NRA Annual Meeting, Day Two

Or, why, oh WHY did I choose to wear my dress shoes yesterday instead of my comfy, padded sneakers?

Today was spent wandering the exhibit floor, wrapping up sources for a few upcoming articles and coming up with new articles to pitch to my editors, and hopefully, they’ll pay me enough to afford this antique Winchester rifle.

450k? For a lever gun?

Yes, you read that right, that’s $350-450,000 American greenback dollars for that gun. The weird thing was, it was the second-least expensive rifle in the case: Its companion had a lovely honey-blond maple stock and even more engraving, and the expected sales price on it was $450-550,000.

If that seems a little outrageous, (and it is), we have this nice S&W Volcanic No.1, for the comparitively cheap price of $20-30,0000.

Volcanic!

Moving into guns from the this century, I was a little… whelmed by the Hudson H1. Yes, the trigger is nice, but is it nicer than the trigger in the CZ P10C? No, not really.
Hudson, docked.

And finally, signs for the NRA’s new legal services division, NRA Carry Guard, were EVERYWHERE, but more on that tomorrow.

NRA Carry Guard

NRA Annual Meeting, Day One

Or, eight hours on the floor, and I *swear* I haven’t been drinking yet.

A little more on the Springfield XD-E… The gun is surprisingly ergonomic, even though it looks like a shrunken-head HiPoint. The trigger is not the best DA/SA trigger I’ve felt, in fact, it was quite bad. The single action was felt heavier than the 4-5 pounds they said it was, and the double action was long, heavy and had noticable stacking.

Taurus T4SA

Taurus, throwing caution to the wind, came out with an AR-15.

An AR-15 with a $1199 MRSP.

Honestly, they’re not bad guns. THe T4SA has Cerakoating, Melonite barrels and bolt carrier groups, is lightweight (6.5lbs), and has Magpul gear all over. Not bad, and a step up above the usual entry-level AR-15.

Speaking of firearms manufacturers from the Florida with a reputation for low-cost guns, Sccy has finally come out with their CPX-3, a not-quite pocket gun in .380 ACP. I had a bad history with the first-generation Sccy, but since then, they’ve got their act together, the CPX-2 has been a great little inexpensive gun. One thing that impressed with me with the CPX-3 was how stupendously easy to rack it was. While the trigger on the CPX-3 was a still a Sccy trigger and there for long and heavy (8-10 pounds), it was smooth, even and didn’t stack. This would be my “go-to” recommendation for someone older who wanted a gun for self-protection and was worried about manipulating the gun into action.

Lastly, let’s talk about The Fix from Q, a bolt-action gun that set the world on fire when it was introducted at SHOT earlier this year.

All I can say is… believe the hype. The gun is AMAZINGLY light, the bolt feels terrific and the trigger is great.

If only they made a model for those of us who shoot left-handed.

What To Expect From Trump At NRA.

There are now only two trusted institutions within the American conservative movement: The military, and the National Rifle Association*. Thankfully, our system of government is set up so that political control of the military is limited at best, so that leaves the NRA as the one flag that rank and file conservatives can (mostly) rally around.

Well, conservatives outside of the Beltway and off the island of Manhattan, that is.

And now on Friday, Trump is going to be the first sitting President since Ronaldus Maximus to address the NRA Annual Meeting.

I’ve heard him talk twice now, and the fact is, political rallies just aren’t my thing. When he does speak, though, I’m expecting him to thank gun owners for their support, and for him to announce that he’s putting a nominee to head the BATFE (hopefully it’s Ronald Turk). I also expect him to talk about National Reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act, because he’s been a bit silent on gun rights during his first 100 days, and those issues helped put him in office.

Look for further updates from the NRA Annual Meeting throughout the week.


* Yes, I know there are other organizations who claim to be “NO COMPROMISE!!” and preach that the NRA is nothing but a bunch of sellouts, but there are very good reasons why the bogeyman of the gungrabbers is the NRA, not the GOA.

Springfield’s Coming Out With Something New At NRA

’bout time.

From their press release:

Attendees will be the first to see an all-new Springfield Armory® pistol platform at the upcoming 2017 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting and Expo when convention hall doors open at 9 a.m., Friday, April 28, 2017.

Now, the company is poised to offer the next major addition to its broad and diverse handgun family. Designed to offer specific benefits that solve persistent handgun user challenges, the new platform brings a unique set of features that enhance usability and ease of operation.

Thanks Springfield, that told us absolutely NOTHING about what you’re coming out with at NRA. Fortunately, they did include a video, with some guy named Leatham, who I hear is a pretty good shooter or something.

Judging by the video above and screen captures below, it appears to be a small, thin, 1911 style pistol with a fiber optic front sight, Novak-style rear sight and a rail of some sort. Recoil seems feisty, so it may be chambered in 9mm or even .45, rather than .380ACP

Reports of a grip zone remained unconfirmed at this time.

Anyways, I’ll be looking at it at NRA, as will a number of other people, I suppose.

New Springfield 1911

Introducing a new springfield

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.