Well This Should be Interesting

The last major match I shot was the USPSA Area 3 Multigun Championship in October, 2014. Now a lot of you are thinking “Yeah, so what, I’ve never shot a major match, ever,” but for me, shooting two major matches each and every year (The Area 2 Desert Classic and the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun) was the norm for over five years. Over the last few years though, I kinda laid off the whole competition scene, for a number of reasons:

  • Time. The range wasn’t a half-hour away from me, rather, the closest range to me with sanctioned USPSA and IDPA matches is over an hour away from my house.
  • Money. Ammo ain’t free, baby, and I haven’t had my reloading bench setup in over three years.
  • Desire. I’ve said it over and over again: I got into the shooting sports not to become Rob Leatham in my middle age, but because I recognized that they are the most-effective way to get used to that “Oh $@*#!” moment that comes before a stressful situation.
  • Utility. I’m C Class USPSA, and the skills needed to push me up higher towards B and maybe beyond aren’t necessarily the skills needed to help my family live safer in an unsafe world. Quick movement between shooting ports and fast reloads aren’t exactly in-demand outside of the square range (or are they? More on that tomorrow.), so that hasn’t been a priority for me up until now.

But that’s changing. I volunteered to work (and therefore, shoot as well) the USPSA Area 6 Championship at Okochobee in April of next year. Time to get my dry-fire game on and start shooting some warm-up matches.

 

Emotional Rescue.

This post at Ricochet started off as a diatribe against the idiots who cry out that “weapons of war don’t belong on our streets!,” every time someone is shot with an AR-15 which is, in reality, a rather uncommon occurrence.

However, it turned out to be something more, it turned into a celebration of a simple, honest man, and his simple, honest love for his family.

Turns out I attach more emotions to my guns than I thought I did.

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.

Eleventh Hour Of The Eleven Day Of The Eleventh Month.

The Day Canada Became A Nation

This poem is not an anti-war poem.

This is a poem to the living, telling us to take up the fight and win it, or else the forfeit the sacrifices that others have made for us (emphasis mine).

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

Urban Grey Man

I see this all the time, especially at our local Wal-Mart. Sum dood wearing a gun-related hat and Mossy Oak t-shirt with a silk screen on it that loudly proclaims his love to all around him for the 2nd amendment. If he’s carrying, he’s carrying so well that he’s not printing, and he walks up to the sporting goods counter and talks about his shooting exploits to everyone there.

… and then buys one 50 round box of .40 or .45 (Never 9mm. Never, ever 9mm.).

Meanwhile, lil’ ol’ me in my polo shirt and khakis smiles quietly, noticing that a good portion of the gun-related books for sale at the gun counter were authored by friends of mine…

Show Us Your SHOT.

SHOT Show Registration

After a two year hiatus, I’m headed back out to SHOT in January. This time, however, three things will be different.

  1. No new media meet up. There just won’t be time for me because…
  2. I’m doing something cool with the NRA re: SHOT. More on that later. And also…
  3. For the first time ever, I bought a ticket to the State Of The Industry event on Tuesday night.

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?

The Rod And Thy Staff, They Comfort Me. And The 9mm On My Hip Helps As Well.

My friend John waits 72 hours to comment on a mass shooting, and that’s a good idea.

I’m not that patient. I can only wait 24 hours.

Here’s what we know about the massacre in a Baptist church in Sutherland, Texas.

I do not suffer from the illusion that those who do not respect the law of God (and man) will somehow respect God’s sanctuary and not commit a horror inside the church. I’ve carried my CCW gun into church ever since I got my permit and my pistol, and if you can carry, you should, too.

Greg Ellifritz has some thoughts on staying safe inside the sanctuary, so does Ed Head. Read them both, and this weekend, when you go to church, praise the Lord.

And pass the ammunition.