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.

I’ll Come To Your Emotional Rescue.

Ron Avery has some interesting thoughts on bringing the reality of the gunfight into our training and practice.

Practice with the emotional intensity of a real encounter. You are FIGHTING, not just shooting. Psychological toughness/dominance is a mindset that must be exercised in order to develop it. As part of your training, visualize what you are doing as an actual encounter. Mindset is everything and it starts before you get to the range. Paul Carlson also expressed similar thoughts on a recent episode of The Gunfighter podcast, and that got me thinking about the dog that is not barking inside the training community, namely, creating the emotions we’ll need to win a deadly force encounter.

To be honest, prepping for the emotional portion of a deadly force encounter has not entered my mind in the least. Maybe it’s because there is a fine, fine line between the sense of urgency brought on by an emotional response and the physical and mental shutdown brought on by panic and fear.

The thing is, thought, that my reasons for pursing armed self-defense are pretty much 100% emotional: I don’t want to die, and I don’t want my loved ones to die either.

Emotions, when used properly, can he a powerful, powerful tool. This was brought home to me a few years ago when I trained with Gabe Suarez. He was trying to show us his techniques for shooting and moving, and I, like the good gamer I was, preferred to shoot it in an IDPA duck-walk rather than the flat-out run he wanted. I wasn’t able to muster the speed needed because I didn’t understand the need for speed in that situation.

Then Gabe pointed the frame of his Glock (not the gun, just the frame) at my face, and the reason for speeding up became much, much clearer.

Training with Gabe Suarez

As I said on-camera, having that inert hunk of plastic pointed at me put things in a whole new light. All of a sudden, I went from trying to solve the intellectual problem of absorbing what I was being taught and the physical challenge of doing the required tasks to dealing with the emotions associated with having someone trying to kill me and using thouse emotions to enhance my abliities, rather than detract from my performance.

It’s interesting that with just over 300 hours of formal training under my belt, that has been the one and only time (so far) that an instructor has brought in an element of preparing for the emotional stress of a gunfight, and I think the training community as a whole is missing out on something here. Yes, learning the physical skills needed to survive is important, as is having the intellectual firepower needed to solve problems quickly under stress, but let’s not forget that all of that starts with the will to win, thrive and survive all that might be thrown at us, and that starts with having the emotional fortitude to carry us through to victory.

Commit Yourself To Marksmanship

I’ve got some ideas on helping new gun owners do more than just place their guns in a place of veneration in their home, hoping it will act as a talisman of self-protection over at Ricochet.com.

Thinking more about this, I’ve seen meme after meme pop up on the internet about dumb gun owners, and heck, I’ve chimed in with a few myself, from time to time.

But is this the path to a safer, more-educated firearms community? Making fun of people is easy, making better people is hard.

And the hard choice is usually the right one.

Real Advice On Spotting Fake Experts.

screenshot_799

Attention firearms training students: Here is a quick, handy guide on how to spot if someone is full of knowledge, or full of themselves.

  1. Real experts focus on their field, not themselves.
  2. Real experts have no trouble saying:  “I don’t know.”
  3. Real experts demonstrate intellectual honesty.
  4. Real experts show intellectual curiosity.
  5. Real experts know when and how to share.
  6. Real experts know when and how to improvise.
  7. Real experts cannot help but teach.

The whole article is worth your while, no matter how much you’re interested in firearms training.

After Action Report: Shoot N Scoot At Night, Step by Step Gun Training

I had a chance to train with Jeff and Robyn Street of Step By Step Gun Training over the weekend at the night version of their “Shoot N Scoot” training event, and I learned a lot about how my carry gear works in low-light and no-light conditions.

