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By Sabrewolfe

In a recent article, ST described telling his family that he had obtained a concealed handgun carry license. His family was appalled by the notion and wasn’t shy about saying so. In particular, something his uncle said when he was lecturing ST about why he didn’t need the gun struck a chord with me. “A real man doesn’t need a gun to stand on his own two feet.” So right, and yet so wrong at the same time . . .

I knew this in my gut, but I was at a loss as to how to explain it in a more coherent manner. As I pondered this, I realized before I could deal with where the gun fit in, I needed to break down the core question first: what does it mean to be a Man?

This is hardly a new question and a great many answers have been found by different groups over the eons. What I came up with is, beneath all the various forms of socio-cultural machismo window dressing, it boils down to a few key elements: an open mind, emotional control, and honor.

A real Man keeps an open mind. Not only does he freely admit when presented with new information that show his earlier views to be wrong, he seeks out those holes and weak spots in his beliefs so as to repair, or if need be, rebuild them.

A real Man is the master of his emotions. He feels them and is influenced by them, yet they do not rule him. They are tools in his workbelt. He does not lash out in rage: his righteous anger keeps him standing defiantly in the breach where others fall or flee. He does not cower in terror: his fear is tempered into caution and prudence, and it fuels his strength when lives are on the line.

Above all, a real Man is honorable. Not the trappings of honor found in the codes of chivalry or bushido, but the real deal: someone who does what is right, regardless of personal cost. He stands by his word. He holds himself accountable for his actions, good and bad. When he hears lies, he speaks out against them. When he sees evil, he fights it.

And therein lay the answer. ST’s uncle would be correct if all men were Men, or at least strove to be. A gun does not make a man a Man, any more than a hammer makes a carpenter. Yet, while a carpenter can do most of his job without a hammer, and while there are certainly items besides a hammer he could use to pound in nails if need be, there will always be certain tasks for which it is just the best tool there is.

In the same way, if someone tries to harm me or my loved ones, or if I see a person being raped, or some lunatic shooting into a crowd, why should I have to settle for a loose rock, a pocket knife, or some other substandard tool? Why should I use anything less than the best tool for the job?

A real Man indeed does not need a gun to stand on his own two feet, or even to stand up against another Man. But the sad truth of the world is that not all men are Men, and there are monsters in the darkness that wear the semblance of Man. As Men, it is our duty to stand against those monsters wherever and whenever we encounter them. Sometimes the best tool is our words, others it is our votes. Sometimes it is simply the example we set for others.

And sometimes, however rarely, that necessary tool is a gun.

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  1. Being a Man has nothing to do with political affiliation, pay rate, education level, worldly possessions… The list goes on.

    • You can use any justification you like for why you own guns.

      Our Founders believed that we needed them, and for good reason.

      And that is a mindset that has carried down through the ages.

    • “Bogumil”, that word is familiar, are you possibly from the Balkans?

      Back on topic, I also don’t own any guns. Though I do borrow guns (can’t really afford a Sauer 200 at the moment).

      • My family originated there a long time ago.

        I own several guns, it always annoys me when people ask why I need them. I don’t have to have a need only the cash to afford to buy it or make it.

        • True, a hobby doesn’t require justification, wanting to do it is justification enough.

          Truth be told we all would have “enough” by having a conceal carry pistol (Springfield XD or G19 for instance) for SD and an AR-15 or shotgun for HD.

          Then add the guns for hunting, 308 bolt action and a pump shotgun.

          But, most of us have more than that.

  2. Succinct, poignant, well spoken, and true.
    A gun does not make a man, but a an may need a gun, because sometimes monsters masquerade as men.
    I will borrow this.

    • Just read a great book with an appropriate title “Man is Wolf to Man”

      About Stalinism/USSR of the 1940s. Their Army and gulag.

  3. Ive always HATED those “real men ____” or “real men love ____”.

    Seems like just an altered penis comparison argument.

    • It is, thinly veiled.

      In response to the t-shirt picture:

      If some dude wants to fight me, I’m not going to risk getting myself injured trying to fight back with my hands, I’m just going to shoot him. If he dies, he dies. If not, lucky for him.

        • Ditto.

          If we’re ever in the same locale, we’ll be the two old guys out of the way, enjoying a cold beer or fine single malt, whilst the troubles are well over “that-a-way.”

        • C’mon, you gotta have some excitement. At least one attempt on your life.

          Joking aside I do usually avoid the three S’ (Stupid people, Stupid places, Stupid things), still didn’t stop someone trying to kill me. It usually helps, but someday you have extraordinarily bad luck, that’s why it helps to be armed and knowing how to get out of places.

