Editor’s Note: This article is also the cover story of the current Fall 2022 issue of The Armory Life print magazine.
The Armory Life is honored to have recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Colion Noir, respected Second Amendment advocate and firearms enthusiast.
Colion Noir is one of the most well-known social media personalities in the gun rights space, with more than 4.75 million followers across the four major platforms. His trademark style and informed opinions on firearms and firearm rights, as well as his background as a lawyer, have made him an integral part of the Second Amendment rights community.
According to Noir, his aim is to educate all Americans, no matter their background or level of experience, as to why the Second Amendment is such an essential, individual liberty worthy of being jealously guarded against encroachment. And he blends a traditional respect for this Constitutional right with a modern take on how to best protect it.
We would like to thank Mr. Noir for taking the time to do this Q&A session with The Armory Life.
The Armory Life (TAL): Please tell us a bit about yourself, for those who might not be familiar with you and your background.
Colion Noir (CN): First and foremost, I am a Second Amendment (2A) advocate, a Guntuber and a lawyer. Most people know me as a 2A advocate, and I have been doing that for about 15 years now. I work so hard to defend our rights because of the security and independence firearms provide. This a uniquely American freedom that we must jealously guard. We cannot just surrender this right for false promises of security and safety.
TAL: Well said. What first got you into guns? Did you grow up around them, or did you discover them on your own?
CN: I have a good friend who first introduced me to guns. One day, he just asked me if I wanted to go shooting pistols at the gun range. It had never even crossed my mind before to do it. Initially, I was a bit hesitant, but I decided that I was just going to go ahead and try it. To be honest, I was a little nervous. The first shot terrified me. The second shot? I pretty much fell in love.
From there, I did a deep dive into everything I could with firearms. But, I felt like I quickly reached the end of the “YouTube gun world” in terms of watching videos. So, I thought, “Why don’t I start making my own?”.
TAL: When did you first become a Second Amendment advocate, and why?
CN: Early on, I was delving into the “conversational” aspects of the 2A world. You know, where I was talking about different aspects of concealed carry, legalities, things like that. It was with the appearance of significant gun control efforts that I said, “Wait a minute. Hold on. Now we’re talking about banning stuff?”.
Prior to that, guns for me had been something fun that I enjoyed, for self-defense, all that kind of stuff. It was when gun banning and restrictions became part of the conversation in the media that I thought, “That doesn’t make any sense.” This was when the “lawyer” part of my brain kicked in and I started doing videos about why these gun control efforts were wrong.
My first video on it took off. I did a couple more, and those took off. I started to realize that people seemed to really want to hear my thoughts. So, I continued to do them, along with my gun reviews.
TAL: In your work, what is the balance of gun coverage versus political/legal/philosophical coverage, and has it shifted any over the years?
CN: It has definitely shifted toward the 2A advocacy side, but not because of my interests changing. I still like doing the gun reviews. But I feel an obligation to do the 2A advocacy side of things, largely because so many people appreciate it. I also base it on the environment. If there is a big push for gun control, I address it. If things are quiet, I can focus on the gun reviews.
TAL: Does your background in law inform your opinions about our Second Amendment rights? If so, how?
CN: Absolutely. Largely because of the amount of research I have to do on any given topic, I end up engaging in the same level and type of work I would be doing as a full-time lawyer. A lot of people don’t realize this. I get pretty in-depth.
Not only that, as a lawyer, you often are working with complex legal ideas that you have to simplify so the layman can understand them. I want as broad an audience as possible to “get it”. With my 2A advocacy and gun work, I try to simplify it and get it into a short enough format that people will sit down and watch it.
TAL: You have amassed a significant following over the years. Why do you think that is? Do you bring a perspective to the subject that is distinct and different from others in the social media community?
CN: Based on what people have told me, I believe there is a “relatability” with me. I didn’t grow up with firearms, and I wasn’t in a 2A household. So, I have a unique ability from that standpoint to speak to people like that. I can talk about how I am an unapologetic “city rat.” A lot of people who grew up in the city like me didn’t grow up around guns. There is a familiarity there for them.
Also, I am unapologetic in my stance and my beliefs. I am willing to stand up for them. And if you challenge me, I’m down to have that conversation, to see if I am wrong or right. Also, a lot of people tell me that I make the points in a way they “get,” and they use them in their own debates with people on the topic of 2A.
