Roadmap

“Run a stage once, and then look at the components of the stage that are giving us trouble. The sport requires the same stuff over and over and over again. All you have to do is identify what those elements are, and then practice them in isolation.”

Steve Anderson

In general, I don’t like comparing myself to other people, because it’s a no-win situation. Someone else will ALWAYS be better than you at something: There is no such thing as a master of everything.

But.

I think I’m pretty good at analyzing where my issues with practical shooting lie, what I lack is having a higher standard to measure myself against. I need to start recording the runs of the A Class shooters (and better) in my squads to see where they are picking up the seconds on a stage compared to my performance. In order to be better, I need to learn from my betters.

15:01

Little bit of advice: If the target demographic for your product tends to own lots and lots of guns, headlining a pro-gun control rally might NOT be considered a wise career move.

But why let that stop you?

On July 17, country singers Tim McGraw and Billy Currington will headline a fundraiser for gun control group Sandy Hook Promise in Connecticut. McGraw’s “A Concert For Sandy Hook Promise” will also feature country singers Billy Currington and Chase Bryant.

What, were the Dixie Chicks not available?

A mile wide, an inch deep

Something I’ve found out after almost a year on the other side of the gun counter: If you want to work in the industry, having some knowledge about a bunch of firearms related things trumps knowing every little thing there is to know about, say, the AR-15. You never know who is going to walk in the door / send you an email / call on the phone, so being able to talk intelligently about sporting clays with one guy and then switch over and chat about concealed carry for women five minutes later is a very, very useful skill.

And not just “Yeah, my Dad had a gun like that, but I never shot it” type conversations, either. If I have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to get into the industry, it’s shoot a bunch of guns in a bunch of different settings. Don’t just go to one range and do one type of shooting all the time: If you plink, try shooting clays. If you shoot scatter guns, try precision rifle. Take a good pistol course. Shoot 3 gun, bullseye and go hunting. Learn a little bit about a bunch of things, because that helps you understand HOW your customers use their guns, and that helps you sell them the guns they want and or/need to enjoy those activities a little bit more.

In not-April Fools Day News

Gunsmoke Guns, featured on the Discovery Channel’s “American Guns” reality TV show, was searched by the ATF yesterday.

Agents of the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were working outside Gunsmoke Guns, located at 9690 W. 44th in Wheat Ridge, Tuesday afternoon.

The office of the U.S. Attorney says no charges have been filed in connection with this search at this time.

Gunsmoke Guns was searched by a different federal agency, the IRS in March of 2013. At the time, a spokesman said that search was part of an “ongoing financial investigation. At this time, there is no information about whether the current search has any relation to the IRS’ work.

I know there’s a chance this is another “Red Jacket” type of incident, where it turns out there was actually quite a large fire beneath all that blue smoke, but I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the ATF being vindictive towards a high-profile gun store, especially given the politicization of both the IRS and the DOJ.

Your Viewpoint Determines Your Vision

Stephen King asks three questions which provide us with an interesting peek into the mind of an anti-gun activist, (via Kathy Jackson).

“I guess the question is, how paranoid do you want to be? How many guns does it take to make you feel safe? And how do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?”

Let’s address those three questions individually.

“How paranoid do you want to be?”
This question assumes that deciding to be your own first responder is a paranoid act, as if having a fire extinguisher means you’re convinced there’s an arsonist on the loose or having a first aid kit means you’re surrounded by clumsy oafs who constantly injure themselves.

Actually, as I have two young sons, that last sentence is, in truth, correct …

I digress.

It’s not a question of being paranoid, because paranoia is by definition based on unreasonable fears, and wanting to defend your loved ones from harm is an entirely reasonable desire that inhabits the entire animal kingdom. Every critter in the forest defends what’s important to them, why should mankind be any different?

It’s important to note here that acknowledging the existence of tigers in the forest does not detract from the beauty of the forest itself. I don’t consider my life as an armed individual to be any less rewarding or fulfilling than my unarmed life. If anything, I feel more empowered because I know for certain I can effectively deal with whatever life can throw at me.

It’s not paranoia that drives me, Mr. King, it’s empowerment.

