Opinion: Less ‘Friendly Fire,’ More Common Cause

by Jason J. Brown Note: This article was originally posted on NRA Blog

Less ‘Friendly Fire,’ More Common Cause
Less ‘Friendly Fire,’ More Common Cause

NRAblog.com

USA -(Ammoland.com)- I like guns — a lot. It’s perhaps the main reason I came to work for the NRA. Judging by the sharp increase in gun sales in the U.S over the past decade, I’m clearly not alone in my fondness for firearms and the shooting sports.

Guns are as diverse as their owners, purpose-built and endlessly customizable. Just think of the AR-15 and the myriad possibilities that exist to make it truly “yours” – a gamut of colored furniture, tactical accessories, optics and sights, slings, etc. Finding and customizing your firearm to fit your excruciatingly specific needs and desires is half the joy of being a gun owner.

Speaking of diversity, gun owners themselves are becoming increasingly diverse, as well. For instance, the number of women in target shooting ballooned 56 percent between 2005 and 2015. That same period saw an increase of 75 percent in the number of ladies in pistol shooting. That’s incredible.

What’s equally as incredible — but nowhere near as encouraging – is how some gun owners unleash mockery and mean-spirited criticism on other gun owners for their gun and gear choices and opinions.

(Photo courtesy/123RF)

This “friendly fire” needs to stop. It’s not productive, and it discourages new and prospective gun owners from joining the community. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve been dredging through comment threads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc., and come across some of the vilest, cruelest mockery of the firearms someone chose to buy or build, in many cases morphing into personal attacks.

There’s nothing wrong with being an expert or seasoned veteran, nor is there anything wrong with developing deeply rooted preferences in what gear you choose to run. In fact, the firearms community needs your expertise and guidance now more than ever. Record numbers of Americans have purchased guns – many for the first time – and getting the right info from the people who know best will help them become safer, better educated and more well-informed gun owners and users.

What they don’t need, however, is the primitive jawing and over-inflated ego of so-called “experts” scoffing at their choice of firearm color or caliber. We want more Americans to embrace their Second Amendment rights and join the ranks of those in the shooting sports lifestyle. Harassing and insulting them because they chose a pistol with a robin egg blue slide, or opted for a rimfire gun for home defense isn’t going to make that timid new gun owner feel any more welcome in a community already commonly lambasted by opponents as being hyper-masculine and insular, if not worse.

Look at Taurus’ new Spectrum pistol, which drew a lot of attention – some good, some critical -- when it was unveiled earlier this year.
Look at Taurus’ new Spectrum pistol, which drew a lot of attention – some good, some critical — when it was unveiled earlier this year.

Look at Taurus’ new Spectrum pistol, which drew a lot of attention – some good, some critical — when it was unveiled earlier this year. The wide range of non-traditional colors and sleek styling caught the attention of a growing class of female buyers looking for an effective-yet-aesthetically appealing concealed carry option, but the macho opinions in the peanut gallery took to the internet to bemoan Taurus and their new gun, slamming it as a “toy” and using “girly” as in insult.

Then there’s the AR-15 community, which has become so large and diverse it’s a microcosm of the gun-owning populace as a whole. The soaring popularity of the AR rifle invigorated entrepreneurs across the country to invest in milling machines and manufacturers licenses to begin cranking out rifles and parts; some companies specialized in high-performance, match-grade components, while others focused on building cost-effective basic guns and parts for those on a budget or new to guns.

Cruise around the forums long enough, and you’ll find more than a few “Tier 1 Tactical Operator Delta Force Super Soldiers” with more derogatory opinions and insults than there are AR-15 makers in the marketplace.

My interest in firearms, particularly AR-15s, grew gradually based on what I learned from research, done mostly online. Years ago before I ever dreamed of building an AR piece by tiny piece, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the options, the information, but mostly, the venom in so many of the comments and discussions online.

Did you stop and consider the circumstances behind someone’s purchasing decision?
Did you stop and consider the circumstances behind someone’s purchasing decision?

