A few brief thoughts on the horrific state of mainstream reporting on guns, (with a suggestion on how to solve things from the distinctly left-leaning Guardian, of all places), over at Ricochet.com.
Everybody talk about, pop guns!*
My latest for Shooting Illustrated is up: The Definitive List of The Top Ten Guns Of Pop Culture.
The list does not include any guns named “Vera“, however**.
* Want to be a gunslinger? Don’t be a rock singer.
** Told ya.
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.
* That was the LEAST of my disappointments with that place, but we’ll table the rest of that discussion for later.
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.
Update: The Guardian shows that you can do a report on the NRA without making morons out of NRA members. Well done.
Speaking of processes, let’s walk through the process of qualifying for a concealed carry permit in a classroom environment.
- You go to the classroom. Because most (if not all) concealed carry classes are led by people who learned to teach the NRA way and are located in areas where a negligent discharge would be a very, very bad thing, there is no ammo alllowed the classroom. Your gun will remain in its case, usually at the front of the room, until it’s time from the optional dry fire practice to work on grip.
- You learn about laws and stuff, and have some guidance on when you can and cannot legally shoot someone.
- If your instructor includes it in his/her curriculum, you go up to a table at the front of the room and, under your instructor’s watchful eye, you get a few seconds of instruction on grip, stance, breathing and trigger press (because NRA, that’s why). Maybe it’s with your unloaded gun, maybe it’s with the instructor’s blue gun.
- If needed for your permit, you go to the range, where you shoot X number of rounds to attain Y score (or not) at Z distance which proves you can shoot a gun. Yay you.
Question: At any time during this process did you actually try to carry a firearm on your person? There was a brief glimpse of what it’s like to hold a gun and shoot a gun, but was there anything about what it’s like to carry a gun?
Isn’t that the whole point of this exercise?
There are obvious safety reasons why instructors don’t want guns on hips of absolute newbies in the classroom, loaded or not, and I think those rules should stay in place because they work quite well. However, they also cut people off from the ultimate goal of a CCW class, which is not qualifying someone for a permit, but rather, getting them to carry a defensive sidearm. After all, what good is a permit* to do something if you don’t actually do it?
Just as an instructor uses blue guns to simulate holding a real gun in your hands, why not use a simulator to mimic carrying a gun around with you all the time?
At this point, trainers are going to scream “That’s insane, I can’t afford a dozen blue guns and holsters!,” and they’re right, it’s stupid to buy that amount of gear for this task. However, what we are simulating is the weight and awkwardness of carrying a gun, not the gun itself. Blue guns simulate how a gun feels in the hand, what’s needed, however, is something super-cheap and safe that simulates the weight of gun on your hip.
If you want to get people used to carrying a heavy weight on their hip, why not start with… having them carry around a heavy weight on their hip? A Glock 19 with a full load of ammo weighs about 29 ounces. A 16 ounce bottle of soda weighs a little under 18 ounces. Team that bottle of pop** with one of these, and you have a completely safe way of introducing the added weight and inconvenience of carrying a gun on their hips for about the same price as a couple of boxes of ammo. When your students come into the classroom, hand them a soda (or a bottle of water) and a belt clip. Have them carry around the soda on their hip the entire class. Get them used to having something heavy on their waist for extended periods of time. For 99.9% of your students, this will be their first introduction into the reality of what it feels like to carry a gun all the time.
Why do this? Because people who carry their guns tend to see the need for more training on how to properly use their gun more than people who just get a piece of paper and ignore their guns, that’s why. If you want a revenue stream that goes beyond “turn’n’burn” CCW classes, you need to start thinking about ways to turn your students into lifelong learners who see you as a trusted source of information, not just someone who cashed the check for their CCW class.
* Save the discussion about permitting a human right for another time. We’re talking about the process as it is, not how it should be.
** For our northern and/or Canadian friends.
I found it interesting that both Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox made zero mention of “America’s sporting heritage” or “A storied tradition of hunting, passed on from generation to generation” when they addressed the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the Annual Meeting last month. Instead, they talked about the inherit right of self-protection and need to preserve the Second Amendment as a way to keep Americans safe in an unsafe world.
