It’s the day after the Northern Shooting Show and I’ve come away this year with a few observations. I spoke to shooters from every discipline you can imagine, rich, poor, casual and professional – one thing is for certain as I recall the conversations, there is definitely a chasm between shooters in the UK, a battle between traditional and modern outlooks on shooting, firearms and the future of the sport. And it’s a chasm that is detrimental to the collective rather than just the group’s viewed with disdain.
Allow me to elaborate, what I’m talking about is a battle that’s waged daily on social media and other shooting forums, it’s tweed Vs “tactical” (a term I personally loathe). Old Vs new, traditional Vs dynamic.
You see, I love to converse with all types of shooter as to me they have the same passion I do, I don’t give a crap if they like to shoot wearing tweed, a black SWAT style rig or even camo. What I care about is they shoot.
A “black rifle” is an evolution in equipment after all and it should matter little if it looks “scary” and untraditional, yet I repeatedly heard instances where they had been banned from clubs, as has wearing all black clothing or any camo whatsoever ……why?
Why does this strike so much fear in those that wear tweed (not everyone that goes without saying) and like traditional shotguns in wood stocks? Is it public perception that scares them and if so why should you cower and bow down to the opinions of the uninformed as those that dislike shooting don’t like the traditional shooter either?
When antis shout how hunters are upper class toffs how does cementing their view by banning those that go against the traditional image help exactly? No really I want to know. As much as I like the traditional look, in its place.
Unity is something very lacking in the community and it will be all our downfall. We are very splintered and as such it makes it easy for MPs and activists to target certain firearms as only those that shoot them seem to care. The thing is that eventually they will come for you and only recently they have.
Anyone for some pigeon shooting?
How about some MARS rifle shooting?
Of course by the time the penny drops it’s usually too late and those that have been talking about it before – all of a sudden no longer wear tin foil hats………right? The ones that get talked about with scorn for speaking up in places like Bisley or affiliated online groups all become proven correct overnight, we do actually need to be politically active and concerned with shooting rights.
So what I’m saying is it’s time for a little tolerance on the part of those that hold positions of influence in the shooting world, we don’t need shooters throwing others under the bus, we don’t need them censoring opinion that goes against their mindset online and IRL, encourage debate, encourage getting political because make no mistake ignoring the politicians won’t make them ignore you, far from it it only galvanises their anti gun bias. We need to be making shooters aware of challenges facing us in Westminster and in the press.
I’m very aware that the mere utterance of my name fills some of these people with dread, that’s a good thing as it means I have their undivided attention, so listen closely.
If you don’t evolve and get with the times, if you don’t drop the snobbery and faux elitism your sport will die. You should be embracing the sexy side of shooting, the “tactical” look if you like not trying to wipe it out on the redundant pretext of pleasing those that already want you gone.
Let’s face it practical is exciting, it’s gaining new shooters daily and getting attention. Hell, I’m in talks with a manufacturer to create a Mike Lindsay model practical shotgun as I can see the potential the sport has in creating a resurgence of interest in shooting with new participants. Fresh interest on a waning sport and FACs are indeed on the increase. Embrace it.
If you don’t want to take part that’s cool, you don’t have to get political you can leave it to those of us already leading the charge against the misinformation. Nobody will force you to buy the ML Magnum Shotgun when it’s finished, in fact you don’t even have to like how it looks. All I’m saying is it’s time to open up the sport and move with the times before time runs out for your own disciplines.
Progress is nothing to be afraid of, after all a rifled barrell was once seen as controversial. So why be afraid of an adjustable stock or clothing designed for blending in? As the headline stated tweed is the traditional camo, those of us wearing modern camo are just trying to blend in. And I don’t see an issue with a real tree jacket on a shoot or indeed some surplus army clothing.
Think about it.
On a side note though I was deeply humbled by the support from my readers and followers at the show, I just want to thank you all that took the time out of your weekend to come and speak with me or to take a pic, thank you if you made it to the panel talk and I hope to see you at next year’s show. Hopefully we will be bigger and better than before and that we can move forward as shooters rather than seeking conflict from within.
If you want to support my work I’ve t-shirts in my store.