Armed And Gregarious.

Armed And Gregarious.

One of the overlooked benefits of the dojo model of firearms instruction is the social aspect of going to a range on a regular basis and interacting with normal (or semi-normal) people who kinda look and talk like you do.

Think about it: We want guns to become normal, and yet the training opportunities we provide are a hassle that require us to set aside an entire weekend or more and maybe travel far, far away.

That sort of behavior is not normal for me or just about any other American adult.

But going to a karate class every week and chatting with the other parents as our kids get their kicks? That’s normal.

Getting used to concealed carry means getting used to the idea that people like yourself might be carrying concealed, and meeting those type of people on a regular basis makes concealed carry seem like a regular, everyday thing.

Because it is.

The AR-15 Is Dead.

The AR-15 Is Dead.

I mean, why would somebody chose an AR-15 in .223, when they could shoot a battle rifle in .308? The .308 is a much more powerful cartridge, and if you can carry an seven pound AR, you can carry a nine and a half pound FAL.

The FAL is clearly superior: It offers more firepower, and there’s no reason not to carry one. The AR platform is dead.

Sounds stupid, right? Well, it is.

Now read this article, and everytime you see “.380”, substitute “AR-15,” and see if makes any sense to you.

Are .380 pocket guns the best choice for concealed carry? No.

Are they a BAD choice? No, not really. There’s a big, big difference between a bad choice for concealed carry, and a less-than optimal choice.

Don’t let best become the enemy of good enough.

Kilt On Da Streetz*.

Kilt On Da Streetz*.

 

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

– Emerson

Unlike what the author of this article suggests I don’t carry in a consistent location all the time, because that would mean I’d be carrying tucked-in IWB at the day job, or carrying in my front pocket when I’m wearing blue jeans, neither of which is really a good idea.

What I do have (or at least, I’m working on) is a consistent draw stroke from the moment when my hands come together to when my sight are on-target and the trigger is prepped. That’s the important stuff, because quite honestly, what it takes to get my hand on a gun can vary greatly depending on my body position and the clothes I’m wearing.

But a good press-out? That doesn’t change.


* Killed on the streets.

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

Everybody Wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting.

I’m old enough to vaguely recall the explosion of interest in martial arts created by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, and reruns of “Kung Fu” were a staple of my after-school TV viewing growing up.

And heck, how many strip-mall dojos popped up after The Power Rangers came along?

Why, then, we haven’t had a Bruce Lee / Chuck Norris show up yet to make practical pistol REALLY popular and move it into pop culture? The closest we have come to that is Keanu Reeves tearing it up on Taran’s range, and while that briefly popped up on the pop culture radar, it ended up going nowhere.

Part of the problem is that no one thinks they can land a spinning back heel kick without training, but pretty much everyone thinks they can shoot, and therefore, they don’t need firearms training.

To a certain extent, though, they’re right. People defend their lives with guns everyday without training. Guns were invented because learning to shoot a longbow is tough, as is learning how to fight with a sword. Pulling a trigger or stuffing a slow match into a powder hole? Not that tough. “God made man, but Col. Colt made him equal” is true, but unfortunately, we are all equally sucky with a gun unless we do something about it.

Watching a martial arts movie helps us understand that there is a level of hand-to-hand violence that we can aspire that goes far beyond what we see in a playground fistfight. What can we show the general public that makes them realize that their are levels of marksmanship that go far, far beyond poking holes in a target at three yards?

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

Upcoming Training: Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian.

The Contextual Handgun

REALLY looking forward to this one, for a couple of reasons:

1. 
It’s the first class I’ve seen out there that tries to put what we learn on the range into the context of our everyday lives. Pretty much every class taught to armed citizens teaches us techniques of shooting a gun, but then leaves it up to us to figure out how to apply said techniques to our lives once we’re done with the class. It’s like learning what the gas pedal is and what the brake pedal does, but not learning when to speed up in traffic and when to slow down. John and Melody are the first people I’ve seen to bring firearms training into the real real world we all live in, rather than trying to bring firearms training that works in downtown Fallujah onto the streets of downtown Detroit*.

2.
The reason for all of this, the reason why I’m taking classes and learning to shoot and writing about it and all of this, started with my desire to protect my family. ALL of this stems from that desire, and I’ve been trying for literally a decade to find a firearms training class that acknowledges that we are not in it alone, that there are other people out there who we care for and want to protect. I’m not a cop on the street, it’s not my job to chase down bad guys. It’s my job to help keep my family safe, and yet no one until now** has designed a firearms training program based around that simple idea.


* Granted, downtown Fallujah is probably safer than downtown Detroit, but you get my idea.
** Yes, I know, there’s an “Armed Couple” class at GunSite and whatnot. That’s not what I’m talking about here, we’re talking about one person having the means to defend their family, not everyone being armed.

Layered Like An Onion

Layered Like An Onion

It’s not uncommon for awkward and potentially violent situations to pop up inside a church. For instance, one of the issues that’s happened in a church I’ve attended is where one spouse refuses to quit going to the same church as the other after a nasty divorce, and steps need to be taken that restraining orders are adhered to.

