Culture Clash

We’ve won the gun rights battle. We’re rolling things back (slowly… too slowly) but we are winning. The left is getting more and more radicalized (Linda Sarsour and Assata Shakur? REALLY?), and there will be a void open for the NRA or someone else to step into to and expand gun rights even further into ground that once belonged to the enemy.

We’ve won the battle. The war? The war continues, and wars are not won on the basis of winning battles, they’re won on the basis of holding territory and making it your¬†own.

We have regained (cultural) ground from our enemy. What are we doing to hold it and make it our own?

Cultures don’t change because the extremes get pushed out more and more, cultures change because, in the words of the Doobie Brothers, what were once vices are now habits. Gay marriage was once a vice. Now it’s the law of the land. Ditto with doobies (words are my business! ūüôā ) in Colorado and many, many other states..

Armed self defense was once considered a vice. It’s now a habit for millions and millions of people.

Let’s keep that going.

Going Grey.

Some really good advice on why you don’t want to look like a SHEEPDOG!, you want to look (and act) like everyone else who’s around you.

Without a doubt, none of us want to look like prey. That is all too readily apparent. But do we truly want to look like a predator?

Before you answer yes, think about this. In the wild, if you are a predator, are you immune to attack? Obviously not. So who is attacking? Other predators! And sometimes, that other predator may be the apex predator of the area.

I learned this lesson early on in life as a small, skinny kid with glasses who went to rough high school. Want to get beat up? Make yourself noticeable to those who are doing the beating up. Learning how to live your life as an armed citizen the same way you did as an unarmed citizen while applying the Farnam Rule is what our goals are, not walking around with a chip on our shoulder, asking people to labe our molons*.

Bottom line: If you make yourself a target, don’t act¬†surprised when¬†you get shot.


* Or is it molon our labes**. I took Spanish, not Greek, so I’m not certain on this.
** My Mac keeps autocorrecting “molon” to “moron” and “labe” to “label”, a fact that I find endlessly humorous, and somewhat appropriate…

The Power Of Glock Compels You.

I pretty much agree with everything Rich Grassi is talking about here, with one notable exception.

The pocket gun becomes the cross to Dracula. When evil is near the owner imagines pulling it out and showing it to the ‘vampire’. Maybe the villain will flee and then again maybe they won’t.

It’s not just pocket-sized handguns, larger and more costly guns can become gris-gris. If you are carrying a gun that is half-loaded, is loaded with the cheapest ammo you could find and hasn’t been fired or cleaned in over six months that’s not a genuine defensive tool, it’s a good luck charm. If you drop a compact pistol naked into your pocket but have no plan for less-than-lethal force, don’t carry a flashlight or a pocket knife and have no spare ammunition for said gun, it’s a talisman not a fighting tool.

I carry a pocket gun not because I prefer it over something larger, I carry a pocket gun¬†because for four days out of seven, it’s that, or nothing at all.

Something about a .22 on you right now versus a .45 in your truck, or something…¬†Same idea.

Other than that, yeah, I agree with it all, because it’s stuff that I’ve been writing about for a long, long time. People want to FEEL safe, whether they’re actually safe or not, and having a gun around, even it’s not in handy reach, does give a feeling like you’ve done something about your safety, effective or not.

It’s the personal security equivalent of therapeutic moralistic deism that’s become our state religion these past few years. I want to feel good about my chances of getting into the afterlife, without all the baggage (and challenges) that comes with making a moral stand and having to confront our fallibilities, which might make us uncomfortable if we try such things.

Me? I’m more into Bonhoeffer than I am Joel Osteen, because a cause that requires no commitment to change on your part isn’t that much of a cause.

Moving Beyond The Fear.

From Threepers on the right to the Antifa on the left, there are way, WAY too many people other there right now who are itchin’ for a fight, and if their words and deeds keep escalating, that fight will surely happen.

Maybe it’s because I was sitting on the political sidelines for the Assault Weapons Ban, or maybe it’s my innate Canadian niceness, but fear has never been good at motivating me to do something, especially when it comes to gun-related things.

