We Have A Lot Of Ground To Make Up.

We Have A Lot Of Ground To Make Up.

Speaking of the culture war against guns (and I have been speaking about that a lot recently), these are just some of the gun-centric shows have come and gone from basic cable since I starting writing this blog.

Lock and Load
Top Shot
Sons Of Guns
Guns And Gear
American Guns
Mail Call (NSFW, because Gunny)
Hot Shots
3 Gun Nation
Guntucky

Now, there are very good (legal) reasons why at least two of those shows are off the air, and two more relied on the sparkling personality of R. Lee Ermey for their success, but right now, there are exactly ZERO gun-related shows on basic cable. Yes, there are the great shows about guns and how they’re used on places like the Outdoor Channel, Sportsmans Channel and The Pursuit Channel, but those shows are not growing the culture because the audience for those programs is an audience that is already interested in the outdoor life.

We need more outreach programs that show up on channels which don’t rely on hunting programs for the majority of their content. Something like a gunsmith version of “Forged In Fire” is an obvious idea, but that’s just an opening bid. We need more. Let’s get back to the 2010 numbers, and soon.

How's That Anti-gun Stance Working Out For You, NBC Sports?

How's that anti-gun stance working out for you, NBC Sports?

Just over a year ago, NBC Sports, bowing to the anti-gun hysteria in the wake of tragedy at Sandy Hook, cancelled 3 Gun Nation and all other “firearms-related” programming. Both shows have since found a home on Sportsman’s Channel and are just as entertaining as when they were on NBC. 

NBC replaced those shows with… soccer. And it’s not going well for them.

A single soccer game is already a rarity on American television; a simultaneous broadcast of matches on Oxygen, Syfy, Bravo, E!, and other  channels not associated with sports will certainly be unprecedented. NBCUniversal is clearing its cable slate for the end of the English soccer season as way to trumpet the massive, relatively risky bet it made on the league this year. “People are going to think something crazy’s going on,” says Jon Miller, president of programming at NBC and NBC Sports.

Look, I have nothing against football soccer: I played it in high school and I can tell you it’s nowhere near as boring as most Americans think it is. 

But.

Most Americans don’t share that opinion, and most Americans do own guns. It’s pity that NBC Sports can’t understand that, and give Americans the TV programming they want, not the shows they think they should have.

Update: Mentioned on Cam&Co.? Cool! If you’re new to the site, please check back every day. I post at least once each weekday, and some of the stuff is prettty good, the rest is merely outstanding. 😀

Pod People

Pod people

invasion_of_bodysnatchers-window

I taped an episode of the The Firearms Talk podcast last night, and had a blast chatting with Dr. Football and Viking Dad. The show will be later this week and you’ll be able to hear us talk about bringing in new people into the gun fold, what makes a good firearms trainer and why lasers on guns suck/don’t suck.

Shared Responsibility, Shared Success

Shared Responsibility, Shared Success

Thinking more about yesterday’s post, does anyone really think that someone who grew up with this sort of thing will stop and say, “Why, yes, Mr. Big Government,  I *do* trust you with my personal protection, so I don’t need a gun for myself.” 

Wired: The Shared Economy 

The sharing economy has come on so quickly and powerfully that regulators and economists are still grappling to understand its impact. But one consequence is already clear: Many of these companies have us engaging in behaviors that would have seemed unthinkably foolhardy as recently as five years ago. We are hopping into strangers’ cars (Lyft, Sidecar, Uber), welcoming them into our spare rooms (Airbnb), dropping our dogs off at their houses (DogVacay, Rover), and eating food in their dining rooms (Feastly). We are letting them rent our cars (RelayRides, Getaround), our boats (Boatbound), our houses (HomeAway), and our power tools (Zilok). We are entrusting complete strangers with our most valuable possessions, our personal experiences—and our very lives. In the process, we are entering a new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.

This is not just an economic breakthrough. It is a cultural one, enabled by a sophisticated series of mechanisms, algorithms, and finely calibrated systems of rewards and punishments. It’s a radical next step for the ­person-to-person marketplace pioneered by eBay: a set of digital tools that enable and encourage us to trust our fellow human beings. 

I’d argue that it started before eBay: Ever since the glory days of BBS’s (kids, ask your parents about those), we’ve been deciding what personal info we will and will not share with peers and strangers online, so moving into sharing our possessions is the next logical step.

What happens when people decide to band together and volunteer to protect each other? Was the Zimmerman trail about “stand your ground”, or was it about the concept of an armed neighborhood watch? What if a company decided to “loan” trained, bonded and insured CCW holders out as personal security? Sure, you say, isn’t that what mall cops security guards do right now? 

Yes, in just the same way that Uber does what taxis do, but Uber is flourishing, and the taxi companies are using big government to fight back. What happens when personal and neighborhood security gets the Uber treatment? 

The shared economy started because cost/benefit ratio for taxis, tool rentals and all those other services was not in the consumer’s favor. The .gov may try to ban things like Uber and AirBnB, but as the saying goes, the Internet treats censorship like damage and routes around it. 

(Shared) power to the people, y’all. 

