Family fun time! (courtesy
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In the video below, YouTuber Captain Gimli shares a totes adorbs tip for early education, firearms-wise. Assuming you’ve reproduced, how did you teach your kids to shoot? What was their starter gun? How did you progress from there? How long did it take for them to become A) safe and B) proficient? What advice do you have for other members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia who may someday hear the pitter patter of little feet (not Little Feat, although, hell yeah)?

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  1. Walther P22 with 5 inch barrel and Smith and Wesson model 35 kit gun and ruger bearcat.

    All fit a 4-5 year old hand pretty well.

    Remington CBees ammo doesnt produce much report and they can concentrate on safety and accuracy.

    Then i found a winchester 67 youth rifle to start the long gun journey.

    K Frame 38 was the next handgun step. After that, it was Katy-Bar-the -Door on all my guns.

    • Also used a P22 (shorter version) to fit little hands better.

      And a Rossi break-open .22LR for long gun. They struggled a bit with the hammer until put on a thumb assist.

      Worked well for both of my boys.

  2. Breaking skeet clays set in the furrows of a plowed field from atop a spare deer stand that had been placed nearby. We were using our .22s that afternoon, me with my Ruger 10/22. The kid, and his cousins all had a wonderful day.

  3. 4 rules flash cards
    4 rules quiz until repeated 100% scores obtained
    BB/pellet gun
    bolt action .22 LR rifle
    .22 LR revolver
    .22 LR semi auto handgun
    20 ga single shot shotgun
    anything in the safe they want to shoot and are big enough to handle.

      • This is very close to my game plan. Right now with my 5YO I am doing some non gun tasks and seeing how he follows instructions. When I think he can consistently follow instructions well enough we’ll start with the BB gun.

        • Unfortunately many families only have semi autos. If ever teaching a young one with a semi auto only have one round in the gun at a time. You can load only round in the mag or eject the mag before shooting. Never assume a semi auto is safe in a newbies hand.! The list of things that could go wrong is way too long for any knowledgeable gun owner to risk.

  4. No kids but had I had some, they would have been taught the same way I was, starting at about 5 years old. My dad and granddad to me out in the country and we shot. Mostly 22 rifles but 22 pistols as well. (I remember granddad’s old High Standard Dura-Matic – wish I had it now) The first one I could call mine was a single shot 22 rifle at age 7. Next was a 20 ga. Browning A5 at 9 and a 22 Browning Challenger pistol at 15. Still have all of them.

  5. I did not re-ignite my interest until my girls were in high school. When they expressed an interest, we went over the basic safety rules. I showed them how to do a safety check. They performed the safety check. Reviewed and practiced load and reloading, sight picture, and trigger squeeze. They learned on my 9mm. My oldest immediately fell in love with my colt 1911. Both like to shoot, but never really caught the “bug”

  6. Sadly wasn’t into guns when any of my 4 grown sons were little. My 43 year old war vet son is something of a fudd. My 25 year old is showing slight interest. I guess I’d do what my dad did 55years ago. Take us to the range with rifles,shotguns and handguns- but a helluva’ lot more safety lectures.

  7. Training about safety and familiarization. Followed by shooting a stuffed animal with a 12 gauge to sink home that weapons can be dangerous. Then on to a chopped down 10/22 and a Buckmark.

    All of my kids started going to range as babies except the foster and adopted kids…they all had range trips within the first two weeks. It was very empowering for them to learn to shoot, especially since they had “victim mentality”.

  8. with everything the landowner and visiting dads had brought laid out on the picnic tables for all to choose from. a blazing grill, a roaring bonfire and coolers stuffed with frosty goodness.
    not a kid in the group that doesn’t still look forward to these outings.

