Self Defense Insurance Comparison

Self Defense Insurance Comparison

Update: I have a newer, more comprehensive comparison over here. And hey, if you’re new to the site, feel free to stick around and/or give me a Like on Facebook.

There’s now three self-defense insurance plans out there for CCW carriers (and others) who want to win the court battle that comes after the gun battle. We spend hours on the range and thousands of dollars on guns, ammo, gear and training to prepare to defend our lives, but don’t spend a nickel on preparing to defend ourselves in court. Once my current bout of funemployment is over, I will be taking advantage of one of these offers, and it’s something I’d recommend for every civilian who carries a firearm.

Armed Citizen Legal Defense Fund

The purpose of the Network’s Legal Defense Fund is to provide legal defense support to Network members, when these lawfully armed citizens face prosecution or civil lawsuit after exercising their right to self defense. The Network does not offer an insurance program or a prepaid legal fee service, but rather a number of benefits are made available to members. If a member is involved in a self defense incident, a fee deposit is paid to the member’s attorney by the Network to get the legal defense immediately underway, with representation during questioning, and arranging for an independent investigation of the incident. If the incident results in felony charges the fee deposit is $10,000; if the member faces misdemeanor charges, a $5,000 fee deposit is sent to his or her attorney.

Network members, by virtue of their membership, are entitled to case review by one of the Network experts and have access to contact information for Network-affiliated attorneys and expert witnesses. For this service, there is no charge beyond the Network membership fee. Beyond that, distribution of monetary grants to help with legal fees is at the discretion of the Network’s Advisory Board, comprised of Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Jim Fleming, Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller and Network officers, Marty Hayes and Vincent Shuck, as ex officio members.

NRA Self-Defense Insurance

Update: NRA Self-Defense Insurance is now provided through NRA Carry Guard.

Our Self-Defense Insurance protects National Rifle Association members who need extra protection not found in most homeowners’ policies.

The coverage is a rider to the Excess Personal Liability coverage, and provides civil defense and liability and criminal defense reimbursement if you are involved in an act of self-defense.

What’s Covered:

• Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.
• Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.
• Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.

US Concealed Carry Association Legal Defense Foundation

The Self-Defense SHIELD consists of an insurance policy owned by the USCCA that designates the members as beneficiaries. No individual ungerwriting is required. As a Silver PLUS, Gold PLUS or Platinum PLUS member you automatically receve these insurance benfits. The USCCA owns and pays for the policy while you get the benefits.

Criminal Defense Grant
This layer of the Self-Defense SHIELD can help you pay for your criminal defense lawyer if you’re charged with a crime.

Court-Related Expenses
Our final layer of the USCCA Self-Defense SHIELD allows active members to apply for an additional grant for any other court-related expenses.

Policy Comparison


Criminal Court Costs Civil Court Costs Expert Witneseses Addt’l Grants Cost /Year
USCCA Silver $25,000.00 $50,000.00 Y $25,000.00 $127.00
USCCA Gold $50,000.00 $100,000.00 Y $50,000.00 $197.00
USCCA Platinum $75,000.00 $300,000.00 Y $75,000.00 $297.00
NRA Self-Defense Insurance One * $50,000.00 * $100,000.00 * N N $165.00
NRA Self-Defense Insurance Two * $50,000.00 * $250,000.00 * N N $254.00
Armed Citizen Legal Defense Fund $5000/$10,000 Y ** Y Y *** $85.00

* Total coverage is split between civil and criminal cases, with a $50,000.00 sub-limit on criminal court cases

** From the comments: “In your comparison grid you incorrectly state that the Network extends no assistance forcivil court costs. That is not correct. While The Network is not an insurance scheme, and thus does not have coverage limits, our commitment to our members who have had to defend themselves against criminal attack is to assist in their legal defense — be that a criminal trial or civil litigation — to the extent that our advisory board deems appropriate.”
The post has been updated to reflect this new information

Also from the comments: “The NRA-endorsed insurance programs require that you be an NRA membership. Average price is about $25 per year. The ACLDN membership requires no other membership costs. The USCCA Self-Defense SHIELD memberships at the Plus levels also include membership in the USCCA at the listed level which costs $37, $67, or $97 for Silver, Gold, and Platinum respectively.

