There are many subcultures in the firearms community. You have three gunners, hunters, cowboy action shooters, 1911 fanatics, and weekend plinkers to name a few. Chances are that we are all a crossover of several types of the shooting categories I listed. The common bond with all these groups is our shared love and respect of the firearms and the shooting sports as a whole.
I would like to believe that despite our gun preferences and different backgrounds that we all as the firearms community and movement could work toward advancing the pro gun causes of the collective firearms community. The problem if I can call it that with the collective positivity is that there is a small segment of our gun community that seems hell bent on stopping the growth the the hobby by their actions. This is the small segment of our culture that I am addressing when I say Gun Owners, don’t be part of the problem. We all know the type of personality I’m talking about, we collectively refer to him as “That Guy.”
We Have all seen “That Guy” hell I’m willing to bet that some of us have been “That Guy.” Sometimes we have behaved in a manner consistent with douchebag behavior by our own choice, other times it’s without any real conscious thoughts, we just react and poof, were are acting like douchebags before we know it. It happens from time to time at the range or the office or even in the firearms industry itself. A person can come across as so aggressive or egotistical that they speak or act in a manner that honestly paints all gun owners in a negative light. There are literally dozens of these types on YouTube and millions of followers. This type of behavior is one that almost everyone I personally know in the firearms community works tirelessly to overcome.
Beware “That Guy” is Everywhere
We don’t have to go very far to see the negative effects of these types of people in the firearms industry and community. I’m sure we all have the same type of stories about the guy or gal at the local gun shop or big box store that we all cringe when we see him helping new shooters. That’s what seems to be the universal constant with these types of people they exhibit a lot of the same personality traits and tendencies. For fun we decided to list a few of them, the list could be a mile long but we kept it short.
Attributes of “That Guy”
- Loud & Abrasive
- Has “Been there, done that” mentality
- Refuses to be open to ideas or contrary opinions
- If he doesn’t own “It” than its garbage
- Always seems to have some sort of Special Operations Sniper friend who trained him
- Likes the phrase “I wish someone would ….”
The personality that I’ve described unfortunately isn’t unique to just the shooting range, your local office or the small gun shops, it also is in place in the larger firearms industry as well. As a professional writer I have been to SHOT Show in Las Vegas twice now and I can tell you that it exists to a smaller extent in the larger world of firearms manufacturing and importing. In my three plus years of writing and covering the industry I have seen first hand the backroom dealings and shady antics of people in the industry. The firearms world may be large in terms of dollars but it’s relatively small in terms of knowing people. Employees move from company to company in this industry and networking is a huge key to many introductions and deals. A good reputation will open many doors, and a bad one will leave you with a stack of business cards and no return calls. There is a way to be a professional, and most people I have dealt with in the industry know that and act accordingly.
All is Not Lost…How to Fight Back Against “That Guy” Mentality
I’m not trying to paint a bad view of the firearms industry, but it is like every other type of business, there are good guys and not so good guys. The people I have met and worked with professionally are some of the nicest, most generous and professional people I have ever met in business. That is because they work hard to counteract the effects of the “That Guy” personalities that are out there. The bottom line when it all boils down is that they recognize a problem, and make conscious efforts to correct it in their business life and model. We can do the same thing in our personal lives either at the office, the range, or in our own sphere of influence.
In closing I will tell you something a U.S. Army Green Beret once told me about team building “Being successful is about recognizing everyone brings something to the table and using what they brought.” This simple phrase has stuck with me as I have tried to apply it to the gun world. We need the new gun owners, We have new people coming into our sport all the time, and they bring an enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and tell all their friends how much fun it is to shoot and own guns. We need this growth to sustain the industry and spur gun sales. Growth in the amount of legal gun sales will help us in the long run as a hobby and an industry. We also need the older shooters who are willing to teach, train and the new generation.
I love the firearms community as much as the next guy, hell I chose to be involved with it as a second career, squeezing it between college, a personal life and a 40-hour-a-week day job. BUT, We have to be better as a community about policing ourselves. I’m not talking about making a governmental organization to control ourselves, we already have that in the BATFE with all its regulations. I’m talking about taking simple small deliberate steps to stamp out the effects of “That Guy” mentality.
Be willing to check your ego and talk to the new gun owner and listen to their points of view, be willing to call a call someone out when you see something that is detrimental to the gun industry. I’m not saying start a fight, I’m saying to act with a measure of common sense and handle the situation, Verbally. Get involved with Project Appleseed, the NRA Instructors Program or some other program, but just DO SOMETHING. Get in the game and show people that the “That Guy” personality is a small minority of the firearms community on a personal and professional level.
Featured image courtesy of Wicked Grips.