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.

No One Expects The Gunsite Inquisition

Because I hate wasting good stuff on an away game.

“Our chief weapon is the 1911. And the color code. Our two chief weapons are the 1911 and the color code and the Weaver Stance. Our THREE chief weapons are the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance and the surprise trigger break. AMONGST OUR WEAPONRY are such diverse elements as the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance, the surprise trigger break and nice decals of a raven on our trucks.

Oh bugger. I’ll come in again.” *

Explainer:

* I should probably state for the record that I absolutely and unequivocally believe that Gunsite is one of the best places in the world to learn how to use a pistol. However, if you can’t laugh at the people on your side, you’re going to be bloody useless at laughing at the people on the other side of your cause.

Metrics Don’t Matter. Until They Do.

Metrics in firearms training are needed. When we’re at a range, we are training people to pass a test that will determine if they life or die, so why wouldn’t we want to see how well they’re doing at that sort of thing and track things like draw speed, accuracy under pressure and split times? That sort of thing becomes VERY important when bullets start flying.

The problem is, all the things that lead up to that point, the de-escalation, the awareness of a potential violent counter exist in a metric-free zone. There is no way to empirically judge how ticked-off a potential attacker is at any given moment, there are no ISO standards when it comes to how much beer is required to turn a milquetoast accountant into a raging berserker, and mastering the skills needed to not get into a fight in the first test is a very, very ambiguous task, one that relies more on intuition and (dare I say it) feelings than cold, hard facts.

Let’s face facts. The firearms training world is dominated by guys, and guys (Trigger warning: Cisgender, heteronormative stereotypes ahead!) tend to be more goal-oriented, left-brain types who crave metrics*, and we tend to like training that caters to our demand for ordered, “rational”progress. Is that the way it SHOULD be? Is that the way it will always be? Is that a good thing?

Dunno. But denying reality ain’t gonna get us to where we want to be.

Metrics matter to those who want to improve their skill because they give us goals to strive for. They don’t matter to people who want a gun to “feel safe”. To borrow from Kathy Jackson‘s excellent analogy of swimming lessons, most people learn to swim in order to not drown: It’s only a few people who take up competitive swimming as a hobby or career. It’s been decades since my last swimming lesson, but one thing I remember from all of my Red Cross-approved swimming lessons was that there were metrics, even for us wee small children. In order to move on to even the next level after dogpaddling, you had to prove to the instructor that you were capable of drown-proofing for XX minutes or could swim X^2 lengths of the pool in Y number of minutes using a variety of swimming styles.

And no one freaked out about how those requirement were discouraging students from learning how to stay safe in the water. The basic swimming classes gave enough info to not drown for those who needed such thing, and set up the next rung on the ladder for we Type A personalities who needed more.

It’s not No Standards / Standardize All The Things, it’s using standards to get better where standards can help, and leave them alone when they’re not needed.


* As pert of my long and varied job history, I’ve taken psych test after psych test during the hiring process, and they pretty much all show that I am almost perfectly balanced when in comes to left brain / right brain or rational / intuitive types of things. This means I crave metrics, but the metrics I crave are… weird. 🙂

Justify Your Existence On This Planet.

So the question was asked by a friend on Facebook,

Just exactly what is the purpose and goal of defensive firearms training? It really can’t be based on probability, because the probability is you will never need to use a gun to defend yourself.
So what circumstances should we train for and what should be our priorities?

I have three answers for that question.

  1. Because I can, that’s why.
  2. Yes, the odds are very, very low. The stakes, however, are very, very mortal. It’s like being in a traffic accident. No, I don’t get into an accident every day (even with #FloridaMan as a constant companion on the roads), but despite that, I still wear my seatbelt every time I get in the car.
  3. One of the reasons why I got started in this was because of the perception of increasing violence in and around my city.

Now, though, ten years later, things have changed. I still want to be become a better gun owner, but in the process of becoming a better defensive gun owner, I’m a quieter, gentler soul (because of the need to de-escalate), I’m an active participant in the (fun) sport of practical shooting, gotten in better shape, met some great people, learned how to be a better driver and a better parent thru more awareness and I’ve *definitely* become more aware of the long-term consequences of my actions.
As it turns out, one of the biggest reasons for the journey is not the destination, but rather the journey itself.

After Class Report: AED/CPR/Trauma First Aid With Geoff Fahringer

CPR Training In Naples

I’ve had my CPR certification for over a decade now and it’s up for renewal yet again, so when Step By Step Gun Training announced they were doing their first-ever CPR / AED / Trauma class, I jumped on the opportunity, especially because of the last bit, the trauma care part.

