We Have Met The Enemy, And They Is Us.

So there was a dust-up over the weekend between a popular online forum devoted to practical shooting and a professional firearms marketer resulting in the forum getting deleted and a bumper crop of butthurt.

And professional practical shooters wonder why they’re not getting the same money that professional bass fishermen do.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: The VAST majority of sponsored shooters are lousy spokespeople for their sponsors. The VAST majority of them think they’re getting paid to wear a jersey at a match, and that’s it, which shows off the sponsor’s products at a location uniquely unsuitable to buy the sponsor’s product, and that’s all that’s required of them in return for the sponsor’s support.

This is, of course, insane.

Aside from the fact that tieing the ROI of wearing a jersey to a match is pretty much impossible: All that wearing a shirt does is show off the sponsor’s product to a very select, very “inside baseball” clientele. This is ok if you’re selling, say, speed loaders or holsters for Open class, but if you want to sell CCW gear or self-defense ammo, it’s insane.

The bottom line is, if your sponsored shooter can’t regularly write a blog post, do a YouTube video or post to Instagram, their audience is limited to people like them, and your money is being spent preaching to the choir. Get a shooter that can talk about your product to people outside of a shooting match, and you’ll get customers, not an ego boost.

Update: I should say that I don’t think EITHER party in this matter has the high ground. Part of being a marketing professional in today’s world is understanding what the Streisand Effect is and how it may affect your clients, and part of being a professional shooter is acting professional, at a match or elsewhere.

When guns are outlawed…

charlie-hebdo-je-suis-ahmed_5183387

… you know the rest.

The Telegraph is shocked, SHOCKED to find out that people who want to commit mass murder are also willing to break a few laws about who can own guns and rocket launchers and the like.

Last week it was confirmed by Belgian police that the weapons used in the Paris attacks had been purchased in Brussels and Charleroi by Coulibaly, who had travelled to the country expressly to buy the Kalashnikovs, Skorpion, Tokarev and rocket launcher.

Why, it’s almost as if criminals are, by definition, law-breakers, or something.

Belgium has some pretty tough gun laws: You need a permit to own a gun, any gun, and “semi-automatic assault rifles” are banned, yet somehow, the Islamic terrorists who committed mass murder at Charlie Hebdo managed to get their hands on full-auto AK’s and Scorpion machine pistols and even an RPG-7 variant.

And in a break with how things are done in the U.S., it wasn’t Belgium’s equivalent of the BATFE who gave them their weapons.

WYSIWYS.

Tunnel vision

“What you see is what you’re going to shoot.”

Steve Anderson.

While that quote is meant to apply to sight picture and accuracy at a match, it can also apply to the “tactical” world as well. Is knowing FOR CERTAIN that your sights were on target a good thing in a defensive shooting situation, especially if you (God forbid) have to go to trial?

I’d say so.

So tell me again how competition shooting is going to get you killed on the streets.

SHOT Shot 2015 Is A Wrap.

And I’m utterly and completely spent. The difference between going to SHOT to write about SHOT and going to SHOT to do business is the difference between watching a marathon and being in a marathon.

Some highlights.

Sig Sauer Range Day was definitely a highlight, and shooting SBR versions of the MPX and 716 7.62mm were definitely highlights. Also, the more I shoot the P320, the more I like it, and I liked it a LOT when it was rolled out last year.

While we’re on SIG, they are definitely on a roll right now. While Glock introduced red-dot slides, Springfield introduced the XDM-2 and Smith and Wesson introduced, um, errr, well, not really anything, SIG has moved on to optics, with top-notch glass created by team members originally from Leupold and silencers created by the mad geniuses who built everything of interest at AAC.

Because silencers are cool.

Bits and pieces of other cool things:

A Ceratoked 1911. I don’t know whether to load ammo into this, or preflight it for takeoff.

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The Fostech Origin 12. Maybe the ultimate in Saiga-style shotguns. Want one SO badly.

fostech

Speaking of nice things, Korth firearms impressed everyone with their Sky Marshall revolver (and it is VERY impressive), but their 1911’s are INSANE. From the frame down, they’re a 1911, but the slide and barrel use an HK roller-locking system to create a gun like none other.

korth

And now on to something not quite as nice. The Taurus Curve is not all that bad: There is a “peep sight” in the crosshairs that does allow you something like a sight picture, and the trigger is the best of any striker/DAO .380 I’ve tried. I wouldn’t carry one without a holster, but it stacks up well against the LCP, P3AT and other such guns.

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And to fly RAPIDLY down to bottom of the barrel, oh Sarsilmaz, you so funny. Last year, it was designing a gun for six-fingered women, and this year, well, see for yourself.

Fail

Marketing guns to women: You’re doing it wrong.

A Gunblogger’s Best Friend.

Larry Weeks

Larry Weeks has been a tireless champion of the Gunblogging world, and he finally had the good sense to retire from the hectic world of retail firearms sales and take up the serene, contemplative sport of auto racing.

