An Appeal To Modern Gun Culture

So there I was, holding an expensive, obscure shotgun at one of my favorite gun stores. It was a High Standard Model 10B. The guys at the store had only just got it in, and before I plopped my hard-earned cash on the counter, I asked to test-fire it. They handed me three rounds and sent me to the range. Out there, I ran into two younger guys who were getting ready to shoot, each armed with fairly nice AR-15s and Glocks. They had Safariland holsters, EoTechs, and magnifiers. I think one guy had a MAWL. Their handguns had optics and lights. They were a living example of modern gun culture. 

I fired the three rounds, and the gun worked. As I cleared the gun, I realized the guys were watching. They were amused, to say the least, and neither of them had ever seen or heard of a High Standard Model 10B. One even made a comment about it being for elephants. I don’t expect everyone to recognize an obscure shotgun because most people aren’t weirdos like me. 

I didn’t expect that neither of the guys had ever fired a shotgun. These guys are clearly gun guys, and it was evident that they could shoot. We didn’t chat long, but that day has stuck with me. 

Modern Gun Culture – A Bit Stuck 

I had a fairly diverse, gun-influenced lifestyle. I grew up amongst hunters and learned how to handle shotguns and rifles to shoot birds, deer, squirrels, and more. The military exposed me to all sorts of things, mainly modern weaponry, and then I joined the firearms industry and was exposed even more. I never thought about the generation of gun guys who didn’t grow up with guns, and they have only ever concerned themselves with the most popular and arguably most effective firearms. 

Reliability was never a concern with this rifle.

To borrow a term from gaming, the current Meta is an AR-15-type carbine and a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol. For a lot of people, that’s where their experience with guns begins and ends. My appeal for modern gun culture is to get out there and try something different and new. If you can afford to do so, I think learning to operate a diverse group of firearms in a diverse group of disciplines can be super beneficial. 

It’s easy to see why. Sports and shooting clubs aren’t nearly as prevalent as they used to be. Hunting can be tough to get into due to the skill it takes to break into and the myriad of laws you have to deal with to hunt. Also, the gun industry really pushes the modern firearm, as does pop culture. 

Get Out There and Try More Guns 

The cure to modern gun culture being stuck to a very limited range of firearms experience is to get out there and shoot. If you’re an AR guy, go try a shotgun. Heck, get out of the defensive mindset and shoot some clay pigeons. I’d suggest doing a casual shoot with friends because real Skeet can be a real challenge. 

Try lever-action rifles, revolvers, bolt-action guns, or anything outside of your norm. The switch from an AR to an AK can be massive. It’s just worth getting out there and trying new things. Break outside of your comfort zone. 

Henry Model X Levered Up

There is no reason for modern gun culture to have a reverse Fudd attitude. A reverse fudd is someone who dislikes the classic wood-stocked rifles, shotguns, and handguns of yesteryear. Trying new guns will make you better in your preferred discipline. You can get better by trying other platforms if you’re an AR-15 and Glock guy. 

Shooting higher-recoiling .308 caliber semi-auto rifles and shotguns has taught me a great deal about recoil mitigation and made me faster with intermediate-caliber guns. Learning how to master the double-action trigger on a DA/SA handgun or revolver has made me faster on modern striker-fired guns. 

The lessons I learned by shooting a precision-oriented .22LR rifle designed for competition follow me to the AR-15. A diverse shooting experience doesn’t mean you’re taking away from your chosen discipline’s skills. It can often enhance them. 

Don’t Get Stuck In The Meta 

Let’s face it: doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. Trying different guns and different disciplines can keep things interesting. It has the potential to make you a better shooter in more ways than one. When you learn something new, your brain’s neuroplasticity increases. 

The more you learn, the more capability you have to learn. All learning comes down to problem-solving, and shooting is also problem-solving. How do I get this bullet to that target is the problem, and it gets more complex from there. Learning to solve the problem stimulates neurons, creates more neural pathways, and ultimately allows you to learn better. 

See, if you try something new, you won’t just be a better shooter but a better person overall. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.