Gabby SHOT Vortex

SHOT Show 2017 Brings in $60.2 Million

Hello everyone! I’ve just returned from the 39th annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV.

I previously attended the event in 2015 to cover it for Counter Cultured. Here’s a link to coverage from the last time.

SHOT Show is the foremost firearms trade show in the country. It stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM and is hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®). Over 65,000 people descended to Sin City to attend the annual event–including 2,500 members of the media (myself included). Though the show isn’t open to the public, consumers will see every new products unveiled during the conference on retailers shelves as the year goes on.

Unlike the 2015, there was a NEXT Pavilion section where the 100 top up-and-coming gun brands showcase their latest products. That was a cool feature.

Another highlight of SHOT Show was hearing from Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs at the State of the Industry Dinner. He was a hoot!  


The shooting sports industry has an estimated worth of $6.7 billion. It employs hundreds of thousands of Americans and promotes safety. This past week, Las Vegas reportedly saw $60.2 million in direct visitor spending. Talk about a boost to the economy!

Below are some photos and videos I took while at SHOT Show:



I shall return to SHOT Show 2018 next year. Hope to see you there!

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Meet Shayna Lopez-Rivas, Rape Survivor and Campus Carry Advocate

If you want to support and follow Shayna’s efforts, connect with her on Twitter and like Florida Students for Campus Carry on Facebook.
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Meet Alexandra Booze, Co-Founder of East Coast Contessas

Here at Counter Cultured, we profile young movers and shakers who are changing the political, cultural, and/or financial landscape for the better. Our generation is not as lazy, entitled, or self-serving as one would think. There are plenty of young conservatives and libertarians out there who are innovative, principled, and determined to enact positive change. We hope our interviews offer some glimmer of hope for a highly discounted and undervalued demographic.

Today we are profiling Alexandra Booze, an entrepreneurial Millennial and media relations specialist based in Washington, D.C. She and her friend Karen co-founded East Coast Contessas, a popular food and travel blog.

I first connected with Alexandra online a year ago given our shared mutual interests and connections here in D.C. (Don’t be afraid to connect with fellow counter cultural Millennials online or off-line, dear readers!) Our travels recently brought both of us to the Windy City, so we decided to meet up. There, we chatted about politics, food, and travel and became instant friends.

A native of Kentucky, Alexandra has demonstrated that Millennials can take their passions to great heights and even make a business out of it. Her blog has already amassed nearly 16,000 followers on Instagram and attracts decent engagement on Facebook. As a result of their blogging efforts reviewing dining establishments and hotels, many brands have approached the East Coast Contessas to partner with them.

Alexandra was kind enough to answer some questions from us. Check out her responses below!

To learn more about East Coast Contessas, like them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to connect with Alexandra on Twitter and Instagram too!
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Yes, Love of The Outdoors Can Unite Us

Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

Outdoor giant Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) just announced its “United Outside” campaign to bring people together here in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Their objective? To inspire all DMV residents and visitors–regardless of their political beliefs–to find common ground in the outdoors.

“One thing we can agree on is the transformation that happens when we put down our laptops, turn off our phones and head outside. Being outdoors changes both our own psyche and our relationship with the people we adventure alongside,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI CEO and president, in a press release. “We believe in a life well-lived in the outdoors for all.”

Here’s more about the campaign:

The Declaration of Independence cites our unalienable right to pursue happiness, and time spent outdoors is a source of happiness and health for many Americans. That our better selves can emerge from nature is more than sentiment and intuition. An expanding body of evidence shows that natural surroundings decrease stress, support emotional health and prompt positive behaviors – greater energy and collaborative and long-term thinking. For all of the things Americans disagree on, particularly in an election season, one thing we can agree on is the transformation that can happen when we put down our laptops, turn off our phones, and head outside.

Normally the talk of so-called bipartisanship and “unity” is just capitulation to leftist ideals. But mutual agreement that time in the outdoors is good for the soul? That’s an idea conservatives and libertarians can get behind without sacrificing their principles.

