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Which Is More Dangerous?

A) A small number of guys who are excellent shots


B) A whole bunch of guys who are average or mediocre shooters but can put a lot of lead in the air?

Something we have discussed before is the changing face of American gun culture. A post almost a year ago, The Age Of The Pistol Is Over, The Day Of The Rifle Is Upon Us, generated a lot of good conversation as well as some hilarious comments from a self-declared gen-u-wine, internet certified shooter. Those comments still make me laugh out loud.

A post from a different blogger named got me thinking about that again: Whither Gun Culture 3.0?. His point was that we have moved from Gun Culture 1.0 to Gun Culture 2.0 and wonders what Gun Culture 3.0 might look like.

The previous gun culture, version 1.0, was all about hunting and calm, contemplative shooting sports like the clay shooting or Camp Perry. Gun Culture 2.0 is about personal defense and more action-oriented sports like 3 Gun or USPSA. Version 2.0 has been the dominant narrative in guns for at least 30 years, so much so that a 2021 survey found that 72 percent of American gun owners said that personal protection was why they owned a gun.

I am not sure that 30 years is accurate, 30 years ago would have been 1993 and at least in my experience of that era we were still in more of the 1.0 culture but that would quickly change when the Clinton “Assault Weapons” ban went into effect in 1994. Still I mostly agree with the premise and I made many of the same points in my aforementioned post last September.

While it didn’t do anything to reduce crime, the AWB did have the effect of making people want the weapons banned by the bill, before, during and after the bill expired 10 years later. Subsequent to the expiration of the AWB in 2004, the market for “assault weapons”, mostly AR-15s and AK variants, has exploded. The names you know began to come together after the AWB expired. Palmetto State Armory started in 2008. Daniel Defense started making their own rifles in 2009. CMMG was founded in 2002, a couple of years before the ban expired. With CNC machining becoming more advanced, the parts that make up AR-15s could be churned out in enormous numbers. In my post about Anderson Manufacturing, Manufacturing Freedom One Lower Receiver At A Time, I noted that Anderson cranks out something like 800,000 lower receivers every year. Add in everyone else, PSA, S&W, Ruger, etc and you have tens of millions of AR-15s in civilian hands since the AWB expired.

You can also see the change in gun culture represented by the gun rights groups. While the NRA is still the bogeyman invoked by the gun grabbing Left, groups like the Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition and Second Amendment Foundation are doing a lot more useful work than the NRA. My comment on Kevin’s post…

You could also look at the difference in gun rights group. GC 1.0 was the NRA, focused on hunting and gun safety, and tended to be sort of reactive and reliant on the political process (legislative). GC 2.0 is GOA/FPC, a whole lot less passive, very in your face, filing lawsuits (judicial) and going on the offensive. What I hope to see from GC 3.0 is a recognition that there is more to the gun rights issue than simply focusing on specific attacks on the 2A and includes other issues that indirectly impact gun rights, like immigration.

The NRA relied on forming relationships with people in Congress and endorsing candidates for office. The GOA/FPC are more prone to filing lawsuits by the dozens, going after gun laws via the courts rather than the legislative process. The NRA still does important work in Congress preventing new laws from being passed but the GOA/FPC is going after the laws already on the books, at the Federal and state level. Not only that, while the NRA is more genteel and proper, with Wayne LaPierre in his very expensive suits, GOA/FPC are more down and dirty, getting in the face of gun-grabbers on social media and mocking the ATF. Unfortunately even GOA/FPC are still caught up in the single-mindedness of the old gun culture (see: The Single Issue Focus Of The Gun Rights Lobby: Both Their Greatest Strength And A Fatal Flaw).

The average gun guy today is also far more militant politically. Compromise is out, from my cold dead hands is in. Whether that is what would happen if push comes to shove is a different topic but the people I talk to day in and day out in the gun market are angrier than I can ever remember. They seem to have figured out that compromise only ends one way: complete disarmament followed by camps and cattle cars.

The gun culture has been slowly changing into what Kevin calls Gun Culture 3.0….

Gun Culture 1.0 was focused on hunting, Gun Culture 2.0 is focused on personal protection, Gun Culture 3.0 will be focused on neighborhood protection, as the structures we have relied on to keep the peace start to disintegrate. Gun Culture 3.0 will have more martial elements than either previous versions, with night vision optics and body armor** playing a role similar to how the modern defensive pistol and the AR-15 plays a large role in today’s gun culture. Some of the more… imaginative versions of this future assume a competent and powerful Federal government, such as how the Brits ran Northern Ireland. However, I foresee a less competent .gov, like the Federales in Mexico or at worst, no .gov, like the former Yugoslavia. 

This is already coming into play. A large percentage of “gun guys” today are more likely to have nightvision, a plate carrier, more than one AR-15 and a shitload of mags and ammo rather than just a deer rifle, revolver and shotgun for ducks. We all still have the pure self-defense guns and with half of the country now living in states that are constitutional carry, plus the advancement in double stack micro-compacts, the American population is now carrying an awful lot of firepower out in public, but the guns that really sell today are firearms like AR-15s.

Sure lots of people tout the AR-15 as their home defense weapon but I suspect that if push came to shove, most people are still reaching for a handgun if something goes bump in the night. Pistols are also of course what people carry concealed. What is more, virtually all of the gun homicides in America are committed using a pistol. Still, the gun control debate focuses on scary AR-15s. Why?

For one simple reason: They know and we know that most of us don’t own AR-15s for home defense or target shooting, we own them because we anticipate a future setting in America where a 9mm handgun won’t be adequate. At up close, self-defense ranges the 9mm is awesome but at farther engagement ranges, like 100 yards? You can’t beat an AR-15.

Getting back to the question at hand. While there are more guns and better guns in private hands than at any time in history, with many guys owning more firepower than a rifle squad from World War II, a lot of those gun owners are at best mediocre shooters. I suspect a lot of the AR-15s I sold during the panic buying days of 2020/2021 have never been fired or at most have had a single mag run through them. Even people that shoot with some regularity like me don’t spend nearly enough time putting in work at the range.

My point being that gun culture has changed from “shooting” to “buying”. While there are still guys doing custom handloading of ammo and extreme long range shooting has become popular and accessible, many gun guys are just stacking guns and ammo with expensive accessories. I include myself too often in that latter category. Having the gear is critical but not sufficient. You need to be proficient with it as well. Just like exercising with weights and cardio is important, so is getting out there and becoming more dangerous to bad guys with your pewpews.

I like the angrier, more militant gun culture we are living in, now we just need to really ramp up the training. Not everyone needs to be a professional level gen-u-wine certified shooter but all of us need to be competent at shooting, at close engagement ranges, at intermediate carbine ranges and as much as practical at longer ranges. What good is a $8000 set-up if you can’t shoot it accurately? Sure you can put lots of lead in the air but all the better if that lead goes where you intend it. In other words, if you are protecting your family and neighbors it would be better if you don’t accidently shoot your family or neighbors because you aren’t proficient with your firearm.

The message is more for me than you. Get out there and get good. You can get good at shooting or you can get good at dying.


  1. realwesterner

    There is “training” as in practicing tactical reloads, the zipper drill, moving from cover to cover and engaging targets etc. And there is “training” as in resistance and/or cardio training, high intensity methods, and also diet/nutrition/supplementation regimes. Whether or not a guy can knock the wings off a fly at a hundred yards won’t mean much without the physical conditioning to manage a high level of prolonged exertion. I got a mess of guys in my area that are armed on a daily basis. Some of them are pushing around close to a hundred pounds of extra weight. As this house of cards continues to collapse, I believe having a sense of urgency about one’s fitness is a very, very serious matter. Time is short.

    • anonymous

      I agree with the fitness thing. Whole-heartedly!

      If anyone wants to get themselves fit in a relatively short time, I recommend “Body for Life” by Bill Phillips. It is a 12 week program, a combination of diet and exercise, that will take off pounds, put on muscle, and improve cardio. It does not require a daily 2 hours in the gym, and while you must be disciplined, you won’t starve.

      I did this program back in the 2000 and it works. I am doing it again now.

      You can buy the book off E-bay for like five bucks. And the program is something you can start no matter what level of fitness you are in at the moment. Get 12 weeks under your belt, see how you look and feel, then modify it into a lifestyle.

      Looking around, everyone who is older is a lard-ass. And they are all headed towards a lifetime of medical expense and pharma-drugs. Do you really want to end up like that? Is your TV, potato chips, and beer really worth being winded at the top of the stairs?

      Don’t like that program? OK, eat less and move more. But do something!

  2. Yankee Terrier

    Great article Arthur, and I especially relate to the part about buying in lieu of practice. I think my buying has been driven by the political assault on our 2A rights and on White America as a whole. Buying because once it is yours you have it. A day too late, and banned, and forever is a very long time.Once you have it ( them, a stack of Armalites, what have you) and supporting gear, consumables, plates, carriers, the list goes on ,.But then it is an order of magnitude more a task to come and confiscate. I believe millions of us think this way. Sometimes there is budget for buying but not for practice due to the recent prices of consumables. I acquired my stash much like dollar cost average investing, and only practice with what I can purchase, so practice has reduced. My bad. I feel your pain. Final random thought, Appleseed is a good brush up for 3 .0 a first step, or primer.The Ranger Battalion at Ft. Lewis unofficially would send us “individuals” when I taught Appleseed as recently as 6 years ago. These individuals were about to go to the sandbox and had been doing extensive shoot house, cqc, fire and maneuver training, and some old senior NCO suggested to them that just before deployment,a little old bit of basic fundamentals would be good. ( kind of like Vince Lombardi blocking and tackling). Great article.

