Today’s episode is a short discussion on something I hope becomes a recurring theme on the site. I had been mulling this topic over in my head a for a while, and when I fell behind on editing my latest interview with Mike Green, I decided to go ahead and explore this idea that fun is allowed.
When I think back to all of my early experiences with shooting and firearms, the emotion that keeps coming up is, “This is fun!” The act of shooting and hitting targets is fun in of itself, and I’m sure you’ll agree with that.
Many of my earliest purchases weren’t just because they were practical, but because I also thought they looked cool. While working on my first AR-15, which was amongst the early days of the zombie craze, I went so far as to ask a custom engraver about having new safety markings put on the lower that I thought would be more fun.
And then it changed.
This is just a quick aside to invite you to subscribe and come check out the new YouTube channel. I’m using it as another venue to have informal and fun conversations with a live component so you can participate. Tonight, November 10th, I’ll be going live with Ilya Koshkin and Jeff Gurwitch to talk about optics selection, but there will be plenty more streams in the future. Come check it out!
Right about the time I started finishing that rifle, I became more involved in “the culture.” You know the one. It’s where everything became about taking training courses, being uber tactical, and maybe competing in competition- as long as you didn’t develop “gamer” habits that would get you killed in the streets.
It felt like everything became focused on somber real-world use cases for firearms. Discussions revolved around SHTF situations, home defense, neighborhood defense, and the like.
In short, a lot of the “fun” got taken away because it seemed that being serious about shooting meant you had to be a very serious person.
This is the attitude I had for years, even though I continued to get immense joy from shooting itself. I remember proudly declaring while at the MVT HEAT 1 course, that “This is f!$%&g fun!” and trying to think of ways to encourage others to do it.
Returning to Fun Roots
I specifically remember the person who re-introduced the idea of “Fun is Allowed” back to me. He doesn’t have any idea who I am, though I’d love to get him to come talk on the podcast, but credit goes to Roy over at Weapon Outfitters.
Roy is well known in enthusiast circles for both his gun lifestyle photography and his commitment to carrying high quality gear. I remember him saying the phrase “fun is allowed” on Twitter while he was talking about anime cat ear covers that he sells for ear pro and helmets.
The phrase always kind of stuck.
And that gets me to today. I realized while working on a trailer for the new YouTube channel that I was falling into old habits of trying to be overly serious and dramatic, because guns. In reality, what I would much rather do is set a tone that shooting itself is a serious activity, for many reasons, but the culture around shooting should absolutely be fun and inviting.
What I really want to avoid is setting a tone that is unwelcoming to strangers. Frankly, a lot of “gun culture” stuff seems weird and unnecessary to the uninitiated, and only serves to keep them at arms length.
If we want to ever hope to change the conversation around shooting sports and gun ownership, then we have to understand that most of the country (and world) doesn’t fall in line with the world view we espouse most of the time.
To close this out, here’s my final thought. Not everyone wants to dress up like their favorite SOCOM operator. That’s not to say that there isn’t value in learning tactical skills, buying and training with quality gear, and keeping in shape- but we need to drop the idea that everything needs to be so bloody serious all of the time.
Let’s bring back fun, and encourage each other. to do the same. As long as we have a shared commitment to safety, then there’s nothing wrong with a funny paint job, ridiculous outfits, or wild training scenarios.
Fun is allowed.