Attention, Practical Shooting Organizations.

USPSA, IDPA, 3 Gun Nation, Rimfire Challenge, the whole lot of you.

Now is your chance.

The NFL is self-immolating itself, and the NBA and Major League Baseball are right behind them. They’ve decided that that 50% of the country shouldn’t be watching them play sports, so all of you have a great opportunity to step into the void.

How many of your top-level competitors are former military? How many are current law enforcement?

What are the odds that people who are ticked off by the shenanigans of the NFL would look up to the patriotism of such people?

Is there is a chance that 50% of the country might like to watch a sport where athletes are really and truly role models?

Get to work. You have until the NFL pre-season starts next year to make some hay off of this.

And if you need a hand getting it done, my email address is over there —>.

Conflict Of Interests

First off, kudos to Glock for turning the fifth time they’ve had to update Perfection™ into a major gun event.

It’s a good idea, and a great way to get the fanboys excited for something outrageously innovative, like sights that are actually useful or getting rid of those STUPID finger grooves.

But.

It’s also the same night as the Macgregor-Mayweather fight.

Think that a large part of Glock’s target market is going to more interested in the fight than being the first to shoot a new gun?

Me too.

Update: We have photos of the new gun! It’s, umm, well, a Glock! Without finger grooves! And with a high-tech innovative feature called “an ambidextrous slide release”.

Something that other guns have had for decades prior to this, but now, they’ve perfected it!

Perfect 5th.

What So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Gaming the Crap Out A Stage?

One thing I’ve noticed about the practical shooting sports is that people consider them to be Very Serious Endeavors and Should Not Be Taken Lightly.

I swear, some people look at a pistol bay like it as if it was a church, and we’re not playing  a game, we’re meditating and seeking to unite our souls with the spirit of St. Cooper.

And then we wonder we newcomers seem to feel intimidated when they come to a match.

Why not embrace the gaming element every once in a while? Better still, go full happy fun run and gun in an event that serves as introduction to the sport, and leave the target overlays and rules lawyering for another day.

Simple, easy, lightweight stages with a low round count, lots of steel and no timer are perfect for this. The point isn’t get people thinking about their time, it’s getting people thinking about what they’re doing on a stage, and how much stinkin’ fun it can be to shoot well on a stage. The emphasis shouldn’t be about the score, it should be about the fun.

Getting New Shooters To The Range Is Only Half The Battle.

Getting them to shoot is the other half.

Put yourself in the shoes of a new gun owner. You’ve just bought a pistol for self defense. You keep it safely loaded at home, and you want to start carrying it more often, because darn it, the neighborhood with that terrific sandwich shop is getting rougher and rougher, and the nephew of your friend down the street got jumped by a pack of thugs and beat up pretty badly.

You’re scared. You want to feel safe. You know carrying a gun and using it well might help keep you alive on a very, very bad day. Your CCW instructor told you that competition is a good way to help prepare your mind to think clearly and use a gun effectively under stressful situations, so you go out to the local range with your gun, your holster, a few mags and a couple of boxes of ammo.

What do you find when you arrive there?

Match directors, how do you handle someone who shows up with a Ruger LCR in .22Magnum or a Sig P238 at a USPSA match? Do you turn them away, or do you have them shoot for no score? Do you want newcomers to enjoy the sport and learn from the experience, or do you want enforce the rules above everything else?

And why are competitions that are .22LR only considered to be an effective on-ramp for new gun owners? That new gun owner just spent HOURS of deliberation before buying that Glock 19/Sig P320/M&P/P10C* they now own. Then, when they reach out for advice, we tell them that the best way for a beginner to learn how to shoot under stress is to buy a .22 pistol, something that a gun store clerk has just told them (over and over and over again) is not a effective self-defense tool. It’s like teaching people to ride a motorcycle by handing them a bicycle. Is bicycle riding fun? Of course it is! Is it the same as riding a motorcycle? Well, sorta, but not really.

I’m not bagging on the .22 sports, they are a LOT of fun, and I love shooting my red-dotted M22A. However, the .22 sports appeal to people who already have a .22 they can compete with, not to someone who spent hours and hours agonizing over their first handgun purchase.


* Like I’m NOT going to add in a CZ to that list.

Roots Radicals.

Listen to Michael Bane talk about what drove the birth of Gun Culture 2.0.

Learning the rules of gun safety… competition… drawing from a holster… moving with a gun… concealed carry…

We’ve won. Gun Culture 2.0 is now the dominant force inside the gun industry. Personal safety is now the main reason why people buy guns. Now that we’ve won the war, what are we doing to win the peace? What is the gun industry doing to keep the victory going?

What organization is out there doing the things to get people involved in their sport? That podcast is from 2011. In 2011, the iPhone 4 came out. Snapchat didn’t exist, and neither did Facebook Live.

