Gun shots

One burr that gets under my saddle is people taking pictures of themselves holding guns. 

There are two three times when it’s ok to take a picture of someone holding a gun. 

– When you are posing with your trophy/trophies from a successful hunt (Mosquitos do NOT count)

– When you are taking a group photo of your military or law enforcement combat team. 

– During a course of fire at firearms competition. 

I have exactly one picture of me holding a camera, despite being around some really neat cameras for fifteen years (if you ever get a chance to pick up a Sinar P2, I heartily recommend them). To a professional photographer, a camera is a tool, as worthy of special recognition as a belt sander or joiner is to a carpenter. Sure, there’s some really nice cameras out there and yes, we get excited about the latest and great thing to come down the pike, but by and large, the nice qualities a camera might have is a result of their functionality and not from their innate beauty (Although the Contax G1 is just *gorgeous* and really useful. I digress.).

This is also my attitude with my guns. I have some guns that are really pretty to look at and some that are not, but I judge each gun I own (with one exception) according to it’s ability to do the task that I require of it, from busting clays to plinking to IPSC to 300 yard shots. The exception to the rule is the M1903 that’s in the photo I linked above: It’s not capable of being shot as the receivers from very early Springfields weren’t heat-treated properly, so it’s job is to be a family heirloom.

And no, I’m not a fan of “barbecue guns“, and I’m not a fan of tactical-for-tactical’s sake either: If a rail helps, use it, if it doesn’t, leave it off. I just don’t understand how we in the gun community (rightfully) criticize the anti-gunners for turning guns into killing machines possessed of their own will and then turn around and elevate what was and is a tool, a (very) refined blunt instrument into an object d’art and statement of our self-esteem.

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Down by one

So a mainstream environmentalist ecological terrorist takes hostages at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel and demands more TV shows about removing the stinking mass of polluting humanity from the face of Mother Gaia and wiping the Earth clean of human civilization. 

And the Maryland State Police Hostage Rescue Team grants him his wish, (in a limited sense), courtesy of a 7.62mm jacketed hollow point round. 

Civilization 1, Malthusian economics 0. 

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Home on the range

Gail Drake (who is an essential part of practically every major match at Rio) has a great post up on Downrange.tv about bringing up a family that shoots. 

My youngest will grow up to be a shooter, without a doubt. My oldest isn’t interested as much in shooting, but he loves camping and fishing. 

And that ain’t bad. 

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Iron Shot

It’s a highly-rated, exciting TV show where acknowledged experts compete in a head-to-head challenge on a playing field that changes with each new competition, but in the end, only one can be the victor. 

Top Shot?

Nope, Iron Chef

The producers on Top Shot (and other shooting shows) could learn a lot from Iron Chef’s success, but number one on the list is how to use expert commentary to make an otherwise obscure procedure approachable to the average viewer. 

For example, even though I’m the cook for my family (and not a bad one at that), I’ll never cook like an contestant on Iron Chef, but I still learn things from watching the show like how to quickly prepare a whole fish or how to improve my knife skills. 

This hasn’t happened with Top Shot (yet). Yes, it’s brought in viewers (quite a lot, in fact), but those viewers haven’t been able to appreciate just how spectacular JJ was on the dueling tree in the last episode of Season One or how hard it is to make a 300 yard shot under time pressure.

Colby hasn’t done this, and more to the point, he can’t do it, he just doesn’t know what technique and skills are involved (Memo to Pilgrim TV: Bring back Iain and have him do it).

Ideally, the resident expert on Top Shot would be like the colour analyst in a sports broadcast: Someone who expands the knowledge of the viewers and makes them want to get more into the game. 

This can’t end well

I love the taste of Beretta 92F in the morning! Tastes like a culture that has no clue whatsoever about safe gun handling. 

In 2003, Florian Jenett and Valentin Beinroth placed about 50 handgun replicas in downtown Frankfurt. The guns were made from tinted ice, making them look real at first sight. In 2009 they did a new edition of their Freeze! project but made the guns eatable by using coke, licorice, cherry and food coloring.

Dumb

I don’t blame the kid, I blame this kid’s parents. A lot.

Via Van Der Leun

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Final thoughts on Top Shot

Spoiler-free. 

If Sig Sauer, Glock, S+W, et al aren’t burning up the phone lines to get their products on this show, they’re morons. Over two million people watch this show each week, I’d be willing to bet that doesn’t amount to an entire season’s audience for any other shooting show on TV.

Did anyone besides me notice that aside from a Gander Mountain spot or two, there was a complete lack of shooting-related ads? Whether or not that’s because of History Channel’s rates or the fact that nobody know what the ratings would be before it aired, I don’t know. And Gander Mountain’s spots were wasted on me out here in Arizona: I don’t think there’s a store of theirs within a thousand miles of me.

No more TZ-99/SVT-40/whatintheheckisTHATgundoingontheshow: Stick with what people actually own, please. (And shoot CZ’s all the time instead of Berettas and TZ-99’s. But that’s just me.  )

They really need to split up the teams better at the start. Blue team dominated the competitions because top-to-bottom they had more shooters who had shot under the pressure of competition.

Caleb’s already got a deal due, in part, to his being on the show, and if I were Iain, Chris, JJ, Pete or Kelly, I’d look to capitalize on my fifteen minutes as much as I could with endorsements, personal appearances and speaking out in favour of worthwhile causes.

Let’s face it, the drama llama brings in viewers. The producers did it right: They started out with the personalities to give us the faces and heels, and then moved on to the shooting so we could root for our heroes and jeer our villians.

Shotguns! Shotguns were used in only one elimination round competition, far too infrequently for how popular they are. Maybe mix in some trap, skeet or clays in the next series.

The show needs a “resident expert”, someone to set up each shot and explain the possible strategies the competitors might use, something like role Dr. Hattori had on the original Iron Chef. For instance, casual viewers might not know why JJ used the sling on his rife last night, and they need to explain why he would want to use it, and how.

And one more thing to make the show more fun – Two words: Full auto.

Bang bang, you’re free

At Right Online this weekend, Steven Kruiser had an interesting response to a simple question: “How do you get a die hard leftist/statist interested in smaller government and personal liberty?” 

His answer: Take them shooting. Once they get a chance to use a gun, they begin to understand that there is a whole new world of personal freedom and responsibility out there, that they don’t have to rely on the government to keep them safe, that they themselves are the ones in charge of their life. 

We can talk about lower taxes and reduced government interference in our day-to-day lives but unless it’s April 15th, those are mostly nothing more than concepts. A gun is real. It’s visceral. It is powerful and needs to be treated with respect and consistency if you want to stay safe. Firearms can teach the concept of personal responsibility in a way that sticks with a person for a long, long time. 

Guns. The gateway drug to freedom. 

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Finally!

3 Gun Nation is coming to TV at last: The first show is this Monday at 7:30 (!) am. 

Oh well, that’s why they invented TiVo. 

Really looking forward to this show because if it’s done right, it could point the way to greater exposure of practical shooting on the bigger cable networks, and, dare I say it, (“Dare! Dare!”), ESPN or broadcast TV. 

(Yes, I’m the dorky-looking guy at 0:15, lower camera left with the grey hat. This is why I blog and not do a video journal…