As of this writing, the people of Ukraine are locked in a life-and-death struggle with the invading Russian military in the most significant warfare seen in Europe since World War II. Some of the many men and women, young and old, who have chosen to stay and fight for the future of their democracy could be seen on nightly newscasts prior to the invasion training with wooden dummy guns or actual firearms—outdoors, in homes and at ranges—in scenarios that recall scenes from the 2012 film remake of “Red Dawn.” But the fighting in Ukraine is real, with Russian troops, elite forces and even mercenaries striking in deliberate attacks on civilians.
Such carnage should evoke strong sentiments from any red-blooded American who believes that the defense of liberty from foreign or domestic tyrants is a fundamental human right. Still, many Americans can’t imagine such a scenario occurring here. That is exactly the eventuality, however, that our Founding Fathers had in mind when they enshrined the Second Amendment in our treasured Constitution. In fact, it was considered important enough that it was placed immediately below the bedrock human functions of free exercise of religion, speech, the press and assembly. The Framers knew that, without the protection afforded by the people’s possession of arms, the guarantees of the other rights were mere words on paper.
During the course of my private and professional life, I’ve had the privilege of traveling in at least 30 countries—some near the area now engulfed in war. In each case, the people’s access to firearms was, by way of comparison to my own life experience, restricted significantly or prohibited outright. In time, I concluded that there simply is nowhere else on Earth where the private ownership and use of firearms is exercised as it is here in America.
In our latest issue, we take a look at a wide variety of guns with ties to many parts of the world. In “High Power Redux: EAA’s Girsan MCP35” Field Editor B. Gil Horman evaluates the latest clone of that classic American/Belgian design, which he found to be an affordable, well-made iteration that offers the late-model safety features. In “H&K’s SL8: A G36 For American Sport Shooters," contributor Andy Massimilian finds the iconic German rifle to be a worthy entrant in the semi-automatic rifle marketplace. Also, on p. 64, take a look at our recap of coverage that garnered several manufacturers and one industry pioneer the coveted “2022 American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Awards.” Field Editor Rick Hacker takes us back to the beginning of a famous name in American gunmaking in “Striking Silver: Henry Repeating Arms Celebrates 25 Years.” Contributor Anthony Vanderlinden covers a little-known group of World War II combatants from the nation of Brazil in “Handguns Of A Forgotten Ally.” Then Field Editor Bruce Canfield examines a little-known aspect of U.S. martial arms intended for the Great War in Europe, titled “America’s Prototype ‘Trench Guns’ Of World War I.”
Of course, there’s much more coverage of guns in the Dope Bag and in our other departments throughout the magazine. As you enjoy it, I hope we will all keep in the front of our minds, and in our prayers, the people of Ukraine. As you continue to enjoy firearms for sport, hunting and competition, remember that we are among the few who can legally possess them to preserve our precious freedoms.
—Brian C. Sheetz, Editor In Chief