Gun Nuts Articles for 2016

I haven’t posted in a while and it wasn’t because I was sick, dead or suddenly turned liberal. No, the simple fact was my trial period had expired and Caleb was deciding if I was worthy of keeping or if I was to be publicly flailed. Obviously I got a stay of flailing – for now.

With that in mind I wanted to lay out some article goals for 2016. A brain storm of what you can expect from me in the next year. This will help you hit the ignore button sooner, if you so desire.

GOALS

Dry fire – There I said it! I promote dry fire. In fact, the more friends and co-worker discover I deep into firearms, the more request I get for advice on guns, gear, and shooting better. Whether competition or self-defense my most common answer is dry fire. That is normally received with confusion until I explain what I mean. I foresee a multitude of articles that elaborate on this subject.

If turn the tables on a common liberal thought – if dry fire articles help just one person perform better in a self-defense situation, then it is worth it.

Usable Skills and Drills – There are scores upon scores of live fire and dry fire drills out there in the shooting world. Virtually all of them are fun, but only a small percentage really supercharges your skill building. During the past year I have discovered a few that work and a great many that waste ammo. I plan to do more this year, so those that are serious about getting better can separate the pepper from the fly shit. Those drills that are deemed less than effective can be tucked away for fun, less formal, range sessions with friends.

Light Use – Is light reflection really an issue at 3:30am? Does it matter they type of light, i.e.: incandescent, LED, lantern, Bic lighter? I don’t know and I have yet to see an article written evaluating it from that view point. Let’s set a test light by the bedside table, set an alarm and find out. Is it worth carrying a weapon mounted light if you CCW? I don’t know, many trainers say we should, but what do the crime stats tell us?

Long Term Reviews – I have a few items that I can review after owning and using them for years. Some are good and some are mediocre.

Gear Reviews and Mods – Some gear is greatness when bought whereas some is only serviceable; but some of that serviceable gear could be great with a few mods. My friends and co-workers have accused me of modifying everything and leaving nothing stock. Guilty as charged. If I know of an improvement or a decent hack I’ll share it here, but only if I have verified it first.

Gearhead Tech? – Maybe… I love hot rods and engine performance, and while I won’t whip anyone with articles about hot rods, there are certain areas of engine and mechanical knowledge the lay person can use – mechanical knowledge that could be useful when you are evaluating a car for purchase, or taking it in for repair. Being able to tell if the mechanic is feeding you a line of shit is a handy skill to have. Don’t expect more than a one or maybe two of these articles as this is a gun blog, but they are skills that increase your overall preparedness in life and frankly the money saved on car repairs can be used for guns.

Until next time – stay safe.

Judging Gun Blogs, Part 2

gun blogs, the good bad and ugly, part 2Yesterday’s post on judging a gun blogs was intended to lay down the groundwork, so that today we could get into the dirty details. Think of these two posts not as tearing down other bloggers or sites, but as public service announcements.

They just want to get the best information out there.
I wouldn’t expect any writer to have purely altruistic intentions, but when it comes to gun bloggers, I often look for signs that the site puts content ahead of other distractions. This may mean that ads and endorsements are kept to a minimum. This is not to say that ads are a sign of a bad site; On the contrary, ads can be good for establishing that a manufacturer believes in the content a blogger is offering. However, readers should be sensitive to biased reviewers.

Continue reading “Judging Gun Blogs, Part 2”

Gun-Blogs, fact or crap?

any one can blog, but what is a good quality gun blog?There’s been some talk lately, about gun-bloggers and the quality of their information. Obviously, the mainstream media outlets are no place to get quality firearms information, so like gun people do, we talk to each other. Blogging is really just a large scale version of what we all do at the range. However, when you’re at the range, you can size up the information source and decide whether it’s worth your time to listen. Bloggers get to enjoy the anonymity that the Internet provides and they can say almost anything they want, in the hopes of drawing in suckers readers.

I present to you Part 1: Basic guidelines for judging the quality of a gun blogger.
(In Part 2 we will discuss the less basic points.)

