Open Carry That Worked Really, Really Well.

The breathless pearl-clutching in this NPR article is somewhat funny to read, now that the Republican National Convention is over and pretty much nothing happened outside the venues.

With the country reeling after shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., the issue of open carry in Cleveland has become a flashpoint. The head of Cleveland’s largest police union called on Gov. John Kasich to suspend open carry for the duration of convention.

“I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN.

In a news conference today, Mayor Frank Jackson said the idea had been taken up and down the chain of command and Kasich said he did not have the authority to change state law.

That means that people have been walking around downtown Cleveland with their firearms.

Allen said he decided to bring his handgun after the police shootings in Dallas. He said someone intent on carrying out something similar would be dissuaded by the show of force.

Kudos to everyone who was legally carrying a gun in Cleveland last week (open carry or not).

Anyone want to bet that the Democrat convention in Philadelphia (not exactly the most gun-friendly city in the U.S.) won’t have the same calmness surrounding it that the Republicans (and their guns) had?

Sell To The Person Behind The Gun, Not The Gun Itself.

Joshua Clafin of Garrison Everest brings up a great point here: Firearms companies SUCK at personalization of their marketing messages.

Your brand likely has a 5–20 percent chance of selling to a new prospect versus 60–70 percent for an existing consumer. Compound that with the fact that, on average, 55 percent of marketing budgets are spent on new customer acquisition, and it’s no surprise that increasing loyalty among existing users can reduce costs by as much as 10 percent. (Source: 5OneMedia)

Building a mutually beneficial relationship with your customer should be a priority that will increase profits. Why don’t most marketers engage in personalization? I think most don’t know where to start and for others it’s about getting over the hurdle of understanding who their customer is.

He mentions the amazing lack of social media savvy displayed by firearms companies, but there’s a older, more basic (and more profitable) opportunity for personalization that gun companies are choosing to ignore: Personalized, triggered emails.

I signed up for Gander Mountain’s emails awhile ago because I wanted to see how they were using the personalization features built into Bronto, their email system of choice.

Short answer, they weren’t. Bronto allows for different email messages to be sent based on customer actions. If a customer opens up an email and clicks on link, you can adjust the content of future emails based on their actions on your site, allowing for personalization and increased engagement (and more revenue). To test their setup, I signed up with one email account and didn’t do anything with the emails I received, while in another account, I opened emails and clicked away, even buying a few items to see what might happen.

Nothing changed. I got the same emails in both accounts, no matter what my activity was. Look, eBay and a bunch of other companies understand that a tighter relationship with the customer equals more revenue, why can’t the gun industry understand that as well?

Rio Loco.

Just because the hype machine is warming up for what is sure to be one of the biggest debacles in the history of international sport, here’s a look back at my suggestions for bringing “Modern” Pentathlon up to modern times. They probably won’t happen, because the current sentiment of the IOC is more like “What, use sport as a means to prepare for war? Are you mad? That’s not what the Olympics are all about!“.

However, if the cops in Rio DO go on-strike and order breaks down, look for the members of the various shooting and martial arts teams to become THE most popular people in the athlete’s village.

Mind The (Training) Gap

A truly great post on the importance of firearms training by Rob Morse:

Here is a sad and revealing fact.  Most gun owners have not taken any training.  Perhaps that made sense for gun culture 1.0 who grew up using a firearm for hunting.  Maybe it made sense when firearms habits and skills were handed down from generation to generation, but times have changed for most gun owners.  Learning to handle a firearm is critically important for gun culture 2.0 where gun ownership is centered on self-defense.  We don’t want to learn that skill on our own.

As I’ve said before on numerous occasions, there really isn’t a way to train yourself to hunt. Either you do it, or you don’t, and for a city-dweller like me, that means I don’t hunt. I’m not living on a farm, so that means I can’t sit out in a field and shoot gophers and hoping that I win a lottery ticket so I can go off into the woods and blast Bambi to bits seems a little silly, given the fact I can show up at a local USPSA match and shoot, not put in for a tag which allows me to to a range and maybe shoot a match sometime in the future.

Gun Culture 2.0 is “Shall Issue”. Gun Culture 1.0 is “May Issue”. There are no real barriers to shooting a match or taking a class other than the ones we create.

Just do it.

Because I’m bad. I’m nation-wide.

One of the disappointments from my time at Lotus Gunworks was not being able to work on a chain-wide marketing strategy as was originally planned*. They have three stores, two with ranges and were, I believed, in a great position to expand beyond that into a nation-wide brand of high-end gun stores and, more importantly, gun ranges.

For a variety of reasons, that didn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. Pincus is coast-to-coast, and GunSite has FINALLY left Paulden, but there has yet to be anyone who has created a nation-wide shooting range experience. Gander Mountain is trying with the Gander Academy, and although guntry clubs are popping up all over the country, no one is trying to unify the experience and set expectations for service and features for high-end shooting ranges.


Someone is going to figure out that people with lots of money buy memberships in exclusive clubs like high-end shooting ranges and that money=mobility. People who move around a lot want to know that the service they get in the summer home in Ypsilanti will be there in winter home in Wiinter Haven. This (and increased purchasing power) is why chain restaurants tend to do better than local restaurants, because they tend to provide the same experience no matter the location. To borrow from another nationwide business chain, the best surprise is no surprise.

When it comes to the gun range experience, for shooters, every new range is potentially a new surprise. Someone’s going to take their gun range brand across the country, it’ll be interesting to see who it will be.

Yep, another musical reference in the title.

* That was the LEAST of my disappointments with that place, but we’ll table the rest of that discussion for later.

The Cluebat Might Be Working


At least one writer is figuring out how STUPID the media sounds like when they talk about guns.

That gun writers crow when the media makes mistakes like this indicates how little regard there is for the media from the pro-gun community. There are several ways the media can remedy this situation. For starters, treat guns like any other beat (as the Guardian has done with Lois Beckett). Media outlets tend not to send sports writers to cover the Supreme Court or style writers to cover a murder. Ignorance undermines authority. If you want to report on guns, you need to understand the differences between various weapons and how they are used. Spend time at a shooting range and learn how to fire a gun. Be able to interview an NRA member without scorn or derision.

More over at Ricochet.

Update: The Guardian shows that you can do a report on the NRA without making morons out of NRA members. Well done.