Then and Now: What’s Changed- #5 The Increased Importance of Functionality

My first gun was a 1911. I loved it for many reasons, as 1911s have many great attributes. Some of the reasons I really liked it were that it was made in the U.S., where it should be made, it was a design that was almost 100 years old at that time, and both the design and build quality had an air of quality and class about them. It just made it feel like more of a real gun to me.

The 1911 set a precedent for me in what I liked about my rifles. Carbon steel and wood- good. Plastic and aluminum- BAD!!! (that should read like Phip Hartman playing Frankenstein saying “FIRE BAD”). That’s why when I started the blog the Sako 75 just seemed to be right. My other bolt action rifle experience at that time was with a Remington 700. Let’s just say that there might be some disparity in the fit, finish and feel between the two.

I never really stopped liking the Sako, but about the time that I pillar bedded it I realized that it just wasn’t going to do what I wanted it to do. It was not going to be as precise a rifle as I wanted. It was not going to be as durable as I wanted (I discovered a broken bolt stop pin upon disassembly), and the sight mounting and stock options really limited what I could get in the end.

In the Model 70 I found a rifle that would do everything I wanted for half as much money. It was really the perfect rifle for me at the time. I’ve had it for two years now. It’s had a new barrel and an upgraded stock, but everything else is the same and it just works for me. The metal work may not be as pretty, but I haven’t managed to break anything on it yet.

A few months after I switched rifles, I decided that a Glock would make more sense for me than a 1911 for what I carry. I love the feel of wood and steel, but the Glock works. It’s lighter, which I appreciate in a full size carry gun. I like the increased capacity and the thing just works. I don’t worry about scratching it and I don’t worry about it rusting. I don’t have to fit extractors as a hobby (which I used to love but don’t have the time for anymore), and I don’t have to play the aftermarket parts game, which has no end.

I have also revisited the AR as a rifleman’s rifle and find it to be quite a useful and satisfying gun. The longer, smooth, rounded keymod handguard make the ergonomics fall into place, and a good barrel is really the icing on the cake. In the early days of the blog, if it wasn’t a bolt action it wasn’t a rifle. That’s a little silly.

What all this points to is that the need for function and practicality has largely displaced the appreciation of aesthetics and the emotional baggage that people put into inanimate objects. I believe that is an improvement. Improvement is good.

Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Then and Now: What’s Changed- #5 The Increased Importance of Functionality

  1. Good points. Now I have to go back to the drawing board again. My question is though, why can’t we have an aesthetically pleasing form AND practical function?

  2. Then There is the unexplainable when you just flat like one and enjoy the way it handles ,dare I say “bonding”here ,you know the silly little smile you get when you grab it and hit the door

    • And I would be a liar if I said I didn’t have some feeling of a bond with my FN or the X15, but I think most of that was developed through using them.

      Good to hear from you.

      • Well if you didn’t like em I bet you would not use em, I had a national match garland far as I concerned it had about as appeal as a fence post, I dreaded dragging that thing around,needless to say no tears when it went down the road.

        Dang sorry to hear the back door range deal went south
        Something better somewhere will work out
        take care

        • Love my NM Garand but I wouldn’t want to carry it over hill and dale all day either. Joy to shoot though. Best used at highpower matches I guess.

          • Pete I had a brother-in-law That went through the Battle of the Bulge,he loved his M-1 it was his one and only for everything ,I remember when 3 guys in a pickup shot at deer near his house and in the direction of the house ,he ran out and stitched 8 rds across the top of the cab,needless to say they were impressed by the Garand

  3. Well, I don’t know. Who holds the market when defining the term “aesthetic”? Does this indicate something ornate and complicated, or something that would look “Amish”. They both have their appeals. Lever rifles and the pseudo Scout have a sort of “Amish” appeal, but I’m not that sure how to classify AR’s with every accessory available hanging on them.
    I’ve never thought too much about the aesthetics of my guns. I’m more concerned about how well they serve their purpose, and how well I shoot with them. All my “business” pieces are steel and synthetic, yet they don’t seem ugly to me.
    Handguns are a different story. The vast majority of plastic handguns are butt ugly, usually with triggers to match (with the exception of a friend’s M&P I auditioned). I solved the weight issues with the 1911 by going to hi-caps with aluminum frames. I don’t think of any of them as being particularly “pretty”, but they do the job, and do it well. For me. Your mileage may vary. But I’d give your orphaned 1911 a good home.

  4. Rawhider,
    A standard-weight M1 is my go-to rifle for, umm, applications outside the realm of my scoped bolt-action hunting rifles. One of mine holds right around a minute of angle with GI LC M72 match ammo way out at 425 yards with me shooting it prone, sling, and irons. Can’t argue with that.

  5. I’ve always thought of the M14/M1A as an ugly rifle (purposefully ugly) but it sure fits me well, having trained with that in boot camp and infantry training. In fact the way I got mine was when I went to a gun store with the intention of buying one of those nice DSA FALs that every gun writer was praising at the time. The FAL sure looked nice but when I picked up the M1A it just fit me in a way the FAL did not. I walked out with the M1A.

    My go-to bolt rifle is a Remington 7 in .308, and I’m not even fond of Remingtons! It’s got a good composite stock and a scout scope so is unbelievably handy, a good size, rugged and accurate enough. I do have a Model 70 Winchester that I prefer but it is in 300 WSM and with a conventional scope and wood stock and it just sits in the back of the safe.

  6. I don’t like pulling a golf bag with wheels as my rifle caddy so…I shoot a light German Blaser R93.
    I have the synthetic model and yes I added a big palm swell for my big hands and spacers and better recoil pad for LOP more becoming a tall Texan and an ITC cheekrest for this long Germanic face.
    Then I found a Norwegian shooter/ blogger, Thomas Haugland had settled on same same only TH has, shall we say, refined his skills to a place I want to go… c Longrange blog 130 only 3:54 of your YouTube time dime. I would love to read your thoughts after ur perusing.
    I am new to your blog ( 4 days ) but it appears your shooting skills are catching up with your ability to express yourself stud. great reads Sir
    Hope you are chasing a goal and not running from demons !
    Somewhere Between Ignorance & Arrogance,
    CR Rains

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