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Women of the Gun Industry Agree

Gun Up Editor Shelley and Gabby

Shelley, you know the industry far better then I and I defer to you on what it is like to do business within this world. I have never had to do anything in this industry other than write about my experiences and comment on how my sans-gun past and my pro-gun present compare. You are right that being judged on one’s merits and hard work should be the key to success in this and many other male dominated industries. But I still believe that the women who work in this industry are different in the most awesome of ways.

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Another take on women in the gun industry

I have to respectfully disagree with some of the points Gabby has made in her recent posts. Sure, there are some awesome women in the gun industry, but I think she’s a little off base on what the culture within the industry is really like. There seems to be a perception on the fringes, one I used to harbor myself, that the gun industry is some boys-only club that is as misogynistic as the gun store clerk at Al’s Gun & Computer Repair in Podunkville.

KRISS-Shelley-1 (300x250)

The truth is, and this is going to be difficult for some of the ladies out there to accept, the gun industry itself is comparable to every other male-dominated industry out there. Women do just fine as long as they prove themselves respectable, professional, and good at their job. There are plenty of women in top level jobs as Vice Presidents and CEOs and top level managers, and while it will be ill-advised to say that they got there just as easy as any man (I’ve read Good Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, I know the whole feminist side of that argument) I don’t think trying to say the gun industry has made leaps and bounds in the past year is accurate either.

I’ve attended the last three SHOT Shows – a number I consider very low. I can tell you that I have never seen a lot of booth babes, maybe a few, maybe they’ve gone down in number, but it’s never been noticeable. Contrast that with some of the tales that Kathy Jackson has told from her experience throughout the years and you realize that the changes that have been made in the number of booth babes were already made by women smarter and stronger than I am. So what are we facing now in the world of women in the gun industry? It is it still the misogynistic oppression of the “old boys club”? I would argue “No.” Sure, you still get some of the “old boys club” attitude, men meetings at strip clubs to discuss professional what-not, but that’s really not as big of a problem on the professional side of things as people seem to want to think it is. Most of that is front facing, it’s the guys in the gun shops and the idiots on the internet.

In order to continue to move forward I think it’s time to assess our, and by our I mean “women who think they are gun women,” own perceptions. Supporting other women in the industry is extremely important, and when I see women who are truly dedicated to firearms I’m not afraid to step in and support that, but I worry about the level of “head-patting” we see. I think the world of girl gun-bloggers works as a good example of this. I have no problem with women who want to start up their blog and present their experiences as an inspiration to other women. But when you start requesting T&E items from companies you are no longer someone who is talking about an experience, you are considering yourself enough of an authority on a subject to provide an opinion on a product. At that point you have to step back and ask yourself “Why am I an expert? Why do I have the authority to tell people what to buy or not?” And, I’m sorry ladies, but “I’m a girl and I just bought my first gun” makes you an authority on nothing but being a girl who just bought her first gun.

We hold male bloggers up to a level of standards and question their credibility on a regular basis (or have you not seen the discussion going around about TTAG bashing my good friend Tim Lau?) but we don’t seem to ask the same thing of our girl gun bloggers. It’s like if you’re a woman suddenly that’s all the credibility you need. I can’t speak for the rest of the ladies out there, but I know that I hold myself to a higher standard than that, and I admit that it’s taken me a while to realize that I needed to.

If we really want to move forward we need to find a way to provide support without this condescending “You’re a girl with a gun, you’re so special” mentality that is truly detrimental to the progression of gender equality within the world of firearms. Visa isn’t going to sponsor you if you buy a snowboard and start up a blog, women should be welcomed into the industry and then expected to work hard and set a good example of expertise and passion for other firearms-loving women.

