Welcome To The Party, Pal.

Welcome To The Party, Pal.

Me, in 2011:

“If Gun Culture 1.0 is to survive, it needs fresh blood, and that means bringing in urban professionals like myself and the thousands of other people who look at firearms as a defensive tool first and a sporting tool second.” 

Outdoor Life, in 2018:

Baby boomers make up our nation’s largest cohort of hunters, and they’ve already begun to age out of the sport. Within 15 years, most will stop buying licenses entirely. And when they do, our ranks could plunge by 30 percent—along with critical funding for wildlife management, advocacy for hunting, and a tradition that’s probably pretty important to you. In other words, the clock is ticking. And unless we act now, we might not recover from the fallout. 

Fortunately, the outdoor industry is starting to catch on.

“Hipsters want to hunt. But they don’t want to hunt the way a rural farm boy from Illinois wants to hunt,” Dunfee says. “They don’t want to dress the same way, they don’t like focusing on antlers, they don’t like taking pictures of their animals. But they want local, sustainable, ecologically conscious meat. And within our efforts, there are few places to realize those values.” 

Speaking as an aging punk rocker (I was into shunning the mainstream before shunning the mainstream was cool) who’s going on his first hunt in just over a month, more of this, please. Much, much more. Localvore foodies are one of our passive allies, and we’ll need them (and people like them) if we’re going to survive and thrive as a hunting culture and a gun culture.

A Shot Vs. The Shot

A Shot vs. The Shot

So I’m signed up for a two-dayhog hunting school with Florida Firearms Training. I’m shopping for waterproof/snakeproof boots (not that I’m overly worried about snakes, but those boots are taller, and I *am* worried about tramping through foot-deep mud) and a big Yeti-esque cooler in another tab as I type this, and then I’m going to look around for rain gear and the best lightweight waterproof tactical pants to wear on my hunt.

Me, the very embodiment of Gun Culture 2.0, getting into hunting, the very essence of Gun Culture 1.0. Next up is a plague of locusts and a plague of frogs.

I’m actually rather excited about this, as it’s pretty much what I’ve been looking for in a hunting on-ramp: It’s local, it’s just two days long and it should (SHOULD) teach me how to hunt hogs versus taking us out with a guide to go blast Porky’s feral cousin without learning WHY we are doing what we’re doing.

Gun-wise, I’m probably going to go with my .300BLK pistol. My suppressor should be in my hands by then, and I’m looking forward to putting that gun and can into action together. I may go with the Holosun 1x red dot, or maybe swap that out for my 1.5-4x Leupold that’s not in use right now.

All this has got me thinking.

I shot about 600 or so rounds at John and Melody’s class last year. I shot 300 or so rounds at ECQC earlier this month. When I go to a USPSA or an IDPA match, I put 100 to 150 rounds downrange.

Now here’s the kicker: Out of all those shots, which one was the MOST important shot I fired? Which one of them made the difference between the quick and the dead? The first one, the one that was shot with no warmup and no prep and no practice. That’s what I can do, on-demand.

Which is just what happens on a hunt, because the shot you’re about to take is always THE most important shot of moment, if not the whole trip.

Think that has a self-defence application?

I do.

Hog Wild.

Hog Wild.

Whole Hog

Michael Bane brought up an interesting idea on last week’s podcast: Hog hunting, specifically eradicating feral hogs in the Southeast, has saved the sport of hunting in the U.S.

And he’s probably right.

Getting into hog hunting is really easy, especially for people like me who are middle aged and have never hunted. As I’ve said before, it’s actually easier for my wife and my kids to get into a regular hunting training program than it is for me to get into one.

However, getting into hog hunting is actually pretty easy: I snagged an evening’s trip awhile back to help me evaluate a cheap little IR sight, and there’s two-day classes on hunting hogs available near me as well that I’ll probably take advantage of next year.

And then there’s the simple fact that hogs are an invasive species, and blasting them into oblivion is like fishing for lion fish or hunting for Burmese Pythons: Yes, it’s hunting, but it’s hunting that tries to restore the balance to the ecosystem, and even the most fervent of tree-huggers understands that getting rid of invasive species is a good idea for everyone.

So go out and blast Wilbur into oblivion, and do so knowing that not only are you restoring balance to the environment, you’re also creating an on-ramp for generations of hunters to come.

And organically-grown, free-range, antibiotic-free bacon is just icing on the cake.

Hunting 2.0

Hunting 2.0

I’m a big fan of Steve Rinella’s “Meateater” series because it’s a hunting show that shows more than just “Hey, look, there’s Bambi! Let’s shoot him!”

And now it’s the first hunting show on Netflix.

Cool.

Mind The (Training) Gap

Mind The (Training) Gap

A truly great post on the importance of firearms training by Rob Morse:

Here is a sad and revealing fact.  Most gun owners have not taken any training.  Perhaps that made sense for gun culture 1.0 who grew up using a firearm for hunting.  Maybe it made sense when firearms habits and skills were handed down from generation to generation, but times have changed for most gun owners.  Learning to handle a firearm is critically important for gun culture 2.0 where gun ownership is centered on self-defense.  We don’t want to learn that skill on our own.

As I’ve said before on numerous occasions, there really isn’t a way to train yourself to hunt. Either you do it, or you don’t, and for a city-dweller like me, that means I don’t. I don’t have a farm, so can’t sit out in a field and shoot gophers and hoping that I win a lottery ticket so I can go off into the woods and blast Bambi to bits seems a little silly, given the fact I can show up at a local USPSA match and shoot, not put in for a tag which allows me to shoot a match sometime in the future.

