Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Claude’s comments on Ballistic Radio this month hit me really hard. The firearms training industry is in a Catch-22 right now: People flock to trainers who flaunt their high-level military creds because such people have trust icons galore, and at the same time, having a firearms background that is pretty much all M4, all the time is bloody useless for we armed citizens.

This is one of the areas where a background in executive protection can come in handy. While how they protect people may vary from how we armed citizens protect our loved ones, the people who stand around with radio headsets know how to remain discreet while heavily armed, and they have a long history of problem-solving with command tone, soft hands and if necessary, a pistol.

Which sounds pretty much identical to what we normies need to know. We need to think more like Frank Horrigan, and less like Gunny Highway.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1261 – 1399

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1261 – 1399

Another day, another 140-ish rounds of Lucky Gunner’s .380 ammo through the little LCP2. This time out, it was just a slog to put as many rounds through the pistol as fast as I could, as today was a father-son range day with my youngest son, and my priority was helping him shoot, not running a test on this gun.

The LCP2 had one of it’s worst outings ever: 3 Failure to Ejects in under 140 rounds of shooting. While not a good thing, this is not too surprising to see as we approach the conclusion of this test. Two of the FTE’s were with Magtech ammo, and the other was with Fiocchi. The 39 rounds of Winchester White Box I put through it worked just fine.

A boy and his plinkster

Helping my youngest son with his shooting was the highlight of the day, by far. He’s a decent shot with my Marlin Plinkster, and he’s starting to love my red-dotted Smith&Wesson M22A. He owns a Remington 514, but I think he needs something more robust now that he’s older.

M22A and a young boy

Another highlight happened when we were loading mags: Bambi showed up to munch a bit on the sweet, sweet clover that was all over the ground of the backyard range we were shooting in, and offered up some suggestions about stance and trigger pull as we were shooting.

Everyone’s a critic.

Bambi and guns

And chill out: That Plinkster was empty, and there is a chamber flag in it. We were safe to load mags at that table.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
50 Rounds Fiocchi 95 gr .380 ACP
50 Rounds MagTech .380 ACP
39 Rounds Winchester .380 ACP

Total Rounds Fired: 1399
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359
Failure to feed: Round 873

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.

 

And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

And As It Turns Out, I Have Done Just That.

Me, five years ago:

According to the commenters (some of which are combat medics), I needed to start with a pressure and a tourniquet rather than the QuikClot.

Which exposes a big gaping hole (no pun intended…) in my training: Aside from CPR and some basic first aid, I’ve had no training in dealing with the effects of a negligent discharge.

Today, I’ve had a day-long course in first-aid trauma med, and I carry either an improvised tourniquet or a full-on SOF-T everywhere I go.

Cool.

Which Is Better: An Indoor Gun Range Or An Outdoor Gun Range

Which Is Better: An Indoor Gun Range Or An Outdoor Gun Range

Owning a gun is great thing, but owning a gun and shooting it on a regular basis is even better. Having a gun in your house isn’t going to make you safe anyomre than having a car on your driveway is going to get you to the corner grocery store: You have to learn how to use it safely and efficiently so it to do the job it’s supposed to do.

So what does it actually cost a new gun owner to shoot on a regular (monthly) basis? In 2013, back when I lived in Phoenix, I visited some of the local indoor and outdoor ranges to find out what a monthly practice session might cost a new shooter. My assumption is that you’ll go to the range and spend an hour shooting 50 rounds of FMJ ammo from a 9mm pistol at three different man-sized targets, which based on my experience, is about what most casual shooters do on a typical day at the range.

Ranges: Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club (outdoors), Ted’s Shooting Range (indoors), Caswell’s Shooting Range (indoors), Phoenix Rod and Gun Club (outdoors), Scottsdale Gun Club (indoors) and Shooters World (indoors).
Lane Rental: One person for one hour
Ammo: 50 rounds of 9mm FMJ. For ranges without ammo sales (PRGC, Rio), I used the price of a box of 9mm at my local WalMart.
Gun Rental: A 9mm pistol for one hour. For ranges without gun rentals, I used the cost of a typical quality 9mm pistol ($540) spread out over 12 months.
Membership: One year’s individual membership. Range memberships at Ted’s is for 14 months, not a year, so I reduced that amount for comparison purposes.

