Farewell, Goodbye and Amen.

goodbye

This is my last post on Misfires And Light Strikes. 

No, really. 

Unlike the other Arizona gunblogger named Kevin, I’m not quitting gunblogging. Rather, I’m going to be working full-time in the firearms industry, and sonuvagun if my new employers want me to write for them, not myself. 

It’s almost as if they’re paying me to write for them. Oh wait, they are! 

Buy firearms onlineEffective two weeks from yesterday, I will be in charge of the website for Osage County Guns. Design, marketing, social, blogging, you name it, I’ll be doing it. If you’re on Gunbroker, you already know Osage County Guns: They’re one of the top five sellers on that site, and now they want to move out into online firearms sales. They run a tight ship and I’m very honoured to have this chance to work with them. 

It also means that over the course of the next month, I’ll need to move myself and my family out to (wait for it) Osage County, Missouri, so as a result there’ll be no blogging for the next two weeks as we go crazy and/or move. 

So that’s it. After almost four years, three SHOT shows, two co-bloggers and an Instalanche later, I’ve joined the ranks of the professional firearm industry and will do more that talk about the business of guns, I’ll be in the business of guns itself. 

Thank you, each and every one of you who took the time to read $#!% I post here. There are so many people I’d like to thank, but to name just a few…

Jon, for being the force that drove the original ExurbanLeague blog into the stratosphere, Steve for being the technical wiz that made it all happen, Jaci and Robert for being great cobloggers and shootin’ buddies, Allen for his industry savvy, Michael for putting my ugly mug on TV, Ron for moral support, Jay for inspiration, Larry for all the cool stuff, Anthony for putting up with my $#!%, Paul for letting me play with the big boys, Jon and Chris for 1st class training, Alf for being the perfect training partner, Danno and Bridget and Thomas and all the other cool Arizona bloggers for being so cool, Unc for the links, Bitter and Sebastian for the knowledge drops, Tam for the smart and the snark, Robb for inspiring me not to wear pants, Breda for just being herself, all of you readers for stopping by, and most of all, my wife, for her endless love and endless patience. 

And so, so many more.

Please stop by the Osage County Guns blog from time to time and see what I’m up to over there, and don’t be TOO surprised if when/if we begin doing things to help out gunblogging community. (Hint: FREE GUNS). 

And please keep doing what you’re already doing. Write. Vote. Take people to the range. If we start to believe that the war for freedom is over, it will be. 

See you at the range! 

P.S. I need someone to pick up the Dead Goblin Count after I picked up from Jay.
He started it, got hired in the industry, I picked it up from him, got hired in the industry. Now I’m not say that if you take it over, you’ll get a job in the gun biz, but the odds are in your favour… :D 

If you want to pick it up, email me at kevin at exurbanleague.com and I’ll see that the word gets out. 

A Mostly Personal, Partly Tactical Defense of Open Carry

rp_open_carry_bg-349x500.jpgTake a minute to read this story that popped up for the weekend on open carry. No really, go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s pretty good, and based on Chris’s experience, he’s not wrong. 

But what he’s experienced isn’t the whole of the open-carry experience.

I’ve started to open-carry on the weekends when I can and I encourage others to do so whenever and wherever they can as well. I don’t think there’s much daylight in between Chris’s position and mine on this, and I think his suggestions against open carry are valid concerns. 

But. 

Without a long history of open carry laws in our state and people who safely do so, Arizona would not be a “Constitutional Carry” state right now. As I’ve said before, out here, open carry is No Big Deal, so my perspective on the issue might be different from someone living in a state where it IS a big deal. 

Personality, as Jules Winnfield once said, goes a long way, and as a policeman, Chris knows this. A scary cop makes cops seems scary, but a polite, friendly cop makes people trust the cops.

This is even more true with open carry, because someone with a gun on their hip who isn’t a policeman doesn’t have the innate trust factor that a badge provides a cop. If you carry openly (and you want to do so in the future), you must (and I can’t say this strongly enough) must GREATLY exceed the standards of politeness, courtesy and friendliness of your community. This is where Starbucks Appreciation Day got it wrong: No one likes their property to be used for activists of any stripe without their permission, and that’s why Starbucks Appreciation Day backfired on us.

Well that, and lousy coffee. 

With regards to weapon retention and open carry, I agree that it’s MUCH easier to take away a gun you know about than one you don’t know about.

Duh.

I’m not 100% satisfied with my open carry holster of choice, but I need more training on that so I can make a more-informed choice of holster for open carry and find one that looks good and keeps my gun where it should be until I need it before I buy another holster.

When it comes to any tactical disadvantages/advantages of open carry, I’ve never considered open carry to be an effective warning to Bad Guys, because if I’m somewhere that open carry CAN scare away a bad guy, I am in the wrong place. It’s the cop’s job to walk the streets chasing away crime, not mine.

With regards to this paragraph, 

“Watch videos of convenience store robberies; you rarely see a robber watching his back, or securing customers. Most robbers quickly scan their surroundings for cops or other immediate threats, go to the counter, produce the gun, get what they want and run. If I’m regular Joe in the background, I can draw and make my move when I have the element of surprise.” 

