One For The Money

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Now go, cat, go!

As you are reading this, my family and I are either on our way to Naples, Florida, or have already arrived there to re-start our life together. My job with Osage County Guns just wasn’t viable in the long run, and as much as my wife and I loved (and I mean really loved) small-town living, the employment options for an internet marketing dude in a town of 1500 in central Missouri were diddley and/or squat.

Enter Lotus Gunworks Naples.

Your life. Plus guns.

It’s a new “guntry” club opening up early next year in the very wealthy (and very Republican) Naples area. It’s got a VIP area. They manufacture their own ammo for the range. They will have 30+ lanes. They have a teleportation device to instantly move clients from the showroom to the range.

The Alamo At Lotus Gunworks Naples

I may have made that last one up.

The job opportunity with this range just staggers the imagination. I loved my time with Osage County Guns and they run a tight ship there, but it just wasn’t right for me over the long haul, and that’s what I’m interested in these days. Now, however, instead of just marketing guns, I’ll be marketing Gun Culture 2.0. All that stuff I’ve written about building a gun club for today’s gun owner? Yeah, now I actually have to do it. Yikes!

So what does that mean for you?

When I was at Osage County Guns, we gave away an S&W Bodyguard and a Sig .22 1911 as a show of support to the online firearms world. So what will happen now that I have access to a range, warm winter temperatures, lots of ammo and full auto guns?

The mind, as they say, reels.

So if you could, could you swing by their Facebook page and give them a like? Also, if you’re a gunblogger, YouTuber (tubist?) or a blog reader in the Florida area (C’mon, I *know* you’re out there: I can see you in my Analytics), drop me a note. I want to hear from you, because there’s some cool things I want to with the Florida gunblogging community because you all are on the front lines.

Sadly, though, it looks like a rental 20mm Vulcan Air Defense System won’t be in the works.

I asked, and they said “No.”

But that’s about the only disappointment ahead. I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this, it’s an opportunity like nothing I’ve done before. I’ll have a chance to create a gun range and showroom environment that will be more than I can imagine.

And I can imagine quite a bit.

Building the perfect beast

Sig P320

Noodling more about what I won’t see at SHOT this year has got me thinking about what my perfect handgun would look like. Allow me a few minutes of navel(lint) gazing…

First, it’d have be built with modularity in mind. I’m not a big fan of having to buy a new gun anytime I want something different. One of the reasons why the AR-15 has become so popular is because it can be made into almost anything quickly, easily and semi-afforably.

Modularity means more than just backstraps, it means being able to build my gun, my way. I REALLY like what Sig is doing with the 320, but I’d take it one step further and just sell the serialized trigger group by itself, with no pieces parts in it all, much like an AR-15 lower is sold today. An AR15 lower, to borrow a phrase from the honey badger, doesn’t care. It doesn’t know if you’re building a direct impingement gun or a gas piston gun. It doesn’t know if you’re putting in a Geissele trigger or a Timney trigger or if it’ll end up in .22LR, .223 or .300BLK. It’s just a lower, it doesn’t care.

We’re not there with pistols yet, but the Modular Handgun System is a step in the right direction. What happens when that idea is taken to its logical end? What happens when I walk into a store and buy a trigger group, and then pick and choose from frames, calibers, sights, accessories, barrel lengths and maybe even action types, a la the CZ Omega trigger?

Trigger-wise, I’m on the fence re: DA/SA or striker-fired. I think the Omega trigger (Wasn’t that the title of a Ludlum thriller from the 70’s? I digress…), is an interesting and overlooked idea. Striker-fired guns are nothing new, they’ve been around for almost 100 years, but they never took off until Glock made them teh new hotness, so there is precedence for a good idea to just sit there laying around in plain sight for many, many years until somebody does something with it.

We’ve never had a pistol that’s as adaptable as an AR, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when we do. Sales of lowers hasn’t affected sales of prebuilt AR’s, so there’s no reason to think that sales of pistol trigger groups would cannibalize “regular” pistol sales, because some people want to just buy a gun, not a Lego set.

