Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

Brand Ambassadors For A Country No One Has Ever Heard About.

I’m a bit of a gearhead. I drive a hot hatch, and I exceed the posted speed limit on a regular basis.

Perhaps a little TOO regular, if I’m honest.

I digress…

I watch The Grand Tour and Top Gear, and I love seeing all the exotic cars that show up here in this particularly plushly-upholstered section of God’s waiting room.

However, even I couldn’t tell you who the current Indy Car Champion is, and if, say, Lewis Hamilton showed up at a local Mercedes dealer to hawk some wares, I probably wouldn’t go see him.

Now admittedly, I am kinda celebrity-shy: I’m not really impressed by people who are famous, so that does color my judgement somewhat.

With that in mind, I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of a sponsored shooter? To advance the brand of the companies who sponsor them, that’s what, no matter how big or small the brand is.

This is why I’m very interested in what Shoot Center has done. They’re a local range who’s sponsored a shooter who shoots USPSA very well, and I think there’s a real opportunity for them and other local ranges to use a really good shooter to increase the prestige of the range. It doesn’t have to be much: In return, for, say, a case of 9mm every other month or so or maybe access to employee pricing on reloading supplies, have your sponsored shooter do a Facebook video on what makes a good defensive handgun. Or how to shoot better. Or how the safety rules on an indoor range. Heck, just do a video of the shooter punching out the X ring of a target at 25 yards: There’s a TV program dedicated to “Impossible Shots“, why not have your sponsored shooter strut his stuff on your range and show off how much of an authority he/she is on shooting?

A sponsored shooter brings some gravitas and authenticity to what’s being said, and store/range who has one and shows them off therefore appears more clued-in than its competitors, making it appear to be a better place to go shoot than the other ranges in town.

This is why people want to go shoot on a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus or Greg Norman: They want the ego boost that comes from doing something associated with someone who is famous for doing what they enjoy doing.

If you got it, flaunt it.

Don’t Try To Understand ‘Em…

Don’t Try To Understand ‘Em…

… just rope ’em, tie ’em and brand ’em
Soon we’ll be living high and wide.

My heart’s calculatin’
My true love will be waitin’
Be waitin’ at the end of my ride

Move ’em on, head ’em up
Head ’em up, move ’em on
Move ’em on, head ’em up
Rawhide

A quick roundup of some articles I wrote that aren’t SHOT-related.

That Dropzone article is my first article for Shooting Sports USA, and they’ll be more articles over there by me in the near future. One thing that happened at SHOT this year is that I really diversified the number of places I’m writing for: Look for stuff on Beretta’s blog, the USCCA and even (gasp) American Hunter sometime this year.

Speaking of roundups (and bad segues), I’m outta here later today, off to take ECQC with Craig Douglas this weekend. This is a class I’m really looking forward to (even though I’ll probably get my @ss kicked in new and exciting ways) because it’s an area of self-defense that a) I know little about and b) have noticed for awhile now that there are a lot of people teaching a gun solution to violence and a lot of people teaching a martial art solution to violence but there are very few people integrating the empty handed skills of martial arts into the gun world.

Well, Craig is one of those people, so I am really looking forward to this class, no matter what it does to my poor, decrepit body.

Match Report, Louland Practical Pistol, January 11

Match Report, Louland Practical Pistol, January 11

As part of commitment to shoot more matches this year, I was able to squeeze in the Thursday night practical match at Louland Gun Club last week.

It’s a very lightweight match, usually all-steel courses of fire that have designated shooting boxes and less than 30 rounds apiece. One bay, though, is set up as a more typical USPSA stage, and that’s what we’ll look at here.

Stage Briefing
Targets A and B must be engaged from shooting area 1, else wise it’s shoot ’em as you see ’em. Target C back there is a right bastard of a shot that can only be engaged from the gap in the shooting area at the top left.

All in all, a fun little stage with a mix of hoser shots and a tight, tough shots with no-shoots.

How’d I do? Not bad.

Some things I like here:

  • I’m up and running as I do the reload. Not much hesitation at all, and I am up and on-target as quick as I can.
  • I shot the two targets at the end of the shooting area on the move, and then the last two as quickly as the ones before them. In fact, on the waveforms in the audio portion of the video, the spaces between all four shots are pretty much the same.
  • Most competitors shot the first two targets on the left side in the main shooting area from one spot, then moved up a few feet to take the partials behind the barrel. I figured out that I could split the difference and engage all four from one spot, saving me a few seconds on the stage.

Some things I don’t like here:

  • All that time shooting three shots at that first target, and I went Alpha-Mike. I figure I must have jerked the first shot (Ah, the joys of a DA/SA gun…), hit the second shot and then got a little anxious on the last one and tossed it off into the bar somewhere.
  • Everything looks good, but everything looks… slow. If I could speed everything up by a third, I’d be happy.

