What Do You Do With A Problem Like Gun Owners?

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Gun Owners?

Extending out the gay rights analogy that I’ve used before, how much of the bigotry against gays in the 80’s* was based on the fear of AIDS? People thought that to drink from a glass that a gay person drunk from was instant death, and that’s not even mentioning the irrational fear that AIDS would transfer over en masse to the straight community.

So people were shunning a minority based on a irrational, superstitious fear that just being around that minority might cause them to die.

Why does that sound so familiar….


* Having gay friends and straight friends in the 80’s was rather sad in some ways because I knew people in my circle of friends who would have gotten along great with each other, had it not been for the fact that one was gay and one couldn’t handle that fact. It was sad to watch people intentionally lead a smaller life, just because they couldn’t conquer their prejudices.

Context Matters

Context Matters

I hate Deagles, but I know they’re a hoot to shoot.

I don’t own a Glock, but I know they’re a good gun to start with.

I know Glocks are good guns to start with, but I wouldn’t recommend one to someone whose hands have been weakened by arthritis or age.

Context matters. There is no “one size fits all” solution for sodas, (that’s why they make Pepsi, Coke and RC) and there’s no perfect carry gun for everyone, everywhere. There are reasons why maroons like myself prefer Macs over Windows, why people use Linux over Macs and why people choose something other than a Glock 19 for their first gun. Some of them might be bad reasons (dumb advice from gun store clerks or supposedly knowledgable friends), some might be good reasons, such as it was for me, when I found I was demonstrably more accurate with a CZ75 starting out than I was with a Glock 17.

Chesterson’s fence applies to a lot of things, and the gun community would be a better place if we heeded its lesson more often.

Narrative Matters.

Narrative Matters.

First off, pretty much every single firearms trainer out there needs to watch this short video on how to give a presentation.

It’s given by Garr Reynolds, who makes his living helping the world’s biggest companies do better presentations, and it got me thinking…

I’ve mentioned this before, but when I took my CCW class many years ago, my teacher told me that only one in three of us would take the steps needed to make concealed carry a regular part of our life.

Firearms trainers are pretty good at teaching technique, where we suck, however, is helping people live a new lifestyle. This is because we approach concealed carry as a thing to be learned, not a life to be led.

Duh.

Make your course about how their lives will change for the better. Mix in some fear because it is a scary world, after all, but give them a reason to WANT to carry their guns, rather than a fear that they need to carry them or they’ll die.

Don’t just survive, but thrive.

Minimalist Training.

Minimalist Training.

My current job is a casual dress environment, so for the first time since I started carrying on a regular basis, I’m NOT pocket-carrying a .380 four days out of seven, I’m carrying something more substantial pretty much all the time.

Do I feel more safe now that I have more firepower with me? No, not really. I know what each of the guns I carry on a regular basis is and is not capable of, and I adjust my worldview accordingly. We preach that it’s not the tools, it’s the training and mindset, then we tell people that if they don’t carry at least a Glock 19, they’re not taking things seriously.

But.

I think some of that reaction is actually “If you show up to my training class with anything less than a Glock 19, you’re not taking things seriously,” and there’s an element of truth to that. Taking classes with a tiny 9mm or less sucks: I accept the fact that I am not going to win the coin or find myself $5 richer. All humility aside, though, I shoot my Shield well enough to take it to a good class, and as a result, I get training that is 100% relative to what I carry.

However, for the average schmoe, unless it’s one of Claude’s or Chuck’s classes on pocket guns or something similar, showing up to train with a snubbie is an invitation to a lot of frustration.

So what needs to change? The standards for what a “responsible” gun owner should carry, or the training that teaches them to be responsible?

The White Stripes.

The White Stripes.

There are reasons why martial arts dojos hand out stripes to the white belts: They help build confidence and encourage people to come back for more training beyond the basics.

Which got me thinking. What are the post-CCW stripes out there? What incentives do you give your students to do more besides a printed-out Microsoft Word Template that says you completed the bare minimum of training needed to carry a gun around in your state?

Standards matter. You and I may know what a clean Dot Torture says about your ability to shoot, but to a person on the street, it doesn’t seem that hard, and more importantly, it’s not a badge of recognition that is immediately identifiable as a significant accomplishment. The various state-level concealed carry tests scattered throughout Claude’s book are a great start, and it’s got me wondering if there are more tests out there that are recognizable outside the gun community more than a clean 5×5 is, but are less demanding than an FBI qual. Think if it as the qual you shoot before shooting the FBI qual.

The various military and police qualifiers come to mind. The Marine Corps test ain’t that hard, but it’s one of the very few that has something that even approaches testing the skills that armed citizens learn in their classes.

So what tests are out there that a guy on the street can immediately identify as being legit, but are able to be shot fairly well by a new shooter?