        • That’s a good policy, but unfortunately, stupid people/situations can still find you. That’s what the antis pretend not to understand.

      • There were two cases in my region in which men were killed with fists: one was two guys in a fight outside, one guy hit the other and the guy fell, hitting his head, and he died days/weeks later.

        Another involved someone dying from being struck in the head with hands and feet.

        This nonsense needs to stop in which the public deems defense unnecessary when faced with “only” fists.

        Of course, they don’t apply the “real men use fists” standard to the police, who can call in backup and outnumber someone 20 to 1.

    • Especially the “real men use fists” crap.

      So let me follow that logic… If a guy likes shooting guns at the range on the weekends and has a CCW license, he’s not a real man. But if a guy beats a woman to death with his bare hands, now there’s a man. Because fists.


  4. Clearly awesome. Diffinetly the second place article, I still enjoyed the Vietnam pistol returning to its owner.

  5. I sure ST’s uncle would be dissapointed that the navy seal, army rangers, and us marines all rely on guns.

    Being a ” real man ” means doing whatever it take to do what needs to be done .
    once we lwave junior high school , fights stop being about “who’s tougher ” and are only engaged in to defend youreself and others.

    criminals don’t want a friendly contest of physical conditioning and skill. They may want to rob you, shoot you, or like Dr. pettit , rape, torture and burn to death you daughters.
    to protect them you gotta win. no excuses will save them do whatever it takes, have whatever you need to win. It’s not schoolboy stuff.

    That kind of argument strikes me of Projection Of the uncle’s insecurities onto ST. the uncle needs to grow up and realize Life isn’t TV, we live in the real world where very bad things can happen.Being in denial that evil is real does not protect you from it. Preperation and caution may protect you and your loved ones.

    I am perfectly Proud that I have take the preperation and shouldered the responsibility to protect may daughter,sons,wife,and those arround us if I have to . I will give myself and them the best chance and every advantage I can to survive any dire situation.

  6. “emotions. … tools in his workbelt.”

    No, no, no! That’s a serious misunderstanding. Emotions aren’t to be controlled and manipulated, they’re to be felt. Emotions are simply a part of your sensory system. When you put your hand on a hot iron, you feel pain. When you hear a thing go bump in the night, you feel fear. Then it is the job of the intellect to figure out exactly what to do about it, but it is extremely important to understand the message the feeling is bringing to your consciousness.

    • You are partially correct. One does not directly control ones emotions. They are a reaction to stimuli. Nor are there any inherently positive or negative emotions. Emotions just are.

      What we DO have control over and are responsible for, however, is how we choose to respond to our emotions. And it is how we respond that determines the positive or negative nature of that choice. If we do nothing more than react to every emotion without tempering the response via conscious choice, then we are behaving as children. If, on the other hand, we make an effort to acknowledge the emotion and it’s source, we are able to make a rational response and act in a manner appropriate and useful to the situation.

      Either your emotions dictate your actions, or your thinking mind does. It’s up to you whether you are a man, or a child.

  7. This is a well written, even inspiring response to a nasty bullshit talking point that attempts to bully young men into giving up their rights.

  8. When I look at the people that count on me to protect them, which is a mans duty, I understand that a firearm is the best and most efficient way of doing just that. Nothing more or less.

    Im not going three rounds in the ring then shake hands afterwards with someone bent on pillage and murder. A man understands that.

    Maybe their message is aimed at teenagers or something….

  9. Great piece!

    Real men (aka humankind) use their brains to invent tools to make their work more efficient. Apes use fists.

    • “Apes use fists.”

      Apes can’t even make a fist. Apes use their teeth and finger- and toenails. Oh, wait. You were talking about knuckle-draggers, not literal apes, right?

  10. Great post. I hate the “a real man doesn’t need a gun nonsense”. I’m a real man. I work hard and support my family. I’m also a real man with 2 bad shoulders, 2 bad ankles, and a bad knee. If not wanting to rely on my failing frame on the off chance i need to defend me or my wife or kid means i’m not a man, then i can live with that.

  11. Emotions? What is that? I mean, what is it useful for?

    I never really liked using my fists. Why bother, when a shotgun is more effective and much less hassle even though it will ruin your carpet? Though I can’t really carry the bloody thing with me all the time, so I just (Glasgow) kiss my opponents, worked when a guy tried to take my glasses.

  12. Real MEN don’t pick fistfights. Today is my birthday. In my 60 years I think I’ve been ( excluding my brothers) in maybe a half dozen fights. I pretty much won all of them. This is a very well written defense for being armed at all times. I’m still a real big strong guy who is not easily intimidated. My moral responsibility is to protect myself & my loved ones with everything at my disposal. I 2nd giving this guy a gun.

