After responding to criticism of the series premiere of Noir on NRA Freestyle TV, I was looking forward to this week’s episode. Though the first episode missed the mark in some areas, I felt that the idea was excellent and that the production quality was very high. My hope for Noir’s second outing was that the show would continue to grow into a more mature production. Because I do believe in the concept, I hope readers will join me here at Modern Rifleman each week as we examine each episode.
Episode 2 opened with a discussion of color choice and firearms. Colion and Amy both made intriguing points when it came to the lack of chromatic variety in the firearms market. Certainly, we are rather limited to more masculine options of various greens, browns, and black on most new firearms. That said, the segment missed a massive part of the multidimensional customization discussion. As important as color choice may be, ergonomic customization is infinitely more critical. To this point, it would have been awesome to see Colion and Amy discuss the implications of not just custom painted, but totally custom fitted firearms. Lastly, it would have been nice to see some examples of companies who are doing well in these areas. SIG and their various finishes and configurations come to mind for me, as well as Walther and HK in the ergonomics category.
The most compelling, or perhaps refreshing, part of the episode was Colion’s response to the left-wing media’s attacks against him and the show. After ThinkProgress, Gawker, Vocativ, and others loudly decried Noir’s efforts to bring pop-culture and the “gun-culture” together, several outlets (including Modern Rifleman) fired back in defense of the new production. By directly addressing his critics, Colion established that he and Amy have no plans to back down from such ugliness and did so in a far more effective manner than any third party publication could. He also addressed the claims that the show sought to “make guns cool”. While he did point out that the NRA has had little to do with youth interest in firearms, he never quite got to a discussion of how popular culture has driven interest in firearms. I would have loved to have seen him make this connection.
The next segment of show involved Colion visiting high-end suit retailer, Alton Lane. While the camera made its way around the sleek store, Colion walked viewers through the Alton Lane shopping experience. In doing so, he also attempted to draw comparisons between his experience at the custom retailer and those found in typical gun shops across the country. Though Colion acknowledged that some firearms retailers are moving in the right direction, he bemoaned the traditional gun store environment. Though I absolutely agree with Noir on the topic, I think he would have been well served to provide viewers with examples of gun shops that are getting it right. I have heard amazing things about various stores across the country (Rainier Arms in Washington comes to mind), but because of travel impracticalities I have never visited these retailers. This would also have helped bring some direction to the discussion.
Toward the end of the episode, NRA News’ Natalie Foster joined Colion and Amy to discuss the fashion industry’s relationship with firearms. During this segment, the three bounced around between gun-inspired clothing, fashion at the range, and fashionable concealed carry. All three expressed a desire for more gun-inspired clothing designs and decried the way fashion designers have distanced themselves from firearms companies. While this might have been a fun discussion, I doubt there is any significant call for HK-themed handbags (though Kryptek patterned clothing did seem intriguing). Considering that some designers are very much looking at facilitating concealed carry into their designs, especially for women (linked below), the group might have been better off spending more time discussing the implications of this development.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I love show’s concept and I believe that Noir has loads of potential. As it stands, the weekly spots still have some maturing to do. While I love Colion’s monologues as much as anyone else, a more conversational approach would help the show immensely. To accomplish this, it may be necessary to add another host or extend the guest segments to cover more time and material. I also feel that some actual shooting would be a great addition to Noir. Even younger and less experienced gun enthusiasts would appreciate some actual shooting footage and more technical content. In all, Noir took significant steps forward this week and hopefully we can expect to see further progress this coming weekend.