Monday, May 18, 2015


                                                 That First Gun

 
  Some things we will never forget. For gun lovers, there’s the first gun you ever got the chance to shoot, the first gun you were allowed to use regularly, the first gun you ever owned and the first gun you ever bought for yourself. There’s just something special about guns that embed themselves in our memories. They are tied to significant events in our lives and often are the significant event; like our first gun.

  The first gun I ever fired was my Dad’s Ruger Single Six .22. When my memory takes me there, it is as fresh in my mind as if it happened just yesterday. It was in the late ‘60’s just outside of West Memphis, Arkansas on one of the dirt farm roads there. We stopped near one of the drainage ditches and stood on one of the rickety flat wooden bridges and the grownups did a little shooting. I wasn’t told I was going to be allowed to shoot anything, just that I was going along (which was a rare enough treat in and of itself), but I was secretly hoping as hard as I could that I would get to shoot a real gun. I remember exactly how I felt when my Dad asked me if I wanted to shoot his revolver, exactly how I felt when he handed it to me and exactly how I felt when I fired it. I remember the smell of the gun powder and the sound and feel it had when I cocked the hammer back for the next round. And I was hooked.

  The first gun I ever had regular access to was my Grandfather’s 12 gauge shotgun. I spent a lot of time with him on the farm in Northeast Arkansas and he and my Uncles spent time teaching me about shooting and hunting. I remember telling my Grandfather one day that I wanted to do a little shooting and him telling me I could go get his shotgun and some shells and take it out back to shoot some cans……all by myself! He made sure he gave me another talk about gun safety and out the door I went. He knew I wouldn’t shoot a lot though and would be back in the house before long because that old shotgun kicked like a Mule; but he let me do that by myself. From then on I could ask to use his shotgun to hunt along the ditches there or go shooting and he’d always let me. Sometimes, I’d ask to use his shotgun to just take it to walk the ditches there just because I could. I was going for a walk anyway, so why not take the shotgun? I would always clean it when I brought it back inside, usually while listening to my Grandfather teaching me more about guns and hunting (I wish I had recorded those talks). It was his shotgun and he trusted me with it and that still means the world to me.

  The first gun I ever owned and could call my own was also the first gun I ever bought. It was a brand new Harrington and Richardson single shot 20 gauge. I bought it from the Kmart in Kingsport, Tennessee with yard mowing money. It is light and easy to handle and has some great memories of hunts attached to it. I still have it and still love it and I plan to get it out in the woods on a hunt again soon.

  This weekend I had the chance to add to that “first gun” memory list. It’s a memory that means as much to me as the memories I shared above. It was the first gun I ever bought my oldest Grandson, for his ninth Birthday. It’s also his first gun. I got a little choked up watching him tear open the wrapping paper and pulling it all away from the box. He still wasn’t quite sure what was inside the box when he opened it and saw the wax paper, but I could see the hope in his eyes. His Dad helped him remove it from the box and they removed the wax paper revealing a brand new Henry .22 lever action. He slowly went from disbelief to realizing what he was seeing to the biggest smile ever as it slowly dawned on him that it was his. His first gun. The first gun that I’ve given to him and hopefully a memory he will carry for the rest of his life. His gleaming eyes and his wide smile made me feel that it will be. That look is one I’ll never forget and I’m thankful to have been a part of it. Best money I've ever spent.

Hooah

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Wednesday, April 8, 2015



                                                     And The Pastor Sees The Light
 
   A friend of mine is a Pastor with a Church here locally and he has recently become a gun owner. Not just a gun owner, but he has taken the concealed carry course and has plans for several more purchases in the gun department. He is not only a friend of mine, but also a founding member of our Monty On Guns Facebook page (he was like the ninth person to join and follow the page four years ago). Until here recently, the good Pastor was not a gun owner though. He had come close to buying a handgun a couple of years ago to go to the range and do some target practice with and for home defense, but backed away from it before actually buying one. I asked him then why he decided not to get one and he replied “I just couldn’t do it. The thought of having to shoot someone was more than I could bear.” Speaking of bear……my friend the Pastor is a bear of a man. Powerfully built and physically capable of inflicting damage to the toughest, or those that think themselves tough, if he were inclined to do so. That is not his spirit though. A kinder man, a more good hearted man I have never met. What has changed that motivated his taking of the concealed carry course and making his first gun purchase, with plans for more? We will find out together in this post.
                                                                     Pastor Greg
 

MOG: As mentioned above, you are a founding member of the MOG Facebook page and you were close to becoming a gun owner before. What has motivated you to not only follow through with a gun purchase, but to also take the concealed carry course?

