Beware of the one-dimensional shooter!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is an observation and also a complaint. I was just browsing Texas Gun Trader, an online website where Texas gun owners swap and sell firearms (no FFL required). There was a listing for an AR-15 owner who wanted to trade, so I thought to myself, “I bet he wants a Glock for his AR! No, probably lots of them.”
Sure enough, he was asking for multiple Glocks. How did I know that?
Because this fellow is what I call a one-dimensional shooter. He only likes what he likes and the rest of it is junk, as far as he is concerned. In my travels, I meet lots of people like this, and I wonder what makes them tick.
Stay with me on this because I am trying to make what I believe is an important point. I think Mr. One-Dimension is missing out on a lot. I don’t say that because he doesn’t think like I do — I say it because I have also met several of these folks who have changed their tunes after learning there are other wonderful guns out there they didn’t know about.
Here is an example that Edith and I both saw. It was both startling and dramatic, and it happened over the course of just weeks, rather than the years that it usually takes.
This Mr. One-Dimension was a local airgunner who found out that I wrote a newsletter about airguns. He had, “A quick question” for me. He had just gotten into airguns and could I please recommend a nice air rifle for him to start with? We talked for a while, and I learned that his budget was low. He didn’t want to spend over $200 and $150 would be better.
At the time, the RWS 34 was selling for about $159, as I recall (this was in the 1990s). I knew it was a good basic starter air rifle, so that was my recommendation. The fellow thanked me and bought one.
Two weeks later I got a second phone call from this guy. He was irate! Why had I not told him about the incredible Beeman Crow Magnum? He had discovered one at the local gun store (Atlantic Guns in Silver Spring, Maryland, used to be a 5-Star Beeman dealer and stocked many of their best airguns).
This guy had just purchased a Crow Magnum for $1,200, plus a scope since it didn’t come with open sights. It was so much better than the RWS 34. Why hadn’t I told him about it to begin with?
Why, I was hoping to save it for myself! I was hoping that if they didn’t sell that rifle to him, maybe if I waited long enough they would discount it down to $500 and I could buy it.
ARE YOU KIDDING?
Edith saw this happen, too, and she was just as stunned as I was. While I was talking to him I decided to try something. I had just purchased a Whiscombe JW-75 4-barrel set from John Whiscombe for $1,895, so I told this guy about that. It’s just as powerful as the Crow Magnum, plus you get all 4 calibers. Know what he said to me? “That’s too much money for an airgun. I’m happy with what I got.” Well — as long as he’s happy that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
A couple weeks ago, my shooting pal, Otho, and I were at the local rifle range and another Mr. One-Dimension drives up. This guy used to shoot only military rifles and bought only military surplus ammo for them. In fact, he bragged to me one time how many thousands of 8mm Mauser rounds he’d stashed at his house.
So, what does he put on the bench this fine day? A Savage bolt-action in .338 Winchester Magnum. And what is he shooting in it? Why, reloads he has made himself! He has done a complete 180 and reversed his outlook on guns. Reloading now makes sense to him because he’s doing it. It didn’t make any sense before, but that was because he wasn’t doing it. Are you getting this?
I get a front-row seat for this carnival of absurdity because of my continuing interest in airguns. At one airgun show, Mr. One-Dimension will tell me that only 10-meter target rifles are worth his time, and at the next show he is asking me to help him find a nice Talon SS. At the show after that, could I please help him get a TX200? A year from now, he’ll probably ask me why I never told him what wonderful rifles the FWB 124s are and why don’t I please test one of them in this blog. You veteran readers are all groaning because you know that the longest blog series I ever did was on the FWB 124. In fact, after writing 15 Parts on the 124, I was politely advised (off the record) to get some new interests and leave that one alone.
These guys remind me of my then-9-year-old son who I took to see the Harlem Globetrotters play. As we were leaving, some of the players were standing near the exit, saying goodbye to the crowd. I had a 9-year-old on one arm and a 5-year-old on the other, struggling not to lose either one of their hands in the press of the crowd. At one point my 9-year-old looks up to me and asks where the Globetrotters went after the game. He wanted to see one. It was funny because at the time he said that his head was next to and at the same level of the knee of their 7-foot center. The player and I looked at each other and smiled without saying a word. “Look up,” I said to my son. He did, but he couldn’t see past my face. There in the clouds was the player he wanted to see, but he was so focused on the normal level of adults in the crowd that he couldn’t see him.
So I told him to look straight ahead. He did but all he could see was a knee with a long white athletic sock pulled up to it. “That is a Globetrotter.” I told him, then the crowd surged and swept us past the man. He never did see the Harlem Globetrotter he was so close to.
Everyone has interests
Don’t get me wrong. Each of us has interests that define who we are. I like single-shot rifles and don’t really care for full-autos. You may be just the opposite. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t headspace and time a .50 BMG or you can’t hold a fine bead with a Sharps and ring the gong at 200 yards. Remember in the movie Quigley Down Under, Matthew Quigley was a good shot with a handgun. Don’t you make the same mistake Alan Rickman did and assume that because he didn’t like handguns he wasn’t any good with them.
Where this comes in handy
Finding a one-dimensional shooter is like finding a diamond mine that’s owned by someone with gold fever. They will kick the diamonds out of their way, searching for the gold! I can’t begin to remember the wonderful deals I’ve made with people who had no interest in some of the guns they owned.
I have talked enough today. How about some of you sharing your one-dimensional stories?