Jaguar XK in Montery (courtesy thetruthaboutguns.com)

Holding a deadly weapon focuses the mind wonderfully. Assuming you’re not a TTAG writer slinging lead next to Jessie Duff eating a hot dog, shooting pushes all thoughts of food, work and sex to one side. I’ve found that people who love guns and shooting tend to have other “hobbies”; activities where they can experience some much-needed mental diversion. For me, it used to be cars. Two divorces later and I’ve downsized my daily distraction to . . .

Pinball!

I’m fortunate enough to own Tales of the Arabian Nights and Theater of Magic — games by legendary designer John Popadiuk. Pins whose challenges never fail to engross me. Like keeping it working. Researching games online, competing in tournaments, playing new-to-me machines — it’s a hobby that keeps on giving. Outside of firearms, what absorbs your quarters attention?

124 COMMENTS

    • Gawd, this here thread is way too touchy feely for me.

      Guns man. That’s why I’m here.Nothing less, and certainly nothing more.

  1. Mountain biking!

    Attending the Alma Mater’s home football games with family and friends!

    Anything my kids are doing!

  2. Running, lifting, RVing, RZR riding, videography/editing, video games, movies, reading. These are my most important ones.

  3. Reader, sometime essayist. It works out better when I write for my own amusement — I crack me up.

    Computer jockey, lately working toward getting paid for building stuff I also enjoy doing at least a little.

    Home chef.

    • How nice to find someone else who writes mainly for their own amusement. 🙂 In the winter here, that and reading is what I do most. But I also raise orchids. In warmer weather I garden and work in a greenhouse downtown.

  4. Ho! Clever way to survey your readership for market research! Just to toy with your metrics, I’ll say stunt ballooning and history of the Holy Roman Empire.

  5. My Jeep takes up a ton of time but my other hobbies include gaming, making things with 550 cord (slings, belts, bracelets, and some adult costume play pieces), and trying to understand the wife…. actually no the wife part is more a fulltime job!

    • Drop trying to understand the wife. You can’t win, you can’t break even and you can’t quit the game (actually you can, but it’s damned expensive!). Instead, memorize these phrases (to be said at appropriate times to preserve domestic tranquility): “Yes, dear, it’s all my fault. Everything I did or didn’t think, did or didn’t do, or did or didn’t say is wrong, wrong, wrong!” Once she goes away (hopefully mollified), just forget about it and get on with whatever you were doing.

      • I already got the “you’re right I’m wrong I’m sorry” part down pat… Now it’s just trying to figure out why it was wrong of me to sit in my bean bag chair and drink beer on my day off…

        • Because she had all manner of things planned for you to do on your day off that you were unaware of, because you were not prescient enough to discern from some subtle hint(s) she was dropping that she had plans for you.

          So, you’re in trouble twice: First, for not doing what she had planned (which is minor – you can do it tomorrow and still get some brownie points out of it), but you’re more especially in deep fertilizer because you didn’t read between the invisible lines before your day off as to what she had been suggesting/hinting.

          Here’s my advice to men who are newly married: Learn what makes women happy – Nothing. Not a damn thing. As soon as they get what they want, they’ll find something new, more trivial and superfluous that offends them.

        • She wasn’t too mad… I still got to touch her trigger and flick off her safety. Still did other stuff though like dishes. Just didn’t do the still unknown task that made her angry.

  6. Colonial era and early 19th century history (mostly American), reptiles, video games (Fallout, The Last of Us, Uncharted, and offline RPGs mostly), hockey, canoeing, hiking, classic cars (I’m no mechanic though), and debating.

  7. The details of my life are quite inconsequential. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. Tap dancing. Acting, dancing. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe.

    • “…another skill likely to come in handy when the SHTF…”

      If the defecation hits the rotating air-moving device via ‘Rocket Kim’ popping one of his new toys high overhead I sure hope some of your RF ‘stash’ is sealed away in an RF-tight container.

      And you have at least 2 years of food socked away and live far enough out in the sticks that no one can see you don’t seem to be starving…

    • Another ham. Been a radio amateur since 1955. Used to build a lot of my own stuff, but not so much any more. Also fishing and photography.

  8. Bourbon! Pappy drops in my state in about another week. Will hopefully score a bottle this year. Hoping for the 20, 23, or 15 but will take anything I can get.

  9. I collect vintage fountain pens/pencils, practice penmanship, collect Marine Corps enlisted cap insignia and selected militaria, collect swords, read, watch baseball (in season), participate in 18th c. reenactments and chase steam locomotives (when available).

    • Ogre….email me if your interested in some vintage pens. My father died about 15 years ago and he had collected some really nice pens (about 8 or so). I believe most of them were made around the 50’s. Not sure what their worth now as I have not looked up values since he died. Normally I would not sell them (cause dad in all…) but he left behind so much to remind me of him and the pens were not a big part of his life. Email me at [email protected] if you are interest and I can send some pics.

  10. Classic and Muscle cars. Ive downsized down to only two cars from the 5 toys I had before. I did a lot of drag racing in my 20s. That ended after divorce and the local drag strip shut down. Now I don’t have as much time to devote to them.