If the bad guy sees a cop or other threat like an open-carrier, what do they do? Turn around and walk out. Problem solved. If the robber sees me but doesn’t see the gun (a very likely occurrence), he’s going to be just as surprised by my reaction when open carrying as if I was carrying concealed. Open carry neither improves or detracts from my safety in such situations compared to concealed carry, and I’ve always considered the deterring effect of carrying openly to be greatly overblown.

As I said in the outset, open carry is normal and accepted in Arizona, but without people who regularly carry sans concealment, it wouldn’t be. If we ourselves make carrying a gun openly A Big Deal, it will be A Big Deal to others. If we make it as natural as wearing pants, it’s no big deal for others. If we want to have a choice about how we choose to defend ourselves, we need open carry to become as boring and no-stress in the rest of the country as it is here in Arizona. However, that won’t happen without polite people openly carrying a firearm in a low-key, polite and casual manner. I really like having a choice as to how I carry my gun, and I want others to have that choice as well, because having choices is what freedom is all about.

Lower For Hire

Speaking of that Fealty Arms Lower, I know have an extra one hanging around, or at least I will when my 80% lower FINALLY ships. I’ll use the Fealty lower to build a lower for my long-range gun, and the CavArms lower is now dedicated to my CMMG .22 adapter and my 3 Gun AR is just about where I want it (I do need to swap out the handguard and gas block on it), so I actually don’t actually have a need for another AR-15 right now. 

I know, since when does need have anything to do with guns? 

I’m leaning towards making a 9mm “pistol” out of it via a Sig Arms brace, and a pistol 9mm upper, but what would you suggest? 

Why gun store websites stink.

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The reasons why I go to the neighborhood gun shop and not the big-box “outdoors” stores are twofold: I like and trust the people behind the counter at the neighborhood shop, and the prices at the small shops are competitive with the big guys. Therefore, for me, there’s no reason to wait in line to have someone who was working in fly rods last week try to sell me a gun.

Unfortunately, that charm and counter-side manner is pretty much AWOL on most local gun shop websites. 

Most (if not all) small gun stores either build a poorly-designed site filled with animated gifs of eagles wearing tricorner hats clutching the Constitution (or something equally hokey and amateurish) or they go with a templated site like Gallery of Guns, Outdoor Business Network or National Firearms Dealer Network and lose their charm altogether. 

One way, the gun shop looks like they’re clueless newbies and/or clueless hicks. The other way, they look like every single other gun store out there and have no way to show people why they’re different. 

No matter which direction a shop chooses, all that time and effort into building up a good reputation for in-person customer service and product knowledge goes right out the window when people look up their stores online. There is simply no reason to buy online from most gun shop stores because their sites are either all “personality” with no professionalism or a slick professional template with all the warmth and charm of a proctologist’s examination table. 

Part of the problem is because owning a gun store is kinda like owning a shoe store, but with a LOT more paperwork. If you lose track of a pair of shoes, you lose some profits. If you lose track of a gun, you’re probably out of business. 

So what would a good gun store website look like? 

We’ll talk about that tomorrow. 

Home Is Where The Lockdown Is

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Schools have fire drills.
You have fire drills.
Schools have lockdown drills.

You have… what? 

As part of his first year in Cub Scouts, my first son and I created a home fire drill plan for our house. We sketched out our house and figured out how we were going to get out quickly and safely in case of fire, and then we turned around and created a home invasion response plan focused around our family going to our safe room inside the home rather than leaving the house.

And out of the entire troop, we were the only ones to do do. Our scout troop is smack dab in the middle of a very conservative and gun-friendly area of a conservative and gun-friendly state (which has had more than it’s share of home invasions), and we were the only ones to face the reality that violence was/is a greater possibility than a house fire.

Having a fire drill plan for your home is a great idea, and it’s an accepted part of society that every family should have one. I’ll never know why, then it’s considered “paranoid” to have a plan and the means to deal with physical violence, something that is far more likely to occur.

Why I don’t watch (most) hunting shows.

Here’s 90% of most of the hunting shows on TV in one paragraph: 

“Hi, here’s the sponsor’s product. Watch me as I go to someplace you’ll never go and shoot something you’ll never shoot with the sponsor’s product. Oh, and I’m not going to let you learn anything from what I did other than the sponsor is cool and I’m cool and you’re not. See you next week.”

It always amazes me that every single hunting show on TV assumes that a) I know how to stalk b) I know how to skin and prep a kill c) all my friends know how to do this as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are more organizations devoted to getting women introduced to the shooting sports than there are getting men who’ve never hunted into hunting. What would be perfect for urban professionals like me is something like this, but with testosterone, not estrogen.

That lack of backfilling men into hunting is going to hurt hunting in the long-term. Hunting organizations LOVE to talk about the “father to son tradition of generations of hunters”, but I can’t pass on the tradition of hunting to my sons if I don’t hunt myself.

Ok, hunting organizations, your move.