WWEKD?

What Would Elmer Keith Do?

I had an interesting discussion with a range officer at work last week: If Elmer Keith and the training legends of the past were alive today, what would they recommend as far as handguns?

One school of thought is that they’d recommend a lot of the same things they recommended back in the day. .44 Magnum. Wheelguns. Wadcutters. More of the same.

Me? I say different.

Let’s digress into the world of photography and talk about St. Ansel of Adams. The question arose awhile back on what ol’ AA would do in today’s world of digital images and photoshop, and I contend that rather than messing around with 8×10 view cameras and spending hours in the darkroom, he’d be diligently working on turning digital photography into a process-driven art, just like he did with chemically-based photography. The Camera, The Negative and The Print were not about the tools themselves, they were about integrating those three items into a process that could deliver consistent, repeatable results.

Now pause for a moment and look at the landscape of defensive firearms and firearms training right after WWII. The 1911 was not a consistently reliable platform yet and bullet design… well, bullet design sucked. Given those two realities, it’s only natural that yesterday’s trainers gravitated to big-bore revolvers, because that’s what worked at that time.

But those times are not our times. Semi-automatics work well now, and high-speed cameras and computer modeling have revolutionized the way bullets are made. Modern pistols work well, modern ammunition stops the threat, and modern materials means you don’t have to lug around an ingot of lead on your hip when you walk out the door.

Bottom line is, if you’re going to have icons, make an icon out of the process, not the person.