    My third hobby is computers. I like to build new gaming computers for gaming I don’t have time for anymore.

  11. My wife and I share hobbies. We used to belong to the SCCA and participated in rallies and autocross events. I raced for a couple of years. Now, we are amateur astronomers and own a couple of horses. She is a semi-pro musician who shoots occasionally. I shoot more often but play rarely. She is a better shot than I am a musician.

  12. Home machine shop work (mostly gun related, though), photography, drone piloting, hiking, skiing, motorcycling, wild food foraging. Oh, and just bought an RV, so RV “camping.”

    Formerly mountaineering, mountain biking, paragliding.

  13. The classic Jag in the photo is the one featured in the original “The Fast and the Furious.”

    John Ireland and Dorothy Malone, 1955, and the car was white.

  14. Reading, watching baseball, snowboarding, skateboarding, running, gym, and youtube binge watching if that can be considered a hobby.

    • I’m researching archery to add to my hobbies as I’m retiring for the second time in a couple of weeks. My step son made one of those pvc bows. I think I want a recurve.

      • I started down this journey on http://www.poorfolkbows.com
        I’ll give you fair warning: it’s terribly addictive – I get twitchy when I’ve gone too long without making some sawdust. And I’ve noticed that I now look at every discarded bit of hardwood I see and wonder “what kind of bow can I make from that?”
        One thing you’ll learn quickly – as Sam on Poor Folk likes to point out, a bowyer is a person who breaks bows, and occasionally makes a working one.
        Suffice it to say, I’ve made lots of “kindling”.

  15. I have been collecting “muscle bikes”, 20×20 and 20×16 tire banana seats with sissy bars!!!
    Great hobby, the thrill of the chase is awesome!
    If you were a kid of the sixties and early seventies, you know what I mean.

    • Oh, man, do I ever.

      My fist kid bike was a Schwinn with the banana seat and a three-speed shifter that looked like a Hurst.

      Saw one just like it on eBay a few years back for truly stupid money they were asking…

      • Right now the “off” brands are bringing more than the Schwinns.
        Would you ever think of dropping $5-6K on a 40 year old unrestored bike? Welcome to my world, Brother!!
        I have the only unrestored Dragger signed by George Barris!!

  16. Other hobbies, past or present:

    camping
    archery (marksmanship and hunting)
    hockey
    soccer
    snorkeling
    philosophy
    amateur astronomy

  17. I am currently taking ballroom dance lessons. Why? Because lessons are surprisingly cheap and I never took a girl to a dance before. I’ll show them. I’ll show all of them.

    • What a plan! Are you taking a girl to the lessons? What a kick showing up somewhere and actually knowing how to mambo, or samba, etc.! Might have to look into that.

      • LOL no! I’m single. It’s a little less than $15 a day for 1.5 hours of instruction. I’m learning a little bit of salsa, tango, foxtrot, waltz, and swing. It’s kind of like taekwondo where there is bronze, silver, and gold medal moves. You should definitely look into it. And if you get too good, you might want to watch out for a girl named Billie Jean.

        “Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal idea.”

  18. Old cars.
    I’m not sure it is a hobby but I spent almost full time the last twelve years on veteran’s affairs. Member of American Legion, VFW, Marine Corps League. State officer, local officer, lots of time, travel and work.

    I’m trying to retire from so much so I can do other things I need and want to do.

  19. Spending time with my son. It is a joy to see the world through their eyes.

    A month ago I took my son to the North Head Artillery Museum in Sydney. It has the location of the coastal defense batteries that protected Sydney (not very successfully) in World War 2. Part of the tour involves going through the tunnels. My son thought this was amazing to see and feel real history and said he didn’t even know anything like this existed. A great morning for $12.

    We also like spending time LAN gaming together working as a team. This is what boys want to do. Work with dad as a team. And the PC takes physical ability out of the equation. My son is so used to PC gaming he prefers mouse and keyboard over a gamepad. We play Day-Of-Defeat, BF1942 and Desert Combat mod, Unreal Tournament Classic, and UT2004. We spend hours doing this.

  20. Before I broke my eardrum twice scuba diving was probably hobby number one. Followed by 12 years in active army reserve post full time. That took care of any non shooting time after work.

  21. Thrift store shopping and yard sales with the wife. Fishing on occasion and eagle watching. They are here year round so I take pictures of them. Mostly I stick to firearms related activities. Just start painting guns. So mostly experimenting on technique and process.

  22. RC scale Aircraft, SCCA Motocross, Photography, Full Scale Flying, RC cars, Travel Abroad, Reading, Movies both at home and Theater, White Water Rafting, Travel in the US, Play Ice Hockey, Gym, specifically weights, Occasional Camping, Bourbon, plus more.

  23. All my hobbies ended in when the exwife & jody cleaned out my garage; FSJ Cherokee W/T Laredo, GF & Santa Cruz downhill bikes, tools, inherited 1911 & Arsenal SLR, etc.

    Even if i could afford (financially or physically) to pick up my old hobbies or a build a new one…. meh. Besides that…. emptying & collecting interesting whiskey bottles is cheaper & more fulfilling, though I wouldn’t call it a hobby (yet).

