Can We Win?

Can We Win?

We are in uncharted territory here: Fake media aside, the tide IS turning on guns, but the recent ginned-up outrage over the slaughter in Parkland (and the shameless use of children to push gun control) has knocked us back a bit.

We don’t know how to win the war on guns, and I’m not sure we CAN know how to win, because the whole purpose of Gun Culture 2.0 is to prepare for something really bad happening to us.

We have a defensive mindset instilled in us from our first CCW class. We think in terms of protecting what is our most dear to us. No wonder, then, that we think of gun politics in defensive terms.

How do we flip that into a message of hope?

We are, quite literally looking to evangelize people and change their way of living. Speaking in terms of saving souls, yes, it’s good that people “come to Jesus” to prevent something bad (namely, hell) from happening to them, but any pastor will tell you that sort of conversion has little effect in changing someone’s life over the long term. The change sticks when the convert sees the positive aspects that come from their conversion experience.

Can we talk about that and still show people that just owning a gun isn’t enough, that they also need training and more practice? Gun Culture 1.0 did exactly that with things like the Boone and Crockett Club and modern conservationism, and that helped create <Sam Elliot Voice> a storied tradition of hunting, passed on from generation to generation </Sam Elliot Voice> and a positive view of hunting that has lasted for decades.

Is there a Gun Culture 2.0 version of such things? Can that even exist?

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

Or are we? Some curated tweets from last week’s CNN show trial town hall about the Parkland murders. What was supposed to be a rally for gun control might turn out to motivate gun owners like very few things have before…

I would note that Guy Benson is a terrific advocate for conservative causes, but he is NOT a gun guy, and his response is something I am seeing again and again from folks on the right who are not into guns.

That clip of the audience cheering for a semi auto ban will motivate gun owners like nothing we’ve seen since 1994. If the NRA doesn’t use it in every ad they run in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and maybe Pennsylvania, they deserve to lose. We are talking SEMIAUTOS here, not “assault weapons” or scary AR-15’s. Things like the 10/22’s you use to plink cans and the Remington 1100 you use to blast geese from the sky would be covered by this ban.

Think that’ll motivate hunters to get out and vote?

And just how are we used to have a “conversation about guns” with someone who makes stuff up as they go along? It’d be like having a “conversation about football” with someone who insists on calling the ball a puck and swears that football is played in a rink.

Once you not only otherize your political opponents but also claim everything they do or say is actually violence, of COURSE you have to respond with actual violence. What choice do you have but to use violence against “violence”?

We are witnessing what happens when an entire generation (or more) has grown up with a Disneyland state of mind, and now they’re throwing the mother of all hissy fits.

And finally this, from the inestimable Frank J. Fleming.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

A quick roundup of stuff on the web.

  • Smith & Wesson has a new pistol out, the M&P380 Shield EZ. Apart from the word salad of a name, it looks like a really good little gun for people who want a gun to “feel safe” but aren’t going to get much training beyond a CCW class.
    Which doesn’t mean that a heavier, flat-shooting .380 is a bad option for a defensive pistol: It’ll do the job. Are the better options? Yes. Are those options worth the effort for 80% of the gun owners out there? Probably not. Really looking forward to seeing how S&W rolls out this gun, because how they marketed the Shield rollout was terrific.
  • My first article for the Beretta Blog is up, on what to look for in a firearms trainer.
  • And I’ve got an article on setting up a safe room inside your house over at NRA Family.
  • David Yamane was on Ballistic Radio, and it’s a great interview. Listen to it here.
  • Step By Step Gun Training is bringing John Farnam to Naples for a vehicle defense class. We spend hours and hours inside our cars each week, and carjacking is very real thing. Therefore, it’d be good to know what to do if you’re attacked inside your car because the rules change when the workspace shrinks.

Upcoming Training: Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Upcoming Training: Rangemaster Tactical Conference

Boy howdy, am I looking forward to this one. Not only because I’ll get to meet a whole lot of people in-person who I know only from the Internet, but also because of the training. Caleb Causey on trauma care! Ernest Langdon on DA/SA guns! Claude Werner on pocket snubbies! Mas Ayoob! Chuck Haggard! John Farnam! Craig Douglas! John Hearne! William Aprill! Greg Ellifritz!