How many guns does it take to make you feel safe?
That one’s easy: How many guns? However many it takes to stop a threat to myself or my loved ones. The actual number of guns involved will vary from time to time and from person to person. For me, that number is four: A gun on my person, a gun near me when I’m outside of the house that is more powerful than the gun on my person, a gun near me in the home, and a gun in my home that is more powerful than the other home gun.

YMMV.

How do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?
There are two ways I accomplish the first part of that question. The first way is to keep a gun on my person wherever and whenever I can, including when I’m relaxing around the house. If the safest and quickest way to store a gun when I’m outside the house is on my person, it makes sense that the safest and easiest way to store a gun inside the house is also on my person.

Duh.

Secondly, I am a BIG proponent of the easy-access gun safe for home defense pistols. We did a simple test over at Teamgunblogger that showed that getting a gun out of a safe was just as easy and just as fast as finding one in your sock drawer, so I’m pretty confident in both the security of my guns and the security of my house.

To answer the second part of that question, I deal with the inquisitive nature of children in my life by reducing the allure of guns. If guns are commonplace and a part of your everyday life, they aren’t as a unusual or seen as the “forbidden fruit”. My kids know (and practice) the guidelines laid down in the NRA’s “Eddie The Eagle” program, and I whole-hearted recommend it as a starting point for teaching gun safety to children.

Mr. King’s questions are valid and right, from his point of view. It’s a point of view that is not shared by millions and millions of other people, but it is nevertheless a point of view that is commonplace and, in some ways, informative, because it shows the underlying fears that anti-gun activists have. They KNOW the world is “unsafe”, they just can’t put their finger on “why”, so they blame the instruments of violence rather than the instigators of violence. It’s a beguiling intellectual shortcut to solving the problem of violence, but it’s a shortcut that leads to a dead-end: Even if you reduce the instruments of violence down to man’s most basic tools, the knife and blunt instrument, the violence still remains.

The problem isn’t what’s in a man’s hand, the problem is in his heart. Banning or restricting what  man can use to defend lives will never, ever change his heart.

Running on past promises

The rollout of the Glock 43 has highlighted something interesting in the gun world, the ongoing legend of Glock reliability.

First, a word about brand loyalty (or as some call it, being a fanboy).

I’m an unabashed Apple Fanboy. I don’t just drink the Apple Koolaid, I snort the raw powder (it’s faster that way). In 1988, the user interface of the Mac operating was a wonder to behold: Nothing else existed like that UI at the time, and it was another five years before Windows even approached the same ease of use with Windows 3.1.1. Today, though, to be honest, while the iOS interface is good, I’m really intrigued by the Windows Phone UI more than I am iOS.

In other words, over the last 35+ years, through innovation and experimentation, the other brands in the marketplace have caught up (and maybe even surpassed) the brand leader. Even more recently, Dell Computers absolutely dominated the market by creating a supply chain that allowed them to build premium computers for a discount price. However, once the other manufacturers out there figured out how to build a similar supply chain, Dell’s market advantage withered away, and they became just another computer manufacturer.

In 1988, the reliability of the Glock was a wonder to behold, it truly was earth-shattering/ground-breaking/insert metaphor here. But just like the Mac/Windows race, maybe it’s time to look at things with fresh eyes. Have the other companies out there figured out how to build a gun that is just as reliable as a Glock? I dunno.

Is it still true in 2015 that Glocks are head-and-shoulders reliable above everyone else, or has everybody and their dog caught up with Glock in the past 35+ years? That’s an entire generation of gun owners who have grown up with the Glock: Can truly say that NONE of those people have figured out a way to surpass the Glock on reliablity, or do we want to switch the dogma of the 1911 for the dogma of the Glock?

Now here’s where some might say “Ah-ha, you’re a known CZ fanboy!” and well, yes, I am. I also know the limits of CZ’s. I wouldn’t recommend one as a daily carry gun because they’re heavier and wider than similar guns. I still carry my P07 (it’s on my hip as I type this), but it’s not my “go-to” recommendation for most gun owners. Now, do CZ’s make a great competition gun? Oh yeah. Would I recommend my beloved Macs to someone setting up an enterprise-level retail environment? Oh no. I know the limitations of my manias of choice, and live within them.

Bottom line is, if your gun passes a 2000 round challenge, carry it with confidence. Anything else is just arguing Coke vs. Pepsi.