  3. Don W Curton

    Yeah, I guess I fall into the buyer more than shooter mode too. I’ve actually used the argument that “I can’t buy another gun until I start making more range trips” in order to avoid impulse purchases. Simply stated, I own enough guns to get me thru whatever, buying more ain’t gonna make a difference.

    So I need to start shooting more. Plus get into shape. All good points.

  4. Gryphon

    That’s a good thing to consider, at what point does ‘Lead in the Air’ become as (or more) Important than ‘Precision Long-Distance Shooting’ ? I think the ability to Hit the person-size Target at 300 Meters with a 5.56 Carbine is Essential, but not too many people can practice this in their Back Yard.

    One thing that I see being overlooked is the effect of the ‘Two-Way Range’ on most people’s Shooting Skills. Yes, Vets have an advantage here, but the majority of Gun Owners don’t, and will have to ‘Learn the Hard Way’… And remember, this applies to the average .gov thugpig as well. I think a key Indicator of how things will progress (or regress, maybe) will be when the first few “SWAT Raids” go Bad, and some thugpigs get Baconated by a Citizen or three who have set an Ambush.

    • saoirse

      Correct. Only when the situation goes from hypothetical to actual can adjustments be made.
      LMAO @ “Baconated” I’ll add that to my lexicon!

    • Arthur Sido

      Never been shot at but I am certain that shooting while lead is flying at you is a very different beast from casually shooting at a stationary target. Not sure how to replicate that.

      • Gryphon

        The Army used to do a Training Exercise where Troops had to crawl through Mud and Barbwire while Machine-Gunners fired only a few feet above them, using accuracy-tested Barrels and a Frame limiting Barrel Traverse and (minimum) Elevation… one can only Imagine how the fake-n-ghey trannyfag diverse ‘army’ of today would react.

      • realwesterner

        One thing I think I see quite a bit is folks at the range acting as if they’re shoe shopping or freeway driving. Code white all the way. Focusing on the fundamentals…maybe. Engaging a mindset of “urgency”…barely if ever. One approach that many of us CAN take UNTIL the range does go hot/two way is pre-stressing (pushups to failure, sprinting a few dozen yards to firing position, burpees to exhaustion, or even doing deadlifts and squats to exhaustion BEFORE one gets to the range if the above efforts are not permitted at the local range) and then engaging targets in a “training mode” that goes beyond plinking for accuracy and moves into a more “focused and urgent” mindset. I suggest even downloading magazines to force emergency reloads. Doing speed reloads after doing pushups to failure when you’re still breathing hard, and accurately acquiring (hopefully multiple) targets is not all that easy and may open a shooter’s eyes to how much difficulty and stress might need to be faced in a true life-and-death situation. Shaking arms and legs, fumbling fingers and a cotton-dry mouth do not make rapid target acquisition and speed reloads easier, not surprisingly. I don’t want to sound like I think I know diddly squat-I don’t. I have never been in the military and have never even been to any manner of training academy. But, I been doing fitness a long time and about 15 years ago I realized “plinking” was hardly sufficient training. Plus, we have acreage to customize training like outlined above. Shooting a rifle from behind a barricade when you’re breathing as hard as you can is not easy work. It makes you feel like you have no skill in the matter and no idea of what you’re doing, but you learn to push through it.

        • Tactless Wookie

          This right here is something I have been thinking about.

          I’ve taken to learning to shoot small targets in the ~300 meter distance. 6.5CM bolt gun. CA (@WRSA) asked in a post some years ago how many can make that 300 yard shot cold.

          I can proudly answer that in the affirmative. Now add some physical stress and a very short time to get to the shooting position, setup and put a bullet downrange. I’d fail.

          I need to suck less.

    • Chris

      Dry practice of marksmanship fundamentals is an option for anyone constrained by space.

      Dry practice isn’t a complete substitute for actual shooting time, but is a much quieter (!) and less expensive (!) way to practice things like shooting positions, sight alignment/picture, trigger control, etc…

      The actual size of the target depends on how much distance you have to work with.

      A man-size torso target used in competition is ~20″ at 500 yards. That’s 4 MOA.

