Behind the Scenes: Herding Cats


Being a magazine editor is more, and less, glamorous ...

… than it seems — pretty much like any other high-visibility occupation.

The best way to describe my job is the proverbial “herding cats.” A magazine is really a collective of high-motivation individuals who have different strengths, weaknesses and personal styles. They all figuratively want to pull the wagon in the same direction but it does take a dedicated teamster to get the whole shebang moving on the right road. Once moving, there are the inevitable breakdowns, running out of water, getting lost in the Badlands and the occasional attack by hostile indigenous peoples.

Driving through it all is the editor, chained to his email and Photoshop, trying to stamp out brush fires, plan for the future and get the magazine put together (preferably before) the deadline. Truthfully, it gets a little overwhelming at times, especially for a still-wet-behind-the-ears editor such as myself.

“But what about the fun stuff?” you ask. First — we do get all manner of product to review. Coming from a freelance background, this step into the “Major Leagues” of gun writing has been incredible in terms of access to people and guns. On that note, a common question from friends is, “Do you get to keep the guns?” In most instances we do not, but even having them for a month or two is great fun. I’ve handled more firearms in the past couple of months than I ever did during entire decades as a cop and freelance writer!

One other cool part of the job is writer’s events. Manufacturers frequently bring journalists out to various locations for a chance to see new products and last week I was the guest of Daniel Defense (DD). They gave select writers and outlets a sneak peak of a noteworthy new product and though I can’t say any more until January, I will share a short video regarding part of the event: the waterborne assault course.

Yours truly, armed and on a fast-moving boat, for a little fun with the good people at Daniel Defense.

With all my experiences, I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot a firearm, let alone a fully-automatic weapon, from a moving boat. I love boats, I love shooting and discovered I REALLY love shooting from a boat. A big shout-out to DD for the opportunity and I’ll remind readers to look for a significant product announcement in January from Marty Daniel and the great folks in Black Creek.

By the way: Don’t bother posting any snippy comments about the potential dangers resulting from our shooting into water! This course was on a rural private lake with plenty of surrounding impact area, clear no-fire sectors and experienced safety officers. The whole operation was very organized, safety-focused and professionally run, something you won’t get down at the local fishin’ hole!  Never shoot over or into water … unless you are on a designated shooting range, like us!

Yeah, my job is pretty awesome sometimes!

— Brent Wheat