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Ever since my son got his BB gun for his birthday back in September, he’s wanted to shoot it. Since he isn’t old enough to take the BB gun around on his own, I have to make sure he’s closely supervised – especially since we’ve added a new puppy to the family.

Since we have had a few days of temperatures below 10 degrees and even hit -15 at one point, it’s been too cold to have any exposed skin (which includes hands) while shooting. Well, it hit 38 degrees today, and even though the snow is coming down heavily, it was warm enough to let my son shoot his gun. So of course, we start with the rules, like don’t point the gun at people, the cats or the puppy. Don’t touch the trigger until Mommy says it’s ok, and always wear your safety glasses.

He remembered the rules from previous times shooting, so we went on our covered porch and shot into the open field. A target would be worthless as hard as it was snowing. It would have just gotten wet. But it was actually nice to let him just pull the trigger without the stress of trying to hit anything. Sometimes that is more fun for him anyway.

His squeal of delight after every trigger pull is enough to make any parent happy. We have found ways to make his BB gun fun in almost any weather condition. Bottom line: his BB gun makes him happy and it makes me happy he enjoys it so much. You can see the pride on his face when he finishes.

Starting with a BB gun and letting my kids shoot them once every few weeks (weather permitting) is not only an important bonding experience, it affords them the opportunity to learn about guns. How to safely handle guns should something happen at a friend’s house in my absence.

I’ve found that it also kills their curiosity. I allow my kids to ask me any questions they want about guns and for as long as they want. Now, there are actually very few questions I get asked because my kids see my husband and I both carrying daily. They also watch my husband prepare for hunting trips and he lets them ask questions about his hunting gun and why he’s doing certain things, like carefully selecting which kind of ammunition he will need.

I want my children to grow up with the confidence to not only safely handle a gun, but to question what they don’t understand. Hiding gun ownership from children only boosts their curiosity, putting them in danger.


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  1. Commendable.

    “Hip pocket training” on the fundamentals is a great strategy.

    Just a thought – BB’s will ring steel and steel doesn’t melt in the rain/snow.

    • My thought as well – hang a couple of aluminum pie plates or an old hubcap or two out there for him to plink at. It’s much more satisfying to hear that “plink”! Of course, in Wyoming, any disc-shaped object you hang up outside will probably become a UFO within hours. The wind does blow out there in the Cowboy State.

    • A steel target is too much of a ricochet danger for steel BBs. Hang up a big, sturdy piece of canvass or nylon and let him shoot that. You will hear the “thud” each time a BB hits it. And it doesn’t allow any ricochets!

      • + That’s a good one. At some of the old-ish state fairs they’d hang up two layers and collect and re-shoot them.

  2. Coldest we’ve gotten is -12 but that’s no fun either. I put off a bunch shooting earlier this week due to the temperature, which didn’t much matter since the range was closed anyway.

    All that said, at the rate you’re going by the time this kid is 12 he’s gonna be raising hell shooting an M44 off the back porch as it gets dark. Just to giggle at the fireball it makes.

  3. I bet he’s having a great time. I have fond memories of my dad and me shooting empty soda cans with my pellet rifle, even before I was big enought to cock it myself.

  4. “Hiding gun ownership from children only boosts their curiosity, putting them in danger.”

    I think THIS is the biggest takeaway from the whole article… but then again, I’m sure the rest of y’all feel the same.

  5. In Florida it’s actually the best time to go shooting right now. Too hot for me a lot of the year.

  6. 44 years ago my grandfather taught me gun safety and how to shoot using a BB gun. I can STILL hear his voice in my head telling me that I can’t shoot at HIS birds or HIS squirrels.

    Us kids shot at paper plates leaning against the barn door. We’d ask him if we could shoot the bb gun, hevd get up, go to the Sears & Roebuck glass and wood gun cabinet, unlock it with the tiny little Diary key that was permanently left in the lock and was all that protected us from the perils of shotguns and rifles stored along with the BB gun. He’d give each of us kids a fresh tube of BB’s. Later, after we had run out of ammo and paper plates, we’d troop back inside and he’d just wave at us and say “Be sure to lock the case when you put it back.”

    Not a single one of us grandkids even considered touching one of the shotguns or rifles, much less taking them out and playing with them.

    best learning experience ever.

  7. “…Starting with a BB gun and letting my kids shoot them once every few weeks (weather permitting)…”

    There is a *huge* difference in the way young kids like that experience the concept of ‘time’, compared to us.

    A few weeks to them is like a few *months* to us. Alas, thanks to not having any rug-rats of my own (my personal contribution to keep humanity sane without my genetics in it), are my observations on this in error?

    (Translation – If he’s been good and doing what he’s been told by mom and dad, shouldn’t he be plinking at least once a week?)

  8. No targets in the snow? Wow — what a lack of imagination!

    How about build a snowman on a tarp, declare it to be a bad guy, and give him a chance to look forward once the snow melts to see if the tarp caught all of the BBs?

    Or a snow rabbit, or turkey, or monster…..

  9. It’s nice that junior’s wearing his eye protection. Where’s mama’s goggles?

    When my son was learning to ride a bike we made him wear a helmet. It seemed to send the wrong message if I wasn’t willing to wear one too. He’s now 25 and I still wear a helmet when riding.

    It’s never too early or too late to form good habits.

  10. I just oiled up my old Daisy rifle and a Benjamin .22 pellet pistol. Built a trap out of a box and some old papers and bang away inside, to the amusement of my wife.
    An air pistol is a good way to practice off hand shooting, by the way.

    • Sara had to look good for the camera. But don’t worry, she’ll look good with an eyepatch, too!

      That does look like a Red Ryder — isn’t the corporate slogan “You’ll shoot your eye out?”

  11. A gallon milk jug makes a fine (waterproof) plinking target, just toss it off the porch out into the snow. If it doesn’t fly far enough, or if it blows away, put some water in it first.

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