Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Not Their Father's Air Gun

Like many an all-American boy, my constant companion from 10-14 was an air gun. For my 10th birthday (after long lobbying) I secured a Daisy Red Ryder (picked out from an ad in Boy's Life's annual shooting issue -- I wonder if they still have one of those in this more politically correct era.)

I spent a lot of time with that rifle, until no tin can, small platic army man or water balloon was safe, even from the opposite side of the back yard.

However, like the sharpshooters of the American Revolution (if you can think of a more self-satisfied historical parallel, insert it here) I eventually tired of the accuracy potential of a smooth bored barrel shooting round shot. Plus I wanted a rifle that could be used to kill small vermin -- not that I necessarily had any to hunt, but it's the sort of thing every boy desires. So at 13 I saved my allowances for a number of months and shelled out the princely sum of $40 for a more powerful PowerLine pellet rifle.

Ah the joy of wandering the suburban backyard outback with the knowledge that one carries deadly force. No longer is one a mere backyard plinker. Now you carry a deadly weapon equiped with a scope, and ten pumps worth of power, hurtling pellets at 600 feet per second. (How I recall the specs which must have become a burden through constant quoting to all those around me...)

Well, I wandered into the air gun section of WalMart the other day, looking at the weaponry available, though knowing that at 3 and 4 the girls are way to young to start shooting. (sigh...) And what do I find? Translucent plastic.

It seems that while I was off being adult and shooting real guns, a new world called "airsoft" has dawned upon the air gun product category. It seems that air guns shooting rubber BBs at fairly low velocity have become all the rage (the effect of small back yards and a distinct lack of rodents?) and come in spring, electrict and gas operated flavors.

I'm not sure what I think about this. It seems to rule out the seriousness with which I took my youthful shooting efforts. On the other hand, the low velocity and rubber projectiles certainly seems safe for the close quarters of the modern back yard. And with the bright colors... Maybe this is perfect for teaching little girls to shoot young.

Right now Daddy is holding off, but the seed of temptation is planted. Maybe when they're five or six...

16 comments:

Rick Lugari said...

Ah yes, hard to think of any other material good that made youth so wonderful. Like you, I started out with a Red Ryder at 8 and bought my own Powerline at 12. I still have both, and every now and then get the itch to pluck a bird off the line or make swiss cheese out of a tin can. Tied for fun is the .410 single shot I picked up when I was 18 and the classic Ruger .22 I didn't pick up until my early 30's. Guns are proof that God loves man...

Barb, sfo said...

If you're going for plastic, your best weapon of choice is a Super Soaker.

Just sayin'.

And you DO know why they make them bright plastic....so cops don't shoot kids playing with toy guns (it's happened). Of course, there are the stupid kids who color them with a black Sharpie...

Darwin said...

Barb,

But a super soaker doesn't shoot things! Which really is the issue with AirSoft as well, so far as I can tell... If it can't at least puncture a tin can, what exactly is the point?

From what I undersand AirSoft guns are sometimes used for combat games ala paintball, which I'm thinking would be why they hare differentiated from guns more in appearance than real air guns -- since that's more likely to create the appearance of threat if the users are seen by police. (Real air guns should definately never be pointed or fired at people.)

Rick,

Amen, brother.

BTW, we need to talk. I'll be heading up vaguely into your neck of the woods in May to visit MrsDarwin't family and go pick up an M1 at Camp Perry.

CMinor said...

My eldest has a couple of these plastic irritants, with which I had nothing to do.

Problem 1: So slow one of the ladies at church reported to me that when her ex-sharpshooter hubby takes pot shots at squirrels they casually sidestep the pellets. (A good thing, actually!)
Problem 2: Those little plastic pellets all over the yard. Permanently. Couldn't somebody invent a biodegradable airsoft pellet?

On the other hand, at least the dogs don't find them tasty, like paintballs.

Fidei Defensor said...

Worth noting, untill fairly recently "toy" guns for kids and such were meant to look like Wild West era or World War era weapons, now, more and more, they are designed to have a "gangsta" thug look, I guess this is what happens when our culture's model of masculinity shifts from John Wayne and Chuck Heston to rappers and criminals.

