Are there too many firearms instructors, weapon experts, and gun writers? Or, are there are just too many of all three who don’t know what they’re talking about? This topic came up during a training break at a Gunsite Academy class where several complained about the abundance of poor firearms training being perpetuated on the unknowing public.
Standing on the terra firma at Gunsite, a place I consider the premier civilian firearms training academy in the world, you might be surprised I took a conflicting position. I’ve commented before that the further you get from Gunsite, the less faith you can have in your firearms training. I’m not going to rehash or defend that comment again; if you want to understand it you can read my explanation HERE. Having said that, why would I support the free enterprise and the entrepreneurship of fledgling if not inferior firearms instructors?
I believe the free market will sort it all out at. There’s a reason Gunsite Academy has been around for more than 40 years. It’s the same reason many firearms instructors or academies will not last more than a couple years. If you purvey the truth you will prosper, spread bad information and you will fail.
Similarly, the same bad information and bad messengers exist in the gun writing community. It used to be if you wanted to present an opinion to the public about guns, you were vetted by your peers and editors. That’s not so much the case today. The need for content that does not cost much has tenderfoots who have never been professionally associated with firearms writing articles and even books. The ability to provide clean copy and good photos on time in some cases now outweighs conveying information gained through lots of real experience. Folks read this stuff and some will even believe it.
Interestingly, firearms instructors complain the loudest about bad firearms training and gun writers complain the most about bad gun writing. You see, gun writing is, to some extent, the same as firearms instructing. I can say this because I’ve made a living doing both. It is the preaching of fact laced with opinion. Gun writing is not news reporting and firearms instructing is not the same as teaching an absolute such as math. Perception influences both and most everything is open to debate.
Experts cannot argue that 2+2 is not 4, but they can call you a fool for shooting the Weaver stance or carrying a 9mm. Even If you win a gunfight and kill 27 jihadists, they can argue you would have been better off in the isosceles stance with a 45. And, you’ll be unable to prove them wrong.
But bad information about guns can get you hurt or worse. Why yes, that is absolutely true, but I don’t think we need the gun writer or firearm instructor police to decide what is bad and what is not. When your firearms academy has been around for 40 years you’ll have proven you belong. On the other hand, most gun writers never prove they belong, they just keep trying to pay their bills.
The world after all is full of experts. About half of them have a Facebook account, the other half live on Internet talk forums. Post any report or opinion related to firearms on Facebook or on a gun forum and hoards of experts will descend on you. This is partly because some folks just don’t have a life, and partly because humans like to prove they know more than other humans.
Case in point, get around a group of your peers and relay a problem relating to anything from plumbing to lawnmowers. Within seconds an expert will appear out of nowhere and utter the common phrase, “Let me tell you what you need to do…”
There is more than one way to skin a cat. Some ways work better than others, and some folks can’t tell the difference between a skinned cat and a skinned opossum. Understanding and learning about firearms is an educational endeavor, laced with entertainment and marketing. Some folks are better at marketing than providing viable training, or educational and entertaining words for you to read.
Every facet of life is full of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and sometimes people make bad choices with regard to whom they will follow, read, or trust. Presidential elections are proof of that.
How do I know all this? I’m an expert, just like you.