Daisy’s Contribution to our National Defense
by David Albert
(originally published in Airgun Hobby Magazine, September, 2006)
During World War II, companies made many sacrifices to the
war effort. Daisy converted from toy gun production to producing 37mm canisters
for the War Department and various other products as a subcontractor to other
defense suppliers. This part of Daisy’s history is well documented and most of
those interested in the Daisy story know about it.
On the other hand, how many people know that during the Vietnam war, Daisy sold BB guns to the U.S. Army? These guns were used by the Army in their firearms training programs in the U.S. and in Vietnam. This is one or maybe the only historical example of spring powered BB guns being purchased and used by the U.S. military. (Note: spring powered BB guns are different than compressed air guns.)
In “It’s a Daisy”(pg 219 - ‘Daisy Guns Go to War’) Cass Hough defines the use of Model 99 derivative guns in an ‘instinct shooting’ training program. Another reference to BB guns purchased and used by the military is found in Dunathan’s book, “The American BB Gun”, page 82, where a photo of the butt stock of a Daisy BB gun is shown with the stamped-in marking, “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT. The second line of the stamping is not easily readable, but I have located a second military gun where the stock stamping is more legible...” Q.K. WPNS. DEPT. USAIS (which probably interprets as Quick Kill Weapons Department, U.S. Army Infantry School)
I surveyed the internet, contacted the Army Marksmanship unit at Fort Benning, and put questions on BB gun related web sites related to BB gun use in military training, Responses included some personal anecdotes of experiences with BB gun training but no real model numbers or detailed description of how the guns were used by the Army.
In June of 2005 at the ‘first annual meeting of AIRGUNSUSA’ in Rogers, Arkansas, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with Orin Ribar at the museum and discussed the Daisy involvement in the Army training program. He showed me a Presentation Document given to Daisy by Major General Williamson, U.S. Army. The document is an elaborate scrapbook of black and white glossy photos (which has a very impressive engraved brass cover plate) and includes descriptive material with most of the photos. The photos illustrate the guns used, the training facility at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the modifications that the Army unit at Fort Polk and Daisy developed to make the gun a more real simulator, replicating the M14 and M16 guns used in actual combat.
I located General Williamson and talked with him about the program. He confirmed that the point and shoot program was one he supported in his tenure in the military while stationed at Fort Polk and later in Vietnam. The program in the military was designated the ‘Quick Kill’ program.
The purpose of this article is to define in more detail the BB guns used in the program. As we explore this subject, we will see derivative guns that were developed, but never put into production and photos of actual training and the special training facilities constructed.
The following paragraph was extracted from the introduction to the Presentation Document.
AIR RIFLES AT FORT POLK
Guns utilized in the training program
The gun that Cass Hough mentions in “It’s a Daisy” is the
Daisy Model 99. The base gun pictured in the Army presentation appears to be a
model 99 target model (Figure 1). The interesting thing about this
picture is the statement in the descriptive material that the “concept” (Quick
Kill) was introduced and included in the training after, “14 years of military
experimentation with the above air rifle”. Obviously the government evaluation
of the proposed training approach was thoroughly tested before it was adopted.
|Figure 1: A new concept in marksmanship and target detection training was introduced and included in Fort Polk's Basic and Advanced Infantry training after 14 years of military experimentation with the above air rifle, manufactured by the Daisy Manufacturing Company of Rogers, Arkansas.|
Figures #2 and #3 show how the Model 99 was
modified to look and feel like an M14 and an M16. It is interesting that the
only other mention of ‘derivative’ BB guns appears in “It’s a Daisy”, page 220.