Pastor Greg: “I feel that it was due to the drastically changing environment today.  It concerns me that we might have our 2nd amendment rights taken by those who wish to control us and take away our freedoms.  For many years I have preached from the pulpit that I would never own a gun of any type, but have since come to realize I needed to change this view.  I have seen how in other countries that when governments wanted to control people the first thing they did was disarm them.   I’m old enough to remember what I call the “Leave It to Beaver” days (where you could go out to play until the street lights came on).  A country where I never felt afraid and where a man’s word was his bond and we don’t have that today.  While I am not afraid to die for the cause of Christ, I am not willing to have my life taken by someone who could care less about me or my savior.  I don’t want to be in a restaurant or a shopping mall and someone comes in saying they are taking lives for their god (lower case g intentional).  To tell you the truth I would hope that every American would take up arms today.  It seems that the criminal element has been emboldened to the point that they are without fear of breaking into people’s homes (as we have seen of late in Waco and Temple).  So this is why I decided to go to the “Concealed Carry Course” because I want to be a responsible gun carrying citizen.  I by no means want to be viewed as having a vigilante attitude, (the save the world or shoot the bad guy attitude). What I wanted to do was to know my legal rights, the consequences, and my responsibility in being given those Rights.  Don’t get me wrong I view every life as precious, a life that was given to each of us by God.  I also know that throughout the Bible and my research of biblical history that even the disciples carried weapons to protect themselves against robbers and other hazards.  By the way, where do you think the sword came from that Peter used to cut off the temple guards ear?  Not that he was being the aggressor but was being assaulted; not to kill but to protect and to save life……. The Pastor who saw the light.”

MOG: Very well said Pastor Greg! Hooah! Other than your concealed carry course; what other training or events do you plan to participate in to further your ability as a firearms owner?

Pastor Greg: “I received my concealed carry training with Asgard National Training Group. They also offer a tactical/defensive pistol 1 & 2 training course.  I am also going to the range monthly and intend to do pistol competitions in the future.” 

MOG: Have you already talked to your congregation (or do you plan to) about personal safety, situational awareness and responsible firearms ownership based on the things that have lead you to the decision to arm yourself and take training?

Pastor Greg: “I am in the process of constructing a series around this subject to explore both sides of this issue and allow them to make their own decisions.  I have asked certain members if they owned a gun or guns and so far every one of them said yes.”

MOG: Some people say there was a “light bulb moment” that sparked them into taking action with them buying a gun and taking training. Others say it was a combination of things that caused them to realize they needed to follow that path. For you, was there a “light bulb moment” or was it a combination of events that brought you to gun ownership and taking training?

 Pastor Greg: “Well the reason I decided to buy a Glock 19, although I have a Glock 17, is because of the concealed value and not just  to have more guns.  I also intend to buy a rifle in the future (most likely an AR-15 and a shotgun) for 3 gun competition I hope to compete in.  I have Pastor Friends who have weapons themselves and spent a great deal of time questioning them as to why they felt it necessary to own them.  Some of the feedback has been that understood they may need to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones and that they most likely are going to be the first line of defense and needed to make sure that the threat would go no further.  You know a scripture comes to mind that says "how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house."  I don't want that house to be my house! “

MOG: A 3 gun competing Pastor! How Hooah is that?! Everyone in the gun community has had a mentor that helped them get started in what is a lifelong learning process of guns, gun safety and the shooting sports. Who has been your mentor during this period of transition into the gun owning community?

