Former guns & Ammo Editor Richard Erik Venola passed away on February 6, 2021, in Nye County, Nevada. He to be 62. The shooting people — his world — is much the poorer because that it.

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Venola to be born in Glendale, California, in 1958. His dad Erik Venola was a U.S. Army veteran of world War II, and a soldier stationed in Hawaii who later ended up being a effective service-rifle competitor.

Richard Venola enlisted in the U.S. Naval Corps in 1976 and traveled the world extensively while documenting the weapons he encountered. His beforehand assignments consisted of Marine protection Guard (MSG) duty at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. U.S. Ambassador come Afghanistan Adolph Dubs to be assassinated top top February 14, 1979, which had actually a profound impact on the Venola. Then-Sgt. Venola separated from active duty in august 1979 and became a Reservist to attend college at the university of Montana in Missoula to pursue a degree in Journalism. Then the Soviets got into Afghanistan in December 1979, which pulled on his desire to return and report ~ above combat from the view of Mujahideen fighters. This experience deserve to be check out in the article, “When They were Friends,” which originally appeared in the 2010 execution of firearms & Ammo’s “Combat Arms” magazine.


Venola offered his Harley-Davidson Shovelhead motorcycle and used the cash to make his means to Europe, Israel and also Egypt prior to entering Pakistan in 1981. In ~ the border, he to be arrested for attempting to get in Afghanistan and also spent one week in jail. He was then released and also hiked 300 miles solo across Afghanistan if befriending locals and also imbedding himself together a reporter within Mujahideen units. There, the photographed and documented Soviet attacks and also battlefield combat native October to November 1981. After 30 days, the journeyed earlier to Pakistan whereby he to be arrested in ~ the border again and jailed for another week. Sharing his photos and also observations through the U.S. Government at the embassy earned the a ticket back to Montana whereby he completed his education.


Venola i graduated in 1983, and also subsequently completed Officer Candidate college (OCS) and The basic School (TBS) at Quantico, Virginia. ~ above receipt that a board of directors in 1984, the commanded devices at Camp Fuji, Japan, and also Diego Garcia, and also trained with aspects of the French foreign Legion. He to be redeployed come Kuwait in 1991 in support of operation Desert Storm before retiring together a captain in 1996.

Venola started free-lancing together a gunwriter until he embraced a place as combine editor that RifleShooter magazine in 2004. Privately, the was invite to sign up with The Adventurers’ society of Los Angeles, No. 1071, and in 2007 was promoted to come to be Guns & Ammo’s 12th editor, a place he held through 2009. Missing his family, he went back to live and also write posts in Arizona.

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In 2012, Venola was arrested for second-degree killing by the Mohave ar Sheriff’s Office for shooting James Patrick O’Neill, 39, at his residence in golden Valley, Arizona. Declare self-defense, two trials produced deadlocked juries that were split in favor of acquittal. He returned to free-lance writing and exploring the desert till his death. — Eric R. Poole

He will certainly be missed.

Nye County. That part of Nevada seems appropriate for Richard somehow due to the fact that if he love anything an ext than the high desert, i don’t know what it could be.

The term “one that a kind” might be one overworked cliché, however it’s a description that fits perfectly once talking about Richard. He was a U.S. Marine, editor, gunwriter, adventurer, hellraiser and also all-around bon vivant through amazingly eclectic tastes and interests. But in the final analysis, if you can look increase “gun guy” in the dictionary, you’d much more than likely see his picture.

He own a remarkable combination of historic background, intellectual curiosity, an encyclopedic grasp of firearms, to add a devil-may-care mindset which made everybody want to cave out with him. Wealthy was interested in a variety of subjects, and if there was anything you to be at all well-versed in, he to be your finest conversational girlfriend — instantly.

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I functioned with and also for Richard for number of years as we labored to put out weapons & Ammo and its yearly publications. That had solid opinions around firearms, however why would certainly you desire to monitor a gunwriter who didn’t? not surprisingly, he to be a tireless champion of calibers and firearms that struck his fancy; commercial appeal and also popularity regularly ran a distant 2nd to his eclectic tastes.

He took pleasure in straying off the beaten course of standard wisdom. Example: He to be firmly convinced that the .276 Pedersen should’ve to be the service cartridge over the .30-’06 Springfield.

In a 2011 article for “Shooting Times,” the made his case, referring to the star-crossed .276 as an ’06 alternate: “… i beg your pardon would even today be together close come perfect for men and deer as any casing ever before devised. Also, had actually we gone with the perfect Pedersen,” he continued in a not-so veiled destruction at the 5.56 NATO, “we still can be making use of it instead of the ridiculous computer mouse cartridge through which we"ve been saddled for four decades.”


In the never-ending battle between AK and AR enthusiasts, he to be an unabashed champion that the Kalashnikov, and had the bona fides come cement his opinion. His naval background obviously offered him a useful leg increase on armed forces firearms, but he was no slouch once it came to the sporting end of things.

Besides our initiatives at publish journalism, we sometimes donned white laboratory coats because that G&A’s “Torture Test” videos, in which we would certainly submit various samples of current shooting hardware to miscellaneous indignities. My project was pretty lot to play straight male to Richard and load magazines. No question, he was the facility of attention! having lunch breaks typically revolved roughly heading come a mexican restaurant near the old Petersen Ranch where, along with Garry James and also a rotating range of cameramen, we’d cost a an extensive feed before heading back to work.

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We both mutual a fascination through herpetology and also no matter what we were act in later on years, the would always send me pictures and also hair-raising details about exotic snakes — normally lethal persons — that he encountered on his adventures in Africa and the American Southwest.


To the finish of his life, Richard to be a member that a gun society not far from his birthplace the Glendale, California. Nils Grevillius — additionally a member—shot through him over there for many years and also had this to say:

“As his father Erick Venola was an esteemed foundational member, it’s together though Richard was increased in ours Club. He was equally skilled at skeet, trap, rimfire and high-power rifle competition. There was an annual event us laughingly explained as the “White trash Carbine Match,” with veterans of people War II, Korea and also Vietnam taking shooting positions through younger vets and civilians of miscellaneous stripe: firemen, tradesmen, teachers, lawyers, plus numerous retired and active law enforcement. Besides the really shooting, there was a most lore-swapping and ammo sharing, plus sighting in weapons of every imaginable to produce domestic and also foreign. Venola was ever before knowledgeable and well versed in every form and caliber. Later around the campfire, more lore to be passed, and our girlfriend Richard was constantly ready with a sea story.”