We started TeamGunBlogger because we weren’t seeing the gun industry talk to today’s gun owners. There are thousands (if not millions) of gun owners who didn’t buy a gun to go hunting, they bought a gun for personal protection and/or competition.
While not in the gun-manufacturing business themselves, the NRA is finally catching on to this fact, and has rolled out NRA Freestyle TV.
While they’ve got their own page and video player, but to me, it’s their YouTube channel that matters to me, because that’s where people from outside the gun culture will find their videos and have the opportunity to what gun ownership is really like.
Like this one.
The message (aside from the fact that Jack Reacher’s fight coordinators screwed up) is that no, you can’t use the movies or the media as your guide to what owning and safely using a gun is all about. It’s subtle, but it allows people like you and me to counter the narrative that guns kill people.
Funny, I own a bunch of them, and all I’ve killed with my guns is some tasty quail and a few coyotes. It’s almost as if my guns respond to my will, and not the other way around or something.
We already know that’s true. It’s time for the rest of America to know it too.
Gallup polled gun owners asking them why they own a gun, and personal protection was the #1 reason given.
Americans who say they personally own a gun were asked this open-ended question in Gallup’s Oct. 3-6 annual Crime poll. These 309 gun owners were allowed to provide up to three reasons they own guns.
After personal safety and hunting, general mentions of recreation or sport are third (13%) among the reasons gun owners chose to own a firearm, with 8% citing target shooting.
Only 5% of American gun owners cite “Second Amendment rights,” despite its frequent use as an argument against gun control. Three percent say they own a gun related to their line of work in the police or military. Collecting guns as a hobby and euthanizing sick animals or pest control had few mentions.
Ummn, having a gun for personal protection IS an argument against gun control and ever since Heller vs. DC, it IS protected by the Second Amendment. Only 5% of gun owners gave that as a reason why they own guns, but the fact is, the Second Amendment is the real reason we all can protect ourselves and our loved ones with a gun,
I REALLY want to hunt hogs from helicopters.
Why? Because I’d be in a low-flying helicopter, shooting a rifle, ridding the country of a loathsome invasive species that’s causing an ecological nightmare and harvesting my own organic, steroid-free, free-range bacon, all that the same time.
What’s not to love?
But that sort of thing has absolutely NOTHING to do with my life outside of the helicopter. Sure, it looks like too much fun for any one man to have, but useful for my day-to-day life? No way.
Which brings us around to firearms training.
As I see it, your first firearms class should be about the things you’re most likely to need, such as safe gun handling and storage. Using a gun a to defend your life is (thankfully) a very rare event, but safe gun handling is something you’ll need every time you pick up a gun.
Start your training off right with safety, because techniques may come and go, but safe gun handling never goes out of style.
I have some thoughts about carrying a firearm in an office environment, and what holsters work better when you’re dressed up over at Shooting Illustrated.
I’ll have a review of one of the holsters on Tuesday, then a big announcement on Thursday you don’t want to miss.
What’s coming up on Thursday? Two words: Free stuff.
Owing a gun is great thing, but owning a gun and shooting it on a regular basis is even better. Having a gun in your house isn’t going to make you safe anyomre than having a car on your driveway is going to get you to the corner grocery store: You have to learn how to use it safely and efficiently for it to do the job it’s supposed to do.
So what does it actually cost to shoot on a regular (monthly) basis? I visited some of the indoor and outdoor ranges near me to find out what a monthly practice session might cost a new shooter. My assumption is that you’ll go to the range and fire 50 rounds of ammo from a 9mm pistol at three different man-sized targets, which based on my experience is about what most casual shooters do on a typical day at the range.
Ranges: Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club (outdoors), Ted’s Shooting Range (indoors), Caswell’s Shooting Range (indoors), Phoenix Rod and Gun Club (outdoors), Scottsdale Gun Club (indoors) and Shooters World (indoors).
Lane Rental: One person for one hour
Ammo: 50 rounds of 9mm FMJ. For ranges without ammo sales (PRGC, Rio), I used the price of a box of 9mm at my local WalMart.
Gun Rental: A 9mm pistol for one hour. For ranges without gun rentals, I used the cost of a typical quality 9mm pistol ($540) spread out over 12 months.