  1. Dry-fire is good, but there is no substitute for shooting ammo.
    I’ve developed a nasty habit of riding the recoil which is sending my shots high, and dry-fire will NOT help with that. Time to shoot more matches and put in some old-fashioned range time to cure that.
  2. There is no substitute for a laser when it comes to long-range shooting at night.
    Pinging away at a piece of steel that is 1/2 the size of a USPSA target that is 30 yards distant, in the dark, without using your sights will make you trust your laser.
  3. There is no substitute for candlepower.
    The Streamlight TLR-6 on my Shield is good. The laser dot is easy to pick up at night, and the flashlight gives you enough illumination to discern targets out to 15 yards or so. A Viridian C5L green laser is better. MUCH better. That sucker is almost like a searchlight, it’s so bright. You want hits with a laser at night? Go green, it’s worth the money.
  4. Battery life matters.
    I left the red dot glowing on the Vortex Sparc that’s on top of my trunk gun, and it was dead when I tried to use it in this event, and like a moron, I did not have a spare with me.
    Whoops.
    That’s been rectified. Lesson learned.

This is now the fourth time I’ve trained at night, and I continue to learn things about what gear and techniques actually work when the lights go out. If you’ve not trained at night, I highly recommend you do so. We are sight hunters, and we spend half our lives in the dark. It’d be a good thing to learn how to save our lives when there is little to no light around to help us see.

It’s Two, TWO Great Events In One!

Alright, let’s wrap this up.

One thing I’ve noticed is that practical shooting exists inside the bubble of the pistol bay. Even at an IDPA match, there is little to indicate that the real world exists, aside from the stage briefing before the shooting starts (“You are seated in a restauarant, enjoying your meal, when the Leprechaun Liberation Army Attacks. Engage targets T1-4 from the chair, then move to cover, etc.”).

Why? We tell people “Hey, go shoot a match, it will help with your defensive skills,” and then we do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to show them how to integrate the lessons of the match into your daily routine. At major matches, the vendors who show up tend to be oriented towards competition and competitive gear, rather than the stuff people carry with them every day. This is understandable, because typically only competitors show up to a match, and spectators are few and far between. So if you want more vendors, and therefore more money, you want vendors who appeal to people outside of just the people shooting the match.

In other words, matches want all the people who bought guns over the last few years to show up, but then we give them no reason to show up in the first place. We force new gun owners to go shoot a match OR take a class OR go to a gun show, and we hope that if they spend enough time searching, they’ll find something they will like.

Do you have enough time to look around for a new hobby? I don’t.

What if a match were about the concealed carry lifestyle? What if there were four stages with quick, simple courses of fire that had limited movement and maybe one reload (at most)?* What if there were demos from sponsored shooters on how to do a quick, smooth draw, and local firearms trainers who talked about ways to stay safe? What if there were a (small) gun show as well, and maybe a 1911 beauty contest or the like? What if the vendors were local gun shops, gun ranges as well gun companies and national brands who would benefit from gun owners shooting their guns more, like The Well-Armed Woman, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, holster makers and the various ammo manufacturers? What if the NRA was there as well (like they are at most gun shows), but they aren’t a named sponsor so as not to scare off the newbies? What if the emphasis, for once, was on the JOYS of owning and (safely) using a gun, rather than getting people to show up on the steps of the State Capitol and shout “MAH RIGHTS!” at their local legislators?

IDPA won’t do this, and neither well USPSA or any other existing shooting sport: They’re too concerned about growing their own particular sports to create a feeder event like this. They should, however, show up at events like this to let people know about how their brand of competition is the natural follow-on to the simple stages at the event.

Gun Culture 2.0 is made up of concealed carry and target shooting and competition, but all those activities exist in separate silos, with little (if any) attempt to build upon each other. Just has Steve Jobs realized there is good money to be made by integrating the computer in the home into how we take photos and listen to music and watch TV, someone is going to realize there is good money to be made with integrating the reasons why we buy guns with how we actually use them.

Current gun-related events are the firearms equivalent of hanging out with your fellow nerds at a comic book store, or talking about how to turn double the capacity of floppy disk with the aid of a hole punch at your local computer user’s group meeting. Gun events, as they are now, appeal to the passionate hobbyist, not to the general public. Comic books and computers went mainstream, and what was uncool suddenly became very, very profitable. Guns are ALMOST mainstream, and there is a ton of money to be made when they do.


