I was about 10 years old when my father bought me my first air rifle. I’d been begging for one for years but mom had always told me no. One day, my father and I were at Sports Authority and I talked him into wandering over to the gun section.
If my memory serves me right, I really don’t remember having to do too much convincing and before I knew it I was walking out of the store with a Crosman 2200 Magnum air rifle. (The only reason I know the exact model is because I still have the gun today.)
Of course, as soon as I got home with the gun I was running around with it like a kid in a candy shop. Mom immediately sat me down and told me I could only use the gun when someone was supervising me and that I always had to wear eye protection. Being a 10-year-old boy, I quickly broke both of those rules.
I used to shoot tin cans in the woods before my mom would get home from work. Then, I decided to build a little platform in the trees and I would shoot tin cans I had set up on the platform from my bedroom window. I’d also take the gun out in the woods where my friends and I would have “pellet gun wars.”
It’s a miracle that none of us are blind, although one of us did have to go to the hospital once. Needless to say, my air rifle was confiscated by my parents (mom) multiple times and I’d go months on end without seeing it. It’s been years since I actually fired the air rifle and I keep it for nostalgic purposes and to pass down to my son when he’s 10 years old, or whatever age I think he’s mature enough to handle it.
I bring all of this up because I know there’s a segment of people in the survival world who swear that an air rifle is a must have “survival gun” and that I should have mine ready to go or in the back of my vehicle at all times. However, I tend to disagree.
Certainly, the ammunition is cheap, it’s only a few bucks for a box of BBs or pellets. And yes, you can take down small game, such as squirrels and rabbits, with it. Plus, air rifles are extremely quiet and don’t draw much attention. But, a .22 can also bring down small game and doesn’t make much noise either. The only way it doesn’t really compare to an air rifle is that .22 rounds cost a lot more than BBs do.
But, in a survival or emergency situation I want a real gun. I don’t want to take up valuable space in a survival bag or in a safe with an air rifle. In fact, the only reason I would use an air rifle as a survival gun is if I had no other choice, for example, if I lived in a horribly unfriendly gun state or city and an air rifle was my only option of having a gun.
I know there are going to be many people who disagree with me on this but just think about the purpose of a survival gun. If you need it, that means something has gone horribly wrong, such as a natural or other disaster. In that situation I want my .22 rifle (at the very least), and more specifically, my Ruger 10/22.
But, to each his own. If you do go with the air rifle just hope you only have to use it for practice purposes because you’d never want to come face to face with a criminal who had a real gun and all you had to depend on was a BB or pellet.