All in all, a good run for me. Had I not thrown that Mike, I’d have been the top non-Open shooter. As it is, I wound up third amongst iron sight shooters.

A Movement Towards The Better.

A Movement Towards The Better.

Chris Wagoner was a leader in the Florida Open Carry movement, and he bailed on them before I did, because they’re a bunch of dorks who have no idea how to get legislation passed in the halls of power.

Now he’s back in the game, leading a new gun rights group called The Florida Firearms Coalition, and they’re determined to advance the right to keep and bear arms on ALL fronts here in Florida, not just open carry.

I’m in, and if you’re in the Sunshine State and you’re reading this, you should be too.

Shots Fired.

Shots Fired.

Florida Carry cuts off its nose to spite its face – Again

Once again Florida Carry, Inc. has demonstrated a lack of concern for Concealed Weapons and Firearms License holders.  License holders continue to be abused by law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts.  When firearms, that are being lawfully carried concealed, accidentally become exposed to the sight of another person, license holders are being arrested for violating the open carry ban.

In Florida, there are 1.8 million law-abiding license holders. Every time they leave their homes, carrying a firearm, they run the risk of that firearm becoming exposed to the sight of another person and then being thrown face down on the street, arrested at gun point and treated like a criminal – because the wind blew open a jacket or they reached for something on a top shelf or a shirt got snagged and uncovered their firearm.

Yeah, I’m gonna guess that the ILA ain’t gonna get a Christmas card from Florida Carry this year.

And probably next year as well.

I’d criticize all those “no compromise” groups out there for how they compromised their beliefs in order to gain a political victory, but first, they need to actually HAVE a political victory for me to do that.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Product Review: Elite Survival Systems Pulse 24 Hour Backpack.

Advantages: Well-made, holds a bunch of gear, doesn’t look menacing
Disadvantages: Could use a just little more MOLLE on the sides
Rating: Five Stars Out of Five.

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for a couple of EDC/Bug Out bags, and they didn’t send me just two bags, they sent me three: A Pulse 24 Hour bag that I’ll review right now now, and an Echo EDC bag and a Guardian concealment pack that I’ll talk about later.

How cool is that?

I reached out to Elite Survival Systems for this bag because I found out that my current bug-out bag, a Paladin Gear, um, Bug Out Bag, just wasn’t comfortable enough to carry on a long-term basis. I did a seven-mile walk with the Paladin on my shoulder (note: *shoulder*. More on that later.), and it became really tiresome to carry around about halfway through the journey.

This is a problem, because my idea for this bag and what it holds is simple: It holds all the stuff I need if I need to go camping for three days on a moment’s notice, anywhere in the American Southeast. I don’t go camping as much as I used to, and I don’t go into the back country here in Florida like I did in Arizona (probably due to the fact that the back roads here are, in fact, swamps, and not roads), but still, I like to have a backup plan handy at all times, so I carry a bug out bag.

The Elite Survival Systems Pulse takes the tried-and-tested 72 hour bag and tones it down a bit. Rather that make it Kyrptec or Multicam or some other tactical color, the bag comes in either brown or black, about as boring as possible, and boring is good if you’re going to be walking around town with it on your shoulders.

And that’s a key point: This bag has two very comfortable padded shoulder straps, along with buckles the chest and level and waist level, and makes it very easy to carry around for hours on end. I did the same walk recently with this bag, and it was a MUCH more pleasant experience. A sling bag is good for emergencies, when you need to grab something quickly and move quickly, but that’s not why I have a bag in the back of my car. The bag in my car is meant to keep me going for at least three days without access to all the niceties of the modern world, and if that means taking a hike to get  back to the modern world, I take a hike.

The Pulse is built well: The zippers open easily and don’t hang up, the nylon is nice and thick and there are no loose threads to be found anywhere on the bag. One of the reasons why I like the Pulse for this sort of thing is it contains a pocket for a hydration pouch: Living in Arizona taught me that a ready supply of water is really, really important, so a bladder is a “must have” for me in a bag like this.

A hydration pouch is just one of the pouches this bag has. I was able to squirrel away all the gear I had been carrying in old bag, with some space left over. The Pulse has MOLLE on the back of the bag and a plethora of pockets inside, allowing me to sort out my stuff into some sort of logical order for quick access. One thing that is different from the Paladin bag is that there is no MOLLE on the sides, which really isn’t a bad thing, I guess, but I carry around a machete with me in my car (because I live literally minutes away from the Everglades) and it’d be nice to strap it to the side of the bag if I need to take a long walk in the swamp, for one reason or another.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a gear bag that won’t make you look like you’re headed out to the sandbox when you’re headed out of town.


FCC Disclaimer: Yes, I said they gave me this bag. What of it? 

Hog Wild.

Hog Wild.

Whole Hog

Michael Bane brought up an interesting idea on last week’s podcast: Hog hunting, specifically eradicating feral hogs in the Southeast, has saved the sport of hunting in the U.S.

