Teaching kids to handle shotguns

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tobes01

Full Member
May 4, 2009
1,793
24
Hampshire
OK, so I know this is a sensitive topic, mods are welcome to kill it at once.

BUT: I'm sure there are plenty of us who have an interest in shooting sports. My lad is 9, coming up 10, and I want to be able to share my shooting with him. That means he's got to learn to shoot safely. Accuracy is far less important than being trustworthy with a gun. I've already taught him how to handle an air rifle safely and accurately.

Does anyone have any experience with kids shooting? I'm going to take him for an initial try-out at a local club. Any tips for me (other than leave the instructor to do his job)?

TIA,

Tobes
 

Retired Member southey

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jun 4, 2006
11,098
13
your house!
Not sensitive at all in my opinion dude, shooting is a sport and a great one at that. As you say at the end, I would stand back and leave the instructor to teach. just look in and also ask the instructor for any tips to reinforce the skills and practises learnt at the club while at home, or out with you and the air rifle. Its a fun and rewarding sport for all ages. The little chap will have a whale of a time.
 
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JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
12,646
1,206
Stourton,UK
Yes, it is important for kids to learn to respect guns at an early age. Familiarity with them and allowing them to handle them safely also stops any idealisation at a later age. Plus clay shooting is fun for kids and us alike. It's the same with matches and knives AFAIK.
 

Miyagi

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 6, 2008
2,298
4
South Queensferry
I agree with Southey and JonathanD.

My kids have been able to safely handle and shoot since they were about 10.

Liam
 

tobes01

Full Member
May 4, 2009
1,793
24
Hampshire
Knockout, all sounds positive. As I say, he's done an archery course, and is good with his own airgun (under supervision of course). He's spent the past 4 seasons beating for me, time to show him the business end :D
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,705
628
Mercia
My one bit of advice is borrow / rent a gun in the right size and calibre for him - a large 12B may be too much - but a smaller 20B or 28B might let him enjoy things more

Have fun

Red
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
12,646
1,206
Stourton,UK
I agree with Southey and JonathanD.

My kids have been able to safely handle and shoot since they were about 10.

Liam

Blimey, us three agreeing on serious advice. Does that mean that our advice should now should be treated as suspect?
 

Samon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 24, 2011
3,970
42
Britannia!
Let the lad fire a 410. witha good instructor and he'll learn and love it mate. My dad always told me if i messed up or was ever irresponsible with any gun or knife..i'd not be allowed to use them again untill i could buy my own, now i loved my gun/knife hobbies so much i made sure to show him how trusted i could be. It's a life lesson of respect that will stick with the lad forever if taught well.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,853
1,070
64
Florida
My one bit of advice is borrow / rent a gun in the right size and calibre for him - a large 12B may be too much - but a smaller 20B or 28B might let him enjoy things more

Have fun

Red

+1 on this. Even a 22 rimfire rifle if that's possible. Point being you want him to learn with something he can handle and just as important you want him to enjoy it.

That leads to the second part of your question. Leave it to the instructor UP TO A POINT. 1st job is have a long talk with the instructor and choose one that you believe can and will teach in a manner that is both sake and enjoyable for your kid/s. 2nd thing is remember that if you are involved with him he will probably have more fun than with just an instructor he doesn't know. I never had an instructor as such; my Dad was my teacher on all things outdoors: shooting, hunting, horsemanship, boating, fishing, dog handling, farming, tractor driving, bulldozer operations, etc. until I was a teen and in the Scouts. Even then they only re-enforced what I already had learned. You'll get more out of him than any instructor ever could.
 

GordonM

Settler
Nov 11, 2008
866
51
Virginia, USA
BUT: I'm sure there are plenty of us who have an interest in shooting sports. My lad is 9, coming up 10, and I want to be able to share my shooting with him. That means he's got to learn to shoot safely. Accuracy is far less important than being trustworthy with a gun. I've already taught him how to handle an air rifle safely and accurately.

Big ups to you for passing on the traditions and responsibility of the shooting sports to your son. Enjoy your trips together at the range and in the field!

Gordy
 

Samon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 24, 2011
3,970
42
Britannia!
I'd like to teach my child when of the right age about correct and safe knife/tool use. it was hobby of mine since i was like 7 thanks to my dad who taught me well. that and the love of decent films of course ;)
 

Beer Monster

Need to contact Admin...
Aug 25, 2004
620
5
43
With the gnu!
A poem I was taught, language might be a bit complicated but still rings true - might help (maybe BCUK should come up with a modern version?!?):-

A Fathers Advice

If a sportsman true you'd be
Listen carefully to me. . .

Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.

When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety's sake.

If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
"Follow not across the line."

Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
"Never shoot where you can't see."


You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
"All the pheasants ever bred
Won't repay for one man dead."

Mark Beaufoy - 1902
 

No Idea

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 18, 2010
2,420
0
Dorset
One of my step kids was mad on guns.

I dont have the skill to teach him safely and nowhere for him to learn.

I sent him to Sea Cadets where they taught him how to handle a .22.

When he had learned enough that his CO said he was safe with weapons, I allowed him an air rifle and we built a range, as we were living on a farm and had a 30 yard garden backing onto 4 miles of open fields.

Somehow Social Services were informed and arrived to investigate hwo come he was allowed to "Blast things with a gun".

He demonstrated how to use it safely to them. They were still of the opinion that guns were too dangerous for a 13 year old.

I offered to inform the Cadets of their opinion and ask them to get in touch.

Didnt have any more trouble after that.

None of the other kids have shown an interest in guns. If they had, I would have made very sure they had "Government training".
 

tobes01

Full Member
May 4, 2009
1,793
24
Hampshire
Well, we have a result - he had a great time, I suspect we have a very expensive hobby coming on :D
IMG_0080_2.jpg
Thanks for your help!
 
E

ex member coconino

Guest
A poem I was taught, language might be a bit complicated but still rings true - might help (maybe BCUK should come up with a modern version?!?):-

A Fathers Advice

If a sportsman true you'd be
Listen carefully to me. . .

Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.

When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety's sake.

If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
"Follow not across the line."

Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
"Never shoot where you can't see."


You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
"All the pheasants ever bred
Won't repay for one man dead."

Mark Beaufoy - 1902

That's excellent, thanks for posting. I don't think the language is too difficult.

I was taught to use a shotgun as a youth and went shooting many times, mainly as a way to get into some lovely countryside which would have been otherwise largely inaccessible to an inner-London kid. One time I was out with a group which included a police inspector and it was worked out later that his was the shot which passed through some undergrowth two yards to my right. The young men I learned to shoot with had far better gun discipline than this supposedly well-trained policeman.

I once met a man who had lost his lower leg due to the person walking behind him having accidentally discharged his closed gun when he slipped his footing.
 

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