Real men and real women love guns. If you don’t believe me, bring your Thai girlfriend to the Grand Canyon to shoot guns, show her what a 45 automatic can do, and watch her addiction grow. Next year we will undoubtedly visit the United States again leaving Thailand for America’s wide open spaces, and can you guess what she’s looking forward to the most? Yep, you guessed it, shooting guns. This time we will be visiting two friends, an American who owns over sixty guns, and the Thai woman he just married who we’ve been told is equally addicted to guns. And speaking for myself, I owned 38 guns but sold most of them a few months before moving to Thailand. Then I wrote Extreme Guns and Babes for an Adult World.
Before offering my thoughts that might explain why people become so addicted to guns, let me first say one thing. We did not shoot the guns in this video at the Grand Canyon itself. The Grand Canyon is a national park and here you will find many Elk due to the park’s protection of wildlife. But the location for this video was only a few miles outside the Grand Canyon National Park. The place was basically in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. My nephew vaguely remembered it so he was going purely from memory from years gone by when he pulled off the main road onto a dirt road which we took for several miles. Thankfully he was driving a jeep because that little dirt road got rougher and rougher the farther we drove towards the isolated clearing that my nephew’s fellow Arizonians had turned into an informal gun range. No one was there when we first drove up, but after we had been shooting for a half your or so, a man drove into the clearing to shoot his Russian World War II bolt action rifle.
For the first time in a couple of years I was able to once again fondle, then shoot my beloved .45 automatic. Of all the things I had either sold or left behind in the U.S. when I moved to Thailand, it was that .45 automatic I missed the most. I miss it more than the special edition Mazda Miata sports car I sold before moving to Thailand, more than the BMW K-100 RS motorcycle I used to own, the Dodge 4 wheel drive Dakota sports pickup truck, and the two John Deere tractors I used to farm with. In fact I loved that particular 45 and will continue to love it more than all the guns I ever had including the five or six forty-five automatics I had before it. So before I get into the reasons for my complete addiction to guns, let me describe what it is about this particular 45 that makes it so special.
I used to sleep with it under my pillow, not because I was afraid of anything. It’s just that this particular 45 felt so good and I had long ago given up on teddy bears and wouldn’t have another girlfriend until I moved to Thailand.
It started out being a 45 Colt government model but I wound up customizing it. I had a new trigger and hammer installed to give it a quicker response. The same gunsmith then installed a beaver tail that made it easier on the hand, especially after putting a 100 rounds or so through it during one shooting session. To me a 45 auto doesn’t really kick all that hard. Especially when you compare it to .44 magnums and .454 Casulls and other hard kicking handguns. But with the beavertail to cushion my hand the web of my hand was protected from the continued toll inflicted by a hundred rounds at the range.
I then sent my .45 to Wilson Combat which is one of the premier custom gun makers in the U.S. I simply loved the looks of Wilson Combat CBT model with its contrasting dark green and black finish so I instructed Wilson Combat to make my Colt look just like one of their CBT’s. This meant Wilson would have to strip the bluing off my Colt and finish it off with its Armor tuff finish that was supposed to be almost impervious to salt water. But first I had Wilson Combat bevel my Colt, which meant grinding and sanding all the sharp edges so that the gun would feel completely smooth in hand.
Most out of the box Colt government 45’s will shoot within 3 inches at 25 yards whereas Wilson’ Combat custom models will shoot within 1 inch to 1.5 inches. I could have gone with a match barrel but instead I decided to forego the added expense of a custom barrel and bushing. Instead I had Wilson Combat tighten up the slide to frame fit. The result was a 45 that showed not the slightest amount of play between its slide and frame. After waiting a couple of months for Wilson Combat to perform its magic to my 45 I finally got the gun back. With the slide to frame tolerance tightened up I was able to put six out of six rounds into a 3 inch circle at 25 yards shooting offhand. The end result was not only the best looking 45 automatic I had ever owned, but a much more accurate one than most as well as one that was utterly smooth to touch.
Real Men Shoot 45’s
My Dad was a man’s man in every sense. He had served in World War II and had wound up as a captain stationed in England by the end of the war. When he came back to the U.S. he brought with him two forty-five automatics and one paratrooper model M-1 carbine with a folding stock. Unfortunately he wound up either selling or giving away one of the forty-five automatics and the M-1 carbine. The remaining .45 automatic became his most prized firearm until the end of his life.