As for the Air-Softs, they are decipticly safe and get kids in the habbit of pointing guns at people.

rhinemouse said...

But it's just a pity you live to late to have bought your children this.

Rick Lugari said...

I googled the airsoft pellets. They don't look any different than the toy bb gun things we had when we were kids. We considered them a step up from cap guns and a step down from genuine bb guns. They were either spring or spring/air fired though. Slow, barely even fast enough sting when hit, yet I wouldn't want to take one in the eye. They certainly weren't as dangerous as the sling shots we made out of a rubber band to launch halved paperclips at each other. Those left "vampire bites" where they hit. Good thing little boys are indestructible...

Darwin,
Please, let's talk. As you firm up your itinerary we'll see if we can swing a get together or something. I'm just southwest of Detroit, about 40 minutes from Toledo and IIRC about 2 hours from Port Clinton where Camp Perry is. Camp Perry is where I enrolled in the Dept. of Civilian Marksmanship program and earned my small arms firing certificate. They host some great shooting competitions there. People competing at 1000 yard, etc. Mind-boggling to me...I surprised myself how well I did at 300 yeards but cannot imagine 1000.

Anyway, the point. You'll be very close to Jay when there and we'll be within a reasonable distance of one another if time and circumstances allow. hmmmm...my little devil horns are popping up right now. My dad has a trailer on Put-in-Bay. If it's available and the three of us can abandon our wives for 24 hours, we could go there, head to the bars for a few drinks, crash there and return the next day. Of course, I can see MrsD's jaw drop right now, saying "yeah right! I'll be damned if I let my hubby hand with the likes of you!" bwahahaha

BTW, how much are the M-1s now? 15 years ago you could pick them up for under $200. IIRC, was offered one for $100 through the DCM program. I was stupid though, I was holding out for an M14 and we all know how that went.

Rick Lugari said...

Oh, how cool! Check this out. I would have killed for that when I was a kid. Heck, I might even right now. ;)

Anonymous said...

Kids where I come from tend to get things like these. ("Crickett" single-shot .22 rifles, for anyone who doesn't feel like following the link.)

It's amazing how well the little guys (and gals) learn to use 'em, too. When you've only got one shot ...

--cacofonix

mrsdarwin said...

Rick,

Oh, stuff. You don't scare me. :) Darwin is a big boy and can hold his own.

But seriously, we'd be delighted to see you and yours. Drop us email at our address up there and we'll tawk amongst ourselves.

Rick Lugari said...

You say that now Mrs. Smartypants. Just wait until pictures or video surface on the Internet of Darwin wearing a lamp shade on his head explaining the evolution of mammary glands to the busty blonde bimbos hanging upon each arm.

Darwin said...

Now, Rick. MrsDarwin may be busty, but she is neither blonde nor a bimbo.

I know less of your wife's coloring and capacity, but I'm thinking you'd be safer not calling her a bimbo either...

Rick Lugari said...

And the young Darwin takes a dive... He could have taken the opportunity to assert his independence and virility, even if just rhetorically...but he choked, and ended up kissing butt. Ohhh, the humanity of it all!

Oh, and yes, my wife has a high capacity for coloring. ;)

Anonymous said...

the only thing more disturbing than the post itself are the bizarre comments, culminating in a discussion of wives' breast size!

??

Rick said...

heh...

anonymous, I'm a little perplexed here. I can't figure out what was so disturbing about the post. As for the comments, well, I suppose they would be bizarre to most people. Just one of those terribly unfortunate consequences of a blogger being liked by me. Consider poor Julie too...

Anyway, please don't hold our hosts accountable for humoring me, they should receive an indulgence for their patience and charity. ;)

BTW, kids...Rhonda is going in for surgery today. When she went in last October she nearly died on the table, so if you wouldn't mind remembering her in your prayers the next few days, we'd appreciate it.

Jake Roberts said...


Excellent blog you’ve got here.It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! Please check out my site.
military toy guns