Après Le Déluge, Nous Sommes.

“After the flood, there is us.”

So what happens now, after the levee has broken? Well, aside from all the things that I mentioned before, the companies that will thrive in the future are the ones who can best answer this one, simple question:

“Okay, I just bought a gun. Now what?”

Sounds easy, right? The fact of the matter is, though, that Gun Culture 2.0 has grown up and matured without having to answer that question. For just short of ten years now, the only reason needed to buy a gun was “It’s a gun, and I should buy it now, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy one in the future.”

Imagine what’s happening in California right now, writ large. That’s what we were afraid of, and that’s what drove gun sales. That’s not happening for the foreseeable future, and now we’re in a new phase of gun ownership in America, where gun owners are buying guns for positive reasons, not negative ones.

This is a challenge for Gun Culture 2.0 because it’s driven, by a large part, by negative outcomes. Gun Culture 1.0 was about positive outcomes: You take a walk in the woods, you see Bambi, and you provide meat for your family and a trophy for wall by blasting him into oblivion. Everyone was happy with the outcome (except Bambi, that is).

This is not true for today’s gun owner, because we are preparing for the very, very bad day when we may need to use lethal force to protect a life that is dear to us. It’s not something we enjoy thinking about, but it is satisfying knowing we’re ready. Is it fun, though? No, and the company that is most-able to bring the fun into Gun Culture 2.0 is the one that will grow the most in today’s new gun world.

Harley was successful because they transitioned a negative brand image (biker thug) into a postive brand image (Open road! Freedom!). No one (yet) is working on transitioning from a negative outcome (killed on da streetz) to a positive outcome.

Heck, I’m not sure we KNOW what a positve outcome even is yet.

 

Oh, and what’s up with the title? Well, to borrow a line from the third-greatest Christmas movie ever made*, it’s one of the benefits of a classical education.


* Ronin is #1 (yes, it’s a Christmas movie) and Lethal Weapon is #2.

Justify Your Existence On This Planet.

So the question was asked by a friend on Facebook,

Just exactly what is the purpose and goal of defensive firearms training? It really can’t be based on probability, because the probability is you will never need to use a gun to defend yourself.
So what circumstances should we train for and what should be our priorities?

I have three answers for that question.

  1. Because I can, that’s why.
  2. Yes, the odds are very, very low. The stakes, however, are very, very mortal. It’s like being in a traffic accident. No, I don’t get into an accident every day (even with #FloridaMan as a constant companion on the roads), but despite that, I still wear my seatbelt every time I get in the car.
  3. One of the reasons why I got started in this was because of the perception of increasing violence in and around my city.

Now, though, ten years later, things have changed. I still want to be become a better gun owner, but in the process of becoming a better defensive gun owner, I’m a quieter, gentler soul (because of the need to de-escalate), I’m an active participant in the (fun) sport of practical shooting, gotten in better shape, met some great people, learned how to be a better driver and a better parent thru more awareness and I’ve *definitely* become more aware of the long-term consequences of my actions.
As it turns out, one of the biggest reasons for the journey is not the destination, but rather the journey itself.

Ruger LCP II 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1-222

ruger_LCPII_2000_Rounds

If you’ve been in a gun shop recently or spent any time reading a gun magazine, you’ll soon find out that there is a big gap between the guns that the experts recommend for concealed carry and the guns that people can carry without major adjustments in their lifestyle. As Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, once said,

What we of the ‘cognoscenti’ fail to recognize and accept is that few average people will carry a service weapon. Here’s why: A holstered Glock 19 is the size of a Small Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and weighs as much as two cans of uncondensed soup. What normal person wants to carry that on their belt or in their pants?

This is where the ultra-small .380 pocket pistol comes into play. The original Ruger LCP in .380ACP  marked the beginning of the boom in concealed carry and concealed carry pistols, and now Ruger has rolled out a new, improved version, the LCP II, with reworked texturing and in-demand features like last-round slide lock and an improved trigger.

