A Boy and His BB Gun

“You’ll shoot your eye out.” You know the line from A Christmas Story. Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, complete with a compass in the stock. The whole movie is surrounded by the drama of whether Ralphie gets his life’s desire. In the end, after he has received the gun on Christmas day the closing line says, “This was the best present I had ever received or would ever receive.” (Insert Peter Bilingsley’s voice.)

My BB Gun

I can understand the love for that simple weapon. When I was about 8 years old, I received a very similar BB gun as a gift. I think it was a Daisy, but it wasn’t a Red Ryder. It had the spring action / lever action system that many of us loved. One lever movement to cock and load, one shot. It was deadly.

Now I was raised in a small bit of woods. There was a point in time when I went out, the BB gun was usually there (just in case). You never knew when a crazy man-eating squirrel may jump out of the hickory trees and attack.


Really it was about adventure. I knew that I wasn’t in danger, but all of my trips through wood and stream felt more complete with the BB gun. This was especially true if the dog came along too. I felt that if I had that weapon at my side, I was master of my domain.

My brother and I would pretend we were cowboys, army men, and space rangers. Of course I was always the good guy. It’s amazing how fast lunchtime came when you were just about to take the enemy bunker.

Dad taught us never to aim the BB gun at any person or animal. This rule I mostly followed. In fact, after I killed a bird, I felt terrible (a story for a later post). I swore I would never do it again.


A BB gun was good training for a real gun. I learned to handle the business end of a powerful weapon. It taught me that (good or bad) I could kill. It also helped me feel comfortable with myself and the tool I was using.

I’d have to agree with Ralphie. My BB gun was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.


Did you have a favored BB gun? Any stories?

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