      A 4 MOA target is equal to:
      16 inches at 400 yard/meters
      12 inches at 300 yard/meters
      8 inches at 200, 4 inches at 100 and 1 inch at 25.

      If you only have 10 yards, use a 1cm square for your target.

  5. saoirse

    While there may be a perceived increase in ‘militancy’ it’s mostly superficial. More layers of gear and jingoism are meaningless while constrained inside the box of ‘civil discourse’ and morality. Still way too much to lose (mostly materialistically) for 99% to actually pull their triggers, but at least there’s a stir taking place.

    • Zorost

      I’d agree it seems that way, but if it seemed any other way it would mean our side were being fucking idiots by revealing their situation online. Anything in the direction that I think we both know needs to happen, can only be offline and personal.

      The internet is a powerful tool for spreading ideas and seeing that we aren’t alone or crazy, but it has it’s limits as to how far one can go in actually solving today’s problems.

      • Arthur Sido

        I figure if even 10% of the people talking are serious, that is an enormous number of people who are willing to do what will need to be done and even more will do so once it gets spicy and their family is in danger.

  6. Zorost

    “Gun Culture 3.0 will be focused on neighborhood protection…”

    I think what should be the primary defining characteristic of GC 3.0 is TEAM oriented neighborhood protection. This follows a natural progression from 1.0 – 2.0:
    1= target practice
    2= solo combat practice
    3= team combat practice

    Individual Rambos are going to get taken down by rampaging hoodrats, cops shooting anything that looks threatening, their own neighbors shooting anything that looks threatening… How many internet Rambos have bragged about how they are going to be shooting people in their neighborhood who seem threatening; how many such people are just other solo Rambos finally coming out of their hole also looking for threatening people?

    One of the big prepper fantasies seems to be that one day there will be a bright flash, its the apocalypse, and everyone comes out of their houses looking around bewildered. The prepper walks out confidently, and says, “hi I’m a prepper I know exactly what to do! Follow me!” And then everyone does and everyone lives happily ever after.

    The reality is people are still going to laugh at that person for being a fucking kook, and follow some guy they’ve actually talked to socially who seems like a leader and may or may not have any actual knowledge.

    Get to know people now. Talk over ideas so you are all at least reading from the same book if not the same page if anything does happen.

  7. Zorost

    “Things will get better soon .. as bad as it looks , most of this is now optics and Constitutional lessons for all to see and learn … at this current time we are in a state of ( Devolution ) PDJT signed EO 13484 in 2018 to begin in 2020 ( now how did he know to do that ) PDJT stepped Down from the Corporation of the United States ( Washington DC the District of Columbia )and became the full time commander in Chief well I know and a lot of my Military friends know as well … so your research ! Our Country and the entire world 🌎 is about to change they way God intended it to be …”

    That didn’t age well…

  8. Plague Monk

    I find that the older I get, the more that I find myself in agreement with my late father, who was a Gun Culture 1.0 person all of his life. Dad used a Springfield in his service after WWII, and hated with a passion all automatic and semi-auto weapons. His store never sold them while he was running it(he financed it but didn’t sell many firearms personally), and with his original partner only sold to white males. The thought of women using firearms made him sick, and he(and my mother) believed that women who get raped were asking for it in most cases(mentally ill rapists being the remainder). I feel nauseous when I see photos of women holding firearms, much less using them.

    From a design standpoint the modern firearms are interesting, and I have a few 3D Unigraphics models on my personal computer, but I don’t see myself ever buying one, much less shooting one. They really are weapons of war, and I can’t say that I would object to their being banned. Dad supported the ban and was angered that it was sun setted.

    I still buy the occasional firearm, but only if I fall in love with the wood stock; I agree with the statement that synthetics are Mattel toys, and are an abomination. Several months ago I acquired a new LH Remington 700 with synthetic stock. I discarded the original stock and put in a wood stock that I’ve had around for some time. I doubt that I’ll ever shoot it(or anything else), but I like looking at it on the wall in my home office.

    I’ll accept being called a Mr. Fudd; Dad did, and when he went target/trap shooting, even though he worked as a blue collar welder for some 50 years, he wore a suit, tie and dress shoes at the range. I still miss Dad, 11 years after he died.

    • BcFyTw

      Oh look we found one of the main problems with the current crop. It is a blessing people like you are vaxxed boosted and on the way out. Couldn’t happen soon enough

    • Arthur Sido

      I saw a guy get carjacked at home and his Aston Martin was stolen because some usual suspects followed him home. I am going to write later about D.C. and new warnings. We aren’t even able to leave home in many places and it is only getting worse.

  9. Reader

    American Partisan and the training partners involved is one of the best places for knowledge and skills beyond “buy this not that.”

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