Julie Golob On The State Of The Shooting Sports.

Julie is a much, much better shooter than I am, and she’s been a professional shooter for quite awhile now.

She also owns more chickens than I do, but that is not relevant to the discussion today.

What is relevant is the talk she gave at the NSSF Industry Summit on what’s going on (and isn’t going on) with the shooting sports. Why aren’t the people who have CCW’s getting out to the range? Where are the disconnects?

The video below is worth your while, as it lays out the problem pretty clearly. I just hope the industry response to this won’t be “I know, let’s create ANOTHER shooting sport that only works in a pistol bay, where you’re standing still, shooting a .22! That’ll get people to bring their carry guns out to the range!”.

Simply put, new gun owners don’t compete (or train) because new gun owners don’t see it as a valuable use of their time and resources, and they choose to spend those items doing something else that they see as more valuable.

Period, full stop.

Want to get more people on the firing line or out to your match? Show them the immediate value of what you’re doing. Make the commitment of time, money and ego as low-key as possible. And for crying out loud, if they want to learn how to shoot the gun they bought for self-defense, don’t stick a .22 in their hand!

Carry Guard Surrenders.

In response to clear feedback surrounding the NRA Carry Guard Level I course announcement, we have modified the required firearm platforms as well as our site language to clearly articulate how firearms will be used in the class.

Bottom line: our decision to not include 1911s and revolvers as primary firearms in our initial Level I course was a mistake, and we appreciate the feedback we have received from the firearms community.

Not a good start, guys, not a good start. However, I think I found the reason why they initially banned 1911’s and revolvers: The suggested round count for their two three day class is… 1,500 rounds.

Yep.

Now if you’re shooting an 8 round 1911 or a 6 round wheelgun, that is gonna suck. You’ll be reloading 2-3 times more often than your friends who are shooting Glock 17’s, and you’ll probably be slowing down the class somewhat.

Reloads aside, shooting one thousand five hundred rounds, in a two three day class for beginners? I can *almost* see that for a pure shooting class like the Vogel class I did a couple of years ago, but 1500 rounds for a two three day beginner’s class that teaches, and I’m quoting here…

“Safety and Weapons Awareness; Pistol Ready Positions; Fundamentals (stance, grip, holster draw, sight alignment, trigger press, recoil management, follow through, economy of motion, self-critique); Treating a Malfunction; Live Fire Progression Drills; Combat and Tactical Reloads; Drawing from a Holster; Low Light/No Light Shooting; Combat Reload while holding a Light; Key Components to Carrying a Concealed Weapon; Carry Location Options (i.e. waist, ankle, purse, etc.); Real World Scenario Based Training (Airsoft scenarios)”

You’re teaching all that, and you also want your beginning students to shoot 1500 rounds in two three days?

Good luck with that.

UPDATE: I got the number of days wrong. It’s a three day class, not a two day class. However, 1500 rounds is still an awfully large amount of ammo to send down-range in that amount of time. The chances of you doing that and teaching your students anything beyond what gunfire sounds like is mighty slim. Heck, to teach the “Low Light/No Light Shooting; Combat Reload while holding a Light” and maintain even a basic level of safety is at least a couple of hours of non-shooting time.

The Well Armed Person.

Spend sometime inside a gun store, and you’ll see people walk in wanting to buy their very first gun. They’re scared because they can see that the world appears to be spinning out of control, and they know that in the end, they themselves will be in charge of keeping themselves and all they hold dear safe from the evil in the world.

But they have no idea where to start. Like so many others, they’re not familiar with the tools or the techniques needed to stay safe in an unsafe world, so they spend literally hours talking with gun store clerks about what’s the best gun for someone like them.

The problem with that is, gun store clerks don’t get paid on the knowledge they provide, they get paid to sell guns and stuff, and spending hours and hours of time educating customers on Glock vs. Ruger or 9mm vs. .40 pumps up the ego of the clerk, but it does little to pump up the sales volume of the store they’re working in.

Enter Carrie Lightfoot, and the enormous success of “The Well Armed Woman”.

The Well Armed Woman has been very, very successful in introducing women to the concepts of defensive shooting in a relaxed, informative environment that tackles gun choice, concealed carry options, and all the other questions that can bamboozle someone who wants to buy their first gun.

But who says that type of firearms education has to be limited to just women? Why not open it up to everyone? A two-hour “Intro to Defensive Firearms” class once a week, starting with a short dog and pony then followed by questions from the audience and maybe a hands-on with a bunch of (unloaded and empty) guns would go a long way to answering all the questions people have about what gun is “best for them”, and get them closer to the point where they’d buy a gun. Toss in a carrot on top, like, oh, a free box of ammo when they buy a gun, and rather than having to do the same spiel over and over and over and over again, you can do it once, for a bunch of people, saving you time AND money.

Role Player.

Thinking more about this post, a big part of the problem, I believe, is that we see ourselves as “firearms instructors”. We teach guns. We teach guns because we like guns. We are hobbyists, and we preach the hobby.

The problem is that’s not what our audience needs in order to be confident with their gun. They don’t need to be confident with a gun inside the gun range, they need to be able to integrate the gun and that confidence into their lifestyle. Knowing that you can drop all your shots into the upper thoracic cavity at ten yards means little if you don’t have your sidearm with you when you need it.

Who teaches you not only a skill, but how to integrate that skill into your life?

A coach does. A coach doesn’t just teach performance, they teach mindset and ethics and confidence.

Everything we want to see in an armed citizenry.

Maybe we need to stop thinking in terms of Albert Einstein, and start thinking in terms of Vince Lombardi.

It’s Supposed To Carry Guard, Not “Carry On”.*

Claude Werner (and others… many, many others) have talked about this little nugget inside the course description for the NRA’s new training regimen.

Wow. Okay. While we’ve not seen what training will emerge from the instructors behind the “Gold Standard” in firearms training, that is not the sort of thing you want to see in a firearms class. A good class is pretty much equipment neutral: Instructors are not there to teach you the most efficient way to use their handgun of choice, they’re there to teach you how to use YOUR handgun and help inform you with the tradeoffs that come from what you’ve decided to carry around with you. By limiting this class to Glocks and Sigs and similar, they are SCREAMING to the world that “No, we don’t know anything beyond what we learned in the military, and that’s all we’re going to teach you.”

Reports that they are mandating Oakleys and shemaghs for all students and are limiting reloads to whatever you wear on a plate carrier rather than on your belt remain unconfirmed at this time.

Good teachers adapt their material to the classroom environment. This is true of my math-teacher wife, and it’s true of firearms instructors as well.


* Explainer for those of you who aren’t into sophisticated, highbrow British humor.