‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple.

‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday of the year, because it’s the only holiday on the calendar that is focused on the people around us and the generous gifts we all are given.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13 

See you next week.

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.

Sell Fewer Guns.

Sell Fewer Guns.

This is how you get analysis paralysis.

I honestly think no one in firearms retail has ever heard of this study or what it means for their business.

In a now famous supermarket study only 3% of shoppers purchased jam when confronted with 24 varieties, while 30% purchased when given only 6. Although the 10 fold increase is interesting what fascinates me are the people not exposed by the raw data.

A good number of those 27% approached the jam section with a particular jam in mind. They knew what they wanted and went to purchase. However, the range of alternatives actually placed doubt in their mind. Was their normal choice of jam the best option available? Should they try something new? These questions created enough anxiety to actually stop them purchasing.

“Am I buying the right gun?” freezes up more first-time gun buyers than anything else. They know they don’t know exactly what makes a good first gun, and when faced with dozens and dozens of choices (and probably some really bad advice from gun store clerks), they go into vapor lock, succumb to analysis paralysis and then require extensive hand-holding and guidance in order to make a purchase.

This presents a problem because the margins on guns are so small that if your salesperson has to spend three hours (or more) over the course of a week or more explaining why Gun X is better than Gun Z, bam, there goes your profit margin. Also, as Tam says, you could toss a Gen5 Glock, an M&P, a P320, an FN 509, a Berretta APX, a CZ P10C and any one of a half-dozen or so other guns into a bag, randomly pull one out, and that gun will work just peachy for your typical gun store customer. The fact is, unless you’re talking aftermarket accessories, they’re really isn’t enough feature differentiation these days to make an influence the customer’s buying decision in any meaningful way.

Sell Glocks. Sell 2-3 “not Glocks,” a value brand (Taurus, etc) and maybe a higher-end brand “cachet” brand like the better SIGs and CZs. Repeat this idea up and down the caliber selection ladder and then turn the money you save on inventory (both guns AND accessories) and employee man-hours into making your store more friendly for today’s consumer.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

We must work, for the night, she is coming!

Time and time again, I see people in the gun world, people who preach de-escalation as being vital to self-defense, being unwilling or unable to de-escalate personal spats online, leading to butthurt galore and all sorts of unnecessary drama.

If you can’t de-escalate a virtual spat, it brings into question your ability to de-escalate a spat in real life.

At the very least, it gives a prosecutor a little more ammunition to shoot at you in court: “Your Honor, the State would like to enter into evidence the following online exchange to show that the defendant has a temper and was itchin’ to start a fight that evening…”

Emotional Rescue.

Emotional Rescue.

This post at Ricochet started off as a diatribe against the idiots who cry out that “weapons of war don’t belong on our streets!,” every time someone is shot with an AR-15 which is, in reality, a rather uncommon occurrence.

However, it turned out to be something more, it turned into a celebration of a simple, honest man, and his simple, honest love for his family.

Turns out I attach more emotions to my guns than I thought I did.

Start With The Darkness.

Start With The Darkness.

Maglite and Tool PouchThat little combo flashlight / multitool pouch on the right may not look like much, but in a way, it’s what got me started on my journey towards armed personal defense.

I started off my photo career as a photo assistant, something pretty much everyone does, and within a few months, I was making a full-time living at it, something very few people were able to do in the Phoenix market. I rose to the top because when I was on the job, I made it my priority to make the photographer’s needs my priority, and that meant thinking ahead and having a plan to deal with all the things that might go wrong on the set. Sets that were usually pretty dark, because a ) The setups were usually indoors and b ) You really don’t want stray light sources interfering with your photos.

As such, it’s usually dark inside a photo studio, and that means that if something goes wrong, it’s probably going to have to be diagnosed and fixed in the darkness. I found out really quickly that having a flashlight (in my case, a AA Maglite, which seemed AMAZINGLY bright when I first started out) and a multi-tool (this Gerber, which I still love and adore), a pen (a fine point Sharpie) and some gaffer’s tape (because, just like The Force, it has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together) on me at all times was good thing, because stuff can happen when you’re 14 feet up in the air adjusting a light and you may or may not have someone near the grip cart to help you out. You were on your own, and you had to solve the problem in front of you RIGHT NOW with only the tools you had on you.

