This is the show for all of you who wanted a “Top Shot” without the drama. It’ll be on the Outdoor Channel this Monday night, check local listings blah blah blah.
This is the show for all of you who wanted a “Top Shot” without the drama. It’ll be on the Outdoor Channel this Monday night, check local listings blah blah blah.
My life’s been pretty hectic these past few weeks, but now that I’m back home (for awhile, at least), I had the time to head out to the range and put more rounds through the LCPII.
Really starting to like this little gun.
The range session did not start well: I had a Failure To Eject on round #4 of the first magazine, but the other 149 rounds ran fine. I concentrated on running the gun in some drills more oriented to self-defense, as I’ve decided to start carrying the LCPII four days out of seven, and this little gun did not disappoint.
One thing I’m finding out about this gun is that it’s surprisingly easy to shoot one-handed. A gun this small doesn’t have a lot of real eastate for your weak hand to hand onto and it’s so light, it’s easy to hold for long period of times in one hand. As a result, going from two-handed to strong hand only is not that big of a jump, and shooting it one-handed doesn’t affect accuracy all that much. Speed, yes (the lil’ sucker does jump around a bit), but accuracy, no.
That’s 150 rounds of PMC Bronze FMJ shot as fast as I could settle the sights near the target and as fast as I could pull the trigger. I didn’t have a timer running, but based on other range days with this gun, I’m guessing my splits were around 0.3 to 0.5 seconds. Is that fast enough to become a BUG Gun Master? Oh no. Is it fast accurate enough to make it through a lethal force encounter?
All 150 rounds were shot from hree to seven yards distance. This is NOT a long-range gun, 7 yards (maybe even 10, on a good day) is about the furthest distance I’d feel comfortable shooting this gun. Most of the 150 rounds were shot with both hands on the gun, though some were shot strong hand / weak hand only (about 50 rounds or so). Some were shot with diagonal or backwards movement, some not. The point of this wasn’t to put a one-hole group on paper, it was to see how the gun and myself work under stressful conditions, and I’m satisfied with the results so far.
But I’m always trying to get better.
One FTE on round #4, (round number 489 since it was cleaned, and the 3rd FTE so far).
Rounds Fired : 150
150 Rounds PMC Bronze
2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 635.
One possible failure to eject on round 116, two failures to eject, rounds 400 and 489.
The “conversation about guns” is turning in our direction. Keep it going. People, even liberals, are starting to understand that they are their own first responder. Emphasize safety, both yours and everyone else’s. No one thinks you shouldn’t protect your kids. No one thinks that learning first aid is a bad idea. No one thinks that flashlights aren’t handy. Nobody freaks out over a Swiss Army knife, except over-enthusiastic enforcers of “zero tolerance” policies. Start with the points you agree on, then work from there. Make it personal. Talk about your family, and how your love for them drives what you’re doing. Bring it down from the 10,000 foot level of “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” and the finer points of Constitutional Law to stories about why you want to stay safe. If they have a point that you agree on, like keeping guns out of the hands of violent felons or away from toddlers, agree with them, because it makes you and your positions more reasonable. Gun owners have been portrayed as wanting to shove guns into the hands of four year olds.
Prove them wrong.
One of things I liked about my MAG40 class was that the Qualifier at the end of the class is based on police qualifiers from around the country, and the that your results on the test are documented by the instructor at the end of the class.
This may not seem like much, but if, God forbid, you do need to use a gun in defense of a life and are taken to court afterwards, wouldn’t it be nice to have some hard, verifiable data about how effective a marksman you are versus an instructor who shuns standardized testing testifying that you’re a pretty decent shooter.
Or something. Which is good, until opposing counsel produces THEIR expert witness who shreds the testimony of said instructor like it’s pulled pork at a Carolina barbecue.
Documented test results are not subject cross-examination. They stand on their own accord, and a mighty ally to have on your side during a courtroom cage match, and the CSI Effect can have a strong effect on juries.
This was one of the reasons why I shot the test with my carry gun and holster, not a competition gun. Could I have scored better with one of the CZ-75’s I shoot in USPSA Production? Sure. Do I carry that gun? Nope. Shooting this test with my carry gear helps me establish what my baseline is for street work. My baseline for pistol bay work is established by my USPSA and IDPA Classifier scores (which, to be truthful, need some help).