Although REI’s former CEO currently heads up the Department of Interior, the company itself has promoted brilliant campaigns like last year’s #OptOutside campaign–which aimed to counter materialism on Black Friday. The #UnitedOutside campaign similarly promotes the outdoors without pushing an agenda.

If you also live in the D.C. metro area, here are more details about the #UnitedOutside campaign:

As Congress heads out for recess, REI will kick off a free weekend of adventures for all residents and visitors on July 16 and 17. Some of the events include:

·       A collection of REI Outdoor School classes for hiking, cycling, paddling and more

·       Free Capital Bikeshare rentals across the Greater D.C. area

·       Kayak and standup paddleboard rentals at the Key Bridge Boathouse on the     Potomac

·       Free entry to C&O Canal National Historic Park at Great Falls Tavern, MD

Here at Counter Cultured, we encourage our readers to explore the outdoors and their  surroundings. By doing so, we also encourage our readers to practice true sustainability and conservation–one that also welcomes hunting, fishing, and the shooting sports. Moreover, we believe that free markets and the outdoors should co-exist. We all desire a clean environment–but for us, one that respects nature and is devoid of cronyism and statism.

Spending time in the outdoors has many wonderful benefits for our health, well-being, attitude, and happiness. REI should be applauded for launching a creative marketing campaign aiming to bring people together over love of the outdoors.

What do you think about this campaign? Weigh in below!

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Quit Discriminating AR-15 Rifles for Their Appearance

Those in support of gun control (aka disarmament) have renewed their calls for the complete removal of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles from American society in wake of the Orlando terrorist attack. Why? It’s scary and is a “weapon of war.”

For champions of of so-called ideals of tolerance, diversity, and acceptance, these folks demonstrate the opposite involving things they dislike.

Let’s clarify a few things about the AR-15 rifle, shall we? An AR-15 rifle is a tool without humanlike abilities. The type sold in American stores is of the semi-automatic variety, meaning one bullet is shot with each pull of the trigger. AR is deliberately maligned as an “assault rifle” but is actually short for ArmaLite Rifle.

I defer to former Navy SEAL and NRA News commentator Dom Raso, whose recent video on the subject is well worth the watch:

If one is opposed to discrimination, please be consistent and not attack the AR-15 simply because of its design.

Tolerance is a two-way street

There are so many things we tolerate in this country, no matter how bad they are perceived to be.

For example, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E! is such an empty, toxic show–but people are free to watch it without retribution. This is America, and people are within their right to watch mindless garbage if they please–so long as they aren’t encroaching on other people’s rights. Alternatively, the majority of gun owners–particularly AR-15 owners–are law-abiding and wish to not incur harm on society. Why is their desire to peaceably and lawfully own an AR-15 rifle suddenly condemned by the tolerance crowd? Practice the tolerance you preach and respect differences.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Just because an AR-15 rifle looks intimidating and may appear scary, don’t rush to judgment. You will never truly know what an AR-15 is unless you take the time to learn about it and use it for target practice. If society were to outright ban AR-15s based on their appearance, we might as well ban other things that are perceived to be scary. Pit bulls are scary. Should we stop breeding them because several bad apples have attacked humans? No. Should we ban soda and/or impose a tax on it to force healthy behavior on people? No–that’s fascism. Should we ban the AR-15 because some creep glossed over by the government abused it to commit terror in the name of radical Islam? No–he was a criminal and could have been stopped had the government done its job or if someone in the Pulse nightclub was armed.

If you are unsure of the AR-15’s function, learn about its design and its utility. The AR-15 is a preferred choice of firearm because of its accuracy, limited recoil (or kick), and its precision.

Don’t like something? Don’t try to ban it.

The beauty of free will is having the ability to pick and choose what to like and not like–especially with respect to the AR-15. Don’t like guns, especially the AR-15? Don’t buy one!

Before displaying hatred for AR-15 rifles, I recommend educating yourself about this powerful yet technologically impressive tool. Ask yourself, what’s so fascinating about this firearm and why have my peers take a liking to them? Is it because they wish to inflict harm on society? Quite the contrary–they want to familiarize themselves with different firearms for matters of safety and personal defense. Don’t be quick to dismiss the AR-15 because your feminist significant other or easily triggered college professor instructed you to do so.

