Through my rifle’s optics I watched the 14″ steel plate topple over 1000 yards away. A broad grin of satisfaction grew upon my face. It would stay there all day.
After touching off literally hundreds of thousands of rounds over my lifetime of dedicate aim small miss small marksmanship discipline, making my first 1000 yard shot on my new Discovery Channel TV program is unquestionably the pinnacle of my ballistically coefficient life.
I have achieved the ultimate gun nut American dream by being trained by the greatest snipers the world has ever known, being one of the lucky few to get so much triggertime with the heroes of the US Military and law enforcement. I have spent my life studying guns, admiring guns, shooting guns, fondling guns, cleaning guns, buying guns, wearing out guns, going to gun shows, writing about guns, promoting gun ownership, giving guns as gifts, and teaching others about guns. I’m the gun guy, a loud guitar Dirty Harry with a ponytail.
I’ve never apologized for guns and never will. There are no bad guns, only bad people who either use guns in the commission of a crime or others who try to ban guns and keep other free, law-abiding Americans from having the means to defend themselves. It’s real simple. Bad people do bad things. Guns cause crime like spoons cause obesity.
Precision marksmanship, or playing the guitar the way Chuck Berry would want me to, has never come easy to me. Gungho practice, perseverance and persistence is the only way I know.
Fortunately, as it pertains to guns, my dad and uncle introduced me to guns the way it needs to be done: smart, slow and safe.
While I now own more guns than the 82nd Airborne, my first gun is still the most important gun I’ve ever owned. Many of you probably owned one just like it as your first gun.
That gun was my Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. It started it all for me. It taught me hand/eye coordination, discipline, and patience which is the essence of shooting and overall quality of life itself.
Every kid I knew owned a Red Ryder. Between my buddies and myself, we shot enough BBs to fill up a tandem garbage scow. We must have spent thousands of hours in the woods plinking and doing vermin control. It’s what kids growing up in the 1950s did. We didn’t go to the mall or play video games. We went to the woods and explored.
I’m often asked which is my favorite gun or caliber. That’s tough because I enjoy and use them all. All of my guns serve a utilitarian purpose. From procuring my family’s dinner to protecting myself and loved ones, guns are as natural to me as breathing and burning up guitar picks.
What I’m rarely asked is what I believe to be the most important gun. Without question, the Red Ryder BB gun is the most important gun in the history of American weaponry. I suspect more American shooters have begun their shooting lifestyle with a Red Ryder than any other gun. Tens of millions of Red Ryders have probably been sold, making it the most popular gun in American history.
All of the major gun manufacturers who produce amazing weaponry and the hundred plus million Americans who own them should pay homage to the little gun that doesn’t get its due but that started it all: the Daisy Red Ryder, the most important gun in America’s shooting history.
That thousand yard shot would not have been made without my Daisy Red Ryder showing me the way. Get your child a Daisy Red Ryder and continue America’s grand shooting heritage.
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