Pastor Greg: “I have for over 3 years listened and discussed with both Bill Nance and Jim Morris (of The 3 Gun Multi Gun Report) as to the reason they own guns and why they thought I should also.  Jim has been a great influence in my decision and he has given me example after example of his views on this subject, but without that “I need to shoot someone” attitude.  He always spoke responsibly about self-protection and the value of human life and his desire to live a good, long one.”

  Like Pastor Greg, many Americans are “seeing the light” and realizing that we live in a dangerous world and are also choosing to arm themselves. We see recidivist criminals with a mile long rap sheet being arrested yet again…….and being turned out on the public, yet again. There are people freely walking our streets today that would have been institutionalized in decades past.   There are drugs on our streets that turn the user into an instant addict and eventually into a mind numbed Zombie that will do anything and everything to get their next fix. The threats out there are real and growing.  We have the right to defend our lives and the responsibility to defend the lives of our loved ones. As Pastor Greg said “To tell you the truth I would hope that every American would take up arms today.”

Hooah Pastor Greg. Hooah.

"Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

Friday, February 27, 2015


                                                                                 Never Quit!
 
  Yesterday while checking the ammo shelf at a local Walmart, an older man, apparently in his late 70’s or early 80’s, on one of those scooters, went chasing down an employee working in the sporting goods section. With the employee in tow, the old gentleman came back to the ammo and started telling the employee what he wanted. The employee wasn’t as well versed in ammo-ology as this old Patriot was, so the old man slowly rose from his scooter, holding on to steady himself and pointed to the ammo he wanted. “I’ll take 10 boxes of that Fusion 62 grain .223 ammo” he said, followed by “How much is that case of 1,000 rounds of 5.56?” He was quoted the price and simply said “I’ll take that too.”

  What was behind his purchase? What motivated him, at his age and seemingly frail health, to buy that kind of ammo and that much? I’d say he was following events in the world and the events here in America very closely. I’d say that he was motivated by love of country and worried about what was happening to our freedoms here. I’d say he was aware of the BATFE trying to ban the M855 ammo and he was going to have no part in being caught short on anything. I’d say he, like the rest of us, has seen the empty ammo shelves of the past several years and is making sure he is prepared in case it happens again. More than anything, I’d say that he will Never Quit.

  I would have loved to talk with him to get the answers behind his purchase and the apparent haste with which he seemed to be operating, but he didn’t seem like a man wanting to be bothered with questions from a stranger. I’d like to buy him a beer and chat a bit over a dinner and get to know the man he had been throughout his life and the man he still is. He seemed a bit agitated with the lack of knowledge of the employee and the slowness with which the employee was moving and he didn’t seem like the kind of man that took much guff from anyone. Kind of like Clint Eastwood’s character Walt, in the movie Gran Torino. I just simply stayed out of his way and watched him slowly settle back onto his scooter. I thought I caught a little grin as the old man watched the small armed employee struggle with the weight of the ammo, but I can’t be sure.

  There are an awful lot of strange things going on in our world and here at home. The old man seemed aware and was having no part of being defenseless. Our Constitution is being attacked daily by those with an agenda. The First Amendment and the Second Amendment are obstacles to those that wish total control and that is why those two Amendments are the most hated by those who would wish to control us. To them, you should not be able to speak out against their agenda and you certainly shouldn’t be able to defend yourself against them as they go about violating the Constitution and damaging our Nation. Too many Americans have no clue about what is going on in the world. They pay no attention to current events at home, let alone halfway around the world. I’d be willing to bet that 80 percent or more of the people shopping in the Mall of America in Minnesota right this minute have no idea of the threats made against the mall or who made them. They walked right past the “No Guns Allowed” sign and into a “gun free” zone where they were and are defenseless. Odd that those “No Guns Allowed” signs are in English. If signs like that really worked, shouldn’t they at least be in Somali and Arabic also? Shouldn’t the terrorist group that issued the threat be able to read the “No Guns Allowed” sign?
 

