History Of Gun Media: How It Was And How It Is Now

Change is never easy. Media outlets focused on gun culture revolve around guns and the Second Amendment. You just have to re-discover all the knowledge that’s out there about guns. Most of them are scattered though.

In 1885, The Rifle was founded to talk exclusively about guns. The Rifle became American Rifleman after the NRA had finished it and had become politically oriented by the late-1900s.

It used to be that magazines talked about things going boom, and today they talk about utilizing them to protect your family and loved ones. Irony how things turned out like this.

The Gun Magazine industry now covers gun politics in some, but not all, magazines. Changing your mindset to one of self-defense follows.

In the beginning, magazines were devoted mainly to sports, but now they feature more product reviews and advertisements.

A Few Thoughts On The Gun Media’s Changes

There are good and bad aspects to the shift to digital media. According to Richard Mann, this has resulted in a flood of unqualified experts claiming to be experts.

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. There is something wonderful about how the internet makes gun information easy to access, and I applaud anyone who provides safe, factual information.

However, a spilled bag of idiots also makes it clear that someone was overly eager. Trusting information from someone you don’t know is always risky. Do not simply trust them to know what they’re talking about.

Do not follow cool publications, but good writers. If you are loyal to a magazine, you should obtain trustworthy information, not cool pictures.

Side Note

The Concealed Carry Magazine from USCCA is the best print magazine about self-defense out there.

A lot of avid shooters work there, and it’s well-designed. Rather than just covering the hottest topics or popular techniques, it focuses on a wide variety of aspects of shooting and self-defense.

History of Gun Media

It may surprise you to learn that firearms and hunting publications date back much farther than you think. There are pros and cons to gun magazines and websites in the third century.

You now have instant access to all the information you need about all things that go boom. There is, however, a declining level of media reliability. There are many gun experts out there, and they get supporters to heed their  often-dangerous advice.

So, how has media coverage of guns changed over the years? Several veteran gun writers share some of their highlights and perspectives.

Early Gun Medias                             

Arthur Corbin Gould, a gun guy from 1885, started a gun magazine called The  Rifle. Logan Metesh, founder of High Caliber History and firearms historian, confirmed it is the first gun magazine.

I’ll let Metesh handle it if anyone proves this wrong, because he has confirmed The Rifle is the oldest gun magazine he has come across.

For the purpose of talking about rifles, Gould founded The Rifle. Of course. It is quite likely that you have heard of the publication that contains the entire history of guns.

Shooting and Fishing was added to the title in 1888 to encompass more outdoor activities. A guy named James Drain bought Arms and the Man after Gould died in 1903 and rebranded the publication.

You’re probably familiar with several other early-ish publications. Shotgun News, for instance, was founded in 1946 – you know it as Firearms News today.

Founded in 1944 by Jack O’Conner and Charles Askins, Gun Digest’s former glory was due to their writing.

Guns and Ammo is a company that was founded in 1958 by Robert E. Petersen. He has been writing about cars since he was a teen. American Handgunner, founded in 1976, is one of my favorites.

The Start Of The Modern Era

We can debate who established gun knowledge on the world wide web in the earliest days, but Gunblast.com’s Jeff Quinn has been popular for years and remains popular today.

The beard Quinn has has become recognizable to viewers. Quinn is an expert with guns. Mellow and well informed, he explains things in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand.

A web-based gun publication was almost unheard of when Gunblast.com was founded in 2000. With his brother, Boge Quinn, Quinn got the site rolling. Boge is much cooler than the average person realizes.

While Boge is highly skilled in the field of technology, he is also a dedicated shooter and an extremely knowledgeable gun guy in his own right.

Despite being a couple with decades of gun industry experience, the Quinns started this website by talking about their guns, but they’ve grown so much beyond that that it’s hard to describe.

A great source of information, Gunblast.com is one of my favorites, and both of the Quinns are industry leaders.

Jeff was nothing but friendly and helpful from the moment I met him. Jeff, I did mention in an article that you were being kind, and generosity is not something you see every day.

The Gun Writers

A few of the writers I admire most have written for magazines and books, including Jack O’Conner, Skeeter Skelton, Patrick  McManus, and Elmer Keith (among others).

In addition to Richard Mann, there are other well-known gun writers. Over the period of time, I’ve known Richard, he’s moved from having a large print presence to having a significant web presence.

In fact, he now has his own show on hunting. His career as a firearms writer stretches over a quarter of a century, having started in 1995 and turned full-time in 2005. The transition from film to digital photography is the second change that stands out in Richard’s mind.

Final Words

One other change Richard mentioned was the internet. He said that these changes provide magazines with less costly content, which helps them stay in business. “But on the whole, he sees both good and bad in these changes.”

They also make inexperienced writers look better. Despite the ease of getting good photos with digital cameras, skills are being lost. Additionally, the internet has made it easier for writers – now called communicators – to better market themselves and interact with readers.

There are a few seasoned veterans left behind, though they have great information and experiences to share. However, most old-timers do not prefer the change that the twenty-first century has introduced.

Many don’t even want to bother with the internet. They still prefer to use their trusty old typewriters.

Things have changed a lot since then. A lot of things aren’t even documented. However, these are the ones that I found about the history of gun media.

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