Ok gun companies, go for it.

80% is Zero Percent

So it turns out that Sierra Nevada Arms, the Rockethub project I supported a year and a half ago (!) is no more. Their phone has been disconnected, their website is “down for maintenance” and Facebook page is pretty much Tango Uniform.

Gone Daddy Gone Sierra Nevada Disarmed

Not happy. I completely understand that I was funding a business, not buying a product, but I invested my money based on good faith, and that faith was betrayed. As I said a year ago,

“At this point, unless you’re wanting the thrill(?) of building it yourself or want to get a firearm without the .gov on your back, just go buy a lower and spare yourself a lot of trouble.”

Well, now that finished lowers are going for just $45, there’s even fewer reasons to get an unfinished, incomplete, DIY lower.

Caveat emptor, as always.

Let Me Tell You How To Save Your Life

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 

– 1 Corinthians 1:11-12, NIV

Grant Cunningham asked a great question last week, (as he is often wont to do).

What’s with all the infighting in the defensive shooting world?

Stick around the defensive shooting world for any length of time and you’ll discover partisanship that makes national politics seem tame. Where do these squabbles come from, and what can you do to avoid them?

His points were made about training in context, about law enforcement training versus military training vs. training for armed civilians, and his points are very, very valid and very insightful.

But.

I think there’s higher form of infighting going on here. As defensive firearms instructors, we are doing nothing less than helping people save their own lives and the lives of the people they hold dear on the absolute worst day of their lives.

As Marty McFly might say, that’s heavy.

A good instructor will understand what that means and integrate it into his training, and that level of seriousness will percolate down into other things. What once was a pastime can become a mission and a passion, and that can lead to a clash of egos.

I’ve seen this passion before, and it can be a force for good, or a force that destroys lives. I worked for a half-dozen years in the faith-based non-profit world, and I worked every day with people who were a) trying to save the world and b) felt they were called by God to do so.

To be fair, there is/was some amazing work being down by these people because of their passion: When you clean out the internal parasites in the population of an entire sub-Saharan country, that is nothing but a good thing. But that same drive, that same sense of a higher calling led to some EPIC clashes of egos that no amount of lip service to humility and “unity of the brethren” could heal.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Is your goal an informed, equipped and prepared student, or an acolyte and evangelist for your training? Are you selling your students a lifestyle, or a training plan? What is your goal, more people who think like you, or more people who can take care of themselves?

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us,on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

– 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

Inside Job

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Why is no one promoting indoor shooting matches? There’s a few indoor IDPA clubs out there, but there is a serious disconnect between the glitz and glam of the Smith & Wesson Indoor Nationals and setting up an IDPA match at Frank N Bubba’s Indoor Shooting Emporium.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge and Scholastic Steel are supposed to be “feeder” sports into the larger world of practical shooting, but because they shoot steel, they are pretty much a no-go indoors,. This leaves indoor shooters with IDPA and outlaw practical pistol as the models for the indoor matches, which are ok, (but not ideal) for people starting out in practical shooting.And even then, the IDPA Classifier requires 60+ feet of range space to run, something that is not to be found on  most indoor ranges.

How hard would it be for Steel Challenge, et al, to publish a slightly revised version of their match rules that is suitable for a 10 yard indoor range? Instead of shooting steel, why not shoot hanging, self-sealing plastic targets that jump when hit? It won’t be the ping! of a well-placed steel hit, but it be instant feedback, which is the point of shooting steel versus paper.

Consider this: Outdoor shooting ranges are getting hassled from the neighbors about noise and safety, and with “guntry” clubs on the upsurge, 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?

The dangerous trap of gear envy

Don Giannatti is a good friend who gave me my first shot in the photo world. He also gave me my first paying gig as a photographer, handing off a quick editorial job from The National Enquirer into my hands. That’s right, my first gig as a shooter was for the National Enquirer. I have my price, and it is VERY low.

