Who Are You, And Why Do You Want To Buy A Gun Today?

Do a Google Image Search for “Gun shop'” and look at the photos of the inside of the stores.

All of them will show a store with a guns in cases and guns on walls.

None of those interior photos will give you any clue which gun is better for you.

When was the last time you walked into a gun store that was set up to belp your decision-making process, rather than overwhelm you gun after gun after gun? Row after row of compact semi-automatics that give no clue as to what their eventual function might be isn’t a sign of a lot of inventory, it’s a highway to analysis paralysis for the average retail shopper.

The point of a gun store isn’t to have a lot of guns. The point of a gun store is to SELL a lot of guns.

So do so many gun stores make it hard for you to decide which gun you want to buy?

It’s Hard Being a Pimp These Days.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about the current state of gun journalism, and a few thoughts have popped into mind that may or may not make sense to you.

In the past, I’ve bemoaned the lack of metrics when it comes to guns and compared gun reviews to car reviews. That’s not fair, though, because due to their size and how they operate, a car is MUCH less affected by who’s behind the wheel than a gun is affected by who’s on the trigger.

A better comparison might be cameras, something which I have more than a passing familiarity with.

Strictly speaking, camera reviews suck. Always have, always will. Yes, they can compare signal to noise ratios and megapixels until the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is, if you gave me a Nikon D5 and gave Greg Heisler an iPhone, his pictures are going to be better than mine. They just will. That’s why he’s Gregory Heisler, and I’m not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My favorite camera when I was a shooter (clickclick) wasn’t the FM2 or the Hassie or the Sinar 4×5, it was a small, light (relatively) cheap Olympus XA rangefinder. I liked that camera because it was ALWAYS with me, and I got some great shots with when they popped up in front of me. Now, did I try to shoot tabletop still lifes or corporate portraits with it? Of course not, but that’s when the Sinar and Hasseblads (respectively) would come into play. The XA, though, just *shines* in my favorite kind of work, informal environmental portraiture, so that’s why I carried it for so long.

None of my decisions to buy gear for either myself or the studio was guided in any way by a camera review in a photo magazine. To be honest, most photographers know diddly-squat about cameras as a whole: I think I cracked open “Popular Photography” maybe once or twice in the dozen years I was a shooter (clickclick), but I read every issue of PDN and Outdoor Photography (because I’ve always been MAD for Galen Rowell‘s work). My experience as a shooter was hardly unique. Most of the day in, day out photographers I know have no clue about the camera market as a whole. They do, however, know the cameras they use everyday like the back of their hand.

How this applies to the gun journalism world should be easy for you to figure out.

How DARE You Show Up To MY Class With A Gun Like That!

Thinking more about this post, whether we like to admit it or not, we are in a golden age of guns. With a very few notable exceptions (coughcoughR51coughcough) we expect our guns to work correctly with most types of ammunition right out of the box, and guess what, they do. This is true of Taurus, Glock, Kimber, you name it. Now, do all of those guns handle long stretches of high round count shooting equally well, like at a training class?

No.

But guess what, that doesn’t make those guns “bad guns,”, it makes them bad guns to take to a class, but not a bad gun to carry on your person.

Right now, a significant portion of the firearms community is saying to themselves, “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE TWO, BECAUSE MY TRAINING IS WHAT YOU NEED SO YOU DON’T GET KILLED ON DA STREETZ TOMORROW (and twice on Sunday)!!! YOU NEED THE GUN THAT I HAVE PERSONALLY DECREED AS THE ÜBER-WAFFEN (or similar) IN ORDER TO KEEP YOU SAFE!!!! IF YOU DON’T DO THAT, YOU’RE NOT ‘SERIOUS’ ABOUT YOUR TRAINING AND I DON’T WANT YOU IN MY CLASS!!!!”.

And chances are, the gun that those trainers are saying is the best (and only) choice for you is a compact, striker-fired 9mm double stack handgun. They’re good guns. I recommend them a lot. Those guns work GREAT on a training range and they’re really good off the range as well. But are they the only viable self-defense pistols out there? Of course not.