  The old man in Walmart knows what’s going on. He’s aware. He’s paying attention. He knows that we must never quit. We must never quit defending our lives. We must never quit defending our country. We must never quit resisting those that wish to take away our Rights. We must never quit defending the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. We must never quit. As Winston Churchill said, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Monday, February 16, 2015


                                  MOG Person(s) of the Year

  This year we have a first for our Person of the Year; we have co-winners. The MOG Person of the Year that we selected last year was someone that was representative of those doing things right in the gun store business. Like last year, the co-winners this year are representative of people that are out there at the grass roots level making things happen and growing support for the Second Amendment, the shooting sports and bringing in new folks for a positive, safe and fun first time shooting. The first time someone shoots a gun can either make them or break them. These folks are out there seeing a need and filling that need. They aren’t looking around and wishing someone would do something, they took charge and made it happen. You won’t see these folks on the National shooting shows or getting major coverage in the gun and shooting sports print media, but you can see folks just like them at your local ranges. You’ll see folks like these starting gun groups and bringing new folks to our cause. If you look around your area and don’t see groups being formed and matches being started, then you might find that folks there are waiting on you to get things started. Like our two folks that have been selected as the MOG Person(s) of the Year, all you have to do is follow their example and do like the Nike commercial says and “Just Do It.”
 
  Our first co-winner is Steve Oliver.  Steve is an Iraq War Veteran, a personal hero of mine and a hero to our Nation.  Going back home to Pennsylvania after his time in the Army to raise his family, Steve saw something that he wanted to do to honor a soldier from his area. He combined his love for the military and soldiers with his love of the outdoors and the shooting sports. Steve has introduced new folks to shooting and has created a competition that grows each year. Steve is also a very humble man, so getting the info out of him meant telling him I was doing a blog post about the match that he started. Here is our conversation:

MOG: Steve, could you tell us about the match that you started and what the match is all about?

Steve: Our event is the General Electric Grove City Veterans and Patriots Group Sporting Clays Fun Shoot. This will be our third annual shoot on June 20th. We are part of the larger GE Veterans Network. The group at our plant wanted to take the next step in growing and take on a fund raising event. Several of us had done a clays shoot for veterans the year before and looked at that as a starting point. The only question was who to donate our proceeds to. We started looking and found an endowment for a local soldier, SPC Ross A. McGinnis, Charlie company 1st Battalion 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One), who was killed in action in Iraq in 2006 and received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

MOG: That is outstanding and a great way to honor the heroic actions and the memory of SPC McGinnis. {See below for a link to the Medal of Honor citation for SPC McGinnis}.

MOG: For folks out there that would like to start a fun shoot or a shooting group, what has been the hardest part of getting your match started and what is the one piece of advice you would give them?

Steve: It wasn't necessarily hard getting it set up. There were no issues scheduling the range and setting the date. The hardest part was getting the word out to people and convincing them to come out and have a great day shooting. The first year we only had 25 shooters, but everyone that did show up had a great time. Last year we had almost 90 shooters and much of that was due to word of mouth. We also try to make it a family event. We have shooters of all ages as well as women and men. We even have some non-shooters come to support the event. The best advice I can give is to just ask. Ask people to come, ask businesses to donate, just ask. It's amazing what local businesses have donated to us, as well as some larger businesses, that we in turn are able raffle off. Everything we make goes back to the endowment for SPC McGinnis.
                                                       {Kathleen Coonan Noaeill on right}
 
  Our second co-winner for Person of the Year is Kathleen Coonan Noaeill. Kathleen saw a serious need in her area to get women involved in the shooting sports, the Second Amendment and to empower them to do things they might not have thought they could do. By Kathleen’s own words, she got a late start in the shooting sports, but once she got started she embraced it enthusiastically. Her love of her new sport convinced her that there were many more women out there that would feel the same…..they just needed a way to be included and a chance to go somewhere that they would be the focus of the day. They needed an event that was for them and actually done by someone just like them. While there are an ever increasing number of ladies gun clubs and matches, there are not nearly enough. For the ladies reading this, look around where you are and see if there are ladies only gun clubs or matches. If there aren’t any….get one going! Below is a brief conversation with Miss Kathleen:

MOG: Kathleen, would you tell us how you got your program started?