The last few times I’ve taken CPR training, it’s been in a class targeted towards teachers and caregivers to the elderly who need to be certified in such things, and so any talk of advanced first-aid care (and especially trauma care) was quickly glossed over.

Not this class.

First, a word about the instructor. Geoff Farhinger is a veteran Collier County SWAT officer and police dive instructor. He’s a judge at the national SWAT competition up in Orlando and is trained in the the Florida Tactical EMS program as well.

In short, he knows his stuff.

The class was four hours long, and it was a nice balance between instructor-led teaching and hands-on (literally) training. It wasn’t all-tactical, all the time, and it wasn’t aimed at healthcare providers, either. The balance of CPR, AED and trauma training in the class was just about right for we armed civilians, and I walked away knowing even more about all those subjects than I did before, which is the goal of this, right? As armed civilians, we are the REAL first responders (cops, firefighters, EMS… they all arrive after we do) and as first responders, we should be ready, no matter what the emergency.

Is a heart attack a possible occurrence here in God’s Waiting Room, or is drowning possible here in the swimming pool capitol of the world? Is an accidental discharge into a person more likely for me compared to others because I’m around guns more often than the average person?

Oh yeah.

So while I did walk away with a better knowledge about how to set a tourniquet and a glimmer of an idea of how to deal with a gut shot or chest wound (more knowledge on those things in the future would be a good thing for me), the fact is, what I learned was the beginning of my journey, not the end. The training I received in this class is highly relevant to my entire life, not just my life as an armed civilian, and that makes me want to learn more. However, I am much more confident now in my ability to protect my life with my first aid/trauma kits, and (real or not) I’m feeling a little better about my ability to deal with what life may throw at me.

Which is the reason why we’re doing this, right? There was a couple in the class learning CPR who had their adult daughter pass away recently after an unexpected adverse medical reaction. The couple started CPR, but despite their best efforts and efforts of the paramedics and hospital staff, nothing could be done.

Kinda brings it all home, doesn’t it?

If you get a chance to train with Geoff or take a similar class that covers all the bases of the basics of saving a life, take it. The next class is coming up in a few weeks and if you’re in south Florida, I highly recommend you attend.

After-Class Report: The Law Of Self Defense With Andrew Branca

I’ve read his book (twice), and I’ve watched all the DVD’s on self-defense law I received with my ACLDN membership at least two times each.

So why would I want to spend the money and time to also go to Andrew Branca’s Law Of Self-Defense Seminar?

Because going to the seminar means you’ll learn what Andrew Branca thinks is important about self-defense law, not what I think is important about self-defense law as I went along in his book. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the seminar (not necessarily the book) is that a legal strategy of self-defense only applies after you admit to the fact that you used deadly force against someone to defend your life. Your defense, essentially is “Yes, I shot him/her, BUT it was justified because I did it in self-defense.”

See the problem there? You’re admitting that you shot someone, and you’re betting on the fact you did it legally because it was in self-defense. If that self-defense justification goes away, you’ve just admitted you used deadly force.

The book and seminar are both built around five principals of legal self-defense (I won’t say what they are here: Spend the money for the book, it’s worth it. However, all five elements he speaks about are CUMULATIVE: All of them must be present in some form or another for a self-defense claim to be valid. If one or more of those elements aren’t present, everything we talked about in the “but” part of your previous statement (“Yes, I shot him/her, but it was justified”) vanishes, and the “Yes, I shot him/her.” is all that remains.

See why this is so important now?

It’s important because law cares about the law, not your intentions. Just as it is up to us to know the rules of the road before we drive a car, it is up to us to learn the rules of self-defense as well. If we blow through a red light, the law doesn’t care if we did it because we meant to do it or because we didn’t see the signal light change, the law says we’re getting a ticket.

By looking around and watching other drivers, we can learn that running through red lights is a bad idea (although the drivers here in Florida do give me pause about this fact…). Yes, we can learn a little bit about the rules of the road by observing the environment and we can learn a bit of the rules of self-defense from the environment of gun forums and magazines around us, but if I learned to drive from watching the antics of my fellow drivers here in Florida, I’d be dead by now.

And yet so, so many gun owners think they know about the legalities of self-defense because of what other gun owners tell them.

Whoops.

A few more thoughts…

The class had a professional environment and was blissfully free of the usual “Can I shoot him now? Ok, what about now? Ok, now?” kind of questions that are so typical to concealed carry courses and other legal seminars. Also, the seminar really brought home the need to have at least one option for non-deadly force handy at all times. We are 5x more likely to be faced with a non-deadly force than deadly force, but are we 5x more likely to get training in the use of non-deadly force like OC spray or combatives than we are to get pistol training?

If not, why not?

