A Christmas Story is a classic look at childhood from the point of view of a nine year old kid who wants a BB gun for Christmas. It is set in the late 40s, a time even before my own childhood, but the message is familiar and timeless for any kid that wanted to graduate from cap guns to BB guns. I was roughly Ralphie’s age in the 1960s when the irresistible urge to own a BB gun overwhelmed me . . .
The notion that I would “shoot my eye out” definitely worked against me as I plead my case with my parents, so I felt Ralphie’s pain as he pleaded his case to his parents, teacher, Santa Claus and anybody else that would listen to a kid with a big Christmas dream.
The big difference was that Ralphie did get his BB gun for Christmas while I settled a hand-me-down BB gun that was worn-out from overuse by an older brother. There was little fear that I would shoot my eye out with that particular BB gun. Meanwhile my older brother had graduated to pellet guns and 22s for his personal use as a 14 year old at the time.
By 16, my older brother was already involved with game and bird hunting and was very proficient with shotguns and rifles. His expertise with firearms earned him marksmanship awards during training as a member of the RCMP, as well as a spot on an ERT team, which is their equivalent to a SWAT team.
My brother is now retired and enjoys his spare time as an avid hunter who bagged deer from the two provinces that border my province this past fall. He is still a crack shot who continues to have a healthy respect for firearms after all of these decades.
So the rather lengthy personal family history leads me to a basic question: at what age should Ralphie find more firepower under his Christmas tree and what age matches what kind of firepower as a gift for a young marksman? Obviously even a pellet gun is an upgrade to a BB gun, but when does a 22 enter into the equation and, beyond that threshold, big bore weapons? Ralphie and I are both curious about the concept from the TTAG readers.