I’m In.

Armed Parents

What should pop up in my social media feed right after I finished those last two rants but the news that Melody Lauer is bringing her Armed Parenting Class to Homestead Training Center in December of this year.

I’m in. I am SO in. I’ve been fascinated about this class from the moment I heard about it, for two reasons:

  1. The name of the course is *Contextual* Handgun. Think about that for a second… most (if not all) handgun training takes place in a context-free environment where we students are forced to adapt what we learn to our own lives. The instructor talks about presentation from a holster and post-engagement scan and assess and blah blah blah and then we students have to figure out what may or may not work for us.
    And let’s face it: If I was a single guy in the my late 20’s with no family, the threats that I might face and my reasons for defending myself or others would be quite different than they are now, with a wife and two young sons. If the reasons why were buying guns these days isn’t just “It’s a gun, and I can,” it makes sense to create training classes that are more than just “it’s a gun, here’s how you shoot it,” and yet nobody is doing that.
  2. People who I know and trust (and Bob Owens as well) have taken this course, and they’ve raved about it.

Really looking forward to this.

Door Kickers On The Home Front.

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, maybe the reasons behind some of the (in Tam’s wonderful words) “Battle of Fallujah cosplay” that’s going on now might be because of where our current wars are being fought. Unlike previous wars that were fought out in the boonies somewhere, vets from today’s wars are coming home with experience fighting on urban terrain, then they try to apply the knowledge that kept them alive in cities overseas to their lives over here, with varying results. There is a LOT we can learn spotting trouble before it happens from people who have done overwatch on a convoy for years and years, but on the other hand, if I have to do a “clear and hold” operation on a nearby neighborhood, that probably means a) I am living in the wrong freaking neighborhood and b) isn’t that the cop’s job, not mine?

That being said, why hasn’t the info on how the contractors and others working overseas doing personal security work spread far and wide amongst us civilians? I’ve been trying for YEARS to find a good entry-level “executive protection” class for schmoes like me, but to absolutely no avail. The bodyguard’s job is lot closer to my job (if you want to call it a job, because doing so treads dangerously close to SHEEPDOG! territory) as an armed civilian that the soldier’s role is. The role of a bodyguard is to make sure the people under his or her care make it through the day alive, and the tools that a bodyguard has to use (a good set of eyes, an alert mind, and maybe a pistol or something) is much closer to what I have on me right now than someone jogging down a dusty street in Mosul with his platoon might have with them.

I will take two paragraphs on pre-attack indicators and how to react to a quick punch to the head over ten pages on how to form up a stack and breach a door. Nothing against those who are running towards the sound of gunfire, I will always respect what they do, but what they do and what I do exist in two separate worlds.

Buzz Guns.

Buzzfeed, that bastion of liberal muckracking, goes to Taran Tactical in an attempt to re-create that iconic Keanu Reeves 3 Gun run with a couple of regular joes.

What’s expected to happen next, doesn’t. They actually do a fair, even-handed report, and also manage to toss in a few talking points about how guns are the ultimate in women empowerment and how insanely fun it is to shoot 3 Gun.

More of this, please. Much more. This is what guns becoming part of lifesyle should look like.

When I Became A Man, I Put Away Childish Things.

Kathy Jackson makes an excellent analogy about firearms training: At first, we climb up the mountain because we are want to escape the rising floodwaters. In time, however, we realize that we enjoy the climb, and we go up the mountain for the sake of the journey itself.

I’m not saying I’m on the North Face of Eiger, hanging on for dear life, but let’s say my life has a distinct vertical tilt to it right now.

Last year, I trained with Bob Vogel. This year, so far, it’s been a class with Andrew Branca, and in May, I’m taking MAG40 with Massad Ayoob. I wanted to take a John Farnham class as well, but time and tide worked against me.

I’m not lacking for training: I’m at just over three hundred hours right now, and while that’s a paltry sum compared to some of my peers, it’s got me to the point where I’m comfortable defending my life or the lives of my family with what I have with me most days.

But I didn’t get into this to be comfortable, I got into this to be better, and that’s why I’m moving on to the next level and learn from the masters of the craft.

How DARE You Show Up To MY Class With A Gun Like That!

Thinking more about this post, whether we like to admit it or not, we are in a golden age of guns. With a very few notable exceptions (coughcoughR51coughcough) we expect our guns to work correctly with most types of ammunition right out of the box, and guess what, they do. This is true of Taurus, Glock, Kimber, you name it. Now, do all of those guns handle long stretches of high round count shooting equally well, like at a training class?

No.

But guess what, that doesn’t make those guns “bad guns,”, it makes them bad guns to take to a class, but not a bad gun to carry on your person.

