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What's best to start off a child in shooting: BB, Air Soft, or Something Else?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by 9mm guy, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    I'm a relative newcomer to firearms and I am addicted. I want to get my kids shooting early and I posted a thread yesterday asking at what age I should start them. Thank you to all those who replied, I learned a lot from the responses. My kids are 3 and 1 and so they are still a bit too young to get them started on 22LR bolt action rifles such as a Rascal or Crickett.

    Many people replied that I should start them with either a BB or Air Soft. I did not grow up with these kinds of guns and all I know about them is that they are guns for kids that shoot pellets. I have seen these for sale at Walmart. Can anyone advise me on which is best to start off with, BB, Air Soft, or something else for my kids for backyard and indoor shooting gallery fun? And if you recommend one over the other, what specific brand would you recommend? And whether you recommend a rifle or a pistol? Thank you all in advance for your answers.
    Joe13 likes this.
  2. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    Start with AirSoft rifles and teach them the following:

    1)Never point gun at anything you're not willing to destroy
    2)Treat all guns as if they're always loaded, all the time
    3)Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot
    4)Always be sure of your target and what's behind it

    After they've demonstrated respect and you are comfortable with their handling of the AirSoft, move to 22 rifles and out to the forest!!

    Bring a fishing pole too. Double the fun when you stop by the creek after shooting and learn the patience of trout fishing (it's called fishing, not catching!!) :p

    ETA: I would wait for pistols.
    ZA_Survivalist, Capn Jack and Joe13 like this.
  3. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Rifles are easier to master then pistols so I agree that i would wait for them but not too long.

    A cheap air soft and a package of styrofoam cups for targets will make for some safe, cheap and easy fun.

    I would start out cheap and then you can decide what is worth putting more money into.

    Remember safety glasses and hammer the fundamental safety points every time before shooting.

    Also, I would go single shot. Repeaters or semi autos are for after the basics have been mastered IMO.
  4. Liberty97045

    Liberty97045 Oregon City Well-Known Member

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  5. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    This is a great reason to start with airsoft. If they don't like it you haven't spent nearly the money on not just the guns but ammo and range time as well. And maybe travel too.

    When teaching friends and loved ones I always start new shooters on rifles. They are easier to keep pointed in a safe direction, quieter if you're shooting .22LR and easier to hit the target with. Once they're comfortable, safe and confident, I ask if they want to try pistols. If we haven't already, I double up their hearing protection and start with a .22 at about 6 feet. We work our way up from there at whatever pace the shooter wants. I've had some who were content with a .22 rifle all day and some who went through most of the rifles, pistols and shotguns that I brought. You just never know. Oh, and quit while it's still fun so they leave on a positive note - and usually a big grin.
    Joe13 likes this.
  6. Deebow

    Deebow Portland Well-Known Member

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    I started mine with a .22 rifle when he was 8. I already had BB guns, so I moved him into those for the times when we can't go to the range.

    Bought one of those single paper target .22 bullet traps from Cabelas and set it up in the garage for him to shoot the .177 caliber pellets. Works pretty good.

    Probably start him on a .22 pistol next year.
  7. AngryRedTicTac

    AngryRedTicTac Vancouver, WA Active Member

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    Having not had a BB gun as a kid, and simply going straight to .22, I had figured on going the same way with my boys. No "sort of guns" that might lead to less than perfectly attentive kids, or possible bad habit makers. Actually did manage to do just that, but it only lasted about a week. Red Rider was in use a week after the boys first trip into the woods.

    In retrospect, I wish I had gone with airsoft, it would have been a good sighting and learning tool...
  8. Truenorth

    Truenorth Pacific Northwet Active Member

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    If you do go airsoft please spend the extra $3 and buy biodegradable bb's.

    Those stupid little neon plastic airsoft bb's have become a real nuisance on public land.
    I see them at campsites and all over the riverbank of fishing holes.
    AngryRedTicTac likes this.
  9. 308

    308 ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I teach my grandkids with airsoft equipment.

    Lasers likes this.
  10. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    <- Why there aren't any school shootings in Israel!
    Teacher with long gun slung over her shoulder!!!

    I started with a .38 pistol at about 6, then graduated to a .22 and BB gun. At 12 I got my first .22 rifle and still have it.

    NRA Life Member, Benefactor Level
    NRA Golden Eagle member
    NRA Recruiter
    Defender of Freedom Award
    Washington Arms Collector Member
    Vancouver Rifle & Pistol Club member

    "A gun is like a parachute. If you need one and don't have it, you'll probably never need one again!"
  11. Dean Armer

    Dean Armer Monmouth New Member

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    Air soft, decent air rifle (Crosman 2100, Daisy 880, Sheridan, Benjamin), or a single shot .22 rifle are all good choices. The most important thing is to teach safety and practice safety. Your child is more likely to do what you do, than what you say. You should load and charge and air rifle for a child. It is very difficult for a small person to do this and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

    You should always start off new shooters to succeed. If they are uncomfortable and can't hit anything they will not want to do it again. This means eliminating as many factors as possible. When starting someone out with cartridge guns I recommend a 22 rifle. They are fairly quiet and recoil is not an issue. Set them up with the rifle on a rest of some sort. Sitting comfortably is best. This allows them to concentrate on learning to use the sights and not worry about posture or having the strength to hold the rifle up. Set up s steel target if possible, the sound of the bullet hitting the steel is just fun. As they improve and learn they can be taught seated and prone shooting. If they struggle holding the rifle up, it is too soon to shoot from a standing position.

    Make the day about the new shooter and don't worry if you get to shoot. Stand with them as they shoot. Try not to get angry with a child when teaching them something, even if you are telling them something for the tenth time.

    Hope this helps, have a great day.

    Dean Armer
    Independence Gunsmithing
    Monmouth, OR