Every kid needs a BB gun. I’m often asked how old they need to be before they should get one, and which one to get. My answers are almost always delivered with a long list of qualifications. Some six year olds are ready. Some 14 year olds need one-on-one adult supervision. It just depends on the maturity of the kid. Regardless, they need something they can work with, and the Umarex NXG APX is a rock solid air rifle for those who are ready to step up their shooting skills.
The APX is a familiar pattern. This gun will compete well with the pump rifles from Daisy and Crosman, but this one has a couple of features that will set it apart. Like the competition, the APX shoots BBs and pellets. Hand loading the latter one at a time can get old, but only for those of used to sticking magazines into our ARs. For a certain type of new shooter, one who appreciates the speed generated by the compressed air behind an alloy pellet, the effort required will be half of the fun.
One unique feature of the APX is its safety system. When you work the pump, the safety is engaged. This automatic safety has to be disengaged before shooting, though it can be reengaged at any point. Simply stick your finger into the trigger guard and push it forward and the APX is ready to go. This helps prevent you from shooting your eye out (though safety glasses come with the gun).
The gun is light, compact, and reasonably accurate. We shot it with BBs, lead pellets and alloy pellets. The box advertises speeds of up to 800 feet per second, and that’s with the alloy pellets. The lead pellets shoot well, and carry a bit more weight behind them, but they are slower. I was frustrated by the BBs. The pellets flew straight and true, and were easily aimed. The BBs though, arced out and broke like a curve ball close to 25 yards away from the muzzle. The odd thing is, they did so reliably, which meant you could compensate easily enough. Under 25 yards, their path was more true. The BBs are fun and easy to load and shoot. The pellets are more accurate. Two in one.
If I were looking for a holiday gift for someone who might be ready to graduate from their lever-action BB gun, this would be it. The gun works exceptionally well. It is light enough for smaller shooters. The 800 FPS reading is possible, making this a viable option for keeping squirrels off bird feeders–permanently, and it still has that cool factor with its angular design that makes it appealing to whipper-snappers.