* No, NOT Steel Challenge or GSSF. We preach “Get off the X” in our training classes, and we to practice that as well.

The Needs Of The Many

Picking up from yesterday, what would be the pieces needed to create a “Sturgis for guns”?

  1. People are buying guns these days for self-protection, but they’re not shooting matches.
  2. New gun owners are not shooting matches because, in part, they don’t know that such things even exist.
  3. New gun owners don’t see the connection between shooting a match and improving their ability to defend their lives with their guns.
  4. New gun owners probably don’t have gear that’s suitable for matches.

Now, let’s look at what gun companies need to do in a post-scarcity sales environment.

  1. Don’t just sell guns for the sake of selling guns, but build a lifestyle brand around their product.
  2. Encourage people to buy more guns. Sure, that pocket .380 you bought SEEMED like a good idea in the gun store, but how does it work in an environment that’s closer to the real world?
  3. Bring in even more new gun owners.

And finally, what do the various shooting sports need in order to grow at a rate that approaches the rate that new gun ownership is growing?

  1. More shooters. You would think it would be glaringly obvious that in today’s market, if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking, but noooooo. Shooters seemed more willing to moan and bitch about how hard it is to get into the various state and area championship matches than they are about bringing in new shooters into sport that will allow it grow and flourish. Speaking of which…
  2. More money. If you’re VERY lucky and VERY good, you can win your division in a match like the USPSA Area 2 Championship, and you’ll get a nice AR-15 as your prize. That’s cool and all, but does a $1200 AR even begin to compare with the prizes that professional bass fisherman bring in*.
  3. More exposure. This, of course, will lead to more money and more shooters and also lead to more chances for the good shooters to make money.
  4. Beginner-level matches that relates almost 1-1 with concealed carry and that beginners can shoot with their guns. This where most “entry level” matches fall down, because they are so focused on getting people into competition, rather than getting them to shoot more (and yes, there is a difference).

So what’s it going to take to make everyone happy, and come up with something that a) makes money for gun companies, b) brings in new shooters and c) encourages more participation in the shooting sports?

More on that tomorrow**.


* The fact that there is even a thing such as “Professional Bass Fishing” just blows my tiny little mind all to pieces.

** Every good performance requires three acts, right? Besides, I know how brain-addled the average Internet user is, and even getting you all to read something this short in one sitting can be a challenge.

Glock and Roll

If guns are the new Harley-Davidson, where is the new Sturgis?

Motorcycle riders have been gathering at Sturgis since 1938*, but it didn’t become Sturgis until recently, when the middle class started riding motorcycles and wanted to travel somewhere to be with people who shared their common interest in motorcycles.

We have several gun related get-togethers like gun shows and the NRA Annual Meeting, but noticeably absent from those events is people safely enjoying how their guns shoot. Also, it’s my belief that there are gun owners who aren’t yet willing to join the NRA, due to the political nature of the NRA and it’s perceived extremism in some circles, and that needs to change, too.

What’s needed is a politically-neutral exposition of all things Gun Culture 2.0 that has a participation element as well. No rants about “THEY’RE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOU GUNS!“. No Republican voter registration drives. Just guns, ways to enjoy your guns and ways to be around people who like guns.

Some more thoughts on that tomorrow**.


* Incidentally, the first rallies were based around competition, not showing off your bikes. Think there might be a lesson there for gun companies? I do.
** Engagement, people. It’s called engagement.

The Company That’s Going To Beat Glock Won’t Sell Glocks.

The company that will become the new leader in selling firearms to consumers will be the company that best answers the question, “Ok, I just bought a gun. Now what do I do?”

Answer that question, and you will rule the world. Take a look at the chart below:

piechart115

If Apple had been content to be “just another personal computer company”, they’d have 9% of the revenue they currently have, or they would have gone the way of companies like Gateway, IBM and so so many others.

Way, WAY too many gun companies are content to just sell guns: They don’t understand that what they are actually selling is the feelings associated with owning a gun, not the hunk of metal itself.