The following guest  article was written and submitted by Rifle Slinger

We welcome a variety of points of view on the subjects of shooting and marksmanship. Test them objectively on the range and let the results fall where they may.

Who Are the Untapped Riflemen?

by Rifle Slinger

The gun culture is dying a slow death. Despite our best efforts, we are becoming nothing more than a curiosity in our increasingly stupid pop-culture. Say what you like about legislative victories, the next generation is more firearm illiterate than ever, and they are the only hope. I think now if you even say the word “gun” in school, you’ll be expelled (unless in the context of “guns should all be banned”). The common man is largely unaware of the rifleman outside of the hollywood (deliberately left in lowercase) caricature. It may seem at times as though we are gaining, but so long as the public schools are what they are, and pop culture is what it is, we are going downhill sooner or later. Because we are not stupid and we sense we are in danger, we often attempt to co-opt the mainstream into adopting our view of things. When we are unsuccessful, it is frustrating.
Instead of dealing with the frustration of blindly selling our lifestyle to the masses and failing, we should be refining our search criteria until we can effectively locate the potential, the untapped riflemen. I think we can do this by identifying the characteristics of the rifleman, and by eliminating people who exhibit characteristics of the typical modern-day moron. Let’s assume a total population of 100 people and devise not only a set of characteristics, but the probability of locating a rifleman in waiting.
The rifleman must have the capacity to appreciate the beauty of the rifle itself. This is more than an object or a tool. He must have a curiosity and an aptitude for its design characteristics, the way it feels, how it handles, its internal ballistics, its trajectory, its terminal ballistics, how it feels when he shoots it. He must have a mind built for shooting. He must have self-discipline and be devoted to learning effective riflecraft, not just collecting guns and gear.

Let’s break this down. Out of a 100 people, 50 will not have even the capacity to fully appreciate a gun. They may fear it, they may loathe it, they may just disregard it due to other things that are more aggressively marketed to them. At any rate, they are useless. We’re down to 50%.
Out of the remaining 50, 20 will not have the intelligence to master shooting a firearm. This is not to say that they are unintelligent, it is to say that their aptitude may lie elsewhere. We’re down to 30%.
Out of the remaining 30, 15 will not have the self-discipline required to maintain interest in the art of the rifle. This is not to say that they don’t like guns; it is to say that they cannot effectively progress as shooters. We’re down to 15%

Of the remaining 15, 10 will get mired in the trap of the “gear whore”. Instead of advancing their bodies and minds, they will attempt to gain proficiency with gear and gadgets. This is a difficult trap to overcome. As modern humans, we are inundated with marketing at all times. It is natural for us to develop a drive to consume and adopt a direction to apply that drive. Because most modern Americans cannot escape from this trap, we’re down to 5%.

Of the remaining 5, 4 will make a bit of progress, then reach a milestone of mediocrity that seems “good enough”. This will cause them to turn off their curiosity. They cannot handle the possibility of not knowing the answer. They will therefore cease to ask questions. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. That makes these 4 dead as riflemen. That leaves us with only 1 potential rifleman out of 100. This brings to mind the words most often attributed to Herclitus: “Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”
How many actual, functional riflemen exist in the general population? One in 1000, in 10,000? How many people in the general population even understand what a travesty this is?
How can we increase our numbers? I think that the first step is to walk the walk and be true riflemen ourselves (I always include women in the word, so don’t feel left out). Secondly, take notice of people who exhibit the traits of a rifleman, and foster their development in the way of the gun. Thirdly, be a good role model for young people, and encourage their curiosity in the safe use of firearms. There are surely many more ways to make American a “nation of riflemen”.

Rifleslinger is always working at improving his shooting.  To see how go here: http://artoftherifle.blogspot.com/

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