        lol. you ignorant savages. I guess this is what happens when 312 million inbred morons have guns lol

        • Look everyone! It’s that paranoid nut job who disarmed millions of innocent people “for their own good” and then murdered them in pursuit of a stronger government. So tell us uncle Joe, how have your sunday brunches with Hitler and Mao been going?

        • No what we have here is either MikeyB in a new disguise or his twin brother who is, believe it or not even more ignorant and jealous of the fact that we are a free people with choices!
          Let me guess here: he lives overseas in a country where he has to have government permission, with insteuctions,to masturbate or he has been in the penitentiary and lost all of his gun rights and is therefore mad and lashing out from his childish temper tantrum for something he can’t have and it makes him madder because his own screw up caused it in the first place!!
          As for ignorant hillbillies, I bet I could cut my IQ in half, cut that half in half, and still be a good 100 points ahead of you!!!

        • “It’s that paranoid nut job”

          I can’t help but suspect that Randy Newman was talking about uncle Joe.

    • Everyone knows real trolls spell it “Iosef” with an i.

      Although I do live in that Appalachians. Does that make me a transplant hillbilly? IDENTITY CRISIS

  30. Dear Josef,

    Fortunately for you and us, nobody here gives a crap about your opinion. Feel free to get your dead ass back into Lenin’s tomb where you can both make better use of eternity.

  31. 12-13? at Boy Scout camp with a single-shot, bolt-action .22. Got my Riflery merit badge (now known as Rifle Shooting)

  32. 12-13? at Boy Scout camp with a single-shot, bolt-action .22. Got my Riflery merit badge (now known as Rifle Shooting).

  33. 17. Grew up not really a city slicker, but not in a gun loving family. My dad bought a Rem 870 when I was 10 for home protection (little good it does him, keeps it locked in the case unloaded with the shells in a different room) and he shot it once, then we got invited to go trap shooting with some friends. Did alright, got 11 or 12 out of the round. I did not shoot again until I was 22, bought my XD and have been hooked for the last 2 years.

  34. Ahhh, I remember it very well. My Dad and I had spent a crystalline summer’s day at the beach. I was seven years old. We had gone to Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA for the day. Paragon Park (defunct since 1985) was the amusement park with all the rides, the wooden roller coaster, the arcades and concessions. The morning was spent swimming and splashing in the waves. During breaks to warm up from the cold Massachusetts Bay waters, I had asked Dad about his experiences during WW2. I won’t go into all of the details of the conversation but one of the things I had asked him about was what kind of guns did he shoot. He talked about his weapons qualifications on the M1, 1911, Carbine, BAR, M2, M1919, hand grenades, rifle grenades and stuff. Absolutely thrilling!!, from my seven year old perspective. I should add that not too far from where we were on the beach we could hear the crack/ping from the shooting gallery along the boardwalk.

    So, lunchtime rolls around, we left our stuff on the beach and headed up to the boardwalk to get a bite. On the way we passed the shooting gallery, which had a gravitational attraction on me something close to that of a black hole. I begged Dad to let us have a go. He said we could give it a try after lunch, which provided a little lesson in priorities, patience and impulse control.

    Once we had finished our lunch, promises were kept. We strolled over to the shooting gallery and had at it. First, a little safety/marksmanship lesson from the attendant, along with a little reinforcement from Dad. Well worn and upon reflection, ancient gallery guns, of a couple varieties, were on hand. Pump action, tube fed at the muzzle or through the butt of the stock. Dad was dingin’ ’em, I had mixed results. Little ducks, turkeys, bears, pipes, etc. on the conveyors, a variety of stationary targets. Every hit was a thrill. When the first loading was finished, the only word that I seemed to know was “again”. And again, and again, and again. Forget the other stuff; the roller coaster, the arcades; this was where it’s at. After six or seven goes, Dad finally persuaded me to direct my attention elsewhere. So, a couple of rides and the roller coaster, a little time in the arcade with pinball and skee ball, then back to the beach for some afternoon fun in the surf. Without a doubt, one of the very best days of my life. And the rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been a gunny ever since.

  35. BTW, I started my daughter when she was eight. Various .22’s and a 9mm. At eleven, she loves the AR. We’re going to build a couple of AR carbines over the coming winter. She might well be the only 6th grader in the Boston Public Schools with her own (for all intents and purposes, if not strictly by the law) AR-15. Is this a great country or what?

    Also, all of you fathers out there with young daughters; if you aren’t actively weaponizing your daughters, you’re really doing them a disservice. Get with the program, and don’t waste any time while you’re doing it.

    • Greg, I inherited 3 daughters from a guy that wasn’t up to the job of being a dad. His loss. All 3 and their mother and their brother learned to shoot and got armed as they reached the right age.

      My biological sons got an earlier start but my new kids caught up.

