The Commitments.

The Commitments.

From time to time, I see the better trainers out there talking about how they are using the latest physical education and mental acumen techniques to make their classes even better. They quote Basham and Anderson and Salamon, and they go to great lengths to design curriculum so their students can reach ever-higher levels of performance.

But you know what I DON’T hear? I don’t hear firearms trainers talking about how they are coming up with new ways to get their students to carry everywhere they can. This absolutely fascinates me, because the challenge throughout my marketing career has been to get buy-in on a marketing campaign that’s not based on acquiring new customers, but rather one based around the retention and reactivation stages of the customer journey. In firearms training, though, especially at the advanced levels, the emphasis seems to be on preaching to the choir, and acquiring new customers seems somehow… demeaning.

Even when the topic of getting people to carry more often comes up, most trainers fall back on the seatbelt and fire extinguisher metaphors, which clearly aren’t working, and then leave it at that. They’re setting their students up for failure, and they’re limiting the amount of advanced students they’ll eventually be teaching to just one percent of gun owners.

Quick though exercise… what if the number of people who carried their guns on a basis doubled? What would that do to the demand for post-CCW firearms training?

It’s raining soup out there, people. Time to get a bigger bucket.

It’s true that carrying a gun is a personal decision and the trainer can’t make that decision for the student. While this is correct, it’s also true that a trainer can help make the decision easier, and so far, those methods are failing, and they’re failing badly. If we spent half as much time analyzing and improving upon the reasons why people don’t carry their guns as we do talking about myelination and motor skill attenuation, we’d change gun culture in America forever.

So what’s stopping you?

Range Day.

Range Day.

I spent Saturday morning over at LouLand, running through the stages as Step By Step Gun Training’s “Shoot N Scoot” event. My goals were fourfold:

  1. (Finally) pass the NRA Instructor Qualifier.
  2. Shoot my carry gun (the S&W Shield) on a few stages
  3. Verify the zero on the new .22 pistol
  4. Get re-acquainted with my CZ75’s, as I hadn’t shot them in competition for at least a year

And I’m happy to say I completed all four. I passed the NRA qual shooting my 1911, winding up with 17 shots on-target. I could have done better, but my trigger focus just isn’t there yet.

The new Smith and Wesson Victory is just so much fun, and the red dot allows you to concentrate on trigger press above everything else.

Shooting the CZ75 again made me remember how much I love those guns. I managed a 10.63 second run on this stage shooting the CZ 75 in my USPSA Production rig, and it felt goooood in my hands.

Shoot N Scoot stage

Just for shiggles and to see what difference a “race” gun setup makes, even in Production, I shot that stage again using the Shield with my carry setup (plus a couple of extra mags).

That’s not me in the pic… I don’t even own a battle belt, and I’m not QUITE that fat. Shooting the Shield from concealment, I managed a 19.63 run, just under twice the time needed for the tricked-out Production gun.

So now it’s on to the classroom portion of the NRA Instructor Course, and then I’ll hang out my shingle here in SW Florida, teaching CCW.

Time to put all that thinkin’ about gun training into practice.

Stay tuned.

Thank You, Smith And Wesson.

Thank You, Smith And Wesson.

My youngest son and I had a blast last month shooting my red-dotted Smith&Wesson M22A, because it’s a seriously fun gun to shoot. Like laugh-out-loud-after-a-mag-dump fun.

But after just three mags through the gun, it jammed up tight on us, and we had to set it aside (major bummer), and to make matters worse, I spotted a crack along the frame right by the trigger guard, and it was pretty obvious the gun itself was broken in two.

Uh-oh.

I sent it back to Smith&Wesson, and not only did they swap it out for a brand-new .22LR Victory, they upgraded me to the threaded barrel version so I (eventually) drop a can on it as well (I’m thinking that this little sucker might go well with the gun).

Thanks, Smith&Wesson, for not only replacing my old and busted M22A with the latest .22LR hotness, but upgrading me as well!

Ready To Qual

Ready To Qual

The NRA Pistol Qualifier has been kicking my butt as of late. What SHOULD be a rather easy test of marksmanship (20 shots into an eight inch circle at fifteen yards, sixteen within the circle, six inch maximum group size) has turned into a nightmare for me. It’s not that I can’t shoot (I did a darn good job at the last Louland match I attended, placing in the top third on all the stages) it’s just that all my training for the last ten years or so has bee based around learning to balance speed and accuracy, and this test is 100% accuracy, no speed. I’ve shot it three times now, and each time, I failed to pass, sometimes spectacularly.

This does not make me happy.

Practice, however, makes perfect, so with some help from Aaron over at Shoot Center, Jeff from StepByStep and lots and lots of dry fire practice, I managed to do this during my last practice session.

“But Kevin,” I hear you say, “looking at those photos, you’re setting yourself up for more failure!”

And you’d be right, if those were 8 inch circles. But they’re not, they’re six inch circles. I figure that the true test here isn’t getting sixteen shots out of twenty shots into an eight inch circle, it’s getting sixteen out of twenty shots into a six inch group. Which I’ve done. With two different guns.

I’ll take it.

Oh, and as an aside, I shot a 5×5 drill with my LCP2 just to keep up my skill with that little gun, and it turned out pretty well. Not bad for a pistol about the same size as a chocolate chip cookie.

How Accurate Is The CMMG .22LR AR-15 Adapter

How Accurate Is The CMMG .22LR AR-15 Adapter

With the right ammo, pretty good. Not sniper rifle good, but off-the-shelf Ruger 10/22 good.