Shelley Sargent
Managing Editor
GunUp the Magazine

Gunblogger advice: Don’t write bad reviews

If you’re an aspiring gun writer or blogger, you know that gun reviews are big money. People go on the internet searching for “Brand X Model 1 Review” all the time; and the temptation is strong to SEO game it so that you call out a post as a review specifically to attract search hits. I know, because I’ve done it and I’ve told writers to do it. We’re not without sin at Gun Nuts, and have written some pretty terrible reviews here. I know it, and I’m not proud of it. I’m not talking about avoiding negative product reviews, rather you shouldn’t write low quality reviews just to get traffic.

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Lately I’ve noticed a growing trend in online reviews; and it’s not good. The gun blog world is getting crowded, and it’s getting tougher for blogs to get noticed. One of the problems is that there is big money in the online gun space right now, companies like Demand Media, owners of Cracked.Com, Livestrong.Com and other major brands are dipping their toes in the pool by purchasing high traffic domains and creating a mindless SEO machine that churns out well indexed but mediocre content all day long.

So honest bloggers are forced to turn up the wick. The hallmark of the independent gun blogger for years was the thoughtful, well done review. Writers would take guns they personally owned (instead of T&E guns) and actually shoot them, spending time with the gun and getting to know it. This created a culture of good content in the gun blog community, and the industry recognized that. However, we’ve now reached a point where there are quite a few people trying to game the system for traffic.

Here’s the secret though. Traffic isn’t everything. It’s important, for sure – but I sit in meetings with major firearms industry brands all the time, and they’re a lot less concerned about gross traffic metrics than they are about making sure that their message is reaching the right customers. The truth is that your traffic only matters if it’s engaged traffic with good reach. As someone who sells advertising space, I’d rather have a blog that gets 100,000 hits a month but has a dedicated, engaged reader base than a blog that gets 3 million pageviews a month and has a garbage click through rate because their content is mediocre at best. It’s the difference between a Wal-Mart and a mom and pop shop with great customer service.

At the end of the day, blogging is ultimately about what you want to do. If you want to try and SEO game it and compete with big corporate money, go right ahead. But I’ve been in this game for a long time, and I’ve sat on both ends of the sales meetings to get advertising dollars for websites. If you really want to be a successful blogger, write good content. Don’t half-ass your reviews to get traffic. Be honest with your readers. Be willing to engage with industry. And again, write good content.

So you want to be a gunblogger: dealing with emotion

In past entries in the gunblogger series, which will all eventually be restored to the archives, I’ve talked about the value of critics, and also how to not let your inevitable haters get you down. But what I’ve not talked about is the other side of the hater coin – you. Specifically, what to do when there’s someone in the industry or online that you just don’t like.

bitch with crackers

If you work in any industry or within any small community long enough, you’ll eventually end up not liking people. It’ll become all too easy to lose objectivity when you deal with those people or work they’ve done, and without attempting it, you’ll have become the thing you wanted to avoid: a hater. So how do we deal with that?

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The State of Gun Nuts

So by now it should be readily apparent to all our readers and fans that we’re slowly recovering from the hack over the weekend. After all the years of blogging, I’m a firm believer in transparency, so I want to keep you guys up to date on what’s been going on and more importantly where we’re going from here.

hackers-crossbones

Obviously and most importantly, I want to state that hackers really do suck. Of course, I’ve never understood the desire to vandalize other people’s stuff just for fun, but some people do, and thus we have the sort of malicious code injection that happened to the site the other day. Here’s the good news: google has recrawled the site, and taken down the malware warning for the posts in the archive that were affected by the malware attack. So we’re once again free of naughty code. More good news is that I’ve been able to recover the archives up to about April of 2011.

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Cheaper than Dirt

As you likely know by now, I’ve recently been sponsored by Cheaper than Dirt! which presents a great opportunity to further the shooting platform of Gun Nuts Media and my mission goal of expanding the shooting sports.  As a part of that sponsorship, you’re going to see articles and videos from me posted on The Shooter’s Log, the blog hosted by Cheaper than Dirt every Tuesday and Thursday.

Today, we’re looking at things you should bring with you to a training class; not just gear but also how you should configure your attitude before you head to a training class.  Check out Training “do’s and don’ts” at the Shooter’s Log!