Still miss you, Bob.
The article on hog hunting for American Hunter is written and sent to my editor. Here’s some stuff that didn’t make it into the mix.
- A hog hunting school like I attended is a really great way to get into hunting. If you’re like me, (and I know I am), the biggest problem with trying something new is that I don’t know what I don’t know. As such, having one day set aside to sight in our rifles and learn a little bit about feral pigs, how they live and how you hunt them made the hunt itself a lot easier.
- Watching the skinning/quartering process is essential to the experience. I spent my summers on a farm that raised chickens for market, so I know just what it takes to make the food we eat. It’s my sincere belief that Americans have no idea of the amount of effort needed to raise the food we eat, which is why we have a problem with obesity: All it takes for us to eat is money. A hunt will set you straight on such things right quickly, as you’ll so find out it takes WORK to stalk, shoot, quarter and then butcher a hog.
- Jeff Cooper believed that hunting was essential to understanding self-defense, and he’s right. There is just something about knowing that you need to take a shot to end another creature’s life and you need to take that shot NOW that can’t be found on a stage at a match or in a bay while training. There isn’t that sense of urgency at a match, or even shooting a qual at a class. If I blow a stage, there’s always the next one. If I blow a qualifier while training, it’s only my ego on the line, not my family’s supper.
Hunting, though? With hunting, you begin to realize that the stakes are truly mortal.
- I was initially leery about hunting on a private preserve with a guide because I thought it’d be one step up from bear baiting. However, hunting with a guide was a lot more active than I thought. It wasn’t a “Ok, pig there, shoot now” sort of thing: In reality, I spotted my critter first and led the stalk and helped in the chase afterwards. Yes, I’d get a lot more of the “outdoors” part of thing if I tramped around a wildlife preserve for a day or more chasing hogs, and that’s fine, I like the walking in the woods, and I’ll try that soon as well.
- I was also a little dismissive at first about the gear that one of my fellow hunters brought to the hunt. He was using a budget .30-30 with a UTG scope on it rotated 90° so that elevation is now windage, a setup that doesn’t exactly scream “Competency!” to me. You know what, though? Dude used that effed up budget gun to make a 50 yard headshot on his pig, dropping it with one round right behind the ear.
Serves me right for judging a book by its cover.
The haul? I ended up with two racks of ribs, two five pound hams, five pounds of backstrap and pork chops, six pounds of italian sausage and a pound of ground pork.
On the whole, as I said in the article, (which should be published next month) I’ll do it again, and soon. It was too much fun not to go again.
Let’s connect the dots, shall we?
- Acusport, one of the largest wholesalers of firearms and shooting accessories in the nation, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Now this in and of itself is a big frickin’ deal, because Acusport is HUGE. We have heard over and over again that there’s no “Trump slump” in gun sales, and while that’s probably true, this bankruptcy is an indication that while sales may be good, profit margins probably aren’t (and margins already sucked on gun sales before all this happened).
- They’re selling their gun distribution to Ellett Brothers (which is good, because Ellett Brothers runs a tight ship) and they’re selling their gun store Point Of Sale (POS*) system to GearFire, aka The National Firearms Dealer Network.
- Gearfire is the backend that drives pretty much every Mom and Pop gun shop’s “online store”. Ever notice that most stores’ shopping carts look and act the same? That’s because they all use Gearfire to stock and sell stuff online for them. Gearfire sets up the store and manages the inventory and buying and then the shop takes a smaller cut of the profit in return for not having to deal with the hassle of setting up an e-commerce site**.
- By buying Acusport’s POS business (stop giggling), Gearfire can now integrate the online shopping experience with the brick and mortar shopping experience.
This has the potential to make the life of your average gun shop owner a LOT easier, because special orders are the bane of a gun store owner’s existence. When someone comes in looking for, say, a Ruger Charger .22 pistol with a green laminate stock, the amount of time it takes to chase down that gun, get a price, confirm the price with the customer and then place the order eats up all the profit you’d make on the sale.
