Sara Tipton's BB Gun (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

As fall approaches, and the holidays near, it’s time for me to consider a visit to Colorado to see my family. Bring on the egg nog and homemade mead! It’s also past time to start letting my four year-old daughter practice with her BB gun. She’s been going to preschool through summer because her best friend was going, and I was unsure of when we were moving, so I put it off. I wanted her to be able to spend as much time with her friend as possible before we move halfway across the country . . .

Now that fall is coming, she knows we will be “shooting with Grandad” in Colorado. My dad bought her the pink BB gun for Christmas last year. Sadly, she’s only shot it once. She did OK, and of course I reviewed the four safety rules with her. This weekend, my husband’s parents are stopping by to visit. I thought this would be a perfect time to take her out for some one-on-one time to shoot her gun. She’s excited, and as we continue to review the rules, she gets more and more in the mood.

The BB gun is also an excellent way to start teaching a child about guns. They have no recoil and they look and feel similar, although smaller, than a real gun. As we get closer to Saturday, she’s asking more and more frequently if we can go shoot now. As with teaching my son to clean a gun, I will go at a slow pace and take my time with her. She deserves to have all her questions answered as best as I can.

I can’t wait to spend some quality time with my daughter so she can “learn to shoot as good as Grandad.” Plus, she is looking forward to putting holes in some boxes. Saturday should prove to be a very fun day; it’s supposed to be cool and sunny. She’s already so excited she’s telling her friends at school about her going shooting this weekend.  I cannot wait for the inevitable meeting with her teacher about this – we are still in California after all.

I’m confident that I can show her how to use the BB gun and teach her the rules and the basics (grip, stance, trigger). I can’t wait for this weekend so that we can spend some mother-daughter time together. We are just a little different. Instead of painting our toe nails, we will be shooting. Another proud mommy moment to come.

34 Responses to Tipton: A BB Gun Is The Gateway to Firearms for My Daughter

  1. My dad would refuse to allow us to have a BB gun, he felt it encouraged/allowed bad habits. We all started around age 9 with .22s

    • A friend of mine told me the same thing. He grew up on a 10,000 acre wheat farm in central Oregon. He said his parents wouldn’t let them have BB guns as they are dangerous. They just made the kids start out with .22s (at around 8 yrs. old).

    • The same happened to me. Dad wouldn’t let me have a BB gun because he thought that I would treat it like a toy. He got me a Nylon 66 instead and taught me to respect the hell out of it. Looking back, I think that Dad was correct. I would have been lax with the BB gun, but I took that twenty-two very, very seriously.

      It helped when I joined the rifle club in High School a year later and received some formal instruction beyond the hunter safety course I had to take to get my rifle. Because I was a half-assed prodigy, I started HS when I was 13, so it wan’t too late for a New York City boy to learn good habits.

  2. Many anti’s profess their book-smart superiority and how important education is. Unless it is to teach safe responsible firearm use. Then somehow education becomes a bad thing.

    • Anti-gun attitudes and knowledge about guns have an inverse relationship. The more one learns about firearms, the less they tend to be for gun control. The weapon-haters know this, and proudly protect their ignorance. There is so much wrong with this worldview, I scarcely know where to begin. For one, it’s extremely hypocritical as these same people would be ashamed to be completely ignorant on most other issues they are passionate about. How dare you mix up the words “transsexual” and “transgender”, you cisgender heteronormative patriarchal misogynistic straight male chauvinist pig! (And you’re f—ing white, too, so shut the f— up you racist!) What a redneck ignoramus that doesn’t care about human suffering you are, gun worshiping ammosexual who callously engages in a hobby that directly causes the mass murder of children!

  3. Yep. Picked up a Red Ryder as a gift to the kids for my birthday (I suppose I could have called it a starting school present).

    We’ve been in the backyard going the basics of shooting. Right night, we are working on small targets about six inches in front of them on the ground, working on using the front sight. The daughter (8) is more antsy to start shooting targets. The boy (5) is happy just to shoot.

    The best part of having just one gun is that I can keep an eye on them and we can talk about safety violations in a constructive manner (he tends to muzzle sweep, she tends to put her finger on the trigger early).

    One last benefit to the BB gun is that we are next to the local elementary school. We can shoot after school and don’t have to worry about stray rounds. If the pellet does eventually fly across the yard, and manages to get to the edge of the property, it will be moving slow enough that it should bounce off the fence.

