Well This Is Nothing But Good News.

The ATF has updated their NFA processes to use a technology first pioneered in the early 60’s!

What will they think of next?

Buy a silencer, any silencer from anywhere (or any NFA item):

When it comes time for your local dealer to transfer your NFA item(s) to you or your legal entity, they head over to one of the three websites setup to generate barcode enabled NFA forms: available now at Silencer Shop and coming soon to Dead Air Armament, GEMTECH and silencer wholesalers. There are no costs or fees for either the consumer or the dealer.

The bad news is, this process got put into place RIGHT before I bought my can, so I’m going to have to tough it out and wait (and wait) for it to be processed by Special Agent Bartleby until I can get ahold of it.

But I am planning on buying more cans in the future, and they’ll be processed using this new format. This will work until the Hearing Protection Act passes and we don’t need to do this silly song and dance anymore.

And Another Shoe Drops.

Ruger’s Q2 2017 sales were BRUTAL.

That'll leave a mark.

Meh, it’s not like I saw this coming, or something. There are a LOT of people out there in the firearms business who bet the wrong way on the 2016 election, to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. Now they’re sitting on a mountain of inventory and an even larger mountain of accounts payable. Now the distributor channels are stuffed to the gills, and they’re dumping product into discount houses, shafting the local gun store.

Nobody ever said that surviving the flood was going to be easy.

Update: Remington is getting clobbered, too. Part of that is the “meh” quality of their recent offerings of late (R9, R51) and part of that is because everyone’s getting pasted these days. But an almost 1/4 sales drop? Yeouch.

Three Books Every Firearms Trainer SHOULD read…

Bad email… but most won’t.

Why? Because they’re too busy trying to be a good gunslinger, not a good businessman.

A quick story.

The email at the right here is a perfect example of why I still try to help out the gun industry with marketing. This is an email from Bass Pro Shops, one of the biggest names in firearms retail, and it sucks. Someone in their marketing department decided that making everything look pretty was more important than getting the message across, so they designed what I assume is a pretty-looking .jpg image that had all their content on it, dropped that image into a basic .html message, and voila, out it goes, and the money comes POURING in.

Except, of course, that images in an email are turned of by default in most email clients these days. This means people will have to REALLY want to read your message and turn images on for you before they have a clue what you’re trying to say. Also (and even worse), emails that are nothing but an image get clobbered by spam filters, which means chances are that email never got to their inbox in the first place, and if it did, because it was nothing but an image, it’s going to hurt the deliverability of your emails for months to come.

So what three books should a firearms trainer read to help avoid a rookie mistake like this?

Seth Godin: Permission Marketing

Modern-day marketing begins with this book. Written when email marketing was in its’ infancy, it’s the book that secured Seth’s position as the internet’s leading marketing guru.

The Non-Designer’s Web Book

No, we can’t erase bad design from the web altogether, but we can make it less frequent. This book is easy to read and helps even the most left-brained of nerds get in touch with their inner Paul Rand.

The Yahoo! Style Guide

Avoid the ongoing AP vs. Chicago style gang war, and instead, concentrate on writing for your audience. Learn what an upside-down pyramid is, and why it’s so important to reading comprehension. This is a great book on how to keep your blog posts short, and keep your audiences coming back.

A few evenings spent with these books will help you gain more students than a month spent on learning how to do a faster tactical reload.

I’m Sucky And I Know It.

45 out of 50. Not too shabby.

Why is the Dot Torture drill so beloved of “serious” (aka “hobbyist”) pistol owners, even though we suck at it so much?

We do it because shooting a Dot Torture drill is a sign that you’re willing to say that “Rather than do the things that I’m good at all day long and tell myself I’m a good shot, I am willing to do a drill that I suck at in order to learn where my weaknesses are.”

To borrow from Tam’s excellent article from earlier this month, THAT’S the difference between a hobbyist and everyone else. A “hobbyist” understands they’re not good at something, and has the willpower, means and lack of ego to get better at it. Most gun owners couldn’t tell you what’s wrong with how they shoot a gun, and they have little desire to improve.

And that’s actually really, really ok, because they are having fun while they shoot, because they shoot for fun. The thing is, though, I don’t really shoot for fun all that much anymore. Pretty much every time I go out to a range now, it’s to shoot a match or test a gun or work on a skill. I’m a hobbyist. It’s what I do.

Now, can we get people to work on a skill while preserving the fun?

Do we even want to?

Formula Firearms

It’s been over a year since I bought a myself a hot hatch, and I really want to learn to drive it better. I know that some kind of auto racing is going to help me with deal with rapid decision making under stress while I’m behind the wheel, and it will help me see a clear course of action while dealing with all the complex inputs that come with driving a car in traffic.

So naturally, the best way for me to do this is is to ditch my car because it’s not good enough and spend a bunch of money on a Rousch Mustang with racing slicks and join the SCCA, right?

Because everyone knows that my lowly family grocery-getter isn’t a serious car for dedicated, hard-core hobbyists. Boy, did I make a mistake buying a car that fit my budget and my needs outside of racing. I shoulda saved up my money and bought something from a dedicated racing brand that the serious gear heads around me approved of, rather than a four-door hatchback from a mass-market manufacturer that also makes delivery trucks and minivans. I should embrace the race car lifestyle and change my life to fit my car, rather than figure out which car fits best with my family and with my desire to drive fast.

