The Empty Cases’ Guide to Being a Real, Gun Using, Outdoor Kind of Man
The Empty Cases’ Guide to Being a Real, Gun Using, Outdoor Kind of Man

The Empty Cases’ Guide to Being a Real, Gun Using, Outdoor Kind of Man

Own a truck.

Carry a knife. Always. The only time you should not have a knife is when you are naked, in a bed or when you’re swimming. (Real men swim, they don’t play in the water. And, there is only one kind of knife and that’s a sharp one. A dull knife is nothing but a flat piece of metal with a handle.)

Get a hat; a real hat, you gotta have a hat. Not a baseball cap. You don’t have to wear it all the time but when you are wearing it, take it off when you hear the National Anthem, when you are eating and when you go inside and sit down.

If you are going to carry a handgun, carry it concealed. There are only a few social settings where open carry is proper and they are cookouts and barbecues, campfires and hangings. (We don’t have many hangings these days.) Never open carry in nylon, plastic or Kydex; it’s like wearing tennis shoes to a funeral. And never, ever open carry a Glock unless you are a cop. Nobody wants to see that ugly thing.

Teach at least one kid to shoot and hunt – and to do it well, before you die.

Don’t show off your tattoos unless you are asked.

Stop using your smart phone to check the time. Get a watch for god’s sake.

Act like you have been there before no matter if it’s Paris or a hurricane. This always applies unless it’s your first time at Gunsite. If it is, keep your mouth shut; you’ll learn more that way.

If you have hair on your head or a beard or mustache, keep it trimmed or groomed. Avoid the Unabomber look.

Own at least one custom rifle.

Always buy the first round; nobody remembers who bought the second round or the last one.

If you are going to engage in a ballistics discussion, know something about ballistics.

When discussing guns, cartridges, bullets and ballistics, never say, “all things being equal” because they never are and never will be.

Never ask someone if they have ever killed someone, never ask anyone if they ever slept with someone and never, ever brag or talk about doing either.

Never sit or stand by a man when you can sit or stand by a woman. Do I really need to explain this one?

Keep a rope, a rifle and ammo in your truck. What, you don’t have a truck?

Never waste a sunset.

Learn how to start a fire and how to split wood but always let the youngest in the group do both.

If you are riding in the passenger seat, for heaven’s sake, get the gate!

Own at least one lever action rifle and don’t put a scope on it. (If you own two lever action rifles one of them can have a scope but only if it’s a scout scope.)

Know what Schnee’s boots are and where they are made.

Know who John Browning was and at least two firearms he invented.

Learn how to tell a hunting story that folks will listen to.

Know who COL Jeff Cooper was and be able to quote at least one thing he said.

Knowing how to ride a horse is not near as important as knowing how to saddle one.

Know who Frank Luke, Raoul Lufbery were and how they died.

Own a dog – an outside kind of dog – with a hunting heritage.

Read, The Life of the Hunt and know who wrote it.

Know that Jack O’Connor did not talk directly to God but that Elmer Keith might have.

Own at least one gun in .35 caliber.

Own, carry and shoot a single action revolver. If its not a Colt or Ruger it does not count.

When your hunting partner kills an animal, they touch it first. No exceptions. Well, unless they are sick, seriously injured or if you had to deliver the final shot before it stomped them into a blood puddle.

Its OK to let someone field dress and skin your animal but only if you hired them and are paying them to do it.

You don’t have to know how to cook a lot of things but you must know how to cook breakfast and venison.

Repeat after me, “There is no such thing as a ladies gun.”

And finally, for the love of all that has anything to do with firearms, know how to sight your rifle in without using a box of ammo.




  1. Randy Turner

    Gunwriter RAM….None of that could be considered just good advise…’s a code.A good one at that,and a great one to live by.You gist added to this ole’ West Virginian’s bucket list on a few good points…but the one ’bout never sit or stand next to a Mann when there’s a woman you can sit or stand next to…I already do that one….Me again…

  2. Britney

    Repeat after me, “There is no such thing as a ladies gun.”

    I really enjoyed this post, Richard. I try to follow some of these man commandments, even though I’m a wo-man. 😉

  3. Many good points. Missing one thing. Before you own a gun, own, read and understand the Bible (aka The Word of God). Preferably a Bible you can read with ease such as the New American Standard Bible. If you own a gun and not a Bible, that means you’re an enemy combatant. Period.

  4. D.A. Miller, Sr., USA Retired

    Good manners are just good. They should be exercised like a muscle to remain strong.
    I am age 73 and still learning. I have been in riot, tornado (I live in Joplin) hurricane and at war
    and have worn a badge. I would add, be circumspect around peace officers unless the have
    memorized and live the CODE.

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