Between the hectic pace of life these past few months and Monday’s devastating news, my heart just isn’t in it right now.
One of the things I talked with Paul Carlson about last weekend was the bitterness inside the firearms community. Yes, there are people out there whose purpose in life is to be used as reactor shielding, but other than that, there really is more that unites us rather than divides us. In talking with Paul on Saturday and Sunday, I realized that I had become that which I had most feared, I was one of the dividers, and I decided Sunday night to change how I treated people inside the business.
And then Monday happened, and my pettiness shone even brighter.
To quote the irreplaceable David Lee Roth, the trick to life is to not sweat the small stuff, and to realize that it’s all small stuff.
Enjoy life here while it lasts. It’s not going to happen again.
Bob, I wish you had talked with me before this. You were there when I needed a friend to pick me up during a dark, dark, time in my life, and now you’re gone.
I don’t understand this. This is the most un-Bob-like thing that I can possibly imagine you doing.
All I can say is, this wasn’t you. This was someone else inside you that did this, and I, along with hundreds and hundreds of other people, wish we could have stopped that other someone before this happened.
I suggest donating what you can, then donate a little more.
Bob was worth it.
Or, I have not come to bury using a military background to teach concealed carry to civilians, but to praise it.
Let’s face it: Being able to trumpet your history of shooting people in the face to people who are worried about being shot in the face helps us believe that you’ll help us not get shot in the face.
That’s a big, big advantage in marketing, because we make purchasing decisions with our emotions, then we justify that decision with our intellect. Being able to cozy up to the emotions instilled by service in the military or law enforcement affects us at a visceral level that is not easily matched.
Now, should we immediately believe that someone who has shot people in the face is a good civilian firearms instructor? Of course not! It doesn’t matter if said face-shooter is really, really good with a pistol, because unless they’re really, really good at translating what they’ve learned about shooting the pistol and can re-interpret that knowledge into something that’s applicable to our lives as civilian, it’s not that useful for someone who doesn’t wear a uniform and body armor for a living.
Bottom line is, look at the trust icons that someone with military is using as a bonafides for firearm training, then verify that what they’re teaching is usable in your daily life.
Thinking more about yesterday’s post, it really is no surprise that the NRA chose to play up the military backgrounds of their new instructor corps rather than go with people who have a verifiable history with training we civilians, because let’s face it, the NRA just doesn’t play nice with others. We’ll ignore (for now), the rather graceless way they kicked out the U.S. Concealed Carry Association from the Annual Meeting this year, and instead, go back to the ILA’s involvement in the attempts to improve our gun rights ten years ago. The NRA’s impact on D.C. v. Heller was, to say the least, nominal (and to say the worst, harmful), and they followed that up with an attempt to muscle in on McDonald v. Chicago.
In the minds of the NRA, there is no reason to acknowledge the existence of Gunsite or Cornered Cat or Lethal Force Institute in the CV’s of their new top-notch trainers, because, I’m guessing, that might put the thought in people’s heads that the NRA in and of itself is not the sole source of civilian firearms training. It’s pretty similar to when I went to Front Sight: If you go to that range, you will never hear about how Jeff Cooper invented the color code or anything about any other training except what’s done at Front Sight. This is NOT the way to build a robust training program that adapts to the customer’s needs. It is, however, an excellent way to move your customers two-thirds of the way up Mount Stupid and leave them stranded there, possibly in danger of their lives.
Look, I like the NRA. I write for the NRA. I’m an NRA member, and the NRA has done and is doing a lot of great stuff for our right to defend ourselves from harm. However, the NRA is no more the sole protector of that right of self-defense than AAA is the sole voice for everyone who drives a car. The sooner the NRA learns to play nice with others, the better off we’ll be.
THE NRA CARRY GUARD TRAINING PACKAGE
No matter your skill level, NRA Carry Guard offers world-class firearm training. But next to knowing how to protect yourself physically, nothing is more important than protecting yourself legally.
RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
NRA Carry Guard members receive immediate access to our Rights & Responsibilities video curriculum, featuring hours of instruction that will prepare you for the modern reality of self-defense.
Well that sounds kinda cool, right? But who are the people doing the training? Well, to be honest, I’ve never heard of any of them. This puzzled me, so I went about searching for the credentials and history of the trainers associated with the “Gold Standard” of concealed carry insurance, and what I found out was rather troubling.
