If you are a hunter you likely lay awake some nights dreaming of monster bucks. Other times you will coerce your spouse and kids into watching television shows of others facing down antlered giants the likes of which you may never see. We labor over our rifles to make sure they are ready. There’s trips to the range to check zero and practice for that few seconds we may have to take our quarry. We try different bullet and powder combinations looking for that edge to help us best the buck. We hope we are ready and we our rifle is too.

Cleaning my new R15 in .30 Rem. AR the other day, the realization struck me that at that very moment there are other Americans quite possibly wondering if their rifles are ready as well. Wondering if they have practiced enough. Wondering if they are prepared to face the enemy that may remain quite unknown until he is in their sights. And maybe, wondering if anyone cares what they are thinking or feeling.

I’ve have never been in military combat. My military service during the first Gulf War was stateside, so was my rifle. My kinfolk proudly carried rifles during the Civil war; very likely the same ones they hunted with. Other relatives shouldered their rifles in Europe and the Pacific and my father used a rifle in Korea. I’ve heard the stories that are so hard to get him to tell. I’ve seen his scars made by the rifles of his enemies. I’m proud of him. Good friends carried their rifles to Vietnam, I’m proud of them too.

Most Americans are far removed from the terror our troops face everyday. We give blood and fly our flags on our porch. Many do more. Most will if the time comes. But so often we get caught up in our own lives that we forget, or just relate to the conflict as an ongoing soap opera that airs continually on our TV. We forget that other Americans have maybe prowled the forest behind the old homeplace for the last time, that they will never see the glimmer in their child’s eye when they get that first gun for Christmas or get to take that child on their first hunt. We forget OR conveniently ignore.

This fall if you’re lucky enough to be crouched under a big oak, rifle in hand, enjoying the freedoms we have in America. Understand you are there because other Americans before you, and quite possibly at the same time, have been and are ready. They wont know you. They may not even know anyone who hunts. But make no mistake they are there for you and every other American. For those who would take up their rifle and go but can’t. And for those who could but wont.

My rifle is a symbol of freedom. My rifle reminds me how that freedom was achieved. My rifle keeps me company as I set and watch a laurel covered ridge. And, it serves a constant reminder that liberty and freedom do not come without a price. No matter your political views on guns, hunting, the war on terror or illegal aliens, there is a group of Americans with rifle in hand that are ready to pay the supreme sacrifice so you can keep on believing any which way you want.

Let us pray they and their rifles are ready.

CAMP NOPOLOSA - A hunting camp near the Mexican border in Texas.

HAPPY 4th of JULY !!!


About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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4 Responses to READY

  1. Rob Robideau says:

    Well said, but don’t leave out the handguns that keep us company also.

  2. Jim Dodd says:

    My introduction to military rifles was humping a Springfield M1903A3 in boot camp, then shooting the M-1 and M-14. Later I had an M16A1 in Viet Nam. Most recently I am thinking about how the 2nd Amendment came to California this week, making for a great 4th. I will be carrying a handgun because I am an American.


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