Air Rifle or BB Gun is a Safe Pick for a First-Time Shooter

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Air Rifle or BB Gun is a Safe Pick for a First-Time ShooterMADISON –If a first firearm for a child is on your gift list this season, a state hunting safety specialist suggests a BB gun or air rifle along with ear and eye protections.

“Many of today’s best Olympic shooters still train and compete with air rifles,” said Tim Lawhern, hunter safety administrator for the Department of Natural Resources. “Air rifles are inexpensive to shoot, have virtually no recoil and no muzzle blast. They are an excellent choice to get the new shooter conditioned to practicing firearms safety and basic rifle handling skills.”

Lawhern, also a conservation warden, started on a Daisy? BB gun as a child. “It was one of those you pumped like a pump-action shotgun,” he said, adding soon after he received the gift came the safety training from his father.

If the young shooter is a bit older, Lawhern suggests a .22 rim fire. Consumers will find brands and action types from which to choose. “And, they are not too expensive to shoot,” he said, adding an experienced shooter will find the .22 rim fire accurate and fine for hunting for small game species.

Another option for small game is a shotgun, Lawhern said. “A new fad today is the 28 gauge and, of course, the venerable .410 is among the most popular beginner shotguns,” Lawhern said, adding the range of a .410 is limited and its ammunition can be expensive.

“It should go without saying that whenever you provide a young person a new firearm it should automatically come with close parental supervision and eye and ear protection,” Lawhern said. “Shooting safety glasses and ear muffs or plugs should be standard issue. A quality gun case is a must as well if you plan to transport your firearm in or on a vehicle in many states.”

Lawhern also suggests including with the firearm gift a copy of the four basic rules of firearms safety. A copy may be printed from the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy Lawhern: 608-266-1317