  4. F..ing Nerf guns were/are the gateway for my son! He is only 5 and obsessed with guns!

    Kindergarten starts tomorrow!

    How long until CPS is breaking down my door!?

  5. Sara, If in fact that is a “Red Ryder”, can your daughter “Cock” the darn thing? I remember when I was more than four, and I had a hell of a time cocking it. Maybe they have lightened the spring.
    Anybody else have a problem cocking those things, when they were a kid??

    • My 8-yr-old grandson struggles to clock his Red Ryder. That’s probably a good thing. Prevents young’uns from shooting unsupervised before they’re ready.

    • I didn’t have one when I was a kid, but I have to cock it for mine.

      The boy is 5 and will probably be strong enough in a year or two, but the 8 year old I don’t know about. On the other hand, she can flex into pretzels that make me wonder if she is made out of rubber.

  6. “A BB Gun Is The Gateway to Firearms for My Daughter”

    You should be ashamed of yourself!

    In front of your own child, no less!

    You’re obviously some kind of ‘enumerated constitutional right extremist’…

    Brain-washing an impressionable young child with poisonous ideas of ‘freedom’…

    (that *is* sarcasm)

    Carry on, mom…

    (tips hat)

    🙂

  7. i started out on a red ryder bb gun and my granny taught me how to shoot .. i know i know go ahead and laugh but grampa was at work and i was just laying around the house doing nothing when i stayed with them in the summer so she broke out that old red ryder my uncles had used and she taught me how to shoot some the best memories in my life

  8. Nailing cans and pinecones with BB guns were a part of most suburban boys’ (and more than a few girls’) experience. We got ours one Christmas when my dad was unemployed. We expected no presents, but woke up to find a Daisy, unwrapped, under a tree — obviously a Christmas Eve purchase made by a father who couldn’t bear to not do Christmas. I sucked at football, baseball and basketball, but hit everything I aimed at in the backyard.

    Yeah, it’s a gateway gun.

  9. My twin girls will be 4 next month. There’s an old Sheridan .20 cal pellet rifle in the safe that should fit the bill nicely. Then probably a youth model Ruger 10/22, single loaded of course. Can’t wait!

  10. Just wait until your daughter has only ‘exploding targets’ on her X-Mas list…

    Soda cans on a piece of string make excellent cheap reactive targets…

  11. God damn, I’ve done some stupid things with bb/pellet guns. I’m lucky to have both eyes. I caught a ricochet just below my eye, At the very top of the bone rim of the socket. It was almost a humorous situation even though it would not have been the slightest bit funny. That incident, and not taking the outcome for granted, is one of the reasons I’m as ocd about safety as I am.

    Teach her well, I know you’re up to it.

  12. I’ve taken my girls to the range to shoot .22’s, but I started them a few years ago with a Gamo whisper air rifle. Still quiet enough to use in the backyard in the suburbs and a lot more accurate than a bb gun. The secret is to have reactive targets so they get the instant satisfaction of a good shot. Cans and coffee creamer bottles along with splatter targets work great.

    • I started with a bb gun too. I owned my own .410 by the time I was 6 (in the south, this was not uncommon). I believe the long arcing flight of the bb taught me a lot about bullet compensation. It is not a hard concept to learn if you have actually seen a bb do it.

      Hope you guys move soon Sara. Thanking The Man now that I was just offered a job in Idaho. I’m returning to the United States. They said “we will give you 8 weeks to report to work” to which I replied “I’ll be there in 3”.

      Goodbye SF Bay! I know the best view we will ever have of California is when looking in our rear view mirror.

      • I believe the long arcing flight of the bb taught me a lot about bullet compensation.

        Maybe Red Ryders have changed, but mine was short on the “long” and heavy on the “arcing.” We could watch the BBs hit the grass MAYBE 5 yards out.

  13. I wanted a red ryder, but didn’t get one. My first was a daisy 880, so no complaints. Loved that thing. I did buy a red ryder for my kids first. Maybe because I didn’t get mine all those years ago.

  14. I started shooting in my Grandpa’s backyard at pop cans on the edge of grandma’s bird bath. My dad had me treat the Daisy BB gun like a real gun. I had a lot of fun! It is a gateway drug.

  15. You all missed the best point of Sara’s post: the homemade MEAD! Yummy!
    Seriously though, my favorite bb gun targets as a kid were the little green army men. Spent hours picking those off the fence boards.

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