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Tips to Introduce Kids to Shooting: EDUCATION, NOT ISOLATION

By December 1, 2023No Comments

As a firearms enthusiast, 2nd Amendment advocate, or someone who values personal protection and family safety, it’s crucial to learn and teach firearm usage correctly. If you have young children, you may hope they develop the same interests and skills in shooting as you. However, even if they’re not interested, it’s important to use the Tips to Introduce Kids to Shooting to educate them about basic firearm use and safe handling, especially if there are firearms in your home.

With so many things grabbing kids’ attention these days, how can we introduce them to the world of shooting without making it scary or boring?

Remember: It is better to EDUCATE than to ISOLATE!

Tips to Introduce Kids to Shooting

Basic Gun Safety Rules

The basic rules of gun safety everyone should know and practice:

  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to shoot.
  • Always treat the gun as if it is loaded until you can verify and prove otherwise.


In addition to basic gun safety, the National Rifle Association (NRA) put together four additional rules you should go over with your kids. Teaching your kids that guns are potentially dangerous will help them stay safe and treat firearms with respect and caution.

If children happen to see an unsupervised gun, the NRA teaches kids to:

  • Stop – If you see a gun, do not go near it.
  • Don’t Touch – Under no circumstances should you touch, hold, or pick up the gun.
  • Leave the Area – Leaving the area minimizes the chance of injury if another person decides to handle the gun.
  • Tell an Adult – Find a trusted adult figure and tell them what you saw.

Don’t be Pushy

It’s important to understand that not all kids enjoy shooting. Some of them might be very fond of it, while some might not have any interest at all. It’s crucial not to force a child to go to the range if they’re not excited about it. Doing so will only lead to frustration and a waste of ammo.

If your child enjoys going to the range but doesn’t want to go as often as you do, don’t take it as a sign of disinterest. Allow them to determine the level of participation that they are comfortable with.

If your child is afraid of the noise or the recoil, it’s recommended to use a gun that doesn’t have much or any recoil. Also, good ear protection will help mitigate the noise. It’s advisable to let your child watch you shoot a few times before you let them shoot. This will help alleviate any nerves that come from not knowing what to expect.

When it comes to shooting, it’s important to consider maturity and desire, rather than age. There is no specific age that’s ideal for learning to shoot, as children mature at different speeds. If your child is interested in shooting and you trust them to handle a gun safely, then the time is right.

If your child is unwilling to learn shooting, it may help to discuss their concerns with them. Are they afraid? Do they have a negative opinion of guns? Or are they simply uninterested? It’s essential to train children to take safety seriously, and to let them know that you’re there to support them. However, if you have any doubts, it’s best to postpone the first lesson.

Emphasize Safety

When teaching kids about gun safety, it’s important to keep their attention by avoiding long lectures. However, it’s crucial to introduce safety measures early and often, long before they go to a shooting range. Start by teaching the four rules of gun safety at a very young age. For instance, you can begin by telling them not to point guns at people. This simple rule can help lay the foundation for the more formal rule of “not letting your muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy.”

At the range, safety should be your top priority. Along with drilling the four rules and staying vigilant, you should help your child understand what firearms are capable of and the consequences of improper use. One way to do this is by showing them what happens when a gun is fired at something like a milk jug or a watermelon. This will help them recognize that gun safety is a serious business and that serious harm can result from irresponsible behavior.

Use the Correct Guns

When it comes to introducing kids to guns, BB guns are often a popular choice. They provide a good starting point as they have no recoil and make little noise. Alternatively, you can consider a pellet gun or an air rifle. However, it is essential to ensure that the child can handle the gun correctly.

If you are unable to find a short-stocked pellet gun or air rifle, it is wise to move directly to a starter .22LR, such as the Cricket or Savage Rascal. In our family, we preferred the Rascal as it has an excellent trigger and is highly accurate. This is important because hitting the target is more enjoyable than missing it. The Cricket and Rascal are both single-shot bolt actions, which allows kids to learn the proper way of operating a bolt and the importance of patience. Furthermore, they come in a range of colors and left-handed options, and they are sized appropriately for young children. Even preschool-aged kids can shoot these rifles with ease.

For safety reasons, it is recommended that parents introduce their children to long guns before handguns. This allows the supervising parent to have better control over the situation. Once the child has demonstrated that they can follow safety rules, then handguns can be introduced. It is suggested to start with a .22LR handgun when transitioning from long guns to handguns.

Make it Interactive and Enjoyable

When it comes to getting kids interested in shooting, short and enjoyable range sessions are the way to go. While shooting at paper targets is fine, kids are more likely to be excited by targets that produce a bigger reaction. Items like plastic water bottles, cans of shaving cream, balloons, aluminum cans, and other things that make noise, pop, or fall over give kids an immediate sense of satisfaction. Shooting leftover Halloween pumpkins and exploding water bottles can be especially exciting. Steel targets that fall down or flip around, like a dueling tree, are also great options that provide an instant reaction.

However, it’s important to stop the session before your child starts getting bored or distracted. Ending on a high note will make them eager to come back to the range again next time.


Remember, the most important things when introducing a child to shooting are safety and enjoyment. With the right guns, timing, and effective training, you can raise a child who shares your passion for shooting sports.

It’s imperative to take charge of educating your children about firearms.

Relying on unreliable and questionable sources to impart knowledge on this topic can lead to dangerous perceptions and practices.

Don’t leave it to chance.

By taking the initiative to teach your children about firearms and personal defense, you are not only keeping them safe but also asserting your authority and strengthening the bond within your family.


The OA Firearms Contributor