IT WAS OCTOBER 1982. I recall sitting on the edge of my seat in the Juliet Theater in Poughkeepsie, New York. Next to me was my dad, who watched while chain-smoking a full pack of Salems—impressive because First Blood had a scant 93-minute run time—as we rooted for Rambo to survive the onslaught of firepower from mean folks who hadn’t a clue what this Green Beret was capable of. John Rambo—the ultimate survivalist. (Check out: Survival Knives: Anatomy of the Blade Rambo Made Famous)
June-July 2022 Ballistic Magazine
My pals and I spent the rest of the fall acting out scenes in the woods, using pocketknives, of course. We weren’t quite ready to step up to the Bowie plate. We crafted spears and traps (never caught jack), and climbed through boulder fields and Laurel-laden hillsides hiding and avoiding being hit with BBs from our war-scarred 10-pump Crosmans. Stupid, I know, but we had a 3-pump maximum and wore goggles. Mud balls and pies were our versions of hand grenades. Man, we were the shit—or at least we thought so. Playing Manhunt with neighborhood kids (boys and girls) still ranks at the top of the fun list. Playing Army is a close second.
We stepped up our game with hand-me-down .22s for squirrel and crow popping. Like Rambo, we knew we could survive off the land. And believe it or not, the NYS Conservation Department used to release pheasants on a neighboring property to our high school. On school days when we knew we were going to try to luck into a leftover bird or two, our 20 gauges sat in our pickup truck gun racks in the school parking lot. After the final bell it was “go” time. The trucks remained as we marched into the woods just past the baseball field loaded for bird.
Fact: Bringing guns to school was actually permitted, at least in this case… My buddy John Lucas—he was a big ’un and we nicknamed him Johnny Rambo—and I did an oral report together for Mr. Dourdis’ Sports Literature class on sport- and deer hunting. We had to get permission from the principal (and we did) for the show-and-tell part of the project. I brought in my Remington 1100, and John brought in his Bear Archery “kit bow” he’d built with his dad. Man, we country kids knew how to impress the chicks back then.
My how things have changed in society! Today, my son can’t even wear a ballcap or t-shirt to school that sports the likeness of a firearm. Zero-tolerance policies are brutal (unconstitutional IMHO). There’s a George Orwellian Nineteen Eighty-Four dystopian social science fiction eeriness afoot. We have gun and magazine bans, First Amendment rights stripped away and massive Big Brother overreach on a scale never witnessed before. Today’s law-abiding gun owners—parents at school board meetings even—are being labeled as domestic terrorists. That’s all change “We The People” don’t need. So let’s keep fighting the good fight when and where we can.
Those Rambo days seem so far way. We have some good change to bring your way, however. In this issue of Ballistic, we welcome our Skillset Mag editorial team led by Ben Tirpak, as well as their loyal subscribers to the mix. Once its own quarterly publication, Skillset will now run as a 32-page (sometimes more) special in five of the six annual issues of Ballistic. We look at this change as a highly positive one in that now, both Ballistic and Skillset fans will get more content. We’re certain that Ballistic readers will wholeheartedly enjoy the Alpha-edgy, educational and fun Skillset goods, while Skillset fans will still get what they know and love, and also receive a bonus of 130-plus pages of Ballistic goodness. Enjoy the issue, but know this…there will be blood!
Get all this great content and more in the June-July 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Buy your copy now at OutdoorGroupStore.com.