Guns & Patriots

Five Best Youth Guns For Christmas

5 Best Youth Guns for Christmas

It’s Christmas time, and no doubt many people are out there shopping with a vengeance, desperately trying to find that “perfect” gift for your kids. What better gift says “I love you” than a good, old-fashioned, tried-and-true FIREARM! Forget the video games this year. Just read this article and you’ll have the basic starting point for your children’s firearm shopping quest.

I’ve taken several factors into account, most notably:  safety, ease of use, and affordability. I’ve also taken the road less traveled by listing a few guns that normally wouldn’t be recommended. Hopefully, my list will have something for all kids and take them from young novice to seasoned champion!

So let’s get right to the meat of it!

Daisy Model 10 BB Gun

When I was a kid my very first gun was, of course, a Daisy BB gun. It’s safe, reliable, easy to shoot, and at $49.95 doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. This is an excellent rifle to teach your kids the basics of sight alignment, sight picture, trigger pull, breath control and follow through.

Important safety note:  BB guns are sometimes not construed by kids as “real” guns. They are real and many a window and eyeball has been shot out by the unsupervised youth. This starter gun will help you teach them the basics, but you have to be right there with them.

Find out more by going to

Now that your kid has learned how to shoot a rifle, let’s move on to something with a little more kick to it!

Marlin Model 915Y

This .22 LR is a nice first rifle for a kid. It’s a bolt action, single-shot firearm that’s easy to load and shoot. It’s a little pricey at $219.30, but you can get it for much less if you shop around. And don’t overlook used guns as well. Just have them checked out and purchase them from a dealer you know and trust. This Marlin features a thumb safety and adjustable sights. The receiver is blued, drilled and tapped. You can’t go wrong with the Marlin 915Y Little Buckaroo Rifle. More specs can be found at

H&R Pardner Compact

Now here’s a gun that’s been tested in field conditions for a long, long time. This is a very simple gun, easy to shoot, quick pointing, and available in .410, 20, and 28 gauge models. The Pardner Compact is nothing more than a scaled-down version of the full-size Pardner to accommodate the smaller-statured youth of America. This very basic model is 36 inches long, 5 pounds in weight and features a simple front bead sight. As a single shot, break-open action with side lever release, and automatic ejection, they don’t get much easier to shoot than this.

Okay, now we’re moving up in the gun world to the more advanced “kid-type” shooter. You’ve taught your child safety, the basics of marksmanship and stewardship, so now it’s time to bring down some big game! Take a look at this rifle!

Weatherby Vanguard Compact

This is one case where I went up in price, primarily because this is a rifle that will “grow” with your child on into adulthood. This is due to a free full-size injection-molded synthetic stock that comes with the standard compact stock for younger shooters. Get this chambered in .243 and you’re giving your child a great deer rifle to last for life. Unlike the smaller calibers typical in youth rifles, this will put down big game at longer ranges common to those western plains animals. Look around a bit and you can find this rifle for under $500.

Last, but certainly not least, I recommend every parent teach their child how to shoot a pistol for self defense before they fly from the nest. It’s a gift they can live with their whole lives and then pass on to their sons and daughters.

Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm

Okay, I hear what you’re saying. “Hey! That’s not a kid’s gun!” Well, not specifically a kid’s gun, but it certainly can be. My 14-year-old son shoots one all the time and maintains a 2-inch group at 20 feet. His hands are smaller than mine, but the M&P features 3 three replaceable grips in small, medium and large. The recoil is low and it’s easy to sight. For a large-frame pistol, this is one smooth-shooting firearm that your teenagers will love to shoot. You can pick this one up for under $500, and with the extra grips, it will grow with them into adulthood.

Note:  Some states may not allow the 17-round capacity magazines, so check your state and local firearms laws just to make sure before buying. This is a serious gun.

Okay, so those are my kid’s picks for Christmas gifts. While all of you may not agree with me in every case, they still can serve as an excellent starting place in your research and shopping quest for the ultimate kid’s firearms. Have fun and always remember to properly supervise and teach (spelled “hands-on) your children how to be safe and accurate. Give the gift of firearms to your kids and when the power goes out they’ll be well-prepared to survive as the other children sit helplessly on the couch, crying, desperately clutching their non-functioning game controllers. Merry Christmas!

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  • aimpulsive

    My son wanted a Henry but I bought him a cheap bolt action 22. He liked the bolt action, but kept eye-balling the Henry with a gleam in his eye. I finally broke down and bought the Henry, and “Oh what a gun!”

    Although he now has the bolt action 22 and a bolt action 22 WMR and my old Ruger 10/22, the Henry remains his favorite — by far.. Something about a lever action that brings out the John Wayne in all of us!

