The following information comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.
We revolver addicts are a cheerful bunch as a whole, cheerful in the sense that we meet adverse happenings before the target with all sorts of alibis—alibis which sometimes are so extremely funny as to provide hearty amusement,—first for the other fellows and then (to a lesser degree) for ourselves. We go down, but we always come up again—for more. The bug has bitten us. We are addicts—hopelessly so.
Although afraid that our total sum of available amusement may be severely curtailed, I rather like the thought that your more or less sorrowful moments (which run concurrently with our bursts of humorous appreciation) should be lightened some way or other.
Take an acute case, a case to be found at any gathering of shooters. We find our friend exultant at the first signs of improvement. His bearing is full of exuberant vitality. He pats everybody on the back. His eyes glow. He struts around, and he is generally very happy. Life surely looks sweet to him. During the intervening week till the next gathering, everybody is his friend, even his next-door neighbor. His relatives do not pain him half as much. He is an amiable creature. And he confidently attacks his new target. But, for some reason, things seem to have changed. A cloud has passed over the sunny sky; friendship somehow does not seem quite as sweet. What in the world—? A pungent string of expletives indicates a frigid score on the target.
Something he ate the night before—the ammunition was faulty—not to mention the gun. That’s it—the gun—no good—he knew it all along. He remembers having seen this or that fellow shoot some other model—that was the gun par excellence. All right, he’ll get that other gun. His alibi is complete. He’ll try again with the other gun. He’s up again, bouncingly confident. Wait till he gets his hand on the other model.
And the cycle all over again – ad infinitum.
Brother, I wouldn’t want to miss you among our bunch for anything. Life would be too drab otherwise. However, next time remember that there are ladies around.
Now, I know, you yourself didn’t enjoy the show nearly as much as we others. I have a faint suspicion that you didn’t enjoy part of it at all. You wish to avoid that in the future? Then: Don’t make an ass out of yourself by fooling around with all kinds of guns, and fail every time. Stick to one gun—stay with it until you have it licked.
If you should get a stupid target.
don’t alibi your way out
don’t blame your gun.
If you follow these “Don’ts” you will, probably, take half the fun out of our lives, but you’ll enjoy yours just that much more.
If you are down, try—try again—with the same gun, and you will be up again,—and improve again. Because you are one of us…