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At What Age Can You Go to The Shooting Range?

At What Age Can You Go to The Shooting Range?

The shooting range is often a family affair, and it's a great opportunity to bond while having a great time!

People frequently wonder if everyone in the family can participate in the experience.

In North Carolina, there are a variety of rules that all ranges must follow. They are relatively simple but can be confusing at times and based on various scenarios. Here is the straightforward explanation of the rules:

  • All shooters under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times on the same lane at the shooting range.

  • Shooters between the ages of 18-20 are not allowed to rent firearms and must be accompanied by someone 21 years or older to shoot a handgun. This also applies to handguns owned by the underaged individual.

  • You must be 18 years or older to purchase a shotgun, rifle, air rifle pellets, BBs, or other ammunition.

  • You must be 21 or older to purchase handgun ammunition, primers, or reloading powder.

  • To rent or operate an automatic firearm, you must be 21 or older.

  • To rent a semi automatic or bolt-action rifle, you must be 18 or older.

  • To rent a handgun or suppressor, you must be 21 or older.


The Age Requirements at Blackstone:

  • Children 9 and under are only permitted on the range during Private Instruction

  • Children 10-13 must be certified through our Youth Firearms Safety Program to shoot on the range with a parent or legal guardian

  • Children 14+ are allowed to shoot on the range with a parent or legal guardian

This all seems simple, but there are many scenarios that can lead to confusion here with this set of rules. To prevent any frustration at the range, we will walk through a handful of scenarios we often see that can help you better prepare for your range experience.


Shooting with Family

It's often that young boys and girls get their first safety instruction and introduction to firearms with their family members unless introduced to firearms later in life. Perhaps a child's parents have limited interest or experience with firearms, but the boy is preparing to go hunting or is learning to shoot firearms with an uncle or family friend. The child in question would not be allowed to shoot unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on the range. For instance, if the father or mother of the child also joined the group on the lane, the uncle or friend could provide instruction, and the child would be allowed to shoot. This would only apply if the parent or legal guardian was present.


18-20 With Your Own Pistol

Firearms are often inherited or handed down generationally through families. It's not uncommon for a young person to receive their first firearm or handgun through a family member, and signing over the paperwork for the firearm to the family member is relatively easy. In North Carolina, you must be 21 to rent or purchase a handgun, but it is not illegal to own one between the ages of 18-20 in your name.

In these cases, the family may be very familiar with firearms and the gun owner in question may have a good amount of firearm experience. Perhaps they have even visited the range in the past and fired shotguns or rifles in preparation for hunting season on their own. 18-20 year old’s are able to shoot their own pistol on their lane as long as they bring their own ammo, or if they purchase ammo here, all ammo must be disposed of on the range and not left with.


Rent a Rifle, Shotgun, and Handgun

It's common for people to want to get the most out of their experience when visiting the range and experience shooting a range of firearms and ammunition types. Let's suppose a group of friends visits the shooting range with the intention of renting a rifle, shotgun, and handgun. Two of the friends are 19 and one is 21. In this scenario, the shooters would be allowed to rent a rifle or shotgun to shoot on the range. Only the 21-year-old could rent a handgun or purchase handgun ammunition, but all 3 members of the group would be allowed to shoot all 3 firearms, if they want to shoot the handgun it must be on the lane the 21 year old is on at all times.

Visit the Blackstone Shooting Range Today

We hope this information helps you understand the age requirements here at Blackstone Shooting Sports and hope to see you at the range soon!