The Old Gun Culture Asserts Itself

Dave Petzal of Field And Stream didn’t like SHOT show this year.

Range Day is the Monday prior to the Show’s opening when manufacturers demonstrate their wares. People like me are bussed out to handle the goodies. This year, Range Day sounded like the Battle of Dak To, or perhaps Fallujah, with the distinctive pop-pop-pop of full-auto fire, which was extremely popular amongst all the SEAL wannabes. Indeed, this was symbolic of the whole show, which has now become so heavily militarized that you have to look fairly hard for something designed to kill animals instead of people.

Why do people like machine guns? Because they are fun. I mean, I get it to some degree: after you’ve been into guns and shooting for a while, everything that’s new is old again, or derp. I wish I had gone to SHOT back at the beginning of my blogging career, because now all the new stuff out there makes me go, “meh.” But I still smile when I get to shoot machine guns.

And “designed to kill animals instead of people” sounds like something straight out the anti-gun playbook. I’m sure it will be news to high-power shooters, or 3-gun shooters, that their tools of the trade are “designed to kill people.” Every gun is designed to kill people if you put one in the hands of someone interested in that. Remember, that’s not a deer rifle you have in your closet or safe, that’s a high-precision long range sniper rifle. A real man killer. So careful adopting the rhetoric of our opponents, Mr. Petzal.

h/t to KevinC

32 thoughts on “The Old Gun Culture Asserts Itself”

  1. Why is shooting a machine gun popular? Because while not prohibited, machine guns are inhibited. Reagan made them a rich man’s “toy”. Something beyond the means of most with the wife/husband and kids having every paycheck spoken for. Like owning a high end sports car, you really enjoy when you get an opportunity to drive one.

    1. How very true. I competed in IPSC competition for a few years, and one of the things that brought a smile to the faces of me and my friends was that you could have the race-gun equivalent of a championship NASCAR or Indy racer for a few hundred, maybe a thousand bucks at the time.

  2. Hunting has been declining for years as part of the evolution of our culture. Why would any industry focus a lot of its energies into a shrinking market segment instead of targeting the growing more profitable ones?

  3. This isn’t full Zumbo, but it’s pretty close… You’d have thought they learned the lesson.

    1. Come on. An editor of a magazine that focuses on hunting is nostalgic for a time when SHOT focused on hunting. Geez, gun owners are their own worst enemy sometimes.

      1. We’re all in this together. There should be no division between Gun Culture 1.0 and Gun Culture 2.0, any openning in our ranks is something the Anti-Gun lobby will try to drive a wedge into… The Clinton Era Assault Weapon Ban was a result of the Anti-Gun lobby convincing the hunters and sportsmen that no one was coming after their deer rifle. Until they did.

        Hang together or hang seperatly.

        1. None of which has anything to do with SHOT being more or less interesting than it was.

      2. Nah, the democrats are easily our worst enemy. Just look at both of your candidates for president.

      3. there’s definitely a way to say that without using phrases like “you have to look fairly hard for something designed to kill animals instead of people.”

  4. “you have to look fairly hard for something designed to kill animals instead of people.”

    Instead of those pure and beautiful Mauser actions…

    1. Maybe he’s just pining for more higher power rifles, instead of those .223 plinkers.

  5. The fun of shooting them kinda gets dulled when you have to load it up. That being said, they are rather important.

  6. Got to shoot a MaDuece once. On the governments dime. So I got my income tax back that year, and it took days to get the smile off my face. That’s why people love machine guns.

    1. I don’t think that is a fair comparison to the Field and Stream guy.

      Since we want to 1) encourage and recruit women into “gun culture” and 2) not play into the negative stereotypes the anti crowd tries to use against us I’m sympathetic to her feelings about the booth babes.

      As a dirty old man I see the appeal of seeing the female eye candy and since the shot show is really for industry rather than consumers and since the industry is, like many others, male dominated on the business decision side stocking the booths with hot bait makes sense.

      But having an environment where lechery is promoted or even worse condoned will hurt everyone.

      Now an attractive woman this is dressed in office appropriate attire and really knows about the products she is promoting (as opposed to just being a hot model who jiggles her T&A so was really just hired to bait men) is a huge turn on to me and a reason to visit the booth. Of course quality products is key as well.