  9. My kids were older, 11 and 13. Started with a pump pellet rifle in the side yard, shooting at cans. Later, a .22LR bolt rifle (actually my first firearm). Then the son and I started to go to the indoor range, either shooting the rifle or renting Glock 9mms. My daughter wanted in, so I started taking her to the range, and she would shoot anything anyone handed her. (Her favorite round is .45 ACP.) Somewhere in there I bought a used Wingmaster and took my son to the trap/skeet range. He was a natural, and eventually I gave it to him (cause I suck). Four rules before every outing, to this day, and they are both adults.

  10. The first part of the lesson involved shooting a couple of cantaloupes with 9mm JHP.
    I then had my boys sit down and try to put the targets back together. Of course they gave up pretty quick. I did this to illustrate that shooting a living thing is permanent, serious, and never to be taken lightly. Then we started with .22s and basic marksmanship. Both turned out to be proficient shots. One son CCW regularly, has built 2 ARs (so far). and reloads his own ammunition. The other one just abandoned the SF Bay Area out on the left coast, returned to the USA, and is in the process of getting his carry permit. Oops… both started before age 8.

  11. I started out letting them “ help” me clean the guns
    We played paintball and that taught a lot about safety and avoiding negligent discharge
    When each one got to be 10 years old we went to the range and shot the M 1 carbine
    That is a great first gun as it has almost no recoil and is light and handy

  12. My dog is 5.5 now and I can’t even get her to touch a gun much less shoot one. Or did you mean my pecker? It doesn’t shoot either. It sucks being me.

  13. My oldest daughter has expressed an interest in my guns. I told her that I’d take her shooting when she was intelligent enough to memorize the rules of gun safety. That happened when she turned four. I borrowed my father’s Cricket and she did horribly with it. I kept a hand on the gun at all times.

    Now I tell her that when I feel she is mature enough to respect the power of a firearm that I’ll buy her one that’s all hers. Maybe that’ll happen by the time she’s five, maybe eight, maybe never.

    Abstinence Only doesn’t work. Not for sex, not for alcohol, not for guns. Pretending that potentially dangerous things don’t exist leaves children unprepared for the real world. I want my kids to understand and respect the consequences of poor choices BEFORE they can load a magazine or manipulate the slide on a gun. No matter how well I secure my guns, roughly half the households in my state have firearms. I can’t just pretend she’ll never get her hands on one.

  14. Along with continuous discussions on firearms and firearm safety, I started leaving unloaded (verified by wife and myself) firearms around the house. I just wanted to take the novelty away from them and that’s exactly what it did. I also had an agreement with them that they could ask to see my firearms at anytime. They were allowed to touch them as long as they could tell me the 4 safety rules and after a dozen times or so, their curiosity had been settled. I then started leaving a rifle in the bathroom, a handgun in their room, ammunition on the floor. I’d put them in places where they would come across them without my wife or I immediately present. I wanted to make sure of their immediate reaction which always ended up with them running to my wife saying that dad left his guns laying around again and I need to go to the bathroom! haha They knew they weren’t to touch them under an circumstances and that they needed to find the nearest adult. That is the process that worked for us and now that they’re a little older and shooting (5 and 7), it’s good to see the healthy respect and attitude they have towards them.

  15. Prepped with Eddie Eage videos and always allowing to see/handle real guns when requested to demystify and introduce safe handling. First time at range demoed .460 vs watermelon to drive home safety. Started him with 10/22 Charger with red dot & bipod. Too heavy to point quickly into danger, but no stock to hinder and easy to hit targets.

  16. It’s a good idea to train your kids in firearms whether or not they “want” to shoot. At some point in their lives they will come across a gun, and they need to know how to handle the situation.

    I started taking my kids shooting when they were 5 and 7. We set some cans up at 20 feet and they practiced firing .22 LR from a bench with my grandfather’s single shot Remington 510X. The 7 year old could hit, but the adult size 510X was too heavy for the 5 year old. So I got them a kid size CZ 452 Scout, and after that it was dead cans all over the place! Then I picked up a 10 round mag to replace the CZ 452’s single shot adapter, and transitioned them to bolt action repeater.

