The World Wide Web is a wonderful thing. I'm serious when I say my life would not be the same without it. It is especially useful for garnering information on this firearms interest of ours. But because of the sometimes very important uses to which we put our guns, it is important to get good information about them. And while facts abound, there is so much utter baloney to be found as well that we simply must--must--take what we read with a grain of salt. Yet with the web accessible to absolutely anyone with a computer, what it the individual with questions to do?
It's no different than it has ever been in the sense that we must learn to judge people on how they present themselves. Where the problem occurs is that without seeing someone face to face we have a much harder time knowing whether or not to take them at face value. Because we can't, or at least shouldn't accept everything everyone posts on the web without a healthy does of skepticism, we must use our best people-reading skills.
If someone writes regularly for an established web site like this one, that is better than someone who only appears on a bulletin board, forum, or blog and sounds off on a particular topic then is gone. If the person uses a real name the odds are that he is probably not a fourteen-year-old, pimple-faced "former Navy SEAL with 25 years experience in Naval Special Warfare circles." (Oh, they're out there.) If the person is accessible via an established forum and/or email and actually replies to your inquiries, the odds are better yet that he is what he claims to be, whatever that might be! Beware the web personality, the person who doesn't exist in real life.
Next, look for someone who has ideas and suggestions for you to consider but who doesn't try to cram them down your throat. There are too many people in the world who for whatever reason are never going to be happy unless others like the guns and calibers they like, shoot the way they shoot, and simply think the way they think. This is so much baloney. In shooting there are many ways to do something and sometimes all of them are equally correct. Yes, it is very pleasant to debate the details on my tactic versus your tactic, or my gun vs. your gun, but beware the fellow who tells you that his gun or his caliber or his grip or his stance is the only way to go. Utter nonsense.
Ultimately we are all humans with more knowledge or less knowledge. The best way for us to learn is to seek out those with more knowledge in a given area than we might have. The more people we find who meet that qualification the more we can learn. The more different ideas the more likely we are to learn what things work for us. It doesn't matter if we are brand new to guns or looking for detailed data in a specific area. If you stick closely to your clique you won't learn much, will you?
The bottom line as I see it is seek out many sources of info, don't take any one person as having all the answers, look for a two-way dialogue because that is the web at its finest, and don't trust anyone who hides like an anonymous ninja on the Web. Good luck to you! (16Feb09)
Contact me on this forum. My screen name is my real name: Mark Freburg