Kathleen: My husband and I went to our first club meeting at the ’20 rifle & Pistol, Straight River Archery Club in April of 2012 and at this monthly meeting there was about 28 people. I noticed something not entirely surprising: There were 28 people there, but only one other woman, and she was into archery.  So after mingling around and talking to a couple of people I asked the Club President & Vice President if they'd ever had an event just for women, and of course they said “no”. So I’m thinking… Wow, really, what’s wrong with this picture!  I told them that it wasn't 1970 anymore, and that they could be doing so much more to promote their club with women shooters. They said. “If you want to try something go ahead, let us know’... So with only 4 months until the only date they had open in July, I started the event, the first annual Women’s Open Fun Shoot.

MOG: What has driven you in setting up this event?

Kathleen: There are a growing number of women out there wanting to own a gun, try a gun, buying guns, wondering what it’s all about, interested in getting concealed carry permits and such. Then there are the women who have that gun that was given to them as a self-defense weapon by a husband or boyfriend and it sits locked in the closet or drawer, never to see the light of day. How do you use something you know nothing about?  With any firearm comes the responsibility of knowing what is expected of the person using it. I wanted to arrange an event that was foremost about safety, but friendly, informal, informative and most of all fun! It is also a chance to meet other girls with the same passion.

  Thank you to Steve and Kathleen for all they are doing out there to grow support for the Second Amendment and in bringing new shooters and gun owners in the right way. As I said above, they are representative of people out there at the grass roots level making things happen. That is where we grow our numbers. That is where we introduce new folks to the Second Amendment and the shooting sports that we love so much. They saw a need in their areas and they set about to make things happen. It is up to the rest of us to follow their lead and do the same. Introduce someone new to guns, gun safety and shooting when you can. Bring them in the right way and we will have them on our side forever. For everyone out there doing that; thank you. While Steve and Kathleen are representing you as the MOG Peron(s) of the Year, this is also for everyone out there doing the hard work of making local matches happen, teaching gun safety classes and providing instruction to new shooters everywhere. To quote Kathleen “Everything has a beginning and yes it’s a passion!!”
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
Hooah.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


                                     Open Carry and the World Goes To Hell”
 

  So goes the mindset of people suffering from Hoplophobia and some on our side of the gun rights issue when open carry is brought up. Invariably when the topic of open carry comes up, either in discussion with folks or on our MOG Facebook page, someone will wrongly take my support for open carry laws as meaning that I would open carry all of the time or that open carry means that every idiot in the world who never owned or fired a handgun before will run out and get a handgun and start openly carrying just because they can, if an open carry law was passed in their State. They often wrongly assume that because I support open carry that I believe a person with no experience with guns who suddenly straps on a handgun and goes out in public is perfectly acceptable and that it would happen on a large scale. When I explain that I firmly believe in education in all areas (that thud you just heard was every one of my former school teachers collectively passing out), I will get some who counter that Rights should not be regulated; wrongly assuming that what I meant by believing folks should be educated about guns somehow equals me meaning the State licensing of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Often…..well, most of the time, an open carry discussion will bring out the comment that you would give away your tactical advantage when open carrying a firearm. I’ll try to explain my opinion on these matters in this blog posting.

*Disclaimer: These are just the ramblings of a semi-literate Hillbilly and are in no way binding or official policy of the world at large. {But boy don’t I wish!}

  First, my thoughts on the issue of open carry come from the fact that I fully and wholeheartedly support Constitutional carry. I believe the Constitution applies to all 50 States, whether some of them like it or not. My Right to carry a firearm shouldn’t stop at their State border because their State doesn’t have reciprocity with my State. Can you imagine the outrage if you traveled to another State and they didn’t have driver’s license reciprocity with your State and its State issued license…..and driving is not a Right. I believe that if you are a law abiding citizen that the only permit you should have to have as your license to “Keep and Bear Arms” would be the Constitution itself. State lines and city boundaries {hello D.C., New York City and Chicago} should have no impact on my ability to carry a firearm. Since I wholeheartedly support and believe that Constitutional carry should be the law of the land in all 50 States; I support open carry, I support concealed carry and I support carrying in your truck or car. I believe in the Castle Doctrine and I believe these Rights to self-defense come from God and are the Rights of every human on earth.