What was I thinking?

It’s obvious that I will never, EVER be a serious driver if I don’t get a hardcore sports car. I’m pitiful. I should resign myself to this fact just leave the car in the garage all day. Clearly, driving fast is NOT for me.

Fortunately for me, that’s not what actually happens in the car world. There are events that are set up to let people like me who want to get better learn how to do high-performance driving without emptying our wallets, and I’ll probably go to one within the year, because race car.

Think that this was allegory for getting new gun owners out to a competition or a training class?

You’re right, it was.

The Whys and Wherefores.

Poking around the internet the last month, I ran into a video where a gentlemen proudly showed off his “bug out bag”, which consisted of a trauma kit (good), a couple of flashlights (good), a tactical tomahawk (umm, ok), an AR-15 (sure, why not?) and big stack of loaded AR mags.

And that was it.

Question: What scenario(s) was he imagining where hundreds and hundred of rounds of ammo were going to be more important than rain gear or a first aid kit? Where is the tool kit? Where is the compass, map and signaling device? Heck, where is the water storage and/or filtration? Why is he preparing for a trip to Mosul instead of a nasty three-day storm?

Needless to say, I have a little bit different take on this than his, and my views are definitely not as fixated on firearms as his views are (although, yes, I do have a long gun with me when I leave the house).

My priorities for stocking a Bug Out Bag / Bug in Bag / Get Home Bag are pretty simple: What would I need if I had to go camping for three days or seven days or even just one day? All the gear that answers those questions should be focused on the Outdoor Survival Rule Of Threes:

  • You can survive three minutes without oxygen (i.e. don’t drown)
  • You can survive three hours without shelter in harsh weather
  • You can survive three days without water
  • You can survive three weeks without food

Note that “300 rounds of ammo” is not one of the rules of three.

Now, do we need to worry about “social disruption” (aka a riot) being one of the situations where an emergency kit of some kind would common in handy? Yep. Do we need worry about that to the exclusion of all other possibilities, like inclement weather, an earthquake, etc?

Nope.

It’s very easy to apply the gun solution to every possible problem, but a rifle is pretty much useless if it’s a hurricane that’s threatening your well-being, not a rioting mob.

Nothing Is Over Until WE Decide It Is!!!!

It’s interesting that the reaction to this post assumed that I was talking about giving up the fight for gun rights.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The fight MUST go on, but the tactics must change to fit the times.

We are winning. 42% of Americans say they own guns, and over half of the people who don’t own guns say they could see themselves owning a gun in the future.

That’s two-thirds of America who either own guns or want to own guns.

That’s winning.

Fear is not a motivator for the majority. Fear is what the minority uses to close ranks and hold ground.

We’re not losing ground anymore. We are the majority now. Let’s act like it.

Your Own Personal Gaston.

On a recent episode of Mike Seeklander’s podcast, Gabe Suarez said, in response to some rather fierce criticism he recently received online, that some people “treat this stuff (firearms training) as if it was some kind of religion.”.

But here’s the kicker: Firearms training actually IS a religion.

At least it should be.

Firearms trainers are telling their students how to save their lives from the evil people around us, and they also tell people how to change their lifestyle and live a better, happier life.

Isn’t that what a religion tells you to do? Religions tell people why bad things happen in the world, and how to have a mindset that “delivers us from evil.”

All the great martial arts have an element of religion in them as a way to focus one’s energy and calm the soul. Chi, Zanshin, Eye Of The Tiger, whatever you want to call it, the martial arts understands that, to quote The Bard, all things be ready if our minds be so.

One of the reasons why the martial arts includes this stuff is because history has taught us that people who are motivated by a higher calling tend to do more extraordinary things than those who aren’t, and a gunfight (and fights in general) are (thankfully) an extraordinary event in the lives of the average person.
If concealed carry wants to be a martial art, it’s probably going to need some kind of spiritual/emotional mindset development plan as well, something that goes beyond the Cooper Color Code and hazy talk of “situational awareness.”

We want people to react to extraordinary circumstances. That’s going to require extraordinary motivation.

A religion of CCW isn’t going to save your soul, but it just might save your life.

Bearing Arms Shouldn’t Be A Burden

Gun writer and bon vivant Jenn Jacques was let go from BearingArms.com last week, and from what I understand, the site itself might be going away very soon as well.

Not all that surprising. They won. We have a pro-gun President in the White House, nominally pro-gun Republican majorities in Congress, and the balance of power will be maintained (or improved upon) in the Supreme Court. The future that BearingArms wrote about happened, and now they (along with a host of other gun companies) are not really sure what to do next.

This has happened before. I was a subscriber to WIRED magazine since issue #2, a time when the Internet pretty much consisted of email, USENET and FTP.

The web? The web existed on a server in Illinois, and that was about it. A few years later, when the digital future that WIRED was predicting would happen actually happened, they didn’t know what to do. WIRED morphed into Inc. for the dot-com crowd, then after that bubble burst, it was more about movies and geek culture until finally, today, they’re little more than Vanity Fair for the Silicon Valley crowd.

We haven’t hit that “dot com bubble” yet with gun culture, because since 1994 (or even earlier…) our culture hasn’t been based around expanding our rights and welcoming new people into the fold, it’s been built on fear and defensive warfare that bitterly clings to what few rights we had left.

We’re on the cusp of something truly wonderful here. Let’s not let past fears ruin it.