At the 2017 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, there were many new firearm models on display designed with beginning, small-statured and youth shooters in mind. No matter whether you have never fired a gun before and are interested in learning the basic principles of safety and accuracy, or are training to make a collegiate skeet team, there’s a gun on this list for you. Here’s our pick for seven of the best new guns for new shooters of the new year.
1. Browning A-Bolt 3 Micro Stalker If the child in your house is ready to accompany adults on a hunt or simply wants to punch paper at the range, the AB3 Micro is a great option. It comes with a 13-inch length of pull (LOP), a 20-inch barrel and weighs under 7 pounds, so it's also great for small-statured adults. There are plenty of low-recoiling chambering options including .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 and .308. This rifle is accurate, and the Inflex recoil pad will help mitigate recoil. Additionally, the tang-mounted safety is easy to find and use for both left- and right-handed shooters, and the bolt lock button allows the gun to be cycled with the safety engaged. MSRP is $599. ,
2. Savage A22 .22 Long Rifle Though it isn’t a youth-specific model, the A22 .22 is a lightweight, accurate rimfire that produces virtually no recoil, minimal muzzle blast and functions reliably. The included AccuTrigger is far better than the triggers found on factory rimfires just a few years ago and you have the option of mounting a scope or using the included iron sights. It comes with a 10-round magazine, and the crossbolt safety is easy for kids and beginners to find and manipulate. With an MSRP of just $281, it’s also quite a bargain. Savagearms.com
3. CZ 455 Scout The 455 Scout is a bolt action .22 LR with a 12-inch LOP beechwood stock—perfect for the youngest shooters. It comes with iron sights and the receiver has integrated bases for scope mounting. Even though it accepts other 455 box magazines from 5 to 25 rounds, there’s an adapter to convert this rifle to a single shot. In fact, the versatility only starts with that. The Scout also comes with a threaded muzzle so you can add a sound-dampening suppressor. Once your child outgrows this gun, you can swap out the stock for a longer LOP model. You can even change the barrels and chamberings as well. The wing safety is easy to use, and colored dots make it simple to identify when the rifle is in SAFE mode. $339. Cz-usa.com
4. Savage Stevens 555 Compact Over/unders are great for teaching the shotgun sports, because new shooters can keep the action open when not shooting to quickly identify that the gun is unloaded—a great safety feature. This compact shotgun is available in 20 and 28 gauge and .410 bore. It also offers a weight-saving scaled aluminum receiver and a shortened (13.25-inch) LOP Turkish walnut stock. It comes with chrome-lined barrels, five choke tubes and a tang safety—all features that make it perfect for clay shooting and hunting. $692. Savagearms.com
5. SIG P320 Advanced Sport Pellet Air Pistol If your child or the adult you're mentoring as a beginning shooter is interested in shooting pistols, but isn’t quite ready for a centerfire gun, then the P320 pellet pistol is an excellent option. It’s a low-cost, low-recoil, low-noise pellet gun that can be used to teach the basics of safe pistol handling while still maintaining the feel of a larger firearm. The CO2-powered pistol utilizes a revolutionary belt magazine that holds 30 .177-inch pellets. There’s even a blowback action that mimics slide movement in a centerfire gun. A sliding safety mounted on the left side of the polymer frame and the fixed sights are functional and robust. There are two color options available—Black or Coyote Tan. If you’re thinking about introducing a new shooter to the basic principles of handgun shooting and safety this is a great option, and at $119.99 it’s an affordable one, too. Sigsauerasp.com
6. Browning Citori CX Micro The Citori CX Micro is a great option for short-statured folks who are serious about clay target shooting, and this gun is suited for trap, sporting clays, five stand and skeet (the CX stands for “Crossover”; with a 60/40 point of impact this versatile gun is suited for all disciplines). The short 13.5-inch LOP allows young shooters to control this gun, and despite the fact that it is a 12-gauge, the Inflex recoil pad and 8-pound weight help mitigate recoil without making the gun too heavy. There’s a tang-mounted barrel selector and safety, too, which means that right- or left-handed shooters can use this gun with ease. Even though it’s technically a youth model, the Citori CX has the type of features that top competitive youth shooters require, including Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones, Midas grade extended chokes (IC, M, F), selective ejectors and the Triple Trigger system. This isn’t a gun for every new shooter, but it’s a great bargain for a serious competition gun and it will last for a lifetime. $2,069.99. Browning.com
7. Mossberg 510 Mini Super Bantam Muddy Girl Camo The Muddy Girl Camo version of the 510 Mini Super Bantam is new this year, but all of these shotguns (they are also available in black, Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Mossy Oak Obsession in .410 bore and 20-gauge models) offer young shooters a compact, lightweight field gun that can grow as they do. The new Muddy Girl .410 model has an 18.5-inch vent rib barrel, stock spacers that allow you to adjust from 10.5 to 11.5-inch LOP, and weighs 5 pounds. This gun has twin action bars for a smooth cycle, and the ambidextrous safety is located on the tang so it's easy to use. $469. Mossberg.com