    Great gun too — not a single misfeed after many thousands of rounds!

  • Quinientos

    My cousin bought a cz scout for his boy and I was really impressed with that rifle.

  • Stevens Ruger

    Henry rifle, absolutely! The Minibolt is a single-shot bolt-action for a small person and the lever-actions are for all ages (youth sizes available). My little Henrys are as accurate as my Savage and a Ruger 77/22 I had (even the Minibolt was as accurate as the Ruger when using open sights). Smooth actions, great finishes.

    Ruger 10/22 is fabulous if the kid is ready for semi-auto.

  • billrights

    Come on guys
    This is supposed to be a christmas present not a retirement annuity!
    Surely there were good choices that would not break the bank!

    Do love that Henry lever action though!

  • Bear43

    I got my first gun when I was 12. It was a Nylon 66. It’s a great gun and I still use it today. Too bad they don’t make them anymore. I also inherited my dad’s 22. He got it when he was 12. It is a Remington version of the Browning breakdown.

  • old

    Daisy ? I am impressed; it is neat to shoot and irritates the pigeons no end.Sadly it does not irritate them enough to stay away so other solutions are used-but irritating them is neat. But the grand kids and their cousins seem to really like these Air Soft rifles. They are fun to shoot I must say.

    My oldest grandson has his eye on my 1903 Springfield.

  • WillAustin1959

    BB guns and airsoft guns are a bad idea kids MUST!!! be taught that GUNS KILL!!!. I got my first gun before I was old enough to remember. And I was taught “NEVER PIONT AT ANYTHING THAT YOU DON’T INTEND TO KILL”

  • WillAustin1959

    I received my first gun from my grandfather at an age that I was to young to remember. I think that it is a bad idea to make a BB or Airsoft a kids first gun. GUNS KILL!! All kids must be taught this. I hunt, target shoot, and carry. I have never pointed a gun at anyone. As my Grandfather taught me “Don’t Point a Gun at Anything That You Don’t Intend to Kill”!!

  • theedbrown

    Henry Survival .22′s are great, too. Also consider an older Savage over & under, either .410 or 20 ga. plus .22. Ruger 10/22 is hard to beat.
    Isn’t it grand that we get to choose?

  • theedbrown

    Excellent treatise, as usual. Consider Henry Survival .22 and an older Savage over & under, .410 or 20 ga. and a .22. Sooooo many possibilities. Isn’t it great we can choose?

  • SkipCoryell

    Morning Will. One good thing about airsoft and BB guns these days. Many people live in the city, and find it difficult to get to a range where they can shoot a .22. These “quieter, less powerful alternatives allow a resourceful mom or dad to set up a safe range in his basement where their kid can shoot daily instead of once a month. Just a thought. I agree with you on safety first.


  • sunsense

    Sigh…Marlin 795 .22LR 10 round magazine semi-auto for $125 with a $25 Marlin rebate.

    I’m amazed this inexpensive, accurate .22 wasn’t mentioned.

  • sunsense

    Great for Appleseeds :-)

  • SkipCoryell

    I love the Henry. Just holding it makes me feel like a cowboy!


  • willythegeek

    A benjamin 392 .22 cal. will build upper body, arm and shoulder strength and teach him the value of his first and maybe only shot. When he masters that get him a Henry goldenboy and see if you get a look you’ll cherish forever.

  • tellerai

    I have a Henry it was a birthday present from my husband a few years back. He stays upset with me because I tell him it is too pretty to fire it. It is in the original box in the gun safe. Also have a daisy red ryder bb gun, going to teach my grandson to fire it as soon as he gets old enough.

  • tellerai

    I have a Henry. My husband got it for me for my birthday a few years back. It is still in the original box in the gun safe. The wood stock is just to pretty and I have not fired it yet. Also have a daisy red ryder bb gun that I plan to use to teach my grandson gun safety and to shoot.

  • MikeinIdaho

    My first gun was a BB gun. I was taught the seriousness of it right away; don’t aim it at anything you don’t intend to kill. It took me a while to figure out that I couldn’t kill much with a BB gun, but by that point it was ingrained. I carried it like it would kill anything. I could spend all day in the woods or orchards shooting, going through thousands of rounds. I was 8. That was fun! I wasn’t given another gun, I earned it.

  • Jordan Stone

    I’m curious as to what age everyone feels is a good age to take your child to the range for the first time… any opinions? I also remember hearing about a book or two that addresses teaching your kids about guns, does anybody know of some good titles for me to pick up. My daughter is only 1 year and 5 months but I want to have a good game plan in place so I don’t miss the right opportunities.