      Reminder to those business men attending these events. Keep you behavior consistent with that which is office appropriate and not that for which you could be fired for doing to female co-workers.

      1. Now an attractive woman this is dressed in office appropriate attire and really knows about the products she is promoting (as opposed to just being a hot model who jiggles her T&A so was really just hired to bait men) is a huge turn on to me and a reason to visit the booth

        IOW, Booth babe: Tacky and bad.

        Angela Barrett: Classy and good.

  7. (Full disclosure: I’ve never fired a full-auto. Not because the experience isn’t available locally — “Full-Auto Fridays” are a thing at the local range — but simply because I haven’t had a chance to take them up on it.)

    That said, these days machine guns are rich men’s toys at best. At worst, they’re the armed citizen/militia weapon that you hope to God never gets taken into “the field”, both because of the cost of repair or replacement if it’s damaged, and because if you’re hauling a full-auto into “the field” for militia service, the ‘S’ has well and truly ‘HTF’.

    I still say, though, that any professed “gun enthusiast” who doesn’t at least appreciate machine guns, doesn’t understand what the Second Amendment actually means. (Hint: it’s not about your right to go duck hunting.)

    1. You do have to admit that duck hunting with a belt fed full auto 12 gauge would be pretty damn fun.

  8. Given that I was at Media Day at the Range, I feel qualified to comment on Petzal’s post. Yes, there were full auto weapons at the range just like there were last year. I’d guesstimate that there were all of 2-3 of them.

    As for it sounding like the Battle of Dak To or Fallujah, that would only be if it sounded like pop-pause-pop-pause-pop. Most gunfire at the range was spaced single shots from handguns with a few rifles and shotguns thrown in for good measure.

    I wonder why Petzal didn’t mention rifles like the Rigby Mauser in .375 H&H or .416 Rem Mag. It was a wooden stocked safari rifle. Or the Bergara bolt action in 6.5 Creedmoor with the $1500 Nightforce scope on it. Oh, wait! It had an evil suppressor on it which made the recoil feel like a .223.

    What Petzal is PO’ed about is having bloggers, podcasters, and other non-dead tree sorts at the range. He wants it to be like the old days when he was treated like royalty because he wrote for one of the Big 3 hook & blast publications.

  9. These are the guys that go out hunting then head straight back to their offices to write about it. The only ‘gun culture’ interaction they get is other writers and the ‘hunting guns’ that get sent to them for review.

    When Dick Metcalf zumboed himself a bit back, he went on and on about how involved he was. Not once did he ever show up to local events like IGOLD, right in his backyard. Not once did he write about the years long struggle to get CCW in Illinois, until afterwards that is, when he lambasted those who didn’t like the restrictive law.

  10. Let’s not forget that the H in SHOT stands for “hunting.”

    I have not attended since 2012, but it sounds like the trend continues — particularly the heavily militarized law-enforcement exhibits, which make up about 50 percent of the total now.

        1. It’s a joke, jackass. The S is first, so maybe shooting should probably be emphasized a bit more than hunting. Bigger pot of gold for the industry to chase.

      1. And the “OT,” if I recall correctly, stands for “Outdoor Trades.”

        I went only once (and the bloggers’ dinner was a lot of fun). Petzal has attended for 35 years, so I reckon he can see how things change over time — give him credit for that.

        1. And since “heavily militarized law-enforcement exhibits, which make up about 50 percent of the total now.” is true, maybe give the “heavily militarized law-enforcement exhibits” their due at the range as well. It’s not going away any time soon, and whining about it isn’t helping anyone.

  11. I liked this paragraph from Petzal:

    I saw no booth babes. Doug Painter, who used to be president of NSSF and knows whereof he speaks, assured me there that were booth babes and that they were of very high quality, but I didn’t see any. Indeed, dogs seem to have replaced Booth Babes. There were attack dogs, and bomb-sniffing dogs, and all sorts of tactical dogs, their eyes alight with a terrible intelligence.

    1. Sounds Like the old man wandered into the wrong section of the show to please him and got lost…..

  12. What these Fudds need to realize is his high powered scoped “sniper type” rifle are just behind those icky black yucky guns, which are just behind pistols AND revolvers. Do they really think their hunting guns would be grandfathered? Like England? Rich highly connected elite can own but the average Joe cannot? Somehow a writer for a dying magazine trade will qualify? Nope, turn them in. Nog

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