Recoil In Horror? No, Recoil In Delight!

It’s fun working with super-smart people, and the super-smart people I’m working with on the Interactive Pistol Training System have figured out a way to add recoil into the system, a way that DOESN’T involve CO2 cartridges or any other chemical means.

What is it? Can’t say. Super secret sauce stuff. But it will work, and it will simulate recoil.

If you’ve been on the fence about backing the Indiegogo project, now is the time to jump off and join in.

Not Invented Here Syndrome.

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, it really is no surprise that the NRA chose to play up the military backgrounds of their new instructor corps rather than go with people who have a verifiable history with training we civilians, because let’s face it, the NRA just doesn’t play nice with others. We’ll ignore (for now), the rather graceless way they kicked out the U.S. Concealed Carry Association from the Annual Meeting this year, and instead, go back to the ILA’s involvement in the attempts to improve our gun rights ten years ago. The NRA’s impact on D.C. v. Heller was, to say the least, nominal (and to say the worst, harmful), and they followed that up with an attempt to muscle in on McDonald v. Chicago.

In the minds of the NRA, there is no reason to acknowledge the existence of Gunsite or Cornered Cat or Lethal Force Institute in the CV’s of their new top-notch trainers, because, I’m guessing, that might put the thought in people’s heads that the NRA in and of itself is not the sole source of civilian firearms training. It’s pretty similar to when I went to Front Sight: If you go to that range, you will never hear about how Jeff Cooper invented the color code or anything about any other training except what’s done at Front Sight. This is NOT the way to build a robust training program that adapts to the customer’s needs. It is, however, an excellent way to move your customers two-thirds of the way up Mount Stupid and leave them stranded there, possibly in danger of their lives.

Look, I like the NRA. I write for the NRA. I’m an NRA member, and the NRA has done and is doing a lot of great stuff for our right to defend ourselves from harm. However, the NRA is no more the sole protector of that right of self-defense than AAA is the sole voice for everyone who drives a car. The sooner the NRA learns to play nice with others, the better off we’ll be.

Who Are The NRA Carry Guard Trainers?

Is the NRA Carry Guard the gold standard in training?

Included with the new NRA Carry Guard concealed carry insurance is some training in how to use a firearm and other stuff. From the NRA’s own website,

THE NRA CARRY GUARD TRAINING PACKAGE
FIREARMS TRAINING
No matter your skill level, NRA Carry Guard offers world-class firearm training. But next to knowing how to protect yourself physically, nothing is more important than protecting yourself legally.
RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
NRA Carry Guard members receive immediate access to our Rights & Responsibilities video curriculum, featuring hours of instruction that will prepare you for the modern reality of self-defense.

Well that sounds kinda cool, right? But who are the people doing the training? Well, to be honest, I’ve never heard of any of them. This puzzled me, so I went about searching for the credentials and history of the trainers associated with the “Gold Standard” of concealed carry insurance, and what I found out was rather troubling.

There was no history. Well, very little history, and that is not what you want in a nationally-recognized training program.

To find out who the people associated with NRA Carry Guard were, I searched for the names of all the people involved in this program, using keywords like “‘name of instructor’+training” or “‘name of instructor’+concealed carry”. I was looking for the (digital) impression they have made in the firearms training community, and to be honest, it just isn’t there.

As an example, here’s the same search criteria, using my friend Jon from Phoenix Firearms Training instead of these guys. Jon’s training company isn’t the biggest one in Phoenix, but there are still ten pages of results for him using one of those keywords.

“‘George Severance’+concealed carry”? One page of results, and it’s all about his involvement with NRA Carry Guard. To the best of my ability (and I do online marketing for a living, including Search Engine Optimization), there is no evidence online to show that he was involved with concealed carry training in any way prior to his involvement with NRA Carry Guard.

Now it could be that all of the civilian firearms training done by these trainers has taken place in places that don’t mention the training online, or they don’t have websites about what they do because they don’t feel comfortable in today’s digital age, and Lord knows that technophobia runs rampant in the firearms community.

But are such things emblematic of the best thinking in firearms training today? I don’t believe so. We should take advantage of every opportunity we have to spread knowledge of the safe use of firearms, and that includes venues such as websites, social media and online video.

Let’s take a look at what I did find out about each trainer in the NRA Carry Guard program.

George Severence
Veteran U.S. Navy SEAL
NRA Carry Guard National Director
Through more than 20 years in Naval Special Warfare, George led special operations teams on four continents as a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander, Task Unit Commander, Operations Officer and Executive Officer.

That’s quite a resume, but George’s background in civilian training seems to be limited to running a fitness camp that uses Navy SEAL techniques to whip us landlubbers into shape.

That’s cool, but what does that teach me about having a fast draw stroke, or shoot/no-shoot situations?

Eric Frohardt
Veteran U.S. Navy SEAL
NRA Carry Guard Training Director
As a veteran Navy SEAL with nearly 12 years of active duty service, Eric had some of the best firearms training in the world and learned from some of the world’s most elite tactical shooting instructors. He’s the co-founder of BluCore Shooting Center.

