MPW.66 / 2014 Don’t Forget Your Ammo by Kevin Hagen
Photographer
Kevin Hagen Brooklyn, New York
Team Gilka

Story Summary

Ten years ago Bill Wade worked in a cubicle in Kansas City. When his wife got sick they decided to move to Platte City. They wanted for a quieter life, and a business of their own, they bought a gun shop in in town. His wife has since recovered.

The clientele at the shop, Centerfire Central, on an average day, is an assortment of locals; a seasoned hunter with a broken gun, a young man looking to buy a first handgun for his wife, and three middle-schoolers eyeballing their next bird gun. Wade handles the customers one at a time with a slow-burning menthol and a “What do you know - nothing?” look on his face. There’s no hurry at Centerfire Central.

Bill admits his ability to run a gun shop in a small town is due to his wife Lori’s income - she is a CFO at a University south of town. Bill has plenty of time in the mornings to hunt on friends’ property or to shoot targets at his home.

When a friend shoots antique military rifles at Bill’s at-home range, the two yell to each other so they can hear over their earplugs, smoke cigarettes and fire rounds into a target at the end of the lawn. As you drive up Bill’s gravel driveway, a steady rumble rattles the ground from exploding gunpowder hammering .30-caliber slugs through the 111-year-old barrel of a pre-war sniper rifle.

Bill prefers small caliber weapons. “I hate recoil,” he says. His guns are more utilitarian than collector’s items. His precision-scoped .243 requires the least effort, sending bullet after bullet into the center of a 3-inch round target 30 yards away.