Now, by buying Acusport’s sales system, it’d be child’s play for GearFire to roll out a tablet-based kiosk for gun shops that directly interfaces with the cash register inside the store. Order your gear online using the kiosk in the store, and blammo, you can pay for it at the register without hassling a sales manager for hours on end.
GearFire is pretty smart. Let’s see what they do with their new acquisition.
* Yes, I know, it’s also an acronym for something else. Grow up.
** Gearfire got started literally across the parking lot from Scottsdale Gun Club, who for years ran SGCUSA.com as a successful online store. Now, however, SGCUSA is a re-branded GearFire store. That says quite a lot about the marketshare that GearFire has managed to acquire.
Interesting stuff I found on the web, some of it written by me, some not.
Comparing the Ruger LCR to S&W J-Frames. Me, I kinda like the LCR, but that’s why they make Pepsi AND Coke.
Well duh. Way, WAY past time for this, IMO. And no, more rallies are not “going on offense.” Taking someone to the range is going on offense. Signing up voters is going on offense. Asking for Top Shot Part Deux is going on offense. Screaming at an empty statehouse? Not so much…
Speaking of events and culture, It’s been almost 27 years since the first Lollapalooza concert in Chandler, Arizona*. I went with a bunch of my friends who were also into alternative rock, and it was life-changing.
This is before Nirvana made it big: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” wouldn’t be released in September of that year, and “grunge” was something you scraped off a dirty dishpan. Big hair metal bands ruled the rock world, and the music I listened to, The Smiths, The Pixies and New Order was sequestered to a late-night two-hour show on MTV. Alternative music was still, well, alternative, and just wasn’t being played on FM radio where everyone could hear it.
It was, however, being played on a small low-power AM station, KUKQ. KUKQ was everything to me and my friends, because prior to this, I was the weirdo for listening to cutting-edge rock rather than banging my head to Ratt or listening to old Led Zep or Pink Floyd cuts. With today’s a la carte media, where even the most obscure track is out there on YouTube somewhere, It’s hard for people of this day and age to understand what it was like to have a rallying point for people of like interests to come together and share a common experience.
Lollapalooza was all that, and it was all that on steroids. Me and literally thousands of other people who shared a common passion were all in one place, enjoying our music and all that went along with it. Lollapalooza wasn’t just a concert: There were tattoo and piercing parlors (neither of which were mainstream at the time) and side stages and a host of other events that were meant to compliment the music and reinforce the culture of alternative music.
Which brings me to guns. Pick up everything I just said, and drop on top of Gun Culture 2.0. The closest thing we have to the Lollapalooza experience is the NRA Annual Meeting, but if you listen to something other than country music, you’re kinda (T)SOL when it comes to culture at that event, and it’s the same with the USCCA’s Concealed Carry meeting as well.
It’s not just about guns, it’s about music and sport and life and… everything. Jerome Griffin mentioned to me recently that DropZone Gunner, an event that mashes up 3 Gun with obstacle racing, was designed with Lollapalooza in mind, and I think he’s on to something there. Gun ownership is being pushed to the side of American culture, and anything we can do to push it back to the middle is a very good thing indeed.
* 27 years is also the same amount of time from Lollapalooza to Beatlemania. Egad, I’m old.
Speaking of the culture war against guns (and I have been speaking about that a lot recently), these are just some of the gun-centric shows have come and gone from basic cable since I starting writing this blog.
Now, there are very good (legal) reasons why at least two of those shows are off the air, and two more relied on the sparkling personality of R. Lee Ermey for their success, but right now, there are exactly ZERO gun-related shows on basic cable. Yes, there are the great shows about guns and how they’re used on places like the Outdoor Channel, Sportsmans Channel and The Pursuit Channel, but those shows are not growing the culture because the audience for those programs is an audience that is already interested in the outdoor life.
We need more outreach programs that show up on channels which don’t rely on hunting programs for the majority of their content. Something like a gunsmith version of “Forged In Fire” is an obvious idea, but that’s just an opening bid. We need more. Let’s get back to the 2010 numbers, and soon.
Your Monday morning dosage of clue, served to you hot and fresh with a side of wake the @$%! up and take someone to the range.
