by Scott Cee
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on February 24, 2015.
Since around 2008, the firearm industry has taken a dramatic turn. It hasn’t exploded like some predicted after the presidential elections. It hasn’t come to a screeching halt as some legislators dreamed. It has become retarded in the last several years. Yes, I used the word “retarded” specifically for its dual meaning: it’s slid backward and also become less able to think clearly or with purpose. I said it. Most industry promoters are idiots, and they are passing on useless garbage to the masses. Here’s why…
We all like to think of ourselves as being educated, some having nice paper diplomas up on the walls showing we can survive a few years of college. Add in the widespread availability of the internet on every electronic device possible and we can’t go wrong: right?
There are countless magazines online about firearms and new items, reviews by countless people, and forums for every subject imaginable, not to mention the guys (and gals) at the gun counter. With all this information readily available at our fingertips, we can research every future purchase and discuss them on forums and chats with other enthusiasts.
So how is the industry losing information then? Because the people writing the articles and talking on forums or behind the counter are usually full of shit and have NO CLUE what they are talking about. While they may, and often are, smart people, they are not experts in their hobby. Yes, hobby. Someone cannot be called a professional in something if they do it just for fun or for rent money, can they? Does owning 10 guns (usually based on the recommendations of others) make someone an expert?
Most firearm professionals are busy working, either in the field, the shop or on their next project. Firearm professionals are on deployment, constantly looking for the most efficient systems for their needs because their lives depend on it; or are on the range deck diagnosing and fixing the bad habits of self-proclaimed YouTube experts as they do every week, or are in a busy workshop after a 12-hour day figuring out how to solve a weapon issue or how to cut weight on a future product. Firearm experts are not the college kid at the gun counter, regardless of how well he knows the price of Brand X rifle or if a barrel is 1:8 or 1:9 on Brand Y.
Do you honestly think that the 300-pound “Instructor” with ketchup & mustard stains on his shirt knows anything about shooting under stress or how to enter a room when he himself can’t fit through a normal doorway without turning sideways? While the home inspector may be a great guy, just because he put 30 rounds through a magazine off a bench to “T&E”, it doesn’t mean it has been tested. The industry has turned to hobbyists for information about products and this has led to the retardation of the industry as a whole.
So where are all the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)? Honestly, they are tired of this exact phenomenon I’m discussing. It used to be that gun articles were written by the “Been There, Done That” guys. Magazines featured men like Clint Smith, Jim Cirillo, and others who’ve successfully survived several gunfights and had firsthand knowledge to impart with others. These are guys who’ve spent countless hours at a range, pushing past blisters and bone-chilling weather because they have to, not on weekend trips to the mountains with a cooler of beer.