How Times Have Changed

TFB writer Phil White found this photo in his 1966 high school yearbook. Phil wrote on Facebook …

I was thinking about how things have changed over the years as far as attitudes towards guns are concerned.

I remembered one my high school yearbooks had a photo of a student making a class presentation—cleaning a rifle!

This is from the 1966 yearbook at my high school.

Do they still teach AK-74 maintenance in Russian schools?



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Ryan

    Yea, and I think their are competitions

    • I believe it and they probably will never stop:-)

    • Meanwhile in russia guns and knives are basically never seen and pulling a girls hair will get you a beating.

      • Ima Spamar

        Jesse, I disagree. I saw them all the time on the streets in Russia. The police have automatic weapons and they are authorized to shoot if one does not stop for a traffic stop. If they are not authorized to shoot, then too bad. When they do an IRS audit, they come in masks and hoods and automatic weapons, confiscate everything of interest. My friends have seen those too. Knives… about 8 inches and carried often. I carried teargas canisters/pepper spray to keep big dogs away, but pepper spray is no match for a knife if the knife comes out first.

        • My teacher was a teacher there for years, a student in middle school pulled a girls hair and little ink. They went to the office and she said the punishment system there is terrible, they will beat your ass blue.

        • Are are police citizens? No, no they are not In the citizens world, knives you can’t carry, guns you can’t have, and from what I heard from certain people (Which in this one I did not do study really) You can’t even have knives of certain lengths without permission.

    • Burst

      The kid in the red shirt looks so unbearably smug.

      “Yeah, it’s my AK, I guess I’ll let you look at it.”

    • n0truscotsman

      if only our fat and lazy students in our public schools could learn such a lesson.

  • Now when we do color guard out in the front of the school with our real M1 garands, cops are called.

  • Garrett

    They did actually teach field maintenance of the Kalashnikov rifle in the former Soviet Union. My History of Russia professor in college remembers living just outside of Moscow during the 1970’s. Her high school had a ‘Military’ class that was required by all students. It included marches in formation, tactics and theory, and of course maintaining basic equipment. In the 80’s, her apartment complex had a nuclear fallout shelter in the middle of the quad that looked like a concrete dome, which had regular drills. I talked to her frequently about the mindset of a Soviet citizen and I would compare US technology with USSR. Quite the talks we had.

    By that point in time (1980’s), the US had given up on nuclear warfare drills. I do remember hiding under my desk for tornadoes and natural disaster drills before they changed to bringing everyone in the hallway and having them crouch against the wall.

    • 9×25

      yes, I was in school there till 89 — and had 2 years or so of ‘Voennaya podgotovka’ (military preparedness). We learned how to assemble/disassemble AK under a minute. And even went once to the military range shooting full house AK 47 and, I think, even running a the same time :-). We also had a two month summer camp : running in tall boots, digging tranches, throwing improvised grenades (this is when I was 15). This was in Belarus. But the program was the same everywhere (summer camp was for boys only)

      • got same in my school at Ukraine in middle 90’s. Also some basics like setup some types of mines ( ПМН and ТМ-57 )
        Also I find out that I hate digging tranches ))) But we don’t have summer camp…

        • mountaindaisy

          How wonderful to hear real life experiences like this, at this time in history. Paths of people separated by many thousands of miles yet conversing almost “live” as if at a cafe!! Not sure which is more amazing and mind boggling?- the exotic real life stories or this miracle of social media. I just know I love it and it seems to makes us all more real relatable and closer- in our care and concern for each other

        • bazker

          I’ve even shooted 22LR rifle(TOZ-smthng i dont remember) at school shooting range at 1996. But they have taken them away so only air guns now.

          And yes, tranches digging(individual cell digging), grenade throwing, gas masks, OZK, marching, some tactical elements…

  • my friends would openly pack their rifles in their trucks at my high school

  • drone

    It’s a reflection of the feminisation of Western society, where perceived safety from violence is more important than fun. Bill Maher is a twat but he has a point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x64cy3Bcr98

    • He does have a point but it’s hard to listen to him without wanting to punch the screen

      • drone

        In the wider context of what he represents, I can’t help but agree 🙂

  • Yeah, now most people know that guns don’t belong in schools, and that if you clean your rifle, clean it from the breach end, not the muzzle.

    In some ways we’ve gone backwards, in others forwards. It’s odd.

  • The Forty ‘Twa

    I had to join the school shooting club when I was at school (a long, long time ago). The club is still going strong, just no pistols (without modification anyway) any longer.

  • Ian

    It seems to me that any person who is shocked by this change (or offened, I suppose) is the same type of person that doesn’t understand why open carry is not a bright idea.

    • I guess I’m “that type of person” because I sure don’t like these types of change.

    • n0truscotsman

      i am personally offended by these changes. our society is rotten and it is a miracle that the Soviets didn’t beat us (invading and occupying us wasnt their strategy anyways). There is a reason why NATO and the west feared war with them; the decadent westerners would have been flattened.

  • Lance

    Make you want to cry for the good old days!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Very true. Don’t you wish you had a time machine sometimes!

      • noob

        or the ability to found a new community, like that seasteading guy off the coast of california.

  • Aaron

    The “good ole times” isn’t even that far back. In the late 1980’s my high school of nearly 2300 students, in a State Capitol city no less, had plenty of country boys who drove their lift trucks to school with rifles and shotguns on racks in the back window. Nobody even blinked.

  • Alan Aardman

    Honestly, I don’t think times have really changed all that much. My high school had a rifle team, and I graduated in 2005. It was a very suburban high school in New York.

  • Michael A

    I have been to Russia many times; I met Sergei Kalishnikov, Mikhail’s nephew. I also fired .22 rifles at an ROTC indoor rifle range on the campus of my high school in the 60’s. There was a time in this country when responsible gun ownership and skill was honorable, enviable, and at times a patriotic duty. Now Hollywood glorifies sex, violence, drugs, firearms—but then we suspend a fifth grader for fashioning a pastry into the shape of a gun. We question patriotism when the political winds and agenda start to run counter to the battle plans in the field. Col. Jessup gets a court martial for crossing the red line to save soldier’s lives, Seal Team 10 decides not to cross it and pays with theirs—then a reporter asks Marcus Luttrell how he feels fighting a losing war. The arrogance, the ignorance that this country has become—a luxury paid for by blood.