Dad was never a particularly good shot, and by the time I was ten I could outshoot him with his .45. I think Dad always felt that all real men learn three things in life: 1. To be able to ride a horse well, 2. To be able to shoot guns equally well, and 3. To be able to win most of his fights. So by the time I was eight we had two horses and from the time I was ten I nearly always rode bareback. By the time I was ten, my step grandfather was teaching me how to box after installing a platform bag and heavy bag in our basement. And by the time I was eight my dad was already turning me loose to shoot rabbits alone in the woods with a 410 shotgun. When I was 12 I bought my first gun, a World War II 1943 Springfield 03-A3 Army rifle I bought from a police officer for fifty dollars. I had to work all summer long in order to earn that fifty dollars. By the time I finally got it, I had already been lusting for a Springfield from the time I was ten. I loved the idea of its terrific power and being able to shoot things from hundreds of yards from my target, I got something like 500 army surplus shells with the rifle. Those shells were three inches long and I could shoot through thirty inch trees with them. Back then most boys would get .22’s if they got anything and it would be their dads buying them a .22. I had to buy my own gun, and I had decided early on that bigger was better. And believe me, a 30-06 is incomparably bigger than any .22.
One of my next guns was a 9 mm Luger that had been made in Germany during World War II. My Dad gave it to me for either a Christmas or birthday present. Back then a Luger was simply the most gorgeous handgun that had ever been created. Several years later he gave me a 9 mm Browning High Power for Christmas. I had always loved the feel of a High power in the hand and back in those days the idea of having a clip that would hold 13 rounds was a huge turn on. Dad never had much use for either of the two 9 mm’s believing that they lacked stopping power and that only a forty-five could be relied on to get the job done.
The 9mm Luger had a horrible trigger pull. Even worse, mine had a very serious problem jamming. So I wound up trading it for a gorgeous model 57 Smith and Wesson 41 Magnum. But by this time I had developed a problem with flinching and the 41 Magnum kicked nearly as bad as a .44 Magnum. As for the 9 mm Browning High Power, it had never been blessed by a good trigger pull to start with, and not being able to shoot it well, I sold it. Mine was a particularly good looking specimen having been manufactured in Belgium, but prior to telling it I had adjustable sights installed which ruined the good looks of the gun. I wish I had kept it because in the last few years I was able to live with the indifferent trigger pulls all High powers seem to have and actually be able to shoot them very well.
All of this took me through my college years. By the time I graduated I had gotten a shotgun or two and two Ruger Blackhawks, one in .357 magnum, while the second was chambered in .45 Colt along with a Ruger Single six .22 magnum.
Much later on in life, I wound up buying, selling or trading more guns than I can keep track of. In the process I bought a good half a dozen 9 mm’s and another half a dozen .45’s. The best of the entire lot, that is until I got the Wilson customized .45 auto, was a Walther P-88 in 9 mm. The clip held 15 rounds. The gun never gamed. It had a great trigger pull for a double action semi-auto, wonderful sights, and it shot right where I aimed it. It was very expensive and I had to trade three guns for it, but it was perfect in every way, except for one thing. It was not a forty-five.
As outstanding as that Walther p-88 was, Dad would never had much use for it. Its fifteen round capacity wouldn’t have impressed him either. In fact, when he kept his World War II .45 automatic under his pillow or between his mattress and box spring he’d normally keep just four rounds in the magazine in the belief that just four rounds was enough to get the job done and that if he kept more rounds in the clip that the magazine’s spring would be compressed to the point of causing the clip to become unreliable in time.
So what is it about a forty-five auto that makes it the king of the mountain? Certainly it don’t have the power that my .41 Magnum had, and as powerful as my .41 Magnum had been, even it would not be anywhere close to the raw power of my .454 Casull. Dad also didn’t have much use for .357 magnums, even though he had a healthy respect for their power. For Dad, it was the relatively small size and flatness of a .45 automatic that along with its legendary stopping power made it the most ideal handgun a man could have. I happen to agree with him. It is simply the best combination of size and stopping power that there is. And one can rip off eight shots far quicker than one can with a revolver. But a 9 mm semi-automatic is also flat, relatively compact, and it offers just as much firepower as any forty-five auto.
No doubt a forty-five auto offers greater stopping power than a 9 mm. On the other hand it can be argued that a well designed 125 grain hollow point offers even greater stopping power than a .45 auto. Okay, perhaps it does. But—–forty-fives are simply much more fun to shoot than .357 magnums.
First off when you shoot at targets at a gun range with a forty-five, you can tell immediately where your bullets have hit. This is because a forty-five makes a much bigger hole in the target than a 9 mm or a .357. Usually even when shooting at a target from 25 yards away you can see the large 45 caliber holes appear in the target whereas you won’t be able to see the holes made by smaller caliber weapons. Secondly, when I used to live on the farm, I’d oftentimes find myself shooting casually at targets of opportunity with a forty-five auto. I might be shooting at a tin can or a dirt clod in a field, but whatever the big .45 bullets hit, it would make a big impression. Tin cans would jump thirty feet while dirt clods would explode. Then there were the steel plates I’d shoot at like they have in Cowboy action contests. I had driven two 4 by 4 posts into the ground, drilled holes into the top of each post and then inserted a long steel rod approximately nine foot long through the posts and on this steel rod I had mounted six plates that would rotate around the rod while being struck by bullets. If I used a .22 on the steel plates while practicing my fast shooting technique the steel plates would barely move, and you’d only hear a light pinging while they were being hit by the small .22 caliber bullets. 38’s would hit much harder than a .22 and so would 9 mm bullets, but they wouldn’t begin to compare with the impact that a large heavy .45 slug would make on a steel plate which would spin in a 180 degree arc.
