Is it a way to relax or, maybe a way to get excited? Do you shoot for pest control? Is it an avenue for experimentation in the quest for the “perfect shot” or the “perfect card” in competition? Do you shoot for the pure joy of plinking? For some, it’s a way for families to come together and enjoy their time with each other. A way for parents and children to connect.
For a lot of us, the draw to air gunning is the fact that they can be so quiet and so accurate, while not being as loud or deadly as a firearm.
For this writer, airguns started out as a way to continue shooting and learn about how to shoot without shooting firearms. When the ammo crunch started to hit, it was very nice to have already been established in airguns and be able to go and fulfill that desire to shoot a rifle and not struggle to find ammunition or struggle to pay for that ammunition. Since then, it has quickly turned into my primary shooting passion. It is no longer necessary for me to go down to a public range and hope there’s a bench available in order to shoot. Or, sit down next to someone testing out their new “hand cannon,” that’s loud enough to hear a mile away, while blasting me with concussion wave after concussion wave. Today, my firearms are neglected because I enjoy shooting airguns so much.
The lower power of airguns, compared to firearms, allows them to be shot in many backyards safely, using a proper backstop. Some shooters can actually shoot an air rifle inside their own home or garage, which is especially nice this time of year because you don’t have to battle the elements or wait until the weather is nice to shoot. Even with a very short range, a shooter can perfect their shooting skills such as trigger control, breathing, head positioning and more from the comfort of their own home.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws to air gunning is that they can legally have a moderator (LDC) added on to the barrel to make them quiet. Extremely quiet! In fact, an airgun can be so quiet that you can quite literally shoot all day and not disturb any of your neighbors. At my home range, there have been numerous times when deer actually walk up to my targets to see why their making noise!
I can recall one summer day, a few years ago, when I was shooting off my back deck out to 100 or 125 yards in the open field behind my house. It was just me, my rifle, my supply bottle, and a tin of pellets. The wind was calm, it was warm out, and the sun was shining. I sat there for what seemed like a long time and shot at my target over and over. During the course of my shooting session, the world around me seemed to quietly fade away. I was comfortable, calm, and very focused on my target. I began to push my limits. Instead of aiming at the target, I started aiming at the “T” post it was mounted on. Sometimes I’d hit… sometimes I’d miss. I moved my shots out even further. At that point, it wasn’t so much about hitting the target or creating small groups. For me, it was more about the calming effect of sitting there shooting in peace and quiet, and the tranquil state of mind it had put me in. When I finally got up to put things away, I had a feeling like I had just got back from a great relaxing vacation. The extremely low noise level of my airgun played a big part in allowing me to reach that point of contentment.
For me, air gunning is all those things I mentioned above. Relaxing, exciting, competitive, useful, safe, and most of all… great fun! How about you?