Still Don’t Go To Shows

I wrote this almost six years ago, and it’s still true today.

I am just not into gun shows. Don’t know if I ever will be. I’m not really into guns as objects, I’m into guns as tools, and ever since I got my eight guns, I’ve been buying stuff either as backup to what I already own or to compete in specific competitions.

But buying guns because they’re guns? Nah, not really.

This is not really a surprise. I never collected cameras when I was a shooter, and I never bought the latest, greatest gear either. My medium format was a 25 year old ‘Blad, and my 35mm’s were FM2’s and a FG’s, not an F4.

If it works, use it.

Marko posted this on Facebook awhile back, and it reminds me just how long it’s been since I read “The Book Of Five Rings“.

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

… 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.

The Possible First, Then The Unlikely.

I have two young sons. They tend to do stupid things. They have a better chance of getting hurt and needing first aid than my chance of needing a spare magazine for my concealed carry pistol of choice. Therefore, do I carry bandaids and other such things with me pretty much all the time?

You bet I do.

Because of my lifestyle, the odds of me needing to use a Bandaid are pretty good. The odds of me getting into a gunfight and needing  to use a spare mag are incredibly small. The stakes, though… the stakes are incredibly mortal.

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.