Firearms History from a Historian

Gun Club Historical Arms Group presentation on the SMLE

Gun Club Historical Arms Group presentation on the SMLE

Mike Moss

One of the great opportunities of the Robson community is the chance to learn from each other, and enrich ourselves through experiences and knowledge of our neighbors. Recently, the members of the Robson Ranch Gun Club attended an educational event on the history of the iconic British rifle, the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE), presented by our own Gun Club member, Miguel Ondina, who shared his amazing collection and incredible knowledge of this legendary rifle with his fellow members.

Miguel, who has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in History brings a broad educational background to his love of firearms. He enjoys sharing this love with others, and leads our Gun Club’s Historical Arms Interest Group. This evening event was an incredible opportunity to see his beautiful collection of these British rifles—including a relatively rare “Mk V”, of which only 20,000 were produced! For nearly two hours, the packed room was immersed in his museum-quality collection, as Miguel took us through the origins of the rifle, its evolution, and modifications. Even for those knowledgeable about firearms, or military rifles specifically, it was a thought-provoking opportunity to revisit the often-overlooked realities that are behind the decisions that drive the evolution of a firearm. Military arms, in particular—as was the case with the SMLE—are driven by factors such as: previous arms already in national stock, logistical considerations regarding ammunition, cost of production, and indigenous and/or international capability and capacity to produce the arm, as well as a host of other considerations. This special event of the Robson Ranch Gun Club, courtesy of Miguel Ondina, was as fascinating as it was educational.

As our club’s Historical Arms Group pursues its mission to educate on the history of firearms, we have two very interesting events coming up. On Sept. 16, we will gather to discuss the development of arms during the Vietnam conflict, then, on Oct. 14, we will hold an in-depth discussion and display on Handguns of the Wild West. Both events will be held at the clubhouse at 7 p.m. Please keep an eye out for additional announcements.

The mission of our Robson Ranch Gun Club is to provide an opportunity and forum for our members to meet, share their interest in firearms, participate in various forms of shooting sports, and provide a learning environment for all skill levels of firearm ownership and uses. Our monthly meeting is the second Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. in the clubhouse. We are always looking for other Robson Ranch residents interested in joining in our great fellowship, learning about these fun and active shooting sports and participating in skills practice opportunities. Safety is always our primary concern and is a shared responsibility of each member.

For more information, please contact Mike Moss, Gun Club vice president and board member, at [email protected]