American Rifleman - August 2021 - 8

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Shooting 101
I
was about 10 years old when I
fired a rifle for the first time.
Having observed my father carefully
handle and shoot a variety of
rifles and handguns, I had gained a
healthy respect for firearms. Under his
watchful eye, I was allowed to shoot a
Marlin Model 101 in .22 Long Rifle.
It was the perfect rifle for a skinny
kid in the early 1970s: lightweight
and sleekly styled, with a walnut stock
bearing the trademark " bullseye " on
the underside, a gold-plated trigger,
polished blue action, chrome-plated
bolt, and, most distinctive of all, a
round ring at the rear of the bolt. It was
a thing of beauty, all right, and it was
accurate, too.
To fire the Marlin, I had to: drop
a single cartridge into the loading/
ejection port, run the bolt forward,
turn it down to lock the action, pull
back on the ring and then wrap my
hand around the pistol grip before
carefully pressing the trigger. Once I
had acquired a target, I would align
the rudimentary rear notch and brassbead
front sight then hold steady and
control my breathing to ensure a hit.
Even my meager savings allowed
repeating that process innumerable
times throughout the course of a
summer-a box of 50 cartridges back
then ran about a dollar at the local
Western Auto store-and I eventually
built an intimate familiarity with
the 101. But economy of ammunition
and physical motion, while key
to shooting, weren't as important as
the mental discipline instilled by that
sequence of actions required to operate
the rifle. The deliberation that it
imparted carried over into virtually
every aspect of my life. It was beneficial
in academics and athletics, and it
proved invaluable in a budding career
as a photographer, writer and editor
in community journalism.
I never forgot the Marlin, and, as
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8
so often happens with a first firearm,
it kindled lifelong interests in the
inner workings of guns and an appreciation
of their uniquely American
role in preserving individual liberty.
Those interests were bolstered by
August 2021
a great-uncle who was an avid gun
collector and a reader of American
Rifleman and by my brother who
worked in the firearm industry. My
own NRA membership and modernday
issues of the magazine led to a
broader understanding, and growing
collection, of all sorts of firearms. And
my methodical approach to shooting
the Marlin didn't change even after
I was able to afford semi-automatic
rifles or handguns or, much later,
when shooting firearms belonging to
other enthusiasts, including machine
guns built for the U.S. service members
who guard our freedom.
In 1998, I was hired as a full-time
staff editor on American Rifleman, and
now, nearly 50 years after firing those
first shots from the Marlin 101, I find
myself stepping up to become the magazine's
editor in chief. As it turns out,
Mark Keefe, my boss for the entirety
of my career here, recently became
editorial director of NRA Publications.
I couldn't be more pleased for his success,
and I will always be thankful for
his mentorship. It's more than a little
comfort that his new office will be just
down the hall.
Also comforting is the fact that
I'm backed by an incredibly talented
staff of professionals-the folks
listed on the masthead on p. 4-
who, collectively, have decades of
experience. They rarely receive the
recognition they so well deserve, but,
each month, they turn the laborious
process of magazine publishing
into an experience that is rewarding,
fulfilling and fun.
Together, we will continue to
do our best to bring the readers of
American Rifleman content worthy of
its nameplate moniker: " The World's
Oldest And Largest Firearm Authority. "
-Brian C. Sheetz, editor in Chief
AmericAn riflemAn
EDITOR'S LETTER
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American Rifleman - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - August 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 3
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