My son's toy gun
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My son's toy gun

My little boy turned three last weekend among a gathering of his friends, balloons, a cake with construction equipment on it and road cone candles. He chose the decor. He only turns three once, right? As part of the occasion, a good friend of mine bought him a toy gun. This thing is incredible, complete with a silencer (screwed onto the barrel, it makes a quieter, more high pitched sound than the fake “bang” sound when the silencer is removed). The slide moves when you pull the trigger. It has an optic. The fake flashlight on the bottom tac rail obviously doesn’t work, but the gun is “fully loaded” (no pun intended). It looks fake, so no one should be freaking out. Unfortunately . . .

I’ve already been told what a failure I am as a mother for allowing him to play with his fake plastic green and orange gun, and for having friends that got him the gun in the first place. Roll on Wyoming!

We went through the safety rules rather thoroughly. My boy knows not to point his “weapon” at people or the cats or dogs. He doesn’t have great trigger control, but he just turned three, so we can work on that, especially since the gun doesn’t fire any projectiles.  Saying that, a “bullet” would have helped with my gun safety lectures.

He’s slowly learning to identify the parts. We sit down and talk about what the slide is, what the grip is, and where the trigger is. He doesn’t like it when I remove the silencer either. He thinks it “looks silly” without it. Much like his sister, his interest stems from the fact that I have many guns and shoot frequently.

He loves to learn and talk to me about his gun. He loves feeling included with the rest of us; he was the only family member without a gun. He doesn’t even really play. He asks if he can shoot his gun and brings it to me when he’s done. He already understands more gun safety than most gun control advocates. I couldn’t be happier and more proud of him.

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  1. For what a stranger’s comments are worth: I have zero problems with responsible gun ownership and use. (I have two myself, despite being a “liberal” in Alabama.) So, thumbs up from this guy…

  2. My boys both had that set – the flashlight should work.

    As for the criticisms of your mothering skills because you allowed him to keep a toy gun given as a present – sounds like you need to thin out your circle of friends. Little boys who don’t have toy guns either use sticks, make finger guns, or build them out of Legos. Toy guns are a normal part of growing up for little boys and for quite a few little girls. Having a stuck up one’s posterior about what toys someone else’s child has is something most people should grow out of.

    • I once had a liberal church pastor who told this story: He was against guns and wouldn’t let his young son have a toy gun. He later noticed his son playing “cops & robbers” with his friends, using a stick that was sort of gun-shaped.

      That pastor is still probably anti-gun, but he learned something about what’s in a boy’s DNA.

    • I got that set for my younger son too. Took it out, primed and pointed it two-tone FDE and OD though (left on the orange tip though). Little light worked as well.

      I send my wife’s liberal Calif. sibling’s children similar sets for BDays, and my wife gets the hate mail back. I just send more…

  3. I wonder who the retard was who said you were a “failure as a mother” was? Me thinks somebody is projecting their won inadequacies.

    On the plus side, looks like a really cool toy.

  4. Why is that all guns are Beretta 92s?

    As a kid we played with toy guns all the time – we pointed them at people and fired off caps or yelled “bang”. Of course, we didn’t have any actual guns in the house and neither did any of the other families we knew.

    I want to get my boys into shooting in the next few years, and so I am sort of conflicted as to what approach to take with toy guns.

  5. Good on you!

    I have a good friend who has a 6 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. My friend reported that his son reprimanded his daughter (sister) for her lack of muzzle discipline.

    It occurred to me that young children take to learning well and develop good habits. Once kids reach their teen-age years they think they know everything and no longer pay attention.

    I trained myself to arms at a young age. I recognized the difference between a toy and a real gun. I was aware of the fact that a 12 gage shotgun would blow a really big hole in whatever it was pointed at; all I had to do was load it and pull the trigger. By the time I was a teenager (13) and got my own real gun to use by myself I was perfectly clear on what this gun-safety stuff was all about.

