One of the most talked about articles I have written for Human Events was The New Gun Culture. In that article I described the changing culture in the shooting world, and how some people failed to see the change around them. The post had dozens of comments, attracted the notice of several industry titans and landed me on Cam & Co., the NRA’s weekday radio show to defend my position.
My belief then, as it is now, is that the internet facilitated this cultural shift. No longer does the anti-gun mainstream media have a monopoly on information dissemination. People seeking information about firearms could quickly find the truth online, and then have open, frank conversations with others in the same digital space.
The internet offers members of the gun community an unprecedented ability to create and share information with other people – all for very little cost beyond the time investment. As such, many members of the new gun culture are active participants in expanding the online community.
There are many exceptional examples of what members of the new gun culture are doing in the digital space. Here are just a few entities that make up part of the digital entrepreneurial spirit in the firearms culture.
All of these started as one person with an idea that would contribute to the gun culture. Some are still one-man operations; others are growing much larger. None of them would have been able to provide the same information, or reach as broad a shooting audience without the internet.
Pocket Guns & Gear
Pocket Guns & Gear is a website dedicated to testing compact handguns and the ammunition that feeds them. Bruce, the site’s founder and author, has developed a fairly rigid protocol for testing ammunition that includes shots into a ballistic medium.
The site has dozens of ammunition tests from the mundane to the exotic. The testing protocols have evolved and improved as time has gone on, and Bruce provides plenty of video and photo documentation to let you make your own judgments about the performance of each load.
This kind of testing and publication of the information would have been impossible before the internet, and is another example of how the 2.0 generation is advancing the body of knowledge in the gun community.
Safety Solutions Academy
Firearms training is something that everyone needs, but takes time and money that many of us might struggle to find. That’s why trainers like Paul Carlson at the Safety Solutions Academy are so important.
Paul uses the power of the internet to deliver training and safety information through a podcast and through videos. If you are not familiar with them, podcasts are downloadable radio shows that you can listen to on your computer, phone or iPod. Most, like Paul’s, are completely free. But don’t think “free” means poor quality. Most podcasters take a great deal of pride in creating high-quality content, much of which rivals commercial radio.
Training videos produced by Safety Solutions Academy are also free, and can be found on YouTube. These can be watched on your computer, but also streamed to your phone or even television with the use of an Apple TV or other device.
If you can’t get to a training class, consider staying sharp through online alternatives.
The Firearm Blog
One of the most visited gun websites on the internet has to be The Firearm Blog – and for good reason. The website covers all aspects of firearms, while staying apolitical.
Steve Johnson (no relation) has many contacts throughout the gun community in the US and abroad. The military weapon and international gun coverage is hard to beat, and the extremely knowledgeable readers make for a truly educational site. No traditional media outlet would ever publish like The Firearm Blog, which may explain why so many are struggling to stay profitable.
The reporting and reader commentary here is another great example of how the digital environment allows for greater community building that would not be otherwise possible.
Gun Rights Radio Network
I mentioned podcasts earlier in the article, now let me introduce you to an entire network of them: the Gun Rights Radio Network. Mark Vanderberg created the network that gives the firearms community a range of pro-Second Amendment programs to enjoy.
There are nearly 20 different podcasts in the network, but my two favorites are the Gun Dudes and Down Range Radio. The Gun Dudes podcast is a lighthearted roundtable discussion about shooting, training, competition and gear. Think of it as a group of your best friends sitting around and talking guns.
Down Range Radio is hosted by Michael Bane, the fellow that introduced me to the concept of Gun Culture 2.0. Michael is an old media guy who has jumped into the internet world with both feet. His weekly podcast is a mix of deep pondering on all things guns with an eclectic mix of music: polka to punk, rock to reggae, and some I can’t even define. Michael’s musings on the Second Amendment and freedom are always masterful.
Intensely staring since 2009 (go to the site – you’ll get it,) Andrew Tuohy is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate writers I have met when it comes to gear reviews. A former Navy corpsman, Andrew has done his share overseas with the First Marine Division and other units.
In my opinion, Andrew is an expert on military-style rifles, and the AR-15/M-4 platform in particular. For example, if Andrew tells you the HK 416 is subject to malfunctions, it isn’t because he has a personal dislike for the company. Rather, he will use high-speed video to demonstrate that the cyclic rate is too high, creating a bolt-over-base malfunction, and that a workaround is to install a Vltor A5H4 extension tube and buffer assembly. He’s pretty precise when it comes to such things.
Andrew is also the man behind the unparalleled brass case vs. steel case testing for LuckyGunner Labs. In that testing, Andrew’s team ran a total of 40,000 rounds through four Bushmaster AR-15 rifles (10k each) to see what, if any, effect steel cased ammo had on the rifles. If you’ve not read that research, you should do so immediately. The article clearly demonstrates the effects of “cheap” ammo on the health of your AR-15.
Vuurwapen Blog is a great work from an exceptionally talented content producer. Andrew pulls no punches, but keeps things light and friendly for all. He is an excellent example of the new gun culture.