In addition, the spreadsheet only marks the NRA coverages as having the criminal limit being included in the civil limits. The SHIELD program does the same thing. The listed limits are per occurrence, including all coverage – civil and criminal. The criminal limits are the portion of the total which may be used for criminal defense.”

The table also misstates the USCCA coverage for expert witnesses. The summary of benefits states the coverage includes “reasonable and necessary costs and expenses incurred in connection with the investigation and/or defense of any criminal charge or criminal proceeding caused by the use of a firearm”. After checking with the insurance company, Tim Schmidt confirms that this is the correct interpretation. The USCCA Self-Defense SHIELD program does indeed include coverage for expert witness testimony, private investigators, laboratories, and any other related expenses that would be needed to prepare and present the necessary defense.”

*** Grant amounts are unspecified

All descriptions of the policies were taken verbatim from each organization’s website.

 

Range Review – Caswell’s Shooting Range

Range Review – Caswell’s Shooting Range

Caswell's

Caswell’s has been in Mesa, Arizona for over twenty years, but they’ve recently acquired new ownership. I got a chance to talk to the Carolann Bergeson, the new Director of Operations about the changes at Caswell’s and what that means to shooters in the East Valley.

Interior of Caswell's

There are over a dozen gun stores in the Mesa area, including heavy hitters like Bass Pro Shops and Sportsman’s Warehouse, which could make for over-saturation of the market. Caswell’s has found success by focusing on the personal protection and hobby shooter rather than pursuing the hunting and outdoor markets and ties in their sales department with a full range of training options and the popularity of their indoor range. Their 11 bay range has electronic target retrieval systems and air-conditioning (a welcome relief in the Arizona summer) and are staffed with friendly range officers to help keep everyone safe.

With Arizona removing the permit requirements for concealed carry last year, demand for the state-approved CCW course has dropped off, but Caswell’s has seen a marked improvement in other training courses like their Intro to Firearms and Defensive Pistol classes.

Guns. Lots of guns.

One of my pet peeves is gun store clerks who treat you rudely or ignore paying customers in favor of chatting with their friends, and I asked Carolann about their customer service training.

“The key to good service is first making sure you have enough people behind the counter”, she said, “and then making sure they know what good customer service is. We coach our sales staff and have monthly feedback and training sessions where they tell us what the customers are asking for and we coach them on the best way to help the customer. We want salespeople who are courteous and helpful and have a real enthusiasm for the job.”

Range

Another pet peeve is gun store customers who shop for their wives/girlfriend and insist on getting a snub-nosed .38 or something similar, and I asked Carolann what her staff does in that situation.

“We ask the person themselves what they want in a gun. We’ve found that if we get them talking about what they’ve shot in the past, we can find the right gun for them, and if we can’t, we suggest they try a few pistols out on our range before making a decision.”

I also asked Carolann what her pistol of choice was: “A 9mm HK I got as a gift, but I’ve been trying out some of the rental guns and I think I might want to make a change.”

The indoor range and the training options it provides are what sets Caswell’s apart, allowing prospective gun buyers to try a rental version of the pistol they’re considering before they buy it, and if they chose to buy a new gun that day, Caswell’s will discount the range fee off the purchase price.

Urban Firearms Institute

Caswell’s is located at 856 E. Isabella Ave. Mesa, AZ 85204. Their phone number is 480-497-5141 / 1-888-72SHOOT and they can be found online at www.caswells.com.

All photos c. 2011 Exurbanleague.com

This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun. Oh Wait, No, It Ain’t Either Of Those.

This is my rifle, this is my gun. Oh wait, no, it ain’t either of those.

