No One Expects The Gunsite Inquisition

Because I hate wasting good stuff on an away game.

“Our chief weapon is the 1911. And the color code. Our two chief weapons are the 1911 and the color code and the Weaver Stance. Our THREE chief weapons are the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance and the surprise trigger break. AMONGST OUR WEAPONRY are such diverse elements as the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance, the surprise trigger break and nice decals of a raven on our trucks.

Oh bugger. I’ll come in again.” *

Explainer:

* I should probably state for the record that I absolutely and unequivocally believe that Gunsite is one of the best places in the world to learn how to use a pistol. However, if you can’t laugh at the people on your side, you’re going to be bloody useless at laughing at the people on the other side of your cause.

Just HOW Gun-Friendly Is Your State, Anyways?

I was kinda surprised how many limitations there were on gun ownership when I moved to Florida. This state has a reputation as being “gun friendly” (aka “the Gunshine State”), but in reality, it’s just not so, and it’s not just the lack of open carry. For instance, you don’t realize how much time you save on a busy Saturday at the gun store by not having to do a background check on a gun purchase if you have your concealed carry permit, as you do in Arizona. And then there’s the need for a concealed carry permit and a bunch of other things that  add up.

The Smoking Barrel has a great little round up of per-state gun laws that puts it all in perspective. It’s pretty useful, go check it out.

Also, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between states that have good laws regarding gun ownership, and good laws that cover the defensive use of guns, and according to Andrew Branca (who knows a thing or two about this sort of stuff…) Florida has the best laws for armed civilians who need to (legally) defend their lives, so we got that going for us.

Lawfully Armed Citizen Arrives On-Scene of Officer In Distress. What’s Expected To Happen Next, Happens.

Yep, the (legally) armed citizen saved the officer’s life. Again.

(Arizona Department of Public Safety) says the trooper was “ambushed” by a suspect who came from an unknown direction. The suspect shot the trooper at least once in the chest-shoulder area and fought the trooper to the ground.

A passerby stopped to render aid and the trooper asked for help. Officials say the driver went back to his car, grabbed a gun and shot at the suspect who was not following his commands to stop attacking the trooper. The suspect was killed.

Good shooting, Mr. Passerby. Next time, though, carry on your person when you’re in your car. It’s faster. And I hope you also never have to pay for a beer again for the rest of your life.

And, in the interests of fairness and equal time, I will now make a detailed, comprehensive list of all the times that a civilian member of the Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign and/or a supporter of Black Lives Matter has stopped an in-progress assault on a police officer.

There. Don’t ever say I’m not fair and balanced when it comes to the effectiveness of an armed vs. disarmed citizenry.

HPR Ammo To Re-Open

The fat lady may not have sung for HPR ammo’s Payson plant.

A month after an abrupt shutdown, Payson’s sole ammunition manufacturing facility re-opened its doors Monday, with plans to begin manufacturing next week. Jim Antich, founder of Advanced Tactical Armament Concepts (ATAC) LLC, gave an impromptu tour of the facility to the Payson Roundup Wednesday. Only a few employees worked among the rows of silent machines, but Antich said the plant will start making ammunition again next week. He said the company must first order the components to manufacture HPR branded ammunition again.

I hope they succeed.

… But Fear Itself

There’s an interesting discussion popping up on the Gun Culture 2.0 blog on the role that fear plays inside the civilian armed defender community. On the one hand, you have the experience of those who don’t carry a gun on a regular basis who are fearful of the gun itself, as if it, and not the person wielding it, is reason for violence, and on the other hand, you have people inside the gun industry using fear to market their products.

A certain amount of fear is needed to sell something that may save your life. AAA sells roadside service on the basis of keeping you safe from a flat tire on a lonely road late at night, so of course Comp-Tac is going sell holsters based on keeping your gun safe and secure until you need it.