In the past six years, what sport has encouraged growth by changing what they offer new gun owners*? What is the on-ramp to IDPA**? Where is the organization that is will do step up and help people gain enough confidence with their new gun that they a) carry it and b) compete with it?

‘Cause brother, I am looking for it, and it is nowhere to be found.

And yes, the title is yet another musical reference.


* NOT new shooters. There is a difference. Shooters insinuates that they shoot their gun on a regular basis. This is different from a new gun owner who buys a talisman of ballistic self-protection and keeps it unloaded under their bed.

** I will throat-punch the first person who says “Steel Challenge!” or some other sport where you stand still and shoot targets with a custom .22 is the answer to this question. Those sports are how we get people who have a safe full of guns out to the range, not how we get someone who’s just bought a Glock 19 as their first gun.

Julie Golob On The State Of The Shooting Sports.

Julie is a much, much better shooter than I am, and she’s been a professional shooter for quite awhile now.

She also owns more chickens than I do, but that is not relevant to the discussion today.

What is relevant is the talk she gave at the NSSF Industry Summit on what’s going on (and isn’t going on) with the shooting sports. Why aren’t the people who have CCW’s getting out to the range? Where are the disconnects?

The video below is worth your while, as it lays out the problem pretty clearly. I just hope the industry response to this won’t be “I know, let’s create ANOTHER shooting sport that only works in a pistol bay, where you’re standing still, shooting a .22! That’ll get people to bring their carry guns out to the range!”.

Simply put, new gun owners don’t compete (or train) because new gun owners don’t see it as a valuable use of their time and resources, and they choose to spend those items doing something else that they see as more valuable.

Period, full stop.

Want to get more people on the firing line or out to your match? Show them the immediate value of what you’re doing. Make the commitment of time, money and ego as low-key as possible. And for crying out loud, if they want to learn how to shoot the gun they bought for self-defense, don’t stick a .22 in their hand!

It’s All In Your Head, Kid.

I was chatting recently with a friend of mine about one of our favorite topics, the lack of sponsorship for competitive shooters outside of the gun world. Somehow, during our conversation, the needle in my brain skipped a few grooves, and I was reminded of my years playing role-playing games, usually with the people who designed the games we were playing.

I had some great times playing D&D and other games, and met some good people, but what I couldn’t do (and still can’t, to this day) is relate what happened in those games to anyone who wasn’t there. Playing a role-playing game is so intensely inwardly-focused, it just doesn’t translate to the outside world.

There are a LOT of people, like Larry Corriea, Jon Favreau, Vin Diesel and others who have harnessed the imagination and story-telling skill of an RPG and turned it into a profitable gig for themselves, but no one, ever, has made a ton of cash by talking about the adventures that went on inside a role-playing game.

Now pick that up and drop it on competitive shooting. Inwardly-focused? Check. Small group of aficionados who seem to speak their own cryptic language? Check. Usable in the real world only through interpretation? Check.

Today, a lot of people are making INSANE amounts of money in gaming, but it’s in video games, not role-playing games. There’s something to be learned here for the practical shooting community, but I haven’t gotten a clear grasp of what it is yet.

Yet.

Concealed Carry Needs An On-Ramp

Or at least, a better on-ramp than what we have now. We say “Carry your guns, people, it’s a lighter burden than regret!” and then we do nothing to actually help people get used to carrying a gun.

We ask them to run a marathon, without teaching how to prepare for a marathon.

Fortunately, there’s at least one training team that’s doing something about that problem, and their model could change “Gun Culture 2.0” forever.

Go check them out at Ricochet.com.

Talk About The Passion.

Maybe it’s former missionary in me, but I am FAR more concerned about bringing people into gun culture who own guns and don’t use them than I am about talking about TV shows like “Super Blastomatic Presents THE WORLDS BEST SHOOTERS DOING COOL STUFF YOU CAN’T” or “GO SHOOT THINGS IN THE WOODS, SPONSORED BY REDNECK CAMPING GEAR”.

The choir has heard the message before, and they don’t care.

One thing I’ve been encountering as I wade through the flotsam and jetsam of the “establishment” conservative movement over at Ricochet is that we conservatives have very little understanding of the importance of narrative. Establishment conservatives are upset that Trump won, and they can’t understand that Trump won because he created a narrative and stuck to it. No position paper or think tank has EVER won an election, but passion? Passion wins elections.

To bring this home to American Marksman and Big Guns (to name a couple of shows), there is plenty of passion for the shooting sports amongst competitors, but precious little concern for the other competitors in the sport. This is one of the reasons why USPSA, 3 Gun, et al, is stuck in a rut, because only people who compete in those sport watch a competition for the sake of the competition itself. The rest of us watch a competition to cheer on the heroes and boo the villains. Shooting competitions need heroes, and they need villains, currently, they have neither. Top Shot gave us heroes and villains, and it was the most-popular competitive shooting show ever made. Top Shot made the show about the competitors, not the competition, and it was popular beyond the shooting world.

And that’s not a coincidence.