Flame Wars

Flame Wars

I’m an Elon Musk fanboy. I’ll admit it proudly (and not just because he’s half-Canadian). The man has a level of joie de vie and a entrepreneurial spirit that we just don’t see that much these days. Not only is he making boatloads of cash, he’s having FUN while he’s getting rich.

Oh, and he put a sports car into orbit around Mars as well. Because he could.

As a lark, he promised to sell flamethrowers if people bought 500,000 hats which promote The Boring Company, the tunneling company he created to dig tunnels for his hyper-speed magnetic levitation transit system.

What can I say? The dude’s playing the game on many, many levels. Anyways, back to the flamethrowers. He sold out of the hats, and so, true to his word, he develeped and sold a flamethrower, which promptly sold out as well.

The usual Neo-Puritan suspects in California, New York and other places outside of America didn’t like the idea of private citizens owning a flamethrower, so they promptly tried to ban such devices in case people might decide to play with fire, or something.

But that didn’t work, so now Elon Musk’s “Not A Flamethrower” is shipping out to people all across the lower 48.

This is how you win a culture war. You win it by having fun. Let’s go have fun, and let’s take more people to range with us so they can fun as well.

A Comparison Of Affordable Concealed Carry Insurance Plans

A Comparison of Affordable Concealed Carry Insurance Plans

I’ve done some other round-ups of self-defense legal plans on the blog, but things have changed in this industry to the point where an update is probably needed.

First off, it looks like the Self Defense Association is no more. Their website has nothing but a parked domain and their social media hasn’t been updated in over a year.

Secondly, the USCCA isn’t advertising their Silver introductory-level plan anymore, but it is available if you ask for it.

Thirdly, Texas Law Shield has increased their nation-wide coverage to the point where they’re available in 19 states, and have re-branded themselves as “U.S. Law Shield”.

Finally, the NRA has toned down their marketing of Carry Guard insurance quite a bit. It’s still out there, three levels down on the Carry Guard website, but the current push for Carry Guard seems to be more about the training they offer than it is about their CCW legal insurance plans.

CCW InsuranceAlso, I came across a nice little breakdown of what to look for in a concealed carry legal plan, written by an actual attorney**. His list of things to look for in self-defense insurance are:

  1. Attorneys’ Fees Coverage
  2. Bail Bond Coverage
  3. Access To An Attorney
  4. Freedom To Choose An Attorney
  5. Civil Judgement Coverage

Which is, all in all, a good list. The only thing that non-attorney me might add to that list is the importance of “First Dollar” coverage that kicks in from Day One, versus coverage where you have to pay and then you get re-imbursed by your plan.

Do you have easy access to a half-million dollars or more in loans to cover your upfront costs? I don’t.

If you carry a firearm, I heartily suggest you spend a few dollars and sign up for a self-defense legal coverage plan of some sort. It just makes too much sense. I’ve had a number of friends get in serious legal trouble due to their defensive use of a firearm, and you don’t want to go in front of a judge with a public defender whose legal knowledge is probably limited to defending actual crooks in a court of law. Instead, you want someone who knows how to the defend the truly innocent, and that is going to cost money. Lots and lots of money.

You carry a gun because you planned ahead for a lethal force encounter. Get a legal plan to prepare for a battle inside the courtroom.

CCW Insurance Plans

 NRA Carry Guard
Silver
USCCA
Gold
Second Call
Full Coverage
Armed Citizens
Legal Defense
US Law
Shield
CCW Safe
Bail$100,000$5,000 / $50,000$5,000 / $50,000$25,000 + Merits$2,500 / $25,000$1,000,000*
Your Own AttorneyYYYYNY
Criminal Defense$100,000$100,000$50,000$25,000 + MeritsCovered$1,000,000*
Civil Defense$500,000$500,000$50,000Based On MeritsCovered$1,000,000*
Civil Damages$500,000$500,000$50,000Based On MeritsNot Covered$1,000,000*
Any WeaponYYNYYN
Expert WitnessesYYYYYY
“First Dollar” CoverageNYNYYY
Cost$22/mo
$264/yr
$22/mo
$264/yr
$14.95/mo
$170/yr
$135/yr$16.85/mo
$202/yr
$41/mo
$499/yr
Online SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline SignupOnline Signup

 

* Coverage for CCW Safe includes bail, criminal and civil trial attorneys’ fees and civil damages.
** Do I really need to say that I am not an attorney and that this is not legal advice I’m giving out here? If so, I am. Figure it out for yourselves, and go talk to a lawyer about this stuff, because it’s a good idea. I, personally, have ACLDN and am a USCCA Affiliate.

