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Why did I renew my NRA membership? October 14, 2015

Posted by federalist in Open Questions.
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This isn’t a rhetorical question.  I’m actually second-guessing my recent membership renewal.

I’ve never bought more than a year at a time of membership in the NRA.  I want to keep them feeling accountable.

The NRA has been justifiably criticized for things it has done in the past, but presently it is certainly the most powerful and effective organization guarding our civil rights to keep and bear arms.  However, it still does stupid stuff like this: Why is the NRA buying guns for government agencies, which are above the gun laws that apply to citizens?

Well, I figured $25 a year wasn’t a terrible price to pay just to add to a conspicuous count of citizens who support this particular individual right, and I do read the magazine.  But even the magazine is a disgrace.

Yes, American Rifleman is a disgrace of a magazine.

First of all, their layout editor has some disability that prevents him from keeping articles together.  Anything longer than a few pages and you have to flip towards the back to read the rest of the article.  And then there’s the reviews.  “We don’t publish negative reviews.”  That’s right: Their reviews of guns and gear are more boring than advertising copy and even less informative.

If you happen to be very knowledgeable and you read carefully you can sometimes spot the candy-coated points of criticism.  An example: The October 2015 issue reviewed a $3,500 Swarovski scope.  That’s top-of-the-line scope money.  The review is unsigned, which is a red flag to begin with.  As is the fact that the author failed the basic arithmetic needed to recognize that the oddly labelled “0.36inch/100yds” turrets are actually the quite-standard .1 mil clicks.  At one point the author explains that the scope automatically shuts off its illumination when it is canted past a certain angle.  After noting that mountain hunters frequently have to shoot at extreme angles the author says “this feature is an interesting choice.”  So there’s one codeword for “design flaw:” interesting choice.  Later the author subjected his sample to a standard water immersion test, and even though he gets the test backwards (you’re supposed to submerge, and then freeze) he begins describing the results with, “Beyond the normal minute internal … fogging ….”  Um, no.  Even a hint of Internal fogging on a $3,500 scope is a defect.  But if you know that you probably won’t waste much of your time reading American Rifleman reviews….