Recently, NSSF held a seminar called “The Tactical Rifle Seminar” at the recent Outdoor Writers Association of America conference; the purpose of this seminar was to attempt to educate traditional “hook and bullet” writers on the truth about the black rifle. Ideally, this sort of educational outreach would prevent us from ever having another “Zumbogate”.
One of the products of this seminar was an article published in the West Virginia Outdoor News called “Overcoming the Image Problem“, and as you might have guessed from the title of my blagowebs today, it’s all about the AR and the common perception of the AR in the public. The great thing about the article is that it features a ton of excellent quotes from Tom Gresham, one of the most respected and well known gun and hunting writers in the business. I encourage you to click the link and check it out; and I’ve also included what I felt like was “the money quote” right here:
“I grew up with walnut stocks and I had some reservations [about AR style rifles], and said ‘I don’t know about that,” said Gresham. “Once I shot it, I said, ‘Holy cow I have been such a dummy, look what have I been missing out on.’ Once people try it out, they’re going to like it.”
That quote is at the very end of the article, prior to that Tom Gresham and the author of the article talk about how the AR is the fastest selling rifle in the US right now; it’s used for everything from high-power rifle matches to plinking and all the way into hunting, as evidenced by Remington’s line of R-25 rifles, which are chambered in popular hunting calibers such as .243 Winchester, 7mm Remington, and (of course) .308 Winchester.
I do have to agree that the AR platform of rifles kind of has an image problem outside of the sport shooting community; and I applaud the efforts of NSSF to take educational action to correct and manage that image problem.
Thanks for letting us know about this! I learned to shoot the M-16 in Air Force basic training and fell in love with it. It inspired me to build my own AR-15 to really learn how it all works, and my private collection looks like an homage to Eugene Stoner and General Curtis LeMay (AR-7, M6 Scout, etc.). The accuracy and (better than scuttlebutt) reliability have turned the .223/5.56 into my round of choice, for everything from varmints to deer. I was crushed that Zumbo would make the remarks he did, and I’m thrilled there are others trying to improve the platform’s reputation.
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