When if comes to how and when you can use deadly force, what you learn about this class about the legal complexities of using deadly force in defense of your property and others should swiftly disabuse you of any “sheepdog” notion. The law gets really, really tricky when you start to talk about the use of force to help a third-party, and the law is even less on your side when it comes to using deadly force to defend your personal property.

You are not Batman. You are not charged with wiping out the criminal element in your town, so don’t do that.

Serious drivers are not content to mimic the bad habits of their fellow drivers, they take the time to learn the rules of the road from serious people. If you are serious about self-defense, you should take the law of self-defense seriously as well.

The Family That Stacks Together, Attacks Together

What would a “Tactical Gentleman’s Weekend” for Gun Culture 2.0 look like?

It’s an interesting challenge, because let’s face it, shooting stuff from speedboats is FUN, while learning how to de-escalate an angry drunk has a certain “eat your broccoli, it’s good for you” feel to it. It’s been my goal for a while now to eat my broccoli and become a responsible gun owner in every sense of the word. The issue is, though, that society today does not see “responsible” as a desirable thing, so balancing the broccoli and the ice cream is an ongoing challenge.

With that in-mind, here’s what I’d like to see in two-day “tactical gentleman’s” weekend that would apply to today’s CCW holder.

  • A Heavy Emphasis On Concealed Carry
    Ideally, you’d have to commit to coming to class with your primary carry rig, along with a few extra mag pouches for administration purposes.
  • Holistic, lifestyle-based approach to personal protection.
    Concealed carry, home defense, whatever.
  • Defending others as well as yourself.
    Girlfriend, friends, family, whatever. We don’t live on a deserted island, and our training shouldn’t reflect that either.

Some specific topics to cover:

  • Creating a safe room, home security, low-light ops
  • De-Escalation / Situational Awareness
  • Intro to Empty hand / Combatives
  • Basic Trauma Care
  • Shoot / No Shoot (ideally in a shoothouse of some kind

Will I ever see such a thing in my lifetime? Dunno. But it’d be cool when it happens.

 

Gentlemen Prefer Bombs.

This is an interesting take on the usual weekend-long tactical training class.

11 spots left for Tactical Gentlemen’s Weekend! This next one will be at Strange Farms in Georgia! Thursday, March 23rd through Sunday, March 26th. 4 days 3 nights. All the food and beer is included along with over a $1,000 in training classes! We will also be sponsoring 4 wounded vets from Wishes For Warriors. Classes being offered for the weekend.
Advanced Handgun Class:
Low-Light Night Class:
Vehicle Defense Class:
Close Quarters Combatives Armed & Unarmed Class:
Last day will feature a surprise with water operations(speed boat)! Cost for the entire weekend is $1200.

Okay, I like where this is headed. Sorta. It smacks a little too much of “Get drunk and shoot guns in the woods” for my liking, but I like how it’s about more than just shooting guns; it’s about guys becoming better at a bunch of things that would help them defend themselves and their loved ones.

But high-speed water operations in a speedboat? Just how exactly does that apply to my life? Yes, it sounds like fun, but look, if I want to fun things with guns for the sake of doing fun things with guns, I’ll beg, whine and plead to go out to something like this the next time it’s in town.

As I said earlier, though, I like where this is headed. But what would a version of this “Gentlemen’s weekend” look like for those of us who don’t consider MOLLE webbing to be a fashion statement?

More on that later.

Primary And Secondary.

Medium Speed. Moderate Drag.

Why is it that I can find MUCH more training about how to transition from my AR-15 to my sidearm than I can about how to carry a pocket pistol rather than a larger pistol?

Does the firearms training community REALLY think that we civilians would be better served by doing drills like the one in the photo above rather than learning how to use the guns we frequently carry?

It’d cool if someone came up with a one or two day class where half the time was devoted to larger carry guns like the Glock 19 or even single-stack 9mm’s like the Shield or Glock 43, and then the other half devoted to snub-nosed .38’s and pocket .380’s.

What we need is “primary and secondary” training that’s relevant to the life of the average joe, not G.I. Joe.

All In One Training For Civilians Is FINALLY Here.

Me, a few years ago

We can go to a dojo and learn empty hand techniques. We can go to a firearms trainer and learn to shoot. We can spar in competition to learn what works on the mat, and we can shoot IPSC and IDPA to learn what works on the square range.

Where do we civilians go to learn all of those at once, and get in the practice (kata, if you will) that allows integrated techniques to become second nature to us?

Mike Seeklander, this month.

Warrior One is a collaboration with Jake Saenz and Atomic Athlete and the first of its kind.

This program contains structured training not only for fitness but for defensive handgun skills as well.

And it teaches basic strikes and empty-hand techniques as well.

I’m interested. I’m very, very interested.