Ah, the internet. It’s made experts out of everyone with the ability to enter words into a web search engine and models out of, well, everyone who cares to stretch the truth about their looks. It also seems to have removed the need for basic manners and being polite, which brings us to the current Firearms Food for Thought question: internet gun advice. As in, do you give it or not?
On social media there are countless numbers of gun-related groups filled with shooters and collectors of all ages. Experience ranges from newbies to skilled marksmen and everything in between, but here we fall back on the earlier problem: the internet has made experts out of everyone. Of course, the problem isn’t contained only within gun groups but is all over the world wide web. For example, if someone posts a picture on their Facebook page of a well-perforated target with the heading “Had a great day at the range with my .380” they are far more likely to be inundated with advice than they are with those agreeing with their statement regarding the joy of range time. It won’t necessarily be good advice, either. Odds are good the advice will be a mixture of well-meant-but-poor, half-decent, and hideously bad advice. And of course it will have been offered with a combination of rude bluntness and sarcasm with only the occasional polite poster.
When you happen upon such a post, what do you do? Do you insert your own advice – and correct everyone you feel is wrong – or do you congratulate your internet friend on getting some trigger time? Let’s assume, for the sake of the debate, you do not know the original poster. They’re not a good friend, not someone you know at all well, and not someone you’ve ever met in what I like to call the real world. Is there a proper etiquette for gun advice? Maybe there should be.
To advise or not to advise…that is the gun-related question, and it’s one that should be afforded far more thought than it tends to be given. Social media has made it nearly impossible for someone to share the thrill of a new firearms purchase without being lambasted for making a poor decision and it’s created experts on tactics, marksmanship – you name it – out of every armchair warrior. Even in cases where someone does ask for advice the resultant rush of replies tends to be filled with insults, which only serves to discourage them from asking in the future. Rather than being encouraged, these newcomers end up discouraged.
The gun industry can always use greater numbers, so let’s start encouraging growth rather than crushing it before it can even take hold. Just a little firearms-related thought.