What exactly is a rifle? We’ve talked about it before. Col. Jeff Cooper (may he sit at the right hand of God) spoke about it at length. Many others have offered some very good commentary:
We carried the rifle everywhere. Its 8.69 pounds became our pounds. We learned to handle it easily, gracefully, lovingly, and with abiding affection and respect. But this respect and love did not come immediately. At first we were new to each other; the rifle was a burden. We did not understand it; we did not know its strength, its reliability, its toughness, its simple effectiveness. We did not know its power. We did not know what it could do, or its accuracy. We did not know how comforting it would be among enemies, or that we would feel alone and naked without it. Or how reassuring its weight could be and how calm and businesslike its voice.” T. Grady Gallant
Gallant served in combat during WWII with 1MARDIV and was at Guadalcanal, where he was under enemy fire for four months. He did a second tour with 4MARDIV and was at Iwo Jima as the Sergeant for a Special Weapons Squad. He wrote On Valor’s Side, about Marines prior to and during WWII and the Battle of Guadalcanal and The Friendly Dead, which was about the Marines at Iwo Jima. Gallant, a noted journalist, died on 10 November 09 at his home in Nashville on the 234th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
If you’re interested in some more of this great authors opinon about rifles, read this:
The rifle was honored in the home. It graced the mantel, the wall, or rested above the door. It was near at hand, clean, loaded, accurate as a fine watch, ready for service. The tradition of arms is an American tradition born of generations of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and independence – independence not in theory, but in fact; independence that rested upon individual shoulders of each member of society; independence bought of self-denial, sacrifice, and personal courage. It was not permissive. It was not necessary to ask if it were legal, or all right, or moral; this was an independence that rose out of the man himself and was of himself alone.
The rifle was the symbol of life, and of death. It was a symbol of the law and the lawman, and it was often the judge and jury from whom there was no appeal. Other than the rope, the rifle was the most important single factor in American life for many generations. Together the rifle and rope stood for justice until towns and cities brought the compassion of the church and the court and the psychiatrist’s couch.
The rifle and rope kept men and cattle and horses and homes and wagons and industry and the nation together in a day when the enemy was sometimes behind the nearest tree – and the nearest neighbor was a day’s ride through virgin forests.
The rifle is still the steadfast friend of the American. He has not forgotten it. Its cold royalty courses through veins of men who have never touched its warm stock, or felt its reassuring slap against the shoulder. When these young hands – these hands that do not know the good and loyal friend – grasp it in introduction and feel its weight and see its efficient build and handsome profile, there will be a meeting of minds. These friends, they will recognize each other as Americans, old Americans, trustworthy Americans of great heritage.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.