Gun Culture 2.0 is “Shall Issue”. Gun Culture 1.0 is “May Issue”. There are no real barriers to shooting a match or taking a class other than the ones we create.

Just do it.

Gun Culture 3.0 Is Just Around The Corner.

Gun Culture 3.0 Is Just Around The Corner.

Let’s review:

Gun Culture 1.0 is/was built around buying guns for hunting and the target sports. It sprung up shortly after World War II, supported by written magazines like Guns&Ammo and Field&Stream. These publications mainly talked about guns in the context of outdoor pursuits such as turning Bambi and his many woodland friends into tasty meals and other such things. The act of shooting was, at best, the final link in the experience.

Gun Culture 2.0 is about buying a gun for concealed carry and practical shooting. It sprung up after the NRA asserted itself as a force to be reckoned with (rather than a sportsman’s organization) and the concurrent liberalization of concealed carry laws across the country. Focused on pistol bays and shooting ranges, it brought guns in from the farms and ranches and into the modern home. Shooting is the primary focus of the activities in this culture, with the gun (usually a concealed pistol) used to secure a person from harm rather than secure a source of food.

Gun Culture 3.0 will be an extension of Gun Culture 2.0, but it will be about how do you integrate the gun that you’ve already purchased into how you live. Pick up a copy of Field and Stream: How many of the articles in the magazine are about guns, and how many are about what you DO with a gun once you bought it? Now pick up a copy of Recoil or Shooting Illustrated or Guns. How many of the articles in those magazines are about the latest and greatest Blast-Inator 3000 firearm and how many are about how you can fit a gun into your lifestyle? How many of the ads in those magazines are about guns, versus all the other things that happen in your life?

Concealed carry is still huge, and hunting is still going strong. Gun media, however, is fixated on the idea that the reason to buy a gun is the gun itself, not the reasons why you want to own one beyond “It’s a gun”. Gun Culture 3.0 will talk about how guns and the security they provide, integrate into our larger life. Enthusiasts buy guns because they are guns, everyone else buys a gun to do something with it, and that’s what Gun Culture 3.0 will be about.

The gun owners of Gun Culture 3.0 are part of the mainstream of American culture, and it’s high time we start acting like it. We’re not on the fringes of American society, it’s the cultural elites in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles who are out-of touch with what makes America, America.It’s time to make gun ownership as common and accepted as motorcycle ownership and make a trip to the (gun) range as controversial as a trip to the (driving) range.

We live our lives. We own guns. We carry them. Deal with it.

UPDATE: When I got my concealed carry permit 10+ years ago, my instructor said that only one in three of us would actually carry our gun. Gun Culture 3.0 is what happens when that changes. Gun Culture 1.0 was/is fairly respectable and respected: You could (well, until recently) own a gun for hunting and not be considered a “Gun Nut”. No one blinks at a copy of Field&Stream or Outdoor Life in a doctor’s office waiting room. Gun Culture 3.0 will be when no one blinks at a copy of Front Sight or The Tactical Journal in a waiting room.

Hunting Is May Issue. Practical Shooting Is Shall Issue.

Hunting is May Issue. Practical Shooting is Shall Issue.

Thinking more about last week’s article for Bearing Arms, everything about hunting is about getting past the gatekeepers. You need your safety class, then your tags, then you need to find someplace to hunt or someone to show you where to hunt. There are checkpoints along the way to make sure you’re the “right type of person” to hunt, and even then, you may not get a chance to hunt if you don’t have the right connections.

In other words, “May Issue” concealed carry.

Practical shooting, though, is different. If you have something even close to the right gear for the match and have a basic understanding of gun safety, you shoot. You may have to go through a safety briefing and have a more experienced shooter guide you through the match, but if you show up, you shoot.

“Shall Issue”.

Which path leads to growth? Well, that one’s not hard to figure out.

#PrecisionRiflesMatter

#PrecisionRiflesMatter

I have to hand it to Ruger: They upset the market back in 2007 with the LCP, reinvigorated the Scout Rifle market in 2011 (with a catchy tagline they “borrowed” from me) and now they’re looking to jump onboard the rising tide of precision rifle shooting with their new gun.

So far I have fired five different 6.5 Creedmoor loads from Hornady and Doubletap off a bench rest on Gunsite’s York Range at 100 yards. I use the bipod and support the butt with a sandbag, and despite hating to shoot 5 shot bench rest groups – and I don’t think I’m very good at it – the Ruger Precision Rifle has proved to me it will shoot. I’m abusing the rifle and breaking another rule of precision shooting because I run through the group strings quickly and the rifle gets very hot and never cools down. Thus far my smallest group is 0.41 inches, fired with Hornady’s 120gr. A-Max Match, just edging out my best group with the 140gr. Hornady load of 0.55 inches. The worst group I’ve recorded (and I’m sure it was me, not the rifle or the ammunition) measured 1.51 inches. An overall average for 36 five shot groups with five different 6.5 Creedmoor loads has thus far produced a 0.912” average; that’s 180 rounds of mixed ammunition staying under one inch. Five shot, five group strings, or 25 rounds, are typically averaging around eight tenths of an inch when I manage to do my part well.

MSRP for the Precision Rifle is $1399, and we’re already seeing them go for under $1200 on Gunbroker. Team up that rifle with a a decent bipod, good rings and something like this Vortex scope, and you have a 1 MOA gun for around $2500.

Not bad. Okay Ruger, now make one for left-handed shooters.