  Some on our side fear that passing an open carry law, which is being discussed in my current State of Texas, would result in throngs of gun ignorant people suddenly arming themselves and running out into public acting irresponsibly. That is not the case in other States that have passed open carry {read that as slightly less infringement of your Rights} and in States that have had open carry for decades. They mistake the notion that passing a State certification process and licensing somehow makes one more “acceptable” or responsible or “safe”. Having gone through concealed carry courses and recertification in Tennessee and Texas, I can tell you that is not the case. Obtaining a concealed carry permit doesn’t mean that person is an expert or that they are better prepared to carry than anyone else. Like getting a State issued driver’s license doesn’t make you a NASCAR driver, a carry permit alone only means the holder met the minimum requirements for their State. The passing of open carry laws would be for adults and the vast majority of anyone that would open carry would be folks that are familiar with guns and many would have already gone through the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit. I believe in open carry, but 99% of the time, I probably would not carry openly. That’s just a personal preference and mostly so I wouldn’t have to have conversations about it with curious folks on the street.  I do like having options though and the more options {read freedom} available to me the better I like it.

  I believe everyone that owns and carries a gun should be educated and fully in understanding of the responsibilities that this brings. Education of guns and the responsibility of bearing arms, in the way I believe, doesn’t mean I believe in the State licensing of our Rights. I do not believe in the licensing of Rights or in the collection of fees related to such licensing. I believe that in itself is un-Constitutional. Can you imagine if we had to pass a State certification and obtain a permit to speak our minds? Can you imagine that the “First Amendment permit” from your State might not be legal in another State?  I believe anyone that buys a gun has the responsibility to seek training and education. It is an individual responsibility to know their firearm, the laws and how to employ their firearm. I favor more training, not less. I favor continued education and maintaining a level of proficiency. As with every other aspect of gun ownership; the learning never stops. It is a lifelong endeavor that responsible gun owners undertake. Be wary of someone that says they don’t need to learn anything about guns because they already “know it all”. There is a vast amount of information and a wealth of knowledge out there for us to continue to learn from and it’s vastly superior to State certifications.

  When the tactical question comes up that you give up your advantage to the criminal who has set about doing their criminal activities if you open carry, I take the opposing view. If a criminal walked into a place of business and saw people openly carry handguns, would they be more likely or less likely to follow through with their criminal plans? Have you ever seen a plain clothes Police Office open carrying their sidearm? Do criminals that see that go ahead and commit their crimes anyway or is it the gun that is openly worn that provides the deterrent that makes them decide to try their luck elsewhere? Criminals don’t have a death wish. They have adopted a life of crime and will seek to go about their ways unhindered. Think of the two extreme opposite positions: open carry or gun free zones. Which one is safer? I believe that an armed society is a polite society. Some of the most courteous people you will ever meet will be on a range or at a gun show.

  There are only two reasons why anyone would want to disarm a law abiding citizen: To control them and/or do them harm. Take offense at both.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

Thursday, October 9, 2014


                                                  The Hunt of My Lifetime (So Far)
                                                   
 
   I spent the last few days of September and the first four days of October on the first annual Bearded Brothers Black Bear hunt in the woods of the incredible State of Oregon. It was a hunt that I have wanted to do for my entire life. It was a hunt that my Army Buddy and bearded Brother Brent had been after me to make for 20 plus years. It was a hunt that I needed more than I even knew.

  I decided to drive from Central Texas to Southwest Oregon for the hunt because there was so much that I wanted to see firsthand. Driving that far (and back) was exhausting, but it was completely worth it. Flying there would have greatly diminished my trip and I thought about what was missed when people call it “fly over country”. I saw things and places that I had only seen in pictures and as Robert Frost said in The Road Less Traveled, “that has made all the difference”.

