Went to my first gun show a while back. Here’s the surprise: it was my wife’s idea.
Yep. I married the right woman
We saw lots of guns. In the process I made a couple decisions about my preferences.
First off, I’ve decided that I really like old-style guns. The newer AR15 style rifles are super awesome and incredibly versatile, but they look too plastic. I want a rifle with a traditional wood-stock; something that would look good on display above the fireplace.
Lots of strangers online have tried to convince me of the benefits of AR15 style rifles:
- Accessories – you can put scopes, lights, different stocks, rails, tripods, and any number of extras on your AR15-style rifle, making them incredibly versatile. Of course, you can easily go overboard.
- Upgrades – you can swap out nearly every working part of your AR15 for something of better quality or different purpose, even the barrel if you want to change caliber.
- Cheap ammo – the standard .223 caliber ammunition is plentiful and cheap.
- Tacti-cool! – AR15 just look bad-ass, there’s no arguing that fact.
- 30-round magazines – with about three-times the capacity of a traditional lever-action rifle, you won’t waste too much time re-loading.
I get the arguments, and they are good ones. But they don’t convince me. The bottom line is that I’m an old-fashioned guy, and I like the traditional look of wood and blued steel. I’m not preparing to hold off an army of drug kingpins and/or zombies. I’m an old fart that has decided he likes shooting at paper circles or the occasional tin can, and I appreciate the feel of a traditional rifle in my hands. I don’t need a 30-round mag, a polymer stock, a Picatinny rail, and laser site to put a hole in a 3-inch circle.
I’ve since refined my desire for a traditional rifle even further. I’m currently looking around for a Marlin 1894 lever-action rifle in .357 / .38 Special. I’ve looked around and researched a lot of different guns, and that one seems to align closest to what I want in a rifle. I don’t hunt, and probably never will (barring TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It – yeah, that’s a thing)), but I do like shooting at paper targets. A lot. This makes .357 a good choice because it’s a very inexpensive round, about the same as my .45 ammo. Since Marlin no longer makes the 1894 in that caliber, I’m looking for a used rifle, so it may take a while.
I’m not in a hurry, though. I’m still having a blast with my handguns.
To be clear I am not against AR15 style rifles. Not at all. Whatever floats your boat. Those rifles serve a valuable personal defense purpose and are wonderfully versatile. The fear they engender in some is irrational and stupid. I say if that’s what you’re into, go for it, be safe, and have a good time.
But they are not for me at this time, and to be honest, I’m not sure they ever will be.
The second decision I made regarding my personal tastes is that I really, really, REALLY like knives.
While at the show, I found myself bypassing many of the guns and going right to the knife displays. They were some of the most beautiful tools I’ve ever seen.
Aside from the obvious self-defense benefits, the only thing you can make with a gun is noise and holes (lots and lots of holes). But with a knife you get self-defense benefits, and – if you survive – you can make beautiful and functional works of art.
Perhaps my new shooting hobby will turn me into a gun collector some day. I don’t know. What I suspect is that I will eventually collect knives like some old ladies collect cats. At the moment, a rough count of the knives I have comes to a modest six, ranging in length from a Ka-Bar Marine fighting knife at a ferocious seven inches down to an itty-bitty pocket knife sporting a spunky 1.375” blade.
Only six knives. Clearly I’ve got some shopping to do
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