Help Wanted

Help Wanted

The company I worked for has been bought out, and now I’m looking for a job. Again.

This truly sucks, because I *liked* that job. Quite a lot.

Anyway, if you know of something in content marketing / digital marketing, let know.

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 451-600

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 451-600

I went to another one of Step By Step Gun Training’s Shoot N Scoot’s events last weekend to do two things: Shoot a bunch of qualifiers to gauge my progress and get them on record, and put more rounds through the Colt 1911. We’ll talk about that first thing at a later date, so let’s move on to the Colt.

One of the nice things about the Shoot N Scoots is that each weekend, the first two bays are set up identically to what was used the previous Thursday in the pistol matches they run there, so I get to compare my performance from one day to next. The matches are Louland are alway lightweight, run and gun affairs that are good skill builders and not too challenging and primarily use steel targets. Here’s the setup for Stage 2.

Shoot N Scoot

And here’s one of my runs with the Colt.

My time on that run was a skooch under 18 seconds, with three reloads. My time on that stage last Thursday using a Beretta APX and a 21 round mag (so no reloads)? 21.28 seconds. Yes, I missed a shot with the 1911 that the RO let slide in this run, but on my first run, I shot it 18.9 secs. So there.

So why the over two second difference between a softer-shooting 9mm with no reloads and the thump of .45ACP and three reloads?

Two reasons:

  1. Familiarity. I’m at over 500 rounds with that 1911, and I’m starting to learn how to run it. I’ve just under 200 rounds with the Beretta. I know where things are set up on the Colt, but the Beretta is the first full-sized striker gun I’ve shot over a long period of time.
    No, really.
  2. Sights. The Colt’s fiber optic sights, while large, are nothing compared to the Beretta’s sights. There is literally no gap between the front sight and rear sight on the Beretta, making precise aiming a bit of a challenge. In addition to that, the Beretta uses three dot sights, a setup that just does not work well for me… Gimme fiber optics or Trijicon HD’s any day over three dots.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
100 Rounds Sellier And Bellot .45ACP FMJ
50 Rounds Remington UMC .45ACP FMJ

Results:

No issues.

Thanks to Lucky Gunner for providing the ammo for this test.

The Story Problem

The Story Problem

Jim Wilson had a nice little post about the importance of stories in the gun world. The problem is, it’s hard to tell good stories about Gun Culture 2.0. The stories that come out of Gun Culture 2.0 tend to revolve around preventative incidents, such as the times where a life was saved because of a defensive gun use.

Those are good stories and they definitely need to be told, but the defensive/competition world has no equivalent (yet) to the good ol’ hunting story, where it’s you and your friends and family going out into nature and something Hemingway-esque* ensues, and the story winds up being told thru a sepia filter and read aloud in Sam Elliot’s voice.

Those are good stories of happy times, and they reinforce what I’ve been saying for awhile now, that the very best day possible in Gun Culture 1.0 is a day spent outdoors that culminates in harvesting one of God’s creatures.

The very best day possible in Gun Culture 2.0? Nothing happens. You live your life as you normally would, because Gun Culture 2.0 is mostly about avoiding injury and death and there is just not a lot of good stories to be told about going to WalMart and nothing happening. Yes, there is still the competition element to the new gun culture that has a slightly different “best day,” but we’ll pick that up at a later date.

 

* Just not in a “Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber” sort of way.

New Lanes Are Opening Up

New Lanes Are Opening Up

A couple of interesting videos came across my Facebook feed last week. The first is from Saddle River Range, a very nice “guntry” club in Texas, showing off their new live-fire, virtual training system.

The second is Max Michel shooting the new Auto Target system by Action Target.

We are moving away from the “go to your booth, hang up your target, send it out, shoot it, bring it back” experience of the traditional indoor range into something that’s a little more stimulating, and that’s a very good thing indeed.

More, please.

Vertical Integration.

Vertical Integration.

Let’s connect the dots, shall we?

