Welcome to the Party, Pal, Take Two

Me, back in 2014:

… where is the future of the practical shooting: On an expansive outdoor public range with four+ pistol bays, or indoors, after-hours at luxury gun club? So why is there one (COUNT IT!) one major match (two if you count the BUG Gun Nationals) that even acknowledge the existence of indoor ranges?

Rich Grassi, today.

So how do we move people from sterile, holster-banning environments to IDPA/USPSA/Cowboy Action/3-Gun competition among other shooting sports?

Consider also that, while there may be a number of ranges – indoor and outdoor – in your area, perhaps organized competition hasn’t yet moved into your area.

Moving from Arizona, one of the hotbeds of practical shooting, to the becalmed backwaters of SWFL opened up my eyes to the reality that the vast majority of gun owners don’t have access to a bay or range where they can practice drawing from a holster. This is something that needs to change if we want the thousands and thousands of new gun owners out there to become part of gun culture, and not give it up for the next fad that comes around.

Update: I wonder how much of this is due to the differences between Gun Culture 1.0 and Gun Culture 2.0. Gun Culture 1.0 says “The only people who NEED to draw from a holster are cops.” Gun Culture 2.0 asks “What’s ‘need’ got to do with this?”

Training Is Evolving

12803150_598522570295132_1743397542848080088_n

Miguel talks about a CCW trainer who’s worried that his semi-guaranteed source of income is going away now that a permit are semi-optional in Oklahoma. I can dig it: I bet the automobile looked pretty darn scary to the people who built horse carriages, but you know what? Some of them did quite well for themselves when cars became the norm.

Something interesting happened in Arizona after the state went to permit-free concealed carry: The quantity of firearms training went down, but the quality went up. Before the need to ask permission was revoked, there was a fairly good business in Arizona in teaching people the bare minimum needed to instruct CCW, and then encouraging those instructors to take more classes so they can then teach others how to be a CCW instructor.

There’s a word for this, and that word is “Ponzi”.

When Arizona went permit-free, though, that house of NRA Instructor cards collapsed (much to the chagrin of some at the top of the pyramid), and there was a sorting-out period while NRA Instructors figured out what their business model was, now that people no longer needed their services.

Although I no longer live there, I see more and more quality, post-CCW training show up in Arizona. Where once it was Gunsite or, um, errr, we’re now seeing well-known names like Larry Vickers, Instructor Zero and Grant Cunningham put on classes in Phoenix, along with some guy who’s won literally everything there is to win in practical shooting. The training business is alive and well in Arizona and growing even more.

So to the instructors in Oklahoma, West Virginia and other locales who are looking at the ruination of their Concealed Carry licensing business, I say there is hope. Change your thinking and put effort into your business model, and you’ll succeed, because change doesn’t care about your revenue projections, it just changes.

I Support Open Carry but…

If that’s your argument, then you don’t support open carry.

For example, I don’t want to muzzle the morons who spout off in favour of Marx or Mein Kampf, I want to drown out their nonsense with better ideas. I don’t want to ban morons from open-carrying SKS’s at low ready into a Jack-in-the-Box, I want to drown them out with people who carry great pistols in nice leather holsters.

After all, when was the last time you heard someone say that sticking a fork into a toaster was a good idea? Eventually, time and evolution work together to weed out the dumb ideas and the dumb people. Open carry is normal in Arizona because normal people act normally while carrying their firearm in the open.

EVERY firearms owner should support open carry because NOTHING integrates guns into a culture more than the sight of guns on the hips of friends and neighbors whom you trust without guns on their hips. Don’t make the open carry argument about the gun, make it about the people who carry guns.

And I got to be honest, that’s something we’re not good at right now.

When Robs Collide

Well now this is interesting.

Teaser: “Worlds Collide” Video Series with  Rob Leatham for Personal Defense Network, sponsored by Springfield Armory

Rob (Pincus) is not a fan of competition shooting as training for self-defense (to say the least) and Rob (Leatham), is a tremendous competition shooter and is an advocate for good pistol work first, no matter what the environment.

Actually, having trained with both Robs, I think there’ll be more overlap than most people realize. For all of Rob (Pincus)’s complaints about gaming, the pistol work he teaches in his classes is essentially what Brian Enos wrote about lo these many years ago, just applied to defensive training, not competition training.