No, really.

Those of us who do this ’cause we like it owe him a big debt of gratitude. He was one of the first people in the big boys to take us seriously, and he leaves behind some mighty big shoes to fill.

Good luck, Larry, and may all the flags you see be checkered black and white.

 

The Fundamentals Never Go Out Of Style

Had a fun little night-time training session with Jeff and Robyn from Step By Step Training last week. I learned a lot about my gear (memo to self: Get night sights for the Shield, STAT!), and talked with them about a bit about what drives their passions.

Me? I’m a gamer, with trainer tendencies. I’m concerned about my personal protection, but I’ve decided my path to mastery (or at least not-suckery) goes through learning to shoot for shoot’s sake.

An explanation.

Going back and looking at that match video from earlier this month, nothing there, by itself, is “tactically unsound”. Most (if not all) of what we can “tactical training” has to do with NOT shooting a gun. Getting a smooth draw, quick reload and fast, accurate hits is something at applies to training range and pistol match alike.

So why some people think that “competition will get you killed on the streets” is something I’ll never know.

A Backup Plan for your Backup Plan, Pt. 2

One thing that Charlie Hebdo, Mumbai, and even the Boston bombing attacks have in common is that they all took place at or near a place of business. Unless you’re out in the woods 100 miles away from civilization, you’re near a business, and the boonies aren’t where urban terrorists are going to attack. That means there’s a 1/3 chance (or greater) that if (God Forbid) you suffer the effects of an urban terrorist attack, it’ll be at, near or on your way to your place of work. Somebody else isn’t going help you or protect your place of business if disaster strikes, you are.

Let’s start this off by acknowledging the reality that terrorists will control when and where they will strike (that’s why they’re called “terrorists” and not “corpses”). We may notice the backpack with the pressure cooker bomb in it, or we may spot the buttstock of the AK under the jacket and take appropriate measures, but in general, we are not “in the know” about the latest intelligence of their movements. When or if it happens, it will be a complete and utter surprise to us.

Hence the use of the word “terror” to describe their actions.

Since chances are we won’t stop the threat before it happens, we have two possible responses: Active Reaction, or stopping the threat before more damage is done, and Reactive Reaction, or mitigating the effects of the terrorist’s actions.

Active Reaction

This is 90% of what you’ll go through in an active shooter drill. Situational awareness. Long-range pistol work. Trunk guns. A lot of stuff has been written about this topic elsewhere, and I have nothing new to add to the conversation besides carry your frickin’ guns, people, so let’s move on.

Reactive Reaction

This, however, is a topic on which I’m not seeing people talk about, at least when it comes to an active shooter/terrorism situation. There is plenty of information out there on how to react to a natural disaster and mitigate the effects of such things on your life, but strangely, there’s almost nothing out there about dealing with the after-effects of a mass casualty event. Maybe it’s because we’re comfortable with the idea that we can’t control the weather, but uncomfortable with the idea we can’t control another person’s actions.

By carrying a gun on our person, we’ve decided we’re going to be our own first responder. However, there is more than just one kind of first responder.

What would have saved more lives on the scene at the Boston bombing: A Glock, or Quikclot?  Getting back to the topic of staying safe at work, if your work freaks out about guns, leave them behind. Make sure, though, you have a well-stocked first aid kit at your desk, along with water, a flashlight and a multitool. No one will freak out about having those things at your desk, if anything, it’ll help you do your job better. I can’t tell you the amount of times that a flashlight has helped me chase down a stray cable under my desk, and the same multitool that has that pointy-stabby blade on it is just dandy for tightening monitor cables. Being known as the unofficial handyman is not a bad thing when it comes time for the boss to evaluate your performance.

Optics Planet Messenger Bag

I’ve carried a mid-sized man purse messenger bag with me into work for a few months now, and it has the stuff in it I need to deal with the effects of a gunshot wound or other severe injury, plus enough other stuff to stay semi-comfortable on my own for 24 hours, no matter what. The whole kit is listed out over at the Smart Suburban Survival Kit blog, but some highlights include the aforementioned multitool, a CAT tourniquet, a fixed blade knife (ok, that might not be a good thing for some offices) and a good flashlight with spare batteries.

Most important, though, is something you probably already have if you’re reading this, and that is mindset. To quote Tam’s Zen preparedness koan,

“Upon hearing the story of the bandit in the village, the student went to the Master:

‘Master, it saddens me that this evildoer is preying on the helpless. I have listened to and practiced all that you have taught me to prepare myself; I truly believe in my heart that I can defeat this bandit.

Everywhere I go on my daily rounds, I keep an eye out for him, walking upright, staying alert and looking around, studying the people around me, and yet the monster never shows himself, never chooses me, but preys on the defenseless instead. Why, Master?’

The Master only smiled.

And the student was enlightened.”

Stay safe. Have fun.