Hope is not a valid course of action.
He uttered the words with such intensity that he practically spat them out. Who was I to argue? He was the commander, a seasoned Lt. Colonel on his way to full bird, and I was a young Air Force captain planning something or other. I honestly can’t even remember what it was today, and it doesn’t matter.
I remember his words, though.
They were curt and pointed, his typical style. But they were laced with meaning. Few things in life just happen because you want them to. Things aren’t going to just magically appear because you hoped they would. Making things happen takes initiative, planning, work, and follow through.
The words stuck with me over the years, serving as guideposts for life.
My name is Matt, and this is my blog.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein
I’m not in the military anymore. I left it after ten years as a nuclear operations officer and certified Master Instructor. I was, quite literally, the guy your taxes paid to end the world if needed (and taught others to do the same).
I still earn my paycheck with training services in the tech sector. It’s been a great experience, as I get to hone my leadership and training skills on a daily basis.
How I Got Here
Learning and teaching others has always been a passion. I suppose you could say I specialize in taking a lot of information and distilling it down to easily understood chunks. There is always something new to learn and someone who would benefit from it.
I shoot rifles competitively and pistols recreationally. It should probably be the other way around these days, but rifles are just too much fun.
Some might call me a bit of a gun nut, with a keen interest in the art and engineering of the rifle.
I have a strong interest in small unit tactics and the history of unconventional warfare.
I’m an outdoorsman, having spent months (literally) bumming around the forested backwoods of places from Northern Canada to the Appalachian Trail. Those skills ended up paying off in some of the disaster situations I’ve survived.
I’m a fitness nerd, even if I sometimes lack the discipline to do the things I know I should be doing.
I’ve suffered some pretty terrible setbacks in life, both personal and professional. I know, that’s not unique. People have told me they admire my resilience and often ask for advice, even though I don’t always feel like I’m handling the situation well.
Why am I telling you this? I suppose it’s because I want you to know some context. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I have a passion for sharing lessons learned. That’s not to say I’m an expert, by any means, just someone who knows some things.
But, as the original phrase went, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”
About the blog
I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph… …Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness. – Teddy Roosevelt
Have you ever set a goal for yourself? How did it go? If it was like most goals we set, it fell to the wayside as things got difficult or inconvenient.
The Everyday Marksman originally grew out of a singular objective: to become a better rifle shooter. I followed that colonel’s advice from all those years ago. I didn’t leave it to hope.The previous version of this blog was all about that journey. It was about learning, toil, practice, and lessons learned. I went from being merely interested in shooting to becoming pretty okay at it (mastery, after all, is a lifelong pursuit).
I eventually noticed readership increasing. People were linking to the things that I learned, and sharing them on message boards and social media. To be honest, it was a bit of a thrill. I hoped that it would continue to grow.
But I violated the colonel’s advice. I didn’t make a plan.
I later realized that I was going about things all wrong. The Everyday Marksman shouldn’t be about me. It’s about you. People were reading the articles that they found helpful and insightful, not how a particular day at the range had gone. I want to do more of the former.
I want it to be a community.
A Community Dedicated to Improvement
The qualities that make you a better marksman or outdoorsman are the same ones that make you a better human being. It’s about discipline, focus, fitness, mindset, and a few extra skills thrown in for good measure. I want to share these things with you. But I also want you to realize, as I eventually did, that it’s not about the endpoint. It’s about the journey.
I want us all to go on this journey together: each day, to become better than we were the day before. This isn’t about the pew pew life or being a sheepdog. It’s about growth.
You’re probably the kind of person who is always interested in learning something new. Maybe you’ve even got some goals right now that you need help with. Maybe you just stumbled across this blog while searching for information about shooting. I hope you stay for a while and participate.
What you can expect
The Everyday Marksman’s tagline is, Tactical Skills for a Life Well Lived.
What is a life well lived? To be honest, only you can answer that for yourself. Whatever your definition is, I believe that a common set of traits will help you get there. Some of my favorites are:
- Personal discipline
- Focus on the task at hand
- Resilience in the face of adversity
- Strength to overcome challenge
- A learning mindset to grow and develop
These traits are the inspiration for the main topics we will post here. True to my passions, this is done in the context of military skills that have shown useful over the years, hence why I call them tactical. If you take something away from this, though, it’s that I use the tactical and marksmanship monikers as a vehicle.
How we get there will evolve over time. The blog will always be the base, but you can expect email newsletters (without abusing your inbox, of course), videos, and other content. While our articles may include purely informational topics, reviews, how-tos, biographies, and others, we will always seek to tie it back to ways to become better.
Also, I want you to know that this blog will always be respectful and conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity. I have no desire of our community getting involved in the poo-fights that often rage across the internet.
One last thing. Full disclosure, you might see ads or affiliate link from time to time. These help keep the doors open and lights on. We appreciate the support!
How you can help
The only thing I ask of you is that you participate. Join in the comments, share a post you liked, forward the newsletter, shoot me an email with the contact box, maybe even offer to write a guest post from time to time.
This is your community just as much as it is mine.
Welcome to The Everyday Marksman.