There was a time (and for many shooters that time will soon be this warm Memorial day weekend) that when gun folk got together for a shindig, they put on their fanciest hat and Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes and strapped on their finest handgun in its nicest rig. It was at these gatherings that the BBQ gun was born and it is what I want to talk about today.
Asking what a BBQ gun is, is sort of like asking what BBQ is, meaning it’s a loaded question and you’ll never get the same answer from two different people. To some, it is the nicest gun in terms of aesthetics and the highest in price. It’s that gun that just had to be engraved, sports the finest grips of either ivory or exotic wood. In these aficionados minds’, it has to be wearing the shiniest, nickel finish—the real the life (saver?) of the party. To most though, a good BBQ gun is just the nicest gun in your safe (though it doesn’t have to be the very shiniest piece of iron that you own).
What do I call a BBQ gun (up here in upstate New York, we also call them Turkey Shoot guns)? Well, I do think snazzy guns add up to BBQ guns, but nowadays, it seems all guns are snazzy, at least in their own way so, I would also like to submit that perhaps what separates a true BBQ gun from other any gun in your arsenal is a lot like what simultaneously separates and unites pork BBQ or any other beast roasted over a fire. And that, my friends, is the philosophy we, as American’s, attach to it.
To me, a BBQ gun is the first gun that comes to mind when you get the call (or email or even letter) to come and party with your friends and family. It’s the gun you grab when you remember there is a “range” nearby your buddy’s house and there’s the potential for some shooting games. It’s a gun you want to share, but that you are protective of, and what good are the guns if there is no one to show them off to? Simply put, it’s your pride and joy, be it a battle-worn rifle with barely any finish left or a custom engraved handgun that costs more than a down payment on a new car. Like regional BBQ, it’s the gun that best represents you.
What about friends with pistols of the polymer-framed variety? Surely, those can’t be BBQ guns right? Well, if you feel the same way I do, then of course they can.
While I do prefer bluing and steel, I once had the opportunity to shoot a Glock 21 .45 ACP. On the outside, it looked like an everyday utility gun, but after it got a chance to stretch its legs it, I realized this “plastic gun” had a fun side too. It had been tuned and had a three and a half pound trigger, along with a few other little interior modifications. At 25 yards with factory ammo it certainly was the life of the party, at least until the full auto Thompson was brought out (legally owned and operated, of course).
My Family Recipe
My BBQ gun is a blued revolver and it sure does have some really nice grips on it, but it isn’t engraved or anything expensive fancy, it’s just a nice everyday working gun that is incredibly accurate and is a lot of fun to shoot (which can happen at a BBQ as long as no alcohol is flowing and the surroundings are right) because there is nothing like a good informal shooting session amongst friends.
Yet that’s just it, the BBQ gun isn’t necessarily about who has the shiniest gun or the biggest, but it is about getting together with your favorite guys and guns and going out and celebrating what makes gun owners, us. Good clean fun that you can’t find anywhere else over the smell of a good steak and an open grill. If it gets better than that, please let me know where.
So put on your best duds, fire up the grill and call some friends over for some fine food and a few rounds downrange. That is what it’s all about.