Alright, let’s wrap this up.
One thing I’ve noticed is that practical shooting exists inside the bubble of the pistol bay. Even at an IDPA match, there is little to indicate that the real world exists, aside from the stage briefing before the shooting starts (“You are seated in a restauarant, enjoying your meal, when the Leprechaun Liberation Army Attacks. Engage targets T1-4 from the chair, then move to cover, etc.”).
Why? We tell people “Hey, go shoot a match, it will help with your defensive skills,” and then we do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to show them how to integrate the lessons of the match into your daily routine. At major matches, the vendors who show up tend to be oriented towards competition and competitive gear, rather than the stuff people carry with them every day. This is understandable, because typically only competitors show up to a match, and spectators are few and far between. So if you want more vendors, and therefore more money, you want vendors who appeal to people outside of just the people shooting the match.
In other words, matches want all the people who bought guns over the last few years to show up, but then we give them no reason to show up in the first place. We force new gun owners to go shoot a match OR take a class OR go to a gun show, and we hope that if they spend enough time searching, they’ll find something they will like.
Do you have enough time to look around for a new hobby? I don’t.
What if a match were about the concealed carry lifestyle? What if there were four stages with quick, simple courses of fire that had limited movement and maybe one reload (at most)?* What if there were demos from sponsored shooters on how to do a quick, smooth draw, and local firearms trainers who talked about ways to stay safe? What if there were a (small) gun show as well, and maybe a 1911 beauty contest or the like? What if the vendors were local gun shops, gun ranges as well gun companies and national brands who would benefit from gun owners shooting their guns more, like The Well-Armed Woman, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, holster makers and the various ammo manufacturers? What if the NRA was there as well (like they are at most gun shows), but they aren’t a named sponsor so as not to scare off the newbies? What if the emphasis, for once, was on the JOYS of owning and (safely) using a gun, rather than getting people to show up on the steps of the State Capitol and shout “MAH RIGHTS!” at their local legislators?
IDPA won’t do this, and neither well USPSA or any other existing shooting sport: They’re too concerned about growing their own particular sports to create a feeder event like this. They should, however, show up at events like this to let people know about how their brand of competition is the natural follow-on to the simple stages at the event.
Gun Culture 2.0 is made up of concealed carry and target shooting and competition, but all those activities exist in separate silos, with little (if any) attempt to build upon each other. Just has Steve Jobs realized there is good money to be made by integrating the computer in the home into how we take photos and listen to music and watch TV, someone is going to realize there is good money to be made with integrating the reasons why we buy guns with how we actually use them.
Current gun-related events are the firearms equivalent of hanging out with your fellow nerds at a comic book store, or talking about how to turn double the capacity of floppy disk with the aid of a hole punch at your local computer user’s group meeting. Gun events, as they are now, appeal to the passionate hobbyist, not to the general public. Comic books and computers went mainstream, and what was uncool suddenly became very, very profitable. Guns are ALMOST mainstream, and there is a ton of money to be made when they do.
* No, NOT Steel Challenge or GSSF. We preach “Get off the X” in our training classes, and we to practice that as well.