Is It Time For A New Kind Of Gun Review?

Is It Time For A New Kind Of Gun Review?

remington_r51

Grant Cunningham has the courage to notice the elephant in the room: Most gun reviews aren’t all that useful

The reports (on the Remington R51) were almost universally positive: raves were given for the gun’s feel, its accuracy, and even its reliability. It looked, according to the people who were there, like Remington had hit one out of the park.

Come mid-January, at the all-important SHOT Show Media Day at the Range, and the R51 was conspicuous by its absence. It was just a scheduling mix-up, everyone was assured, and when they got to the show proper the next day there were plenty of display models on hand. 

As guns trickled out to the public, a different story about the R51 emerged: the triggers were awful, the slides felt like they were moving in a sandstorm, and worst of all: the guns just didn’t run. People wrote of not being able to shoot a full magazine successfully, and accounts of broken parts and incorrect factory assembly were being pasted all over the ‘net. It was turning out to be a disaster of a new product. 

Grant has three reasons why there was/is a disconnect between what was fondled at GunSite and what showed up on the shelves of your local gun store, and they’re all very good ones.

One of the things I’ve noticed about gun reviews is they tend to exist in a vacuum, as if the gun itself had no purpose for being other than itself. This is true for art, but not so true for guns, because tools where meant to be used, that’s why they’re tools and not sculptures. 

Duh. 

So the question then becomes, what task was this tool designed to assist, and does it succeed in doing so? What is the job that an Remington R51 is designed to help with, and does it succeed in assisting a person to accomplish that task? 

Start with knowing what makes a good hammer, then review hammers and judge a hammer by how well it drives nails. Same is true with guns: I really like NutNFancy’s “Purpose of Use” approach to his reviews, and I’d love to see that idea spread to the traditional media as well. 

Hunting Show 2.0

Hunting Show 2.0

So what would it take for me to add another hunting show to my DVR lineup?

  • Make it about something other than just hunting.
    Do hunters REALLY want me to believe that hunting is just about tramping through the woods and pulling the trigger? 
  • Embrace the localvore, organic lifestyle
    How many of the trendy restaurants these days are about locally-sourced, antibiotic-free, free-range meat? Isn’t fresh game the ultimate expression of that idea? Why is Steve Rinella the only one acknowledging that fact?
  • Assume nothing about your audience
    Don’t just go through the motions of the hunt, take the time to explain *why* you’re doing things.
  • Don’t ignore the beginner
    Let’s make a short list of all the hunting shows out there for the beginning hunter. Ready? Go. 
    There, that was fun, wasn’t it?
  • Make it accessible to city dwellers
    America is a primarily urban nation now, but you’d never know it by watching a hunting show.
  • Teach me something new with each show
    Don’t just show me what you’re doing, tell me *why* you’re doing it, and if you can’t do that, tease it and then move the instruction part on to YouTube.
  • Personalities drive television, but we’re not all hicks
    I love “Dual Survival“, and it’s the living, breathing embodiment of what I’m talking about (minus the hunting). Hunting shows could learn a lot from Cody Lundin, Bear Grylls and Les Stroud about bringing us city folk into the outdoors. 

 Ok, those are my suggestions. What are yours? 

Speaking Of Media Exposure For Practical Shooting…

Speaking of media exposure for practical shooting…

Here’s how it’s done. Kudos to Nils Jonasson and NBC Channel 12 for doing this.

Click image to watch.

Nils Jonasson Talking 3 Gun

It’s easier to spread the word about practical shooting in the mainstream media than at most other times. Right now, with biathlon being in the news, if you’ve won a championship and are a sponsored shooter, you should be RUNNING to your local NBC affiliate. Those stations are always hungry for a local spin on a national story, and for once, it’s not “Spree shooter kills 47 gajillion people, local gun owner reacts.” Don’t wait for the USPSA or IDPA to set this up, do it yourself.

And run a camera of your own during the interview, just in case they decide to get creative with the interview and edit it to make you look like an idiot.

Online Media And SHOT

Online Media and SHOT

I agree with Richard’s observations about New Media and SHOT. Yes, we can be tremendous jerks at times, but are we any worse jerks than the other people at SHOT? From what I’ve seen, yes. And that annoys me to no end. 

An anecdote: My first SHOT, a bunch of gunbloggers were talking with Tori Nokana in the Glock booth when a camera crew from some forum or something literally walked in front of us, interrupted us and demanded that Tori do a short video spot endorsing their website. 

Not something that endears them to other new media people and/or gun companies. 

I think the problem might be with not be with gunblogs themselves but rather the rudeness and antisocial behavior that can pop up in the online world. In the online world, I can call someone a jerk and be insulated from the consequences of doing such. In-person, like at SHOT, if you’re jerk, the whole gun world knows it. Everyday real-world social skills can be in short supply in the virtual world and that reflects poorly on gunblogs. 

I’m not going to do a “Top Ten Ways Gunblogs Should Behave At SHOT Show” post (maybe because I’ve already written that post…), but it’s always better to be remembered for your politeness and professionalism than be notorious for your ego and relentless self-aggrandizement.