Gun Show!

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

six knives

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About the Author

Steve Merryman

Almost Daily is a blog by Steve Merryman, who is not all that impressed with you or your full, luxurious head of hair. He writes about things that make him tick, and things that tick him off.