Everything But The Bang.

One of the biggest differences (if not THE biggest difference) between a Harley rider and every other obnoxious person on two wheels motorcycle rider has little, if anything, to do with the motorcycles themselves. What makes a Harley rider a Harley rider is the mythos that you’re an individualist.

You, and millions and millions of people just like you.

There is a culture that’s built around Harley Davidson owners that has little, if anything, to do with the motorcycles themselves, and it’s a culture that offers events tailored to different levels of engagement into the culture. From “Learn To Ride” events to poker runs to Sturgis, you can find some way to meet your fellow enthusiast and have fun together with your motorcycles.

Is there a culture built around concealed carry? Of course there is.

Are there entry points and events that can handle new gun owners as well as experienced gun owners?

Maybe.

Kathy Jackson turned me on to a new group called Action Shooting International, and I really, really like what they’re doing:

Here at Action Shooting International, LLC, we’re focused on giving you a chance to practice in a way that’s fun, and builds social connections with other gun owners. ASI shoots are competitions, but we’re more concerned about having fun and learning something along the way than fighting for every point. Each shooting problem you’ll face (called a “stage”) focuses on a particular experience or skill — such as reloading, shooting around an obstacle, or shooting while moving.

And the good news is, the rules are lightweight, holsters are optional, .380ACP is the minimum caliber and round counts look to be very low. If you shoot at a range that doesn’t have a competition, this might be right for you to get involved with.

It’s Not You, It’s Your ROI.

Clause Werner and Chris Baker both talk about something that is near and very dear to my heart, the reasons why people get little, if any, formal firearms beyond what is required to get a concealed carry permit or similar state license.

Time and cost concerns are usually given as big reasons why people don’t train. However, people will pay money (LOTS of money) to do activities that they find either fun or rewarding. They dress up to go to the theater. They buy boats and bowling balls. If they feel they get their money’s worth out of an activity, they do it.

If “money and time” are the reasons why people don’t train, maybe the response from the training community shouldn’t be cutting back classroom hours and slashing enrollment fees. Maybe the response should be a long, hard look at what people are getting in return for their hard-earned cash and valuable time. People will send GOBS of money and time on items or activities that they see as valuable or enjoyable. That’s what the whole “leisure sports” industry is based on.

If money and time are reasons not to train, maybe the response from the training community shouldn’t be cutting back classroom hours and discounted enrollment fees. Maybe it should be a long, hard look at what people are getting in return for their hard-earned cash and valuable time.

What is the ROI of a training class, and how do you express that to your students?

CAN you express that to your students?

Left unsaid in Chris’s article (but is a big reason why we guys don’t get training) is the perception that we already know how to shoot.  This puts a trainer in the unenviable position of trying to prove someone is wrong in order to get money from them.

Good luck with that.

Fuel To The Fire.

Yeah, I guess I should have known that anything I wrote that was mildly critical of the NRA would be picked up by one of Bloomberg’s minions.

I don’t mind that as much, though, as they then quote The Truth About Guns right after they talk about me.

Ewwwwwww.

The NRA’s recent missteps remind me, in a way, of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He started off well, taking over a department that was in chaos after it bungled a high-profile mass murder case, and he quickly whipped everyone into shape, instituting popular programs like Tent City, pink underwear and green weenies.

Then a few years into his term, things got nasty. The Sheriff’s Office started to throw it’s weight around and make political threats that were backed up by the power of the badge, and all that good will vanished overnight.

I still believe that Sheriff Joe is a good man who truly wants to put the brakes on crime in Maricopa County.

But at what cost?

Twenty Four Months Have Gone By

Since this happened, and what a wild ride it’s been. I’m still (sorta) working in the industry, still trying to get the iPTS off the ground (may have some news on that before SHOT…), still writing (and writing A LOT), making even more good friends who are involved in spreading the good news about guns, and my life here in Florida is quite good.

You ask pretty much anyone in Arizona what they want to do each summer, and their answer will be “Go to the coast, go to a beach, go to a theme park.”

Well, this summer, I’ve had four trips to theme parks and three trips to the beach.

Not bad.

Looking back on 2015, that crazy, crazy year of panic, uncertainty and change, there were some things that happened that weren’t my fault (like finding out the owner of the company is an immature bipolar millionaire, which is a great combination for a supervillian, but not so great in a boss…) and some things that were my fault, the biggest of which was, I broke one of my one rules: I was desperate, DESPERATE to work in the gun industry.

Walden” is one of my guideposts in life, and there’s a terrific passage early on in the book about how a man should act.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation … but it is a character of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

I broke my rules, and my family and I paid the price. Now, that’s not to say that the payment is ongoing. The reverse is true, I’m happy with how things ended up, and Florida is now my home, and I’m quite happy here.

But just because the plane landed smoothly doesn’t mean there wasn’t turbulence along the way.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 736 to 836.

100 more rounds of Lucky Gunner’s PMC Bronze .380ACP ammo went through the LCP][ last weekend, and nothing happened except loud noises were made and 100 holes appeared in a piece of paper.

100 rounds of lucky gunner ammoJust like the previous occasions when I shot this gun, I’m not wasting my time trying to shoot one-hole groups with this pistol. That’s not the purpose of this gun: This gun is meant to be used to quickly put as many rounds into a target that’s well within the Tueller scheme of things, and it does that job very well.

Most of these rounds were shot as fast as I could get the sights somewhere near center of the target (or as you can see, sometimes, I shot a little bit before that actually happened…) from a distance between three and seven yards, and mostly two-handed, with a few rounds shot strong hand only / weak hand only.

