Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finding Myself Posting Less and Less ...

...on some boards!

I wasn't sure why, but over the past several months I find that I no longer post to the degree I did a few years ago on shooting/firearm boards. I think that the reason has worked its way out of my subconscious and it's actually quite simple: It appears that a greater number of the shooting forums' posters view confrontational, in-your-face responses as acceptable behavior. More frequent just does not necessarily equate with acceptable or necessarily even intelligent in my opinion.

Initially, there were a few subjects that could almost be guaranteed to degrade into near-threatening cyberspace shouting matches. Threads on self-defense calibers are still very frequent but are now described as "caliber wars" and for good reason. Instead of reasoned responses based on personal belief, observation or studies, name-calling and often thread-hijacking to praise or belittle various "stopping power" researchers occurs.

Why? I have pondered this question quite a bit. Why is it that some people simply refuse or find themselves unable to discuss some firearm-tangential threads without the the rude bluster that's far too common now? Perhaps it is that some egos are tied to choices in caliber or specific firearms? Could it be that a suggestion that something other than heavy caliber (or take your choice) for defensive use threatens some people's egos for choosing precisely that very particular heavy caliber (or take your choice)? I've wondered if they somehow felt that because not all would make the same choices that:

A. Such people are morons or,

B. Those not making the same decisions think that they are morons?

That neither option is universally correct somehow seems to elude them.

But "caliber wars" are not the only hotspots for "spirited debate"...which is just a cop-out or excuse for emotional "cyber-screaming" at each other, at least in my observation. When this sort of thing occurs, temperatures may rise, but not the knowledge level, I bet. How about you? What do you think on it?

Consider merely discussing different handgun brands. How long before someone makes a derogatory statement usually containing the terms "kool aid" or "fan boys" in reference to those choosing a different brand handgun? Sadly, it is not very long. Though I see it often in seemingly endless Glock vs. 1911 threads, it can pop up with about any brand and don't forget that if you happen to prefer a firearm costing more than others believe is prudent, you are labeled a "snob" for that brand. Do they really believe that or is it more likely that they are either jealous or trying to justify their (less-expensive) choice? It is patently ridiculous in my view. The reason is that many people (including myself) have and enjoy firearms pretty much ranging the price spectrum! In my own case, while I own and use some high-end custom Hi Powers and 1911's, I also use, respect and enjoy shooting the inexpensive but great-shooting 9x18mm Makarov pistols. They get the same treatment and cleaning regimine all my handguns receive. I just do not understand the mindset, but sadly see what can breed it when some claim that only the most-costly firearms serve any purpose adequately. An example of this very thing can be found in a recent article relating to what one fellow referred to as a "valid 1911 experience". If interested, it is here:

In any event, over the last decade I have tried to honestly answer as many questions as I could based on either personal observation or experienced shooters whose opinions I trust. If expressing an opinion, I said so and did not try and disguise it as a fact. (Watch for opinion being pushed as fact.)

To me it appears that the general tone on the boards is coarser and such things as thread hijacking, irrelevant answers, and just plain rude comments are more and more common. For example: Let's say that an original poster asks, "I am going to buy a 380 automatic. Which .380 pistol would you choose?" The poster did NOT ask about other calibers only which .380 handgun others would choose. Inevitably, he will be answered with something like, "Get a .45," or "Why get a .380 when you can get a compact 9mm that's the same size?" Understand that I am NOT speaking against the .45 for defense; it's a favorite choice of mine. I am NOT suggesting that a small 9mm wouldn't provide more "ballistic power" than a similar size pistol in .380 ACP. I AM saying that neither answer is what the poster asked for! Personally, I would have no problem with the compact 9mm suggestion IF it also contained something like, "...but if you want to stick with a .380, I've had good luck with Beretta (or Walther, Bersa, SIG-Sauer; take your pick) and explain why. At least the original question has received a relevant response rather than irrelevant responses such as, "Get a .45" or "380 sucks", etc.

In any event, this is why I just don't spend nearly as much time on many of the boards as in the past. I still try and help out folks having problems or asking questions, but frequently it is by either email or PM.

I wonder if others share my observations? I believe so since I've received more than a few emails from folks where the topic came up. Some R&D folks in the ammunition manufacturing sector as well as shooting instructors and 'smiths have advised me that they just won't post much anymore due to rude nature of some posts. As a result, I think that we all lose another source of information. In any event, I do not blame them for their withdrawal from Internet gun forums.

At the same time, I think some of us may attach too much importance to these forums. Maybe I am one? I just don't know yet but while I will continue reviewing, researching and studying various handguns and related tangential topics, I'll probably be less "universal" in posting it. If you happen to enjoy reading my stuff, more and more often it will be only at a few select forums or my own site at or here.

Some will be interested and others won't give a hoot, but I wanted to explain why I have not been posting as much as in the past. My interest in firearms has not diminished even a tiny bit in the 50+ years I've been so facinated with them and I will continue to research, review and report my findings on them and other tangential subjects but in significantly fewer places.

Best to you and yours.