The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

In response to the horror in Parkland, Florida is looking to allow public school teachers to carry a defensive firearm inside the classroom.

Good.

What’s not so good are the training requirements. I understand that a lot of this is political cover so that a bill of some form can be passed in the legislature, and that the trust icon of law enforcement training is a powerful talisman of faith, but 132 hours of training, just so you can carry a gun inside school grounds like you can outside of school grounds?

From SB 7026: Public Safety.

(5) TRAINING AND INSTRUCTION.—All training must be conducted by Criminal Justice Standards Training Commission (CJSTC)-certified instructors.
(a) Required instruction must include 132 total hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training in the following topics:
1. Firearms: 80-hour block of instruction. The firearms instruction must be based on the CJSTC Law Enforcement Academy training model and must be enhanced to include 10 percent to 20 percent more rounds fired by each program participant beyond the minimum average of approximately 1,000 training rounds associated with academy training. Program participants mustachieve an 85 percent pass rate on the firearms training.
2. Firearms precision pistol: 16-hour block of instruction.
3. Firearms discretionary shooting: 4-hour block of instruction using state-of-the-art simulator exercises.
4. Active shooter or assailant: 8-hour block of instruction.
5. Defensive tactics: 4-hour block of instruction.
6. Legal or high liability: 20-hour block of instruction.
(b) Program participants may complete an optional, 16-hour precision pistol course as additional training.
(c) Ongoing and annual proficiency retraining must be conducted by the sheriff, as specified in the agreement.

Also, they’re bypassing the civilian training market and making it a money-maker for the Sheriff’s department. Not the most optimal of outcomes, but if it gets rid of the silliness of “gun free zones”, I’m ok with this. Florida led the wave of “Shall Issue” CCW permits back in the early 90’s, and if this creates a demand for a dispersed response to all kinds of dispersed threats, not just active shooters, this is a good thing indeed.

Can We Win?

Can We Win?

We are in uncharted territory here: Fake media aside, the tide IS turning on guns, but the recent ginned-up outrage over the slaughter in Parkland (and the shameless use of children to push gun control) has knocked us back a bit.

We don’t know how to win the war on guns, and I’m not sure we CAN know how to win, because the whole purpose of Gun Culture 2.0 is to prepare for something really bad happening to us.

We have a defensive mindset instilled in us from our first CCW class. We think in terms of protecting what is our most dear to us. No wonder, then, that we think of gun politics in defensive terms.

How do we flip that into a message of hope?

We are, quite literally looking to evangelize people and change their way of living. Speaking in terms of saving souls, yes, it’s good that people “come to Jesus” to prevent something bad (namely, hell) from happening to them, but any pastor will tell you that sort of conversion has little effect in changing someone’s life over the long term. The change sticks when the convert sees the positive aspects that come from their conversion experience.

Can we talk about that and still show people that just owning a gun isn’t enough, that they also need training and more practice? Gun Culture 1.0 did exactly that with things like the Boone and Crockett Club and modern conservationism, and that helped create <Sam Elliot Voice> a storied tradition of hunting, passed on from generation to generation </Sam Elliot Voice> and a positive view of hunting that has lasted for decades.

Is there a Gun Culture 2.0 version of such things? Can that even exist?

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

So, We’re Back On Defense Again

Or are we? Some curated tweets from last week’s CNN show trial town hall about the Parkland murders. What was supposed to be a rally for gun control might turn out to motivate gun owners like very few things have before…

I would note that Guy Benson is a terrific advocate for conservative causes, but he is NOT a gun guy, and his response is something I am seeing again and again from folks on the right who are not into guns.

That clip of the audience cheering for a semi auto ban will motivate gun owners like nothing we’ve seen since 1994. If the NRA doesn’t use it in every ad they run in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and maybe Pennsylvania, they deserve to lose. We are talking SEMIAUTOS here, not “assault weapons” or scary AR-15’s. Things like the 10/22’s you use to plink cans and the Remington 1100 you use to blast geese from the sky would be covered by this ban.

Think that’ll motivate hunters to get out and vote?

And just how are we used to have a “conversation about guns” with someone who makes stuff up as they go along? It’d be like having a “conversation about football” with someone who insists on calling the ball a puck and swears that football is played in a rink.

Once you not only otherize your political opponents but also claim everything they do or say is actually violence, of COURSE you have to respond with actual violence. What choice do you have but to use violence against “violence”?

We are witnessing what happens when an entire generation (or more) has grown up with a Disneyland state of mind, and now they’re throwing the mother of all hissy fits.

And finally this, from the inestimable Frank J. Fleming.

Why Not Go Full Call Of Duty?

Why Not Go Full Call Of Duty?

