Buying Into A LIfestyle

Buying Into A LIfestyle

I drive by one of the local Harley Davidson dealerships every day on the way to work, and the big LED sign out front of their shop usually has variants of three types of messages:

  • Learn To Ride
  • Big Sale
  • Concert / Event / Etc. Coming Soon

We’ll deal with the concert/events part of this at a later date, but note that only one of those advertisements has anything to do with actually SELLING Harley Davidson motorcycles. The “Learn To Ride” special is the most interesting to me, because if you buy a motorcycle, you buy a thing. If you learn how to USE your motorcycle, you’re buying into a lifestyle.

Think that this is something that gun ranges could learn from? I do.

Also, note how they describe their training class: It’s not “Open Road Riding Level One,” it’s “Learn To Ride.” They don’t try and confuse the consumer who’s trying something new and unknown with a bunch of buzzwords and cool-sounding details, all they say is “Learn To Ride.”

People are buying handguns because they’re scared, and we augment that nervousness with class names like “Tactical Handgun Operator Level I”.

Does a single mother with an abusive boyfriend REALLY want to take that class?

What would happen if every range in the country divided up their handgun classes into simple, related course names like “Learn to Shoot,” “Learn To Shoot Better” and “Learn To Shoot Really Well”?

Keep it simple, stupid.

Update: On Facebook, my friend and fellow Zero Hero Alf makes a terrific point: The really successful companies sell more than just product. 7/11 for instance, sells us stuff, but HOW they sell it provides us with more time do other things in our lives.

What is the value add for a gun store in our lives? What do they offer us besides selling us guns?

TacCon 2018 AAR

TacCon 2018 AAR

I’m still trying to sort out all that happened… did I *really* get four hours of DA/SA instruction from Ernest Langdon? Did I *really* get the skinny on tactical trauma care from Lone Star Medics? Did I *actually* get to listen to Karl Rehn hold forth on the history of handgun training? Did Lee Weems lay out some drills on staying sharp and reacting to threats while we’re less-than-attentitive? Did I, in fact, get to meet a bunch of cool people from all over the country and train with them and break bread with them?

I must have, because that’s what these pictures say I did.

A few thoughts…

Ernie Langdon‘s Double Action course was *amazing*. Not only did he correct some basic flaws in my grip and stance, he taught me more about how to pull the trigger correctly since I took a class with Rob Leatham.

One of the nice things about Chuck‘s class was that he had us shoot the Georgia Backup Weapons Atlanta PD Secondary Weapons Qualifier, giving me yet another chance to establish my credibility in the courtroom. The stuff he taught adapted the techniques that we know work with a bigger gun and plopped them down onto the pocket rockets, with great success. Really want to take more pocket-gun classes now.

Karl Rehn spoke for two hours on how handgun training has evolved in the past 100 years, and it was interesting to see how much influence Jelly Bryce had on things (and probably not for the better). In Jelly’s defense, the sights on the guns of the 20’s and 30’s were at best marginal (and at worst, non-existent) so yeah, point shooting did make some sense.

Caleb Causey‘s medical class was a hoot. He can make the gruesome topic of dealing with blowed-up people and loose body parts a lot of fun, and it made us really WANT to listen to what he had to say.

I shot a 199 out of a possible 200 on the course of fire for the shooting match, and right now, I will take that walking away. Gabe White won the match, and Chris from Lucky Gunner has some slo-mo video of the winning relay that is just INCREDIBLE to watch. Gabe’s draw and presentation were absolutely flawless, and I hope Chris publishes it someplace where it can be linked to because it shows an absolutely textbook draw from AIWB. Update: Chris’s video is here. Skip to 1:10 if you want to see how to draw from AIWB.

TacCon left me with a LOT to work on, especially grip and trigger techniques from Ernie’s class, and based on what I learned in Caleb’s class. I’m also going thru and updating my trauma kits and replacing the SWAT-T tourniquets that are in there now with SOFT-T tourniquets.

All in all, it was the most intensive training experience I’ve had in my life, and yes, I want to go back.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

In response to the horror in Parkland, Florida is looking to allow public school teachers to carry a defensive firearm inside the classroom.

Good.

What’s not so good are the training requirements. I understand that a lot of this is political cover so that a bill of some form can be passed in the legislature, and that the trust icon of law enforcement training is a powerful talisman of faith, but 132 hours of training, just so you can carry a gun inside school grounds like you can outside of school grounds?

From SB 7026: Public Safety.

(5) TRAINING AND INSTRUCTION.—All training must be conducted by Criminal Justice Standards Training Commission (CJSTC)-certified instructors.
(a) Required instruction must include 132 total hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training in the following topics:
1. Firearms: 80-hour block of instruction. The firearms instruction must be based on the CJSTC Law Enforcement Academy training model and must be enhanced to include 10 percent to 20 percent more rounds fired by each program participant beyond the minimum average of approximately 1,000 training rounds associated with academy training. Program participants mustachieve an 85 percent pass rate on the firearms training.
2. Firearms precision pistol: 16-hour block of instruction.
3. Firearms discretionary shooting: 4-hour block of instruction using state-of-the-art simulator exercises.
4. Active shooter or assailant: 8-hour block of instruction.
5. Defensive tactics: 4-hour block of instruction.
6. Legal or high liability: 20-hour block of instruction.
(b) Program participants may complete an optional, 16-hour precision pistol course as additional training.
(c) Ongoing and annual proficiency retraining must be conducted by the sheriff, as specified in the agreement.

