All men are created equal. At least that’s what the Declaration of Independence tells us. This was obviously before the advent of the firearms press and the occupation of a gun writer because; all gun writers are not created equal. I have studied this occupation for most of my life and after some serious debate and internal reflection; I’ve managed to create a classification system for those who write, video, or blog about the gun.
If you are one of the blessed who gets to make a living pulling triggers, where do you fit in? If you are a reader or watcher, which of these communicators do you enjoy reading and watching the most?
- The Firearms Journalist
This category of those who write about guns is mostly filled with folks who are decent writers. They know where commas go, they understand the use of the semi-colon, and they can diagram a sentence to perfection. They are in some ways the equivalent of the newspaper reporter; they interview, research, and tell you a story. There is nothing wrong with being a firearms journalist and very often they provide the most objective information. They need an editor to tell them what to write, not how to write it.
- The Shooting Sensationalist
Most often seen on the Internet, the sensationalist looks to gain your attention by talking bad about a gun or gun person or they’re quick to claim this gun or gun person is the best or smartest of all. Lots of – NOT ALL – bloggers fit this mold because negativity or amazing accolades are the best way to drive web traffic and blogs die without traffic. The sensationalist could be described as a firearms journalist who always thinks they know what sucks and what doesn’t. Some sensationalist need taken out behind the wood shed and others need their own TV show because they are so genuinely entertaining.
- The Gun Writer
A gun writer is someone who lives the life of the gun. They understand guns and they use guns beyond the purpose of testing them in order to report their findings. Sometimes gun writers are not very good writers. They will assemble paragraphs that run on forever, contain various topics, and their understanding of grammar and punctuation is akin to their knowledge of space travel. These well-informed gun folk often need an editor like a homeless man needs a hot dog. Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part the gun writer is just a gun person who has a clever way of sharing interesting information about guns.
- The Firearms Professor
The firearms professor is a rarity. Their knowledge is broad but usually extensive in a narrow field. They are more of a lecturing entertainer or an artist, with an arguably objective message that is always intensely biased. The firearms professor has a way of touching the soul of the reader and appealing to their nostalgic appreciation of fine weaponry. Firearm or hunting professors leave legacies and we are fortunate if we know four or five within any generation.
- The Firearms Philosopher
When it comes to gun writers the rarest of the rare is the firearms philosopher. They have the ability to float effortlessly through each of the previously mentioned classifications. In fact, they are so good at their craft they can be a journalist, sensationalist, writer, and professor all within the same article, video, or blog post. They will entertain you, convince you with empirical data, and sway you with their opinion. In the end you are enlightened. There have only been a handful of these folks throughout the history of firearms journalism. Interestingly, they may have fewer admirers than adversaries.