Eric also has a background in teaching fitness. He’s also been involved in the launch of the Springfield Saint, a campaign that was managed by Ackerman-McQueen, the same people who manage advertising for the NRA.
Some coincidence there.

Jeff Houston
Veteran Green Beret
NRA Carry Guard Lead Instructor
Jeff served as a Green Beret with U.S. Army Special Forces, completing service in 2009. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq, and has excelled at completing various tactical shooting courses with both assault/tactical rifles and pistols.

I, too, have “excelled at completing various tactical shooting courses with both assault/tactical rifles and pistols”. Why am I not involved in this as well? Oh, and in another AMAZING bit of coincidence, Jeff just happens to be the director of training at the range that Eric opened up in Colorado.
Funny how that happens.

James R. Jarrett
Veteran Green Beret
NRA Carry Guard Curriculum Director
As a veteran Green Beret, Los Angeles Police Department officer, federal agent and deep-cover intelligence operative, James R. Jarrett has decades of experience as a tactical weapons practitioner and instructor.

James has, by far, the most results for firearms-related keywords of any of trainers. For example, he has a full six pages for his name + concealed carry. However, James’s training calendar looks a little… sparse. Now it could be true that he’s off somewheres training units that can’t talk about the training he’s giving them or he doesn’t want to train in the often-brutal Arizona heat, or it could be that he’s just not that busy.

Anything is possible. Not all things are likely.

Now let me be absolutely crystal clear about one very important thing: I am not impinging, in any way, the sacrifice and service these men have put in defending my rights and my family’s ability to live in peace. I am in complete awe of anyone who signs up for the military and runs towards the sound of gunfire, and I always will be. I am actively encouraging both of my sons to serve in the military when they are of age: That issue is settled, and I will hear no more about it.

However, I have to ask, what relevance does that training have to my life as a married, middle-class marketing guru? Yes, there is value to training from someone who has seen the elephant and won a battle for their life, but that experience needs to be made relative to my life if it is to be valuable to me. From what I’ve noticed about the resumes of all of these trainers, all of them stress their military creds as qualification to teach civilians. Do I really need military training? What does suiting up and kicking in doors with an M4 in my hands have to do with me keeping my family safe at home? I can see how training with a SpecOps type can make me FEEL safe, but isn’t the point of all of this to BE safe, regardless of how we feel?

I’m not getting it.

I’m a member of the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network, and the training DVD’s I received (and watched) from that organization were from guys like Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and Marc MacYoung, all people who are recognized as leaders in training civilians how to safely defend themselves from the lethal force and also defend themselves in the courtroom afterwards. The US Concealed Carry Association has guys like Andrew Branca, Mike Hughes and George Harris on their training roster, filling similar roles, and they have a proven history of success in the streets and in the courtroom.

Speaking of the courtoom, all the training that Carry Guard seems to talk about is how to shoot people with your gun more better and more quicker. Where is the training in the legal consequences of using lethal force? Where is the less-lethal training? Where is the de-escalation? Where is the acknowledgement just having insurance isn’t enough, you need to do your part and not get into any fights you’re not supposed to get into? Talking about military service is one thing. Talking your way out of a fight with an angry, belligerent drunk is something else.

There are a lot of things to consider if you’re considering post-incident legal help, and one of those things is who are the people who are backing each program. In this case, while the military background of the NRA Concealed Carry trainers is very impressive, it seems to apply more to the streets of Khandahar than it does to a Walmart parking lot, and the NRA needs to consider adding in more options with the training and background that relates to the needs of me and my family, rather than the needs of special operations warrior.

NRA Carry Guard Versus Other Self Defense Insurance Plans

The National Rifle Association has finally decided to get serious about the post-incident legal protection and launched NRA Carry Guard, their new product to compete against the United States Concealed Carry Association and a host of others.

There was bit of a controversy last week over the NRA rescinding the invites of competiting products to the Annual Meeting, and let’s face it, the timing kinda stunk. However, given the high-profile placement that NRA gave to their revamped and re-launched self-defense insurance product at the Annual Meeting, I can see why they didn’t want any competition on the floor

Did I mention that they went high-profile with this?

I wasn’t kidding. This was what we saw when we walked into the convention center…

NRA Carry Guard Advertisment

… and this was the primary entrance to the show floor itself.

NRA Carry Guard Review

Subtle, they are not.

But how does NRA Carry Guard stack up to all the other post-incident legal plans out there? Fortunately for you, I’ve written about this sort of thing in the past, so I can attempt some sort of apples to apples comparison of all the plans out there. All the information on this comparison chart was created from either from what was on each plan’s website or from talking with representatives of each plan in-person or on the phone. As such, there are some gaps, as I’ve not managed to pry some info out of the a few of the companies on this list, and I recommend you read your policy very carefully before you sign anything*.

