Girls, Girls… You’re BOTH Pretty!

The USCCA* has been doing a pretty good job of racking up memberships and exposure as of late, and their “Concealed Carry Expo” is pretty much all Gun Culture 2.0, all the time, while at the NRA Annual Meeting, you’ll see farm equipment and whatnot mixed in with all the gun stuff.

And then this happens.

The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) today announced that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has disinvited the organization from its 2017 Annual Meetings & Exhibits and the 2018 Great American Outdoor Show because of “concerns regarding its programs.”

The move shocked the leadership of the USCCA because they were given less than two weeks notice that they had been banned from the annual show, even though they had attended for the past several years. This decision also came as a surprise because over the past two months, the leadership from the NRA and the USCCA met twice to discuss the shared goal of the two organizations in support of the Second Amendment.

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in the NRA’s actions. I’m not the biggest fan of the USCCA’s marketing, as it’s a little too frantic for my tastes, but this is not the way to go. If the NRA is losing ground to the USCCA in the training and concealed carry insurance areas, the way to beat them isn’t to ban them, it’s come out with better products. I’m also wondering if this is partially the outcome of the high-profile of the NRA-ILA as of late. When people think “NRA”, the think “Gun Lobby”, not “Guys who do great training (or not)” or “Wow, I like their insurance plan!”. If people see you as a one trick-pony, that opens up space for another horse in the race **.


* Just so you know, I make a little bit of cash off both the USCCA and the NRA from the links on this blog.
** Is that a tortured metaphor or what? I’ll leave it be, because I don’t want to beat a dead horse…

Gun Retention

No, I’m not talking about keeping your mitts on your gat when some mook is pawing away at it, I’m talking about gun companies keeping their customers loyal to their brands.

There’s a saying that, when it comes to warfare, “amateurs talk talk tactics, dilletantes talk strategy, but professionals talk logistics.”

I think the marketing equivalent of that saying might be “amateurs talk acquisition, dilletantes talk about conversion, but professionals talk about rentention.” In today’s world, it’s better to own the audience than it is to own the factory, and yet when a factory moves, it grabs the headlines. When an audience moves? Crickets.

One of the smartest things Glock has done is to create the Glock Shooting Sports Foundation*, not because it’s a good shooting match, (it’s not), but rather, it is an EXCELLENT way to gather the clan and celebrate all things Glock. By reinforcing the image of the Legion Series as an “elite” pistol, Sig is doing the same with their Legion Series, and um, that’s about it.

And that’s rather sad. Ruger had a good idea with the Rimfire Challenge series, but got hamstrung by the sheer lack of .22 ammo when they launched, and Springfield is doing a bang-up job of leveraging Rob Leatham and Rob Pincus in the competition and defensive worlds, but other than that, what’s out there? What marketing is being doing to tell customers “Ok, you’ve just bought one of our guns. Now buy another one!”

Brand loyalty exists within the gun community, heck, there are people still bitterly clinging to their Kimbers, a brand who’s glory days were a long, long time ago, and you’ll take my pre-B CZ75’s from me only when hell freezes over. Maybe I’m blind, but I’m just not seeing a concentrated push by gun companies to retain their customers and keep their market share, especially in today’s shrinking gun market.


* Nice website, GSSF… for 1998. Responsive site design, mother$#%^*, do you speak it?

The iPTS Funding Campaign Launches Tomorrow!

Introducing The Interactive Pistol Training System

Rubber, meet road. Road, rubber.

We’ve been getting some great feedback and a lot of interest from shooters, law enforcement and military, and some…. not so great feedback as well.

To the Facebook commenter who compared us to “Duck Hunt” on the Nintendo: There is a reason why all the shots from your .40 cal HiPoint  go low-left, and it has a lot to do with how you view dry-fire. Deal with it.

I digress.

Anyway, go check out the campaign page and watch as it changes tomorrow, and remember, if you want the best deal on an iPTS, get in on the ground floor.

Return Fire.

My local coffee shop, like oh so many other local coffee shops around the country, has a customer loyalty card. I buy 10 ten drinks to feed my caffiene habit, and the 11th one is free.

Quick, what is your local gun shop doing to keep customers coming back? Does it have an email list? Does it advertise specials on social media?

Heck, does it advertise at all?

We’ve had seven, heck, make it ten fat years. At least seven lean years are coming.

If you’re not ready for them now, it’s probably too late.

Security Hub

The P.C. was supposed to be dead in 2001, and yet Apple turned it into the center of their success by making everything else in our lifestyle revolve around the P.C. Apple came out with its “digital hub” strategy before it came out with their stores, before it came out with the iPod, before it became the Apple we know today.