Which person is more serious about self-defense, the person who carries a Glock 19 in an AIWB holster to the training range, but then carries nothing with him on a day-in, day-out basis, or the person who has a compact .380 (or better) on him every waking moment? We tell people that “A .22 on you is better than a .45 in the truck” (or some variant thereof) and then we insist that people bring that .45 with them to class, rather than provide training opportunities for the .22 they have with them.

And then we wonder why no one wants to get training beyond what’s required to get their CCW.

Confidence. It’s What You REALLY Carry.

“If it isn’t on you when you need to fight, it ain’t your primary.”

– Tim Chandler.

I find no end of amusement in those who say, “YOU SHOULDN’T USE METRICS IN TRAINING BECAUSE FAILING A TEST DOESN’T IMPROVE A STUDENT’S CONFIDENCE !!1!” and then turn around and say “YOU STUDENTS SHOULD NOT USE THE GUNS YOU ACTUALLY CARRY EVERYDAY WHEN YOU COME TO MY CLASS!!!1! YOU NEED TO BUY A GLOCK 19 AND A KYDEX OWB HOLSTER RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL BE KILLED ON DA STREETZ TOMORROW!!!1!”

Well, which is? If we are so concerned with people’s confidence in their abilities, why do we mock them when they show up to class with perfectly adequate guns like a Sig P238 or a S&W SD9VE instead of an FDE Glock? Are those *bad* guns? No, they’re not. Are they *great* guns?

Well, they’re not made by CZ, so no.

I kid, I jest. Mostly. But they are good enough guns.

I’m not sure how many trainers out there are aware that it is possible, VERY possible to take a class with a gun that isn’t a 1911 or a striker-fired, double-stack polymer 9mm.

I’m not sure how many trainers understand how useful a pistol that slips into your pocket and stays out of the way really is, and I’m certain that most trainers don’t understand how asking new gun owners to lug around a Glock 19 rather than something smaller is a big barrier to new gun owners.

You want to increase the confidence of new gun owners? Give them confidence in their ability to chose a firearm that fits THEIR lifestyle, rather than telling them which gun fits your lifestyle best.

 

Bowling Against Columbine.

Stay-in-Lane-

Thinking a bit more about this post, have you been inside a bowling alley recently? The best of them are something like the Headpinz bowling alleys, which combine elements of a Dave & Busters into the current “midnight bowling” craze to produce something that’s closer to P.Diddy than it is to Earl Anthony. The worst of them? The worst are stuck in 1963, without the cool “Mad Men” retro vibe.

Think about how that applies to gun ranges. There are some good indoor ranges near me, and there are some really, really bad indoor ranges near me, but they all have one thing in common: Aside from the occasional zombie shoot or the late, great Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun, no one, and I mean NO ONE is trying to make range experience itself into something that is FUN, rather than something like taking an loud algebra exam.

Why not?

Gun nuts like myself (and most of the people reading this post) need no excuse to go the range beyond a) we have ammo and b) we want to shoot it. The act of going to the range and shooting a gun is all the amusement we need.

That’s nice for us, but just as outdoor ranges are competing against kayak rentals and driving ranges and other forms of outdoor amusement, indoor ranges are competing against other forms of INDOOR amusement such as bowling alleys, movies, etc., and from a quality-of-experience perspective, going to an indoor range ranks right up there with getting your tires rotated or parent-teacher night at the local middle school.

As they are set up now, most indoor ranges (in fact, shooting ranges in general) suck the amusement out of shooting a gun, not create more amusement beyond what comes from actually shooting a gun.

If we want Gun Culture 2.0 to thrive in a post-scarcity world, that has GOT to change.

 

The Possible First, Then The Unlikely.

I have two young sons. They tend to do stupid things. They have a better chance of getting hurt and needing first aid than my chance of needing a spare magazine for my concealed carry pistol of choice. Therefore, do I carry bandaids and other such things with me pretty much all the time?

You bet I do.

Because of my lifestyle, the odds of me needing to use a Bandaid are pretty good. The odds of me getting into a gunfight and needing  to use a spare mag are incredibly small. The stakes, though… the stakes are incredibly mortal.

Waiting For Godot. And the HPA.

I like what SilencerCo is doing here.

Purchase one of our silencers through a SilencerCo Dealer any time between February 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017 then click the link below to register your product and upload your proof of purchase.