To quote Clint Smith, I have a gun. Why should I be afraid?

Now, should you be fearful of those who are afraid of you being armed? Yes, and rightly so. Is that the prevailing spirit inside red state America? Nope.

Blue states may vary.

Yes, the radical left is misbehaving. Dangerously so.

However, misbehavior on the other side does not demand misbehavior on our side. If you carry a gun on a consistent basis, you soon learn that de-escalation and avoidance are much better ways to deal with the threat of violence than angry harsh rhetoric and more violence.

Take¬†the actions of the Antifa from the macro-level down to the personal level: If the Antifa were a person and not a movement, how would we handle them? They say they want to stop us, with violence if necessary, and they’ve shown a propensity to use violence in the past. What does all the things we’ve learned about living our lives as armed citizens tell us we should do about them?¬†When do we de-escalate? When do use awareness and avoidance? Should should we use force, and if so, how much, and when?

We need to be very careful about which hill we choose to die on, because once the dogs of war have been let off the leash, it is very, very hard to bring them back.

More thoughts on this at Ricochet.com.

Darkness Falls.

Something I said in the comments of this post got me a-pondering: Why do firearms trainers who have a SpecOps background place such a high emphasis on night training, and is that sort of thing really valuable to those of us who don’t wear a uniform and a gun.

Let’s think about things for a second. If you have to kick in doors for a living, it makes sense to kick in doors¬†at night, when the element of surprise and the grogginess of sleep¬†are on your side. Night ops are a great time for offensive operations, especially if you have night vision gear and the bad guys don’t.

But let’s back up for a second… why would I, a middle-aged marketing guru, have to go onto the offense at night? Yes, there is the 3 am crackhead burglar scenario and the dark Wal-Mart parking lot attack, but if we look at the concealed carry engagement stats from students of Tom Givens, you’ll see that NONE of them used a flashlight in their encounters.

Why? Why are night operations such a priority for the military, yet next to useless for we civilians?

For the armed citizenry, unless you’re up at 3am patrolling the streets like the SHEEPDOG! you think you are, defending your life at night, in inky blackness, is probably not that urgent, for three reasons:

  1. If you have time to get a flashlight out, you have time to get your gun out. If you need your gun, don’t get out your flashlight, and vice versa.
  2. Crooks associate high-output flashlights with security guards and cops, and they tend to shy away from said people. Therefore, if you’re¬†using a modern, tactical flashlight, you are SCREAMING to the bad guys that you are predator, not prey. As armed citizens, our job¬†isn’t to hunt others, our job is not to be eaten by the predator.
  3. If you can’t see well enough to recognize your target, either add light to the target (which might make it run away, as per option 1 above), or don’t shoot at it. Fortunately for we civvies, most of the places we inhabit do have at least some modicum of illumination, and that’s usually enough to get a good idea of what’s in front of our muzzle.

So is learning how to use a flashlight and weapon-mounted light useful for those of us who don’t wear a uniform and a gun? Sure. However, in reality, it’s about as useful as a learning how to run an AR-15 as a defensive weapon.

Take that as you will.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 585 ‚Äď 735

I had another opportunity to put some of Lucky Gunner’s ammo¬†(all PMC Bronze FMJ’s) through the LCP last week, and nothing much happened except I made a lot of noise and put a bunch of holes into a piece of paper, which is just what you want from a defensive handgun.

Testing the LCPII

Like the last time, these were shot as fast as I could get an reasonable sight picture and as fast as I could pull the trigger, and like the last time, they were all shot from contact distance on out to 10 yards. I got a little sloppy in some of the failure to stop drills, (and there’s one shot from 10 yards that I *might* be able to claim was an attempt at a pelvic shot, but I won’t, because I flat-out jerked the trigger on that one), but other than that, yeah, it’ll do what I want it to.

This is not gun for doing headshots on¬†Leprechaun Liberation Army terrorists at 50 yards… this is meant for social encounters from handshake distance out to across-a-parking-lot space distances, and for those applications, it works really, really well.