Speaking for myself, yes, fear does play a role into why I carry a gun. One of the reasons why I started this journey was becaue there was a violent home invasion in Central Phoenix and a three year old boy was briefly kidnapped.

My oldest son was three at that time, and it brought the reality of things (literally) home to me. My wife and I were both very familiar with the neighborhood where this happened (4oth and Thomas) and while it had been going downhill for a while, it wasn’t one of Phoenix’s worst neighborhoods. We had been hearing about gang activity on the West Side and around South Mountain for years now, but we were not concerned because those were not the neighborhoods we knew about and lived in. But 40th and Thomas? I used to work in a store on that exact corner, and my wife lived a mile and a half away on the edges of Arcadia. We knew that area of Phoenix well, and that brought it home to us.

Was it fear that drove me towards becoming an armed civilian defender? Yes, that was some of what’s behind this. Knowledge, however, is fear’s Kryptonium, and knowing that I am now sufficiently trained, prepared and aware to shift the odds in my favor more than there were ten years ago removes the fear of random attack and lets me live a happier life.

HPR Ammunition Closes Up Its Payson Ammo Plant

According to the local newspaper, HPR Ammunition has shuttered its operation in Payson Arizona.

HPR Ammunition reportedly sent more than 30 employees home Sept. 13, 2016 and closed its doors.

The business remains closed, but Payson officials say the owners have said they plan to reopen as soon as possible.

The owners of the company did not return calls seeking comment.

However, other sources said the company’s chief lender called in all its loans, apparently having something to do with the company’s efforts to open another, much larger plant in Tennessee.

With the Tennessee plant still not up and the creditors calling in their markers for what’s left of the Arizona ammo plant, hang on to those boxes of HPR ammo you currently have, they’re about to become collector’s items… 😀

The Problem Just Showed Up On Our Doorstep.

Me, last year.

How long before MS13, La eMe, etc, figure out there’s as much money to be made from kidnapping middle class citizenry as there is from smuggling people and/or drugs into the U.S.?

Phoenix, Arizona, today.

A bank teller noticed a distraught woman withdrawing a significant amount of money and contacted police who then saved her from kidnappers.

Court records show that on August 26, a woman walked into the Bank of America near 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. She was reportedly visibly distraught and tried to withdraw $19,000 without a bank card. The teller “went to check if she could go that,” but instead alerted police.

Phoenix police report that they arrested 22-year-old Alonzo Daniel Cabrera who was with the victim in the bank.

The whole story has yet to be told here, so I’m willing to bet there was an illicit connection of some kind between the victim and her kidnappers. I don’t think this was a random kidnapping, but the amount of the ransom, $38,000, tells us that the bad guys out there are willing to roll in hot and kidnap people for ransom amounts under $50,000. This one probably wasn’t a random kidnapping, but the next one might not be.

Stay safe out there.