There was no history. Well, very little history, and that is not what you want in a nationally-recognized training program.
To find out who the people associated with NRA Carry Guard were, I searched for the names of all the people involved in this program, using keywords like “‘name of instructor’+training” or “‘name of instructor’+concealed carry”. I was looking for the (digital) impression they have made in the firearms training community, and to be honest, it just isn’t there.
As an example, here’s the same search criteria, using my friend Jon from Phoenix Firearms Training instead of these guys. Jon’s training company isn’t the biggest one in Phoenix, but there are still ten pages of results for him using one of those keywords.
“‘George Severance’+concealed carry”? One page of results, and it’s all about his involvement with NRA Carry Guard. To the best of my ability (and I do online marketing for a living, including Search Engine Optimization), there is no evidence online to show that he was involved with concealed carry training in any way prior to his involvement with NRA Carry Guard.
Now it could be that all of the civilian firearms training done by these trainers has taken place in places that don’t mention the training online, or they don’t have websites about what they do because they don’t feel comfortable in today’s digital age, and Lord knows that technophobia runs rampant in the firearms community.
But are such things emblematic of the best thinking in firearms training today? I don’t believe so. We should take advantage of every opportunity we have to spread knowledge of the safe use of firearms, and that includes venues such as websites, social media and online video.
Let’s take a look at what I did find out about each trainer in the NRA Carry Guard program.
Veteran U.S. Navy SEAL
NRA Carry Guard National Director
Through more than 20 years in Naval Special Warfare, George led special operations teams on four continents as a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander, Task Unit Commander, Operations Officer and Executive Officer.
That’s quite a resume, but George’s background in civilian training seems to be limited to running a fitness camp that uses Navy SEAL techniques to whip us landlubbers into shape.
That’s cool, but what does that teach me about having a fast draw stroke, or shoot/no-shoot situations?
Veteran U.S. Navy SEAL
NRA Carry Guard Training Director
As a veteran Navy SEAL with nearly 12 years of active duty service, Eric had some of the best firearms training in the world and learned from some of the world’s most elite tactical shooting instructors. He’s the co-founder of BluCore Shooting Center.
Eric also has a background in teaching fitness. He’s also been involved in the launch of the Springfield Saint, a campaign that was managed by Ackerman-McQueen, the same people who manage advertising for the NRA.
Some coincidence there.
Veteran Green Beret
NRA Carry Guard Lead Instructor
Jeff served as a Green Beret with U.S. Army Special Forces, completing service in 2009. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq, and has excelled at completing various tactical shooting courses with both assault/tactical rifles and pistols.
I, too, have “excelled at completing various tactical shooting courses with both assault/tactical rifles and pistols”. Why am I not involved in this as well? Oh, and in another AMAZING bit of coincidence, Jeff just happens to be the director of training at the range that Eric opened up in Colorado.
Funny how that happens.
James R. Jarrett
Veteran Green Beret
NRA Carry Guard Curriculum Director
As a veteran Green Beret, Los Angeles Police Department officer, federal agent and deep-cover intelligence operative, James R. Jarrett has decades of experience as a tactical weapons practitioner and instructor.
James has, by far, the most results for firearms-related keywords of any of trainers. For example, he has a full six pages for his name + concealed carry. However, James’s training calendar looks a little… sparse. Now it could be true that he’s off somewheres training units that can’t talk about the training he’s giving them or he doesn’t want to train in the often-brutal Arizona heat, or it could be that he’s just not that busy.
Anything is possible. Not all things are likely.
Now let me be absolutely crystal clear about one very important thing: I am not impinging, in any way, the sacrifice and service these men have put in defending my rights and my family’s ability to live in peace. I am in complete awe of anyone who signs up for the military and runs towards the sound of gunfire, and I always will be. I am actively encouraging both of my sons to serve in the military when they are of age: That issue is settled, and I will hear no more about it.
However, I have to ask, what relevance does that training have to my life as a married, middle-class marketing guru? Yes, there is value to training from someone who has seen the elephant and won a battle for their life, but that experience needs to be made relative to my life if it is to be valuable to me. From what I’ve noticed about the resumes of all of these trainers, all of them stress their military creds as qualification to teach civilians. Do I really need military training? What does suiting up and kicking in doors with an M4 in my hands have to do with me keeping my family safe at home? I can see how training with a SpecOps type can make me FEEL safe, but isn’t the point of all of this to BE safe, regardless of how we feel?
