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Sara Tipton's BB Gun (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Today was great day! It was not hot. In fact, it was a comfortable 75 degrees and sunny … a perfect day to teach my four year-old daughter how to shoot her BB gun. Now, admittedly, she has shot this before, but it has been a little while. So we had to go over the lessons and the rules again . . .

I have always found that answering the questions as they arise, rather than skirt the issue or lie to a child, will actually help squash the dangerous curiosity that leads to gun accidents. This worked wonders with my son. Once he began to ask questions, I had him help me clean my EDC. Of course he now wants to help whenever I clean it, but he no longer asks me if he can shoot mommy’s gun or touch my gun or carry my gun for me. A simple explanation that he is too young to shoot, but can help clean the spring was all it took. Once he matures a little more, he will also get a BB gun of his own to learn to shoot.

My little sweet pea is four years old.  Sitting down with her and talking about the gun before we shot it is the most important part of the “gun discussion” a parent can have with a child.  You only get to instill safe usage of a gun at a young age before they are subjected to the media’s ridiculous version of the gun culture, so this was important.  I made her tell me what the basic parts of the gun were, show me where the safety is (I called it the “stop” button also so she would understand) and point to the trigger.  The trigger was the most imperative part to me teaching a young child to shoot.  Much like my father told me, that is the one part that cannot be overlooked.  My dad said “It doesn’t matter what type of gun you shoot.  YOU are responsible for the bullet that leaves that gun.  If you can’t handle that, you don’t pull the trigger.”


Finally, as I finished my lecture, I asked her “who is responsible for the bullet even if you miss?”  Her response floored me.  She said “I am, mommy.  But I will be like you and daddy and Grandad and I won’t miss.”  I couldn’t help but smile at her answer.  I wanted to say that I have missed many many times, but I didn’t think discouragement would help in this particular situation, so I just told her she was correct and we could shoot the BB gun if she could point out the safety.  “Here’s the stop button, mommy!  Can I shoot now?”


It was time.  Luckily it was just a BB gun, so shooting at our house was not an issue.  She was ready, already having on her safety glasses (that came with the BB gun).  After a quick instruction on how to hold the gun, and a reminder to not touch the trigger until I tell her it’s safe, she was ready.  She sat patiently while I used the lever to get a BB in position.  Then I handed her her gun, and told her when she’s ready, to push the safety button so she can shoot. She did amazing.  Keeping the gun pointed forward, she was able to release the safety, and pull the trigger shooting the pile of dirt I asked her to aim towards.

Trigger discipline at 4 years-old

“Please can I shoot again, Mommy!” She squealed.  How could I say no? Well, I couldn’t.  We spent the next hour shooting dozens of BBs. Finally, I told her we had to stop because it was dinner time. She understood, and when I asked her to put the safety back on, she was competent to do so.

I know I made the right decision in teaching her gun safety and the basics of shooting.  I am teaching my daughter that she will never have to be a victim.  I’m teaching her that guns can be safe and fun.  She had a blast, and I am looking forward to helping her shoot in the future.


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  1. My son asks every time we drive past a golf club “What’s better, golf or shooting?”

    I reply “What sport do I do?”

    He says “Shooting!”

    And he likes to sit beside me with the binoculars acting as my spotter. The next step is to teach him how to be a scorer for application stages, and then how to be a safety officer.

    Give kids trust and responsibility, they take to it whole-heartedly.

  2. So, now they have “safety’s on those things. Never even knew what a safety was, when I was a kid. So, Sara, can she cock that thing herself? I had a heck of a time cocking them when I was a kid, always had to be careful not to let go of the lever before it was fully cocked.
    It’s nice you and your daughter can spend some quality time together.

    • When I was seven years old, I was given a Daisy Golden Eagle BB gun. My parents let me keep it because they knew I didn’t have the strength to cock the lever. I discovered, however, that by sitting on the barrel, I could pull the lever back with both hands. Other kids in the neighborhood were happy to supply BBs.

    • The Daisies now have a ratchet on the cocking lever so it won’t slam back against your fingers if you let go before it’s fully cocked. Still, my 9-yr-old grandson has trouble with it.

  3. Great write up Sara. I taught my then 8yo daughter on an old 22 short pump action ‘carnaval’ special that we found in a junk box at our local pawn shop. They thought it was a toy. Many hours of blacksmithing finally got it safely functional, and then many more hours of training before it ever got loaded. She’s now (5 years later) a better shot than I am and whenever she’s not busy with her horses or goats, my constant companion at the range.

  4. So when does she get the lecture about ” If you shoot it you eat it ?”
    I had that one around 10 years old. When I killed the Grackle not a word was said . But that night I was taught how to clean the bird and guess what I had on my plate for supper.
    A very important lesson was learned that day. Do not let dad catch you shooting stuff.

      • Iron, manganese, carbon, chromium, molybdenum, fiber, various minerals; seems healthy enough, and a lot more fun than taking those expensive multvitamins from Walgreens.

  5. In fact, it was a comfortable 75 degrees and sunny.
    Indiana has been super hot (90 plus) and humid as of late.
    We have such wonderful weather in the Mid-West.
    Wait until January and February with sub zero weather and wind chills in the negative teens.
    But we do not have California gun laws.

  6. “I am teaching my daughter that she will never have to be a victim.”

    The most valuable lesson of them all…

  7. That is one adorably cute little future Annie Oakley right there — except Annie didn’t wear Hello Kitty anything.

  8. Anyone else notice – her daughter looks to have her shoes on the wrong feet?

    As a parent of young’ins myself, and this site being so much devoted to safe firearm operation and instruction, I found that wildly ironic…

    And yet precious, too.

    Btw – way to go, mom! Start em early, teach em right.

    • Yes, I noticed the shoes as well. My girls are old enough to have grasped the left shoe/right shoe concept (the younger still has the issue with her roller blades), but my son’s not yet adventurous enough to don his own shoes excepting his sandals.

  9. I have also started teaching my daughters (7 and 5) on a BB gun. Great job Sara! Its so important that they learn the safety principles and that guns are not EVIL as the liberals keep trying to shove down their throats.

  10. That’s awesome, and thanks for the write up.

    You’ve reminded me that I’ve got to track down a gun buyback in LA and turn in my busted pellet rifle. I’ll use the proceeds to buy a new BB gun for my son to shoot.

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