Cass Hough mentions the M16 derivative. Limited research reveals no other
mention of the modified guns. No examples have appeared at the Midwest shows
that I have attended and none have been advertised on the various auction
sites. Cass Hough describes the effort General Williamson expended to convince
Daisy to tool for the production of a M16 replica BB gun. “Daisy prepared a
cost estimate for production of 50,000 M16 replica guns, but no purchase order
was ever received. The Army went on to purchase standard Model 99s with no
front or rear sights”. One recent contact provided me a picture and some
descriptive material of a Crosman Quick Kill candidate gun reportedly built and
submitted to the Army in response to a request for proposals (RFP) to produce
point-and-shoot air guns for training. Unfortunately the document with the gun
is only a Crosman operating instruction and no dates or government procurement
information is included.
|Figure 2: Basic combat trainees become familiar with the size and weight of the real M-14 through training with this replica of the actual weapon. The air rifle chassis is mounted on an M-14 stock constructed by the Fort Polk Training Aids Center.|
|Figure 3: A few changes by the Fort Polk Training Aids Center and the ordinary air rifle purchased from the Daisy Manufacturing Company becomes an almost exact replica of the authentic M-16 rifle.|
Prior to the 2005 ‘Thirteenth Annual Daisy Get Together’ in
Mason, Michigan, two very knowledgeable people in the Daisy collecting circles
provided me with some detailed photos of the M16 derivative gun. Figure #4
is a close-up of the receiver of the M16 modified gun. “Yes, Virginia,
there was a M16 Daisy BB gun!” And, it was used at training bases other than
Fort Polk. One Daisy collector remembers using an M16 configured Daisy at Fort
|Figure 4: Close-up of receiver of Daisy modified to replicate the feel and weight of a M-16.|
Training program and special ranges
The Presentation Document pictures and describes the
training program that recruits were exposed to at Fort Polk.
The Army had two manuals that described the concept. One was US Army publication TT 23-71-1, ‘Principals of Quick Kill’, the other the ‘US Army’s Advanced Rifle Marksmanship Manual FM 3-22.9, Chapter 7'. In chapter 7, the concept is referred to as Instinctive Fire. Both of these manuals and the related concept are discussed in a fine website devoted to point shooting... http://pointshooting.com.
The Army Quick Kill training had several components. The first component was point shooting at airborne targets. (see Figure #5) In these exercises, two individuals are teamed. One throws an object into the air, the second shoots at the object with an air gun. The Presentation Document photo shows a line of soldiers training in this concept. This photo was widely distributed and has appeared in several other publications. Figure #6 shows another photo also seen in various publications that illustrates that the women in the military were also given Point and Shoot instruction.
|Figure 5: Trainees on Fort Polk's range used for Quick Kill fire at discs thrown into the air. The weapon is not sighted at the object, but rather is pointed as an extension of the eye. The air rifle has been found ideal for the training because it may be fired in limited areas. It is extremely economical to operate. Trainees have no fear of the weapon, and the BB itself acts as a tracer.|
|Figure 6: Ladies on the firing line learning the Quick Kill approach.|
The Presentation Document describes that after the trainee
has gained some experience and confidence shooting...and hitting ...airborne
targets, he is challenged to engage ground targets that appear and then
disappear quickly. To do this, the Army personnel at Fort Polk designed and
built special pop-up targets and incorporated those targets into special ranges
to be used with airgun training. The 1st Training Brigade B.B. Gun
Range (Experimental) is shown in Figure #7. Accompanying this photo, the
Army described the use of air rifles ‘duplicate to the M14 rifle’ being used on
a miniature qualification range. “The purpose of the miniature range is to build
confidence in the trainees and improve their marksmanship, resulting in more and
higher qualifications on the actual M 14 trainfire range.” The foliage and
underbrush added to give the miniature marksmanship range a more realistic
appearance are shown in Figure #8. An enlarged photo of the pop-up
targets and the men associated with its development are pictured in Figure
#9. The Fort Polk Quick Kill training was a rather large facility that
included eight ranges; Two ten-lane combat reaction ranges on Peason Ridge used
with an air rifle replica of the M16, two smaller ranges, with five lanes, used
for quick reaction training with the simulated M16, and four miniature
marksmanship ranges that basic trainees fire on with air rifle duplicates of the
|Figure 7: Air rifles, duplicate to the M-14 rifle, are fired on the miniature qualification range. The purpose of the miniature range is to build confidence in the trainees and improve their marksmanship, resulting in more and higher qualifications on the actual M-14 trainfire range.|
|Figure 8: Foliage and underbrush add a realistic touch to the miniature marksmanship range, viewed facing the firing line.|
|Figure 9: Duard Taylor (right), Fort Polk Range Officer, explains the workings of the miniature silhouette target on the Miniature Marksmanship Range. Taylor and Staff Sergeant Glenn Alexander, Range Warehouse Foreman, designed the targets.|
Figures #10 and #11 show the trainees
engaging drop-down and ground based targets with air rifle simulated M-16s.
