Optimizing Your Murse-anary Game

Optimizing Your Murse-anary Game

Speaking of gear bags, my family made a trip up to Orlando a few weekends ago to do our usual round of theme park visits. We did something a little different this time, though, and went to the Florida Mall to visit the M&M’s store, because my wife loves those candies*. I like ’em too, but not as much as she does, so I sat outside the store on the bench for 15 or so minutes today, waiting for my wife to complete her pillaging of the store. I took that break as an opportunity to do some people watching and see how many guys passed wearing backpacks, sling bags or man purses.

Now granted, this is a tourist area so men will probably be carrying around a lot more stuff with them than if they were at home, but in that 15 minutes, I counted 12 guys of all shapes sizes and colors carrying some form of pack or bag. Bags ranged from school backpacks (8 guys) to a full-on purse (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) to three guys wearing sling bags, one of which was your typical tactical gear bag.

It’s interesting to note that the guy with the tactical bag looked hipster-ish rather than Hayley-ish, with glasses and hoodie and the whole hipster uniform.

I have no compunction against carrying around an extra bag to hold all my extra stuff, probably because I carried around either a laptop bag or a camera bag** for over twenty years. Whether or not a gear bag/camera bag/tactical man-purse is appropriate to carry around with you depends on the context of where you are. For instance, I have never seen a murse in a grocery store, but I see them all the time in tourist-y areas. I don’t see them in movie theaters, but I do see them in coffee shops. Also, keep in mind that the increasing use of iPads, Kindles and other small tablets means that more and more guys are carrying those gadgets around with them to use them outside of the house, so you’ll see man-purses in places you normally wouldn’t like in church or in restaurants.

Your first option should always be to carry your essential gear on your person, but if that’s not an option, or you feel like you need a little more gear than normal, a man-purse might not be a bad option.

Just leave the leather purse with the chrome clasp to your wife, okay? 🙂

 

 

* I don’t know why she has to obsess about those and not obsess about guns like normal people do.
** Domke or GTFO. Seriously, if you shoulder-carry your camera gear, they are the best, bar none.

A Deeper Shade Of Grey.

A Deeper Shade Of Grey.

I spotted a guy in church this week carrying a black sling bag covered in MOLLE straps, (probably something like Mapedition or similar). The guy carrying it stood out not only because he was carrying a bag, (here are other guys in the crowd doing that) but by the fact that he was 6′ 1″. 210-220 pounds, ridiculously fit and had a short, military-style haircut.

In other words, he looked like a cop or something similar. He was DEFINITELY not fitting in with the rest of the crowd.

There are people who can get away with carrying a military sling bag and not look like they were setting up to invade Fallujah: He wasn’t one of them.

Now I have no doubt that the Maxpedition bag was useful and handy and probably had enough gear in it to stop a small army in its tracks. However, if his intent was to look like just another worshipper in church, he failed. Maybe a little less Tier One and a little more Pier One might be in order when walking around in civvies.

Getting The Precision Rifle Bug, And Getting It Bad.

Getting The Precision Rifle Bug, And Getting It Bad.

Shooting an accurate, left-handed .22 bolt gun these past few weeks has given me a mighty big desire to start up a .22 Precision Rifle match in my zip code.

The problem is location: The bays at Louland max out at 45 yards or so, and the dance card at Hansen is full pretty much all the time. The Deep Lake range at Altair would be perfect for this, but that’s been shut down since Hurricane Irma.

Okochobee Shooting Sports or Manatee would work great, but those are both a two hour drive for me, which turns the match into a two-day affair. This means I either invest a significant amount of time and gas driving out to the range twice each weekend, or I do an overnight stay in a hotel near the range.

Sigh.

Sucks living out in the boonies.

Help Wanted

Help Wanted

The company I worked for has been bought out, and now I’m looking for a job. Again.

This truly sucks, because I *liked* that job. Quite a lot.

Anyway, if you know of something in content marketing / digital marketing, let know.

After The Hunt.

After The Hunt.

The article on hog hunting for American Hunter is written and sent to my editor. Here’s some stuff that didn’t make it into the mix.

  • A hog hunting school like I attended is a really great way to get into hunting. If you’re like me, (and I know I am), the biggest problem with trying something new is that I don’t know what I don’t know. As such, having one day set aside to sight in our rifles and learn a little bit about feral pigs, how they live and how you hunt them made the hunt itself a lot easier.
  • Watching the skinning/quartering process is essential to the experience. I spent my summers on a farm that raised chickens for market, so I know just what it takes to make the food we eat. It’s my sincere belief that Americans have no idea of the amount of effort needed to raise the food we eat, which is why we have a problem with obesity: All it takes for us to eat is money. A hunt will set you straight on such things right quickly, as you’ll so find out it takes WORK to stalk, shoot, quarter and then butcher a hog.
  • Jeff Cooper believed that hunting was essential to understanding self-defense, and he’s right. There is just something about knowing that you need to take a shot to end another creature’s life and you need to take that shot NOW that can’t be found on a stage at a match or in a bay while training. There isn’t that sense of urgency at a match, or even shooting a qual at a class. If I blow a stage, there’s always the next one. If I blow a qualifier while training, it’s only my ego on the line, not my family’s supper.
    Hunting, though? With hunting, you begin to realize that the stakes are truly mortal.
  • I was initially leery about hunting on a private preserve with a guide because I thought it’d be one step up from bear baiting. However, hunting with a guide was a lot more active than  I thought. It wasn’t a “Ok, pig there, shoot now” sort of thing: In reality, I spotted my critter first and led the stalk and helped in the chase afterwards. Yes, I’d get a lot more of the “outdoors” part of thing if I tramped around a wildlife preserve for a day or more chasing hogs, and that’s fine, I like the walking in the woods, and I’ll try that soon as well.
  • I was also a little dismissive at first about the gear that one of my fellow hunters brought to the hunt. He was using a budget .30-30 with a UTG scope on it rotated 90° so that elevation is now windage, a setup that doesn’t exactly scream “Competency!” to me. You know what, though? Dude used that effed up budget gun to make a 50 yard headshot on his pig, dropping it with one round right behind the ear.
    Serves me right for judging a book by its cover.

