Followup on IMA’s “Family Guns” TV Show

In the last couple days, I have had a couple folks tell me privately that I’m being too harsh on IMA, and shouldn’t have commented on their upcoming TV show “Family Guns” without having seen a full episode of it. As you can read in the comments to my initial post, Alex Cranmer has assured us the IMA had plenty of input on the editorial slant, and they are happy with the final cut of the 7 episodes that are completed so far. That gives me hope for the show, but I remain skeptical simply from an overarching distrust of TV production companies.

I can’t stand to watch Sons of Guns or American Guns because of their shameless use of every stupid “reality” show gimmick – fake deadlines, shouting matches, phony scripted “customers”, and complete omission of any factual or educational redeeming content. But lest anyone say that I just don’t like TV in general (although, frankly, I generally don’t), I really enjoyed following Top Shot. It did a great job portraying shooters as real everyday people (not TV mini-celebs), and showed them obviously enjoying the shooting and demonstrating impeccable safety. I think shows like that have a great positive effect on the public mainstream view of guns, and are an excellent tool to help safeguard and strengthen our rights. I would like nothing better than to see “Family Guns” have that same effect. If it becomes a big hit and makes IMA a giant pile of money at the same time, great! I don’t begrudge anyone financial success, and it would put them in a better position to bring us another Nepalese Cache (or maybe a few thousand Syrian Sturmgewehrs, once the diplomatic situation normalizes).

So, I’ll make this pledge: when the first episode airs, I’ll watch it with a completely open mind and write up a review for you guys with everything I think is good and bad (although I’m under no illusion that my opinion will have any effect on the show’s popularity). If it gives a positive and supportive view of shooting and gun owners, I’ll happily put my foot in my mouth and put up an add banner here for IMA for three months gratis. If it goes beyond that and is something I actually make a point to watch every episode of (and I’m a pretty picky TV watcher), I’ll make it six months.

Sound fair?


  1. That is quite fair. Thanks for your further consideration, though you do not need to give us free advertising should you find our show watchable.

    Episode one is good (WWII Sniper rifles, MP44, Thompson 1928, Dutch 1645 Flintlock Pistols, WWI Reenactment, Pistol with Spring Bayonet used in the Battle of Trafalgar, 17th century Italian Flintlock Pistols) but Episode 2 is fantastic (Walker Bulldog Tank, U.S. WWII Flame Throwers, Confederate Prototype Pistol made by Hodgkins & Sons of Macon GA, and a real theft with police sting- that is 100% not staged).

    So, if you are just going to watch ONE episode please make it episode 2.

  2. Always keep in mind that the everyday operation of most firearms busineses is not really all that exciting. Doing bookwork, ordering parts or trying to figure out why the lights in the office dont work dont make for good TV. Yes there are moments of shear terror test firing new guns but that doesnt happen everyday. The IMA guys have had some real adventures hunting some real neat tresures – I will be watching. Keep up the good work at Forgotten Weapons
    Walter Keller
    Safety Harbor Firearms

  3. I do not tend to watch much entertainment TV and no “reality shows” but with your list of: WWII Sniper rifles, MP44, Thompson 1928, Dutch 1645 Flintlock Pistols, WWI Reenactment, Pistol with Spring Bayonet used in the Battle of Trafalgar, 17th century Italian Flintlock Pistols, Walker Bulldog Tank, U.S. WWII Flame Throwers, Confederate Prototype Pistol made by Hodgkins & Sons of Macon GA. you have my attention! I am willing to watch and see. And by the way, I still shoot my Hodgkins & Sons. Just not often.

  4. I have been a customer of IMA — one of many thousands, nobody special. I won’t be watching the show(from 1998 until my folks closed their New England house this year and dumped one on me, I never had a TV. When I see it at others’ houses, I’m not missing much. I watch movies on DVD, or very occasionally TV series. (A friend persuaded me to buy the DVDs of The Unit… all I can say is, what a waste of first-class acting talent. You can frequently see what it could have been, so sad).

    I will say that National Geographic has done (well, transmitted, at least) a couple of excellent documentaries on my old unit. I watched them on DVD and was grateful for the realistic portrayal.

  5. Just wanted to leave my 2 cents worth, Your article is as spot on as can be, the two shows you mention “gun joke” and “sons with gum” really disgust me, from terrible acting and scripted shows to accidentally forgetting to headspace a customers gun (novice error) that almost caused injury,these two shows really degrade responsible gun owners… I watched an episode of Family Guns tonight and enjoyed it, good job, PLEASE dont follow suit like the aforementioned shows and ruin a good thing IMHO…. sorry my comment was so late…Again, great article!!!!!!

  6. I saw an episode last weekend, what a joke. The newly hired sales guy that tries to sell his machine guns at the reenactors meet… give me a break. Stop calling a semiauto knock off a machine gun. All we need is clowns calling us asking about getting an MG34 machinegun for $3500 the way they saw it on the show… at least try to make an attempt at being accurate about things.

    • Vic,

      Sorry you didn’t like the show. Just a point of fact the MG34 in that episode was clearly described as a non-firing display gun built from mostly original WW2 parts, not a full auto transferable class 3 and not a semit-auto.


      • Ooops…. guess I’m the dummy… I admit I didn’t catch the whole show, only your guy repeatedly saying “I need to sell a machine gun this weekend”… My mistake!

  7. Love the show all the way from england, also watch american guns and sons of guns. Have really enjoyed how the show has begun. Wish we had the same rights over here i could then expand my collection. Have some modern live firing rifles but my favourites are my black powder pistols/rifles and ww1 ww2 military rifles. I enjoy the show due to the historic firearms being shown. And would love to walk around the premises. What a job i can understand the dad buying and not selling i would be the same. Wouldnt make a good gun dealer

    • Is there going to be another SHOW? Come on guys that’s what it is, its so staged. But you know what I don’t give a damn, was going to say S………hite.Lol

      IMA Its an Alladins cave, SON you are so lucky to have a Brit for a DAD….xx

  8. My goodness I wish I’d had a dad like you SON, and a Brit to boot lol. How lucky you are. Of course you would have had to be on the back row at school not to have realised this.

    Once I’ve dismissed the petty staged squabbling between father and son I turn my attention to the wealth of history that they have, ITS MIND BLOWING.

    I’ve said this before, its an Aladdin’s cave. I hope there is going to be another SHOW if only to show us what hidden treasures are waiting to be revealed to us…You all have a great day. D

  9. What can I say that’s not going to make me look like a HICK! Or a DICK? In the early 70’s I paid a visit (by appointment) to a supplier of old guns, reproductions and genuine weapons.

    Worldwide Arms based in Birmingham England, England is the place where I live. I went to buy some percussion muskets, my friend and I had clubbed together and we had £750 to spend.

    The moment I walked into the warehouse I was GOBSMACKED. Rows and rows of muskets stacked to a height of 4/5 feet in squares along the warehouse floor.

    My god. The guy said pick out what you want. The price was £40 each. I could have spent all day and the next week, I was in heaven. I chose 18, he let me off the £20. I still have three left to this day.

    The guns turned out to be early reproduction Percussion breach loaders made for India, they didn’t have any prove marks and most had been re-stock. Do you know I didn’t give a rats a…ss when I found out, it was a day I will never forget…..

    When I saw one of your programs where you let some guys come into one of your warehouses and more or less have cart blanche to check through the old relics you have It brought it all back to me….


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