As for shooting such plates with a .357 magnum, it simply wasn’t as much fun shooting them with a .357. If, for example, I was shooting the plates with my Colt Single Action revolver that was chambered for .45 long Colt, I’d have to first pull back the hammer and then I’d have to pull the trigger, cowboy style. If I did the same with a .357 double action revolver, the feel of the gun was not nearly as good as the old Cowboy style Single Action. I could also fire my Single Action Army faster than I could firing single action with a .357 revolver. But if I fired the double action .357 double action at the steel plates, although I could shoot the plates faster than I could firing Single Action with my Single Action Army, I could not begin to achieve nearly the speed as I could firing semi auto with my .45 automatic. Furthermore, .357 magnum full power loads causes an awful racket. Its overly loud whereas the sound of a 45 going off is a deep booming sound that is much more pleasing to the ears.
You have noticed that I have digressed to the subject of Single Action 45 long Colt revolvers. Let me just say that they are a lot of fun to shoot and that I still have my Colt Peacemaker although it like my few remaining guns are now in my nephew’s possession.
Let me just finalize this section by stating: “Real Men shoot 45’s.”
45’s make big holes, they offer greater stopping power than 9 mm’s and they are simply more fun to shoot. And speaking for my own family, owning a good 1911 style .45 auto is a rite of passage. My Dad’s most treasured firearm of all was his World War II forty-five automatic. I learned to shoot it pretty well by the time I was ten, and today my most treasured firearm is my Wilson customized .45 auto even if it is in my nephew’s possession. As for my nephew, he has purchased his own .45 automatic years ago, in the best spirits of our family whose male members revere the .45.
Which now brings us to how Thai women characterize the universal appeal of Guns.
Most Thai women are very small compared to their Western counterparts. For example, my Thai girlfriend is around five foot one and weighs around 95 pounds whereas my pal’s Thai wife, who I will refer to as Tommy Yai, is probably only around four foot ten. But both Thai women love shooting guns. I have a theory on this one and it might seem pretty far out, but here it goes.
Thailand is a class society in which there is virtually no middle class. It is also a male dominated society. It is also a society in which the very wealthy Thais have absolute power over the poor. Let me surmise that most Thais feel absolutely powerless to change the basic injustices that are inherent in the power structure in Thailand. Almost all Thai women most Western men associate closely with here in Thailand are from the poor classes of Thai society. For centuries, there is no way such a women could have the slightest impact on their basic lot of life or the power structure ruling the country. The prospect of rebellion was then and still is unthinkable. Level a spear or a sword at one’s rulers and the wealthy rulers will simply unleash a lot of soldiers are police who will have more swords and spears and be much more well trained in their use.
But a gun, now, that’s another thing. It’s a real equalizer. The gun is extremely powerful and it takes relatively little training for a person to become lethal in their use. Sure, the rich, the government or the police are going to win in the end, but in the meantime even a slightly built Thai woman can kill at least one of her oppressors with hardly any effort expended.
One can compare all of this to the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. The Roman government backed by the Roman legions was oppressive yet there was little the common people of that time could do about it. Wielding a knife, sword, spear, or even a bow and arrow against the oppressors was almost unthinkable. One would certainly be killed in the process or overpowered only to be crucified later. But suppose back 2,000 years ago, every man and woman under the heel of the Roman boot had semi automatic pistol or AK-47. That would have been the equalizer.
So I think that’s a large part of the universal appeal of guns. Common ordinary people who feel powerless and unable to change the world around them–a world that is unfair and cruel, now have in their hands the equalizer. A man or a woman of inferior physical strength, with the barest minimum of firearms training now can take the life of any oppressor, no matter how many supporters the oppressor has, how strong he is, or how well qualified he is at handling weapons.
That’s a lot of it, at least to my thinking. The other part is, now that one has in his hands a weapon of enormous power there’s the satisfaction that is derived from actually harnessing all that power while developing the skill and technique to become more proficient at directing all that power to achieve a goal whether that goal is to hit a small target, to hit a moving target, to acquire greater and greater speed, to be able to hunt more successfully or to be able to kill one’s adversary with it.
The old saying goes, that “God made man but Samuel Colt made them all equal. ” Now that is a very memorable and perhaps very true statement, but it still puts an American and perhaps even an old West spin to the Universal appeal of firearms which I think lurks deep in the hearts of all real men and real women. This goes for men and women alike regardless of nationality and would have been just as true 2000 years ago as it is today,. This video, of the Thai girlfriend and guns meeting near the Grand Canyon certainly goes a long way to proving my point.