Simple 5-step system for teaching kids to shoot

A 14-year-old Phoenix, Arizona teen showed the vital importance of confidence in your shooting skills.

One afternoon, the teen was at home babysitting his younger siblings (ages 8 and 12).

At first, a female knocked on the front door, but the teen didn’t recognize the woman so he refused to answer the door.

A short time later, the boy heard a loud bang at the front door.

He believed that someone was trying to force the door open, so the teen rushed his siblings upstairs.

Upstairs, the teen retrieved a handgun from his parent’s room.

The teen waited at the top of the stairs with the gun, while his siblings hid.

From the top of the stairs, the teen watched a man break down the front door.

The intruder pointed a gun at the teen who immediately fired at the intruder, hitting him.

The suspect was never able to fire a round.

The intruder was transported to a local hospital, in critical condition, but expected to survive.

The intruder was charged with aggravated assault and burglary.

Phoenix Police praised the teenager’s actions.

They also commended the parents for teaching the kids what to do, such as not answering the door.

According to a Phoenix Police spokesman…

“The police and indeed our community does not ever want to see a situation where a teenager of that age has to take a weapon to protect his family, but this young man did exactly what he should have done.”

Police Officer James Holmes said, “As ugly as this is, and as much as this family is going through, we don’t have injured children on our hands.”

Without a doubt, the 14-year-old boy did what he had to do to protect his siblings.

Who knows how many adults would have been able to act as he did?

The teen did everything right – from not answering the door to going upstairs to create a choke point.

If the criminal was going to get to the teen and his siblings he would have had to come up the stairs. The teen prevented that.

It’s unknown how much training this 14-year old had. But, I would speculate that his parents spent some time teaching him what to do.

If you have children or grandchildren who are mature enough, you should prepare them for this type of situation.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when teaching younger generations about firearms:

Maturity versus age:

A lot of folks often ask when is the right time to teach kids about guns.

There’s no perfect answer because it depends on the kid. Every child matures at a different speed.

I wouldn’t trust some 16-year-olds with a water gun.

Yet, some eight-year-olds can shoot the flea off the back of a horse.

But, when they start showing a genuine interest in firearms you should start teaching them.

This is usually around seven or eight-years-old.

Never rush a child in learning to shoot.

If they don’t have an interest in it then they may not take it seriously.

Thankfully, you can teach them about firearm safety without getting into shooting.

Safety first, last, and always:

The most important aspect of firearms training is safety.

Before you even consider teaching kids how to shoot you should focus on the safety rules.

Start with the basic rules of gun safety:

  1. Always treat the gun like it’s loaded.
  2. Always point the gun in a safe direction.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re on target and ready to shoot.
  4. Make sure you know the backstop (what’s behind what you’re shooting at)

Also, you should teach children what to do if they find an unsupervised gun:

  1. If you see a gun, do not go near it.
  2. Never touch, or pick up the gun.
  3. Leave the area.
  4. Tell an Adult.

An appropriate first gun:

The first gun you teach kids to shoot should be simple, quiet, and have a light recoil.

Smaller caliber semi-auto pistols and .22’s are good options.

A .22 rifle is one of the best choices because the longer sight radius makes it easier for teaching new shooters to aim. (This is why I own multiple Ruger 10/22s.)

Consider the size, weight, and fit of the firearm.

Does the grip fit the kid’s hand? Can they get a good cheek weld?

A basic .22 rifle that can be adjusted to fit their size will help them be more comfortable with shooting.


For a first-time shooter, guns can be intimidating.

You should choose a location to shoot that is calm and relaxing for them.

If there is an outdoor shooting range, this is one of the best options, especially if you can spread out from other shooters.

Indoor ranges are loud. They can be crowded and people are always coming and going.

While distractions should be a part of shooting, they should be introduced over time.

You don’t want to ruin their first shooting experience.

Make it fun:

If kids have fun shooting, they will be motivated to continue to learn.

The more they succeed, the faster they will improve their skills.

Start with the right form, stance, and how to handle the gun.

Make the targets fun to shoot…

Blow things up by shooting water bottles, balloons, or other things that give feedback.

All shooters are motivated when they get the satisfaction of hearing and seeing their rounds hit the target.

Remember: Teaching kids to shoot is a process.

The approach you take could cause a kid to love the process or hate it.

By making the training fun, with safety being the number one focus, you will help them build confidence and skills that could save their life one day.

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