The haul? I ended up with two racks of ribs, two five pound hams, five pounds of backstrap and pork chops, six pounds of italian sausage and a pound of ground pork.

Pork products

On the whole, as I said in the article, (which should be published next month) I’ll do it again, and soon. It was too much fun not to go again.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

Epistle of St. James, Chapter 2, Verses 14-22, NIV

Attention, Gun Culture 2.0. If we want to survive and thrive, we need to grow, and that means taking new gun owners to the range. Nothing else is going to work. Not rallies, not donating to the NRA, none of that means ANYTHING if we are not adding people to our cause.

Gun Culture 1.0 is dying because they didn’t spend the time to create entry points beyond “Take your kids hunting,” and the concealed carry / competition community is going to die out as well if we are not constantly bringing new people out to the range.

In a few months, we’ve gone from counting votes in the Senate trying to get CCW reciprocity passed nationwide to fighting for our Second Amendment lives. We’re losing the culture war, and if we think that relying on the same pro-gun messengers and messaging of the past is suddenly somehow going to turn things around for us, we are delusional, and deserve to lose.

Go to a rally. Make yourself feel good about your Second Amendment rights. Then go out share that good news with others.

Otherwise your good feelings don’t mean a damned thing.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says they believe in the 2nd Amendment but does not take someone to the range? Can that belief save their guns? If a brother or sister wants to defend their family, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay safe,” without helping them learn to shoot, what good is that? So also belief in the 2nd Amendment by itself, if it does not include others, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have the 2nd Amendment and I go shoot.” Show me your faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart from going to the range, and I will show you my faith by taking someone shooting. You believe that there is a right to self-defense; you do well. Even the Shannon Watts believes that — and shudders! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith in the right to keep and bear arms apart by itself is useless? Didn’t Jeff Cooper start up Gunsite to train more people as well create The Modern Technique Of The Pistol? You see that faith in the 2nd Amendment was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; *


* I may be spending a few weeks in Purgatory for that last bit, but it’s ok, I like Colorado!

The Safety Fallacy

The Safety Fallacy

I’ll be honest: When John and Melody talked about how there is really no such thing as “safe” firearms training, I had some issues with what they were talking about. Not safe? What do you mean? Of course firearms training is safe! If it wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t do it!

However, as I was writing this post, I realized that the list of activities I enjoy which start with a five minute medical briefing are firearms training classes, and that’s about it. This got me thinking that yeah, maybe there is no such thing as “safe” firearms training.

And no, that doesn’t give us license to go full Pulkasis and send people downrange while we’re shooting.

An example:

In a skydive, even in a tandem jump, if I don’t do some essential things correctly like stance and exit position, I’m potentially in a world of hurt and may even die. Jumping out of a plane is inherently an unsafe action, (duh), so whether or not I get hurt while doing so up to me, my gear, my training, my instructor’s guidelines and the decisions I have made. For me, though, the risk is worth the reward (Memo to self: Go jump again, and soon.).

Shooting a gun at something is also inherently an unsafe action: A large, potentially life-threatening hole is going to appear in SOMETHING when you pull the trigger on a loaded gun. Where and when that hole appears is (literally) in your hands. Therefore, shooting a gun is not safe, it is the actions of the the shooter that determine whether it’s a positive experience or not. I can mitigate the risks, but I cannot eliminate them completely.

Is firearms training safe? No.

But it doesn’t mean it needs to be dangerous, either.

Buying Into A LIfestyle

Buying Into A LIfestyle

I drive by one of the local Harley Davidson dealerships every day on the way to work, and the big LED sign out front of their shop usually has variants of three types of messages:

  • Learn To Ride
  • Big Sale
  • Concert / Event / Etc. Coming Soon

We’ll deal with the concert/events part of this at a later date, but note that only one of those advertisements has anything to do with actually SELLING Harley Davidson motorcycles. The “Learn To Ride” special is the most interesting to me, because if you buy a motorcycle, you buy a thing. If you learn how to USE your motorcycle, you’re buying into a lifestyle.

Think that this is something that gun ranges could learn from? I do.

Also, note how they describe their training class: It’s not “Open Road Riding Level One,” it’s “Learn To Ride.” They don’t try and confuse the consumer who’s trying something new and unknown with a bunch of buzzwords and cool-sounding details, all they say is “Learn To Ride.”

People are buying handguns because they’re scared, and we augment that nervousness with class names like “Tactical Handgun Operator Level I”.

Does a single mother with an abusive boyfriend REALLY want to take that class?

What would happen if every range in the country divided up their handgun classes into simple, related course names like “Learn to Shoot,” “Learn To Shoot Better” and “Learn To Shoot Really Well”?

Keep it simple, stupid.

Update: On Facebook, my friend and fellow Zero Hero Alf makes a terrific point: The really successful companies sell more than just product. 7/11 for instance, sells us stuff, but HOW they sell it provides us with more time do other things in our lives.

What is the value add for a gun store in our lives? What do they offer us besides selling us guns?