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TTAG Commentator Aaron:

It occurred to me how much contempt the gun community expresses against some of its members. “Tacticool,” “OFWG,” “Fake Operator,” “Wannabe,” “Gun class junkie,”  “Gear Queer,” and on, and on… We seem so ready to sling mud at people we don’t even know. So let me turn it around. What earns true, universal or nearly universal respect? Aside from world class competitive shooters like Jerry Miculek, Rob Leatham, instructors at the top of their game like Rob Pincus and Mas Ayoob, and those serving in law enforcement or military with some distinction (as opposed to ticket writing or KP duty at the battalion commissary), what qualities do fellow “gunnies” exhibit that makes them shine a bit brighter and avoid the grime and the muck?

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  1. Gun owners worthy of praise? Probably the 95% who keep them and use them to protect their families, not to mention the vast majority of police and military who serve, and don’t commit some disgrace in the process.

    It rarely makes the news when the plane lands safely and on time. If this is a generous standard, what can I say? It’s Christmas.

  2. The guy, likely in the last stall on the line, not saying much of anything, but not blowing anyone off either, and putting his shots where he’s aiming.

    • I think Joe is pretty much spot on. He practices regularly (though not necessarily very frequently), and shoots competently. More importantly, he’s responsible when it comes to safety. He teaches new shooters occasionally, but when he does, all he really covers are safety and the most basic elements of technique. He’s not into telling people what to do, so he tends not to talk about tactics, especially if it involves speculating about situations he’s never been in. . . which means his participation in online gun talk is probably minimal (so yeah . . . I’m not him). He’s habitually careful about what he does and says, and doesn’t feel the need to assert himself in social settings. If he gets made (not often) by a non-gun guy who knows him, the non-gun guy probably thinks, “If there’s anyone who’ll never fly off the handle and abuse that thing, it’s him”.

  3. It’s pretty easy to see who knows their stuff. If a guy’s got good technique, and is putting his shots on target, that’s good enough for me. Bonus points if he’s doing it with something that isn’t the flavor of the week. If you’re knocking out the X with a Browning HiPower, I will probably offer to buy you a beer.

  4. I have an objection to the premise of the question. Goofing on someone or something does not imply contempt. It’s just humor and most of it is lighthearted, so lighten up!

    • You are right. The question does have a point though.Why is the 2A crowd so willing to throw everyone under a bus for a misstep no matter how good they have been in the past?

    • You are right. The question does have a point though.

      Why is the 2A crowd so willing to throw everyone under a bus for a misstep no matter how good they have been in the past?

    • Ralph, what I don’t like is the meanness behind a lot of it. Presumably, we’re adults here and on other forums, but the trash talking seems to resemble the crap I’d hear at the primary school lunch table – “So-and-so keeps bringing a Scooby-Doo lunch box, it’s so uncool, etc.”

  5. The contempt probably in part comes from the gun snobs who think paying anything less than $2500 for an AR makes the purchaser a n00b and the gun junk. Most times, though, neither the n00bs or the snobs can actually put up objective results (be it guns, ammo, lubes, sights, etc.) It’s appropriate for novices to keep humble but equally important for the gun snobs to keep their egos in check.

  6. I would go for the 90% or even higher if we’re talking about gun bloggers and commenters. People who are that passionate about what they do are probably good at it and meet all the reasonable requirements of being ”gunnies” [who] shine a bit brighter and avoid the grime and the muck.

    It’s the rest of them (you) that I wonder about.

    • I wonder about why you’re here. C’mon, mikey, admit it: you have more fun on this blog than on your own blahg. Gun people are a lot more fun than you wingnuts. Be a man for once and ‘fess up.

  7. Same as I judge anyone else – someone who has a reasonable assessment of what their opinions are worth, and who is actively doing their best to improve on that.

  8. For anyone with access to A Rifleman Went to War by Herbert W. McBride (1873-1933), he gives a pretty good description of what you could call a laudable gun owner on page 5 of that book.

    If you don’t have the book you can read that short excerpt here

  9. Anyone who when spoken to about guns does not sell you his gun, ammo, technique, and experience as the be all and end all authority on weaponry. This person then puts rounds down range into the target in a fashion that is likely impressive, not bragged about and only spoken of at length at the behest of another witness and not personal hubris.

  10. The reality in the field (even for Army spec ops and CIA SAD SOG types today) is that a stock Glock or AR is sufficient for close urban or jungle/forest work: Excellent performance (defensive or aggressive) doesn’t require fancy items, just very reliable gear attached to a quick-to-decide focused brain and a fit body. TI and NV are relied on more than fabulous shooting. Hesitation, ambivalence, and fearfulness are disastrous. Outside of professional sniping a minute of angle doesn’t mean a thing. Gun snobs tend to make jokes about the “spray and pray” behavior of AK-equipped third-worlders….but the current protocols of elite units are actually “lots of bullets in the guy fast until he’s down” not “one shot one kill.” Such is reality. It’s actually been that way for awhile. It doesn’t sell fancy guns, but it works. Safety gun handling is key, of course. Can’t be a hero if you just shot yourself or your buddy in the leg.