Sound familiar?

I honestly think carrying a flashlight on a day in, day out basis is the best starting point we have for getting people used to the idea that they need to prepare for the crap that can happen in their lives. As sure as the sun sets in the west, darkness will happen in our lives. We know this, we accept this, and yet the VAST majority of Americans walk around completely unprepared to deal with it beyond hoping that the streetlights come on each night.

Get people to carry a flashlight everyday. That starts the wheels turning.

Urban Grey Man

Urban Grey Man

I see this all the time, especially at our local Wal-Mart. Sum dood wearing a gun-related hat and Mossy Oak t-shirt with a silk screen on it that loudly proclaims his love to all around him for the 2nd amendment. If he’s carrying, he’s carrying so well that he’s not printing, and he walks up to the sporting goods counter and talks about his shooting exploits to everyone there.

… and then buys one 50 round box of .40 or .45 (Never 9mm. Never, ever 9mm.).

Meanwhile, lil’ ol’ me in my polo shirt and khakis smiles quietly, noticing that a good portion of the gun-related books for sale at the gun counter were authored by friends of mine…

Show Us Your SHOT.

Show Us Your SHOT.

SHOT Show Registration

After a two year hiatus, I’m headed back out to SHOT in January. This time, however, three things will be different.

  1. No new media meet up. There just won’t be time for me because…
  2. I’m doing something cool with the NRA re: SHOT. More on that later. And also…
  3. For the first time ever, I bought a ticket to the State Of The Industry event on Tuesday night.
All The Feels.

All The Feels.

There’s a difference between myself and many of my friends, and most other gun owners out there. My friends and I have taken the time to figure out what we are doing wrong when it comes to marksmanship, and we have invested time and money into solving those problems.

That is a HUGE difference compared to most gun owners. You ask anyone on the range if “they can shoot” and nine times out of ten, the response you’ll receive, is “Sure I can shoot”.

The lack of consistent grouping on their target will tell another story, and if you ask that same person a) what they’re best and b) what they need improving on, 9 times out of ten you’ll get a blank stare, because in their mind, they can shoot, so there is no need for improvement.

That element of “I suck at doing (something), therefore, I am not going to integrate (something) into my teaching, and downplay it’s importance,” is what comes natural to most people. It’s people like me and the other members of the 1% who say “I suck at (something) and I need to train (something) so I don’t suck at it, and let others benefit from my experience.”

The problem is that having the courage to say a) I suck and b ) I need to change that is a rare commodity. We ALL have a tendency towards confirmation bias. We forget that buying decisions (and our measure of the relative value of an item) come first from our emotions. If we *feel* like we’ve got our money’s worth, we like that experience. I’m not like most people: I look for training classes that challenge me and show where I suck because I really want to BE proficient, not FEEL like I’m proficient.

The trick is giving people the feeling of proficiency and then adding in actual proficiency, without destroying their self-worth by telling them how much they suck. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL in favor of standardized measurements when it comes to firearms training and instructors who forgo the idea of using benchmarks to improve performance are foregoing pretty much all of modern educational theory.

The goal is to create lifelong students of marksmanship, not one-and-done gun owners who either think they know everything after two days of classes, or who are so demoralized by their performance in a class they never set foot in a pistol bay again.

A good percentage of the instructors I know look at firearms training as an intellectual exercise… “In this class, you will LEARN (knowledge) how to draw from a holster and blahblahblah.”

How many of them add in an element of emotion? Can you do that without treading on tactical derpitude territory and claim your students will learn to shoot like a Navy SEAL?

If someone bought a gun in order to FEEL safe, what about your class and how you talk about it enhances that feeling? What detracts from it? Are you even asking those questions of yourself and how you teach?