Membership: One year’s individual membership. Range memberships at Ted’s is for 14 months not a year, so I reduced that amount for comparison purposes.
|Just Visiting||Lane Rental||Ammo||Gun Rental||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost|
|Ted’s Shooting Range||$14.00||$18.00||$9.00||$41.00||$492.00|
|Scottsdale Gun Club||$15.00||$14.00||$14.00||$43.00||$516.00|
|Phoenix Rod and Gun Club||$14.00||$13.00||$45.00*||$27.00||$864.00|
|With Membership||Lane Rental||Ammo||Gun Rental||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost||Membership|
|Ted’s Shooting Range||$0.00||$18.00||$4.50||$44.17||$530.00||$260.00|
|Scottsdale Gun Club||$0.00||$13.00||$0.00||$44.67||$536.00||$380.00|
|Phoenix Rod and Gun Club||$0.00||$13.00||$45.00*||$71.75||$861.00||$165.00|
* $45 / month reflects the cost of owning your own pistol, spread out over 12 months
So for just a couple hundred dollars more per year or so, memberships at Rio Salado or Phoenix Rod and Gun look like a real bargain, right? After all, that price includes a new gun, and they have long-distance rifle ranges as well.
Not so fast.
First off, they’re outdoor ranges. Not bad now that temperatures in the Phoenix area are leveling off, but that sucks when it’s 115 degrees outside or, for colder climes, if it’s winter and the snow is waist-deep on the ground.
Secondly, both outdoor ranges have a minimum distance that you can set up targets, about 8 yards or so. Not a big issue for some, but if you’re trying to train a new shooter it can get discouraging for them to shoot and shoot and shoot and not see decent groups on the target.
So which should you chose?
That depends on your needs. I use both on a regular basis. I’ve been a member at Rio for over 5 years. I like their public range, and I like the people. But I won a year’s membership to Caswell’s last year, and I’ve come to appreciate the comfort of indoor shooting and the convenience of reserving a lane in advance.
It comes down to what kind of a shooter you are. A public outdoor range membership is great for people who know what they want in a firearm and don’t need (or want) to try out new guns. However, indoor rental ranges are the perfect to get into the shooting sports: For less than $50 a month, you can try out many different firearms and find the one(s) that suit you best and lets you grow into firearms ownership at your pace.
Either way, there are no bad choices: The worst day at the range is still better than the best day in the office.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
There’s four schools schools of thought when it comes to firearms training:
- I don’t need it, because I learned how to shoot in the military/police/whatevs
- I don’t need it, because dammit I’m an Amurican, and shootin’s in my blood.
- I probably need it because I know I don’t know enough about gun safety or how to use my gun.
- I know I need it because there are specific firearms skills I need to improve.
If you’re in groups one or two, you still need training, we’ll get to why in a bit. If you’re in groups three or four, you’re right, you do need training, and good for your for realizing it.
Reason #1 for Firearms Training: You don’t know how bad you really are
Let’s diverge here for a moment for a video of one of my co-bloggers shooting her very first 3 gun stage with a rather sweet JM Pro Mossberg shotgun specifically designed for 3 gun.
3 gun, in case you were wondering, is kinda like shooting a practical pistol match, except you’re using (wait for it…) three guns: A rifle, a pistol and a shotgun.
Now Jaci is a very good pistol shooter (better than me…), but she struggled when faced with a new challenge like shooting and reloading a shotgun quickly under the artificial stress of competition because she didn’t have any practical experience with this type of match. However, by watching this video, she learned what she needed to learn, and sought out some training from some of the best shooters in three gun.
This video allowed her to see where her troubles were and make the necessary corrections to solve the problem, and this sort of thing is ONLY available when you have someone else around you who knows what they’re doing.
In other words, a training class. And yes, she won the video contest.
If you just hang out with your friends and shoot and you think you’ve got all the firearms skills to pay the bills, what are you doing to get better? What are you doing to fill in the gap between what you THINK you can do and what you actually CAN do? If (God forbid) you need to use your gun in a defensive situation, you’re not going to rise to the occasion, you’re going to fall to your lowest level of training.
If you shoot with people who know what they’re doing, great! Here’s hoping you’ll find a trainer who knows what to teach and how to teach it.
Reason #2 for Firearms Training: Documentation, documentation, documentation.
Let’s say the absolute worst happens and you are forced to defend your life with a handgun, and the prosecutor finds reason to bring you into court and defend your actions in front of a jury. Two things are going to happen: You’re going to wish you had some legal protection to help cover court costs, and you’re going to want to show the court that yes, you were in fear for your life and no, you had no other option to use lethal force, and nothing proves that like documentation. You can SAY that’s you’re good shooter and have been around guns your entire life, but if you can enter documents into the record that SHOW you’ve been trained in safe gun handling, shoot/no shoot situations and civilian counter-ambush training, you’re way ahead of the game. This is also why you want to get a CCW permit even if you live in a “constitutional carry state like Arizona: The more you can show you’ve done you’re homework, the more likely the jury is to believe your side of the story is the right side of the story.
The bottom line is, if you’re a newcomer to firearms want to learn how to safely shoot and enjoy your new gun or if you’ve grown up around firearms and shot your entire life, you will benefit in some way from getting good, solid training that fills in the gaps in your shooting skills.