My 14 year old nephew has an extensive airsoft collection including several replica M4 carbines. According to one local police department, he’s a criminal who is just WAITING to commit robbery.

AVONDALE, AZ – Avondale police officers are concerned over the amount of replica military assault guns now being used by children and criminals.

Officers seized 25 military assault-looking rifles, some fake and some airsoft, being used in home invasions, armed robberies, threats and intimidations, police said.

The seizure was part of an undercover operation with the Avondale Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit.

Ok, got that “children and criminals” part? The guns LOOK like real guns (well, aside from the fact that they’re the wrong caliber. Oh, and made of plastic.), so therefore, we have to seize them. It’s for the children, after all.

What’s next, seizure of fake VW-based Ferarris and Rolls-Royces? I mean, they LOOK just like a real Phantom or 308GTS, right (well, aside from the wheelbase, trim, engine noise, styling, interior, etc.), so they have to actually BE the real thing and not a harmless, cheap wannabe luxury car.

We need to shut down the kit car industry right away. Please, won’t somebody think of the children?

 

Gunsite Lite

Gunsite Lite

No, this is NOT a post about what Crimson Trace is doing up in Paulden next weekend, this a post about training and branding and consumer trust. 

Gun Culture 2.0 is about self-defence and unless you’re Chuck Norris (PBUH), that means training. Situational awareness training, “tactical” training, stress-fire, less-lethal options, safe rooms, the whole nine yards. Training is what turns the lump o’ metal on your hip into a weapon that will save your life.

Because the market is large and expanding, there are a lot of people offering “tactical” training out there, some of them very competent and serious, some of them not-so-serious. The problem for consumers is, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? With everyone and their dog talking about their tacticool skills, how do you make competent, informed decisions about self-defence training that aligns with your perceived needs and available budget? 

I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented shooter and teacher as my CCW instructor. One of the first things he told us is that only 1 in 3 people who finish a CCW class are serious about it and will make defensive carry a part of their lifestyle. I like to think I’m that one person, although the fact that I’m STILL stuck in D Class Production casts doubt on that point… 

I digress. 

For that 1-in-3 person, what post-CCW training options are there? The NRA offers excellent one and two-day training classes in Personal Protection. I’ve taken both courses, and they do an excellent job of teaching the basics of defensive firearm tactics like safety, situational awareness and methods of concealed carry. The Personal Protection I and Personal Protection II classes are excellent value: For the cost, they’re hard to beat. 

But.

They are beginning courses. They’re not going to teach stance (much), they’re not going to help much with flinching or mashing the trigger or any of the various ways we humans can mess up a shot. Instructor quality can vary: Generations Firearm Training has top-notch people leading their courses and I trust them implicitly, but when it comes to training, there are few recognized leaders out there for the consumer to chose from.

This is where branding comes in. We trust the NRA to provide good training because of their long history, and, for the most part they come through. I have no idea why the NRA doesn’t step up to the plate and aggressively market their NRA-branded protection courses as the logical next-step for CCW holders, but they are missing out here, and others are stepping in to the void left by the NRA’s inaction. 

This market is prime territory for Gunsite and other top-tier schools. They have the brand loyalty. They have the established trust. They have the brand recognition. And most importantly, they know how to teach people how to safely use firearms. 

The least-expensive course at Gunsite is almost a thousand dollars in tuition. Add in three days of hotel, airfare, car rental and ammo, and you’re looking at the same amount of money as a three-day trip to Disneyland. My wife’s a good shot, but I’d have a hard time justifying spending the money for our family vacation on a trip to Gunsite. 