    Maybe that’s why children in my village didn’t have accidents. Your’s probably won’t have an accident either.

  6. As a boy, I had lots of toy guns, and shot all my friends with them at every conceivable opportunity. This was called “play.” I understand that “play” is illegal today and can get a child expelled from an institute of lower learning.

    Anyway, after melodramatic death throes, my friends miraculously arose unharmed and shot me. I said, “You can’t shoot me. You’re dead!” To which they would reply, “I was only playing possum!”

    Well, we all survived. Then we graduated to real guns and managed not to shoot each other. I know. It’s a miracle. Or not.

    • Same here. I was in many epic “battles” as a kid. At the same age I also had a pellet rifle. We “fought” with toy guns, but I was well aware that my pellet rifle (followed by a 12 gauge H&R at around 12 years old) was no toy.

    • Same here. Squirt guns and cap guns are meant to be pointed at your friends. The same thing holds true for rubber band guns (stay away from the eyes at close range).

      The “4 rules” come into play when using BB guns on up.

      By the way, that looks like a pretty cool toy gun. It is definitely “tacti-cool” and high-speed low-drag.

  7. Got my 2.5 yr old son the exact same toy gun. The flashlight does work, you need to pull the tab from he battery compartment for it to work.

    I like it for all the reasons you outlined as well and I dry fire practice with it when my son isn’t playing with it.

  8. Cool gun! I believe this is the BEST way to introduce kids to firearms and their proper use by using the toy as a tool to TEACH them the proper handling of a weapon! We would all be safer if children had RESPECT for firearms and knowledge of their PROPER use!

  9. It really makes me sad to see how wussified this nation has become. When I was a kid I had numerous cap guns, squirt guns, and I had a toy AR-15 style rifle that made machine gun sounds when you pulled the trigger.

    I also had an air blaster and a sonic blaster – one was a handgun and the other a rifle that shot a strong puff of air. One time I got my older brother all pissed off at me when he tried to light his cigarette and I blew out his match with my air blaster from about 15 feet away. Ah, good times… 🙂

  10. Anti gun Haters gonna hate. Tell em to bugger off and never too early for gun safety and training – and that fine piece looks mighty fun! Keep up the great job MOM!! A family that shoots together stays together and safer.

  11. I wish my mom was as cool as Sara.

    I remember playing “cops & robbers” and even “cowboys & indians” as a kid, with cap guns. Must be some sort of miracle that I didn’t turn out to be a violent, racist thug.

    But I do have some minor hearing loss. Growing up on a farm, there are lots of loud things that might have contributed to that. Detonating entire rolls of caps at once with a hammer on the sidewalk probably didn’t help.

    • “Detonating entire rolls of caps at once with a hammer on the sidewalk probably didn’t help.”

      Oh, yeah.

      That loud ringing and muted hearing afterwards led me to realize that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do to my ears…

  12. I have some transferred to video film, from the late late sixties, of my older brothers getting two bang on dead accurate (but plastic) M16A1s and immediately turning on each other with full auto (sounds) fire. Then they proceeded to work the room and pretend to mow down everyone in it, including me in my swaddling clothes and my dad holding the camera. Everyone seemed to think it was hilarious and thoroughly entertained by it. No ill effects from the activity. One brother fights emerging diseases in foreign lands and the other is a HS civics teacher. Both very well adjusted, productive, caring members of society.

    Go figure.

  13. I took the no toy guns approach personally because of my concern for my children learning poor gun safety attitudes. Reading your article, you may well be taking a smarter approach. Congrats.

  14. Sara, even though he is only three, I think you are setting the bar a bit low for him when you say, “He already understands more gun safety than most gun control advocates.” Now, if you said virtually all gun control advocates, that seems closer to the mark for your three year old. Bet he never said “the shoulder thing that goes up” has he?

    By the way, thanks for your stories about teaching your kids about guns. It does bring back memories about teaching my own daughter.