Now, do I want to carry something bigger with me all the time, something that holds more ammo and has more a thump? Yes. Can I carry something like that with me all the time? No, I can’t. My life¬†is¬†set up so that four days out of the week, I have to carry in a pocket holster.

It’s nice to know, though, that what’s in the holster will be up to the task.

Rounds Fired : 100
100 Rounds PMC Bronze

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 735.
One possible failure to eject on round 116, two failures to eject, rounds 400 and 489.

The Most People-Friendly Gun Store You’ll Ever See.¬†

I made a trip out to the other coast earlier this month (sorry, Miguel, my schedule was pretty tight, or else I would have dropped you a note), and one of the priorities for me was a visit to Nexus Shooting Center. Visiting them has been on my radar for a while now, and I finally made time to check them out.

Outside, it looks, like, well, a stand-alone gun store. Not a lot different from a lot of other gun ranges, maybe a little more dramatic than most. Inside, however… inside.

Let’s just be honest: It’s the best gun shop I’ve ever seen.

Every gun store seems to look like every other gun store, because they all take their cues from each other. Nexus doesn’t follow what’s good for a gun shop, the look outside the firearms retail industry to create experience that’s more like the Apple Store than any other gun shop I’ve seen.

Let’s just concentrate on one small area, the way merchandise is displayed in the store. Aside from the signage, is there REALLY a difference between the gun counter at a Bass Pro and the gun counter at your friendly local gun store? Both of them have glass display cases showing off the pistols, and behind them, slat wall displays showing off the long guns.

Why? Did Moses come down from Mt. Horeb with “Thou Shalt Erect Slat Walls In Thy Gun Store”? Is that in some weird translation of the Pentateuch that I’ve never heard of? Who said a gun store has to look that way, and why has no one ever questioned if there’s a better way?

Enter Nexus. Rather than hang guns on the wall and lock them away in cases, Nexus displays almost everything using backlit panels that are actually LED televisions, making paper signage a thing of the past. Also, if you’ve ever worked in a gun store, you know that tracking which gun is on display is a constant struggle and a potential mind field for ATF compliance. With the backlit TV’s, the serial number of each gun is display right along side the price, keeping things nice and neat inside your bound book.

The (female) head honcho at Caswell’s¬†range in Arizona¬†once told me that to a woman, the experience of walking into a gun store is like walking into a strip club: It’s an overwhelmingly masculine environment that’s unwelcoming and vaguely threatening.

And in response to this obvious fact, gun store owners PROUDLY display the mounted trophies of their last hunt and calendars of half-naked women holding guns.

And then they wonder why women (one of the fastest-growing segments of the market) don’t seem to frequent their stores.

While the environment inside of Nexus is definitely “no-nonsense tactical”, it’s not threatening, because they temper the tactical with a bright, open layout and with a concierge station that welcomes people as they walk into the door.

And then there’s the range. There are twenty¬†25 yard lanes for their pistol and rifle customers, but the heart of the range are the twenty Nexus Lanes, an electronic targeting system that takes going to a gun range to a whole new level. The lanes are wider than the typical gun range phone booth: Two people can stand side by side with ease, leading to¬†a more comfortable and relaxed shooting experience and also making instruction easier.

Rather than list all the cool things you can do with an electronic target system (like shoot targets that are 25 yards away within the confines of a 7 yard bay), I’d like to highlight two little touches in that photo which¬†show the planning and effort that the owners of Nexus put into the customer experience.

That’s an Uplula universal magazine loader, and there’s one permanently attached to every lane inside Nexus. Now, why would a gun range spend an extra $30 per lane on a speedloader?

Think about it. If you¬†fill¬†your¬†magazines with ammo faster, you shoot ammo faster. You shoot ammo faster, you either a) turn over your lane quicker (more profit), or you buy more ammo from the range master (ditto). I’d be willing to bet those speedloaders paid for themselves the very first day they installed them, and every day since then brings better and better ROI for Nexus.