Why not let the mountain come to Mohammed instead? Consider this: 

Gunsite On Location
Course length: 2 days (18 hours)
Prerequisites: CCW License, NRA Basic Pistol or equivalent instruction
Instructor to student ratio: Minimum 1 instructor to 6 students
Instructors: Lead Instructor is an instructor qualified to teach at Gunsite, with up to three assistants, each trained at Gunsite in some manner.
Class: Defensive Pistol 090. Basics of drawing from concealment, situational awareness, firearms safety, defensive tactics, taught using methods from America’s premier defensive firearms academy. Marketing tagline: “What your CCW class doesn’t teach.”
Cost: $500 per student. 18 Students max.
Ammo: 300 rounds factory practice ammo
Completion of this course entitles the participant to $100 off any 250 Pistol course at Gunsite.

The downside to this is that it may dilute the Gunsite brand, but that can be mitigated with video recording of the instructors on location to insure standards are met, detailed after-action reports and instant feedback from class participants via the web.

The advantages are it’s a new revenue stream for Gunsite, it’s another avenue to advertise Gunsite to Gun Culture 2.0 and it increases interest in the more advanced classes at Paulden, both for the students and the assistant instructors.

Ok, Gunsite, I’m looking for a job. There’s your business model, now hire me to run it. 

Mother Of Mercy, Is This The End Of Glock?

Mother of mercy, is this the end of Glock?

In a word, yes. No. Maybe.

Richard over at Guns For Sale has an provocatively-titled post arguing that demand for Glocks has peaked, and other guns are on the rise, and he may be on to something here. 

All successful companies reach a point where they discover a cash cow that brings in money hand over fist. For Microsoft, it was Windows-MS Office integration, for IBM, it was the server-terminal environment, for Sun, it was Sparc, for Apple, it was… 

Apple is a special case. More on that later. 

When a company discovers a cash cow, the tendency is to milk it for all it’s worth and avoid doing anything that might interrupt the revenue stream from that popular product. The emphasis is on refining existing products, not innovating new ones. Companies become successful and big and most importantly, risk-averse, making them vulnerable to the next innovation coming down the line. 

Microsoft supplanted IBM because IBM was too focused on the server-terminal environment to see that desktop computing was the next big thing. Google upstaged Microsoft because Google saw that relevant information was more important than operating systems, and Facebook is in the process of upstaging Google because we trust our family and friends to give us relevant data more than we trust programmers in Silicon Valley. 

Which brings me to Apple. Apple has been on top of the hi-tech world for ten years now: It’s gone from having Microsoft and Dell to worry about to squaring off against Google and Amazon, and it’s been successful so far because senior management has realized that we, the consumers, are in charge of what we want, not some faceless product marketing dude in middle management. In order to stay ahead of the innovation curve, Apple is willing to kill its cash cows when needed, even in their prime, something very few companies are capable of doing. 

Glock needs to do this. The Gen4 pistols are nice, but they do have issues, and let’s face it, in an industry that ain’t exactly known for rapid innovation, Glock has pretty much stayed still, churning out the same size and shape of pistols with the same action for thirty years. They may stay on top for a while, though. To borrow a phrase from the IT world of 40 years ago, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”, and that’s where Glock is right now: They are the safe choice, the one to chose because everybody else is doing choosing them too. 

Will they stay on top forever? Of course not, no company ever does. Who will knock them off? Someone who hits the sweet spot of price, performance, placement and promotion like Glock has these past decades. Maybe Ruger, maybe S+W, maybe some gunsmith in a garage with a great idea. 

Heck, it may even be some guy from the backwoods of Utah

* Disclaimer: I have no dog in the “Glocks vs. 1911” debate: As far as I’m concerned, there are CZ’s, and there’s everything else. 

** Instead of going for the music reference, I went for a movie line in the post title

Learning From Red Bull

Learning from Red Bull

Consider this video for the Red Bull Air Racing World Series: What can we learn from it when it comes to promoting practical shooting?

1. Personality goes a long way. The nationality of each pilot is up front and center, giving us a reason to cheer (or boo) right off the bat. 

