One of the joys of my work is that it allows me to meet some of the best people in the world: cops and shooter folk.  Both tend to be far above average in responsibility, realistic outlook, and caring about others.

Last week found me in Forsyth, Georgia, spending half a day lecturing to 150 members of the Georgia Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association.  Great bunch of people. They understand the maxim of the great law enforcement firearms instructor Charlie Smith, a top trainer for FBI before he became the founding director of the Smith & Wesson Academy: “We are the teachers of staying alive.” God bless those who dedicate themselves to the safety of the public, AND the safety of their own kind.

Then it was on to Prospect Hill, North Carolina, where Craig Buckland kicked butt including mine, winning the Stock Service Revolver Champion title and bumping me down into second place in that phase of the East Coast United States Championships.  Craig is the kind of person  you want to be the champion of the game you play: fair as a match director, fair as a range officer, and an outstanding sportsman committed to both individual excellence and the game itself. I shot on the first day, with about forty competitors and about twenty staff. Not a bozo in the bunch.  Even if I couldn’t shoot anymore, I think I’d still go to matches just for the company of people like this.

The week finished for me on Saturday, when I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at a Friends of NRA Banquet in Orlando, Florida. The event drew some 380 National Rifle Association members and raised over $25,000 for the organization that is the strongest advocate of gun owners’ civil rights on Capitol Hill.  The economy being what it is, a lot of the items they auctioned off went cheap. Please do support the next Friends of NRA bash in your neck of the woods. You get to give honest support to a righteous cause, meet great people in your area with whom you might otherwise not have connected, and maybe even get a bargain purchase at the same time.

In a week, I’d had the chance to interact with more than half a thousand of the kind of people who get righteous things done, and make the world go ‘round. Damn…I love my work.

I’d be remiss in a discussion of good people here on a Backwoods Home blog if I failed to mention that our own Jackie Clay is in the hospital as I write this.  She took a bad fall from a roof she was repairing, and suffered a cracked sternum and some serious spinal injuries. Long our most popular writer at Backwoods Home magazine, Jackie has made a career of unstintingly giving of her time to share her expertise as perhaps the leading authority on home canning and related topics, spreading the lessons of self-reliant living.  It would be great if you could send her a get well card.

Address is Jackie Clay, c/o Backwoods Home Magazine, PO Box 712, Gold Beach, OR 97444.

Or, you can leave an encouraging comment at her blog.

Best to ya, Jackie!

With Power Point going in the background, Mas gets to interact with about 150 Georgia law enforcement firearms instructors.

Police officer, shooter, on-duty gunfight survivor and all around good guy Keith Garner shoots a non-dominant-hand-only stage at the East Coast US Championships. Arrow points to spent casing from the Glock he has just fired.

On the podium, addressing 380 Friends of the NRA. It’s cool to meet good people in large quantities. 🙂


  1. 08/10/10
    Mas, Thanks for the msg about Jackie, I look forward to Backwoods Home each month. I also wanted you to know that I’ve been reading your articles in the different gun magazines I subscribe to for about 10 yrs I guess and I’ve read several of your books. I always learn something I can put in my tool box. I see that you and Gail have been up here in my neck of the woods competing. It sure has been a cooker in Carolina this summer and today broke a temp record.
    You’re one of the busiest guys I know, y’all be safe on the road, there sure are some crazies on the highway today!
    Tony Yates
    4385 Indiana Ave.
    Winston-Salem, NC 27105

  2. If only the MSM (and other self-appointed guardians of good taste) would get to know gun-folk, they’d see a down-to-earth, no BS crowd with the occasional nut for flavor. Yes, it’s mostly white (although I’m not). Yes, it’s mostly conservative. Yes, it’s a lot of people who’d rather enjoy a burger and beer than chateaubriand and Chateau Latour. Those are mortal sins in the eyes of the NYT (although a few Sundays ago, they featured a story on Appleseed which was pretty fair — for them!). Ever since I became a “gun nut,” I’ve seen nothing but courtesy and square dealing from other “extremists.” There’s more personal hate and acid from anti-gun, anti-religion, anti-life folks and it’s getting tiring. This may sound corny, but meeting gun enthusiasts has made me more appreciative of America and Americans.

  3. Mas, I think you are sandbagging us. Saying you got your butt kicked and getting bumped to second place doen’t sound too shabby. You call THAT work. Most of us would make a pact with the DEVIL to have a piece of that work.
    Years ago I had an article published in a Gun-Paramilitary Magazine “Eagle”. I doubt they are still around. I spent about 6 months writing it for $200. Plus I did my own photos. I decided then that I would never be able to make a living at it.
    Friends Of NRA Banquets are indeed, fun and sometimes, if you are lucky, you can come away with a nice prize. The fellowship is terrific and even my wife enjoys it. But then, anytime she doesn’t have to cook, is a joyous occasion.

  4. Randolph Ray – So you were “Eagle” magazine’s other reader! -g-

    I do recall the magazine, in fact I still have a couple of their “Military Intelligence Comix” cut out and kept somewhere.

    Sorry gone OT.

    Mas – Well done on second place, and thanks for the heads up about Jackie. I have left my best wishes for her.

  5. For Fruitbat44
    Hi, Yes that was me, the other reader. My article almost made the front cover. It was titled “.50 caliber Righteousness”. the front cover said Browning’s M-2 .50 cal. HMG “Alltime battlefield Broom”. “Duke”Venturino is just now going through his full-auto phase, I went through mine back in “82.

  6. Chris, checked with the guy in charge. He says some stills were taken, but he doesn’t know of any video. He’s gonna check, though. If you don’t hear back from me here, that’ll mean there isn’t any I can get hold of.