Just spitballin’ here, but after watching how much fun Dropzone Gunner was, what would happen if the practical shooting sports fully embraced video games, rather than keeping them at arm’s length? Would a match that specifically highlighted the guns of say, GoldenEye, Rainbow Six or Call of Duty attract the gamer crowd and encourage crossover into practical shooting, especially if the stages designed to be as close to the actual game levels as possible? What if the match were held at the Boulder Gun Club in Vegas the weekend before CES., and Battlefield Vegas was cajoled/paid to provide some props and stage guns?

Could that bring a lot more attention to the practical shooting from media sources who wouldn’t normally DREAM about covering USPSA, IDPA or 3 Gun?

Something to think about.

Pointy Stabby

Pointy Stabby

I honestly don’t know how people live their everyday lives without having a flashlight and a blade within arm’s reach at all times. How they open up packaging or navigate a darkened parking lot or perform any one of a hundred daily tasks where a portable source of light and a sharp pointy object might come in handy. Yes, there is the current insanity of “weapons free zones” to deal with, but my experience has shown that if you can make a reasonable case that your pointy object is a tool you need to perform your daily tasks, (this is one of my favorites for such purposes), you can have a blade near you at all times.

After poking around and trying out a bunch of knives, I have three which I carry on a regular basis:

Top: A Columbia River Knive and Tool Pazoda 2. I love this little knife for low-profile carry because only the clip shows when I carry it. This is REALLY important in such cases because the last thing you want is someone to fixate on a knife if you’ve also carrying something more… robust on you. Another reason why I like it is because it takes up hardly any room in my pocket, and that matters a lot when you’re trying to squeeze the armed lifestyle into business casual.

Middle: A Boker AK74. I’m blessed to live in a state that allows we plebeians to carry auto-opening knives, so this is what I carry. I also have a Kershaw with the Emerson quick opener on it for the times when I journey outside of the state, but I really like the assured opening of a spring-loaded blade versus relying on a draw to open my knife. Another thing I like this one in particular is once again, only the clip shows when I carry it in my pocket. It’s not as big of a deal with this knife as it is with the Pazoda, because this knife is part of my more-casual everyday carry and my cover garment usually covers my pockets as well as my gun, but it’s still possible to see the clip peek out as I move about through life, and the less noticeable my knife is, the better I like it.

Bottom: An SOG Mini-Instinct. As mentioned before, one of my big takeaways from ECQC was the utility of a fixed blade worn someplace on the centerline for when things get up close and personal, so that’s why this blade rides on my belt just to the left of the belt buckle. This one is for emergency use only: The Boker is the one that I use if there’s cheesecake to be had, and I save this knife for that other reason…

Other than that, I use this little Boker for those times when I really, really don’t want someone to know I have a knife, and that’s about it. They’re maybe not the most expensive knives out there, but they are certainly up to the tasks I need them to perform.

The Facts Of Gun Control Don’t Matter.

The Facts of Gun Control Don’t Matter.

Kevin’s note: This was written and queued up for publication last week, before the massacre here in Florida happened. If anything, it’s even more relevant today.


The facts really don’t matter: We can quote the reality of the situation, that responsible armed citizens aren’t the problem in America, but it won’t change the minds of people who favor gun control because a change in worldview like that only happens after an experience forces someone to change.

This was brought home to me while listening to David Yamane on Ballistic Radio last weekend, and it matches my experience (there’s that word again…). I’ve been arguing gun rights online for almost 20 years now, long before there was such a thing as a gunblog, and in that time, I’ve managed to convince absolutely no one that disarming the law-abiding will somehow affect criminal behavior.

However, I’ve also seen friends who were anti-gun get into guns because of their experience at a range: Shooting guns is fun, and once we get people to try it, we usually win.

A few years ago, after Sandy Hook, I was approached by a left-leaning college classmate of mine to join in on an online discussion of guns, arguing from the “pro-gun” side of things in a forum with people who favored gun control, with the goal of reaching a consensus. I declined, stating that I had argued guns for years online, and that trying to discuss why the right to self defense is important with people who are in favor of gun control is like trying to talk somebody out of their religious beliefs.

Not going to happen, as Dana Carvey would say.

I’m one of the very few believers I know who has had an intellectual religious conversion: Mere Christianity and The Road Less Travelled are what brought me back to Christianity: My experiences (there’s that word again) growing up in the church had no effect one way or the other on my decision to return to the faith.

However, I know I’m the exception. The good news is, though, when we take people shooting who are on the fence on this issue, we win, and we isolate the gun control crowd even more.

To borrow a line I’ve used over and over again, take someone to the shooting range and let them see for themselves, because guns are the gateway drug to freedom.

Words Are Weapons

Words Are Weapons

sharpen the knives
makes you wonder how the other half dies

One of the big takeaways from ECQC for me was the utility of verbal agility. There were several evos when the defender was literally stopped in his tracks by what the attacker said, and one memorable time when a verbal confrontation wound up in a textbook Mountain Goat drill, both of them literally butting heads, jockeying for position.