I digress.

Read this bit from his post on gear envy and what it does to photographers, but where it says “camera” think “gun” and “photograph” think “shot”.

  1. If you cannot take a good photograph with an entry level camera and a kit lens, what makes you think your work will be better with a shiny new D760D-X NiKanon?
  2. If your pictures suck with what you have, they will most likely suck with a new camera, but now have the added fun of sucking after spending a boat load of cash.
  3. Perhaps it isn’t your camera, maybe you suck at making photographs.
  4. If your camera is not working ‘correctly’, it could be “user error”… just sayin’.
  5. Bigger file sizes means bigger file sizes. That’s it. (Bigger calibers mean bigger holes. That’s it. - K.)
  6. Yes, yes… that guru on all the awesome YouTubes shoots with some terribly expensive gear, and his pictures are awesomer than yours. Here is something to think about – give them your camera and watch them make the same awesomer shots.
  7. Camera manufacturers pay extraordinarily big money to make you think that their new wizbang will turn your pathetic throw aways into gallery ready pix. You let that crap take hold and you will never have enough gear… ever.

On a not-unrelated topic, here’s a (clickclick) shot I took with a 10 year old Nikon D70, a busted-up Manfrotto tripod and an iPhone. If I subscribed to the good gear = good photos theory, it should suck.

But it doesn’t. Think about THAT the next time you consider shelling out $$$ for some gadget to make you shooter better.

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Three Guns I’d Like To See At SHOT

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… but probably won’t.

  1. An AR-15 upper chambered in .22 TCM.
    Bonus points if it’s a “pistol length” upper designed for SBR’s AR pistols with a Sig brace.
    I love this cartridge. It’s everything you’d want in an intermediate, “PDW” size round, but right now, the only guns that use it are RIA 1911’s and one bolt-action rifle. The .22TCM is based off a .223 cartridge. It fires a .22 caliber bullet. It’s friggin’ made for the AR platform, let’s make it happen!
    Speaking of which…
  2. The return of the Ruger PC-9.
    Pistol caliber carbines are HOT right now. CZ is coming out with one, JP has one, Beretta has one, heck, even Citadel has one. Ruger had one and decided to not make it anymore. Re-issue it with a folding stock and rails and watch the money roll in.
  3. A defensive pistol chambered in a major caliber with an integrated light and laser.
    Why should the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and Taurus Curve (both chambered in .380) have all the fun?

Ok, your three?

The Next Step In 3 Gun Competition

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First, I’m more than a bit bummed out that I will never, ever shoot the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun match.

“It is with a twinge of sadness that I’m informing you … we have made the strategic decision to formally end the world’s first night time and premiere 3-Gun competition, the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational,” said CT’s marketing director Kent Thomas. “I know this will be a disappointment to many of you, but after much discussion, deliberation and thought, we’ve decided to go out on top, leaving each of you and the industry wanting more.”

Be not afraid, though, all hope is not lost, and what will replace the Midnight 3 Gun looks REALLY interesting.

The inaugural “Starlight 3-Gun” will feature three-days of amateur and professional competition at an east-coast location yet to be announced. There will be an open enrollment for experienced 3-gun competitors and interested shooters who are new to 3-gun competition will have the opportunity to qualify the Starlight 3-Gun via participation in other qualifying 3-gun events. 

“Our long-term goal is to popularize the concept of athletic shooting competitions and create local, regional and national events where everyone from a young children shooting beginner courses can compete at the same venue as the pros. The full-blown pro circuit will combine TV, online and live events to fill up arenas and athletic facilities across the country. Our goal is to make shooting competitions entertaining- and to do that, we’re amping up the entertainment value- without sacrificing safety.” 

Okay, now I’m interested. Adding more excitement and entertainment to the experience of WATCHING a match will, by default, add interest to the sport. Kudos to Jim Shepherd for trying to take 3 gun out of the action shooting ghetto, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the first match will look like.