Columnist Brent Wheat is preparing to take on a new journey in the magazine world. 

Starting Friday, Wheat will be the new editor-in-chief of Guns Magazine.

Wheat said the whole experience of getting the job was “quite shocking.”

He said he was working at home when the phone rang, and it was Roy Huntington, who is the publisher of Guns Magazine. Huntington presented him with this job and wondered if he would be interested.

“It’s like winning the lottery except with the lottery you have to go out and buy a ticket,” Wheat said. “Here, I just got a phone call, and it pretty much changed my life.”

Wheat said he has been humbled with the opportunity to lead the magazine.

“It’s amazing that they trust that I’m the guy to lead them forward. With all the visibility and the benefits of the job, the word I keep using is life changing,” he said. “I’m pretty happy doing what I’ve been doing up to this point and then to throw this into the mix, I keep pinching myself thinking this is all a dream because it just doesn’t seem like it’ll get much better.”

Guns Magazine is the oldest newsstand shooting magazine, which started publishing in 1955, and it remains to be one of the few remaining national newsstand shooting magazines.

“To be the literal head of a magazine with a tradition and background like that, really, it’s humbling and amazing,” Wheat said. “I hope that I never lose that sense of awe that I’ve got right now because I can’t even still get my head wrapped around that I get to do this, and I get paid well to do it.” 

Wheat laughed as he said his new job will entail almost everything except cleaning the bathrooms. 

He will be working from home where he will set the direction of the magazine. He will edit stories, work with the writers to develop an editorial calendar, brainstorm story ideas, get those sent out and work with the writers on getting stories produced.

He will also be involved with graphics, designers, and work with the advertising sales staff and ultimately put the entire magazine together working with the support staff. 

Wheat said he got interested in writing while he was shooting some pictures as a stringer for a local newspaper

“What started me as a writer was actually I was working as a photography staffer for the ‘Purdue Exponent’ and a reporter didn’t show up one day,” he said. “Instead of having me write cut lines, they had me write the story, and it went OK. I thought, ‘I can do this.’”

Wheat said his real love is the outdoors and shooting sports. He wrote his first magazine article for Midwest Outdoors where he was paid $25 to write about bass fishing. 

“I thought this is pretty cool. I can do what I love, and they send me money for it. From there, I had one opportunity after the other,” he said. “Half of it is grit and the other half is trying to improve every day from that $25 check to today where I’m sitting here, and I feel like I have the world at my fingers.”

According to Wheat, his background in law enforcement is what got his foot in the door of the shooting world. Wheat has been a police officer in both Boone County and Lebanon.

Wheat said a shooting instructor named Lewis Awerback had been reading his local outdoor column and suggested to “SWAT Magazine” that they give him a monthly column.

Wheat has now been writing columns for the magazine for 15 years, and he even had the opportunity to appear on two seasons of their television show on the Outdoor Channel. 

He will continue to write his weekly outdoor column, “Out in the Open,” that appears in The Times’ Friday editions, but he is also ready to start the new learning curve of leading a magazine.

“It’s one of those things that you start small and keep working away and keep getting better,” he said. “With a few breaks here and there, it seems to work out.”