The Forum on brianenos.com - aka, the Benoverse. I've been editing and re-editing this post for a while, now (like, since the inception of this blog), cause I'm finding it hard to be succinct. I could go on for days... Anyway, let's start with this.

Started by legendary shooter Brian Enos in the 2000 timeframe, I can comfortably tell you that the Forum at brianenos.com is the best shooting community forum on the web. Bar none. Period. End of story.

Don't believe me? Read on... ;)

Back in 1999, I had a little hissy-fit of self-pity (some might call it "burn out"), and left the game in disgust for 6 years. When I left, the prime Internet resource for information on IPSC/USPSA was the IPSC-L mailing list. You remember those days when there were only two divisions, Open and Limited?? Yeah, back in the dark ages.

Anyhow, when I decided to return in 2005, I started nosing around the Internet looking for the IPSC-L list, and Googled served up Brian's forum. Having read Brian's Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals several times, and knowing his shooting accomplishments, it looked like a promising place to camp out for a while. In the end, I didn't even bother going any further with subscribing to IPSC-L (which appears to be dying a slow death, now).

There's a lot of shooting forums on the Internet, so what separates this one from the others, and makes it so special? A few things stand out.

Primary amongst them is the participation in the forum of some of the most talented shooters on the planet. And, not just "gee, here's my new product, please buy it" kind of stuff, but advice, experiences, drills, techniques, etc. If you have a question about shooting - any kind of shooting, not just practical pistol - it can and will be answered on this forum. In fact, it probably already has been, and the forum's search function will find it quickly for you.

One of the big problems with many shooting forums is that the level of ... civility? maturity? ... tends to be rather low. There's a lot of shouting matches, name calling, and otherwise sophomoric behavior going on, and it all distracts from the useful sharing of information. The way to combat that is to moderate the forum - something which many rebel against (as if they have 1st Amendment rights in someone else's house...), but something which can be overdone easily which also inhibits the free sharing of information. Brian and his moderation staff do an exceptional job of keeping the forum clean and on topic, allowing a reasonable amount of lee-way, but clamping down quickly on anything that's rampantly outside of the forum guidelines. They've also posted rules and guidelines for the forum clearly, so as to avoid confusion around them.

Lately, I find myself feeling sorry for folks at the matches I attend who don't participate in the Benoverse. The forum has a strong sense of community, and is bolstered by the fact that, unlike most other forums, you have chances to meet all these people "IRL" (that's "in real life") at various matches, etc. Its not unusual to have a forum get together at a big match, or see BE'ers squadding up together, etc. There's a friendly, ongoing relationship between forum members at the matches - and those who don't participate in the forum truly are missing out on something.

There's another quality to the forum that is not immediately apparent. Reading all of this great information, participating in discussions with talented people, finding inspiration in all the stories of success and determination - all of this results in another benefit. Improved shooting performance in your own game... and isn't that what we're after? When I left the game in '99, I was a Master class shooter in Open. After six years off, I came back and was shooting solid A level scores in L-10, and then Open. I progressed to GM quite quickly after that - within 2 years - and the forum was a large part of that for me. Sure, I did a lot of work - but the community support was priceless in achieving that goal.

As I write this today, the forum has 652493 posts, and 11639 members. That's huge, folks. Huge. There's a wealth of information in there, just waiting to be unearthed and put to use. Dig into it, and use it well, for there is no other resource available that bundles it all up so nicely for you, in one little spot.

If you like the forum - and I have no doubt that you will - be sure to thank Brian for giving us a place to play. And, when making your next purchase (especially Dillon equipment!), think about buying through Brian. You won't be disappointed at all in your experience as a customer, and you'll be benefiting this amazing community at the same time!

My forum handle is XRe - look me up and say Hi!