  1. Acusport, one of the largest wholesalers of firearms and shooting accessories in the nation, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    Now this in and of itself is a big frickin’ deal, because Acusport is HUGE. We have heard over and over again that there’s no “Trump slump” in gun sales, and while that’s probably true, this bankruptcy is an indication that while sales may be good, profit margins probably aren’t (and margins already sucked on gun sales before all this happened).
  2. They’re selling their gun distribution to Ellett Brothers (which is good, because Ellett Brothers runs a tight ship) and they’re selling their gun store Point Of Sale (POS*) system to GearFire, aka The National Firearms Dealer Network.
  3. Gearfire is the backend that drives pretty much every Mom and Pop gun shop’s “online store”. Ever notice that most stores’ shopping carts look and act the same? That’s because they all use Gearfire to stock and sell stuff online for them. Gearfire sets up the store and manages the inventory and buying and then the shop takes a smaller cut of the profit in return for not having to deal with the hassle of setting up an e-commerce site**.
  4. By buying Acusport’s POS business (stop giggling), Gearfire can now integrate the online shopping experience with the brick and mortar shopping experience.
    This has the potential to make the life of your average gun shop owner a LOT easier, because special orders are the bane of a gun store owner’s existence. When someone comes in looking for, say, a Ruger Charger .22 pistol with a green laminate stock, the amount of time it takes to chase down that gun, get a price, confirm the price with the customer and then place the order eats up all the profit you’d make on the sale.
    Now, by buying Acusport’s sales system, it’d be child’s play for GearFire to roll out a tablet-based kiosk for gun shops that directly interfaces with the cash register inside the store. Order your gear online using the kiosk in the store, and blammo, you can pay for it at the register without hassling a sales manager for hours on end.

GearFire is pretty smart. Let’s see what they do with their new acquisition.

* Yes, I know, it’s also an acronym for something else. Grow up.
** Gearfire got started literally across the parking lot from Scottsdale Gun Club, who for years ran SGCUSA.com as a successful online store. Now, however, SGCUSA is a re-branded GearFire store. That says quite a lot about the marketshare that GearFire has managed to acquire. 

Flash Site Pictures – Friday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Friday Edition

Interesting stuff I found on the web, some of it written by me, some not.

What’s the difference between a flash hider and a muzzle brake?

Your car is your castle.

The really critical question is, ‘What have you learned?‘.”

Gun owners know which companies stand with us, which companies act like Dick’s.

Comparing the Ruger LCR to S&W J-Frames. Me, I kinda like the LCR, but that’s why they make Pepsi AND Coke.

If you’re incapable of violence, not being violent isn’t a virtue.”

Well duh. Way, WAY past time for this, IMO. And no, more rallies are not “going on offense.” Taking someone to the range is going on offense. Signing up voters is going on offense. Asking for Top Shot Part Deux is going on offense. Screaming at an empty statehouse? Not so much…

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Speaking of events and culture, It’s been almost 27 years since the first Lollapalooza concert in Chandler, Arizona*. I went with a bunch of my friends who were also into alternative rock, and it was life-changing.

This is before Nirvana made it big: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” wouldn’t be released in September of that year, and “grunge” was something you scraped off a dirty dishpan. Big hair metal bands ruled the rock world, and the music I listened to, The Smiths, The Pixies and New Order was sequestered to a late-night two-hour show on MTV. Alternative music was still, well, alternative, and just wasn’t being played on FM radio where everyone could hear it.

It was, however, being played on a small low-power AM station, KUKQ. KUKQ was everything to me and my friends, because prior to this, I was the weirdo for listening to cutting-edge rock rather than banging my head to Ratt or listening to old Led Zep or Pink Floyd cuts. With today’s a la carte media, where even the most obscure track is out there on YouTube somewhere, It’s hard for people of this day and age to understand what it was like to have a rallying point for people of like interests to come together and share a common experience.

Lollapalooza was all that, and it was all that on steroids. Me and literally thousands of other people who shared a common passion were all in one place, enjoying our music and all that went along with it. Lollapalooza wasn’t just a concert: There were tattoo and piercing parlors (neither of which were mainstream at the time) and side stages and a host of other events that were meant to compliment the music and reinforce the culture of alternative music.

Which brings me to guns. Pick up everything I just said, and drop on top of Gun Culture 2.0. The closest thing we have to the Lollapalooza experience is the NRA Annual Meeting, but if you listen to something other than country music, you’re kinda (T)SOL when it comes to culture at that event, and it’s the same with the USCCA’s Concealed Carry meeting as well.

It’s not just about guns, it’s about music and sport and life and… everything. Jerome Griffin mentioned to me recently that DropZone Gunner, an event that mashes up 3 Gun with obstacle racing, was designed with Lollapalooza in mind, and I think he’s on to something there. Gun ownership is being pushed to the side of American culture, and anything we can do to push it back to the middle is a very good thing indeed.

 

* 27 years is also the same amount of time from Lollapalooza to Beatlemania. Egad, I’m old.

Yeti Gain.

Yeti Gain.

An interesting data point… there is a lot of “He said, she said” going on right now over the NRA/Yeti kerfuffle that popped up this week. Yeti would like us to believe that this decision not to support the NRA is a recent thing on the NRA’s part.

But.

Yeti was an exhibitor at the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting, and they are NOT an exhibitor this year. That decision to pull out the Annual Meeting was made months before this dustup happened.

Take that as you will.