  36. I was 7 or 8 when my dad let me shoot my grandpa’s 12 ga shotgun. It was so heavy, he had to help me lift by sitting next to me and holding up the gun by the pump. He let me take the full brunt of the recoil tho. Thanks dad!

    I agree that the girl is too small. I think some dads, myself included, want to rush out, create those memories, and share their hobby with their kids. My son has no where near the attention span, discipline, or listening skills for me to trust him yet. He has a Red Ryder BB gun courtesy of my father in law to practice his firearms safety with.

  37. Funny, I am teaching BSA Rifle shooting merit badge in three weeks at winter camp. Oh, nine for me and for my daughter. My son was five.

  38. I was 9 years old.

    Dad took the first shot and emptied the magazine with one pull of the trigger! More than ten rounds in only a second.

    The gun was a semi-auto Mossberg that my recently passed Grandfather had with him in Brazil in the 50’s. After languishing in the heat and humidity of Corumba in the Mato Grosso, the ammo had become sensitized.

    After tossing the old ammo, my first lesson commenced – one shot at a time and not full-auto.

  39. Don’t remember my exact age–definitely before 12.

    Taught my daughters to shoot at the ages of 9 and 12.

  40. I played with many many toy guns in my youth–waterguns, BBguns, etc– but unfortunately didn’t get to shoot a real firearm until in my early 20’s. I blame my anti-gun parents, although I also grew up in a community that did not have very much access to firearms to begin with.

    My future kids will learn to shoot at a young age for certain. “Get ’em while they’re young” as they say.

  41. The familiar refrain… Scout camp. 13 years old. It was a 10-day regional camp, and I spent every single minute of my free time parked at the rifle range shooting those bolt-action single-shot .22’s.

    Afterward, it never seemed to occur to me that I could maybe use the .22 my dad kept in the closet (he still has it…still in the closet). There were a couple of random trips out to the boonies to go plinking when I was 14-15, and they were a lot of fun, but the bug didn’t bite again for nearly 25 years. But when it bit again, it bit hard.

  42. I guess I was about 7 (my Brother 6) when our Citys PD had a learn to shoot. 22 cal Rifles were provided. I was a bad boy. The LEO’s were BSing & not paying attention. I shot over a lane to metal post & lead sprayed another kids target.

  43. I don’t remember how old I was when I shot my first firearm. I know I was running around with a Daisy BB gun when I was 4. I was probably 5 or 6 when I first shot a .22 lr. My three kids first shot a .22 lr rifle and killed rabbits when they were 5. My oldest son was dove hunting (just tagging along) with me when he was 7. As we were cleaning the doves, he asked how old you had to be to hunt doves. I told him when ever he could shoot a shotgun he could hunt doves with me. After cleaning the doves, I got a clay pigeon and the .410 that I learned to shoot with. I hung it on a post and had him shoot it. He was pretty much a wimp at that time and I didn’t know if he would throw the gun down and cry or what. I turned my back to the target to watch his reaction. As soon as he shot, his eyes got real big and he yelled “that was cool”. I ruined him. He started carrying a 20 ga single shot the next time we went dove hunting.

  44. Mmmm.. Just the forum I was looking for. (In the dog house)

    I’m visiting my dad this weekend and took my two boys (ages 11 & 7) with me but my wife had to stay home for work. My dad lives on a gun range. Literally. He’s retired and is a care taker for a local gun club. I brought my .22 that I got for my 11th birthday & had been shooting guns for a few years before I got the 22.

    Today My kids talked with mom on the phone and told her all about the guns they got to shoot. She was verrry displeased. Mostly because I didn’t discuss it with her which I total understand. I grew up in a house where we had and shot guns, however she did not. With the video games they play like Halo… etc. I under stand her reaction… sort of. We live in a day and age of a lot of violence. With video games it’s all make believe & no consequences. I felt it was important to give them a does of reality and show them the correct way to shoot a gun like my dad taught me. Also give them a respect for guns.

    I was thinking of passing down my .22 to my oldest son but it looks like he may have to wait a few years. Men are always in a hurry to turn our boys into men & woman are trying to keep them their little boys forever…

    Sorry Honey…

  45. Had a BB gun at 7, but didn’t fire an actual firearm til I was twenty, courtesy of the Malone ranges down at Fort Benning, an M16A4, lovingly known as Claire. Wound up doing my qual with a broken hand, still managed sharpshooter.

  46. I was 6 years old. Yes, SIX. One of my uncles was a small-town police officer (now, he’s the lieutenant-detective in charge of investigations in the local sheriff’s department). His duty gun at the time was a S&W “Highway Patrolman” .357 magnum. He held the gun and cocked it, but let me pull the trigger. Hooked on guns for life, after that! πŸ™‚

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