I guess that I should have stated last week that the “Don’t be that Guy” post was going to be a two-parter of sorts. Yes there are some people, that without the aid of the internet would have absolutely no knowledge about firearms what-so-ever. With our modern technology and smart phones that have the ability to access more information then we use to be able to find in a whole series of Encyclopedia Brittanicas, it is no wonder that mis-information is rampant. But there is also a lot of good information out there too, and for those that have decided that trying to memorize every firearm that has ever been created is not their thing, There smart phones can do the work for them. Try this little experiment next time you are around people that are tech-savvy and recreational firearm aficionados. As you are loosely chatting about firearms, post the question “hey do you guys remember Miami Vice? What was that pistol that Don Johnson carried?” I’m putting the odds pretty high that almost everyone listening will pull there phone from there pocket and sort there way through 3 Wikipedia pages, to find that it was the Bren Ten pistol that Sonny carried. We have all seen it, and in fact it happens on such a regular basis, that it does not even register to us anymore. Question posed, phone retrieved, answer found. Who makes a .22 WMR semi automatic pistol? Phone out, beep-beep-boop… Well it says here that Kel-tec makes the PMR30, Grendal makes the P30, AMT formally made the AutomagII (it was currently resurrected by High Standard) and Excel Arms has the MP-22 Accelerator pistol. That is pretty slick information to have, but what do they shoot like? Or feel like? Do you have to have gorilla mits to be able to hold the grips? How is the recoil? These are all important questions, and no matter how many dimension sheets you look at on google, nothing compares to laying flesh to steel, and letting your hand make a decision for itself. The same can be said for video reviews. If you watch any of the Hickock45 video’s you would believe that ever handgun is a pocket pistol, and every long gun has got to be a carbine. He is just a big dude, with even bigger hands. Just because he makes a Desert Eagle look like a good concealed carry choice, doesn’t mean that it actually is. This is where a well outfitted gun shop can do a lot to help you, but even better then that is a friendly, knowledgeable gun-owner, who personally owns the firearms and is willing to take you out and let you send a few rounds down range. We, as possibly the last generation of Americans who will have gun collections, are responsible for helping to keep the traditions of recreational shooting, hunting, marksmanship and personal defense going. If no one new gets introduced to the shooting sports, shortly “WE THE PEOPLE” will become “I THE PERSON”, and that just don’t have the same ring to it. So how do we “Be that Guy”? Well here are a few steps that I believe will help keep this train of firearm freedoms rolling, as well as help us grow together as not only a “second amendment family”, but also as community… “Be this Guy”…
- Be an ambassador of the sport. Sounds pretty simple huh? if you look at its multiple definitions, you will see that it can simply mean to be “a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” So what does that mean? well lets go all “Occam’s Razor” with this one, and break it down to the simplest answers. If you care about the shooting sports, don’t do things that would jeopardize your ability to do them. Be friendly, be informed, obey the laws, and be the voice and face of the second amendment. If everyone that owned a firearm did this, you would be amazed and how the world would view us.
- Teach someone to shoot. Maybe its your kid, or a co-worker, or even your spouse. Take someone who has never shot before, take a day, start with the basics, and do it the right way. Teach them correct gun safety with eye protection and ear protection always worn. Teach proper stance and posture, train them to shoot with both eyes open, and teach them proper trigger squeeze and about the “shooters breath”. Then load up the guns and have some fun. Start with small calibers, a .22 lr rifle is priceless for this kind of learning, the simpler the better. As the familiarity grows, so will the smiles. Then you can move up to other calibers, or even classes of firearms. Make the activity fun, reactive targets are great, and more enjoyable to those who are new, then bench rest shooting for tiny groups. My wife grew up in the Silver valley, in so you would believe that she was born with a pistol in one hand and a rifle in the other… That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact it took a couple of years after we had been married for her to shoot any real firearms (she had shot BB guns as a child, but that was it) But after having a child she made the decision to learn to handle a firearm, for the protection of herself and our son. Open went the gun safe, and I loaded up everything that I thought she could shoot. Pistols that I hadn’t shot in years got cleaned and prepped, and off to the range we went. She was able to shoot a couple of .22 pistols, my old Taurus 85, and by the end of the day she even shot the M&P 45c. Always call it a day on a good note, and you will be amazed at who is asking who to go shooting next time.
