Jeff Quinn, do what you love, love what you do

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 04:56 PM

There is an old adage, if you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. A couple of weeks back, I was on assignment for Gun Digest and shooting at Gunsite in Pauldin, Arizona. Gunsite is a defensive and offensive shooting school started by Col. Jeff Cooper, an icon of the martial art of pistol shooting. There, I met Jeff Quinn, a country boy from Tennessee who has a great job. Jeff Quinn is owner and editor of GunBlast, an online shooting magazine he started 13 years ago. His magazine reflects his love for firearms and shooting, and his love of family, and it serves as an expression of his faith.

Jeff Quinn loved guns since he was a boy. As we talked in the balmy Arizona evening, he remembered his first gun, a Savage single barrel shotgun his dad bought in a hardware store for his Christmas present. I could tell from the way he told the story that he could still feel the excitement of his first gun just from thinking about it. His first revolver was a .357 Ruger revolver his Mom bought for him when he was 16 years old. He began reloading when he was 16 because he couldn’t afford commercial ammunition. He was the first person he knew who reloaded ammunition. After he graduated from high school, Jeff took a job as a glass installation contractor and traveled a lot with his work. He checked out the gun stores everywhere he went on jobs and says he spent most of the money he made on guns.
Jeff was disappointed at the quality of gun reviews and he believed many gun writers never even fired the guns they “tested”. In the year, 2000, he read a really bad gun review and told his brother, Boge, he would write gun reviews on the web if Boge would put them up on the web. His brother agreed and they began doing reviews on guns they already had at first, but soon began requesting guns from manufacturers. The magazine flourished and it turned into a great way to make a living. He quit his glass installation job and now makes more money writing and doing videos about guns than he ever made installing glass. He says he still enjoys it, and he hopes he never loses the passion for it. He fears many writers have lost the passion for what they write about and it’s simply become a job for them. He loves trips like our excursion to Gunsite and can’t imagine not having a passion for it. He says he never plans to retire. Even though he tests guns for his living, his favorite thing to do for fun is get together with friends and shoot guns.
“Guns are one of the last things in this country that are made right, they’re made to last, everything else wears out too fast,” he said. He likes shotguns, pistols, and rifles equally well but says he has trouble hitting well with shotguns unless he’s hunting. He likes everything from cowboy guns to modern black guns. He loves old westerns for entertainment because there is something in it for everyone. “There’s adventure, shooting, horses, and almost always some form of romance,” he said. “Part of the story is always about friendship. I like westerns so much because the good guy almost always wins.”
Jeff lives in Surry County, Tennessee, on a piece of land next to the National Forest, 80 miles northwest of Nashville. He lives out in the woods and he likes it that way. In a time when life is complicated and times have changed, Jeff Quinn lives his life with the same values of faith and family he grew up with and he loves every day of it.
In a time when many of us are under pressure with our jobs and the demands of modern living, a man like Jeff Quinn is an inspiration to me. I also love what I do and I’ve been blessed with enjoying my work for the last 25 years. I could make more money I’m sure but there is more to life than money and the things it buys. Family, faith, and a joy of doing what you do is much more valuable than driving a car that impresses people and sleeping in a house the size of a small hotel. 
I think a lot of Americans have forgotten to follow their dreams, like my friend, Jeff. We’ve become possessed with the desire for financial success and have forgotten the real secret to a successful and happy life. Jeff Quinn writes and shoots video reviewing guns and showing people how to do things related to shooting. He might also do a great job teaching others how to follow their dream. It sure looks like he did a pretty good job of it for himself.
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He’s a member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. He writes about hunting, fishing, dogs, and shooting for several NC newspapers as well as national magazines. He’s an NRA Certified Instructor, a Distinguished Rifleman, former High Master, and teaches shotgun, rifle, and pistol as well as the North Carolina Concealed Carry Certification and Hunter Safety at Lewis Creek Shooting School.  He can be reached at offtheporch52@yahoo.com or offtheporchmedia.com