  24. I go sailing and windsurfing here in South Florida
    I like to play with the kids and taught all of them to sail and to shoot
    But it did not take and they come only to please the old man
    Where did I go wrong?

  25. There are other hobbies besides guns?? Well what well they think of next. |3

    Joking aside… I’m actually kind of a mad scientist sort of nut. Interested in all kinds of weird and wild new technology. Everything from drones, to fusion power, over to industrial automation, and even into advanced horticulture.

  26. I strap on a suit of armor and fight guy/gals in armor. Society For Creative Anachronism. I can shoot and I am very good in a knife fight.

  27. I don’t have the time or money for hobbies. Well, mostly. I’ve enjoyed refinishing the walnut grips on my black powder pistols, built a Kentucky long rifle from a kit, and crafted 2 pairs of faux ivory grips for my 1873. I read a lot on current world events, including the Middle East, China and the Koreas, plus the occasional history, the last being “A Team of Rivals.” Outside of that, not much; my wife is disabled, so I am responsible for all household chores (shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, etc) and running her around to her various appointments.

  28. Detailing Cars, Watching Sports (Ohio St. Buckeyes/L.S.U. Tigers NCAA F.B.), (Maryland Terripins/Syracuse Orangemen NCAA B.B.), (Buffalo Sabres NHL), (Pittsburgh Steelers NFL), (N.Y. Mets/Cleveland Indians MLB)…

  29. Nerd things. Tabletop roleplaying games, both playing and creating (I’m working on a system for roleplaying in the Old West). Writing fiction, listening to metal music, and playing computer games like Robocraft and Minecraft. And occasionally a bit of (very amateur) woodworking.

  30. I’m a very serious though not professional Photographer. So part of my carry is related to being out in places where i have $20,000 in camera equipment with me that I don’t someone to try to take from me. The other side is that there are sometimes animals that might not like me being in their territory that I might have to defend myself against.
    I also have a 2002 MINI Cooper S with significant modifications and have done some track time to enjoy the speed and agility of the car. My view of the road is that anything that is paved is worth using to go faster. I home carry every day.

  31. Hunting. Fishing. Gold panning. Reading. Museums. Historic sites.

    Acting the fool with the grandkids.

    Looking into archery.

    Anything that gets me out of the city and in the boonies.

  32. Writing SF/Fantasy fiction. Table top RPGs. Reading. Beta – reading for an author friend. Miniature Wargames, specifically Flames of War.

    Spending time with my wife, who’s also my best friend.

  33. I do a little writing and just started my hand at sub-miniature photography, but mostly I collect out-of-print non-fiction books.

  34. There’s a few things. I’ve got an old car I like to mess with. I’m also a huge fan of pinball machines and I’m fortunate enough to live close to an arcade with some couple hundred tables to play. I enjoy tabletop RPGs for the creative exercise, and I also like to write, and annoy my neighbor. (He hates cats, so I sprinkle catnip under the bushes in front of his house. It attracts all the strays to his yard. That’ll teach him to run his leaf blower at 6 AM…)

  35. What Non-Gun Hobbies Do You Enjoy?

    Of course my number one hobby is smoking CRACK. (Just Kidding)

    Really it’s the normal stuff men of my age do, dealing with the dog, maintaining the vehicles, working on the “O” gauge train layout and of course trolling/taunting Libs when in front of the computer and not on TTAG, CNN/MSNBC hosts are soooo “sensitive”. Can’t forget devouring history books from all time periods, Spain’s Civil War a favorite.

  36. Mountain biking, Nordic skiing (want to try biathlon to combine hobbies) photography, reading history and sci-fi and both wrenching and riding my classic motorcycle.

  37. Does reloading count as ANOTHER hobby ? I buy old farm equipment and OPE and restore them for resale or shows , I have a tool sharpening business I run on the side , but it’s still a hobby too . I repair and rebuild small engines , collect old tools , I manage a 65 acre farm , my wife and I grow a 1/2 acre vegetable garden as well as 1/2 acre of various grains that we harvest , thresh , winnow , clean and store , we can and freeze our own corn , beans and tomatoes and I make and can my own spaghetti sauce and salsa , my wife makes fresh jelly’s and jams with our blackberries , raspberries and grapes , She also makes real tasty Kraut . I like to oil paint when I find time and I dabble in 8 ball Mini-clip online for about 30 minutes a day .

  38. Riding adventure motorcycles and observed trials motorcycles. Spending time with the kid. Dogs. Wife. Not necessarily in that order. 😐

  39. Fishing, Cross bow Hunting, Motorcycle Touring, Knife collecting, Prepping, Wood burning, knife throwing, Smoke cooking, used to be NFL and MLB but now they allow Players to disrespect our country and it’s flag but most of all Veterans just like they did too Vietnam Veterans (may the bird of Paradise napalm them) after a dose of Willie Peter.

  40. I drive race cars, and I also enjoy maintaining and modifying my street cars.

    Basically the same thing I do with guns, just with extra zeros after the price.

  41. Reloading and bullet casting doesn’t count, it’s gun related. Other than that motorcycle riding and reading. I spend too much time on TTAG.

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