NRA Annual Meeting Wrap Up Post

  1. If you get a chance to purchase some Flatboat Bourbon Cream, do so. It’s a perfect balance of bourbon, cream, sugar and chocolate. Kahlua was always too cloying for my tastes, but this one is perfect.
  2. Meeting John Hollister was cool. Meeting Col. Robert Boyd was cool. Meeting Anette Watcher was cool. Meeting David Yamane was cool. Meeting Andrew Branca was cool. Meeting the guys from Active Self Protection was cool. Meeting Stephen Gutowski was cool. Meeting Kevin Boyd was cool. Chatting at length with Jim Geraghty and Charles C.W. Cooke about gun culture was really cool.
  3. Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life, but watch out, it has a higher alcohol content than most beers.
  4. Meeting Erin Palette was cool. Meeting Unc was cool. Meeting Old NFO was cool. Meeting Rob Morse was cool. Meeting Melody Lauer was cool. Meeting Tam in-person was cool. Meeting Daddy Bear was cool. Meeting Joshua Gideon was cool.
  5. If I had to pick a trend for new products, I’d say it was AR-style pistols in pistol calibers and new suppressors from companies new to the suppressor game. We are rapidly approaching a point where CCW is no longer the driver of gun sales, and I’m not sure we know what’s next.
  6. Hanging out and having dinner with Anthony and Matt from Lucky Gunner was really cool.
  7. Downtown Louisville is a crash course in American urban architecture. In just a few hours, I spotted excellent examples of Greek Revival, Victorian, Gothic, Art Deco, Modern, Bahaus, Googie, Brutalist and Post-Modern buildings, all within walking distance of each other.
  8. Yes, the buttermilk pie at Mark’s Feed Store was all that. Might be some of the best custard I’ve ever had. The fact that it came wrapped in a flaky pie crust made it even better.
  9. The new My Outdoor TV app looks pretty good. For all of you waiting to watch Outdoor Channel without having to pay $$$ for cable, this is what you’ve been waiting for.
  10. Alf gave me a sixer of a locally-made scotch ale. Dude, I owe you!
  11. I know so many people who are so much more generous and friendly than I am that I’m sometimes, I’m embarrassed by my own boorishness.
  12. Speaking of which, I might have been Patient Zero for the con crud. Sorry about that.

Next year, Atlanta!

Welcome to the Party, Pal, Take Two

Me, back in 2014:

… where is the future of the practical shooting: On an expansive outdoor public range with four+ pistol bays, or indoors, after-hours at luxury gun club? So why is there one (COUNT IT!) one major match (two if you count the BUG Gun Nationals) that even acknowledge the existence of indoor ranges?

Rich Grassi, today.

So how do we move people from sterile, holster-banning environments to IDPA/USPSA/Cowboy Action/3-Gun competition among other shooting sports?

Consider also that, while there may be a number of ranges – indoor and outdoor – in your area, perhaps organized competition hasn’t yet moved into your area.

Moving from Arizona, one of the hotbeds of practical shooting, to the becalmed backwaters of SWFL opened up my eyes to the reality that the vast majority of gun owners don’t have access to a bay or range where they can practice drawing from a holster. This is something that needs to change if we want the thousands and thousands of new gun owners out there to become part of gun culture, and not give it up for the next fad that comes around.

Update: I wonder how much of this is due to the differences between Gun Culture 1.0 and Gun Culture 2.0. Gun Culture 1.0 says “The only people who NEED to draw from a holster are cops.” Gun Culture 2.0 asks “What’s ‘need’ got to do with this?”

Training Is Evolving

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Miguel talks about a CCW trainer who’s worried that his semi-guaranteed source of income is going away now that a permit are semi-optional in Oklahoma. I can dig it: I bet the automobile looked pretty darn scary to the people who built horse carriages, but you know what? Some of them did quite well for themselves when cars became the norm.

Something interesting happened in Arizona after the state went to permit-free concealed carry: The quantity of firearms training went down, but the quality went up. Before the need to ask permission was revoked, there was a fairly good business in Arizona in teaching people the bare minimum needed to instruct CCW, and then encouraging those instructors to take more classes so they can then teach others how to be a CCW instructor.

There’s a word for this, and that word is “Ponzi”.

When Arizona went permit-free, though, that house of NRA Instructor cards collapsed (much to the chagrin of some at the top of the pyramid), and there was a sorting-out period while NRA Instructors figured out what their business model was, now that people no longer needed their services.

Although I no longer live there, I see more and more quality, post-CCW training show up in Arizona. Where once it was Gunsite or, um, errr, we’re now seeing well-known names like Larry Vickers, Instructor Zero and Grant Cunningham put on classes in Phoenix, along with some guy who’s won literally everything there is to win in practical shooting. The training business is alive and well in Arizona and growing even more.

So to the instructors in Oklahoma, West Virginia and other locales who are looking at the ruination of their Concealed Carry licensing business, I say there is hope. Change your thinking and put effort into your business model, and you’ll succeed, because change doesn’t care about your revenue projections, it just changes.