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

I did the writeup on the new Springfield Armory XD-S MOD2 for Shooting Illustrated. I honestly don’t get all the hate for the XD platform, but then again, I only shot 300 rounds through it. However, I think it’s great choice for people who will never go to Gunsite or Rogers.

I overheard someone talking about their experience at the same knife defense class I went to, and the response they got was “You carry a gun: Why do you need to learn how to use a knife?” Well, this is why you need to learn how to defend yourself from 1 inch on out to 100 yards and beyond.

Google bans firearms sales apps. Kinda surprised they allowed them in the first place.

Everyone who’s new to concealed carry thinks that everyone around them can see that they’re carrying a gun. And everyone is wrong about that.

This isn’t going to end well.

As I’m going to a class on long-range shooting next week, I’ve been reading a lot about ramping up your long-range game, including this article on how to determine wind direction and this one on at-home precision rifle drills.

 

Taking A Shot Vs. Making A Shot.

Taking A Shot Vs. Making A Shot.

John was nice enough to link to this post last week, and re-reading it got me thinking.

Anyone with a camera can do well if the shot pops up in front of him or her. Heck, even a baboon can do it.

Literally.

The trick is making a shot when the shot isn’t there. That’s what a photographer does. It’s unbelievably boring to shoot cans of creamed corn on a white background (ask me how I know this), but you have to work and work at it until you get the results you need.

Almost anyone can use a gun well in the scenarios you see in basic pistol classes, where a big bad guy in a balaclava jumps out from behind a car and yells “GIMME ALL YOUR MONEY!”

Where training and experience show up is when the attack comes from surprise or from some who doesn’t look like a threat.

Get trained. Improve your mindset. Shoot well. Save a life. Maybe your own.

 

* The featured image in this post is “The Critic” by WeeGee the Famous. If you’re a shooter (of photos) you really need to check out his stuff.

Remember, You Wanted This.

Remember, You Wanted This.

Allow me a brief moment of politics here.

Remember this scene in “Jack Reacher“?

Tom Cruise is beating up the bar thugs: He has one of them (literally) by the short and curlys, and he looks at the last two thugs who are considering joining the fight and says “Really?” Those goons saw what just happened, are seeing their friend writhe around in agony, and WERE EVEN TOLD BEFORE THE FIGHT HAPPENED that this was going to occur, yet they still want to press the attack.

Right now, Red State Americans and Blue State Americans both seem hell-bent on starting Civil War 2.0, and there’s no one on either side asking themselves “Do we really want to do such things?”

Which pretty much guarantees it’s going to happen.

God help us all.

Speed. Rocks.

Speed. Rocks.

The Sharp Dressed Shooter is a great resource for those of us who want to protect ourselves whilst wearing something other than jeans and a t-shirt. He’s got a great video on Instagram showing the right way to draw from a tuckable holster. and by my count, it takes him about 2.5 seconds from the decision to draw to when the gun is up on target. This is quite fast for such a holster, and it’s obviously a product of hard work, practice, and a dedication to his craft.

But.

The movement required to lift and clear your cover garment, get a good firing grip on the gun and then get it into play all scream out “HEY EVERYONE, I’M DRAWING MY GUN NOW!!!!!,” which is just fine for times when drawing a gun is really, really needed.

But.

We know from listening to John Corriea’s narrated videos that a smooth, stealthy draw is needed almost as often as smooth fast draw is needed. Hence the problem with relying solely on a tuckable holster for (really) discrete carry: They’re a very good way to carry more than a pocket gun, but they are not a good way to get your gun out discretely if you need to.

Which is why I pocket-carry a .380 if I need to be a little more subtle than normal. My pre-draw routine with a pocket rocket is me casually putting my hand into my pants pocket, which looks exactly like me… casually putting my hand into my pocket. This is different than a tuckable holster or an ankle holster or any of the other options for really discreet carry: The pre-draw routine for all of those looks like someone trying to get a gun out from hiding, which is exactly what they are.

If you carry something bigger in a tucked-in tuckable holster, that’s great, you’re ahead of almost everyone else out there. Just consider adding something to your mix that allows you to get your gear into play without looking like you’re getting your gear into play.

(Insight)^2.

(Insight)^2.

Take a few moments to read David Yamane’s review of “Citizen Protectors,” Jennifer Carlson’s book on the sociology of guns in America.

Two big takeaways:

“Guns solve problems for the people who bear them.”

This. A gazillion times this. I, along with millions of other responsible gun owners in America, take the time and effort to maximize the benefits of owning a gun, while minimizing the drawbacks. I want my guns to SOLVE problems, not cause them.

Secondly is this quote:

“The National Rifle Association is a quasi-regulatory agency governing concealed carry in the United States.

The VAST majority of concealed carry instructors in the U.S. get certified to teach concealed carry in their state because they are certified by the NRA as a qualified instructor. As such, NRA Training is pretty much the standard (how rigorous of a standard is a topic for another post.