If you expect us to have an open mind about certain agenda items you push, you must return the favor and keep an open mind on AR-15 rifles. Quit maligning these rifles especially if you have no idea what it is and how it works.

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New Luke Bryan Music Video is Ode to Love of Fishing and Hunting

The four-time co-host of the Academy of Country Music Awards and outdoor enthusiast has a new music video showcasing his love of fishing and hunting. 

Luke Bryan’s new song “Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Every Day” will even appeal to those who are skeptical of the country crooner’s music. Often associated with the “bro-country” movement, Bryan’s new song appears to have departed from this. As more country music adopts a more traditionalist tone, even Bryan recognizes the need to return to his true country roots–especially with this ode to dedicated anglers and hunters.

On the surface, the song seems to focus on fishing, hunting, and romance. However, it’s more about a guy who loves fishing and hunting every day.

Below is the video:

The Georgia native recently discussed this heartfelt song with Billboard Magazine.

“I own a hunting show (Buck Commander), I own an outdoor clothing company (32 Bridge), my tour is sponsored by Cabela’s, but I think for some reason people get sidetracked in who I am and what my music is,” said Bryan to Billboard. “All people really want to write about is me shaking my butt. That’s fine, too, but this is a big part of my life and a big part of my story.”

“The important thing is the fact that if you live in that hunting, fishing, loving-every-day mentality, you’re going to be a little more stress-free, and your quality of life will be a little better,” added Bryan.

Here’s the chorus:

Huntin’, fishin’, and lovin’ every day
That’s the prayer that a country boy prays
Thank God He made me this way
Huntin’, fishin’, and lovin’ every day
Early in the mornin’, late in the evenin’

Bryan often sings about his favorite Southern lakes, streams, and beaches to fish at, while also referencing hunting and the outdoor lifestyle as well. Let’s hope he continues to make more music like this, as any celebration of the outdoor style should be welcomed.

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Cancel Out Noise by Keeping Busy and Setting Priorities

Are you easily distracted? Glued to technology? Don’t know when to relax? When too much noise clouds your judgment, it’s time to re-evaluate.

We all are guilty of succumbing to distractions. The ebb and flow of life, along with endless choices afforded to us compounded by a crazy news cycle, sometimes compel even the most disciplined people to get sidetracked. When we realize certain distractions have more costs than benefits, we accordingly must do the following: reshuffle, reprioritize, and reorganize.

There are many distractions one can experience like temptation, gluttony, social media, or being hooked to technology. Distractions can be easily conquered—thanks to the help of music like Kenny Chesney’s new single, “Noise.”

The country music singer announced the new single on March 24th after stirring up a lot of excitement for it on his social media accounts. The song—which is symbolically reminiscent of Miranda Lambert’s  2014 hit song “Automatic”—just hit the airwaves and has become popular on country radio. Why? It’s catchy and has an interesting message.

Here’s a summary of the song and its meaning from Billboard:

Chesney’s “Noise” shares the sentiment of Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic”: The modern world is full of distraction and insanity, can’t we just go back to the old days when things were better? Don’t be fooled by the nostalgia, though: “Noise” is happy to embrace a contemporary, beefed-up country sound — with echoes of popular stadium rock — even as he declares, “We can’t take the noise.”

This particular snippet of the song’s lyrics gets at the heart of the problem of noise:

24 hour television, get so loud that no one listens
Sex and money and politicians talk, talk, talk
But there really ain’t no conversation
Ain’t nothing left to the imagination
Trapped in our phones and we can’t make it stop, stop

In particular, the chorus of the song is great because it encapsulates a lot of the problems that plague politics and most industries—purposeless sex, political corruption, plasticity, a 24/7 news cycle, and meaningless conversations.

Below is the lyric video:

So how can we reduce the noise and stay above the fray more often?

Tune out of TV and pick up a book

As Kenny Chesney pointed out, the 24/7 news cycle and reality TV suck up a lot of time and cause the most distractions. How does one break up with TV on occasion? By picking up a book and achieving creative flow. Make sure it’s a book that is remotely interesting or captivating. Read both fiction and non-fiction. Check out Goodreads or subscribe to Ryan Holiday’s book list. These two venues will give you an array of books to choose from!