Hang on a minute, all that awesome gave me the vapors. I need to sit down…

So yeah, really, really looking forward to meeting great people and taking some great classes. This is the training highlight of the year for me, bar none.

First Comes Motivation. Then Comes Action.

First Comes Motivation. Then Comes Action.

Claude Werner lists out some of the reasons why people don’t get firearms training.

  • Time
  • Expense
  • Accessibility
  • Scheduling
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of incentive
  • Lack of understanding

The thing is, though, people are willing to overcome the obstacles of time, motivation, accessibility, money and scheduling if they think that what they’re getting is worth the effort they put into getting it.

And if you don’t think this is true, ask yourself, when was the last time you drove the extra mile (or ten, or twenty) for really good pizza/Mexican/pasta/beer/whatever, versus stopping to eat at the first place you found?

I thought so.

If an experience, ANY experience, has been proven to be of value, you will do it again. How many people get CCW training? How many people then go beyond that CCW class and get more training in how to use their firearm effectively?

Answer: Not many. Very few.

The CCW Class is the top of the funnel: Enrolling in such a class is a tacit admission that a) threats exist and b) you’re aware of the need to do something about it. However, people who take a concealed carry class are not seeing the value in taking more training.

Why is this happening?

The answer, I think, lies in that word “effectively”. I don’t have the answer for this just yet, but the problem is clear: The value proposition for post-CCW firearms training is not apparent enough to gun owners, and that needs to change.

 

Surviving The Death Of The GunBlogosphere

Surviving The Death Of The GunBlogosphere

First off, let’s face facts: Gunblogging (and indeed, blogging of all kinds) is pretty much dead. It’s pining for the fjords of Norway. It has ceased to be, and social media is now triumphant.

-ish.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am seeing a LOT of requests for links from companies and individuals asking me to link to them in order to boost their SEO results. 99.9% of them I turn down because I really don’t see how linking to vaping supplies or woman’s shoes is related to a gunblog, but I will let a few through if the idea is right. So maybe blogging at yourgunblog.wordpress.com or the like is in trouble, but if you’ve got your own IP address, your own domain name and some decent inbound links, people will want to talk with you about making their domain results a little bit better.

And then there’s blogger burnout. Yes, it’s a thing, but I do this so I don’t talk guns with my wife all the time, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I’m liking how the blog is working in conjunction with my other writing efforts, and I like where things are headed.

Update: More on blogging (photoblogging, to be exact) from my friend and mentor Don Giannatti.

As social media begins to reveal its rather impressively large negative influences, as well as the increasing stultifying of creativity even as it may create some as well, there must be another way to be involved and engaged.

Facebook is too easy. It is too contained. It is becoming an echo chamber for anger, pity, fake news and ideas, and the constantly inwardly focus of the perpetually incensed.

That doesn’t sound like a great idea for a community to me.

 

When You Find Your Student Is Your Master

When You Find Your Student Is Your Master

One of the things about the dojo model of firearms training is that it requires the use of advanced students to train the beginners: The brown belts train the white belts because in doing so, they a) free up the sensei’s time and b) learn how to do stuff in the process of training others. An example:

Something that helps make Step By Step Gun Training’s Shoot and Scoots so successful is that they have experienced shooters who are NRA Certified RSO’s help the new gun owners with things like finger off the trigger while moving and how to do a safe presentation and reholster. The RO’s aren’t there to help shave 0.2 seconds off a draw: Their job is to get the newbies (white belts) up to speed and in doing so, reinforce those skills in themselves, and in the process, learn how learn so they themselves can become better shooters. There’s an initial sorting process that takes place with first-timers so the RO’s don’t train people who are absolutely new to guns: Those people are sent to a lead instructor to get the Four Rules and some basic marksmanship drilled into them before they hit the range.

This process of using advanced students to help guide competent but inexperienced new students helps free up the lead instructor’s time to a) instill a basic level of safety into the really, really new students and b) allow time to work with experienced students on areas like faster trigger speed and better gun manipulation. The dojo model needs a sensei, but it also needs lots and lots of sempai as well.

Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

I’m a bit of a gearhead. I drive a hot hatch, and I exceed the posted speed limit on a regular basis.

Perhaps a little TOO regular, if I’m honest.

I digress…

I watch The Grand Tour and Top Gear, and I love seeing all the exotic cars that show up here in this particularly plushly-upholstered section of God’s waiting room.

However, even I couldn’t tell you who the current Indy Car Champion is, and if, say, Lewis Hamilton showed up at a local Mercedes dealer to hawk some wares, I probably wouldn’t go see him.

Now admittedly, I am kinda celebrity-shy: I’m not really impressed by people who are famous, so that does color my judgement somewhat.

With that in mind, I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of a sponsored shooter? To advance the brand of the companies who sponsor them, that’s what, no matter how big or small the brand is.

This is why I’m very interested in what Shoot Center has done. They’re a local range who’s sponsored a shooter who shoots USPSA very well, and I think there’s a real opportunity for them and other local ranges to use a really good shooter to increase the prestige of the range. It doesn’t have to be much: In return, for, say, a case of 9mm every other month or so or maybe access to employee pricing on reloading supplies, have your sponsored shooter do a Facebook video on what makes a good defensive handgun. Or how to shoot better. Or how the safety rules on an indoor range. Heck, just do a video of the shooter punching out the X ring of a target at 25 yards: There’s a TV program dedicated to “Impossible Shots“, why not have your sponsored shooter strut his stuff on your range and show off how much of an authority he/she is on shooting?

A sponsored shooter brings some gravitas and authenticity to what’s being said, and store/range who has one and shows them off therefore appears more clued-in than its competitors, making it appear to be a better place to go shoot than the other ranges in town.

This is why people want to go shoot on a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus or Greg Norman: They want the ego boost that comes from doing something associated with someone who is famous for doing what they enjoy doing.

If you got it, flaunt it.

It’s TacticalPay Day.

It’s TacticalPay Day.

I was approached by the guys at TacticalPay to do a paid post about their credit card processing service for the gun industry. Normally, I turn down this sort of stuff, but you know what?

It’s pretty good, so I don’t mind talking about what they do on the blog here.

The processing rates are decent, and they work with Authorize.net, which means they’ll probably work with whatever e-commerce shopping cart system you’re using on your site.

It was getting mighty hard for some people in the gun biz to find a credit card service after Operation Choke Point started up, but TacticalPay works JUST inside the gun and gun accessories industries.

Cool.

So if your bank has been giving you the runaround on your credit card processing, or you think that you’re a second-class citizen with them just because you sell first-class guns, check out TacticalPay and see how they work for you.


* I said I didn’t mind talking about their stuff. I  never said I turned down their money…

The Missionary And The Socialite

The Missionary and the Socialite

One of the nicer things about climbing higher and higher up the gun writer caste system is that the signal to noise ratio gets A LOT better. The people I talk with on social media are really, really clued-in, and the amount of bad advice they hand out is pretty much derp-free.

But there is a price to be paid for being one of the Illuminati, and that price is that you really, really don’t want to suffer fools gladly, and it becomes very, very easy to look down on people less clueful than you.

Which is why Michael Bane’s podcast from a few weeks ago hit me pretty hard. Yes, it’s fun, (a LOT of fun) hanging out with smart people, but that needs to tempered with the realization that other people need to brought up, not put down.

An anecdote…

At the first Arizona Bloggershoot at the Casa Grande Public range a few years ago with Kevin Baker from The Smallest Minority, the benches to the south of us were occupied with a bunch of locals who were havin’ a grand ol’ time shootin’ things up with a half-dozen Mosins, a few HiPoints, a Mossberg Maverick and a Taurus PT145.

They were being safe, they weren’t muzzling us, and they were introducing a young boy to shooting. Who am I to tell them not to have such a good time just because their guns were cheap?

If we want new gun owners to shoot their guns more frequently, we need to create a gun culture that encourages such things. Speaking as someone who has paid money for a post-secondary education on how to evangelize, telling people they are not worthy of your church isn’t going to fill the pews…