And it’s a good little gun. The most controllable, most-shootable pocket .380 I’ve found (so far) is the Sig Sauer P238. The P238 is comfortable and easy to shoot, but because it’s based on the 1911 platform, it’s also heavier than most pocket guns and has a manual thumb safety that needs to be flicked off before it can be put to work. It’s also more expensive than a lot of pocket. 380’s, and let’s face it, that does play a big part of the cost/benefit analysis when it comes to buying a gun for anyone whose life doesn’t revolve around guns.

If this were a side-by-side test (and it’s not), the LCP II would be in second-place when it comes shootability and comfort for pocket .380’s, and it’s a LOT more affordable than the P238. The LCP II is a single-action only (SAO), hammer-fired gun that comes from the factory with a six round magazine, a pocket holster and a crisp six and 1/2 pound trigger pull. The trigger on the LCPII is, quite frankly, the best trigger I’ve encountered in a pocket .380 that’s not based on a 1911 and is a marked improvement from the original LCP trigger. The pistol has a blade trigger safety, a drop safety and small, but usable sights for aiming. The LCP II is comfortable to shoot, although more than 100 or so rounds in a given range session might be a bit too much for comfort.

The sights on the LCP II are an improvement from the LCP, but they are still small and hard to pick up in low-light conditions compared to larger, more conventional sight setups.  The magazine comes with a flat floorplate and an optional pinkie extension, and that extension really helped me get a grip on the gun while shooting it.

Speaking of shooting it, let’s get to the reason for this post.

Shooting the LCP II – The First 222 Rounds

The 2000 Round Challenge was proposed by the late Todd Green as a way to measure the reliability of any given gun. The rules are quite simple: Shoot 2000 rounds through your pistol, any type of ammo, over any length of time, and report what stoppages/malfunctions/misfeeds you run into along the way. 2000 rounds without a hiccup is a fairly big challenge for stock service pistols that have to survive being carried around by cops for years and years, so if a small pocket gun like the LCP II can make through this challenge (or even make it through a significant part of it) without any major malfunctions, I’d say Ruger has a winner on his hands.

Lucky Gunner was kind enough to provide the first 500 rounds for this test: 400 rounds PMC Bronze .380 ammo and 100 round of Hornady Critical Defense. This, along with a hodgepodge of rounds from my ammo cans are where we’ll start, and I’ll mix in more ammo types as we go along.

The pistol was field-stripped and lubed with Brownells Friction Defense Extreme gun oil and then taken to the range. It will not be disassembled or lubed again until it reaches 2000 rounds or the test results show it can’t take anymore firing. Most of these rounds were shot with a two-handed grip, however, some were shot one-handed with the strong and support-side hand alone, which did affect the results, as we’ll see in a bit.

Ammo shot through the gun so far:

12 Rounds Hornady Critical Defense 90 grain Hollow Point 
12 Rounds Tula Ammo 91 Grain Full Metal Jacket
200 Rounds PMC Bronze 90 Grain Full Metal Jacket

I encountered one Failure to Feed (FTF) at round number 112 with the first magazine of ammo I put through the gun shooting with only one hand. I believe that FTF was due to me not gripping the gun enough for it to cycle properly, (I was just getting used to the darn thing), but I will note it here with an asterisk and see if it happens any more.

2000 Round Challenge Results:

Rounds Fired: 222
Failures Encountered: Round 116, FTF*
*Probably user-induced

So far, so good. 200+ rounds, and only one little (probably user-induced) hiccup. Not bad for something the size of a chocolate chip cookie.

After-Class Report: The Law Of Self Defense With Andrew Branca

I’ve read his book (twice), and I’ve watched all the DVD’s on self-defense law I received with my ACLDN membership at least two times each.

So why would I want to spend the money and time to also go to Andrew Branca’s Law Of Self-Defense Seminar?