TAL: How do you think social media has changed the firearms world, both as a community and as an advocacy group? Where does your role fit here?
CN: I think there has been a net positive. It has given us a bigger voice. It’s given us bigger visibility. Can you imagine a world now where all we are relegated to in having our voices heard is through the mainstream media? They would be able to characterize us however they see fit. They can’t do that now. We can speak outside that. We can actually create our own narrative, and in a way we would never have been able to before.
TAL: What are your primary means of communicating with your followers? Why do these platforms matter to you, and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses in your opinion?
CN: YouTube was the genesis for me. That’s my baby. It’s how I started. It serves as the perpetual fire for my passion. YouTube has become the go-to for long-form content. That’s how my mind works, in creating that long-form content.
While YouTube is still technically my primary, if it comes down to day-to-day interactions, Instagram has taken the #1 spot for me. It has a relatively younger audience — not young, but younger. It’s an audience closely aligned with my own age group. More or less, millennials.
Now that we are entering the age of short-form content, Instagram forces me to provide relevant information in small bites. It’s both easier and harder in some ways. It’s easier because I have such a large catalog of stuff that I can pull from to constantly create new, relevant material. But cutting it down becomes a little problematic. We’re talking about complex topics here, and doing it in a minute, there is a danger of oversimplification. So that can be a little bit of a challenge.
Granted, I’m everywhere. I’m on Twitter. On TikTok. I’m on all these platforms. But, I would say that my main drivers are YouTube and Instagram.
TAL: If “Web 2.0” represents the rise of social media and a more “participatory” phase of online interaction, what do you see as Web 3.0? What might the next revolution in how we interact in the digital world be, and how will it affect firearms advocacy?
CN: People like to put me in a box as a political persona for 2A rights. But I’ve always been of the mindset that the culture of firearms is just as important as the political side of it — maybe even more important. I can’t pull out a crystal ball and see where things are going to go, but I know where things have come from. I know what YouTube was when it started. It was the Wild West. Now it has gotten more refined, and has its own voice.
Right now, Web 3.0 is that new Wild West. I take it upon myself to try to stay on top of those things as much as possible and look for opportunities to push the gun culture wherever it may be.
I have been entertaining ideas of doing NFT (Ed Note: non-fungible token) stuff. I’ve been entertaining ideas of maybe doing firearms stuff in the metaverse. All of these things are on my mind, because I have been trying to find out how to push the gun world into this new Web 3.0. We don’t want the 2A rights world to be relegated to the “old” digital world. We need to stay relevant, you know. And I’m sure many of my peers out there are trying to do the same thing.
TAL: What Springfield Armory firearms have you been using lately, or really enjoyed trying out? And why?
CN: Many people do not know this about me, but I sincerely appreciate the history and mechanical engineering of guns. When Springfield announced the SA-35, I knew I had to have one. The design was John Moses Browning’s baby, and most importantly for me, it was the beginning of the double-stack pistol magazine. I love double stacks.
Along the way of getting the SA-35, the good people at Craft Holsters sent me their Vertical Roto Shoulder Holster System. For me, it’s the perfect complement to the SA-35. There’s just something special about wearing a quality shoulder holster when the occasion calls for it.
And I have to mention the Hellcat Pro as well. That thing has managed to fit in my life in a way I never anticipated. As soon as I opened the box, I was thoroughly impressed. It is such a good-looking gun. The slightly opened-up proportions over the original Hellcat creates a visual “balance” with its looks.
On top of that, the grip texture, the way the gun feels in my hand, it feels great. And then you add that size component. With a micro-sized gun, you still have a “small” gun. What the Pro has done for me is to give me the versatility of having all the accouterments and accessories I want on it, but still being small enough that I can absolutely make the gun disappear whenever I am carrying concealed.
But on top of that, it’s big enough that when I am holding it in my hand I don’t feel like I have a “little” gun. I carry small guns all the time, but it’s only when I have to. Now, I’ve been carrying the Hellcat Pro a lot. I’m enjoying carrying the gun. That gun has my heart right now.
TAL: Mr. Noir, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. It is truly appreciated. Also, thank you for your untiring work in 2A advocacy.
CN: Thank you for having me. And be sure to follow me on my social channels at the following:
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