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The Airforce Escape Pre-Charged Air Rifle

By Will Dabbs, MD

This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Pellet Gun!

“Dad, can I have a BB gun?”

I asked timidly one evening over dinner. The year was 1973, and I was seven years old. I would regularly sit and stare through the glass of my dad’s gun cabinet, drooling over the sleek oily blued implements of violence ensconced within. Dad stole a glance at my Mom, the look on her face all but sinking my prospects.

“Well, you are a responsible young man,” Dad answered between bites of meat loaf. Perhaps I wasn’t doomed, after all. “But owning your own gun is a big responsibility. What exactly do you have in mind?”

Here was my chance. My response spewed forth like that of Ralphie, the hapless young man in A Christmas Story, who sees his dreams of his own air rifle all but dashed when Santa warns him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

I already had the particular smoke pole selected. It was a basic no-frills Daisy lever action BB gun. The steel was quite literally blue—painted, not blued—and the humble little gun eschewed a forearm entirely. The flimsy plastic stock was imbued with a faux wood grain and configured for a young man of modest stature such as myself. I later found out the hard way that it also dissolved upon contact with insect repellent. The gun adorned the top rack at our local Otasco hardware store and could be mine for the princely sum of $7. I scampered back to stare at it every time we dropped by for caulk, glue or a sack of nails. To say I was obsessed with this little blue shooter does disservice to the term “Obsessed.”

Dad ultimately assuaged my mom’s concerns and even agreed to split the cost with me. I scoured my piggy bank and poked about underneath the couch cushions until I had scraped together the requisite $3.50, and we together made that little gun mine. In retrospect, my dad really wanted me to have it as badly as did I. He’s always been cool that way.

I literally shot that...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N1 (January 2018)
and was posted online on November 17, 2017

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