After receiving air gun training, the recruits went on to a regular trainfire
range designed for the full-scale rifles. At other training bases, simpler
knock-down targets were used instead of the sophisticated range at Fort Polk
Another article written by Grits Gresham for the September 1966 issue of Field
and Stream magazine shows a photo of recruits going through an obstacle course.
Figure 12 shows a recruit starting over a hurdle and as he does, a
‘sniper’ pops out from behind a tree.
Figure 10: Soldier responding to drop-down sniper threat.
Figure 11: Ground-based silhouette targets.
Figure 12: Enemy "sniper" drops into view as soldier is going over obstacle.
Mention is also made of man-to-man combat training (ref.
“It’s a Daisy” (pg.221), “As the Vietnam War progressed, different types of
training programs were conceived by the Army, leading up to one that simulated
guerrilla warfare in which the soldiers (after being properly equipped with
padded uniforms, heavy safety glasses, helmets, etc.) actually hunted each other
in jungle-like terrain and fired at each other with these BB guns.” Another
reference to this type of training comes from a Rogers, Arkansas publication
“Daisy ‘Pot Shots’ issue 66c.” “Marines are using air rifles, also. But, they
fire directly at each other, wearing protective clothing and face masks. This
adds the realism of moving figures.”
One Daisy collector who remembers using the —16 derivative gun told me that his opposition forces used similar guns and he got a ‘significant hit’ during the exercise. He also said his group was provided with eye protection, but he doesn’t remember any padded uniforms.
Another veteran recalls the training at Fort Polk. His experience occurred during his advance infantry training in early 1969. “At the end of our one-day training, we suited up in a padded coat and a helmet with a clear plexiglass face shield, received a loaded Daisy, and set off down a trail through thick brush where we were told three "ambushers" were waiting for us. The first two were not well hidden behind thin bushes, and waved to let us know they were there. But as I neared the end of the trail, and had not seen the third ambusher. I grew more alert. I didn't want to be taken by surprise. Suddenly I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and spun quickly to my right, raised the Daisy, locked my eyes on my target and fired without even thinking about aiming. The "ambusher" was about twenty feet away hidden by thin saplings and thick brush, and he had just stepped out to "shoot" me by surprise. With a sharp "whack" my BB bounced off of his face mask, right between the eyes. I know it startled him, and I remember thinking, "It works! It really works!"
Looking at other articles published on the Quick Kill Program we find many references to the program. An article was included in the October 1967 issue of the American Rifleman, page 41 titled, “Air Guns for the Army”. Photos show a general firing a Daisy in an exhibition at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio in August. The article states that...”Quick Kill is now being taught with the aid of 13,000 specially modified Daisy air guns. The principal modifications are omission of both sights and a longer stock, along military lines, to fit adult shoulders.” (Incidentally, Airgun Digest, first edition page 59 indicate that the adult stock measured 37 5/8 inches.)
Other references indicate that the BB gun training was widespread. The Daisy Museum’s montage of many articles on Quick Kill mentions that all 12 of the Army posts that conduct basic training used the Quick Kill concept.