This is not what I would call an optimum resolution of the situation.

So now I’m looking for classes or courses for we armed citizens in how to defuse a hostile situation with what we say, rather than what we carry on our belt. I’ve got the gun solution pretty well covered, and I’m working on the fist solution, now it’s time to work on the lips solution.

Last SHOT…

Last SHOT…

One of the trends I noticed at the show this year was the return of suppressors with wipes.

Wipes, if you recall, are flexible, soft expansion chambers inside a can that do a great job of sucking up noise because they’re soft and flexible, but because they’re soft and flexible, they also wear out, while metal does not.

However, the ATF recently ruled that having spare wipes on-hand is a no-no, as those are considered to be parts to build a can, and you and I aren’t allowed to do that without the permission of the government.

But that hasn’t seemed to stop the industry. Gem-Tech has a nice little can that uses wipes, as does Thompson Machine and GSL Technologies.

The times, they are a-changing.

Parting SHOT…*

Parting SHOT…*

A few random thoughts…

  • Having a marketing guy for one of the biggest names in the business tell me they were doing their new product strategy based on my “guns are now a lifestyle” approach to things was a HUGE ego boost.**
  • Want cheep booze and eats? Head to Ellis Island. $9.99 steak dinner (a HUGE hunk o’ sirloin that was cooked perfectly medium rare) and $6.99 Makers Mark. Oh, and an Elvis impersonator as well. Yes, you could be all hyper-cool at some joint inside the Aria and pay $20 for a shot of bourbon while being surrounded by Asian supermodels, but me, I like my Vegas circa 1985.
  • Some of my friends are going ga-ga over the SIG P365, and it does look like a great little gun, but me, I look at it as a SIG’s version of Kel-Tec P11. Eleven years ago, everyone went ga-ga over the LCP, which was essentially Ruger’s version of a Kel-Tec P3AT. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the most innovative gun designer in the post-Gaston world is George Kelgren, and the rate at which is designs are being copied just proves that fact.
  • If you’re in the 5.56mm AR-15 business, good Lord, you better diversify, and diversify QUICKLY. Aside from suppressors (which were surprisingly strong this year…) I didn’t see ANYTHING neat and nifty this year for AR-15 rifles. The price floor for AR’s was set last year at $399, and I don’t think it’s going up any time in the future.
  • All in all, product-wise, it wasn’t as good as it was in years past. I had to scramble to come up with six things a day to talk about for Shooting Illustrated, but we got the job done. Aside from the P365, there really wasn’t any “Oh, wow!” products this year, but there were more than a few embarrassing mistakes.
  • Business-wise (especially for us on the content production side), it was a helluva show, because the gun companies have figured out that in a post-levee world, they’re going to have to start marketing their products with more effort that just saying “Hey look, it’s in stock! Buy it before it goes away!”. The gun companies now need to move product, which means they want to get their product out there in front of the customers, which means they want to talk with us in order to get it done.
  • On a related note, I sold five stories to various NRA pubs at SHOT this year, which will more than pay for the trip. Gonna be a busy few months for me…

All in all… Best. SHOT Show. EVER!!!


* Words. This is my business.
** Yes, it happened. I have witnesses.

SHOT Show Is Almost Done…

SHOT Show Is Almost Done…

… and I’m almost done as well.

It has been a tremendous SHOT Show, maybe the best one I ever attended, but I learned two things:

  1. It is one thing to go to SHOT as new media with no real agenda, another to go as a buyer for a gun store, and another thing ENTIRELY to go as a writer with a deadline and a list of story ideas to come up with and source. Annette Evans and I worked out tokuses (tokii?) off from show opening to show close each day, and we hope you’ve enjoyed what we dug up off the floor of the show. This meant, however, that I couldn’t spend near as much time talking with old friends as I wanted to, which is probably a good thing, though, because…
  2. The SHOT Show crud is a real thing, and I’m currently in its grippe*. Rather than go out on the town and meet new friends, I’m in my room, blowing my nose and wishing for the sweet, sweet release of death.
    Or a good night’s sleep. One of those.

So what piqued my interest this year? This little Crosman BB gun, for one. Full auto. AR-15 SBR look and feel. $199 MSRP. I think three of them might wind up under the Christmas tree this year, because I have two sons and I’m not sharing mine if I get one.

Also, the new Remington Tac-14 Hardwood really grabbed my eye. I like guns with a story and a history, and the Witness Protection shotgun is definitely one of those kind of guns. Do I need one? No. Do I want one, along with a Smith and Wesson 459, a pair of RayBan Aviators and a big bushy mustache?

Oh yeah.


* You see what I did there? Word are my business!