I believe that kids need to know about guns. Our culture is already saturated with guns and while most of this saturation is violent in nature, we have the power to shape that. And that’s where the Crickett Rifle comes in. This dynamic little single shot is the perfect tool for teaching kids the sporting side of firearms.
The Crickett Story
Back in the early 1990s, the father and son team of Bill and Steve McNeal created the Davey Crickett, a single-shot .22 caliber youth rifle. The Crickett rifles were the first in a growing Pennsylvania based brand, Keystone Sporting Arms, which opened in 1996. The small company has grown into a dominant powerhouse by making .22-caliber rifles designed specifically for kids.
The original Crickett design is heavily influenced by the Winchester 1900, another in the long line of John Moses Browning designs.
The 1900 was a popular gun, especially in the rural parts of this country, in a time when boys were allowed to carry .22s with them in the woods. The Chipmunk and other single shots would follow, but they had faded from popularity by the later half of the twentieth century.
But the McNeals saw the potential of the design. By the 90s, new technology and materials made it possible to produce these rifles, here in the states, inexpensively. And as Keystone grew, it made some strategic acquisitions. It bought Rogue Rifle Company (who made the original Chipmunk rifles). And it bought Revolution Stocks, who had made many of Keystone’s stocks.
The result is an American based company that now controls a good bit of what is arguably a tough market. After all, one does not simply sell guns to kids. The idea of a gun, and learning to use a gun, has to be sold to some open minded parents, first. Then those adults have the responsibility of teaching.
But it’s more fun than a video game. And, by the looks of Crickett’s price tags, cheaper.
The Crickett Rifle
The design of a Crickett is subtly elegant. They are bolt action, single-shot .22-caliber guns. This slows down the process, immensely. This makes for a perfect training pace. It is less dramatic than a magazine fed bolt action, and much safer than an automatic action (which will, eventually, be fired as rapidly as possible by almost all new shooters).
This inherent simplicity also keeps costs down.The Crickett dominates the market because it costs little to produce. The guns are made in a wide variety of colors and material, from traditional wooden stocks, to pink laminates, to brightly colored plastics.
The result is gun that’s simple to use. The Crickett fits small shooters. The youth guns are all just over 30 inches long. That’s tiny. Or just right, depending. And Keystone is mindful that girls like to shoot, too. Lots of pink and other bright colors.
It won’t break any banks. Sale prices will sometimes drop under $100, but they usually hover somewhere around the $130 mark, depending on the stock material and barrel material. Laminates, fancy thumb-hole stocks, bull barrels, and stainless steel are all going to make prices rise a bit.
Keystone seems to have a handle on their market. They’ve introduced a single shot pistol and a .20 gauge shotgun in production, but these are just extra. The real market lies in the Cricketts and Chipmunks. And the affordable fun that comes with close interaction between a parent and child.
Photo credit: Crickett Facebook Page