  • mthighpockets

    Henry Lever Action 22′ We just got one for my Granddaughter for her 16th B.D. She wanted a rifle,but had no preference. She adores the Henry and has gone thru a brick of 22′s in the 2 weeks she’s had it’ I have a Red Ryder
    Daisy,still in original package,never opened. Thanks Dad for that parting
    gift on your way to the Happy Hunting Frounds’

  • mthighpockets

    Henry Lever Action 22′ What a neat little gun..Just got one for my Granddaughter for her 16th B.D. She wanted a rifle,but had no preference.
    She loves her Henry,has gone thru a brick of shells in the 2 weeks shes had it. I have a Daisy Red Ryder,still in original package,never opened.Thanks
    Dad for the parting gift on your way to the Happy Hunting Grounds’

  • globalcrap

    A great home defense is the Mossberg 8 shot 12 gage pistol grip shoots up to 3″ magnums. range $300 to $400. Love to have one for Christmas.

  • TruMotor

    Hey Skip… Check out the Appleseed Project. I have grandsons in this training… it’s great! The best 22 for Appleseed is the Ruger 10-22 because it is an autoloader, better for rapid fire. Uses 10 round clips, some training requires 4 10 round clips. We have bought 10-22s for 2 grandsons so far and now may have to get one for a grandaughter.
    Appleseed Project teaches history these kids don’t get in school! Check it out.

  • roadapple66

    Great program! I’d like to see it grow more into the public eye. Appleseed teaches the kids so much more than just marksmanship. It ought to be an elective in every grade school, and junior high school, in the country. This course is a better gift than the rifle needed for the course.

  • roadapple66

    This might be a “liitle much” for most youthful shooters. A smaller shotgun (.410, 28 gauge, etc) for hunting might be a better option for the youngsters. Teach them to hunt, and be a steward of the land.

  • roadapple66

    The Red Ryder was my first as well. Last year, I bought a new one. They are not made exactly the same as 35 years ago, but it still brings back old memories. I will use it to teach my grandchildren when they are a little older.

  • roadapple66

    I’d say when she shows you that she listens to you, and can follow instructions, would be the right time. It’s different for every child. As for the books, check out the NRA, Boy/Girl Scouts, and your local indoor ranges to see if they have suitable programs. Be safe, and have fun!

  • roadapple66

    You should shoot the Henry, if you are not keeping it in “collector” condition. It is such a smooth little gun, you will have more fun than you can imagine.

  • Matt Regalado

    My first was a Daisy 840. I was 10 years old and my Grandfather made me take a safety test before I could touch it. Bass Pro Shops has the Red Rider Anniversary Edition for around 30 bucks.

  • SkipCoryell

    Yes, I know of Appleseed. I met many good people from the group. I bought a Ruger 10-22 for one of my sons. It’s a joy to shoot. Great gun!


  • bhudda

    My Winchester 94/410 lever action is a real nice piece , got it for Christmas 6 yrs ago real smooth shooter

  • Gary

    My first gun was the Red Ryder BB gun. I shot many a sparrow out of grandpa’s garage with it. I got tired of cocking it all the time, so with my infinite wisdom (7 years old) I decided this…why bring that lever back up each time I cock it…just leave the lever down and it will already be cocked for the next shot. I still have my fingers, but just barely…it is amazing the power in that lever when it comes back up after pulling the trigger! My first BIGGER firearm was the little Ithica lever action single shot 22. I still have it today and the grand kids shoot it when they come out! Nothing like the fun of the family shooting together on a Sunday afternoon!!!


  • Tim

    Daisy has abandoned the American people. Packed up shop and moved overseas. it has now been a few years since the people of Rogers Arkansas have been able to afford new presents for Christmas, they are now unemployed. Supervise your child, provide eye and ear protection while they learn with their American produced Henry. Please demand a domestic product or we will all be jobless.

  • Arnie_Tibus0706

    I gave a Marlin Papoose .22 rifle to one 10-year old nephew and a Henry .22 lever action to his 10-year old girl cousin. My nephew wanted the Henry .22 mag lever action but I told him he’ll get it when he is 12 and has learned by heart all the basics of safe gun handling.

  • TruMotor

    Skip… Good to know that the Appleseed Project is well recognized. May I be so bold as to suggest that you, and maybe other like minded Patriots, consider using your Bully Pulpits to give them a boost? I would very much like to see this project grow to the point where many thousands of our youngsters learn gun safety, how to shoot, and appreciate a lot more about the founding of this country. Thanks for your response.

  • meeester

    A fun concept for an article but my what devilish details.
    A Henry? Well, more likely for The Kid in Us. Somewhere between the Henry and that $220+ Marlin I bet there are some .22 carbines that would be a lot of fun.
    A Weatherby? Nice, here’s a gun kid. Maybe you will get to shoot it once in a while. That should hook ‘em.
    A 9mm pistol. geez. How many .22 handguns fell on the floor before you picked that one up.
    I could see higher quality air rifles in there. A lot of shooting can be a lot of fun. Lead pellets don’t riccochet in a basement range like a BB either.
    Nice idea for an article anyway.