Comparing NRA Carry Guard To Other Plans

 CCW SafeSecond Call BasicTexas / U.S. Law ShieldUSCCA SilverArmed Citizens NetworkSelf Defense
Association Gold
NRA Carry Guard Bronze
Bail$25,000 / $250,000$1,000 / $10,000$2,500 / $25,000$2,500 / $25,000$25,000 + Merits10% of Bail$2,500 / $25,000
Your Own Attorney-YNYYYY
Criminal DefenseY$10,000Legal Fees Only $50,000$25,000 + Merits$100,000 Combined$50,000
Civil DefenseYNLegal Fees Only $250,000 CombinedBased On Merits$100,000 Combined$250,000 Combined
Civil DamagesNNLegal Fees Only $250,000 CombinedBased On Merits$100,000 Combined$250,000 Combined
Any WeaponYNYYYYN
Expert WitnessesYYNUp To Coverage LimitsY-Y
"First Dollar" CoverageYUp To $2,000YYYYN
Cost$129/year$9.95/mo or $119/yr$16.85/mo or $202.20/yr

+ $19.95 setup
$13/mo or $147/yr$135/yr$15.92/mo or $179/yr$13.95/mo or $154.95/yr

How does NRA Carry Guard stack up? Well, as a self-insurance, it’s right in their with the rest of them. I’m glad to see them get serious about this product because they’ve been leaving money on the table for a long time now and others have jumped into the fray with some pretty good results.


* As always, this is where I tell you that I, personally, have ACLDN, and that I am a USCCA Affiliate. Take that, FTC. I’m also not a lawyer nor an expert in this sort of thing, so take anything I say here with a lick of salt or two (lime and tequila optional), and be sure to run the documents for your policy of choice by a professional before you sign up for anything

… And Knowing Is Half The Battle.

The other half is the battle is, of course, beating the enemy into submission with decisive movement and overwhelming firepower.

Funny how they never mentioned that part in those old G.I. Joe cartoons.

I digress.

If you have any interest at all in training people to shoot well or moving the ball forward when it comes to firearms ownership in America, take more than a few moments and read Karl Rehn’s “Beyond The One Percent” series. It’s breathtakingly good, and lays out the issues we face clearer and more presicely than anything I’ve read before.

What’s interesting is that his recommendations closely mirror my own experience. When I got my CCW, lo these many years ago, my instructor taught the class in two sections, over the course of a weekend. At the time, Arizona required class room instruction and a live-fire portion before granting a permit (that’s changed since then), and my instructor broke up the class into two parts: A classroom portion that talked about Arizona gun laws, etc, on a Saturday, and then a brief range session the following day, with an optional, inexpensive (less than $100) stress fire / holster practice session immediately following. Most of the students in my class opted for the live fire practice, giving students a taste of the concealed carry lifestyle and the stress fire found in competition, and doubling the instructor’s take from the class in the process.

Instructors would do well to stop thinking of themselves as selling a product (concealed carry classes, gun training, etc.) and start seeing themselves as evangelists for a way of life.

What If Fear Is The Default Setting?

One of my takeaways from this great article on the gulf between gun culture and anti-gun culture is how for some, a fear of guns is honorable and rational. How much of that has permeated into the mindset of the general public because media and society? We have TV shows and movies telling us that it’s honorable and correct to fear guns, so what are we doing to counter that fear?

Rational arguments have only limited efficacy against a fear-based argument: Fear is an emotion, and rational arguments only work against emotional ones after that fear has subsided. How do we calm the fear of guns?

People are used to temporarily facing their fears: That’s why roller coasters exist, and when they go to a range, they temporarily face (and conquer) their fear of guns.  What are we doing to offset the “Disneyland effect” of going to the range or getting your CCW? It’s one thing to go and have fun and punch holes in paper, and it’s another thing to carry a gun all the time.

Acknowledging that the fear exists and then moving beyond the “thrill ride” of shooting a gun is where training is failing right now. Shoot N Scoot events, Outdoor Expos and GSSF matches are working, but more needs to happen if we want gun culture to move out and become a larger part of American culture than it already is.

The iPTS Funding Campaign Launches Tomorrow!

Introducing The Interactive Pistol Training System

Rubber, meet road. Road, rubber.

We’ve been getting some great feedback and a lot of interest from shooters, law enforcement and military, and some…. not so great feedback as well.

To the Facebook commenter who compared us to “Duck Hunt” on the Nintendo: There is a reason why all the shots from your .40 cal HiPoint  go low-left, and it has a lot to do with how you view dry-fire. Deal with it.

I digress.

Anyway, go check out the campaign page and watch as it changes tomorrow, and remember, if you want the best deal on an iPTS, get in on the ground floor.

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.

A Very Personal Gun Free Zone

We gun owners are so funny. We moan and b!tch about “gun free zones”, and yet we do little, if anything, to help the people who bought all those guns over the last few years do anything about carrying said guns with them them every day, thus eliminating the “gun free zones” within their own lives.

I talk more about the utter lack of an on-ramp in-between buying a pistol, getting your concealed carry permit and actually carrying the darn thing around with you on a day-in, day-out basis over at Ricochet.com.

Go check it out.