Yuk.

My local megachurch posts an off duty deputy in the narthex, which discourages social predators and rude behavior, but it also means that asocial predators will look at him, and strike elsewhere.

Predators don’t prey on the strong, they seek out and attack the weak. I’m glad that we have a cop in our church lobby, but I’d prefer him to be 300 yards to the east, in the children’s educational wing where my sons are learning about God. That’s where the weakness is, and that’s what needs protecting.

The sanctuary with all us adults? Well, I know there’s at least one well-armed, well-trained individual worshipping in every service I attend.

Will it be enough? I sincerely hope I never have to find out.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

Character Is What You Are In The Dark.

We must work, for the night, she is coming!

Time and time again, I see people in the gun world, people who preach de-escalation as being vital to self-defense, being unwilling or unable to de-escalate personal spats online, leading to butthurt galore and all sorts of unnecessary drama.

If you can’t de-escalate a virtual spat, it brings into question your ability to de-escalate a spat in real life.

At the very least, it gives a prosecutor a little more ammunition to shoot at you in court: “Your Honor, the State would like to enter into evidence the following online exchange to show that the defendant has a temper and was itchin’ to start a fight that evening…”

Start With The Darkness.

Start With The Darkness.

Maglite and Tool PouchThat little combo flashlight / multitool pouch on the right may not look like much, but in a way, it’s what got me started on my journey towards armed personal defense.

I started off my photo career as a photo assistant, something pretty much everyone does, and within a few months, I was making a full-time living at it, something very few people were able to do in the Phoenix market. I rose to the top because when I was on the job, I made it my priority to make the photographer’s needs my priority, and that meant thinking ahead and having a plan to deal with all the things that might go wrong on the set. Sets that were usually pretty dark, because a ) The setups were usually indoors and b ) You really don’t want stray light sources interfering with your photos.

As such, it’s usually dark inside a photo studio, and that means that if something goes wrong, it’s probably going to have to be diagnosed and fixed in the darkness. I found out really quickly that having a flashlight (in my case, a AA Maglite, which seemed AMAZINGLY bright when I first started out) and a multi-tool (this Gerber, which I still love and adore), a pen (a fine point Sharpie) and some gaffer’s tape (because, just like The Force, it has a light side and a dark side and it binds the universe together) on me at all times was good thing, because stuff can happen when you’re 14 feet up in the air adjusting a light and you may or may not have someone near the grip cart to help you out. You were on your own, and you had to solve the problem in front of you RIGHT NOW with only the tools you had on you.

Sound familiar?

I honestly think carrying a flashlight on a day in, day out basis is the best starting point we have for getting people used to the idea that they need to prepare for the crap that can happen in their lives. As sure as the sun sets in the west, darkness will happen in our lives. We know this, we accept this, and yet the VAST majority of Americans walk around completely unprepared to deal with it beyond hoping that the streetlights come on each night.

Get people to carry a flashlight everyday. That starts the wheels turning.

All The Feels.

All The Feels.

There’s a difference between myself and many of my friends, and most other gun owners out there. My friends and I have taken the time to figure out what we are doing wrong when it comes to marksmanship, and we have invested time and money into solving those problems.

That is a HUGE difference compared to most gun owners. You ask anyone on the range if “they can shoot” and nine times out of ten, the response you’ll receive, is “Sure I can shoot”.

The lack of consistent grouping on their target will tell another story, and if you ask that same person a) what they’re best and b) what they need improving on, 9 times out of ten you’ll get a blank stare, because in their mind, they can shoot, so there is no need for improvement.

That element of “I suck at doing (something), therefore, I am not going to integrate (something) into my teaching, and downplay it’s importance,” is what comes natural to most people. It’s people like me and the other members of the 1% who say “I suck at (something) and I need to train (something) so I don’t suck at it, and let others benefit from my experience.”

The problem is that having the courage to say a) I suck and b ) I need to change that is a rare commodity. We ALL have a tendency towards confirmation bias. We forget that buying decisions (and our measure of the relative value of an item) come first from our emotions. If we *feel* like we’ve got our money’s worth, we like that experience. I’m not like most people: I look for training classes that challenge me and show where I suck because I really want to BE proficient, not FEEL like I’m proficient.

The trick is giving people the feeling of proficiency and then adding in actual proficiency, without destroying their self-worth by telling them how much they suck. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL in favor of standardized measurements when it comes to firearms training and instructors who forgo the idea of using benchmarks to improve performance are foregoing pretty much all of modern educational theory.

The goal is to create lifelong students of marksmanship, not one-and-done gun owners who either think they know everything after two days of classes, or who are so demoralized by their performance in a class they never set foot in a pistol bay again.

A good percentage of the instructors I know look at firearms training as an intellectual exercise… “In this class, you will LEARN (knowledge) how to draw from a holster and blahblahblah.”

How many of them add in an element of emotion? Can you do that without treading on tactical derpitude territory and claim your students will learn to shoot like a Navy SEAL?

If someone bought a gun in order to FEEL safe, what about your class and how you talk about it enhances that feeling? What detracts from it? Are you even asking those questions of yourself and how you teach?