Unplug from politics and plug into nature

If you need a break from politics or similar topics, seek out nature. In nature, you can discover the world around you, admire surroundings, and stay in shape. Living an active lifestyle by going out to nature not only is pleasing to the eyes and mind, but it also helps one destress and relax. In the midst of this crazy primary cycle, remember to go outside!

Waste less time on social media and be productive

There are many temptations out there—including the temptation to constantly be online and comment on social media. Unless work calls for being on social media, limit your time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Moreover, sometimes less is more—the less you comment, the better. Often times, it’s better to not engage in a mud fight. Be judicious, be smart—don’t pull a Trump when it comes to social media. Practice temperance and use social media as a force for good.

We hope these three simple tips can help you!

Take a page from Kenny Chesney’s single “Noise” and shut off all distractions. Even if the changes are implemented gradually, your well-being will significantly improve. Don’t let your psyche succumb to distraction.

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Marriages Matter More Than Weddings

Yesterday, CNN reported that couples across the country are spending more money than ever to get married.

According to a survey of 18,000 responses from brides, costs for weddings have increased more than $5,000 in the last 6 years, with weddings costing $32,641 on average last year. Receptions and engagement rings tend to be the most costly aspects of each wedding budget. survey also found that couples are now trimming down their guest lists as they are investing more money into their big day. Though the change hasn’t been drastic in the last seven years, it is important to note as people are shelling out more money for a grand celebration instead of investing in their future marriage.

This is not surprising as more importance unfortunately has been placed on preparing for weddings than marriages in our culture. Thanks to Hollywood movies and superficial reality TV shows, more emphasis is placed on having a “perfect” glamorous wedding than preparing spiritually, emotionally, and financially for a life-long marriage rooted in love, trust, fidelity, and stability. But this phenomenon is not entirely shocking. Sadly, we live in a culture that honors selfishness and materialism instead of selflessness and frugality. It’s no wonder the divorce rate in our nation is astonishingly high–at 40-50%.

Most importantly, this survey highlights the need for restoring the meaning and importance of marriage in our culture. Families, churches, non-profits, and civic organizations–not government–need to lead efforts to restore a culture rooted in marriage. Due to the cultural decay our country has witnessed for decades, which has unfortunately accelerated in the last few years, it’s no surprise a superficial view of marriage is being promoted. We need more voices speaking out on the local level in defense of this beautiful institution. We need more people explaining that marriage is about giving oneself completely and totally to your spouse no matter what happens in life, not about fulfilling materialistic desires and thinking everything will be sunshine and lollipops.

The selflessness at the heart of marriage is a message we must constantly promote wherever we are if we want our culture to turn around and start embracing long-life matrimony again. All it takes is a sea of passionate voices to rise up and wash away the negative influences undermining this beautiful institution.

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If Your Girl is Repulsed By Guns, Find One Who Likes Them

Notorious hypersexual fashion magazine Cosmopolitan still thinks it’s a serious political journal–especially on the subject of female views on gun ownership. After painting gun-toting guys as “gunsplainers” last month, a new video showing girlfriends appearing disgusted to learn their boyfriends own guns is dominating the Internet.

Without boring readers about the video’s subject matter, it’s a terribly monolithic portrayal of women, particularly girlfriends. Cosmo believes the majority of women are creeped out by guns. (They ignore the fact that more women are purchasing firearms and participating in shooting sports than ever before.) Even worse than the hysteria displayed by the four girlfriends is the lack of confidence displayed by the “boyfriends” featured in the video, who appear clueless and timid in their defense of owning firearms.

Below is the video that has got everyone talking:

Dear gun-toting guys: if your lady despises guns, you need to find another gal who doesn’t. Simple as that!

Find a gal who is open-minded or one that also shares a love of firearms.