If a tool’s only utility is grounded in fear, it allows for one dimensional stereotypes of its owner. Those opposed to your beliefs will label you, contain you, which will anger you while also leaving you vulnerable to manipulation. Although this is unfair, it happens regardless.
Stereotypes of gun owners and gun culture in America couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet, the only time the nation as a whole interacts with gun owners is following the tragedy of a mass shooting. With emotions already high and fingers being pointed, responsible gun owners are pigeon holed into false identities that they then feel forced to defend.
When we act like the scary quasi-fascists and use violent phrases to defend our gun rights, people tend to think we’re scary, violent quasi-fascists.
Moreover, talking like crazy, violent quasi-fascists goes against the very idea of being a gun owner. Inside the armed self-defense world, we preach de-escalation, calming words and verbal judo as a way to get out of potentially violent encounters. But, when we are confronted with emotionally-charged words of violence from those who want to negate the idea of armed self defense, we immediately go to the “MOLON LABE!” card and escalate the rhetoric.
Remember what happened in your concealed carry class? Remember all the questions you and your fellow students had about “Well, what if the bad guy is doing X? Can I shoot him then?”. What was the response to 99% of your questions about the escalation of force? Yep, that’s right, it was “Don’t shoot them, it’s a bad idea.”
We know that when we decide to carry a gun on our person, we must, MUST give up our “right” to be angry, because if we escalate the situation, it may go very badly for us. Note that in doing so, though, we are not giving our right to self-defense, we are merely using something other than 124 grain hollow points to accomplish that task. Just as we would only draw a weapon when it’s apparent it’s the only way to survive, we should draw a line in the sand and say “MOLON LABE!” only when, as Massad Ayoob puts it, it is in the gravest extreme.
Have we reach that point yet? I can’t answer that question for you, that is a personal decision. However, just as the answer to 99% of the “Can I shoot him now?” questions in your CCW class were “No,” I think the answer to 99% of the opportunities to escalate the rhetoric, our answer should be “No” as well.
We have other options. We know we need “tools in the toolbox” to defend our lives, so we need more options to defend our rights than just angry words. We need a full-court press to re-take our culture, and that means if we need to smile and take someone shooting, we smile and take someone shooting. If that means we join the NRA, we join the NRA. If that means there’s a TV show out there that treats civilian gun ownership with respect rather than showing it as the source of all evil, we BY GOLLY make that show the #1 show on the network.
I’m the NRA, and I not only vote, but I watch movies and TV shows as well.
I brought the Colt out to one of Step By Step’s Shoot N Scoot events last week to work on shooting in a match without the pressure of placement and to re-shoot stages where I screw up. I’ve written before about how the Shoot N Scoot is a good on-ramp for new gun owners, but it’s also a great way for more advanced shooters to learn from their mistakes in a short period of time.
The stages are all-steel, easy to shoot and the longest stage was 22 rounds, making them easy to shoot with an eight-round mag. I concentrated on muzzle control with two hands and one-handed shooting with the 1911, and while much more work is needed, at last I understand the scope of the problem now.
Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge
I also put my first 100 rounds through the Beretta APX I have on loan, and it’s a nice little service pistol. While it’s about the same size as a Glock, it’s got better sights (3 dot night sights*) and a better trigger. Looking forward to putting this gun to more use.
* Note that I said “better,” not “optimal.” I’m not that big of a fan of three dot sights, but they are better than what Glocks ship with.
I don’t think gun owners fully understand the debt we owe to R. Lee Ermey. With “Mail Call” and a host of other shows, he talked about guns as fun, while being funny.
We need more people like him today who are engaged in the culture and are having FUN while shooting a gun. No matter how much it might make you feel good, yelling at the gun control crowd and threatening Democrats are not fun actions. Gunny Ermey spoke up on politics and paid a price for his words, but he was known mostly for being a tremendous advocate for the military, firearms and an honorable way of life, and he had FUN while doing so.
Rest easy, Gunny. We’ll do our best to pick up the task you left behind.