2. Fan-friendly venues. The fans can see the action at the venue know the score as the event happens. Ever gone to a USPSA match or IDPA match as a spectator? From personal experience, I can tell you they really suck to watch (80% of a squad’s time on a stages is spent with walk-throughs, scoring and taping). 3 Gun Nation does a great job at distilling the essence of three-gun down to an exciting competition, but a little bleacher seating and some local promotion would go  help bring in more people to the sport.

3. Real-time scoring. The fact is, you can’t tell from watching a USPSA or IDPA competition who is doing well in the match and who isn’t. Sure, a competitor may ace a stage, but what that means to the match as a whole is a mystery until the final day of the match when all the scores are tallied.

4. Big-time sponsors. Smith and Wesson, FNUSA and Cheaper Than Dirt’s revenues COMBINED probably don’t add up to one-eighth of the money that Red Bull makes in the U.S. alone. Bass Pro Shops teaming up with Top Shot is great step in this direction (even if all they show is fishing commercials during the show). 

Hunting 2.0

Hunting 2.0

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that hunting license applications are up significantly from last year

The NSSF credits the free time available and need for outside food sources due to the worsening economy, but I’m wondering if the people who’ve been brought into the shooting sports via Gun Culture 2.0 aren’t looking to branch out and try new things. 

While extrapolating a national trend from one’s own experience is pretty poor analysis, I can’t help but wonder with shows like “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on TLC, “The Wild Within” on the Travel Channel and “Survivorman” on Discovery, there’s now a new generation of exurbanites who have grown up in cities but are now looking to re-establish our roots to our inner hunter-gatherer. If this is the case, then this uptick in hunting licenses won’t end with a better economy; instead, we’re looking at a fundamental shift towards hunting becoming an accepted part of our society once again. 

Cool.

Military Games

Military games

Once again, an idea that began in competitive shooting bubbles up to the real world

Surefire RTS

Dubbed the Rapid Transition Sight, it was designed by SureFire’s suppressor division head Barry Deuck to be a simple, elegant solution for shooters who use a magnified optic as their primary sight.

-Ultra-Durable: Machined from 7075 aluminum alloy bar stock, light weight and twice the strength of 6061 T6 aluminum -½ MOA elevation and windage adjustments

-Mil-Spec Hard Anodized finish

-Same height above bore as standard M4/M16A4 sights

-Ambidextrous: can be mounted for left or right hand shooters

-45 degree offset

-Low profile over picatinny rail only rising 2/10th of an inch so that it does not interfere with your primary optics

-Mounts directly to the top picatinny rail of your rifle

-No Special Tools Required: only uses a flat head screw and can easily be done in the field 

And it’s perfect for shooting Tac Optics in Three-Gun, too. I still shoot Tac Iron, but I will join the dark side and put glass on my rifle one of these days.

Our Own Worst Enemy

Our Own Worst Enemy

Sons of Guns is a half-hour show weekly show on Discovery that’s essentially “American Chopper” with AK’s, showing the operation of Red Jacket Firearms in Baton Rouge which specializes in Saiga conversions.

And if you read Ar15.com, you’d think it was the worst thing to hit the firearms community since the assault weapons ban.

“I watched the first episode and all i could think was how bad it made the industry look to the average uninformed joe. Even that f******* Morgan Spurlock show made us look better than this.  Also, imho, some of the stuff about our ‘gun culture’ is not for mass consumption.”

“They had to find some shop that specializes in saiga’s class III conversions? Why not a custom 1911 smith. Or a custom doubles shop? Something with some art and history behind it?? Nope lets make it about billy bobs house of SKS & Waffles.”

“I hope they cancel that show.”

Two million people watch this show. Two million people watched a show where suppressors aren’t used by assassins or poachers, where AK’s and Saigas are commonplace, where normal everyday people from all walks of life buy guns.

Two million people watch a gun show. Two million voters. Two million people who think a show about guns is a good idea.

If we want firearms to become part of our culture once again, like it or not, it’ll be shows like Sons of Guns and Top Shot that lead the way.