Rifleman Report: Individual Liberty & Innovation

posted on May 28, 2024
Portrait of John Moses Browning man in suit and tie looking left black and white vintage photograph

When it comes to the design, manufacture and sale of innovative firearms, the intuition and innovation of unique personalities are often the common threads that result in success. This issue is replete with examples.

For instance, our cover story, “Affordable Powerhouse: EAA 10 mm Witness2311” by Editorial Director Mark Keefe, IV, highlights yet another trendsetting series of 21st century M1911-based pistols—this time made in Turkey under partnership with U.S.-based European American Armory. The longtime importer is headed by second-generation industry professional Keith Bernkrant, an innovator who, in this case, has found a way to offer grip frames molded to an individual’s hand.

Our recent magazine issue also contains coverage highlights of products that garnered wins in the NRA Publications Division’s industry awards for excellence. In “2024 American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Awards,” not only are our selections in the Rifle, Shotgun, Handgun, Tactical Product, Optic, Ammunition and Accessory categories highlighted, so is the latest Golden Bullseye Pioneer, Brandon L. Maddox of Silencer Central, who revolutionized the way suppressors are purchased by end users.

Two standouts from among the ranks of pioneering gunsmiths are covered in “Measuring Up: Wilson Combat’s NULA Model 20” by Jeff Johnston. Both Melvin Forbes and Bill Wilson, also former Golden Bullseye Pioneers, are highlighted—Forbes for proving to the world that a unique stock design and proper balance could result in a lightweight hunting rifle that was a tack-driver—and Wilson for stepping up as the company’s new owner to continue Forbes’ legacy with the latest iteration of New Ultra Light Arms.

Finally, we’ve devoted quite a bit of space to the celebration of a deserving brand named for its founders but today synonymous with the widest selection of firearms in America. That story, “Legendary: Sturm, Ruger & Co. Turns 75,” was written by Editor Emeritus John Zent, whose more than four decades covering the firearm industry uniquely qualify him to unravel just how Ruger became a household name. Of course, no small part of the company’s success goes to Bill Ruger, Sr., who possessed an intuitive sense of American shooters’ tastes and desires. And don’t miss related material about the company’s foundations in our Opening Shot.

Other firearm industry founders are echoed in our recent Dope Bag reviews. Colt’s .22 King Cobra Target revolver, Savage’s Impulse Mountain Hunter straight-pull rifle and Walther’s WMP semi-automatic pistol all come from companies started by individuals (Samuel, Arthur and Carl, respectively) who provided the initial inspiration.

Firearms are inanimate objects to be sure, but they are typically created by entrepreneurial, often brilliant, human beings whose goals are to provide security and safety, or outright enjoyment, to the general public—and to offer an advantage on the battlefield for their respective nations’ militaries. And no country can claim more innovation in those regards than the United States. Think back to that first feature on the EAA 2311 series of pistols and realize that they couldn’t exist but for an American by the name of John Moses Browning (above)— history’s greatest firearm inventor.

It seems that individual liberty really is the best incubator for innovation, whether in firearms or other ventures, which is a fitting completion of the circle of freedom, since innovation in firearms ensures that liberty continues to reign for all.



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