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.

The Volcano Gun

220px-Joe_Versus_The_VolcanoThink of this as the opposite of the “If you had to choose only one gun to live with on a desert island” type of post. If you had to rid the world of only one gun by throwing every single one of them into a volcano to appease the angry volcano gods, what gun would it be?

I would gladly and gleefully rid the entire world of every  single Desert Eagle in existence.

I hate those guns. I don’t like them. I don’t like the people who buy them and then make ridiculous videos of their girlfriends hurting themselves while trying to shoot them. I don’t like them because they’re ugly, jam-omatics, and they come in colors and styles that make Saddam Hussein’s gold-plated AK look like the quintessence of restrained, tasteful design.

I hate Deagles.

For the good of humanity, I’d sacrifice every single one of them into a volcano, but I’m worried that the volcano gods would reject such an inferior offering and kill us all out of spite. If the volcano gods did such things, my backup plan is to offer them every single Mosin Nagant ever made, except for a few to keep as props if they ever want to do a re-make of “Enemy At The Gates“.

Now I know there are some people who will read this and say “MOLON LABE, BEATCHES!!!! NO GUNS DESTROYED EVER, cause, um, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!!!”, but look, every once in a while, we need to cull the herd. As an example, the lads on Top Gear are unequalled in their passion for cars, but even they know what to do with a stinker like the Morris Marina.

Tough love, baby, tough love.

Ok, so what other gun(s) needs to get tossed into Mauna Loa to save the planet and appease the gun gods?

What’s the next big thing?

So where are firearms (specifically pistols) going next? Let’s take a trip into the future.

It’s 2025, and the Army, fed up with a dwindling supply of parts for the M9A4E8 pistol, issues an RFP for a new service sidearm. The new sidearm must include the following items:

All of these technologies exist today, just like striker-fired actions and polymer guns existed before the Glock 17, and just like semi-automatic service rifles were around before the Garand. The trick was, in both cases, to build a gun that was useful to the military, usable on the field and reasonably economical to purchase in large numbers. The FG-42 didn’t change the work, the AK-47 did.

Seem crazy? Would you have said, back in 1996, that in ten years AR’s would be a cheap commodity that FLEW off the shelves in large numbers? Would you have said in 2005 that over the next ten years, a pocket .380 auto from Ruger would be one of the best-selling guns in the US?

There’s a change coming. The only questions are who, how and when, not if.

Gaston Glock, Steve Jobs

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So Glock is coming out with a gun that almost everyone else has had for at least three years now.

Pardon my yawn.

Glock reminds me of where Apple is right now. Did they do some tremendous work in UI, design and integration to give us things that we didn’t know we needed like the Glock 17/iPod?

Yes.

Have they built upon that success by expanding their product line into other areas of the market like the iPhone/iPad and the 26/34?

Yes.

Have they done anything recently that shows they’re willing to break some eggs and create new products that really shake up our lives?

Not really.

Glock is going to sell a metric buttload of these guns, just like Apple still sells a metric buttload of phones. Both are going to be blindsided by The Next Big Thing.

Update: Found this on the Facebook page for The Shooter’s Mindset.

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So yeah, this is happening, and with only a $580 MSRP. Wow, that’s only ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS MORE than the equivalent M&P. Wowza.

Look, I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy, so I get the idea of premium brands, but is there really $130 worth of difference between this and a Shield?

Here is your future, unarmed America

Let’s count it down, shall we?

Failed attempts at gun control? Check.
Increasing crime rates? Check.
Violent, ruthless street gangs? Check.
Politicization and corruption of law enforcement? Check.

I have seen your future, California, and it looks a lot like Caracas.

Interview With A Professional Kidnapper

Gonzalez began by explaining “the market.” He targeted Venezuela’s middle classes, rather than the rich. Going after the rich invited additional police scrutiny or, worse heavily armed private guards driving armoured vehicles. For the same reasons and because they seldom had Venezuelan bank accounts that could be quickly emptied, it did not make economic sense to kidnap foreigners.

Before deciding whether to kidnap someone, gang members followed their movements closely for about a month to understand how and where they lived, worked and played. This was not only to figure out the best time and place to grab them, but also to find out whether their kin were likely to be able to cough up a ransom of 100,000 to 200,000 bolivars (about US$300 to US$600 on the black market, US$16,000 to $32,000 at the official exchange rate).

And before you think, “Well, that’s just Venezuela. What are the chances this could happen close to the U.S.?”…

… have you seen what is (still) going on in Mexico City?

