Closing Out April

May 2, 2022

Today's feature is from our parent service, The Outdoor Wire -- and our publisher, Jim Shepherd.

Today’s edition begins yet another new month, but there’s a bit of cleanup necessary before we turn the page on April 2022.

Over the weekend, plenty of industry chatter regarding Donald J. Trump, Junior’s announcement regarding a new Second Amendment organization he was (surprise) spearheading.

Another Second Amendment organization…OK, whatever.

Seems a lot of groups are auditioning to be the next National Rifle Association. The only problem with that is that the NRA doesn’t seem quite ready to be replaced. The problems with the organization have been beaten like and old rug, but the staffers there have continued to soldier on as best possible. Even wounded, a big beast is dangerous- sometimes even more so.

If the NRA’s Annual Meeting coming up in Houston the end of this month (May 27-29) is anything less than a raging success, it might be time to start looking at someone pulling together a new organization- or a well-organized coalition of existing organizations to support the NRA.

It’s no secret things have happened there that must be corrected, but I’m certainly not wasting my time writing an obituary for an organization with millions of members. The strength of the organization, despite what you might think, is never the leadership- it’s always the membership.

Lots of other things worth noting. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is predicting the passage of “constitutional carry” in his state. That’s newsworthy, as is the quiet progress of a bill in the Missouri legislature that would repeal “gun-free zones.”

Normally, I’m not much on panning books, new products or people. No, not because I am “sold-out” to advertisers or can be bribed with a free product.

Because I believe the old axiom “if you can’t say something good about something/someone, it’s better not to say anything.” If I don’t like a product, I tell the maker why in detail, but I don’t bore you with a bunch of words that -finally-get to a simple point: “didn’t like it.” Besides, I don’t consider myself expert enough at much of anything to pass judgement on the work of others.

That having been said, there’s absolutely no reluctance to point you toward a piece written by Massad Ayoob that is his unvarnished, but literate, take on a new book.

It was written by Ryan Busse, a former “insider” in the gun industry. The book’s entitled “Gunfight” and it’s safe to say that Ayoob put all his rounds inside Busse’s x-ring.

The piece, entitled “When One of Ours Goes to the Other Side” is worth checking out.

Finally, I missed another awesome pistol class last week at Gunsite Academy. If you’ve read the wires very long, you know I’m a fan of the country’s oldest defensive pistol school.

In my time in the outdoor industry, I’ve had the occasion to spend lots of pleasant days (and a few unpleasant ones-weather wise) there trying out new products while learning from Gunsite’s excellent staff.

The event was a celebration of the career of one of the notable writers of our generation. Like Massad Ayoob, Frank James, Walt Rauch, and others, Wiley Clapp has been one of a group of experts that helped me learn about the industry- and shooting.

Last week, Gunsite recognized Wiley’s accomplishments by holding a “Wiley Clapp Celebration” that included (not surprisingly) some shooting, a lot of hanging around, a barbecue and a formal recognition of Wiley’s accomplishments and contributions to the industry.

In recognizing his contributions to the firearms world, Gunsite Academy’s owner/president Buz Mills (left) honored Wiley Clapp (right) by naming one of Gunsite’s classrooms The Wiley Clapp Training Room. Not bad for a guy who’s taken 25 classes there. Gunsite photo, with permission.

As Mills pointed out, gun writing is only part of Wiley’s story.

A decorated Marine and Vietnam veteran, Wiley then spent eighteen years in the Orange County, California, sheriff’s department, and is widely recognized as a police training and use of force expert. He’s also a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (my finding that out led to his returning to his alma mater after a nearly 40 year absence).

Wiley’s one of those people I’ve always considered a great example for the “rest of us.” It’s terrific to see him recognized by peers and friends.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd