Every child in my generation always wanted a BB gun for Christmas, especially after watching The Christmas Story, about Ralphie, the kid who got the Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and against his mother's wishes, in spite of her refrain: "You'll shoot your eye out!" That was in the movies; in real life, BB guns are very safe alternatives to help members of the younger generation learn the proper way to handle firearms. If children learn proper gun handling techniques when they are young, then we will not have to worry about their ability to handle firearms as they get older.
A BB gun comes in two varieties: lever action and pump action. Both of these use air as the catalyst for propelling the BB. Most of these come in 10 pump varieties. This simply means that 10 pumps is the maximum needed for launching the BB. The fewer pumps, the less power will be available to propel the BB. BB guns are made for small target practice, like small paper targets or the perennial favorite, aluminum cans. BB guns can be lots of fun, due to the fact that BB guns are relatively cheap and the ammunition for the gun is cheap as well.
Children can quickly learn the proper way to shoot when they start off with BB guns. They will learn how to aim and they will also start gaining respect for firearms and nature with proper stewardship. BB guns are perfect guns for hunting small game such as squirrels and rabbits. Small birds can also fall prey to the BB gun. Adventures like this can help youngsters as they start to learn how to hunt and will also help them perfect these skills as they get older.
The bottom line is that BB guns are great options for teaching young children how to deal with firearms. It is all about letting them gain respect for guns, people, and the environment. If they are taught proper handling of weapons as children, then they will be in much better positions to handle any firearm they choose as adults.
You can find BB guns at any department or sporting store. The most important thing is to practice safety at all times when dealing with any kind of firearm. Never point the gun at any person. Always take the time to aim before shooting, and don't roughhouse while holding a BB gun or even when one is nearby. BB guns are designed to be non-lethal but if they are handled improperly it can lead to someone getting seriously hurt. Always use precaution when dealing with any BB gun. Be safe and have fun.