- Open up the gun cabinet every once in a while. We all need to do this every once in a while. We all have become so accustomed to our carry weapon and making sure that we practice with it constantly, that we neglect the other firearms that we own. It’s really a shame too because we bought those other guns because we planned on “shooting them all the time”. Its good for you, and its good for the firearm. Take some friends with you, or maybe even the newbie that is showing interest in the sport. Next time that a friend has some questions about a CCW sidearm, invite them out and brake out the artillery. The experience that they receive from trigger time is worth more then a million hours researching on there phones. As a bonus, when you let your buddies put a couple rounds down range with your guns, they will almost always return the favor, and there is something special about sharing time and experiences, especially when firearms are involved.
- Show them the tricks of the trade. Who among us hasn’t burned up the better part of a box of ammo trying to sight in a new rifle? Boy I know that I have, Federal should have sponsored me with all the lead that I slung trying to figure out how to get my first rifle zeroed. It took someone who had literally done it hundreds of times SHOWING me the errors of my ways for me to finally get it. How many of you with your first pistol believed that your pistol sights were off because you always shot low left? Then someone who has a lot more experience with a pistol says “Those sights are fine.Quit flinching and start pulling the trigger with the tip of your finger as opposed to the first knuckle.” Magically all your shots are centered on the target. We all have had to learn a few lessons the hard way, but we also got a lot of help from others. When you see someone at the range doing the old “spray and pray” rifle sight-in technique, and getting frustrated, start up a conversation with them, and if there receptive give them a few pointers and maybe even give them a hand getting there shootin’ iron into shootin’ shape. I guarantee they will appreciate not only the help, but also the shared knowledge.
- Take them hunting. Hunting is an expensive hobby. when you tally up the money that you spend on a license, tags, firearms, ammo, clothing, cover scent, tree stands, duck boats, dogs, decoys, knives, and gas just to get out to your hunting spot, its pretty overwhelming. But we have already spent that money, and if we had it to do all over , we would gladly spend that money again. To a novice though, it is a pretty imposing amount of money to spend just to walk around in the woods in hopes of seeing a deer. So what can we do about it? Take them hunting. Let them borrow your back up rifle, and an old camo coat, and take them out. Wake em up at 3:30 am, and drive them out to the woods and give them the experience that we all care so deeply about. Yes it will cost them a few hard earned dollars for a license and a tag, but it is money well spent on some spiritual enlightenment. I have a couple friends that are avid duck hunters, and a couple years ago they asked if I would like to go. “I don’t have waders, I don’t have decoys, I don’t even own anything in wetland camo.” I told them. “Doesn’t matter” Tom replied, “Go buy a duck stamp, and some steel shot for your shotgun, Will has the rest of the gear that we need.” Tom was right, Will had everything we needed to make the hunt a success. At that time Will had a broken foot and in so he couldn’t wear waders over the cast, so he let me borrow his, he had decoys a plenty, and Will is one hell of a dog breeder.( If you are in the market for a gentleman’s sporting dog I wholeheartedly suggest that you look at Northwood retrievers.) Lucky, Will’s big lab, hunt’s harder then any animal I have ever seen, and the scolding look that he gave me every time that I missed a bird was priceless. I was hooked, and still am. I now have a decent set of waders, decoys of my own and even a shotgun dedicated just to waterfowl. All because they asked me to go, and showed me how it was supposed to be done.
“Being That Guy” can be as simple as showing someone how to sharpen a knife, or how to tie a tippet onto fly line. Or it can be as complicated as starting a petition to legalize open carry in your home state. To “be that guy” you first have to realize what is truly important to you, and be willing to do whatever it takes to keep those freedoms. Become informed, become knowledgeable, and most of all don’t sit back and watch what you love fade away. Each time that you share your knowledge, and time, with another person you are laying ink to paper in writing your own personal legacy. By “being that guy” you are making a conscious effort to improve the quality of life of those around you. We should all strive to “be that guy.”