I had to sift through heaps of “my gun is better than your gun,” and “that gun sucks so you’re stupid to buy it,” in order to find legitimate, thoughtful and constructive advice and criticism used to make educated purchasing decisions. I was an active duty member of the U.S. military with some experience handling firearms, and still was discouraged by some of the bashing I encountered. I can’t imagine how someone entirely unacclimated would feel in that situation. God forbid they ask a question about Hi-Points, or solicit advice for choosing between a 1911 and a Glock.

Did you stop and consider the circumstances behind someone’s purchasing decision? What about their needs, which may be extremely different than your own? Does a new gun owner who only intends to use his rifle once a month at the range for plinking need a $3,000 race gun? I can assure he doesn’t need you insulting him when he chooses an entry-level model, instead. Would a small-framed young woman looking for a lightweight and concealable pistol, preferably one that came in a vibrant finish or color she liked, truly benefit from some tactical duty pistol replete with rails and lightening cuts and lasers and lights? What about the cash-strapped buyer who really wants a utilitarian gun for self-defense who may not be able to afford a high-end model?

Think about when you first got into guns. Remember all the questions you had about the most fundamental and basic issues. You might have spent your entire life learning about firearms and figuring out what works for you, but that certainly isn’t true for everyone else. New gun owners go to gun shops and read forum posts and social media comments to get opinions and advice from you, the savvy long-time gun enthusiast whose been around the block and knows their stuff. They didn’t ask for you to laugh at and humiliate them. Even in conversations with other more experienced gun owners, you still can choose to educate, discuss and debate, instead of criticize, insult and berate.

Rather than beat up on folks who want a pink pistol or budget AR, we should be working together to beat back gun grabbers and liberal elitists who don’t care what kind of guns we own — as long as they can wrest them away from us for good, it’s all the same to them.

(Photo courtesy/A Girl And A Gun)

By all means, have your opinions and share them. But please, be a friend, mentor, teacher, and guide to other gun owners. Embrace civility, and encourage healthy discussion. You can even entertain spirited debate when you disagree about what elements constitute the perfect CCW pistol or pinpoint-accurate precision rifle. I only ask that you refrain from belittling other gun owners for their choices.

We, American gun owners, have incredible strength in numbers, and the power and conviction of the National Rifle Association fighting to ensure our Second Amendment always survives. We will continue to defend our rights, our values and our way of life against the onslaught of those who seek to destroy it. We just shouldn’t have to defend ourselves against each other.

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Resistance is futile
Resistance is futile
3 years ago

Many of the bloggers that complain the most seem to either not own or don’t understand the equipment that they curse. I have ignored many of these bloggers and found them to be misleading at the least and highly opinionated with false information on many subjects. I suspect that many of them just get online just to boost their egos at the expense of new gun owners looking for honest information. I have to admit that i have fallen for some of these armchair experts in the past. We as a group should try to moderate and aid new gun… Read more »

James Higginbotham
James Higginbotham
4 years ago

you know if everyone will take a deep breath and let’s look at this. Car owners are also diverse, remember as kids we souped up our cars, or modified them, or painted them to our liking, no difference than our firearms, and today we have more choices. some like myself being an older man 77 years old. i still like BLUE STEEL AND WOOD, others like all kind of PLASTIC, OR RACE GUNS, OR PAINT JOBS, were all DIFFERENT and no one has the PATENT ON WHAT’S RIGHT FOR EVERYONE ELSE. just ENJOY the fact that we’re ALL LOVERS OF… Read more »

Chuckbone56
Chuckbone56
4 years ago

Its not the arrow, its the indian.

