The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best First Guns for Kids: Factors Every Parent Should Consider Before Purchasing a Gun for Their Young Shooter

Posted by Jody on Jun 16th 2023

The Best First Guns for Kids, Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to kids and guns, safety is key. But what if your child is curious about firearms? Well, maybe it's worth considering embracing their interest and even fostering it. Who knows, they might become a gun enthusiast one day!

However, buying a gun for a child is not like picking out a toy at the store. It involves a lot more research, understanding, and safety precautions to ensure the child's and everyone else's well-being.

It's important to choose the right gun for your shooting hobbies and take all the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

That's why in this guide, we've put together the best first guns for kids.

We've also summarized how to pick the perfect beginner's firearm for your little sharpshooter, plus some gun safety practices to keep them safe.

Best First Guns for Kids - Our Top Favorites

Embarking on the journey of choosing your kid's first firearm can be a thrilling and daunting task.

But worry not!

We’ve summarized our favorite picks below to help you pick out the perfect starter gun for your young shooter. And once you pick one out, consider adding and zeroing a red dot sight for learning. It’s an easy and fun concept for kids to pick up compared to iron sight, just put the dot on the target and fire!

BB Guns

Remember your first Red Ryder BB Gun? Now it's time for your child to experience that same excitement. These light, easy-to-handle firearms are a classic choice for a child's first introduction to shooting.

BB guns are perfect for teaching the basics—aim, safety, and the importance of respect for firearms. They’re easy to load, simple to shoot, and perfect for plinking around in the backyard. While they don't pack a lot of power, they offer plenty of fun and are a great introduction to the responsibilities of gun ownership.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for teaching basic gun handling and safety
  • Perfect for backyard target practice


  • May not be as accurate as some other types of guns
  • Not suitable for hunting

Air Rifles (Pellet Guns)

Next on the list, air rifles, also known as pellet guns, provide a small but significant step up from BB guns. These guns offer a little more power and accuracy, making them ideal for target practice and even small-game hunting.

With a variety of models available, air rifles allow kids to get a feel for different types of firearms in a safe, controlled manner. They may be a bit more complex to operate, but they are great tools for developing a deeper understanding of shooting mechanics.


  • More powerful and accurate than BB guns
  • Ideal for small-game hunting or more serious target practice
  • Maintains a manageable recoil for young shooters


  • More expensive than BB guns
  • More complex to operate
  • Normally require a bit more strength to cock

Youth Model Shotguns

Youth model shotguns provide a solid introduction to the world of "real" firearms. These shotguns are designed to fit smaller frames, making them suitable for young shooters ready to graduate from BB guns or air rifles.

Though they can pack a bit of a punch (recoil-wise), they're a good choice for kids ready to step up their shooting skills. Plus, they can be used in various activities, from clay shooting to small game hunting, allowing for a range of exciting experiences.

Lastly, don’t forget to teach your kid how to care for their firearms. Shotguns can be a little expensive, so make sure to consider a high-quality rifle case to protect your shotgun from damage and unauthorized access.


  • Suitable for hunting
  • Provides a real feel of handling a "grown-up" gun
  • Ideal for less experienced shooters


  • May have more recoil than a BB gun or air rifle
  • Requires more rigorous maintenance
  • High price tag

Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is a superb choice for a child's first "real" firearm. Renowned for its reliability, easy handling, and manageable recoil, it’s the perfect tool to hone accuracy and develop more advanced shooting skills.

Ideal for target shooting and small game hunting, this .22 caliber rifle provides an excellent bridge between beginner's firearms and more advanced models. It's a rifle your child can grow with, offering countless opportunities for learning and fun.


  • Reliable, accurate, and easy to use
  • Lightweight with manageable recoil
  • Great for target shooting and small game hunting


  • Can be a little large or heavy for young shooters
  • Expensive

Billings Brett, USFWS on

How to Choose Your Child’s First Gun


When it comes to firearms, one size most definitely does not fit all. This is especially true when we're talking about children. The weight, balance, and overall size of the firearm need to be manageable for a young shooter.

Select a gun that's comfortable for your child to hold and carry. Remember, a firearm that's too heavy or too large will be difficult for a child to control and can even lead to dangerous situations. It's essential to maintain safety first and foremost.

If possible, it's a good idea to take your child to a reputable firearms store where they can handle different models (unloaded, of course) under supervision. This way, you can ensure that the firearm you choose is a comfortable fit for your child's hands and strength level.

Proper Caliber

The next crucial factor to consider is the caliber of the gun. Caliber refers to the diameter of the firearm's barrel and, consequently, the size of the bullet that it fires. As a general rule, smaller calibers are more manageable for beginners, particularly children.

For many kids, a .22 caliber rifle is a good starting point. They're known for being relatively gentle when it comes to recoil (the kickback that happens when a gun is fired), making them less intimidating for a young, new shooter. They're also commonly used for target practice and small game hunting, giving them a practical application as well.


As with anything else, firearms come in a wide range of prices, depending on factors like brand, model, caliber, and even aesthetics. However, when choosing your child's first gun, the main focus should be on safety and ease of use rather than the price tag.

There are plenty of reasonably priced beginner firearms on the market that doesn't compromise on safety or reliability. Keep in mind that this is a learning tool for your child. While you want a reliable firearm, there's no need to splurge on the most expensive model for a beginner.

Keep in mind that the price of the firearm is only part of the total cost. You'll also need to budget for safety gear (like hearing and eye protection), cleaning and maintenance supplies, and of course, ammunition.

Mentally Prepare Your Child

Before anything else, it's crucial to ensure your child is mentally prepared for the responsibility that comes with handling a firearm. No, we're not talking about teaching them the difference between a .22 and a .45. We're talking about instilling the respect and understanding of necessary information for safe firearm handling.

Start by having an open conversation with your child. Discuss the seriousness of owning and handling a firearm. This isn't a toy, it's a tool. Unlike a toy, you can’t just point carelessly as it can potentially hurt or even kill someone. This is a significant part of preparing your child mentally.

Next, gauge their maturity level. Are they responsible for their belongings? Do they understand the concept of consequences? This assessment can help you decide if they're ready for the responsibility that comes with a firearm.

Finally, keep the communication lines open. Make sure your child feels comfortable asking you questions about guns and gun safety. The more open and honest the communication, the better prepared your child will be.

Practice Gun Safety

Gun safety is paramount. We can't stress this enough. It should be the first, middle, and last thing you discuss when introducing your child to firearms. Teach them the fundamentals, such as the following:

  1. Always treat the gun as if it's loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

A great way to ensure your child understands and can apply these safety rules is through a certified gun safety course. Many organizations offer classes geared toward youth, making it a fantastic and educational experience.

Key Takeaways

When selecting a gun for a child, make sure to choose a gun that is comfortable for the child to hold and carry. A gun with a proper caliber is preferable because it is more suitable for beginners and young shooters. Finally, you must prioritize safety and ease of use over price.

In this post, we’ve revealed the best first guns for kids and beginners. Hopefully, you can use this guide in choosing the right gun for your child, whether you're fostering a potential lifelong hobby, teaching valuable survival skills, or bonding over a shared interest.

Remember, introducing a child to firearms is a serious responsibility and should always be done with the utmost regard for safety, education, and supervision. We always recommend comprehensive firearms safety training for both you and your child. The more knowledge and respect we have for these tools, the safer we'll all be.