Girls, Girls… You’re BOTH Pretty!

The USCCA* has been doing a pretty good job of racking up memberships and exposure as of late, and their “Concealed Carry Expo” is pretty much all Gun Culture 2.0, all the time, while at the NRA Annual Meeting, you’ll see farm equipment and whatnot mixed in with all the gun stuff.

And then this happens.

The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) today announced that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has disinvited the organization from its 2017 Annual Meetings & Exhibits and the 2018 Great American Outdoor Show because of “concerns regarding its programs.”

The move shocked the leadership of the USCCA because they were given less than two weeks notice that they had been banned from the annual show, even though they had attended for the past several years. This decision also came as a surprise because over the past two months, the leadership from the NRA and the USCCA met twice to discuss the shared goal of the two organizations in support of the Second Amendment.

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in the NRA’s actions. I’m not the biggest fan of the USCCA’s marketing, as it’s a little too frantic for my tastes, but this is not the way to go. If the NRA is losing ground to the USCCA in the training and concealed carry insurance areas, the way to beat them isn’t to ban them, it’s come out with better products. I’m also wondering if this is partially the outcome of the high-profile of the NRA-ILA as of late. When people think “NRA”, the think “Gun Lobby”, not “Guys who do great training (or not)” or “Wow, I like their insurance plan!”. If people see you as a one trick-pony, that opens up space for another horse in the race **.


* Just so you know, I make a little bit of cash off both the USCCA and the NRA from the links on this blog.
** Is that a tortured metaphor or what? I’ll leave it be, because I don’t want to beat a dead horse…

… And Knowing Is Half The Battle.

The other half is the battle is, of course, beating the enemy into submission with decisive movement and overwhelming firepower.

Funny how they never mentioned that part in those old G.I. Joe cartoons.

I digress.

If you have any interest at all in training people to shoot well or moving the ball forward when it comes to firearms ownership in America, take more than a few moments and read Karl Rehn’s “Beyond The One Percent” series. It’s breathtakingly good, and lays out the issues we face clearer and more presicely than anything I’ve read before.

What’s interesting is that his recommendations closely mirror my own experience. When I got my CCW, lo these many years ago, my instructor taught the class in two sections, over the course of a weekend. At the time, Arizona required class room instruction and a live-fire portion before granting a permit (that’s changed since then), and my instructor broke up the class into two parts: A classroom portion that talked about Arizona gun laws, etc, on a Saturday, and then a brief range session the following day, with an optional, inexpensive (less than $100) stress fire / holster practice session immediately following. Most of the students in my class opted for the live fire practice, giving students a taste of the concealed carry lifestyle and the stress fire found in competition, and doubling the instructor’s take from the class in the process.

Instructors would do well to stop thinking of themselves as selling a product (concealed carry classes, gun training, etc.) and start seeing themselves as evangelists for a way of life.

What If Fear Is The Default Setting?

One of my takeaways from this great article on the gulf between gun culture and anti-gun culture is how for some, a fear of guns is honorable and rational. How much of that has permeated into the mindset of the general public because media and society? We have TV shows and movies telling us that it’s honorable and correct to fear guns, so what are we doing to counter that fear?

Rational arguments have only limited efficacy against a fear-based argument: Fear is an emotion, and rational arguments only work against emotional ones after that fear has subsided. How do we calm the fear of guns?

People are used to temporarily facing their fears: That’s why roller coasters exist, and when they go to a range, they temporarily face (and conquer) their fear of guns.  What are we doing to offset the “Disneyland effect” of going to the range or getting your CCW? It’s one thing to go and have fun and punch holes in paper, and it’s another thing to carry a gun all the time.

Acknowledging that the fear exists and then moving beyond the “thrill ride” of shooting a gun is where training is failing right now. Shoot N Scoot events, Outdoor Expos and GSSF matches are working, but more needs to happen if we want gun culture to move out and become a larger part of American culture than it already is.

Gun Retention

No, I’m not talking about keeping your mitts on your gat when some mook is pawing away at it, I’m talking about gun companies keeping their customers loyal to their brands.

There’s a saying that, when it comes to warfare, “amateurs talk talk tactics, dilletantes talk strategy, but professionals talk logistics.”

I think the marketing equivalent of that saying might be “amateurs talk acquisition, dilletantes talk about conversion, but professionals talk about rentention.” In today’s world, it’s better to own the audience than it is to own the factory, and yet when a factory moves, it grabs the headlines. When an audience moves? Crickets.

One of the smartest things Glock has done is to create the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation*, not because it’s a good shooting match, (it’s not), but rather, it is an EXCELLENT way to gather the clan and celebrate all things Glock. By reinforcing the image of the Legion Series as an “elite” pistol, Sig is doing the same with their Legion Series, and um, that’s about it.

And that’s rather sad. Ruger had a good idea with the Rimfire Challenge series, but got hamstrung by the sheer lack of .22 ammo when they launched, and Springfield is doing a bang-up job of leveraging Rob Leatham and Rob Pincus in the competition and defensive worlds, but other than that, what’s out there? What marketing is being doing to tell customers “Ok, you’ve just bought one of our guns. Now buy another one!”

Brand loyalty exists within the gun community, heck, there are people still bitterly clinging to their Kimbers, a brand who’s glory days were a long, long time ago, and you’ll take my pre-B CZ75’s from me only when hell freezes over. Maybe I’m blind, but I’m just not seeing a concentrated push by gun companies to retain their customers and keep their market share, especially in today’s shrinking gun market.


* Nice website, GSSF… for 1998. Responsive site design, mother$#%^*, do you speak it?

The iPTS Funding Campaign Launches Tomorrow!

Introducing The Interactive Pistol Training System

Rubber, meet road. Road, rubber.

We’ve been getting some great feedback and a lot of interest from shooters, law enforcement and military, and some…. not so great feedback as well.

To the Facebook commenter who compared us to “Duck Hunt” on the Nintendo: There is a reason why all the shots from your .40 cal HiPoint  go low-left, and it has a lot to do with how you view dry-fire. Deal with it.

I digress.

Anyway, go check out the campaign page and watch as it changes tomorrow, and remember, if you want the best deal on an iPTS, get in on the ground floor.

Concealed Carry Needs An On-Ramp

Or at least, a better on-ramp than what we have now. We say “Carry your guns, people, it’s a lighter burden than regret!” and then we do nothing to actually help people get used to carrying a gun.

We ask them to run a marathon, without teaching how to prepare for a marathon.

Fortunately, there’s at least one training team that’s doing something about that problem, and their model could change “Gun Culture 2.0” forever.

Go check them out at Ricochet.com.

A Very Personal Gun Free Zone

We gun owners are so funny. We moan and b!tch about “gun free zones”, and yet we do little, if anything, to help the people who bought all those guns over the last few years do anything about carrying said guns with them them every day, thus eliminating the “gun free zones” within their own lives.

I talk more about the utter lack of an on-ramp in-between buying a pistol, getting your concealed carry permit and actually carrying the darn thing around with you on a day-in, day-out basis over at Ricochet.com.

Go check it out.

 

Return Fire.

My local coffee shop, like oh so many other local coffee shops around the country, has a customer loyalty card. I buy 10 ten drinks to feed my caffiene habit, and the 11th one is free.

Quick, what is your local gun shop doing to keep customers coming back? Does it have an email list? Does it advertise specials on social media?

Heck, does it advertise at all?

We’ve had seven, heck, make it ten fat years. At least seven lean years are coming.

If you’re not ready for them now, it’s probably too late.