  15. I grow up in the bush of Alaska. My mom was a nurse, pilot, and fishing guide my dad was a transport pilot, hunting an fishing guide, and a first rate aero engineer who contracted to verious companies like Consolidated, Lockheed, and others.
    I grew up in and round firearms as hey we’re and are a tool of the trade living in Alaska. I never had a toy gun, but played with my cousins when we visited. My parents taught me gun safety, handling, correct shooting and hunting from the first moment that I showed the ability to learn.
    First firearm was a .410 that I received on my 7th B-day. I took quite a bit of fowl and small game with it, my first Wolverene just before my 9th birthday (he was stealing from my trap line) and a Black Bear in the early fall of my tenth year. On my 12th I was gifted a 1903A3, 30.06 which I hunted with using its stock sights for years. It still resides in my gun rack as a shooter.
    Mom, Sara, you did right and seem to have your head looking in the right direction. Don’t listen to the frightened sheep, instead be kind to them as they are blind an can not see. If the insist on pushing their agenda upon you it would then be a good time to perhaps look for new an open minded friends. Good choice of a toy and of a training tool. Their like sponges at that age with high retention. Good for you, what a lucky lad!

  16. At 58 years old, I can tell everyone I had about anything remotely related to a gun as a toy. We had Star Trek Phasers that shot those plastic disks. I still have it. We had a Sonic Blaster around 1968

    We had these toy rifles that we discovered that we could drop a firecracker down the barrel and then drop a rock or a marble down the barrel, which I guess made it a muzzle loader, but I bet it shot at a good 350′ per second and nobody put their eye out! If we didn’t have something that shot, we made something that shot. Heck, any home with an air compressor with boys around and you can bet they are shooting screws out a piece of rubber hose. Any good piece of hose, a little WD40, find a good fitting projectile and make sure the compressor is at 125 PSI and you can shoot stuff all day long.
    Bad mother my ass! You can’t take the boy out of a boy. They are going to make rubber band shooters or shoot spit-wads out of a straw. That’s what boys do! That’s why we have guns is because for eons, boys wanted to shoot stuff. You will NEVER EVER take it out of them.

  17. Looks like my crappy sig .22. I would have got him a Ruger look alike. Teach him well and all the safety requirements as I know you will. Be safe out there and always watch your six.

  18. That gun is so operator it should come with a stick on tactical beard.
    On a more serious note, my kids had Nerf guns for years and I never heard a peep from a parent here in Oregon about it. What is wrong with California? Then again this is Oregon so maybe it’s just that my suburban neighborhood isn’t vegan enough.

      • Sad, because earlier in the Spring after the crush of ISRA bulletins about potentially getting Suppressors legalized I had all sorts of fantasies running through my head….but alas….was not to be.

  19. Sara wrote, “I’ve already been told what a failure I am as a mother for allowing him to play with his fake plastic green and orange gun, and for having friends that got him the gun in the first place. Roll on Wyoming!”

    My response to that is, “I believe that being despised by the despicable is as good as being admired by the admirable.” This toy gun has helped you learn who your true friends are. So it was a good present for you also.

  20. Back when I was a little kid, I had a similar setup with an all-orange Colt Government (that’s what it said on the slide). Mine also had a shoulder stock attachment, and I taped a laser pointer to it to be like The Terminator.

  21. We had colt replica toys that had 2 piece ammo. A cartridge case with a pointed bullet that would shoot out of the gun. Greenie stick’em caps were the propellent.

    And what looked like a red rider bb gun with the guts removed from the barrel. Throw the lever and pull the trigger and it made a pop from compressed air. Stick the muzzle in a mud patch, cookie cutter style and you had a mud plug projectile.

    After hearing the story of david and goliath at sunday school we cut old bike inner tubes into slings and proceded to bash each other bloody with creek rocks.

    Boys. Breaking shit and drawing blood is what we do. And it lasts a lifetime.


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