  The first stop, after a 13 hour drive, was Colorado Springs, CO. I had built in a day there to see another old Army Brother that I had not seen in forever. Seeing my Brother Craig (Kegger) and being able to talk with him in person and spend time with him was worth the trip itself and left me wondering why we let life get so busy that the years apart grew to be so many. That is not a mistake I’ll make again. We spent the day going up to the top of the world on Pikes Peak and I experienced a real “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” in the extremely thin air at 14,110 feet. Kegger advised me to move slowly and take breaks and I followed that advice, but still sat there on breaks grinning like an idiot at what I was seeing and feeling. Amazing, incredible and fantastic. Later that day I got to meet a friend that I had come to know through Facebook and he is a founding member of the MOG page there. Meeting Dale from Pikes Peak Armory and his two little PPA helpers was a real treat for me and one I that I hope to recreate many times in the future.
 

  Leaving Colorado Springs, I headed North to Denver where I had always wanted to take Interstate 70 West from Denver to Utah. What an incredible stretch of Interstate. The Aspen trees were ablaze in bright yellow and were as wonderful as I hoped they’d be. Perfect timing to catch them lit up in all of their Fall glory and they gave the perfect contrast and only served to increase, if possible, the beauty of that stretch of highway.

  After a late night stop in Boise, I began the last leg to Brent’s house and the start of our hunt. The drive through the high desert of Eastern Oregon surprised me with how much I liked it there and it began the feeling of how much I already loved this State. The high desert slowly transitioned to sparse trees and then to thick forests with huge trees. Picking up the Rogue River as it rapidly cut through the forests and old lava flows leading me downhill completely cemented my love for this amazing State and I followed the river all the way to my bearded Brother’s house. To see him and meet his wonderful wife Ali and their daughter Morgan again had me wondering why we let our lives get so busy that the years apart grew to be so many. Again, not a mistake I’ll repeat.
 

  The next day we started the hunt, but first there was a quick stop to his friend Dwayne’s house to confirm the zero on our rifles. Dwayne had just gotten back from a Moose hunt in Alaska just a few hours before and I apologize for interrupting his outdoor nap in the sun. With the test-fire completed, we headed to the woods for the first afternoon of our bear hunt. The first couple of days in the woods, I struggled to get my Mountain legs back under me. No amount of working out can replicate the effect of walking on rugged terrain with a rucksack on your back and a rifle in your hands. Thankfully, I entered the woods in pretty decent shape, but that proved to be only the base from which to improve and I left the woods each night exhausted to my core (but very, very happy).

  The hunt was a mixture of quiet solitude, whispered words and hand signals shared between two Brothers. It was cool and damp mornings with light fog sliding through the valley below us and clinging to the mountains around us. It was the agony of defeat and then the exhilaration of fresh sign followed by the disappointment of a trail lost. It was losing my balance while crossing a dry wash and falling backwards and looking up to see my Buddy silently laughing at me and of me returning the favor 30 seconds later as he face planted heading up hill. It was us repeating, when things got tough, the encouraging words of “Be the Bear” imparted on us by Ali (it became our mantra). In the end, I left the woods without my tag being filled, but left with incredible pictures, a Blacktail antler shed and the memories of a great hunt shared with my Brother. It was sightseeing when we had time and Elk jerky for breakfast in the woods. It was the best Coconut Cream pie I have ever had in my life….. (make that the best pie I’ve ever had in my life….no kidding) and the chance to meet some amazing people. It really was the hunt of my lifetime, so far. It has re-instilled in me the love of the hunt and reminded me how much I need the mountains and the time spent in them. The bears and Brent taught me a great deal on this trip and the bears and Brent have made me a better hunter. The bears are still there, but in my best Terminator impression…..I’ll be back.
 

