Once again, a few words about safety

Monday, December 1, 2014

If someone were to back at the more than 300 blogs I have written for www.airgunsofarizona and ask “What were the most important ones?” My answer might surprise you.

I have been extremely fortunate in my tenure here. I’ve had the opportunity to test literally hundreds of really neat air rifles and air pistols, to interview champions about their shooting skills and practice routines, to talk with airgun manufacturers, and to do some admittedly zany experiments. It has been, for the most part, a lot of fun.

Sure, not every day has been a trip to Santa’s lap; there have been days when I couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, when airguns have misbehaved, or when scope mounts were in active rebellion, but those times have been rare. And I have been blessed to work with the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com, although at a distance of a couple of thousand miles. It is a common misunderstanding among the people who respond to the blog. They think I am in close proximity to Airguns of Arizona; I am not. Airguns of Arizona is just where it is supposed to be – in Arizona. I am in upstate New York.

But if you press me about which blogs have I written that were truly important, I would have to say there is no contest: the important blogs were the ones about safety. When first started writing about airguns well over a decade ago, I mistakenly thought that it had been years since anyone had been killed by misadventure with an airgun. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Deaths from airguns do occur.

In my view, there shouldn’t be any deaths or injuries from airguns because they are completely preventable. Here’s how: never, ever point an airgun or an air pistol at anything you don’t want to see perforated, broken, injured, destroyed, or killed.

That’s the Big Secret of airgun safety (in fact, all gun safety): always, always, ALWAYS keep your air rifle or air pistol pointed in a safe direction. If it is pointed in a safe direction, even if somehow, magically, the airgun goes off by itself without human intervention, it can only shoot where it is pointed. It can’t hurt a person or animal or destroy property if it is not pointed at them. And don’t point the airgun someplace where it could ricochet and cause damage that way.

All the other rules of gun safety – treat every gun as if it were loaded, and so forth – follow from rule one: never, ever point an airgun or an air pistol at anything you don’t want to see perforated, broken, injured, destroyed, or killed.

Another good rule to follow is to make sure that everyone on the firing line has eye protection.

Kids generally need adult supervision to make sure that they follow rule one. Check that — let me put it a bit stronger: if you are not 100% totally certain that the kids in question will follow rule one all of the time, they need adult supervision.

Now, what does adult supervision entail? Watching from the kitchen window to make sure the kids don’t shoot each other? No. Telling the kids as they go out the door to “be safe?” No.

Adult supervision means being close enough to redirect the muzzle of the airgun if that becomes necessary. Some kids are great at following the rules while others have extremely poor impulse control. Further, kids these days have grown up in general playing video games where they can get away with extremely dangerous behavior, hit reset afterwards, and everything is fine. Unfortunately, in the real world, things can go from fine to disastrous in a few thoughtless moments.

So do the right thing: read about airgun safety in detail here: and supervise the kids!

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott



  1. chris says:


    I am Amazed at your treatise on kids and airguns (and some IQ deficient addledolts)

    As some one who observes people as a sport, I am always amazed at how kids are allowed to run rampant on/in/under stuff. They can hurt others and break stuff, but parents will say NOT MY KID, and if their kid is hurt, they sue.

    But even well behaved kids can lose it, and supervision needs to be right there.

    Trust me if your kid wants to plink and you let him/her and you all take turns your kid will learn more, faster. About many things. You are in a safe relaxed setting and they will listen. It doesn’t have to be about guns(only), it can be about real life situations.

    I enjoyed your post and agree with every word/concept. it was like me talking to myself as I watch a future Darwin Award Winner being allowed to do something truly stupid. And if you said something to the parent, you might get into a fight. Later in life they will take themselves out of the gene-pool.

    Thank you so much for that piece. It was perfect. I am down state on Long (taxed)Island, but I am from NYC.


    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words. May you and yours always shoot safely.

  2. Chris says:

    You are very welcome,(some), people are oblivious.

    I still have my Dead Daisy Spittn Image Field Master pump. It is dead It will not cock. To have it sent out, then fixed and returned will cost 2 times what dad paid for it, and at a gun show I was told I would pay about the fixing fee.

    Any clue as to where to look up an exploded view of the guts and how to to fix it? I have a feeling the pin that pushes the bb before or as the air vents into the barrel is the problem. You could accidentally load 2 bb’s in before firing and that could have jammed it.

    If you can contact me off list it would be great!


    1. Jock Elliott says:


      I suggest asking your question about Daisy repair and schematics here: http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/

      1. chris says:

        Hi Jock,

        I emailed the owner over at 54, with my tale of woe and found a small piece on Daisy power plants at Pyramid Air. While it does look like mine, not enough info to go forward. I may just put in the metal scrap pile at the dump. It may have looked really swell to many, I never liked it as it had no power to speak of. But I did learn to shoot with it, and learned pretty much everything you wrote about, so it served a purpose. My family did not hunt, but when I was allowed to shoot .22 rim fire I was competent standing, prone and sitting/chair and rest or just in my hands.


  3. Bob Todrick says:

    I completely agree that the safety issue is of prime importance.
    One thing that really disturbs me is the medias portrayal of airguns, which hinders any thoughts of safety.
    Case in point, the recent event where a 12 year old with an airsoft gun was shot by police.
    In nearly every media article (and TV piece) the dead youth was ‘brandishing a TOY gun’.
    These things are not toys. Dollars to donuts his parents gave him this ‘TOY’ without any instruction whatsoever of safety or how the gun would be perceived in the eyes of police officer.

Leave a Reply

3 × four =