    We progressed to .22 LR semi (Ruger 10/22), and after a year or two of killing cans we went to the range and shot my centerfire semi M1 carbine. When They were about 12 and 13 we did handgun training with a Ruger MK II, and a S&W M66. Then on to various 9mm semi-pistols (Sig and CZ). We went down some country roads and they practiced pump shotgun courtesy of a Rem 870 and a clay thrower. And then we mixed it all up, sometimes shooting pistols of all calibers, and sometimes just rifles or shotguns. My object was always to have fun, and we did!

    Today they are 23 and 25, and both are avid shooters. They reflexively handle firearms in a safe manner, and can load, fire, clear, field strip and clean anything from a Colt Vest Pocket to an AR-10 or TRG-42.

    Don’t wait for your kids to ask. Tell ‘em: “Guess what we’re going to do today!”

  17. dad started me off on a gevarm .22 (well before 96 and the bullshit that happened here in australia) only for the first couple he was only allowing me to put a single round in the mag at a time. i had been exposed to how dangerous firearms were from a very young age due to regular pest (kangaroo, foxes, dingoes, etc) control as well as putting down livestock that were sick or injured or killing them ready for butchering so i knew that side of it well. not sure if dad ever knew the “4 rules” per say but he knew them in other ways. used that .22 for years till he started allowing me to use the .222 and then i recommended a Remington 700BDL in .223. i was 17 at the time and it was the best rifle that he ever had (Remington were making superb firearms at that point and this one was a top of the range model). as for me teaching others which i have trained several adults (i have no kids though i may train some nieces and/or nephews at some point) i start with them knowing the safety rules inside out then i have them sit in front of a mirror with a .22 with a few dummy rounds for dry fire practice until they are able to squeeze the shot of without moving the sights. part of that is also demonstrating safe handling skills and procedures as well. after that i take them to the range and they can shoot the bolt action Bruno model 2 .22 to their hearts content. never have i ever had one that has not been safe after my training and most of them have gone on to be better shots than i am and i am a fairly reasonable shot when i can get as much trigger time as i would like

  18. Started at 3 & 4 with each boy.
    No touch…Not a toy
    Age 7&8 touch only with dad. How they work and what they can destroy. Not a toy
    Then loading and shooting then cleaning.
    As they grew and were capable.
    Red Ryder BB Gun
    Crossman pellet rifle and pistol
    Several 22 rifles
    9mm pistol
    Remington 870 20 gauge

  19. I don’t have kids but if I did I’d say the following.

    “The neighbor’s Dachshunds are obnoxious. The bounty is $X per dead one you bring me. Also, here’s a list other pests like raccoons and whatnot with a dollar value. This is a Ruger MKIV and a silencer. Don’t get caught.”

    The rest will sort itself out and if they get caught they get thrown under the bus.

    • this will be an excellent tactic with the grandkids, bob willing. i’ll have to adjust for devaluation and offer a dime per chipgopher. tip o’ the pin to (i think it was) jwm.

  20. kids learned on a .22 Marlin model 60 semi auto, a Rugar mark 3 .22 Pistol, a break action 410 shotgun, first big bore was a 30-30 Glenfield then a 20 ga. Rifle, pistol and shotgun cleaning, now bore snakes
    Both the Girls and the boys were taught at age 8. Beginning at age 12 hunter safety and then allowed too hunt!, every 4th of July we travel for mini reunion where Fireworks and Armament is used, Became hunter safety instructor so could teach hunter safety too grand kids! a NRA certified Pistol instructor, and home defense instructor.

  21. I volunteered as an assistant rangemaster at my boys’ Cub Scout BB rifle range. The four rules came before every shooting session (I already had them memorize them). Safety ensured, I taught them to sight, breathe and squeeze. As with fishing, success increases enthusiasm. An old Stevens 66B was their first firearm. The extractor is worn on it, so it’s practically a single shot. Their next (and still their favorite) is a Heritage Rough Rider SAA clone.

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