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Teaching a Child the Proper Handling and Use of a FirearmWhen teaching a child about firearms I believe it is best to introduce them to a BB gun.  I like so many more started with a Red Ryder BB gun made by Daisy. I am of the opinion that this is the best starting point for a young shooter. The child should be taught to always treat the gun as if it is loaded. The gun should never be pointed at anyone or anything that they shouldn't shoot. The child should also be taught how to care for their firearm. There isn't much to caring for this weapon, but we want to teach good habits from the beginning.
The first several months the child should always be under adult supervision, at least until they have proven to be responsible. The child cannot take their gun out without someone with them. They should never play war with a BB gun or airsoft
Airsoft can be an effective training tool. These can be purchased in many configurations and can actually be the true weight and design of several real firearms. This will help a shooter and will enable them to practice at home. Some older children use airsoft to play war. There isn't any real danger, but they do hurt when hit with one of these plastic bbs. 
After spending a significant period of time with either a bb gun or an airsoft a child can be introduced to a 22 long rifle, with strict adult supervision. I strongly advise that you either use a single shot or treat what you have as a single shot. This forces the new shooter to take their time with each shot. It is very easy to just keep shooting till you hit the can or make the target ping and feel like you have done something. I love reactive targets, but a reactive target, a new shooter, and a semi automatic wastes ammo and can create bad habits.

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