Gifting any gun, to include air guns, is a lot of fun—the gift of an air gun keeps giving with every trigger squeeze, and the giver can take more joy in shooting with the giftee. Here are some tips to ensure that the air gun you select is the best fit for them.
Consider their experience level.
Whether you wish to give an air gun to a young person or a new shooter, consider their experience level before purchasing. There is little reason to spend hundreds of dollars on an air gun for a new shooter, young or old, who still needs to learn the basics. Get something fun for them to begin learning gun safety, trigger control, stock weld, breathing control and overall shooting positions and form. An entry-level air gun that is relatively accurate and easy to operate is key to a beginner’s enjoyment.
Consider the shooter’s size and strength.
Like any firearm, air guns need to be a good physical fit for the shooter. Getting something that is far too heavy and too long is not going to be a winning situation. If possible, take the person with you to shop for an air gun. The time together selecting an air gun is enjoyable and you are sure to get a good gun that fits. Another consideration is getting a gun that is not too difficult to operate. If you are getting an air gun that the user isn’t strong enough to pump, they will be deeply frustrated.
The same goes for a break-barrel gun. Many of these types of air guns are superb for hunting and target shooting, as they are powerful. However, they often take a lot of strength to cock and pump. The one situation where you might consider one of these guns that the user cannot operate on their own is one that fits a young person that you want to shoot ONLY when you are supervising them. Not being able to operate the air gun on their own is not necessarily a bad thing in an instance such as this.
Consider the use for the shooter.
This may sound like common sense, but sometimes our zeal to buy an air gun as a gift keeps us from realizing what the gun might be used for on a regular basis. For example, if your gift recipient enjoys small-game hunting or would like to remove pests or varmints with the air gun, then you need to plan accordingly and get something with enough power and range to do just that.
If your shooter is more of a backyard, fun plinker, then something easier to load and operate—possibly something semiautomatic or featuring a quick reload feature would be better.
Consider where they can shoot.
Some people have a place at home to shoot. Some do not. For those who can shoot at home, a pellet trap for some indoor or outdoor fun might be a good idea. If the person has a small backyard, consider getting an air gun that is not loud and unlikely to create friction or problems with the neighbor. When I was a kid, my friend and I often shot in his garage and learned to only pump the gun half of the maximum number of times. We had a lot of fun shooting at tiny targets and competing in that garage!
If the air gun recipient has a large yard or property they can shoot on unhindered, a more powerful air gun can come into play. Keep in mind the above tips when considering which type of gun to get for them.
Consider the accessories needed or desired.
In the above scenario, the hunter or varmint shooter might need or benefit from a scope and mounts or even a laser sight for the gun. Consider that as well as an extra magazine. Do your homework and find reviews showing which pellets perform best. Typically, heavier pellets are more accurate and have more energy downrange than lighter ones.
If your shooter is more of the plinker or fun-loving type, a PCP electric air compressor for the gun, an array of backyard moving targets and plenty of ammo for the gun would be ideal. All shooters receiving a gun will appreciate some targets and ammo to get them started, so don’t forget those!