Shooting Teams Are The New Blue Angels, Part II

Shooting Teams Are The New Blue Angels, Part II

Let’s pick up from where we left off last time.

The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has a YouTube Channel, and the most popular video on that channel has over 1.2 million views.

Not bad, until you realize that the most popular video on Hickok45’s channel has over 10 million views, and the most popular video on Jerry Miculek’s channel (a relative newcomer to YouTube) has over 2 million views, and it’s just him and his family cranking out the content, not the full weight and power of the United States Army.

All is not lost, however. Aside from the world-record stunts and two celebrity tandem jumps, the average views for a Golden Knights YouTube video is less than 40,000 views. However, the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) has more videos of over 40,000 views than the Golden Knights, and their content has consistently higher engagement as well.

So the people want to watch people using firearms on YouTube. The question is, who is going to give them content to watch?

The Guns And Problem

The Guns And problem

Is gunblogging dead?

No.

Is gunblogging changing?

Yes.

At SHOT this year, I hung out in The Bourbon Room with Jay, Tom, Paul and Bob on Monday night. Tales were told, sour mash was consumed, camaraderie ensued.

And all of us started out in the gunblogging/new media world, and now we’re shakers/movers of some kind or another in the larger firearms world.

And we’re not alone. Just like the media world as a whole, gunbloggers are moving away from just new media and into other endeavors. Just that mean gunblogging is dead? No. Does that mean that blogging now needs to compete with all the other new media channels out there? Yes.

There’s also the “guns and” problem. I’ve managed to keep politics and other stuff out of this blog, at the expense of the main political blog (although to be fair, that blog started to wither away since my co-blogger became rich and famous), but the majority of other “gunblogs” out there are guns and politics and food and music and etsy crochet projects.

Ok, not that last one. Yet.

I’m actually ok with this, because it puts guns in context of your life. It’s no big deal, it’s just your gun. Gunblogging reflects this trend, then, that guns are (and should be) a means, not the end.

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? 

How To Create A Gun Store Website That Doesn’t Stink.

How to create a gun store website that doesn’t stink.

gun_shop_AP

To follow up from yesterday… 

A quick word before I go on: I’m not just some dude with a blog, my full-time job is marketing B2B and B2C websites for a nation-wide online marketing agency. I’ve done online marketing the last ten years for companies like Hawaii.com, IBM and Gannett, and I’ve been creating websites since 1994. 

Enough of the humblebragging, on to the solutions for small gun shops. 

  1. Extend your personality online by using social media. 
    If your customers are hanging out in your store because they like what you have to say, say it online. Facebook and blogging aren’t hard to do, but they do need to be done regularly. They’re a conversation, just using a keyboard, not your mouth.
  2. Use a template for what templates do best, create a personalized site for what they do best. 
    Building an e-commerce website to sell guns online from from the ground up is a royal pain, which is why companies like Gallery of Guns and Outdoor Business Network exist. Gun store owners, if you don’t want to spend the multiple thousands of dollars to build a custom online store, go with something like Gallery of Guns (and others), but build a homepage for your store first so people will learn about you and your store before they get lost on somebody else’s store.
  3. Leverage what’s out there already. 
    Yes, you CAN build a website in Wixly or FrontPage, but know, you don’t really want to. Right now, there is no better platform for quickly creating a good-looking website other than WordPress. Five years from now, that might change, but right now, it’s the platform of choice for companies large and small. With a WordPress site and a good template, you’ll probably be far ahead of the your competition in the online world. 
  4. Hire a professional.
    And by “professional” I don’t mean “someone who programs for a living.” Creating the code that lurks underneath a website and creating a website that drives sales are two different things: Yes, your friend who writes C++ 50 hours a week can create you a website, but they probably can’t build you a well-designed attractive site that brings in customers and tells your story in a way that builds customer loyalty. 

Why bother with a website at all? Because according to Price Waterhouse, 83% of people who buy products in a physical store shop for that product online before they buy in a store.

Would you rather sell to the 17%, or the 83%? 

Gun Culture 2.0 As A Way Of Life.

Gun Culture 2.0 as a way of life.

I really enjoy reading the Gun Culture 2.0 blog because it presents a reality check on the new realities of owning guns. There’s a post on the site about Jennifer Dawn Carlson’s analysis of CCW in Detroit that has me wondering, though.

In Carlson’s analysis, the social identity of the citizen-protector: (1) “Redefines lethal shooting, under certain circumstances, as a morally upstanding response to violent threat and an affirmation of one’s love for life,” (2) “Draws on the duty to protect as a historically male-dominated social function,” and (3) “Emphasizes protection as an esteemed form of masculinity.”

Thus, to understand why a growing number of Americans are getting licensed to carry handguns in public (or are exercising their right to open carry without a license where that is allowed) requires getting beyond the gun itself. Carrying a gun is about more than personal self-defense; it is an assertion of “relevance, dominance, and dignity.”

The thing is, she’s not wrong, but she’s not exactly right either. Where I think Ms. Carlson misses out on things is where she chose to do her research: If I lived in Detroit, you are DARN RIGHT I’d have a CCW. Heck, I wouldn’t feel safe there with anything less than a company of Marines.

I digress. 

As I said in a comment on that post…

Interesting idea, and as a Canadian living in the United States who carries both openly and concealed wherever I can, there is a large grain of truth to what Carlson is saying.
However, there is an element of personal empowerment in the new realities of Gun Culture 2.0, and I am not sure that she is giving too much weight to “the decline of society” based on her conducting her research in Detroit. Gun permits are booming *everywhere* they can, and one would hardly say that the economy of Texas or Florida is in decline.
There is a unique boom in personal empowerment going on at a level not seen since the early days of the printing press. We don’t need Walter Cronkite or the NY Times to tell us what the news is, we can chose from hundreds of cable channels or millions of online resources. If I want to read the news in my hometown of Calgary, I can read it on the Herald’s website myself, not hope to see glimpses of it on the news or pay outrageous amounts of money to have the paper shipped to me in the U.S.
With the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage and other trends, people are realizing they need a large state less and less to guide their lives.
So why then, do they think they need to hope there will be an armed representative of the state around when they really, really need one?

So is the decline of society your reason for carrying, or is it the acknowledgement of personal empowerment, or is it something as simple as “Because I can!”?