And he’s probably right.

Getting into hog hunting is really easy, especially for people like me who are middle aged and have never hunted. As I’ve said before, it’s actually easier for my wife and my kids to get into a regular hunting training program than it is for me to get into one.

However, getting into hog hunting is actually pretty easy: I snagged an evening’s trip awhile back to help me evaluate a cheap little IR sight, and there’s two-day classes on hunting hogs available near me as well that I’ll probably take advantage of next year.

And then there’s the simple fact that hogs are an invasive species, and blasting them into oblivion is like fishing for lion fish or hunting for Burmese Pythons: Yes, it’s hunting, but it’s hunting that tries to restore the balance to the ecosystem, and even the most fervent of tree-huggers understands that getting rid of invasive species is a good idea for everyone.

So go out and blast Wilbur into oblivion, and do so knowing that not only are you restoring balance to the environment, you’re also creating an on-ramp for generations of hunters to come.

And organically-grown, free-range, antibiotic-free bacon is just icing on the cake.

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

The Contextual Handgun

REALLY looking forward to this one, for a couple of reasons:

1. 
It’s the first class I’ve seen out there that tries to put what we learn on the range into the context of our everyday lives. Pretty much every class taught to armed citizens teaches us techniques of shooting a gun, but then leaves it up to us to figure out how to apply said techniques to our lives once we’re done with the class. It’s like learning what the gas pedal is and what the brake pedal does, but not learning when to speed up in traffic and when to slow down. John and Melody are the first people I’ve seen to bring firearms training into the real real world we all live in, rather than trying to bring firearms training that works in downtown Fallujah onto the streets of downtown Detroit*.

2.
The reason for all of this, the reason why I’m taking classes and learning to shoot and writing about it and all of this, started with my desire to protect my family. ALL of this stems from that desire, and I’ve been trying for literally a decade to find a firearms training class that acknowledges that we are not in it alone, that there are other people out there who we care for and want to protect. I’m not a cop on the street, it’s not my job to chase down bad guys. It’s my job to help keep my family safe, and yet no one until now** has designed a firearms training program based around that simple idea.


* Granted, downtown Fallujah is probably safer than downtown Detroit, but you get my idea.
** Yes, I know, there’s an “Armed Couple” class at GunSite and whatnot. That’s not what I’m talking about here, we’re talking about one person having the means to defend their family, not everyone being armed.

After Action Report: Step By Step Gun Training Glock Range Day / Night Shoot N Scoot

After Action Report: Step By Step Gun Training Glock Range Day / Night Shoot N Scoot

Shoot N Scoot

The Everglades Glock Range Day is a unique event for a number of reasons. It’s the only non-GSSF event that Glock’s involved with, and it’s one of the very few events designed to get people used to moving and shooting with their defensive pistols. (Disclaimer: I gave away a bunch of AR stocks I had lying around as prizes, so yes, technically, I was a sponsor. Yay me.).

The event has enough competitive elements to get the hardcore types out and compete against each other (I saw one guy plunk down $100 for a bunch of tickets in a quest to win one of the Glocks offered as a stage prize… not sure if he won one or not…), yet the stages are easy to shoot and the environment is laid-back so people who’ve never shot on the move or competed on a stage aren’t intimidated by the task at hand. There was vendor booths and a DJ and a food truck and door prizes and a good time was had by all.

Honestly, something like this should be an annual event at every range that hosts either a USPSA or an IDPA match. If we want our sport to be accepted and grow, it has to seem acceptable and bring in new people.

It’s not rocket surgery, people.

After the event was over and the booths put away, there was a night time training event where we had a chance to try out some tac lights and night sights options for our firearms.

I got a chance to try out a bunch of new gear in a situation that’s kinda sorta close to a situation where I might need to use it:

Trijicon HDXR Night Sights
REALLY useful in low-light situations where you can see and recognize a target but it’s not total darkness yet, but not so useful in total darkness. If you can’t see your target, don’t shoot at it, but up until that happens, those night sights were really handy.

Streamlight TLR-1 HL
Sha-ZAM. I have this light mounted on the front of my .300BLK pistol, and it easily lit up a target 35 yards away. I’d be very comfortable engaging targets up to 50 yards away with that light, and I like where I’ve got it set up on my pistol.

Streamlight Pro-Tac 1 Rail
Not as bright as the TLR-1, but it did the job mounted on my Kel-Tec SU-16. I was wondering if it tossed out enough light to be useful with a non-illuminated low-power variable optic (a Leupold 1.5-4x), and it does. Useful to know.

Condor Plate Carrier
Not as bulky as I thought it would be. I still need to figure out the best way to store my mags in their pouches (shooting left-handed gets a little weird at times), but I could run my AR pistol with no issues while doing my best Tactical Timmy impersonation.