I’m not getting it.
I’m a member of the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network, and the training DVD’s I received (and watched) from that organization were from guys like Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and Marc MacYoung, all people who are recognized as leaders in training civilians how to safely defend themselves from the lethal force and also defend themselves in the courtroom afterwards. The US Concealed Carry Association has guys like Andrew Branca, Mike Hughes and George Harris on their training roster, filling similar roles, and they have a proven history of success in the streets and in the courtroom.
Speaking of the courtoom, all the training that Carry Guard seems to talk about is how to shoot people with your gun more better and more quicker. Where is the training in the legal consequences of using lethal force? Where is the less-lethal training? Where is the de-escalation? Where is the acknowledgement just having insurance isn’t enough, you need to do your part and not get into any fights you’re not supposed to get into? Talking about military service is one thing. Talking your way out of a fight with an angry, belligerent drunk is something else.
There are a lot of things to consider if you’re considering post-incident legal help, and one of those things is who are the people who are backing each program. In this case, while the military background of the NRA Concealed Carry trainers is very impressive, it seems to apply more to the streets of Khandahar than it does to a Walmart parking lot, and the NRA needs to consider adding in more options with the training and background that relates to the needs of me and my family, rather than the needs of special operations warrior.
The National Rifle Association has finally decided to get serious about the post-incident legal protection and launched NRA Carry Guard, their new product to compete against the United States Concealed Carry Association and a host of others.
There was bit of a controversy last week over the NRA rescinding the invites of competiting products to the Annual Meeting, and let’s face it, the timing kinda stunk. However, given the high-profile placement that NRA gave to their revamped and re-launched self-defense insurance product at the Annual Meeting, I can see why they didn’t want any competition on the floor
Did I mention that they went high-profile with this?
I wasn’t kidding. This was what we saw when we walked into the convention center…
… and this was the primary entrance to the show floor itself.
Subtle, they are not.
But how does NRA Carry Guard stack up to all the other post-incident legal plans out there? Fortunately for you, I’ve written about this sort of thing in the past, so I can attempt some sort of apples to apples comparison of all the plans out there. All the information on this comparison chart was created from either from what was on each plan’s website or from talking with representatives of each plan in-person or on the phone. As such, there are some gaps, as I’ve not managed to pry some info out of the a few of the companies on this list, and I recommend you read your policy very carefully before you sign anything*.
|CCW Safe||Second Call Basic||Texas / U.S. Law Shield||USCCA Silver||Armed Citizens Network||Self Defense |
|NRA Carry Guard Bronze|
|Bail||$25,000 / $250,000||$1,000 / $10,000||$2,500 / $25,000||$2,500 / $25,000||$25,000 + Merits||10% of Bail||$2,500 / $25,000|
|Your Own Attorney||-||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Criminal Defense||Y||$10,000||Legal Fees Only||$50,000||$25,000 + Merits||$100,000 Combined||$50,000|
|Civil Defense||Y||N||Legal Fees Only||$250,000 Combined||Based On Merits||$100,000 Combined||$250,000 Combined|
|Civil Damages||N||N||Legal Fees Only||$250,000 Combined||Based On Merits||$100,000 Combined||$250,000 Combined|
|Expert Witnesses||Y||Y||N||Up To Coverage Limits||Y||-||Y|
|"First Dollar" Coverage||Y||Up To $2,000||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Cost||$129/year||$9.95/mo or $119/yr||$16.85/mo or $202.20/yr |
+ $19.95 setup
|$13/mo or $147/yr||$135/yr||$15.92/mo or $179/yr||$13.95/mo or $154.95/yr|
How does NRA Carry Guard stack up? Well, as a self-insurance, it’s right in their with the rest of them. I’m glad to see them get serious about this product because they’ve been leaving money on the table for a long time now and others have jumped into the fray with some pretty good results.
* As always, this is where I tell you that I, personally, have ACLDN, and that I am a USCCA Affiliate. Take that, FTC. I’m also not a lawyer nor an expert in this sort of thing, so take anything I say here with a lick of salt or two (lime and tequila optional), and be sure to run the documents for your policy of choice by a professional before you sign up for anything