Just VisitingLane RentalAmmoGun RentalMonthly CostYearly Cost 
Rio Salado$5.00$13.00$45.00*$18.00$756.00
Caswells$15.00$21.00$7.00$43.00$516.00
Ted's Shooting Range$14.00$18.00$9.00$41.00$492.00
Shooters World$15.00$15.00$10.00$40.00$480.00
Scottsdale Gun Club$15.00$14.00$14.00$43.00$516.00
Phoenix Rod and Gun Club$14.00$13.00$45.00*$27.00$864.00
With MembershipLane RentalAmmoGun RentalMonthly CostYearly CostMembership
Rio Salado$0.00$13.00$45.00*$65.92$791.00$95.00
Caswells$0.00$18.90$0.00$48.07$576.80$350.00
Ted's Shooting Range$0.00$18.00$4.50$44.17$530.00$260.00
Shooters World$0.00$14.25$5.00$40.08$481.00$250.00
Scottsdale Gun Club$0.00$13.00$0.00$44.67$536.00$380.00
Phoenix Rod and Gun Club$0.00$13.00$45.00*$71.75$861.00$165.00

* $45 / month reflects the cost of owning your own pistol, spread out over 12 months

So for just a couple hundred dollars more per year or so, memberships at Rio Salado or Phoenix Rod and Gun look like a real bargain, right? After all, that price includes a new gun, and they have long-distance rifle ranges as well.

Not so fast.

First off, they’re outdoor ranges. Not bad, now that temperatures in the Phoenix area are leveling off, but that sucks when it’s 115 degrees outside or, for colder climes, if it’s winter and the snow is waist-deep on the ground.

Secondly, the public ranges at both outdoor ranges have a minimum distance that you can set up targets, about 8 yards or so. Not a big issue for some, but if you’re trying to train a new shooter, it can get discouraging for them to shoot and shoot and shoot and not see decent groups on the target.

Thirdly, you can pull down at a set up targets at an outdoors public range only during cold range times, and those happen on a schedule, and not when you need them.

Finally, most outdoor ranges have pistol bays, where you’ll be the only one shooting and you can set up and take down targets however you like. These are where the real improvement happens, as shooters can set up advanced drills that involve drawing from a holster, moving with your gun in-hand and multiple targets at multiple distances.

So which should you chose?

That depends on your needs. I use both on a regular basis. I’ve been a member at Rio for over 5 years. I like their public range, and I like the people. But I’ve come to appreciate the comfort of indoor shooting and the convenience of reserving a lane in advance in an indoor range.

It comes down to what kind of a shooter you are. A public outdoor range membership is great for people who know what they want in a firearm and don’t need (or want) to try out new guns. However, indoor rental ranges are the perfect for  people getting into the shooting sports: For less than $50 a month, you can try out many different firearms and find the one(s) that suit you best and lets you grow into firearms ownership at your pace.

Either way, there are no bad choices: The worst day at the range is still better than the best day in the office.

Trust Icons.

Trust Icons.

You know those silly images on e-commerce sites which show who provided their SSL or say things like “Protected by McAfee”? To someone like me, who’s been on the web for over two decades, they’re at best a silly gesture and at worst totally useless.

But here’s the dirty little secret about them: They work. They bring in more business. Sites that have those images on their checkout pages have better conversion rates than sites that don’t have them. They’re called “trust icons”, and they work because people make buying decisions with their heart first, then with their head. They feel safe with a site that has them, and they want to do business with that site.

The same is true for firearms training, which is why trainers who talk about their military or law enforcement background can get away without little or no civilian training courses or instruction on how to teach anyone who isn’t being forced to sit in their classroom. They may not have be teaching stuff that’s particularly relevant to our lives as everyday people, but to many, many people out there, knowing that you’re getting your training from a cop or military veteran means you’re getting training from someone who has been there and done that, and you can trust what they say.

No matter if what they’re saying makes any sense or not.

A Bad Idea, Right From The Very Start.

A Bad Idea, Right From The Very Start.

This is an Alien Gear holster I received from the factory as a sample, back when I did marketing for a gun range. I’ve never worn it. Notice anything wrong here?

Don’t use an Alien Gear holster

Yep, it came from the factory with the neoprene already starting to fold over the kydex part, increasing your chances of getting in caught in your trigger guard and putting a round into your leg.

John Corriea of Active Self Protection has more on this. If you absolutely MUST carry in a hybrid holster, spend a few more $$$ and get a Comp-Tac: They put more time and effort into making it work, and it shows.