A little background: I got a CMMG .22LR adapter from Brownells a few years ago, and since then, it’s pretty much lived inside my CavArms build as a general purpose range plinker.

One thing that’s on my gunbucket list is an Appleseed Project, but as I don’t own a 10/22, I would need to either shoot it with my Mossberg Plinkster (bad idea… I hate that gun), my Savage .22 bolt gun (which, in theory, would work), shoot it in .223 (possible, but pricey) or shoot it with the CMMG adapter in that AR-15.

But first, I needed to see just what that adapter could really do. I know from my previous post that sub-2MOA groups were possible with that adapter and a 20″ barrel, but what would it do with the 16″ barrel in my plastic AR?

As it turns out, with the right ammo, just over 2MOA. All of these were shot at 25 yards, using the CMMG adapter with a Vortex 1x Red Dot sight.

Top Left: CCI Green Tip 40 Grain Match

Top Right: CCI Mini Mag 40 Grain SHP

Bottom Right: Federal Premium 40 Grain Hunter Match

To be honest, I’m kinda surprised at how poorly the Federal ammo did, but seeing how those are 1/2 inch squares at 25 feet, the CCI Green Tag was just over 2 MOA. Not bad.

With those results in mind, I think it’s time to get in some more match ammo and let’s see what this gun can really do.

The Software Problem

The Software Problem

As I’ve said before, guns right now remind me of personal computer industry of the early 80’s, for a number of reasons. One thing I haven’t talked about, though, is how software, or rather, the perception of what software was really needed, drove the PC market back then.

Thanks to Phoenix BIOS, everybody and his dog was coming out with an “IBM Compatible” PC, mainly because everyone thought they needed to run Lotus 1-2-3, and before that, VisiCalc. This focus on a specific app mean that the  PC was still thought of as a single-use device, much like it’s minicomputer ancestors.

That’s where we are with consumer guns right now. People are buying Glocks and NotGlocks because they want them for a single use. namely, to “Feel Safe,” and consumers don’t yet realize that it’s software that drives the mission. The home PC market really took off when computers became more than single-use devices, when Myst and other games meant you could relax with a PC at home just as easily as you could use it for schoolwork or work work. This is 90% of the gun industry right now… we are selling hardware focused on a single task, and we have no idea how to sell other programs.

What’s holding us back isn’t the hardware, what’s holding us back is finding a program which shows that a gun is more than just a single-use device.

The Left Hand Of Bang*.

The Left Hand Of Bang*.

My article on left-handed long-range shooting on a budget is now available. I had a blast writing the article, and learning how to shoot long-range has made me want to shoot it more, mostly because it’s FUN!

The .308 Savage mentioned in the article is at Gulf Coast Precision Rifles as I type this, getting bedded into an MDT chassis and threaded for my SIG Sauer silencer. The optics on the gun are getting upgraded to a new, truly cool Primary Arms optic that’s coming out before SHOT, and then I’m headed out to train more and shoot more.

A question was asked in a Facebook group I belong to about how to avoid burnout. I’ve been writing about guns (professionally and otherwise) for over a dozen years now, and yeah, it does get kinda boring to write “Top Ten Guns For Concealed Carry” over and over and over again. This is how I avoid burnout: I get reasonably competent at one part of the sport, then move on to another.

 

* I’m kinda happy with how I managed to mashup two book titles into one with that headline.

Hook, Line And Thinker.

Hook, Line and Thinker.

Speaking of the media narrative on guns, I have (note the past tense) been impressed with Lois Beckett’s reporting on the give and take when it comes to the right of self-defense in America. She took the time to approach gun owners with an open mind, and turned in some terrific, balanced reporting on the issue.

Past tense.

This tweet, though, shows that despite her willingness to approach and engage with NRA members, she still doesn’t get it.

What does the fact that NRA-supported candidates won in Florida have anything to do with the Parkland shooter? Was the murderer an NRA member? NO! So why involve the NRA with this? As I said in my response to her,

The NRA is NOT the “gun lobby.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) represents gunmakers on Capitol Hill, not the NRA. However, the NRA is feared and reviled by progressives because it registers people to vote, and those voters tend to vote Republican. If the issue was truly about “gun safety,” progressives would welcome and embrace the world’s largest firearms safety training organization and support efforts like Eddie Eddie and Project Childsafe.

Instead, the reverse is true: Bloomberg’s minions were outraged when the Department of Justice teamed up with the NSSF to promote firearms safety, and oppose the world’s largest gun training organization teaching firearms safety.

No, I don’t get that either.

It’s not about safety, it’s about making sure you know your place and making sure your vote doesn’t count.

Make sure it does.

… And You Will Be Invincibile.

… And You Will Be Invincibile.

It’s been a few months since I carried a pocket .380 as my primary defensive firearm. The fact is, though, that even when I carried a tiny little gun like my LCP2, I never feel under-gunned. Was it the optimal self-defense gun? Of course not, there is no such thing… a pistol, ANY pistol is a compromise, the LCP2 (and guns like it) compromise firepower in favor of portability and concealability. I know what I can do and can’t do with my LCP2, and I live within those limits. A Glock 19 is not an überwäffen: It also has limitations, and if you don’t know what they are, you’re in worse shape than I am with my pocket .380.

If you carry a pocket gun, and you haven’t put it (and yourself) to the test, do so, otherwise you’re relying on hope, not knowledge.