My article on left-handed long-range shooting on a budget is now available. I had a blast writing the article, and learning how to shoot long-range has made me want to shoot it more, mostly because it’s FUN!
The .308 Savage mentioned in the article is at Gulf Coast Precision Rifles as I type this, getting bedded into an MDT chassis and threaded for my SIG Sauer silencer. The optics on the gun are getting upgraded to a new, truly cool Primary Arms optic that’s coming out before SHOT, and then I’m headed out to train more and shoot more.
A question was asked in a Facebook group I belong to about how to avoid burnout. I’ve been writing about guns (professionally and otherwise) for over a dozen years now, and yeah, it does get kinda boring to write “Top Ten Guns For Concealed Carry” over and over and over again. This is how I avoid burnout: I get reasonably competent at one part of the sport, then move on to another.
* I’m kinda happy with how I managed to mashup two book titles into one with that headline.
A weird thing happened last week as my wife and I were clothes shopping. I was hanging out, waiting for her to try on her clothes in the changing room, and as I usually do, I was firmly ensconced in Condition Yellow, splitting my time between keeping updated on what’s on going on by checking my phone and glancing around, seeing what was what and if anything was there that shouldn’t be there.
And I realized that a) that sort of thing seems… normal to me and b) no one else in the store was doing the same.
And that was a little jarring.
Now, I am not going to go full Grossman and “feel the wind blow through my cape,” but I understand how that emotion can spring up inside people who are serious about the armed citizen lifestyle. I have no desire to become a middle-aged Batman, but the difference in mindset between how I see the world now and how I saw it before I learned to carry is quite jarring.
A unique event, and one that every firearms trainer should look to duplicate. New gun owners learn how to draw from a holster at this event, then shoot under the stress of a timer and maybe even win some cool prizes.
There are two types of gun shops near me… the ones for the local rednecks, and the ones that are there to take money from the rich Republican retirees here. The local redneck stores don’t know crap*. The rich people’s gun stores know a lot about rich people’s guns. There are, however, two good gun store/range combinations near me: One of them I refuse to deal with because of their crooked, crooked ways, and the other is one of the best shops in the business. It’s not only making a living, but thriving, and they’re looking to open up a second shop in the future. It’s clean, well-lit, has good retail branding and a 15 lane air-conditioned range that goes out to 25 yards.
This situation reminds me of the old days of the computer industry, where there was a Bits N Bytes Shop (or some other cheesy name) store in every strip mall, run by local people who were into computers but not into business, and they spoke the language of computer nerds. Then Computerland came along, and because they were first and foremost a business, they spoke the language of business, and they sold a metric buttload of computers to businesses.
It’s worth noting that with advent of a more computer-literate workforce, even the Computerland model has gone away**, and companies are either have their own IT departments and buy direct, or they outsource that to the same kind of mom and pop shops that were around in 1983. The big computer store didn’t kill off the local Bit Shop: Those stores survived by nibbling away at the edges of the bigger market for information technology.
For the last 10 years (maybe even the last 25 years, since the AWB…), the only marketing a local gun shop (and for that matter, gun makers as well) have had to do is just say “Look, it’s in stock… You wanna buy it, or what?”
The stores that are thriving are adapting to a new market. The ones that don’t adapt are goners.
* To give you an idea of how little they know, I had one good ol’ boy behind the counter tell me that an FN FiveSeven was “an AR-15 you can carry around in your pocket.”
** From the linked Computerland story above: “(computer) Retailers still are amateurish enough to consider themselves competitors … They are just too immature to realize that they’re complementary, not competitive.”
That pretty much describes today’s retail gun market as well…
Tam took a picture of me at TacCon last year, and I’ve been embarrassed to show it because, well, I look really, really fat in the picture. And I was.
I’ve managed to lose about 15 pounds or so in the six months since TacCon, and while that is nothing compared to other people I know who’ve lost 40+ pounds this year, I’m managed to do it without any major changes in my life. I’ve cut out pretty much all sweets except for the occasional spot of ice cream, switched to drinking bourbon and scotch instead of beer, and I walk about two miles every evening.
Am I where I want to be? No. I still need to work on my flexibility and upper body strength, but it’s nice to know with a little effort, I can make myself slightly less out of shape than usual.
It’s one thing to know how to shoot long-range, and it’s another thing to know how to get up a stable shooting position on a roof, barricade or tank trap, and do so while the clock is literally ticking.
As part of an article about making a long-range shot for not a lot of money, I put rounds downrange on the long-distance bay over at TrainingGrounds last month. While I was there, I met the crew behind Campo de Demolición, (Demolition Ranch) a Spanish-language YouTube channel that offers gun tests and range videos in Spanish.
If you’ve been looking for a resource for your Latino friends and neighbors to help them learn about guns, point them in the direction of Campo de Demolición.
There are people in the Facebook group for my neighborhood who are complaining that there are alligators living in the ponds behind their houses.
Memo to my neighbors: WE LIVE IN THE FRICKIN’ EVERGLADES, PEOPLE!!!!! Complaining about the gators in SW Florida is like complaining about the coyotes in Wyoming or the jumping cholla in Arizona: They literally come with the territory. Deal with it.
But I understand that my neighbors feel like they have to “do something” about the gator menace, and so that’s why I propose a simple, three-step solution to enact “common sense” gator laws that are absolutely guaranteed to get rid of the alligators from our community.
1. We label alligators as an especially dangerous type of animal, one that has no purpose in life other than to kill innocent human beings and their pets. It’ll be easy: We make a list of features found on a typical alligator (scaly skin, teeth, four legs, tail) and then label every reptile that has those features an “Assault Reptile,” or “AR” for short.
3. We put up signs like the one on the right around every pond, declaring our neighborhood to be a gator-free zone. We know from previous experience that these signs are 100% effective at keeping predators away from schools, banks, churches and government installations, so there is no reason to believe they will not be a deterrent to the deadly assault reptiles that infest our backyards, both here in SW Florida and throughout the south.
By enacting these common-sense gator laws, we can make our neighborhoods safe for our children, and our children’s children as well. I mean, just look at what they’ve done for neighborhoods in Chicago, Baltimore, New York and D.C.!
Prepping means preparing long before you’ll need the things you’re storing up. Seems simple and obvious, but it was amazing to watch bottled water disappear from the store shelves when things got dicey.
The sound of garbage trucks is the sound of civilization returning your community.
Lumens are life. Multiple sources of light, enough for at least one light for each member of your household, are absolutely essential: they’re right up there with water and food.
Lumens also let people know that you care. We had a couple of cars poke their nose into our street after curfew, but a quick 500 lumen blast told them they might want to go somewhere else.
A solar recharger is DARN handy. It’s the absolute minimum for any grid-down situation, especially when your flashlights use rechargeable batteries.
Generators are better.
Gas cans are cheap. Fill them up at the first indication that the storm is headed your way.
The shortages after the hurricane passes will be worse than you think. It was days until we could fill up the cars with gas, and weeks until food supplies were back to normal.
A good supply of cash on-hand gives you the same comfortable feeling of security that a good ammo supply does.
Expect not to be able to communicate for at least a couple of days.
Most importantly, GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. I relied on the people of my street to help put up shutters and keep us safe, and I helped out a friend of mine after the storm had passed. To quote the 20th century’s greatest philosopher, a man alone is easy prey. Do something about that.