Real life Vietnam training
Quick Kill training occurred not only in the US. The
activities of the 25th Infantry Division as recorded in their
archival website includes a history of the division and its activities in
Vietnam from the unit paper, the ‘Tropic Lightning News’. In Vol.3 No. 40,
Sept.30, 1968, we find several references to the use of the Point and Shoot
training in Vietnam. On page 18 of this record, a demonstration of the concept
is pictured (Figure #13) and in Figure #14 an “Infantry Sergeant
watches a group of ARVN soldiers practice the Quick Kill method of firing (with
airguns) before moving to a live-fire range”. Quick Kill training with BB guns
was a training effort used both in the U.S. and in Vietnam. Daisy BB guns were
used in many locations.
|Figure 13: 25th Infantry soldiers explain the "Quick Kill" demonstration to a class of Vietnamese soldiers.|
|Figure 14: 25th Infantry Sergeant watches a group of ARVN soldiers practice the "Quick Kill" method of firing before moving to a live-fire range.|
Number of Guns and Models used in training
Both the model 99 and 95 were purchased from Daisy by the
U.S. Army. Quick Kill military guns of both models with the positive feed shot
tube have been identified. There must have been gravity feed models, because in
the previously mentioned Field and Stream article, Grits Gresham includes two
pictures. One shows a field rack of BB guns, the other shows a soldier loading a
gravity feed BB gun and the picture caption describes, “Reloading problems of
force feed air rifles were solved by switching to a gravity-feed model.” No
authenticated gravity feed guns used by the military have yet been located.
Defining the number of guns purchased is far more difficult. Very few guns have been located that can be proved to have been used by the Military. Figure #15 shows one gun that is marked with a stencil on the receiver and painted numbers on the stock.
|Figure 15: Quick Kill Gun, Model 95, with spring-fed shot tube, Reg. No. B756715.|
Another method the Army used for marking guns was to stamp
the numbers and letters into the stock of the gun. One such gun is shown in
Figure #16. Another example of this type of marking can be seen in Arni T.
Dunathan’s book, “The American BB gun, A Collector’s Guide on page 82.
In June of this year, I spent some time at the Daisy Museum
in Rogers , Arkansas. In a file of material on Quick Kill I found a document
compiled 9 June, 1980. It lists ‘Daisy Manufacturing Company “Quick Kill” Sales
to U.S. Army, 1967 through 1973'. In this table are listed sales of Air Rifles,
BB Shot, CO2 Guns, CO2 Cylinders, Pellet Guns, Pellets, and Parts. The major
deliveries of BB guns were done in 1967 through1970 with from 5,882 to 9,015
guns delivered a year.. Total sales for the seven year period 1967 through 1974
were 33,162 Air Rifles. Unfortunately this table does not seem to be complete as
two of the marked guns already discussed have register numbers that indicate
they were made in the late 1970's.
Two interesting guns have surfaced recently. They are Model 95 guns with a spring feed shot tube that are stamped on the front left side of the receiver “U.S. PROP.” I have one of these guns that was made in March 1974. With this gun I have a certificate stating that it was purchased from Daisy in Rogers, not from the U.S. government. No one I have found at Daisy museum can identify why this gun was stamped this way. Another gun with the same markings just sold at the Rock Island firearms auction site, and one was posted on Gunbroker. I have no register numbers for these guns so they could be the same gun bought and resold, but the markings are exactly the same as those on my gun shown in Figure #17.
Daisy Competition for Quick Kill Market
There was at least one competitor for the Quick Kill
market. Crosman made a special gun based on their V350 BB gun. Figure #18
shows the gun, the instruction page for its operation, some descriptive
material about the gun and a picture of the Crosman Vice President watching a
retired Army General shooting the gun. I have not been able to confirm that a
contract was ever issued to Crosman and am aware of only one V350 gun. The
owner of the gun in the insert article in Figure #18 indicates that he believes
that only three guns were built.
Quick Kill comes home to a peaceful use
Daisy, being the great marketing group that they always
have been, saw civilian recreational potential in the Military training Quick
Kill concept. When Daisy chose to market the techniques of Quick Kill in the
civilian market, a name change was mandatory. Daisy put together a kit that
included an instructional booklet, a Daisy gun, two pair of plastic protective
glasses, three tubes of what were defined as ‘special’ BBs and some aluminum
discs measuring 2 ½ and 3 ½ inches for use as aerial targets. Several of these
kits have been located and pictures and descriptions obtained. The kit was
sometimes defined in the printed material on the box end as Model 2299 shooting
Kit. Other kits sold at different times were sold in boxes without the Model
2299 designation on the box end, but included a large, box-lid filling insert ad
describing the contents as a Daisy Model 2299 Shooting Kit. A Quick Skill kit
is shown in Figure #19.