  13. To people who say, “A real man doesn’t need a gun to stand on his own two feet,” I ask you; What about the people who can’t stand on their own two feet? What about those who walk with canes or are confined to wheelchairs? What about the physically frail, either from old age or disease? Are these people inferior to you, are they not worthy of your noble gift of life?

    There is a phrase I’m seeing sneaking into the vernacular more and more these days: ableism/ableist. Its history, as short as it is, is already a long, convoluted affair, but the etymology of the word gets to the core of it: ableism is the belief that someone is fundamentally inferior than someone else because they are unable to do certain things. (And, because this is the internet and one must make abundantly clear which side they are on, I must state that I am vocally against ableism. I am a pragmatist, yes, but not an ableist. The distinction being that while I do not think the man in the wheelchair is the right choice for that open position in the construction company as a roofer, he is nonetheless a human being with all the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of anyone else.) Now, as to whether or not the person spouting this phrase actually means it in that manner is another thing entirely (hint, they’re probably not), but here’s the funny thing. The people I see bandying about this phrase the most are the same people who are fine with limiting humanity’s tools to those needed by only the most able of persons. The disconnect is outstanding, made only more so by their repeated reinforcement of it as their own phrase runs away from them.

  14. When faced with the threat of a gun, there is only ONE possible defense, and that is with another gun. A fist is worthless when you or your family is being threatened by a crazed maniac off his meds, armed with a gun. If you DON’T have a gun with you at that moment, you and your family are DEAD. So, NO, Mr. Liberal, you DON’T get to try to shame me that I’m not a man if I don’t use my fists. Your logic is the kind that gets people KILLED! I think it is YOU who needs to man up here.

  15. I am going to make a shirt that says “Real Criminals Use Guns” With a pic of someing being Robbed at gun point!

  16. Nice post, good read. I’d say, not monsters out there, so much as 21st-century barbarians, of all colors and stripes. We don’t have indians attacking family homes anymore, yet we do have people who are willing to do very bad things to you and your loved ones, and you have responsibilities to those under your roof. Frontier wives and children knew the need to be prepared and ready to help when under attack. So should today’s families, given today’s realities. The lack of family support in the post was sad.

    No grief about mentioning indian attacks on pioneer homes please, I have Native American blood myself.

  17. “Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst; people who forget that always die.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

    You can be a “real man” all you want but when it comes down to history and the facts, EVERY major event in history has been resolved through the barrel of a gun or the point of a sword. So it comes down to this: Do you want to win or do you want to lose? Using fists when there are clearly better alternatives available doesn’t make you somehow more honorable. It makes you a fool.

  18. Some “real” men may want to use fists instead of ballistic tools. More power to them.

    I never want to get that intimate with an aggressor. Don’t want to touch them, don’t want them touching me, and sure as hell don’t want to exchange skin germs or body fluids.

  19. I’ve hauled in the results when someone decided to take a knife or fists to a gunfight. ‘Tweren’t pretty. I guess a “real man” pees on a fire to put it out instead of using a fire extinuisher

  20. Physically speaking, I find using a firearm more human in a conflict that hand to hand is. That said, you should not care about what tools you have to get the job done with. It only matters if the job got done and was done right. That is just a paraphase from Masashi and many others. We do the best with what we have. Cheers for any that thinks ahead a tries to be prepared. Those kind of acts is what makes our communities safer and better places to live.

    he article was not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed the read.


  21. Real men use the right tool for the job at hand whether that is changing the spark plugs, wiping the tears from his child that just fell off the swingset or stopping the evil acts being committed by bad people. PS. I just described three different tools, you can’t change sparkplugs with a gun and they aren’t absorbent enough for tears.

  22. “As Men, it is our duty to stand against those monsters wherever and whenever we encounter them.”

    We don’t tell our children stories about Knights in armor that slew great Dragons to teach them that their are things to be feared in the world. Children know there are monsters and dragons. We tell them those stories to instill within them the hope that they too can grow up to be strong and gain the power to slay monsters themselves.

  23. some of my favorite TV/film quotes on manhood:

    Shin-Chan: “To be a man, you must have honor. Honor, and a penis”

    Lebowski: Is it being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the cost? Isn’t that that makes a man?
    The Dude: Sure… That, and a pair of testicles.

  24. O.K., guns are for cowards.
    As soon as they disarm the PROFESSIONAL COWARDS (cops and the military) I’ll give mine up. An amateur should always try to do as the pros, no?


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