A couple of thoughts:

Once again, I was amazed at how easy the LCP][ is to shoot strong hand only. I chalk this up to the fact that there really isn’t a whole lot of room for your weak hand to grab onto something as you shoot the gun. Perversely, though, shooting it weak hand only was quite the chore: It felt strange, off-balance and was very hard to shoot well.

No, I don’t know why.

Secondly, just to see how accurate the darn thing is, I tried some hostage shots with the gun from about five yards away. I wouldn’t consider this gun to be a “combat” firearm: It’s not meant for a prolonged two-way exchange of leaden projectiles, it’s meant to be used to get you out of harm’s way from an attacker (or two) who are up close and personal. This this not the gun to armed with if you’re expecting an attack from the Leprechaun Liberation Army: This is a gun you use if you want to give an armed robber the surprise of his (or her) life. I don’t want to be in a situation with this gun where I have to make a precise shot on someone who’d holding a hostage, but it’s nice to know I might be able to do it if needed.

Rounds Fired : 100
100 Rounds PMC Bronze

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 836.
One possible failure to eject on round 116, two failures to eject on rounds 400 and 489.

Culture Clash

We’ve won the gun rights battle. We’re rolling things back (slowly… too slowly) but we are winning. The left is getting more and more radicalized (Linda Sarsour and Assata Shakur? REALLY?), and there will be a void open for the NRA or someone else to step into to and expand gun rights even further into ground that once belonged to the enemy.

We’ve won the battle. The war? The war continues, and wars are not won on the basis of winning battles, they’re won on the basis of holding territory and making it your own.

We have regained (cultural) ground from our enemy. What are we doing to hold it and make it our own?

Cultures don’t change because the extremes get pushed out more and more, cultures change because, in the words of the Doobie Brothers, what were once vices are now habits. Gay marriage was once a vice. Now it’s the law of the land. Ditto with doobies (words are my business! 🙂 ) in Colorado and many, many other states..

Armed self defense was once considered a vice. It’s now a habit for millions and millions of people.

Let’s keep that going.

Do You Even Win, Bro?

An interesting comment was left on a gun-related Facebook group I belong to, regarding this photo.

I have acquaintances who still post “They’re Gonna Take Yer Guns!” crap every now and then. It’s not that the sentiment doesn’t concern me – being of around the same age as (redacted), it does and ought to. It’s just that the strident sense of doom seems, well, out-of-touch now that things are bending our way. It’s almost as if many of our number can’t get used to the notion of having a winning cause.

I agree 100%. American gun culture, quite frankly, doesn’t know what winning feels like. We’ve been on defense for so long, since 1934 at the very least, we don’t know what it feels like when quiet, confident and practical armed self defense is as much of our culture as, say, fishing is. Yes, there are cranks who go out and protest fishing, but they’re looked on as cranks, not people who inspire other people to create “Million(-ish) Mom Marches” and such.

We don’t know what it means to be our own first responder, because we’ve abdicated that role to the .gov since the Sullivan Act or thereabouts. We have forgotten what it means to be in charge of our own destiny.

We need to re-learn such things, and quickly.

The NRA As Church.

Growing up inside the evangelical community, I watched as pastor after pastor and ministry after ministry would stumble and fall after they put fundraising ahead of their stated mission to help the helpless and bring peace to a shattered world.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Money, as The Brains once said, changes everything*, and the lure of being more effective at serving the poor / raising awareness / making a difference by having more money on-hand is very, very powerful, and making money raising as your raison d’être is an easy thing to do.

Which is why it doesn’t surprise me that the NRA (or more likely, their ad agency) has decided to turn the Castile case into a recruitment drive for Carry Guard. This is a shame, because it could have been a great tool for the NRA to teach law enforcement efforts how to. deal with armed citizens or for the NRA’s training department (the real one, not the “Gold Standard” one) to help armed citizens learn how to deal with twitchy cops.

And what would have happened if the NRA spent half the money they used on Carry Guard to improve their already-existing training program, a program that seems a little rudderless right now.

Those things would have been much, MUCH more aligned with the NRA’s original purpose, which is to increase the skill, knowledge and safety of America’s gun owners, than hawking a insurance plan would be.

Instead, though, they chose to fundraise, and sometime in the future they will pay the price for this decision.**


* I mean, it’s not like someone once said that the love of money is the root of all evil, or something. Oh, wait.

** Yes, the NRA pays me to write for them, and yes, I make money when people join the NRA using the recruiting link I have on the side over there ->. I support the NRA, and I support the NRA’s mission. I also went to church before, during and after the Jim Bakker/Jerry Falwell/Jimmy Swaggart scandals, because I know the message will go on, no matter how fallible the messenger is.

Something That Can’t Go On Forever, Won’t.

Take a minute to read this great breakdown on the economic realities of firearms training from Karl Rehn.

“…out of a pool of 10-15,000 instructors in the state (Texas), maybe 100 are making 5 figures and less than 10 are making 6 figures, with almost zero deriving their primary full time income from teaching.”

Sobering words.

Follow up question: According to dojos.info, there are over 1,300 martial arts schools in Texas. How many of them are storefront operations and how many are run out of someone’s garage remains to be seen, but when was the last time you drove down the street and saw a strip-mall dojo? A strip-mall dojo (or a dojo in an industrial park) means that school is making enough money to pay the rent, keep the lights on and have some kind of administrative staff on hand to deal with the day-to-day operations of the store.

When was the last time you saw a strip-mall gun school?

Something to think about.