The Rifleman Report: Self-Reliance

posted on October 31, 2022
Barrett rifle

Not many years ago, had consumers envisioned a compact, polymer-frame semi-automatic pistol in 9 mm Luger that weighed slightly more than 20 ozs.—yet was full-featured, holding 15 rounds in the magazine, mounting a miniature illuminated red-dot sight and being available in a variant equipped with a detachable muzzle device—they might properly have been accused of fanciful daydreaming.

Well, the future has apparently arrived as outlined by Executive Editor Evan Brune in his October 2022 cover story “Upsizing The Micro-Compact: Springfield’s Hellcat Pro.” It illustrates the sort of leaps in firearm technology that are typically spurred by conscientious armed citizens whose daily activities include carrying concealed, hunting and competing with firearms. What’s more, such advances don’t go unnoticed by military special operators seeking innovations that provide the edge on the battlefield when defending freedom around the globe. 

One such example of civilian firearm development having an impact on the defense of our nation is chronicled in Editor Emeritus John Zent’s absorbing profile of past NRA Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award winner Ronnie Barrett, titled “Barrett: 40 Years Of .50-Caliber Authority.” The Tennessee native’s remarkable rise to prominence in the gun industry came by way of a garage-built prototype semi-automatic rifle chambered in .50 BMG that is now in use by most branches of the U.S. armed forces and many allies around the world. It is an accomplishment that places Barrett in a virtually unparalleled category: living designers of currently issued U.S. military small arms. Even more remarkable is that Ronnie’s son, Chris, has also developed U.S. military long guns.

In the feature “Tips For Senior Shooters,” Field Editor Rick Hacker takes a look at the journey that many gun owners who have “been around the block a few times” face as age begins to make itself more apparent within their bodies. It is useful information that all shooters would do well to consider before it becomes a necessity.

Then, contributor Michael J. Parker takes a look back at a military innovation developed in part by civilian gunmakers High Standard and Marlin in “UD M.’42: America’s Clandestine Submachine Gun,” and a companion piece by Field Editor Bruce N. Canfield can be found here. It is yet another example, albeit an obscure one, of how individual civilian inventors and private commercial firearm companies have served the national interests in times of conflict and helped provide arms that aided freedom fighters intent on thwarting oppression. In addition, this month’s Opening Shot recounts the recent importation of No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles that have remained in storage for nearly 80 years after having been used by French resistance fighters during World War II. Now those incredible time-capsule rifles are available for sale here in the United States.

This intertwining of the private and military sectors of the firearm industry in historical events on which freedom itself has hinged during the past century is nothing new. In fact, for the entirety of this nation’s existence, Americans have depended upon firearms to ensure our survival. Whether as settlers seeking passage through a dangerous, untamed wilderness, as members of a modern society seeking to peacefully navigate an increasingly lawless landscape, as the infirm seeking to defend lives on which family legacies have been built or as soldiers seeking a force multiplier on the battlefield, Americans have always relied on guns.

And despite attempts by self-serving politicians who see this country as no more than just another member of a global community in which no nation has a right to assert and defend its own unique way of life, true Americans will continue to reject that lie and stake their claim on freedom through the ownership and use of firearms—a choice that makes us all safer far more often than not.


S&W Model 350
S&W Model 350

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