Apologies to all for being away from the blog for the last week and a half. Work took me to the trial of a police officer in Washington state, arising from an off-duty shooting (he was justly acquitted this past Friday), and thence to a class I taught in Iowa. There was just no writing time. Let me try to make up for that this week. Unfortunately, the first dispatch is sad news indeed.
Hal Swiggett died recently at the age of 87. A popular writer in the firearms and outdoor sports field since 1947, Hal was one of the giants in the game, and one of its finest gentlemen.
It was Hal who had the pleasure and privilege of presenting the late, great Elmer Keith with the very first Outstanding American Handgunner of the Year Award. A decade later, Hal was presented the same award himself. It was an honor he never asked for, but one he had most certainly earned. Hal Swiggett was a man who devoted himself to others.
An ordained Baptist minister, Hal always had two things with him in the front seat of his pickup truck: a Bible, and a .45 caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol. He was among the pioneers of the sport of hunting with a handgun, and was universally respected in that world. The first time I hunted in Texas, Hal was my guide, at the famous Y-O game ranch. It was there that he introduced me to one of my favorite firearms of my whole career, the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver as splendidly tuned by Jerry Moran. I got home from that trip and ordered a new Python from Colt, and shipped it directly to Moran for the action work. It won state championships for me. Such was the quality of Hal Swiggett’s advice.
Brother Swiggett’s work ethic was as solid as his belief system. Most writers work from home. Hal maintained an office for the purpose in downtown San Antonio. It kept him disciplined, he said, and also kept work from interfering with family…and his family was his first concern.
Hal Swiggett has left us a rich legacy of wise and well-written work on his favorite topics: guns and hunting. You’ll find many of them archived at www.findarticles.com. If you haven’t read his stuff, take the opportunity to do so. I hope you learn as much from that good man as I did. Heck, I grew up reading it his work.
It’s not a cliché to say that Hal Swiggett’s passing diminishes us all. There are too few men with his values and his kind of honor left in this world.
Photo courtesy of Harris Publications