There are three Quick Skill guns in my own collection. Two
are complete kits and the other is a gun sold as an individual gun. This gun
came with a box, purported to be it’s original shipping container as shipped by
Daisy. The shipping box is a Daisy Model 1894 box assembled inside-out and
marked on one end flap as a 2199. Figure #20.
Another ‘instinct shooting gun’ variant has been
identified. This gun is a gravity fed model 95B. It’s individual gun shipping
box is labeled with a Daisy ‘Quick Skill’ label. (See Figure #21) The
gun has a round emblem insert on the right side of the stock inscribed, ‘Ducks
Unlimited’. The receiver of this gun is stenciled on the same side with the
words, ‘Green Wing;’. With the information I possess at this time, I can not
say that this gun was ever sold to the public, nor can I say that it was not
sold. It is one gun of the many that represent this fascinating part of Daisy’s
Talking with Daisy Museum personnel, I find that the
‘instinct shooting’, sightless BB guns were sold by Daisy for many years in many
configurations. When supplies of sightless guns were exhausted, Daisy
management would direct the production of a small (100 to 200) sightless guns
using whatever model large frame gun happened to be in production. They were
put into storage and sold as requested by customers. The last sightless version
sold was the Model 842. This gun was advertised in the 1997 Daisy catalogue as
a Quick Skill Rifle Kit. The 1997 catalogue and kit description are included in
Figure #22. Another interesting item available and shown in this
catalogue is Model No. 843 Daisy Instinct Shooting Program Kit which appears to
be a ‘can tosser’.
The information presented in this article provides a
starting point for future research With further effort we will be able to more
fully understand the models and variants of Daisy BB guns used as military
training tools and later sold as civilian instinct shooting trainer guns without
The history of instinct shooting and its use by the military goes back many years. Lucky McDaniels and others before him played significant roles in development of the concept and sale of the concept to the military. If any of you readers have sightless guns (description, registration/lot numbers, pictures), any personal experience with military point-and-shoot training or any experience with Lucky McDaniels and his involvement in the efforts to sell the idea of instinct shooting to the military, I would appreciate hearing from you. All the results of this research will be made available to the current Daisy management group, the Daisy Museum in Rogers, Arkansas and the Plymouth Michigan Historical museum without charge.
For more information about the Quick Kill program, see Instinct Shooting - The Birth of Quick Kill
Many people assisted in the preparation of this article providing pictures,
information on guns used in the program, personal experiences with Quick Kill
and Quick Skill. The article was attempted after I visited the Daisy Museum in
Rogers, Arkansas. General Williamson of the U.S. Army had given Daisy a
presentation document on the Quick Kill Program at Fort Polk. The Daisy Museum
Staff, Sue Secker, Orin Ribar and John Ford made copies and provided information
from this document. Joe Murfin allowed me to sort thru the files that Daisy has
on the program and Denise Johnson helped in this review and made copies of
information that was pertinent. This information included many published
articles on Instinct Shooting from magazines like ‘Field and Stream’ and
‘Shooting Times’ and ‘The American Rifleman’. Some of the contributed
information about individual guns including Register numbers, pictures, and
information on the gun configuration. Butch Sincock, Executive D people
providing pictures of specific guns were Wes Powers, Ray Tomoroy, George Nelson,
Bob Boccaccio, and Tom Woodling. Many othersirector of the 25th
inf. Div. Assn. gave permission to use pictures from the “Tropic Lightning
News”. Kirk Ramsey, the creator of the Tropic Lightning News site provided a
great ‘war story’ of his training at Fort Polk (see
Tales of a War Far Away).
To all of you, I can only say 'Thanks'. Without your support, the article could not have been written.
This article and all photographs on this page have been
provided by, and are the property of
Page created July 5, 2007