Your humble author among the great ones. gun expert

Your humble author among the great ones (Gunsite Academy 2002)

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The modern era could legitimately be described as the “Age of the Gun Expert”. Thanks to the Internet, 100,000 self-proclaimed gun experts have arisen in all fields of endeavor. The television news channels trot out a gun expert to fill time in their reports and bolster the opinions of the talking heads.

Recently, I was on the phone with a peer in the training world and we discussed the concern we both shared regarding the danger of new gun owners or gun carriers getting online advice from “gun enthusiasts.”


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Before we progress. I have a confession to make, I am a vagina enthusiast. I have been my whole life. That being said, you won’t find me at the local clinic asking women to climb up in the stirrups so I can have a look. Neither will you find me online posting women’s health tips or offering expert advice for annual screening or pap smear testing.

More than a domain name and laptop.

More than a domain name and laptop.

It escapes me how modern men and women can equate a passion for a subject or ownership of an object as de facto evidence that they are now a gun expert. This is America and you are free to post all the blog articles and YouTube videos you like, but owning a laptop and a domain name does not qualify you as an expert.

Serious Business

Offering firearms and self-defense advice is serious business. We are not talking about our favorite venison recipes or the best way to get red wine stains out of your clothes. Poor or negligent advice when it comes to the gravest extreme can lead to tragedy and the loss of life. We aren’t playing a game here, we are talking about people’s lives.

I have had the honor and privilege during my life to study at the feet of some of the greatest minds in the firearms world. Often I have had to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to seek out these men. I even had to make sacrifices in order to avail myself to their wisdom.

The list of those from whom I have learned so much includes John Farnam, Charlie Cutshaw, Ken Hackathorn, Bill Wilson, Wiley Clapp, Sheriff Jim Wilson, John Benner, Dave Spaulding, and Walter Rauch. If you do not know who most or all of those men are and the significance of their contributions to the world of firearms you need to hit the books.

The Test

With all of the aforementioned in place, I offer you this written test. Read the questions and see if you can answer them without a Google search. If you do not honestly score better than 75 percent on this exam, it is time for some soul searching if you wish of be  a “gun expert.”

  1. Who founded Gunsite Academy?
  2. Who invented the first repeating handgun? What was the name of that gun? Where did the name come from?
  3. Who wrote the book “Hell, I Was There!” ?
  4. Name one contribution that he previous author (#3) made to the gun industry.
  5. What method is used to calculate the ‘gauge’ of a shotgun?
  6. Who invented the M1911A1 pistol?
  7. Name two other inventions of the M1911 maker.
  8. What do the letters ACP stand for?
  9. Name 3 American firearms manufacturers in business before 1900.
  10. What do the letters BMG stand for?
  11. What is the significance of the word “Picatinny?”
  12. Name 4 action-types for a centerfire rifle.
  13. Explain to a novice the difference between centerfire and rimfire ammunition.
  14. What is the design purpose behind a ‘wadcutter’ bullet?
  15. Who patented the first firearms silencer?
  16. What does the “SAA” stand for in Colt SAA?
  17. What was the first product released by Sturm, Ruger & Co.?
  18. The modern 9mm centerfire cartridge is referred to by several monikers, name 3.
  19. What cartridge was the basis for the .40 S&W round?
  20. Who designed the AR-15 rifle? and what does ‘AR’ stand for?

There you go, 20 questions that any person who calls themselves a gun guy or gal should be able to answer without hesitation. If you cannot legitimately answer 15 out of 20 without help, it’s time to hit the books.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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