The Public Mindset
…as it relates to the military involvement in the modern firearms industry… Thanks to Rainbow Six (too long ago?), Call of Duty and Battlefield video games the general civilian population (Average Joe’s) believes that every person gracing the confines of a military establishment is automatically a firearms expert. Then there’s the LEO angle which says every cop, city or county, man or woman in uniform MUST be trained S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics), right? The sad truth is that after “qualifying” (or proving proficient) with a particular duty weapon many LEO officials and military servicemen and women shoot exponentially fewer rounds every month than a lot of civilians do. But because of continued media highlighting and glamorization of military and LEO communities the general public doesn’t understand what a Specialist or an Officer is. We typically think everyone in uniform is a Master Gunnery Sargeant, Munitions Expert, Artillery Crew Member, Scout Sniper or even better a Navy Seal/Army Ranger/Delta Force. All of the preconceived ideas mentioned in this paragraph aren’t necessarily untrue, but I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that a good majority of those who have served have their knowledge of firearms limited to a specified region of their branch of service.
Please let me clarify: The author is aware of his applied use of generic and generalized statements such as “MANY”, “MOST”, “GOOD MAJORITY”, or “GENERAL PUBLIC” for example. I am simply trying to avoid the accusation that EVERYONE falls into this category of automatically bestowing credibility. So before I continue, PLEASE let me preface further thoughts with a blanket statement:
I LOVE, am thankful, grateful and forever indebted to our service people both domestic and abroad. And I don’t take this for granted in the least, because one thing many combat veterans have that us wannabe toy soldiers and mall cops do not is experience with their specific skill set in the face of immediate danger and high stress battle situations. Even more fortunate or us civilian gun nuts is many products on the market today are born as a result of soldiers in the field seeing what does and does not work, then coming back and addressing the situation with a product better suited to that type of application.
Credible Source vs. Wannabe Wangsta
It is this mindset that gives instant credibility to ALL gun talkers in general, in this case specifically to those with past service. A platform for opinion is automatic, every word spoken is taken as fact and the populace naively hangs on the word of the speaker with no desire for proof of said experiences. Apparently taking a super tacti-cool picture of yourself in airsoft gear then posting it to instagram is enough to garner expert status these days, regardless of proof. Honestly I’m not sure most people need or want proof because looking cool is the only thing they’re going for. Bet me… we could take 100% of the mall ninjas, C.O.D. overlords and tactical worshippers of the world into combat and 90% of them would crap their pants on the spot.
So… Ask Questions
The questions we pose often determine the level of need for experience and understanding. For example, I can tell you how I’ve seen a .300 Win Mag, .270 Win, .308 Winchester, .7mm-08 Remington, 280 Improved, .444 Marlin, 30/30 Win and on and on have performed on large (and sometimes small ) game animals because I have first hand experience with it, but I’m more limited when it comes to discussing a 5.56x45mm vs. 7.62x39mm’s ability at stopping a man at 50-300 meters because I haven’t done it nor have I been next to someone executing when it’s happened. Have I heard first hand accounts? Sure, but not enough to claim experience on the subject. 9×19 vs. 45 ACP? .40 S&W vs. .357 Sig? .44 Mag vs. .45 Long Colt? .450 Marlin vs. 45-70 Government? Revolver vs. Auto? Lever action vs. Bolt Action? All valid questions everyone claiming an audience has considered at one time or another but if the writer hasn’t touched an M-16 since basic and isn’t frequently seen standing in a pile of brass or at the rear end of a rifle I’m not sure I want to know what they think.
I want to know from people who know, have used and experience with any of the above question marks and spend time with the product, NOT from some armchair commando (service time or not) scouring a forum whose decided that auto pistols are somehow less reliable than wheel guns because he heard a story from his cousins, aunts girlfriend’s stepdad about the Colt Mustang that can’t make it through a box of Aguila .380 ammo. No way would I qualify this as experience and neither should you. In the meantime I’ll share what I know and what I’ve learned from EXPERIENCE and fact and only people I know with 100% certainty that have done the same, NOT something I’ve devised from speculation or hypothesis. When a gun works, I’ll tell you. When it doesn’t, I’ll tell you. That and more (many more mundane and braggadocios sounding details) is my level of experience. If it’s not enough, then that’s fine there’s always someone with more. No matter who you are, there’s always someone with more experience and knowledge.
Speaking from personal experience and observation here and not with an axe to grind, no matter how much you know or believe you have learned, we can all hope to continue to ascertain a greater wealth of knowledge. Let’s face it, no matter how full the brain tank is, there is always room for more. Once you’ve got it, then share it. But never in a holier than thou or “Lord vs. Serf” attitude. Never stop learning, never stop growing. Take advice from proven facts and experience (video and pictures help support facts), and just because someone claims to be an expert (Military AND/OR Civilian) take it with a grain of salt until you see their proof. On many occasions I’ve asked a firearms related question to a current or ex-military man to be received with a blank stare and “Sorry man, if it’s not about an M4 or turret mounted .50 I can’t answer it”, or “You’re asking me a gun question? I sat behind a desk and analyzed network usage patterns while I was in Iraq.”
IF YOU DEMAND EXCELLENCE EVENTUALLY THE IDIOTS AND SELF RIGHTEOUS PRIMA DONNA’S WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT. CIVILIAN, MILITARY OR EX-MILITARY INCLUDED.
I’ll shut up now. Back to reviews I promise.
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