  11. Short version: A somewhat self-effacing shooter who never forgets that a gun is just a tool and who uses it safely sparks my admiration. People withtheir feet firmly on the ground is always a welcome reality.

  12. Gun guys are not alone among special interest groups with regard to a propensity toward hyper-critical jabs at the brethren.

    Cruise through a few guitar forums or pickup truck fan-boy sites and you’ll read the same B.S.

    I’ve been in the guitar business for many years and just as you’d think, the really good players tend to keep their yaps shut and just git ‘er done.

  13. I’ve got a lot of respect for the people who carry or use a gun regularly as part of their routine (be it carry, farm gun, whatever) and maintain a high level of weapon maintenance and awareness. Show me a guy who carries the same pistol every day for a decade and it’s clean every day, never mishandled, and I’ll show you a proper gun owner. Same thing with a knife. Show me an old, worn, scuffed blade that is still clean and sharp, and the guy carrying it is the sort I want to have weapons.

  14. I have observed that there are a few characteristics that seem universal in the people that I’ve grown to know, trust and respect the most. They are most usually very intelligent and possess a broad and well rounded life experience; they are often voracious readers and possess a solid work ethic. They possess great humility and are never braggarts. Their honesty and integrity are beyond reproach. They are rock steady in even the most stressful situations. They keep fit. They manage their affairs sensibly. They strive to be more than merely competent in the endeavors that are meaningful to them, whether it be cooking a good meal, playing an instrument, crafting something with their hands, tending a garden or shooting a gun. They are human and they are fallible, but I will put my money on them every time and I know that in the long run I will come out well ahead in the game. Very often they are the embodiment of the twelve points of the Scout Law.

  15. Anyone who owns a gun, knows how to use it and doesn’t break the law with it is laudable in my book, and that means almost every one of us.

  16. I would say that a laudable gun owner is a safe, responsible one that knows how to properly utilize their equipment. It is not how many you own or what you own. Even if it’s just a Red Rider.

  17. I plead guilty to using the terms ‘Mall Ninja’ and ‘Tacticool,’ but I offer them (most of the time) in jest. When I make jokes about Picatinny rail iPod holders for your AR-15, it’s because some clown is actually trying to sell them.

    My occasional derision is reserved for shooters or gun enthusiasts who are unsafe with their firearms, bigoted, or excessively uncivil to those with differing opinions. And also for liars who boast of their military scout/sniper service but conveniently forget which brigade/battalion/company they served in, and the name of their commanding officer.

  18. Laudable?

    Someone who is safe, has humility, and realizes their actions will reflect on every other gun owner in the country (not fair, but accurate); Regardless of why they collect or why they shoot.

    • That’s pretty much what I was going to say. I know a lot of these people- men and women- and I hold them in regard.

  19. I appreciate the old school attitude that a gun is a tool, among many tools, a mechanical device to be respected, maybe admired, but not fetishized. I grew up in Texas in the 70’s and 80’s, among liberal, armed folks. Guns were not really a political issue for them. My grandfather was a high school teacher and later principal in Amarillo, and a proponent of civil rights and integration when the John Birch society and the Klan were powerful political forces. He was a firm believer in economic fairness and social justice, a lifelong New Deal Democrat. He served in the Navy in WWII, and narrowly missed being killed. He floated in the shark-infested Pacific, thinking about the paycheck in his pocket, which he would send back to my grandmother, who he married when she was 18, he 19. He was among the skeleton crew who went back aboard and nursed the ship home.

    My grandfather grew up during the Great Depression in deep East Texas among subsistence farmers. There was no electricity. He said that nobody ever had any money, but everyone had plenty to eat. Every week, a different family would slaughter a pig, and everyone would share. The kids would hunt squirrels in the woods, and I still have the old (1890’s) Damascus barreled 12GA side-by-side he used.

    Later, he’d keep a shotgun in the closet. He didn’t hunt, and he wasn’t really in to guns. But he always had some sort of shotgun in the closet. And that was it. I now have a couple of those shotguns.

  20. Someone who doesn’t needlessly demean a core function of modern-day city policing (i.e., traffic enforcement)….

  21. Here is what people need to understand. Just because someone else likes the 1911 and I don’t doesn’t make either of us wrong it’s just a preference. Same with 9mm and 45 ACP. Neither round is going to take down an elephant but sometimes people make it sound that way. It seems as though everyone wants to force their opinions on someone else when we all come from unique situations and enjoy different parts of the hobby. Personally I like to shoot my pistol in a controlled environment so I can familiarize myself with controls. If I posted that on a forum some tacticool guy would say that’s not helpful because I don’t run and gun and put myself under stress. That’s not my interest area and people need to respect that, Unfortunately they don’t. Plus high quality tacticool mag pouches, holsters, clothing, etc. is very expensive. Sorry but my funds are limited. I barely have enough extra cash to buy range time and ammo. Therefore, I’m not interested in being tacticool. However, if you do have the money and time by all means enjoy yourself. But don’t judge anyone because their interest areas of shooting are different. Between cowboy action, IPSC, tactical classes, or just shooting for fun, there are tons of different avenues to go down in the shooting world. Just because someone likes a certain area of shooting doesn’t mean they will like the same you do.

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