American Shooter is an important history with great insights for all gun owners.
Gerry Souter is my kind of gun owner and shooter. Well read and educated, thoroughly immersed in the gun culture, possessing serious marksmanship experience via formal, organized event attendance and competition shooting, yet with plenty of personal and professional interests besides guns and shooting. He is up on his history of gun ownership and marksmanship, yet above the saber-rattling too common among pro gun people.
Unfortunately, this makes people like Mr. Souter a rarity and that’s a shame.
Most Americans, including the gun owners, view the National Rifle Association of America as a political organization due to changes made during the 1970’s which changed their focus to politics and lobbying. However, before then the NRA was primarily concerned with promoting marksmanship training and competition. All forms of shooting skill in military, law enforcement, hunting and civilian circles can trace its origins back to organized competition shooting. Shooting was a popular spectator sport and received wide media coverage. Gerry Souter started his journey in the gun world back then and does a great job recounting much of this history. Too bad so few pro gun people today seem aware of it.
One of the best parts of this book is the author’s concept of a National Shooting Sports League. The NSSL doesn’t exist as it’s just an idea and a very good one. An idea so good that the NRA and NSSF should be standing up and running with it. But, as Mr. Souter points out, they won’t and that is part of the problem. Americans have sufficient number of gun owners to rival the most popular mainstream sports along with a plethora of national-level alphabet-soup organizations promoting a tapestry of interesting events. Yet, organized shooting is a totally disjointed effort garnering little attention even among gun owners, to say nothing of the general public at large. Pro-gun forces are good at keeping guns in the hands of American citizens but shockingly bad at getting those gun owners involved in anything more interesting than mere ownership.
Read this book for a wonderful history of gun ownership and marksmanship as it is a treasure that rivals the best books on the subject, including Americans And Their Guns, published by the NRA long ago when they used to be a marksman’s organization. Read it for the witty and entertaining personal anecdotes of the positive influence guns and shooting can have on someone interested in more than merely possessing firearms and taking them out on infrequent, unorganized, random plinking or hunting outings. Read it for insightful, pro-gun commentary by someone that isn’t merely a pro gun sycophant parroting the party line. Above all, if you’re a gun owner or interested in firearms for any reason, read American Shooter.