Because going to the seminar means you’ll learn what Andrew Branca thinks is important about self-defense law, not what I think is important about self-defense law as I went along in his book. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the seminar (not necessarily the book) is that a legal strategy of self-defense only applies after you admit to the fact that you used deadly force against someone to defend your life. Your defense, essentially is “Yes, I shot him/her, BUT it was justified because I did it in self-defense.”

See the problem there? You’re admitting that you shot someone, and you’re betting on the fact you did it legally because it was in self-defense. If that self-defense justification goes away, you’ve just admitted you used deadly force.

The book and seminar are both built around five principals of legal self-defense (I won’t say what they are here: Spend the money for the book, it’s worth it. However, all five elements he speaks about are CUMULATIVE: All of them must be present in some form or another for a self-defense claim to be valid. If one or more of those elements aren’t present, everything we talked about in the “but” part of your previous statement (“Yes, I shot him/her, but it was justified”) vanishes, and the “Yes, I shot him/her.” is all that remains.

See why this is so important now?

It’s important because law cares about the law, not your intentions. Just as it is up to us to know the rules of the road before we drive a car, it is up to us to learn the rules of self-defense as well. If we blow through a red light, the law doesn’t care if we did it because we meant to do it or because we didn’t see the signal light change, the law says we’re getting a ticket.

By looking around and watching other drivers, we can learn that running through red lights is a bad idea (although the drivers here in Florida do give me pause about this fact…). Yes, we can learn a little bit about the rules of the road by observing the environment and we can learn a bit of the rules of self-defense from the environment of gun forums and magazines around us, but if I learned to drive from watching the antics of my fellow drivers here in Florida, I’d be dead by now.

And yet so, so many gun owners think they know about the legalities of self-defense because of what other gun owners tell them.

Whoops.

A few more thoughts…

The class had a professional environment and was blissfully free of the usual “Can I shoot him now? Ok, what about now? Ok, now?” kind of questions that are so typical to concealed carry courses and other legal seminars. Also, the seminar really brought home the need to have at least one option for non-deadly force handy at all times. We are 5x more likely to be faced with a non-deadly force than deadly force, but are we 5x more likely to get training in the use of non-deadly force like OC spray or combatives than we are to get pistol training?

If not, why not?

When if comes to how and when you can use deadly force, what you learn about this class about the legal complexities of using deadly force in defense of your property and others should swiftly disabuse you of any “sheepdog” notion. The law gets really, really tricky when you start to talk about the use of force to help a third-party, and the law is even less on your side when it comes to using deadly force to defend your personal property.

You are not Batman. You are not charged with wiping out the criminal element in your town, so don’t do that.

Serious drivers are not content to mimic the bad habits of their fellow drivers, they take the time to learn the rules of the road from serious people. If you are serious about self-defense, you should take the law of self-defense seriously as well.

The Family That Stacks Together, Attacks Together

What would a “Tactical Gentleman’s Weekend” for Gun Culture 2.0 look like?

It’s an interesting challenge, because let’s face it, shooting stuff from speedboats is FUN, while learning how to de-escalate an angry drunk has a certain “eat your broccoli, it’s good for you” feel to it. It’s been my goal for a while now to eat my broccoli and become a responsible gun owner in every sense of the word. The issue is, though, that society today does not see “responsible” as a desirable thing, so balancing the broccoli and the ice cream is an ongoing challenge.

With that in-mind, here’s what I’d like to see in two-day “tactical gentleman’s” weekend that would apply to today’s CCW holder.

  • A Heavy Emphasis On Concealed Carry
    Ideally, you’d have to commit to coming to class with your primary carry rig, along with a few extra mag pouches for administration purposes.
  • Holistic, lifestyle-based approach to personal protection.
    Concealed carry, home defense, whatever.
  • Defending others as well as yourself.
    Girlfriend, friends, family, whatever. We don’t live on a deserted island, and our training shouldn’t reflect that either.

