Photos of a Modern Gunfighter: The many benefits of a healthy passion


IMG_0159You might have noticed dear reader that I have some different pictures on my websites.  It has been a long time since I’ve updated any profile pictures and it was appropriate to reflect my new stage in life.  So my daughter at Brooke Townsend set up a time to do a photo shoot with me and the result was some of these pictures that you are now seeing.  I have a complete life, I do a lot of things—I’ve been all over the world and done a lot of important tasks that people think are important.  I’ve raised children that I’m very proud of and I’ve been married to the same woman for over a quarter century.  By all accounts I am a very successful person bulging with skills and accomplishments that many would be envious of.  I don’t say all that to brag, but I work hard every day to be the best that I can be, and I have certainly done that.  So my daughter and I were talking about what kind of pictures to take of me—how to sum up my world views and essence into a simple photograph.  It’s not just my opinion, but those of her clients, my daughter has emerged on the world stage as a highly sought out photographer and her rates reflect the quality and uniqueness of her work, so I trust her professional recommendations.  She and I set out on an early spring morning recently to capture my essence that best represented this stage of my life and the result is what follows.IMG_0217

Of course I can pretty much buy whatever I want these days so it should say a lot that the possession I most love is my fast draw holster rig for my .45 Vaquero.  It is specially made and is my single most cherished item that I currently have.  With that said we focused on it for these photographs because as I said some time ago, I consider my new career to be that of a gunfighter.  Standing up for the Second Amendment, taking constitutional positions that are regarded legally as Anti-Federalist instead of Federalist—and my love of history really prevents me from any other type of career.  I like to stand up against bullies, at every level of the social spectrum—in manners of career, politics, and private life—that life as a gunfighter is really my only choice.IMG_0303

Being a gunfighter to me isn’t what it was during the period of the Old West.  It’s not about killing other people—it’s more of a sport, like being a basketball player, or a football star.  Being a gunfighter is what I enjoy most in this case within the sport of Cowboy Fast Draw which I practice at every day in some fashion or another.  A lot of men my age get heavy into golf—and I can see the appeal.  It can be magical to go to Dick’s sporting goods and pick out top-of-the-line golf clubs and spend many afternoons playing rounds of golf with the material acquisitions acquired through financial success.  But that is too stereotypical for me to really enjoy because so many people do it.  I need something that represents my unique life, and a gunfighter embodies my decisions much better—to the level I am quite excited about it.IMG_0254

My daughter did a wonderful job of capturing the light in a way that embodied how I feel about this stage.  If I look proud wearing the gun and holster rig from Mernickle it’s because I am.  For one reason or another I spent ten years planning on how I could incorporate these things in my life.  Most of the reason was that I worked too much so I didn’t have time for a hobby, or career as a gunfighter—because it takes a lot of work to do it right.  It’s the same situation with my .500 Magnum from Smith & Wesson.  I thought about those guns for a very long time and finally picked them up when I was able to make a clear decision to commit some time to caring for them as a sport.  I’m not the kind of person who just buys things to have them, then puts them on display in my home for other to look at.  I actually have to make them a part of my life.  The Mernickle holster rig is something that I plan to make a part of my daily life, so it is now a constant companion to me.  I thought about it so long that of course finally wearing it made me proud.IMG_0283 (2)

I think it’s a shame that firearms in general have such a negative stigma applied to them.  To me guns are all about great precision machining, and science—the combustible elements of lead projectiles mixed with gunpowder in closed dimensional quarters guided by human skill toward an intended target are the keys to their utilization.  To get an idea of what I’m talking about click the picture on the sidebar next to this article, the one where the gun is pointed toward the camera.  That is a reaction timer test that records your ability to identify a target and react to it within thousands of a second. A good time is anything in the .100 range, from the time you see the light to when you click the mouse button.  Mastering those types of skills don’t just help you in shooting sports, but in all aspects of life—because it forces your brain to think faster and to work more efficiently.  The difference between a time in the .300s and .100s is barely perceptible to human measurement—but by practicing, you can begin to feel it when you get a good time and when you don’t.  For instance, it might be remembered that I survived a very serious motorcycle crash last year.  It was only because of lightning reflexes that I managed to walk away with all my body parts and only a few cracked bones.  My $12,000 motorcycle was totaled, but I still made it to a very important business meeting an hour later because of how I develop myself though my hobbies—with an emphasis on speed and accuracy through working with bull whips for so many years.IMG_0248

Dedicating time toward the skills it takes to be a gunfighter has a spillover effect into all aspects of life, so I see it as a tremendous benefit.  While it might be out-of-step with mainstream thought, my gun rig with my Vaquero is my most prized worldly possession and my daughter did a good job of capturing it in our photo shoot.  I wear it all the time at home and whenever I’m in my garage, it has become mandated to always be at my side while on my property.  Whether I’m in my shop reloading ammunition, or target shooting for hours on end, my new Mernickle holster rig has become emblematic with my personality, so we are making it an important part of my life going forward—which is reflected in the pictures that will be taken of me in the future.  Guns have always been a part of my life, but they’ve always been in the background.  Now they will be very much more a part of the foreground.  As society has become more progressive, those of us who love traditional American concepts should stand up proudly on its behalf.  And that is what I intend to do with each year that emerges hereafter.

Rich Hoffman


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