Monday, November 05, 2012

Firearms Basics - Part 1: Introduction

I've been a shooter for almost 30 years, and a competitive shooter off and on for about 15 years. I'm an engineer by education and experience; and I'm a professional gunsmith, and firearms trainer. I've sold guns at the retail level, repaired them, customized them, modified them, even built them from the bare metal.

Firearms are one of the strongest pursuits and passions in my life.

God knows, I've written literally millions of words on firearms over the past... almost 20 years I guess (I started writing about guns on the internet in forums and newsgroups starting around 1993). I've been running running or co-running firearms forums for over 10 years. The last 8 years (well... 8 years in February) I've been writing on this blog (3600 or so posts so far; probably half of them about guns, and most of those over 1000 words).

I'm published on guns and shooting both online and in print; and I'm one of the most referenced and quoted sources on the technical aspects of firearms online.

I think I'm justified in calling myself a firearms expert; without others having to put scare quotes or "self proclaimed" around that.

I say this not for self aggrandizement, but to explain to those who don't know me, the context of the rest of this post.

While I'm a great'big'ol gunnut; guns are by no means my only personal or professional pursuits or interests; and I'm involved in several different interest centered "cultures" and social circles.

Generally speaking, outside of my "gun culture" social circles, I'm "the gun guy"; or at least "one of the gun guys" in any group.

And of course, I write a lot about firearms basics, mythbusting, basic equipment etc...

All of this leads to me getting a lot of questions from people who are entirely new to firearms, or who are just casually into them...

... or me hearing conversations (or seeing internet threads) just completely full of (generally well intentioned) utter crap. Bad advice,  "received wisdom" (which may have been true at one point, but may or may not be now), opinion and myth passed off as fact; even sometimes truly stupid, illegal, or potentially dangerous advice.

That's unfortunately the general level of discourse on most websites that aren't specifically gun related (and sadly, many that ARE... but that's another story entirely).

The good thing is though, being recognized as the "office expert" so to speak, in such groups; I can generally speak with some authority, and maybe give some GOOD advice, that maybe someone will take.

I figure, as a representative of "serious" gun culture, and "gun experts" etc... I kind of have a duty to do so when I can; and I enjoy doing so... at least when we can keep the general level of stupidity to a reasonable level.

Often these questions, and these discussions, fit into the post categories I already have (and have had for years now); "so you want to write about guns" or "firearms mythbusting".

Sometimes they don't however, and for those things, I'm starting a new series, "Firearms Basics".

I expect I'll be covering some of the same territory I've done with mythbusting etc... But mostly this series will be focused specifically on providing a foundation of basic firearms knowledge; and to answer questions that firearms beginners, or casual firearms owners/shooters might have.

I'll be posting the first in this series in a few minutes; but I want to put this out to my readers, and to the readers of THEIR blogs...

What basic firearms questions and issues would you like to see covered? Technical, political, legal, historical... model specific, ammo specific, whatever... so long as it's a relatively specific question, that won't take a full book to answer...

...Or maybe even then, if it's a good enough, interesting enough issue; that I know enough about to answer that comprehensively.

What basic or common questions would you like answered?

What pieces of received wisdom, or or common firearms advice would you like to see explained, verified, or corrected (this is where we overlap with the mythbusting bit)?

I figure I'll collect them all, and just start writing the posts to answer the folks, as the time is available and the inspiration strikes; with a goal of doing at least one a week.

So please, give me your questions; and those of you with your own blogs, if you feel it would provide value to your readers, link or repost this, and/or gather your readers questions.

If there's an area I don't know enough to cover properly, I may bring in a guest poster, or guest contributor to a post; and if you are an expert in a particular area and would like to help with this, drop me a line.

I've got a list of possible ideas myself of course, but I want to see all your ideas first.

...this could be kinda fun...