In Mexico, with its history of drug-war violence and corrupt police, kidnapping is an old story. In the past, the crime tended to target the rich. Now it has become more egalitarian. Victims these days are often shopkeepers, taxi drivers, service employees, parking attendants and taco vendors who often work in cash or in Mexico’s “informal” economy. Targets also tend to be young — students, with parents willing to pay ransoms, are commonly targeted.

How long before MS13, La eMe, etc, figure out there’s as much money to be made from kidnapping middle class citizenry as there is from smuggling in people and/or drugs into the U.S.?

The only two things that are holding back this nightmare scenario from happening that I can see are the (mostly) honest police forces in the U.S. and the presence of a well-armed middle class.

When those two things go away, what hope is there for the citizenry?

Being your own first responder by arming yourself is a very good thing indeed, but it’s even better if it is also backed up by the fair and firm rule of law. When the rule of law becomes politicized, the criminals will realize that politics is the way to power.

Update: A little cheerful reading for you on a Tuesday morning – When the Music Stops. I’d like to believe that such a scenario is unlikely (even improbable), but given the reality of today’s political situation, I can’t.

The Great Video Game Divide

If I were going to pick one that differentiates Gun Culture 2.0 from Gun Culture 1.0, it’d be their respective attitude towards video games. Gun Culture 1.0 doesn’t “get” it, and Gun Culture 2.0 either accepts them or gleefully blasts away at pixelated critters, human or not.

Which got me thinking.

pTRU1-18936296enh-z6_optMy sons spend their allowance on (in)action figures for the Disney Infinity video game. For a few dollars, they can buy a small statue that interacts with the video game to unlock new characters, more powers, etc. Every few weeks, we make a trip down to the local Gamestop to pick up something new that opens up new vistas for them within their virtual world.

it is, to be honest, a brilliant mashup of Pokémon and other collectable games and conventional video games and allows a game to be fresh, even after hours and hours (and hours…) of gameplay. While I spent my allowance on GI Joe figures that I had to move myself, my children spend their money on figures that move around on-screen and are therefore cheaper to make, yet offer almost as much play value.

As I said, brilliant.

So far, though, this model has been only applied to kid’s games like Disney Infinity and Skylanders. Those games make a lot of money, but they pale in comparison to what Call of Duty/Medal Of Honor/Battlefield has made.

So why not combine the money-making power of the (in)action figure franchises with the money-making power of the modern first-person shooter? Want an M240B for your virtual Tier One operator? That’ll be $8 for the “Fire Support Team” figure. Need an elite team leader? $15 gets you a small statue of Sgt. Rock to boost your pixeltruppen’s morale.

Now, what does this have to do with Gun Culture 2.0?

Magpul, Trijicon or Daniel Defense can’t outlay the $$$ needed to develop their own video game, but they can kick out enough dollars to sponsor a figurine or two. Want more hard-hitting firepower? Get that Ranger figurine with a FN SCAR 17! Need more long-distance accuracy? Drop $20 on a Marine Recon Sniper with a Barrett MRAD and Nightforce scope.

Reality check: Previous attempts at teaming up video games with the firearms industry crashed on the shoals of the post-Sandy Hook anti-gun hysteria, but I think the mania has been quieted enough for the two worlds to come together once again, especially if there’s a new revenue stream attached to it.

Ok guys, I thought of it. I’m copyrighting it. You do it, gun industry, and I’ll wait the $$$ roll in.

The Guns And problem

Is gunblogging dead?

No.

Is gunblogging changing?

Yes.

At SHOT this year, I hung out in The Bourbon Room with Jay, Tom, Paul and Bob on Monday night. Tales were told, sour mash was consumed, camaraderie ensued.

And all of us started out in the gunblogging/new media world, and now we’re shakers/movers of some kind or another in the larger firearms world.

And we’re not alone. Just like the media world as a whole, gunbloggers are moving away from just new media and into other endeavors. Just that mean gunblogging is dead? No. Does that mean that blogging now needs to compete with all the other new media channels out there? Yes.

There’s also the “guns and” problem. I’ve managed to keep politics and other stuff out of this blog, at the expense of the main political blog (although to be fair, that blog started to wither away since my co-blogger became rich and famous), but the majority of other “gunblogs” out there are guns and politics and food and music and etsy crochet projects.

Ok, not that last one. Yet.

I’m actually ok with this, because it puts guns in context of your life. It’s no big deal, it’s just your gun. Gunblogging reflects this trend, then, that guns are (and should be) a means, not the end.