{Special thanks to my Bearded Brother Brent for making the hunt happen and for staying after me all those years to visit Oregon. Big thanks to his wife Ali for tolerating two old Army Buddies and our stories and for her amazing work on getting Brent to walk upright, with his knuckles only occasionally dragging the ground these days. Thanks also to Randy for helping get the hunt set up and for his sage advice and encouragement. Thanks also to Brent’s parents for raising such an incredible man of the mountains and for the Coconut Cream pie and the hand crafted cutting board that is more art than not.}
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

                                       
                                                                            Beauty or Beast
 

  My friend Miss Ellen posed a question to me the other day and it has had me thinking of the way my taste in guns has changed over the years. Miss Ellen asked me “Hey Monty, I have a question…..what do you think of hammerless guns? I just think they’re ugly and I don’t like them.” There have been times where I’ve said the same thing about various guns, but have grown to embrace them all now. Have I grown older and wiser or was I just hard headed and set in my ways before? Has my taste in guns changed and become more diverse or am I just an easy sell these days? It’s not just new, modern guns that I had esthetic issues with, but some old guns. These days though, I see them in a very different light.
 

  The same night Miss Ellen sent me her question, I was texting with my Cousin Jason and he was telling me about taking his family shooting over the previous weekend. He told me what guns they had been shooting and how everyone did and which gun they seem to favor the most. He mentioned shooting his Glock and I said “Those Glocks are ugly as Hell, but they run like a scalded dog.” (I’m a Glock fan, so Glock fans please keep reading). Jason said “After a while, they’re not ugly. You look at it and it’s a Glock.” He was spot on in that assessment and I knew exactly what he meant. I grew up when guns were made of blued steel and wood and it took me a long time to come to the same conclusion about Glocks that my Cousin had. I grew up loving 1911’s and revolvers (and I still love them) and when Glock hit the scene they were far, far different. I seriously thought they were as ugly as a mud fence and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want such a thing. If someone proudly showed me their Glock, I did my best to brag on them and their handgun choice, but silently I wondered about their taste in guns. It is difficult to admit, but they knew something I didn’t.  Soon though, Glock won me over in two ways and I have been a fan ever since.  The first way was back during the Clinton Administration when they were bullying gun companies to “voluntarily” sign on to the Clinton plan of limiting civilian sales and adding restrictions and policies that were clearly anti-gun. Smith and Wesson, then owned by a British company, signed on and nearly went bankrupt because of it. Thankfully the British company soon sold S&W and the new folks set about repairing their damaged brand. Getting to work one morning after PT, I looked at the newspaper and read that Glock refused to sign on with the Clinton plan and said they would take their chances in court. I went to a local gun store that day at lunch and bought a Glock 21 to support the company for taking a stand for freedom and the Second Amendment. Then Glock won me over the second way when I took my Glock 21 to the range and found out that it did indeed run like a scalded dog. I’ve been in love with Glock ever since. When my Cousin said “After a while, they’re not ugly. You look at it and it’s a Glock”, he broke down exactly the way that I feel about them now. I used to say “oh…..it’s a Glock” but now I say “Oh! It’s a Glock!”
 

  On the old gun side that I used to think was ugly was the old Browning Auto 5 shotgun. I remember being a kid back in the ‘60’s (yes, my memories are in black and white) and going to see my Uncle on the farm in Arkansas. He had an old Browning Auto 5 hanging on his gun rack with a few other guns and even way back then it looked ancient and out of place next to my Cousin’s Remington 870 Wingmaster. I had no interest in the Auto 5, but man I loved that 870 Wingmaster (and still do). It turns out, like the Glock owners before I became one, my Uncle knew something I didn’t know (he knew a lot more than I’ll ever know, but we’re talking about his shotgun now). I had never even held one and wasn’t interested in picking one up at a gun show just to check it out. In my mind it was the gun equivalent of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  All of that would change in a matter of seconds one day. Several years ago, my Uncle was in need of a replacement for his Browning Auto 5 and I set about to find him one. I found one that was in pretty good condition and I checked it out from top to bottom. Once I got it home, I cleaned it up and put some oil on it and then it happened…….I brought it up to my shoulder and sighted in on an imaginary duck and like a bolt of lightning hitting me, I suddenly understood what he saw in that design. It was flawless and beautiful and balanced and I was in love with it. I also felt like an idiot for my previous views on the Auto 5. Tastes change, times change, circumstances change. I have always loved guns, but I haven’t always loved all guns. Now I do. I love them all. I want one of each and two of most.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