30 years ago, if you had told gunnies that hunting would take a back seat to concealed carry and “assault weapons”, they’d have laughed in your face, yet today, here we are.
So The Gun Show Podcast asks “What would you own if you lived somewhere that restricted you to owning four guns, period, your entire life?”. This isn’t a post-apocalyptic scenario, assume all the modern conviences of life still exist, it’s just life under a totaletarian government and/or Hillary.
Their suggestions are good (Glock 19, pump gun, AR-15, bolt gun), but I’d go slightly different in that I’d go for maximum flexibility of caliber and usage. My four:
Sig Sauer P320 – A gun designed for this very situation. Because the trigger group on the P320 is the serialized part, it is caliber and size neutral. Want a double-stack .45? You got it. Want a sub-compact 9mm? Done. Heck, I’d expect to see a .22 conversion kit come out soon for this gun as well.
Mossberg 500 – Because the tang-mounted safety is better for left-eye dominant shooters like me, I come down on the “Mossberg” side of the great 500 vs. 870 debate, and I chose this gun because you can swap out barrels and magazine tubes and make it just about anything you want it to.
AR-15 – Kind of a no-brainer. Anything from a .22 rifle to a 9mm carbine to a defensive rifle to a varmint gun to a .458 SOCOM thumper is possible with an AR15 lower and the right combination of accessories.
AR-10 – Scott’s choice of a Savage Model 10 because of barrel interchangability is a good one, but why not take it a step further and get an AR-10? A good piston gun is right up there in accuracy with bolt guns these days, and the AR-10 receiver can take .338 Federal if you want to go moose hunting or 6.5 Creedmoor if there’s something quite a long ways away that needs your attention.
For years now, I’ve been saying that Roku boxes and streaming media are a logical first step for firearms-related programming on TV that goes outside of the normal cable distribution channels.
Social Responsibility Network’s GunTV, the first-of-its-kind television shopping network for firearms, accessories and related consumer goods, announce the addition of ROKU to GunTV’s growing list of affiliates available at guntv.tv, expanding GunTV’s distribution by nearly 10 million households. ROKU offers premium, subscription and free television channels though the streaming service.
“We listen closely to GunTV viewers, and ROKU customers were very vocal about wanting to watch GunTV through the streaming service. With this new partnership, we’ve made GunTV’s programming available to nearly 10 million additional households with ROKU. Simply visit ROKU, enter GunTV in the search bar and select Add Channel for must see TV.” Said Valerie Castle, Managing Partner of GunTV.
Now why isn’t there a Sig Sauer channel, or a Glock channel on Roku? If a gun companies can hire Gerald McRaney to do a months-long infomercial campaign, they can get something up on Roku, where your distribution costs are essentially nil.
The first three words of the title to this post will probably make no sense to you unless you suffered, as I did, through a few years of Bible school at some point in your life. They are not words you hear very often in church or even Sunday School for that matter, but using them, and using them correctly, means you’ve committed yourself to a study of the Bible that is far and above what regular churchgoers embark on, and definitely far above what CEO Christians know.
They’re a sign that you’re committed to learning more about how to be a Christian for the sake of wanting to be a better Christian (Hang on, there’s gun stuff coming, I swear there is.), and it usually means there’s been a few lifestyle decisions made along the way as well.
Which is pretty much the problem we have right now in gun culture (See? I told you!). The core of Gun Culture 2.0, the writers and trainers leading the movement, use words like “split times” and “AIWB” and “FBI calibrated gelatin tests” that confuse new gun owners who pick up their newly-purchased guns maybe once a month or so. We talk expert talk, then we’re confused when beginners want nothing to do with us. What’s needed is a better way to make the casual gun owner into a gun carrier.
I cannot tell you the number of times people who have a quality defensive pistol and a concealed carry permit tell me “Yeah, I have a permit, but I only carry when I think I’m going to some place I might need it.” This is the concealed carry equivalent of finding God in a foxhole. Those people aren’t carrying a gun to protect themselves, they’re carrying a gun to calm themselves. They’re quite happy believing there will be someone or something near them ready to rescue them when danger might be nearby, and the idea of being their own first responder has never entered their minds.
Good luck with that sort of thinking. You’ll need it.