JorgeNorberto Pedace
JorgeNorberto Pedace
4 years ago

Las cosas de las cuales se queja el compositor de este artículo,se solucionan teniendo personalidad y seguridad en lo que se ha elegido,más allá del color o la forma,recordemos siempre que sobre gustos no hay nada escrito,y que las ar mas,más allá de que nos gusten se han hecho para una finalidad determinada,por consiguiente todas,absolutamente todas hieren o matan,más allá del calibre o del tamaño.Lo importante es saber que se quiere y para que.-

Jo Ann
Jo Ann
4 years ago

Very well said and probably should be re-run annually.

oldshooter
oldshooter
4 years ago

I agree completely; however, I find it interesting that this article is originally from an NRA blog site. So, what about the NRA’s antipathy towards “bump-stocks?” Doesn’t THAT count as unnecessary “gun bashing” on their part? Where’s the unity there? Just because someone wants to fire an AR or AK rapidly, why should they be ostracized, and their choice of gun and accessory demonized or banned? As I said, I agree with the article completely, but I’d like to see the NRA practice what it preaches, too. Anything less is pretty hypocritical, don’t you think? Full disclosure, I’ve been an… Read more »

Austin J
Austin J
4 years ago
Reply to  oldshooter

I agree with every line of your comment. I have been an NRA Life Member for several years. I became a life member before I learned about some of the back handed deals the NRA has been involved with. I recently sent a message to them letting them know that if they stuck with their anti-aging regarding bump stocks I would renounce my membership. Of course, will’m sure they could care less. At any rate, excellent post.

Vanns40
Vanns40
4 years ago

My byline is “shoot what you like”, period.

Bud
Bud
4 years ago

Thanks for the article. The first pistol I purchased was a Star 9 mm. I knew little about guns but it was what I could afford. I took the gun to the range, learned a proper grip and practiced, over and over. The Star was a shooter, as they say. When I took the test for my carry license the range master made fun of my pistol with a “Good luck with that”remark. Some others had some fine hand guns. After the shooting portion of the test I shot a perfect score, the highest in the class. Practice does count.

Ray D Jones
Ray D Jones
4 years ago

Great article! My old friend and gunsmith HATED 2 words in relation to firearms, TACTICAL and ZOMBIE. To each his own…………………..

JS
JS
4 years ago

I couldnt agree more. I go to various firearm forums and god help the new person showing up asking a “dumb” question. The people who respond with blistering replies start going at it, then trying to top one another in their blistering of the poor individual. God help you if you offer up some sane advice if you dont have 10,000 posts to your name. Then they all bitch about how we keep losing on 2A issues in California, when it is them alienating these newcomers to our sport. Now I generally ignore most of these places… I leave them… Read more »

Guy in Michigan
Guy in Michigan
4 years ago
Reply to  JS

I agree wholeheartedly. I learned this the hard way – getting pummeled, or just as bad, ignored. I’ve posted questions that received blistering replies and I’ve posted questions that returned crickets. Any more, I don’t bother. I’m too busy to spend enough time on forums to acquire the apparently necessary 10,000 posts or likes or whatever. I think it’s just that gun-owners are people, and people are people – there are kind ones, conscientious ones, mean ones and creepy ones. It’s just a quality of human beings.

Dave in Fairfax
Dave in Fairfax
4 years ago

Finally, a breath of sanity.This what I’ve been saying for years. A weapon shouldn’t be chained to your ego.
At their core, guns are tools. The essentials are, is it accurate enough for what you need to do, does it work when you need it to and can you afford it. Everything after that, appearance, comfort, other peoples’ opinions are secondary and may not matter at all.

Big Lou
Big Lou
4 years ago

Great article. It is about time someone said this. I think people forget what it was like when they were a newbie, it takes time to learn something new, and we should help each other instead of putting each other down for our choices. The one thing I hope everyone gets from this article is less stick together and help each other make better choices and also make good friends.

Coley
Coley
4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. I get so tired of the hyper-critical zealots who find fault with everything from thumb safeties to caliber to DA/SA triggers to magazine capacity…I could go on and on. I’ve been a handgun owner for about four years and have put about 8,000 rounds downrange, starting with a 22lr and finally settling in at 9mm and 45acp. Have owned Glock, SmithWesson, Springfield, Bersa, Taurus, Honor Defense, and a few other brands…all worthy of consideration. Wish there was a way to lower the testosterone levels of some of these people. Early on their comments… Read more »

Anthony w york jr
Anthony w york jr
4 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Coley, dont let the gun snobs bug you, just tell them “find me a Hi-point failure “video…

Cecil
Cecil
4 years ago

Good one!