Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearms Advice For Beginners

Teaching your children about firearms

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jdn181:
Well, I found out about a month ago that I've officially got "a bun in the oven". I was laying in bed last night listening to a previous podcast regarding Airsoft for training purposes and it got me thinking about a "training regimen" for my children. I was thinking about a progression that follows below, but I was curious as to what others currently do. I'm especially interested in what others did at different ages. For example - myself. I wasn't really brought up around guns other than the knowledge that my dad had a hunting rifle, an old SKS, and a broken 22cal rifle. When I was in the boyscouts I shot a little bit of 22cal for some merit badge (somewhere around age 12 to 14) and received a little training - or rather enough training to not shoot others or myself. When I was 16 I fell in love with paintball but haven't played it in a few years (I'm 28 now). From there I wouldn't touch a gun again until I was 27 when I purchased my first gun (which coincidentally was a little after I moved from Missouri to Texas in 2007. Yay Texas!!).

Now I've got a collection of four handguns and two rifles, participate in CHL/tactical handgun training/practice twice a month (and have for the past year), and reload my own ammo. Nothing against my father and all, but being a Canadian who relocated to California a number of years ago he didn't really teach me much on firearms throughout my life. (And given he is an ex-marine he didn't really have much patience for teaching). I'd prefer to not be that way and be a little more pro-acitve regarding firearms with my children.

So look over the progression below and maybe chime in with a suggestion on what age you think each step would be appropriate.

1) Intro/enforcement of the 4 laws - All guns are always loaded, don't point at anything not willing to destroy, finger off trigger, know target and what's behind it.
2) Toy/Plastic guns (I know kids will be kids, but would enforce that NO GUN, toy or not, will be used in a way that a real gun wouldn't. Squirt guns are in a gray area...depending on how "realistic" they are).
3) Cap guns - Guns make noise
4) Low power (electric/spring)  Airsoft rifles - Ettiquette, trigger control, accuracy (and easier to control the muzzle if they trip up a bit)
5) Higher power (CO2) Airsoft rifles or .22cal rifles - Range ettiquette if using .22cal rifle. Firearm maintainance/cleaning.
6) Airsoft handguns - Ettiquette, trigger control, accuracy
7) 22cal handguns - Recoil management
8) Higher power firearms - 9mm, 38spcl, 45ACP, 223rem, 7.62x39, etc. (Based on the firearms I currently have).
9) CHL (Obviously age 18 here...) and formal training.


Thanks!
Jesse

punkndisorderly:
From experiences in my childhood, the two most important things IMHO are:

a) take away the mystery: as soon as they are old enough, take them shooiting. Teach them safety first and always. Make sure they understand that guns can be fun, but can also maim, kill, and destroy. Make sure firearms are associated with good memories, not only will it make them into lifelong shooters, it will also keep them from turning to the gun when times get tough.

b) always, always keep them locked up unless they are in your direct control. I've heard many people say their kids know better than to ever toch them. I've also heard them ssay they have them well hidden and their kids don't even know where they're at. From personal experience, I know that's generally crap. I knew where my fathers were from an early age. My buddy's father was an NCO and ran a very disciplined household. I still remember his son pulling the loaded Browning High Power his father thought was hidden well out of his dad's sock drawer and pointing it at me. Luckily, there was no ND, but that's not the way it always ends.

My father never took me shooting as a boy, and I wish I had had that opportunity. Now, it's me that takes him to the range when we're together and I'm the one teaching him.

jdn181:
I agree - they need to be locked up at all times (unless you are carrying on your person). I would do the same with the Airsoft and pellet/BB guns as well until they "graduated" to that level of responsibility.

I read an interesting story one time of a guy who was instructing his children on firearms. Part of his policy was to engrain into their heads that every gun in the house is loaded at all times and should be treated as such. Given the ages of his children (which I assume was pretty young) he also told them that if they saw a gun in the house that they should not touch it at all and then come get him and report it. He tested them one night by placing his (unloaded) handgun on the living room table on top of a board game. After dinner he told his children to go out and get the board game (as a test). He said they looked at it and then came running back in saying they couldn't get the game because there was a gun on top. Now this might have been a little reckless, but I agree on the level of discipline in the house.

Another person mentioned that he told his children that whenever they want to handle a gun in the house that they were to call him up and ask him. At which point he would come home immediately and allow to the child to handle the gun under his direct supervision. Shows dedication, but may not be practical all the time (like if you were gone on a business trip. Mommy may not share the same enthusiasm as dad).

EmmaPeel:
This is the way we have done things with our girls.

-As with the stove, knives, etc. always taught they can hurt.  Tell an adult if they see one, never touch one.
-By 4 or 5, allowing them to use knives and introducing the concept that while there are dangers, you can always be safe.
-As they aged, answered all questions and let them hold and touch unloaded guns as they wanted to in our presence ONLY.  Helped them learn the 4 rules.  We always consider every gun loaded until we verify it is clear ourselves and they have been taught how to do that.
-When they showed interest, taught them how to shoot a .22 rifle.  (This was about 7 to 8 years old for both of them).  We were right there watching every shot.  They were not allowed alone with them.  Reminded them of the 4 rules constantly.
-Got them BB guns and worked on the 4 rules more. (again 7 to 8 years old).
-Once they enjoyed the rifle, moved on to a Ruger MkII.
-At 10, moved our oldest to a 9mm handgun and AR-15 .223.
-At 11 she started competing with us in IDPA.
-Just after her 12th birthday, she killed her first deer with that AR.

Our 8 year old daughter is still working on the 4 rules.  She gets distracted so we are within touching distance of her shooting all the time.  She wants to turn and look at you for approval before unloading.  She keeps the muzzle safe but we require them to unload their single shot .22 rifles before doing anythign else.  She is much better and getting really close to being able to do IDPA COFs with a .22.  Once she unloads and shows clear each time she is finished that will happen.  She has moved up to the Ruger from her rifle but is standing only.  The loves shooting spent shotgun shells from a perch at about 5 yards.

gpd240:
Here what my High School Ag teacher did.

Every year he went squirrel hunting he would take his son starting at age 4.

Age 4-5 tag along, he watches your movement and skills.

Age 6 - give him a stick and designate one end with a piece of tape. Encourage muzzle control.

Age 7 - Play gun, encourage muzzle control and learn using sights.

Age 8 - Carry an unloaded pellet/BB gun

Age 9 - Loaded pellet/BB gun

Age 10 - Carry an unloaded .22

Age 11 - Carry a loaded .22

Of course you can expedite through some steps if he is getting it. or if you throw in other hunting seasons.
This is the same approach that i am planning on using with my son.

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