GET THIS
You’ll then receive a custom code via email within 72 hours that’s good for up to $200 worth of free gear on SilencerCo’s web store – accessories, merchandise – you name it.

I’m actually shopping around for my first can right now, and this is a tempting deal because there are things like silencer covers, QD mounts, etc, that quickly drive up the price of what is already an expensive add-on for your gun.

SilencerCo is adapting to the market as the market changes. Cool.

Après Le Déluge, Nous Sommes.

“After the flood, there is us.”

So what happens now, after the levee has broken? Well, aside from all the things that I mentioned before, the companies that will thrive in the future are the ones who can best answer this one, simple question:

“Okay, I just bought a gun. Now what?”

Sounds easy, right? The fact of the matter is, though, that Gun Culture 2.0 has grown up and matured without having to answer that question. For just short of ten years now, the only reason needed to buy a gun was “It’s a gun, and I should buy it now, because I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy one in the future.”

Imagine what’s happening in California right now, writ large. That’s what we were afraid of, and that’s what drove gun sales. That’s not happening for the foreseeable future, and now we’re in a new phase of gun ownership in America, where gun owners are buying guns for positive reasons, not negative ones.

This is a challenge for Gun Culture 2.0 because it’s driven, by a large part, by negative outcomes. Gun Culture 1.0 was about positive outcomes: You take a walk in the woods, you see Bambi, and you provide meat for your family and a trophy for wall by blasting him into oblivion. Everyone was happy with the outcome (except Bambi, that is).

This is not true for today’s gun owner, because we are preparing for the very, very bad day when we may need to use lethal force to protect a life that is dear to us. It’s not something we enjoy thinking about, but it is satisfying knowing we’re ready. Is it fun, though? No, and the company that is most-able to bring the fun into Gun Culture 2.0 is the one that will grow the most in today’s new gun world.

Harley was successful because they transitioned a negative brand image (biker thug) into a postive brand image (Open road! Freedom!). No one (yet) is working on transitioning from a negative outcome (killed on da streetz) to a positive outcome.

Heck, I’m not sure we KNOW what a positve outcome even is yet.

 

Oh, and what’s up with the title? Well, to borrow a line from the third-greatest Christmas movie ever made*, it’s one of the benefits of a classical education.


* Ronin is #1 (yes, it’s a Christmas movie) and Lethal Weapon is #2.

No One Expects The Gunsite Inquisition

Because I hate wasting good stuff on an away game.

“Our chief weapon is the 1911. And the color code. Our two chief weapons are the 1911 and the color code and the Weaver Stance. Our THREE chief weapons are the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance and the surprise trigger break. AMONGST OUR WEAPONRY are such diverse elements as the 1911, the color code, the Weaver Stance, the surprise trigger break and nice decals of a raven on our trucks.

Oh bugger. I’ll come in again.” *

Explainer:

* I should probably state for the record that I absolutely and unequivocally believe that Gunsite is one of the best places in the world to learn how to use a pistol. However, if you can’t laugh at the people on your side, you’re going to be bloody useless at laughing at the people on the other side of your cause.

Five Years Later, People Are Catching On.

Me, writing in December 2011:

I keep wondering why there aren’t more pistol-caliber short guns out there on the market.

There’s the Hi-Point which suffers from being a Hi-Point, there’s the Kel-Tec Sub2000 which suffers from being a Kel-Tec and also cannot be found for purchase within the lower 48. There’s the Taurus CT G2 which has yet to hit our shores, the Beretta CX4 Storm (which costs about the same as a dedicated 9mm AR), and then there’s all manner of lever action guns in all manner of calibers.

The Ruger LCP and LC9 proved that there was a market for upgraded and “name-brand” versions of guns inspired by Kel-Tec guns, and with the utter unavailiability of the Sub-2000 and the lack of competion in the carbine marketspace, maybe it’s time for Ruger to take a another look at the Ruger Police Carbine and update it for the 21st century with some rails and a folding stock.

And now 2017 is apparently the Year Of The Pistol Caliber Carbine.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. The pistol caliber carbine is pretty much a civilian version of a Personal Defense Weapon, or older still, the M1 Carbine. It’s the gun you grab when you need more than a pistol but don’t want / can’t use an AR-15 or bigger gun. If it works for police and the military, it should work for me, too, right?