  • strickland9109

    i started taking my son to the range @ 5 y.o. before we went i sat him down and talked to him about guns and safety. then showed him how to handle them properly, before he even saw a range. he picked up on it pretty quik. he is now 11 and i don’t have any issues w/ his handling any of my far as books i’m sure there are some out there, but i taught my son what my dad taught me.

  • strickland9109

    I got my 11 y.o. son a Marlin .30/30, he already has a .22 pellet rifle,and a .22 9-shot revolver. he treats all weapons w/ respect. air soft is just a way to practice and hone your skills for the real deal,short of head shots.

  • packnheat

    Depends on the child. My daughter was picking off cans at 50 yards when she was 4 with a single shot bolt action .22. My son on the other hand was not ready until about 10 years old. Both were taught with dad standing right next to them and were taught the danger of improperly handled firearms. They had been in deer camps since they were babies and knew that guns can kill after seeing game animals brought back into camp by hunters. They learned to respect life and how to safely handle arms there. My daughter shot her 1st deer at 9 years old with a .243 at about 225 yards and her first elk at 13 years old with a .270, I was right next to her both times and must say this was some of my proudest times as a dad. My son on the other hand has never taken a game animal. He has hunted with me several times, seen me take game, but has chosen not to take game himself. He does enjoy shooting with me though.
    All this said, I guess what I am trying to say is every child is different. Let them progress at a pace that they are comfortable with while you are ALWAYS there to maintain safety. It is most important to ingrain safety so that it becomes automatic for them.

  • halco73

    I’m 73 and I still have my visable hammer winchester .22 that I purchased at age 10 for $8

  • halco73

    I’m 73, and I still have my Winchester visable hammer .22 that I bought at age 10 for $8

  • mel

    When I was old enough to hunt I saved my money and bought a 20 gauge Mossberg 500 to hunt small game. It has served me faithfully for over 40 years and I have taken evrything from squirrels to deer with it. As I type this it is sitting in the corner of my shop and i cannot help but reminisce the days of hunting with my dad.

  • Iklwa

    May I be so bold as to suggest the Crossman Pumpmaster 760?
    They are American made, $35 list price, accurate and when pumped up, hard hitting.

    I put a 3×9 power Bushnell scope on mine years ago (I think I paid twice as much for the mounts and scope than the rifle) and at two pumps (the minimum suggested, 10 pumps maximum), using BB’s, I could shoot Yellow Jacket wasps, one at a time off of a nest from under the second story eve.

    With the scope and that low velocity, you could actually see the BB rise above and then fall into the cross hairs of the scope. I did 99% of all my shooting using two pumps and BB’s. The pellets were expensive and a pain to fool with; besides those BB’s were VERY accurate out to about 20-25 yards.

  • Midlandr

    I have two Remington Nylon 66′s and a bolt ’77. Still shoot well after 45 years.

  • Midlandr

    My kids have been shooting since age 5, my kids are now 16,14, and 11. I think familiarization with firearms should begin when they express curiousity. Let them handle a firearm, and see how it functions. I told my kids they can hurt without a cartridge in the weapon at all (drop one on your foot, or close the slide on a finger).

  • Midlandr

    Scouting has a good program!

  • drdbiggs

    I remember shooting my pump Daisy down in the basement at targets with my brothers & friends during the cold winters in S DAK.

    It helped my aim as took Beginning Rifle Course offered by college to keep eye sharp for weekend antelope & deer hunting.

    1st class shot 6th highest score ever shot by the university ROTC rifle & didn’t use match rifle. Instructor begged me to come out for team even though I was not in ROTC.

    I thank many hours shooting in basement when zero outside & snow.

  • pghleftee

    As regards the Henry lever action .22- I bought myself my very first gun at the ripe old age of 50! I wanted a lever action and, after weeks of researching, I concluded that the Henry was the best in its class. I was also motivated by its historical significance in addition to the reviews on its reliability and craftsmanship. I went for the gold and got the Golden Boy, with the brass receiver and octagon barrel. Believe me when I tell you it was worth everything! I couldn’t be happier- and prouder- to own this awesome bit of history.

  • meeester

    btw; at a gun show last weekend, saw the Henry. I love it. Hey, you two ( friend’s teenagers) do you like this?
    Didn’t even want to hold it.

  • Jonathan Taylor

    Oh yes give little kids AK47s while yer at it! Fun Fun Fun (rolls eyes)