The Applebees Of Gun Stores.

The Applebees of Gun Stores.

Thinking a little more about this post (which seems to have struck a nerve), what happens when you walk into a gun store… what do you see?

You see a lot of guns. Guns just sitting there.

If the store has a hunting theme, you may see some taxidermy scattered about, and if it’s a more tactically-oriented store, maybe a poster for Glock or something.

When it comes to defensive pistols, especially for first-time gun owners, there is no context inside gun stores for how that gun integrates with your life.

None. Zero. Zip. Gun stores sell guns, but they offer no clues as to how they are to be used.

No wonder, then, that people treat them as a household god, and rely on the feeling of safety that their talisman of self-protection offers them. They do this because they don’t know any better, and we are not helping them learn how to go beyond “feeling” safe to actually BEING safe.

A quick suggestion.

I know sweet bugger all about wines. I know that there are some that are “dry” and some that are sweet, and I’ve had the experience of eating a good meal that’s been paired with a good wine and yes, it does make the meal more enjoyable and tasty.

Restaurants know this, and they also know they make a LOT of money on alcohol sales, which is why you’ll find that some mid-to-upper scale restaurants will try to increase their revenue by printing suggested wine and beer pairings on the menu beside each entree.

So why not give holster and gear recommendations right alongside the defensive pistols displayed on your shelves? Doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be exotic, just something like “These pistols work great with (Name of Major-Label Holster Maker) holsters and (Major Ammo Maker) Brand Ammo”.

The customer wants to feel secure. Make them a little more secure by knowing that not only did they buy the right gun, they bought the right gear as well.

On Hold.

On Hold.

Hi.

Ummn, yeah, this is where the content should be, but I spent the weekend at a class instead, and now I gotta write up a report on the darn thing for the NRA, so, um, see you tomorrow, okay?


It’s over.

Go home.

Go.

Bhow bhow. Chick. Chicka chicka. 

Shots Fired.

Shots Fired.

Florida Carry cuts off its nose to spite its face – Again

Once again Florida Carry, Inc. has demonstrated a lack of concern for Concealed Weapons and Firearms License holders.  License holders continue to be abused by law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts.  When firearms, that are being lawfully carried concealed, accidentally become exposed to the sight of another person, license holders are being arrested for violating the open carry ban.

In Florida, there are 1.8 million law-abiding license holders. Every time they leave their homes, carrying a firearm, they run the risk of that firearm becoming exposed to the sight of another person and then being thrown face down on the street, arrested at gun point and treated like a criminal – because the wind blew open a jacket or they reached for something on a top shelf or a shirt got snagged and uncovered their firearm.

Yeah, I’m gonna guess that the ILA ain’t gonna get a Christmas card from Florida Carry this year.

And probably next year as well.

I’d criticize all those “no compromise” groups out there for how they compromised their beliefs in order to gain a political victory, but first, they need to actually HAVE a political victory for me to do that.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Advantages: Well-made, holds a bunch of gear, doesn’t look menacing
Disadvantages: Could use a just little more MOLLE on the sides
Rating: Five Stars Out of Five.

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for a couple of EDC/Bug Out bags, and they didn’t send me just two bags, they sent me three: A Pulse 24 Hour bag that I’ll review right now now, and an Echo EDC bag and a Guardian concealment pack that I’ll talk about later.

How cool is that?

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for this bag because I found out that my current bug-out bag, a Paladin Gear, um, Bug Out Bag, just wasn’t comfortable enough to carry on a long-term basis. I did a seven-mile walk with the Paladin on my shoulder (note: *shoulder*. More on that later.), and it became really tiresome to carry around about halfway through the journey.

This is a problem, because my idea for this bag and what it holds is simple: It holds all the stuff I need if I need to go camping for three days on a moment’s notice, anywhere in the American Southeast. I don’t go camping as much as I used to, and I don’t go into the back country here in Florida like I did in Arizona (probably due to the fact that the back roads here are, in fact, swamps, and not roads), but still, I like to have a backup plan handy at all times, so I carry a bug out bag.

The Elite Survival Systems Pulse takes the tried-and-tested 72 hour bag and tones it down a bit. Rather that make it Kyrptec or Multicam or some other tactical color, the bag comes in either brown or black, about as boring as possible, and boring is good if you’re going to be walking around town with it on your shoulders.

And that’s a key point: This bag has two very comfortable padded shoulder straps, along with buckles the chest and level and waist level, and makes it very easy to carry around for hours on end. I did the same walk recently with this bag, and it was a MUCH more pleasant experience. A sling bag is good for emergencies, when you need to grab something quickly and move quickly, but that’s not why I have a bag in the back of my car. The bag in my car is meant to keep me going for at least three days without access to all the niceties of the modern world, and if that means taking a hike to get  back to the modern world, I take a hike.

The Pulse is built well: The zippers open easily and don’t hang up, the nylon is nice and thick and there are no loose threads to be found anywhere on the bag. One of the reasons why I like the Pulse for this sort of thing is it contains a pocket for a hydration pouch: Living in Arizona taught me that a ready supply of water is really, really important, so a bladder is a “must have” for me in a bag like this.

