WHAT IS THE SAFETY RECORD OF AIRGUNS?
by Robert D. Beeman Ph.D.
4 July 2001
See also the Dec. 2004 note on Airgun Injuries to Youth in the What's New (click here) section of this website.
It is interesting to look at the "Hazard Index" which the Consumer Products Safety Commission has published. These Hazard Indices are based on the number of injuries per 100,000 persons. They are much higher for products which are used by youth, such as airguns, because they multiply the basic index by 2.5 for such products. Nevertheless, gas, air and spring guns had an index of only 1.9 as compared with 2.8 for paper money and coins, 3.0 for fishing equipment, 4.9 for skates and skateboards, 5.8 for floors, 8.7 for beds, 25.4 for stairs, and 35.7 for bicycles. These figures suggest that bicycles are 1,736% more hazardous than airguns, and that beds and fishing equipment are respectively 357% and 58% more hazardous!
As far as precision adult airguns are concerned, these hazard figures probably are tremendously misleading. What few injuries were reported were almost entirely among youth, with virtually no accidents recorded among adults! Further, among the youth injuries, unfortunately all reported as accidents, the leading causes were intentional shootings and such things as placing B-Bs by hand in one's own ear or being pinched by the cocking lever of a B-B gun. Even including such causes, and all youth in the total figures, factors which make the injury record look much, much, worse than it really is, the ratio of less than one injury per two billion rounds fired was established! The primary cause of these injuries, almost all among youth, was product misuse: largely deliberate misuse and careless use.
See also the note on Airgun Injuries to Youth in the What's New (click here) section of this website.
ALSO CLICK ON THIS WEBSITE'S SAFETY DEVICES AND EXPERT WITNESS SECTIONS