Airguns for Children – When, Where and Why?Mark Watts
When it comes to introducing your child to firearms, no two parent/child interactions are the same. While many parents fear the idea of promoting firearms to their children, others take a more proactive approach, introducing them to firearms, and specifically gun safety, from an early age. This becomes inherently important if you openly carry firearms within your house, and at some point your child is going to show interest in them. With that in mind, surely it is best to ensure that said first interaction with firearms is in a safe, controlled environment in which you can fully manipulate every factor.
This can be made even safer by choosing to introduce your child to firearms via alternative measures – in this case airguns. An airgun not only re-enacts a lot of the safety procedures you would have to teach your child with a real firearm but does so in a way that is inherently safer than manipulating a real firearm. Generally if you speak to most shooters who started at an early age, the general consensus will be that they started with air rifles and air pistols, so why do any differently from thousands of seasoned shooters throughout the United Kingdom?
In all honesty, there isn’t a correct ‘when’ to introduce your children to firearms – in fact, it will all rely on the individual child. No two children mature at the same rate, so this purely comes down to your personal opinion on whether your child is ready. The chances are, if you’re avid shooters yourself, your son or daughter will have been taking things you do on board already, so a simple dialogue between yourself and your child may give you a good understanding on whether your child is ready to get into shooting sports.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that when introducing your son or daughter to an airgun, it should be done so in a safe, controlled environment. We did take a look at the regulations behind shooting in our 2nd blog, but to paraphrase, you are going to want to ensure you have a private patch of land that is not nearby a road or pathway.
Then you’re going to want to ensure you have a range of targets set up to give your child a solid target to practice on. If you want a look at our suggestions for targets, you can do so here on our website.
The why to introducing your child to airguns can vary a lot from family to family, but generally, three main reasonings will appear.
1 – Teaching your child to respect firearms
If you’re someone who is passionate about shooting sports and often have firearms in and around the house, teaching your child what exactly they are and how they should be respected in paramount. In truth, this should be the number one reason behind teaching a child how to use a firearm (at least in our opinion).
2 – Advancing your child’s firearm capabilities
As we previously mentioned airguns are brilliant training tools due to the similarities they share with other real firearms. For example, an airgun makes for the perfect platform to progress onto shotgun shooting due to the fact that a lot of airguns are designed to incorporate a break barrel (which a shotgun makes use of) and it also pushes you into the habit of checking the barrel before loading it.
3 – Giving your child an enjoyable pastime
In an age where children often bury their heads in junk food and video games, shooting sports give you an opportunity to promote being outside. Not only does it make for a great outdoors activity, but it also offers a whole range of social environments in which your son or daughter will be able to meet likeminded people. Furthermore, should your child progress onto making use of other firearms, there are a huge number of tournaments that your child could succeed in!