A hydration pouch is just one of the pouches this bag has. I was able to squirrel away all the gear I had been carrying in old bag, with some space left over. The Pulse has MOLLE on the back of the bag and a plethora of pockets inside, allowing me to sort out my stuff into some sort of logical order for quick access. One thing that is different from the Paladin bag is that there is no MOLLE on the sides, which really isn’t a bad thing, I guess, but I carry around a machete with me in my car (because I live literally minutes away from the Everglades) and it’d be nice to strap it to the side of the bag if I need to take a long walk in the swamp, for one reason or another.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a gear bag that won’t make you look like you’re headed out to the sandbox when you’re headed out of town.


FCC Disclaimer: Yes, I said they gave me this bag. What of it? 

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

I’m old enough to vaguely recall the explosion of interest in martial arts created by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, and reruns of “Kung Fu” were a staple of my after-school TV viewing growing up.

And heck, how many strip-mall dojos popped up after The Power Rangers came along?

Why, then, we haven’t had a Bruce Lee / Chuck Norris show up yet to make practical pistol REALLY popular and move it into pop culture? The closest we have come to that is Keanu Reeves tearing it up on Taran’s range, and while that briefly popped up on the pop culture radar, it ended up going nowhere.

Part of the problem is that no one thinks they can land a spinning back heel kick without training, but pretty much everyone thinks they can shoot, and therefore, they don’t need firearms training.

To a certain extent, though, they’re right. People defend their lives with guns everyday without training. Guns were invented because learning to shoot a longbow is tough, as is learning how to fight with a sword. Pulling a trigger or stuffing a slow match into a powder hole? Not that tough. “God made man, but Col. Colt made him equal” is true, but unfortunately, we are all equally sucky with a gun unless we do something about it.

Watching a martial arts movie helps us understand that there is a level of hand-to-hand violence that we can aspire that goes far beyond what we see in a playground fistfight. What can we show the general public that makes them realize that their are levels of marksmanship that go far, far beyond poking holes in a target at three yards?

A Couple Of Quick Product Reviews.

A Couple of Quick Product Reviews.

7″ Tekko Polymer AR15 Carbine M-LOK Rail System*

 

Advantages: Easy to hold, has rails where you want them, has hand stop
Disadvantages: Not free-floating, little crammed on the gas block
Rating: Five Stars out of Five

Mission First Tactical sent me one of their new polymer forends for review, and I slapped it onto my CavArms AR, replacing the Magpul forend that was already there.

That rifle has always been a bit of a red-headed stepchild: I won the lower off a table at a match, (which is cool), but I’m not that big a fan of fixed-stock lowers. The original purpose for it was a buyout gun, but I replaced it with my more-compact SU-16, so the rifle spends a lot of time in my safe, or else it’s got a .22LR CMMG adapter in it, and I use it as a plinker.

But that hand guard just makes it SHINE. Really like how it looks now. One thing I like about the hand guard is that the Grimlock MLOK slots are up towards the top of the hand guard, away from where your hands are. This allows the lights, lasers and whatnot you add to the rifle has a clear field of view for the front, which is a nice (and effective) touch.

I also like how there’s a small stop at the front of the hand guard to help those of us who use a forward grip on the AR from running our hands in front of the muzzle, which would be… bad. The hand guard comes only in 7″ length (for now) and is not free-floating (which makes it slightly less accurate), and the hand guard covers up the first rail slot on my gas block, but other than that, the Mission First 7″ Polymer Handguard is a nice option for your lightweight AR build.


Raven Concealment Pocket Shield and SOF-T tourniquet

Raven Concealment Pocket Shield And SOFTT-W Tourniquet

Advantages: A real, effective tourniquet you can carry with you
Disadvantages: Still takes up a lot of room
Rating: Four Stars out of Five

I’ll have more to say about this setup once I figure how it will work into my casual EDC, but so far, the Raven Concealment Shield does what it’s supposed to do and make the mishmash of gear inside the front pocket into a smooth, contiguous whole.

The SOFTT-W tourniquet, in flat-pack mode, is terrific. It’s even easier to conceal than a SWAT-T, and I’ll be standardizing on SOFTT-W tourniquets in all my various first aid kits.


* Say THAT three times fast…
** FCC Alert: Yes, they sent it to me for review. Are you guys really that clueless?

The Old Abnormal.

The Old Abnormal.

The Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994, just as concealed carry was starting to take off in the U.S. The ban expired in 2004, and three years later, the Obama sales surge started. There’s never been a time when owning an carrying a standard-capacity compact 9mm has been considered “normal”.

We’ve never had a stable market for full-featured AR’s and pistols with a standard-capacity magazines. The size of the market is SO much bigger than it was in 1994, we really don’t now how SELL guns outside of a niche.

For example, I was talking with a local gun range last week about expanding their customer base, and some things we’re looking at is doing events with the local car clubs and service organizations.

Now, I could be wrong on this, and I probably am, but I paid close attention to what the original upscale indoor range, Scottsdale Gun Club, did for marketing before, during and after they opened up, and I don’t recall them ever doing any outreach beyond the shooting community in the Phoenix area before they opened up in 2003. Today, however, there’s Tupperware parties The Well Armed Woman and host of other organizations out there that are specifically designed get people into guns who are not already part of the shooting community.

For over a dozen years now, guns have sold because they COULD be sold. Now, guns will need to be sold on other criteria, and we’re still learning what those criteria will be.

People are buying guns based on their lifestyle. Isn’t time we make shooting guns a part of their lifestyle as well?