Do not settle on a woman who will chastise you for owning and appreciating firearms. A gun-loving gal or open-minded gal understands you aren’t a killing machine nor are you seeking to inflict harm with your guns. They better understand your admiration for firearms. Plus, they would want to bond with you with time at the range or hunting in the woods. Seek out a woman who shares your interest in firearms or one who is open to learning more about them. Prevent unnecessary arguments over firearms by choosing smartly!

If gun ownership is a non-negotiable for you–like religion, political beliefs, or morals is– don’t sacrifice your well-being to please a gal. 

The key to successful relationships and eventual marriages is shared common interests like similar background, lifestyles, hobbies, political beliefs, and religious views. This could also include a bonding principle such as firearms–which can carry clout in a relationship. (Yes, women are attracted to men who live an outdoor lifestyle as men are attracted to outdoor women.) If guns are important in your life, treat them as such. Your well-being and happiness matter just as a woman’s well-being does!

If your girl can’t appreciate some rugged individualism, she can find herself a 21st century new male. 

Rugged individualism is still a desirable trait in men despite 21st century dating standards. What woman could resist a godly, smart, athletic, handy guy who can show them incredible places and things? Many young women today complain about the shortage of dating/marriage-material guys available to choose from. (We all have, and for good reason.) However, some only fault the opposite gender for the perversion of the dating culture. Radical feminism is largely to blame too. If a young woman finds a gun-toting guy too masculine or suggests you ooze too much virility, tell her to find herself a Pajama Boy to toy with. Your desire to pursue rugged individualism shouldn’t be set back by a gal’s intolerance of it!


To any responsible, gun-loving young male reading this post: the woman you choose to date and love is as important as the handgun you choose to carry. Choose wisely and always make the best choice!


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Hypersexual Cosmopolitan Interviews Women Waiting Until Marriage

Recently, Cosmopolitan published an article called “I’m Waiting Until Marriage — This Is What My Dating Life Is Like”—a surprise from one of the most hypersexual magazines that encourages women to actively pursue casual sex. The article features three religious, chaste women in their early 20s who share what it is like to date while not giving up on their values.

The first woman, identified as Sara*, 22, talked about how she is open to discussing her choice to be chaste if the guy she is dating is open to discussing the topic. A devout Catholic, she is very inspired by Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and only goes on dates with men who know that she will not waver on her views on sex and marriage and her deep commitment to her faith. Fortunately, she is not treated differently for her views. This was one of the more positive comments she got when discussing this topic with a guy she dated:

The nicest thing a guy’s ever said to me when I told him I was waiting was, Your commitment to waiting just makes you that much more attractive to me.’

In contrast to Sara’s* experience, Madeline, 22, has said most men she dates or encounters on dating apps think she is a “virgin archetype” who is no fun because of her “archaic” views on sex. Unlike Sara*, she has not dated a guy who understands her decision to wait until marriage:

I’m conservative. I think the worst is when guys think that, just because I’m waiting to have sex, [that] means that I’m not a sexual being or that sex isn’t attractive to me. Honestly, I haven’t had a ton of great reactions from guys I’ve dated.

Jordan*, 22, prefers to initiate the conversation in the beginning to avoid seriously dating a man who does not share her commitment to chaste living. Unlike Madeline’s dating experience, Jordan* said men she has dated respected her choice. She elaborates more on that in this excerpt from the article:

They see it as something that makes me unique, and most of the time, they feel that waiting allows us to focus on important aspects of relationships that aren’t physical. The worst thing someone’s ever done when I told them I was waiting to have sex was just end all communication.

Luckily for her, she and her current boyfriend she met online both live a chaste lifestyle and are looking forward to marriage soon.

In this day and age of nonexistent intentional dating and prominence of casual sex for the fulfillment of selfish desires, it is refreshing to see these counter cultural women profiled in a magazine that promotes the opposite of their values. Those in our culture who value waiting until marriage are marginalized and demonized so often for their counter cultural stance to love their future spouse totally in the beautiful context of marriage. In order for our culture to be restored to one that highly values marriage, sex, fidelity, and family life, we need to elevate the voices of women who are just like Sara*, Madeline, and Jordan*.

*Cosmopolitan notes that these names have been changed.

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