By Lars Dalseide | November 24 2012 10:05

You want to start your youngster out right on the range

American Hunter's Doug Howlett provides sage advice on how you should go about choosing your child's first firearm:
Choosing Your Child's First Gun
Your child's first gun can influence whether he becomes a lifelong hunter or walks away altogether.

It’s a big decision and an exciting one, for both you and your child, as you ponder that first gun. No doubt the passion for the outdoors has been lit from shared days afield and maybe even at the range, but now it’s time to extend the ultimate in trust and responsibility by purchasing a gun and giving it to your child as his or her designated gun to take afield with them.

I still remember my first gun, a used Remington Sportsman 58 that my dad gave me when I was 11 and that I used to down untold bushy tails with 2 ¾-inch loads of No. 6s—as well as my first whitetail, firing No. 1 buckshot, a year later.

I grew up hunting deer in an area where shotguns—mostly buckshot—are still the firearm of choice, so when I received a brand new Remington 1100 for my 16th birthday, opening the box is a moment I will never forget. For a young, avid hunter, it would become one of my most prized possessions, alongside my first car and first home. The car and home are little more than good memories now. I still own, and use, that 1100.

So what are the critical considerations in buying that first gun for your son or daughter? There are several that are key as you want the gun to become an enjoyable tool to help them not only become better marksmen, but to maintain the enthusiasm for shooting and hunting for many years to come.

What Caliber?

choosing your child's first gun from the NRA Maybe you’re an avid waterfowler and you want a shotgun for your young one so he or she can join you in the marsh. Or maybe you’re a whitetail hunter and want something for your kid that will deliver a knockout blow.

“The first thing you want to avoid is to not overgun your kid,” said Virginia Beach, Va., gunsmith Kurt Derwort. “You try to give an 8-year-old kid a .308 or some blowaway magnum and it’s going to be too much. It will just make the child recoil shy and that’s the worst thing you can do to a kid.”

Not only will it hamper their ability to become accurate, but it may chase them away from the sport before they’ve even really had the chance to get into it, according to many experts.

Get the rest of Doug's insight on choosing your child's first gun on American Hunter's website.

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