When Brian was competing alongside Rob (Leatham).

If this means more acceptance of “gamer” techniques inside Rob (Pincus)’s very successful Combat Focus Shooting courses, good. Such a thing can only help the gun community as a whole, because it will help tactical guys make the shot on-demand, and it will open up competitions to a new crop of tactards competitors.

I kid. I jest.

I’m rather curious to see how this turns out. My philosophy, I believe, is more like Rob (Leatham)’s: There is shooting, and then there is everything else. All the form, all the moves, all the posturing in the world means SQUAT if you can’t hit the target on-demand when it’s needed the most.

To be honest, Rob (Pincus)’s comments about “choreographed” stages confuses me a bit. Sure, we make a plan when we go to a stage at a match, and if we’re really good (and lucky) we execute that plan as we imagined it. However, more often then not, we bobble a reload or take twice the rounds we were planning on to clear a plate rack or go ZOOMING past an open port and we have to re-think our plan right quickly, on the fly and in front of our friends.

I’ve shot the Figure-Eight drill that Rob (Pincus) talks about, and it’s a good drill. I’m also, if I might brag a bit, quite good at, because I’m used to things falling apart all around me while I have a gun in my hand, and the Figure Eight is all about making snap adjustments on-demand and shooting in an ever-changing environment. The Figure Eight is a good drill, but it is not preparing us for a chaotic event. Chaos happens when plans fall apart, not when there is no plan to begin with.

Which is exactly what happens on almost every stage of a match. It’s not the perfect execution of a stage plan that makes a competition shooter a better shooter under stress, it’s the ability to recover and execute a half-@ssed plan, on demand and under pressure, that makes competition shooters better shooters under stress. Every match, every stage, every time we step up to the line, SOMETHING changes, and we learn to adapt to the changing situation and come out ahead.

Bonus quote:

“The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis.”

– from a post-war debriefing of a German General

CZ Custom Does Nice Work

These are both Pre-B CZ75’s but the little differences between them, such as the shape of the trigger guard, show how guns can evolve over their lifespan.

image

CZ Custom did the trigger/hammer/sights on both of them, and even installed a new sear on the  gun in the back of the photo for free.

Thanks guys!

Gunsite. With frickin’ lasers*.

Gunsite. WITH FRICKIN' LASERS!

Kudos to Crimson Trace, they know how to run a contest that people actually WANT to win, versus “Give us your email and we’ll send you a bunch of crap we can’t sell.”

The Gunsite Academy 250 Defensive Pistol Course is known as “The Gunsite Experience”. First presented in 1976 by Colonel Jeff Cooper, 250 graduates will be well-grounded in the Modern Technique of the Pistol. The Crimson Trace Gunsite 250 Pistol course covers the complete 250 doctrine, while adding in the practical use of laser sights.

One lucky winner (and guest of their choice) will receive airfare, course registration fees, and lodging. The course is scheduled for October 12-16, 2015.

Enter here, and good luck.

*Sharks and/or ill-tempered sea bass optional.

Five Year Itch

Gunblogging is not dead. Not while I’m still here.

Five years into things, and what have I’ve learned?

I learned I’m a little bit different than most gunbloggers, and indeed most people in the industry. Despite my unnatural affection for everything made by Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod, I really have no attachment to the guns themselves, and rarely write about “OMG! Look at this shiny new blaster that just came out!”. Guns are a means to an end for me, and that end is a safe, secure future for my family.

Period, full stop.

If anything, I identify more with the “Gun Culture 2.0” blog than I do with über-tactical crowd. This isn’t too shocking, as marketing is nothing but applied sociology.

Five… Four… Three…

I finally figured out my Cerakote 3 Gun Color Scheme.

I’m going with something that’s a treasured memory from growing up in Canada, something that reflects my years living in Arizona, and something that echoes my lifelong interest in aviation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!!!!!!

The pistol: Thunderbird One

thunderbird-1-mb-2-2

The shotgun: Thunderbird Two

Thunderbird-2-M3-4

The rifle: Thunderbird Three

thunderbird-3-mb-4

The Thunderbirds was my favorite TV show as a kid, and the Thunderbird is a reoccurring theme in the Phoenix area where I lived for so long, and of course, let’s not forget the USAF Thunderbirds.

Now to get the darn things into production…