Right now, a significant portion of the firearms community is saying to themselves, “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE TWO, BECAUSE MY TRAINING IS WHAT YOU NEED SO YOU DON’T GET KILLED ON DA STREETZ TOMORROW (and twice on Sunday)!!! YOU NEED THE GUN THAT I HAVE PERSONALLY DECREED AS THE ÜBER-WAFFEN (or similar) IN ORDER TO KEEP YOU SAFE!!!! IF YOU DON’T DO THAT, YOU’RE NOT ‘SERIOUS’ ABOUT YOUR TRAINING AND I DON’T WANT YOU IN MY CLASS!!!!”.

And chances are, the gun that those trainers are saying is the best (and only) choice for you is a compact, striker-fired 9mm double stack handgun. They’re good guns. I recommend them a lot. Those guns work GREAT on a training range and they’re really good off the range as well. But are they the only viable self-defense pistols out there? Of course not.

Which person is more serious about self-defense, the person who carries a Glock 19 in an AIWB holster to the training range, but then carries nothing with him on a day-in, day-out basis, or the person who has a compact .380 (or better) on him every waking moment? We tell people that “A .22 on you is better than a .45 in the truck” (or some variant thereof) and then we insist that people bring that .45 with them to class, rather than provide training opportunities for the .22 they have with them.

And then we wonder why no one wants to get training beyond what’s required to get their CCW.

Confidence. It’s What You REALLY Carry.

“If it isn’t on you when you need to fight, it ain’t your primary.”

– Tim Chandler.

I find no end of amusement in those who say, “YOU SHOULDN’T USE METRICS IN TRAINING BECAUSE FAILING A TEST DOESN’T IMPROVE A STUDENT’S CONFIDENCE !!1!” and then turn around and say “YOU STUDENTS SHOULD NOT USE THE GUNS YOU ACTUALLY CARRY EVERYDAY WHEN YOU COME TO MY CLASS!!!1! YOU NEED TO BUY A GLOCK 19 AND A KYDEX OWB HOLSTER RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL BE KILLED ON DA STREETZ TOMORROW!!!1!”

Well, which is? If we are so concerned with people’s confidence in their abilities, why do we mock them when they show up to class with perfectly adequate guns like a Sig P238 or a S&W SD9VE instead of an FDE Glock? Are those *bad* guns? No, they’re not. Are they *great* guns?

Well, they’re not made by CZ, so no.

I kid, I jest. Mostly. But they are good enough guns.

I’m not sure how many trainers out there are aware that it is possible, VERY possible to take a class with a gun that isn’t a 1911 or a striker-fired, double-stack polymer 9mm.

I’m not sure how many trainers understand how useful a pistol that slips into your pocket and stays out of the way really is, and I’m certain that most trainers don’t understand how asking new gun owners to lug around a Glock 19 rather than something smaller is a big barrier to new gun owners.

You want to increase the confidence of new gun owners? Give them confidence in their ability to chose a firearm that fits THEIR lifestyle, rather than telling them which gun fits your lifestyle best.

 

Après Le Déluge, Nous Sommes.

“After the flood, there is us.”

So what happens now, after the levee has broken? Well, aside from all the things that I mentioned before, the companies that will thrive in the future are the ones who can best answer this one, simple question:

“Okay, I just bought a gun. Now what?”

Sounds easy, right? The fact of the matter is, though, that Gun Culture 2.0 has grown up and matured without having to answer that question. For just short of ten years now, the only reason needed to buy a gun was “It’s a gun, and I should buy it now, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy one in the future.”

Imagine what’s happening in California right now, writ large. That’s what we were afraid of, and that’s what drove gun sales. That’s not happening for the foreseeable future, and now we’re in a new phase of gun ownership in America, where gun owners are buying guns for positive reasons, not negative ones.

This is a challenge for Gun Culture 2.0 because it’s driven, by a large part, by negative outcomes. Gun Culture 1.0 was about positive outcomes: You take a walk in the woods, you see Bambi, and you provide meat for your family and a trophy for wall by blasting him into oblivion. Everyone was happy with the outcome (except Bambi, that is).

This is not true for today’s gun owner, because we are preparing for the very, very bad day when we may need to use lethal force to protect a life that is dear to us. It’s not something we enjoy thinking about, but it is satisfying knowing we’re ready. Is it fun, though? No, and the company that is most-able to bring the fun into Gun Culture 2.0 is the one that will grow the most in today’s new gun world.

Harley was successful because they transitioned a negative brand image (biker thug) into a postive brand image (Open road! Freedom!). No one (yet) is working on transitioning from a negative outcome (killed on da streetz) to a positive outcome.

Heck, I’m not sure we KNOW what a positve outcome even is yet.

 

Oh, and what’s up with the title? Well, to borrow a line from the third-greatest Christmas movie ever made*, it’s one of the benefits of a classical education.


* Ronin is #1 (yes, it’s a Christmas movie) and Lethal Weapon is #2.