Want to play music? Pop open iTunes and either blast it out through your Sonos or sync up your iPod. Digital camera? iPhoto. Camcorder? iMovie. Want to bring it all together? Use iDVD to put in on disk and send it to your friends. Apple is in the lead right now because they’ve been living the idea that a computer (or similar device) is not the focus of your life, it just a tool to help you live your life more fully. This is the strategy that launched the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, the iPhone and all the other gadgets that have made Apple the #1 company in the world.

Now let’s talk about guns. Who is coming up with a “digital hub” strategy for personal security? People have a generalized, non-specific fear that they’re “not safe”. They’re aware of this, and they want to “feel safe”. Re-watch that video and see how Steve Jobs talks about the gadgets and tools he’s selling… iPhoto lets you do this, Macs let you do something else, and iTunes lets you listen to music. He’s not talking about how cool Apple’s tools are, he’s talking about how cool your life will be if you use Apple’s tools.

How cool will your life be if you “feel safe”, if you don’t need to have that non-specific fear that something “isn’t right?” There are trainers out there like Joshua Gideon, Paul Carlson, Jeff Street and others who offer online and personal security tips to go along with their gun tips, and that’s an avenue we need to look into as well.

There has got to be something out there that’s in-between the “SEVEN SECRET SHOOTING TIPS OF THE NAVY SEALS” marketing out there. There are other trainers out there with that avoid such hype and bluster, but then leave their students stranded two-thirds of the way up Mount Stupid, without an understanding of what metrics will get them over the top.

There has be something that makes derp-free personal security seem cool. We just haven’t found it yet.

Ruger LCP II 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 384 – 446

I spent some more quality time with the LCP ][, getting used to using it as a carry gun. I concentrated on doing Tueller drills with it, from the pocket, with and without my hand on the gun, and mixing in a few Mozambiques as well.

I was kinda happy that I was consitently able to get off two shots into the Down Zero area within 2.5 seconds with my hand out of my pocket, and 1.5 seconds with my hand on the gun in my pocket.

I’ll take it.

As for the test itself, I shot a bunch of Lucky Gunner’s ammo (and you should shoot their ammo too), and I encountered one Failure To Feed on the 400th round, shooting PMC Bronze.

Rounds Fired : 62
50 Rounds PMC Bronze
12 Rounds Hornady Critical Defense

Total Rounds Fired: 484. One possible failure to feed on round 116, one failure to feed, round 400.

Armed? Who, me?

I’ve got a family trip coming up to a couple of Orlando theme parks that use metal detectors and bag searches to make sure they’re “weapons-free” zones.

Uh-huh.

I’m not planning on carrying a firearm with me into the parks, but I do want to carry a knife with me because a knife is useful for more than just defending your life.

After a few searches and reading a few blogs that I trust, I settled on the Boker Plus 01BO010 credit card knife.

The knife is skinny and hides easily. It is, essentially, your daily carry folding knife’s anorexic midget cousin. Without the clip, it’s just a few millimeters wide, and the size is very conducive to carrying inconspicuously.

That’s the new Boker next to my usual covert carry knife, a CRKT Pazoda 2, and a AA battery on the right. The blade on the Boker is taller and longer than the Pazoda, but the handle is a little shorter, which means I can only grip it with two fingers instead of three. Yes, that is an issue, but no, I’m not too worried about it. This is not a fighting knife, as it takes me two hands to open, but it is very useful thing to have with you because it’s a knife, and knives are handy.

The blade is 440-C stainless, and out of the box, it was quite dull. This did not please me, but a few moments with a sharpener solved that problem.

Did I mention it’s easy to conceal? Believe it or not, the Boker is in this photo, tucked in between a couple of dollar bills.

What’s the first rule of camouflage? Help the people see what they’re expecting to see, and in this case, the aluminum in my Ridge wallet will set off the metal detector, along with the metal in the knife.

Overall, I’m very happy with this knife. Yes, there were other, more covert options out there that are better fighting knives, but I’m not really too concerned about fighting my way through the line for “It’s A Small World”. Rather, I want a knife with me because of all the other things a knife can do, and this little Boker seems about right for that job.

Musical Interlude

I didn’t go see The Police when they re-united and toured a few years ago, because I wanted to remember them as when I first saw them, 0ver 35 years ago, playing in a hockey arena in small city on the edge of the Canadian Rockies.

I didn’t go, because I didn’t want to see my heroes get old.

But New Order? I’ll go see New Order any time, anywhere.