Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This makes me sad.

Once upon a time, I used to love reading books and magazine articles about guns. The thrill, however, is largely gone.

Oh, sure, there are a few writers I still pay attention to when they write about hardware, but generally I'd rather read articles on training classes, shooting techniques, tactics or some esoteric piece by Pat Rogers on the proper clearance of Type XIIb malfunctions than yet another drooling, fawning review of yet another crappy, defective pistol I wouldn't let my cat pee on. (Or, worse, I could find myself yelling "WRONG!" every couple paragraphs, like for James Tarr's "Retro 1911" piece in the latest Shotgun News.)

This month's SWAT has a review of Todd Green's "Aim Fast Hit Fast" class, which was pretty cool and jibed with my experience at gun skul, as well as my monthly fix of awesome Pat Rogers and Louis Awerbuck content, and Concealed Carry Magazine had the usual lineup of good articles on legal topics and practical drills, plus that witty (and yet modest!) genius they have writing their back page column... But other than those two mags and the occasional Shotgun News, that's pretty much it for my gun periodical reading.

Guns were a lot cooler when I didn't know anything about them or shoot them very much. :(


McVee said...

Have you considered fly fishing?
(You probably already have the... a vest!)

libertyman said...

The gun magazines all have the same formula. Pictures of targets, pictures of the cartridge, pictures of someone shooting the darn thing all go into every article.

I still get a kick out of them,(pun intended) even though there is a bunch of misinformation from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Well, remember the old saw:

"Familiarity breeds contempt."

But it goes hand-in-hand with this one:

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

And most especially what follows those when vigilance and appreciation falter:

"You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

Oh, and I've got to check out those CC writers; that last guy sounds great. ;)


Cybrludite said...

Mark Twain said it first in, "Two Ways Of Looking At A River". And it's true. I can't go to a play without watching the lights, practical effects, & scene-changes more than the alleged talent. And don't get me started on computer caper movies...

Boat Guy said...

I miss Skeeter. John Taffin usually has some good stuff in HIS back page column, but for my money nobody will ever equal Mr. Skelton.
Been thinking about re-subscribing to one or two the FMG mags for a regular Clint Smith fix, among other redeeming qualities (though there are a number of unredeeming ones as well) but now you've got me thinking about CC too.
As for the rest? concur with your assessments

Ed Foster said...

Like Boat Guy, I miss Skeeter. I also wish Shooting Times would offer a reprint of the "Ben And The Old Man" series, but mostly I feel pretty much like you.

I likes me my 1911's, AR's, and M1A's, and have several of each. I build and shoot them all day (1911's and AR's), and fiddle with rebarreling Mausers when I get home, so there's not much in a magazine that I haven't seen a few times befor.

And so I went online to subscribe to Concealed Carry, found several articles from it, but couldn't get to the site to subscribe. Continuous Computer Brainfart when I tried. How do I get signed on to that worthy missive?

Jay G said...

I read them so that I can see what's available in America.

I think of it as my shopping list for when I escape...

Will Brown said...

Ah, the travails of expertise; there are so few displaying the positive experience and example to learn from anymore (not a condition I'll ever have to cope with :)).

Might be time to set up your own "gun skul" maybe.

Robb Allen said...

OK, now, take your experience and substitute "F/A-18" for "Guns" and you'll understand why I was confused when I watched Top Gun - I thought it was a comedy.

"No really! DO ANOTHER BARREL ROLL! It's the most effective way to avoid being shot!"

Anonymous said...

I still get enthusiastic about guns and bullets. Even the simplest things can still be improved.

How about a 9mm bullet that damages tissue like a 12 gauge slug, and still penetrates all the way to the back (18 inches in ballistic gelatin)? How about putting more bullets into the same size hand grip? How about designing the pistol with two magazines, so that when you run out of one, you can change it, and still have the other available to feed?

We aren't half done with our pistols, even if we accept that the 1911 is a very very good form factor for the human interface.

Stranger said...

The question for a gun writer is simple. Do you write for the small number of experts - or for the vast number of new chums?

Almost all of whom need to be repeatedly told to keep their fingers off the trigger - and yes they too can become an effective defensive shooter, who will be very welcome at the range. If they can learn to avoid pointing gun muzzles at other people under ordinary circumstances.

Yes,there is a lot of bad gun writing. And some of it is enough to drive the new guy our hobby and our rights depend on away. But there is less of it than in some other fields. Fortunately.


Desertrat said...

A lot more newbies than us Olde Phart "professionals". Writers write for the mass market. Hard to make a profit if publishing for the very-experienced shooter or reloader; too few buyers.

I dunno. In 1980 I went through a three-day course where the focus was on "Front sight, press." Once you get that under control, the rest of it is in figuring out when, where and how to get that front sight where it belongs--rapidly.