Some specific topics to cover:

  • Creating a safe room, home security, low-light ops
  • De-Escalation / Situational Awareness
  • Intro to Empty hand / Combatives
  • Basic Trauma Care
  • Shoot / No Shoot (ideally in a shoothouse of some kind

Will I ever see such a thing in my lifetime? Dunno. But it’d be cool when it happens.

 

Gentlemen Prefer Bombs.

This is an interesting take on the usual weekend-long tactical training class.

11 spots left for Tactical Gentlemen’s Weekend! This next one will be at Strange Farms in Georgia! Thursday, March 23rd through Sunday, March 26th. 4 days 3 nights. All the food and beer is included along with over a $1,000 in training classes! We will also be sponsoring 4 wounded vets from Wishes For Warriors. Classes being offered for the weekend.
Advanced Handgun Class:
Low-Light Night Class:
Vehicle Defense Class:
Close Quarters Combatives Armed & Unarmed Class:
Last day will feature a surprise with water operations(speed boat)! Cost for the entire weekend is $1200.

Okay, I like where this is headed. Sorta. It smacks a little too much of “Get drunk and shoot guns in the woods” for my liking, but I like how it’s about more than just shooting guns; it’s about guys becoming better at a bunch of things that would help them defend themselves and their loved ones.

But high-speed water operations in a speedboat? Just how exactly does that apply to my life? Yes, it sounds like fun, but look, if I want to fun things with guns for the sake of doing fun things with guns, I’ll beg, whine and plead to go out to something like this the next time it’s in town.

As I said earlier, though, I like where this is headed. But what would a version of this “Gentlemen’s weekend” look like for those of us who don’t consider MOLLE webbing to be a fashion statement?

More on that later.

Owning The Audience Is Better Than Owning The Factory.

At least that’s the way it is for most consumer products out there right now, with one noticeable exception.

Guns.

As I’ve said before, guns right now are where computers were at about 1982 or so. People are starting to wake up to the idea that they’re useful to have around, but they have NO FREAKIN’ CLUE what to do with them.

Fun fact: Computer manufacturers used to say that organizing your recipes was a big reason to have a computer in the home.

No, really, they did.

That’s where we are with Gun Culture 2.0 right now. There are a lot of companies creating new gadgets, but what those companies don’t provide along with their new Blast-o-magic 3000 is a reason for people to own a gun beyond “It’s a gun. It’s got our name in it. Buy it, or get lost.”.

Yeah, that’s a message that’ll play well, now that guns are become a mass commodity consumer good.

Current Casual EDC

A quick update now that I’m carrying around a smaller trauma kit.

sheild_edc

Clockwise from upper left:

And I normally carry an SOG Mini Instinct as well, along the centerline of my body. All of this easily conceals in a normal pair of jeans underneath an untucked t-shirt, and I’ve carried in on 3+ mile walks as well. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got now, and barring any changes like a new laser, this should be my “go to” for days when I don’t have to play dress-up in the office.

Update: Rats, hit “Publish” instead of “Save”. Oh well, you’ll find out more about the trauma kit tomorrow.

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.

It’s Like The NRA Reads This Blog, Or Something.

Me, a few weeks ago:

What’s needed is a politically-neutral exposition of all things Gun Culture 2.0 that has a participation element as well. No rants about “THEY’RE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOU GUNS!“. No Republican voter registration drives. Just guns, ways to enjoy your guns and ways to be around people who like guns.

The NRA, now:

Experience a full array of educational seminars and workshops featuring the best personal protection and concealed carry practices taught and demonstrated by leading experts and training instructors from across the country.  Ranging from one hour informational seminars to multi-hour, in-depth instruction and hands on training, there will be a wide variety of topics and options for all skill and knowledge levels.

Needs more shootey, but other than that, yeah, this looks pretty good. It’d be REALLY cool if the NRA could team up with a local range to run, say, a shortened version of The Mover and The Practical Bianchi Cup stages somewhere close to the event to help boost interest in one of practical shooting’s oldest events.

Thanks to GunCulture2.0 for the heads-up.