Smart.

Secondly, this is a photo of the floor under each shooting lane. Rather than have a solid concrete floor under your feet, at Nexus, there’s a slat floor that allows spent casings to fall into a pit under your feet, where there’s collected up at the end of each day. No more skating on a sea of spent brass, and much less worries about safety incidents from customers losing their footing on a shell casing.

I could gone on and on about the other little touches inside the Nexus range and store, like their plans to reduce analysis paralysis (the bane of gun store owners everywhere) and the layout of their classrooms (home theater, not middle school), but the fact is, Nexus is what a gun store should look if your market is today’s city-dwelling gun owner. If you’re in S. Florida, (or are planning to be soon), you need to put a trip to Nexus on your to-do list.

Julie Golob On The State Of The Shooting Sports.

Julie is a much, much better shooter than I am, and she’s been a professional shooter for quite awhile now.

She also owns more chickens than I do, but that is not relevant to the discussion today.

What is relevant is the talk she gave at the NSSF Industry Summit on what’s going on (and isn’t going on) with the shooting sports. Why aren’t the people who have CCW’s getting out to the range? Where are the disconnects?

The¬†video below is worth your while, as it lays out the problem pretty clearly. I just hope the industry response to this won’t be “I know, let’s create ANOTHER shooting sport that only works in a pistol bay, where you’re standing still, shooting a .22! That’ll get people to bring their carry guns out to the range!”.

Simply put, new gun owners¬†don’t compete (or train) because new gun owners¬†don’t see it as a valuable use of their time and resources, and they choose to spend those items doing something else that they see as more valuable.

Period, full stop.

Want to get more people on the firing line or out to¬†your match? Show them the immediate value of what you’re doing. Make the commitment of time, money and ego as low-key as possible. And for crying out loud, if they want to learn how to shoot the gun they bought for self-defense, don’t stick a .22 in their hand!

Carry Guard Surrenders.

In response to clear feedback surrounding the NRA Carry Guard Level I course announcement, we have modified the required firearm platforms as well as our site language to clearly articulate how firearms will be used in the class.

Bottom line: our decision to not include 1911s and revolvers as primary firearms in our initial Level I course was a mistake, and we appreciate the feedback we have received from the firearms community.

Not a good start, guys, not a good start. However, I think I found the reason why they initially banned 1911’s and revolvers: The suggested round count for their two three day class is… 1,500 rounds.

Yep.

Now if you’re shooting an 8 round 1911 or a 6 round wheelgun, that is gonna suck. You’ll be reloading 2-3 times more often than your friends who are shooting Glock 17’s, and you’ll probably be slowing down the class somewhat.

Reloads aside, shooting one thousand five hundred rounds, in a two three day class for beginners? I can *almost* see that for a pure shooting class like the Vogel class I did a couple of years ago, but 1500 rounds for a¬†two three day beginner’s class that teaches, and I’m quoting here…

“Safety and Weapons Awareness; Pistol Ready Positions; Fundamentals (stance, grip, holster draw, sight alignment, trigger press, recoil management, follow through, economy of motion, self-critique); Treating a Malfunction; Live Fire Progression Drills; Combat and Tactical Reloads; Drawing from a Holster; Low Light/No Light Shooting; Combat Reload while holding a Light; Key Components to Carrying a Concealed Weapon; Carry Location Options (i.e. waist, ankle, purse, etc.); Real World Scenario Based Training (Airsoft scenarios)”

You’re teaching all that, and you also want your beginning students to shoot 1500 rounds in two three days?

Good luck with that.

UPDATE: I got the number of days wrong. It’s a three day class, not a two day class. However, 1500 rounds is still an awfully large amount of ammo¬†to send down-range in that amount of time. The chances of you doing that¬†and teaching your students anything beyond what gunfire sounds like is mighty slim. Heck, to teach the “Low Light/No Light Shooting; Combat Reload while holding a Light” and maintain even a basic level of safety is at least a couple of hours of non-shooting time.