Photo courtesy of Daisy Red Ryder.
As Christmas shopping season gets underway, many NRA members may be looking for the perfect way to teach younger family members safe gun handling and marksmanship.
Ever since the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun was released in 1940, it has served as an introduction to firearms for a lot of little cowboys and cowgirls. Now Daisy Outdoor Products has released a commemorative edition of the Red Ryder lever-action carbine-style BB gun to celebrate the gun’s 80th anniversary.
Before the Lone Ranger, there was the Red Ryder, a fictional cowboy character who inspired this iconic airgun. The “famous fighting cowboy” appeared in comic strips, radio, TV, and movies from 1938 to 1965. The introduction of the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun allowed young fans to emulate the cowboy hero.
“It’s amazing for any product to stay in the line-up for 80 years,” Lawrence Taylor, director of public relations with Daisy Outdoor Products, told America’s 1st Freedom. “The number of youths we’ve reached through that gun is in the tens of millions. We reach probably a million each year having their first gun safety and marksmanship lessons with it, and we’re incredibly proud to be able to do that.”
The Daisy Red Ryder has seen very little change in its 80 years. The new commemorative editions still have the same features as the old—wood stock and forearm, lever action, saddle ring, and leather thong—but they also feature engraving on the forearm and a commemorative medallion in the stock. The engraving says “1940-2020” and “80th Anniversary.” The circular medallion also features the words “Red Ryder” and a picture of the cowboy.
Daisy makes several commemorative versions of its airguns. There’s one dedicated to the Second Amendment, a Pledge of Allegiance version, a police version, a firefighter version, state-specific versions, and anniversary guns like the 80th anniversary one. One limited-edition version celebrates the very first (pre-production) Daisy Red Ryder rifle, which was originally given to Fred Harman, the cartoonist who created the cowboy character, and which has now been donated to the non-profit Daisy Museum in Rogers, Ark. Adult-sized Red Ryders are available as well, though not for the commemorative editions.
The 80th anniversary versions of the Daisy Red Ryder BB guns are $34.99, the same price as the standard version.