Also, they’re bypassing the civilian training market and making it a money-maker for the Sheriff’s department. Not the most optimal of outcomes, but if it gets rid of the silliness of “gun free zones”, I’m ok with this. Florida led the wave of “Shall Issue” CCW permits back in the early 90’s, and if this creates a demand for a dispersed response to all kinds of dispersed threats, not just active shooters, this is a good thing indeed.

Flash Site Pictures – Thursday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Thursday Edition

A quick roundup of interesting stuff on the web, some of it written by me, some not.

Just how effective are tourniquets in a mass shooter situation?

Pistol, rifle or shotgun for home defense?

“Confidence is contagious.”

Getting serious about having fun at the range means you’ll have more fun at the range. Duh.

Massad Ayoob on using short-barreled pistols for personal defense at longer distances. Speaking as someone who has passed both Mas’s shooting test and the FBI Pistol Qualification Test (at the Instructor level, no less…) with the 3.1 inch barrel on an S&W Shield, shorter guns can be VERY effective at longer ranges…

Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Whose Lifestyle Is It Anyways?

Claude’s comments on Ballistic Radio this month hit me really hard. The firearms training industry is in a Catch-22 right now: People flock to trainers who flaunt their high-level military creds because such people have trust icons galore, and at the same time, having a firearms background that is pretty much all M4, all the time is bloody useless for we armed citizens.

This is one of the areas where a background in executive protection can come in handy. While how they protect people may vary from how we armed citizens protect our loved ones, the people who stand around with radio headsets know how to remain discreet while heavily armed, and they have a long history of problem-solving with command tone, soft hands and if necessary, a pistol.

Which sounds pretty much identical to what we normies need to know. We need to think more like Frank Horrigan, and less like Gunny Highway.

Flash Site Pictures, Friday Edition

Flash Site Pictures, Friday Edition

A round up of stuff on the web, some written by me, some not.

The Generalist

The Generalist

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein


There are three things driving my interest in firearms training. The first, and most important by far, is that it’s useful knowledge for someone like me who carries a gun on a regular basis. If I ever have to defend a life, it’s probably a good thing that I know how to do as effectively as possible.

Secondly, I want to learn from the root sources, or as close to them as I can. This is a habit ingrained in me from years of Bible school. Want the best translation of the Bible? Go to the Greek, (Aramaic if we’re talking OT) and go back as far as you can. That’s why I took a Massad Ayoob class, why I went to ECQC, and it’s driving which courses I’m attending at TacCon: I want to go back and learn from the people who started things off as much as possible.

Thirdly, I don’t want to specialize (hence the Heinlein quote). I want to be able to do just about any shooting activity with some measure of skill. A long-range rifle class is in the cards for me this year, and next year, I think I’ll pick up an over/under scatter gun and get some schooling in the shotgun sports. Yes, I know, one gun won’t cover all of them out there. My plan is to concentrate on Sporting Clays, and go from there. I know nothing about the shotgun sports, and it’s high time I fill that gap.

Words Are Weapons

Words Are Weapons

sharpen the knives
makes you wonder how the other half dies

One of the big takeaways from ECQC for me was the utility of verbal agility. There were several evos when the defender was literally stopped in his tracks by what the attacker said, and one memorable time when a verbal confrontation wound up in a textbook Mountain Goat drill, both of them literally butting heads, jockeying for position.

This is not what I would call an optimum resolution of the situation.

So now I’m looking for classes or courses for we armed citizens in how to defuse a hostile situation with what we say, rather than what we carry on our belt. I’ve got the gun solution pretty well covered, and I’m working on the fist solution, now it’s time to work on the lips solution.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

Flash Site Pictures, Tuesday Edition.

A quick roundup of stuff on the web.

  • Smith & Wesson has a new pistol out, the M&P380 Shield EZ. Apart from the word salad of a name, it looks like a really good little gun for people who want a gun to “feel safe” but aren’t going to get much training beyond a CCW class.
    Which doesn’t mean that a heavier, flat-shooting .380 is a bad option for a defensive pistol: It’ll do the job. Are the better options? Yes. Are those options worth the effort for 80% of the gun owners out there? Probably not. Really looking forward to seeing how S&W rolls out this gun, because how they marketed the Shield rollout was terrific.
  • My first article for the Beretta Blog is up, on what to look for in a firearms trainer.
  • And I’ve got an article on setting up a safe room inside your house over at NRA Family.
  • David Yamane was on Ballistic Radio, and it’s a great interview. Listen to it here.
  • Step By Step Gun Training is bringing John Farnam to Naples for a vehicle defense class. We spend hours and hours inside our cars each week, and carjacking is very real thing. Therefore, it’d be good to know what to do if you’re attacked inside your car because the rules change when the workspace shrinks.