Shooting is the easy part. If I'm gonna read, it'll be about tactics and street smarts.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I believe that most of the Gun Mags out there are owned by Primedia, and editorially, the writers basically are just doing the Print Equivalent of Infomercials. Same thing with the American Rifleman. Plus, it gets really tiring to go through 4 pages of Full Color ads to get to the next page of the article you want to read.

Sigh! I miss Cooper's Corner. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, at least there was useful info every month from the Col. Now I have to go to some Ladies' house in Indianapolis and stand on her porch if I want to get an Honest Opinion about firearms.

DirtCrashr said...

You got me started on 'em, thank-you for that. I liked the Todd Green article and the chance to see the High-Power in the video without the shaky-cam and fuzzy-noise. They seriously need to do something about their sound set-up and production values if they are going to keep on going down that dangerous, pot-holed, YouTube road...

An Ordinary American said...

I gave up on gun rags twenty-plus years ago.

Too many "unmarried marriage counselors" writing too many articles that contained too much bravo-sierra.


Anonymous said...

I lived for hunting magazines as a kid. Now I can't stand to read how you could not possibly kill a deer with out this years Model 700ZR1 in .300 SFWD Mag in an article written by some pimp/gunwriter/proffesional outdoorsman.


Boat Guy said...

Cooper had the command of the English language that reflected the schooling (Secondary and undergrad) of a bygone era. He had his faults but he was one helluva writer. Not all of the monthly "corners" were great but his "observations" were always "well put".
Clint Smith will NEVER refer to himself as a writer, but he IS one of the legitimate heirs...and frankly someone who as a teacher has surpassed his mentor.

dave_h said...

Heh. I am not nearly that far along the road. I can still look at the nice pictures and go "ooh shiny" when I read an articles about some new guns. Of course the guns in question might not be worthy of cat pee, but I still like to look at stuff in gun magazines.

RevGreg said...

My friends dread the arrival of yet another episode of "Sons of Guns" on Discovery because they know I'll be just the merest mention of anything done on that show from a frothing rage for a few days.

Tomorrow night is the season finale: a folding "flashlight and survival kit built from an M11" (I suspect it will look a lot like a Magpul FMG9) and the "new guy" is challenged to "build an MG42 from scratch" which is just patently ridiculous.

In any case, I'm sure there will be enough industrial grade, concentrated misinformation, ego centrism, and downright stupidity to make me want to drive to Baton Rouge and make ample use of a clue-by-four to a few heads as usual.

The Freeholder said...

Tried Handloader Magazine?

dave_h said...

I thought the shoulder fired Browning machine gun conversion they did on Sons of gun was pretty cool.

og said...

The more you know about something, the less other people's opinions on the subject matter to you, especially when you've gathered a bunch of knowledge through firsthand experience. OTOH, you do sometimes help to get a newbie's feet on the right path, and that often makes it worthwhile.

MikeJ said...

If I can just find an article on a nice "flat shooting" handgun, I'd be happy happy happy. :) But most of them just appear to be "combat accurate" these days.

Will Brown said...

"If I can just find an article on a nice "flat shooting" handgun ..."

Here you go, MikeJ.

Oleg Volk has a nice photo spread and write up on the gun here. Flat shooting seems to be a universal appraisel of .357 mag. out of anything with a barrel longer than the cartridge itself.

FatWhiteMan said...

The Gun Rags got boring a few years ago and I haven't subscribed for years. I still pick up a copy of Handloader about every 4-5 months but that is about it. I used to get Shotgun News when it was all surplus ads with Mausers on every page. Now it is 1/2 EBR ads and the other half poorly written articles.

DJ said...

"Guns were a lot cooler when I didn't know anything about them or shoot them very much."

I agree. How about a trip down memory lane, at least for those of us who were just getting into handguns in the early-to-mid 1980s? Any of these magazine covers look familiar?


Steve said...

I'm no expert, just a hobbyist and student of firearms but I too got tired of seeing the same articles recycled every two years or so and let my subscriptions lapse long ago.
I do enjoy John Farnam's quips. Very interesting reading and I think a worthy successor to Cooper's Corner.
None of us will ever live long enough to master everything. One of the reasons that guns have always been interesting to me is because there is always something new to learn or tinker with.

DirtCrashr said...

Gun magazines are like motorcycle magazines. Occasionally there's the insightful and accessible engineering angle like Kevin Cameron does, or the undead-forever maunderings of Alan Cathcart, but more often it's a fanzine run by a bunch of fanatics - with the side goal of getting free stuff from the manufacturers to test and polish their hubris.

Beaumont said...

Sturgeon's Law states that 90% of everything is crap. I think he may have actually been a Sturgeon curmudgeon, but, true, there is a lot of drek in magazines. ALL magazines, not just gunny-type ones.

Then again, there are some rags in which one can read Clint Smith, John Taffin, and John Connor. I find the effort is usually rewarded.