Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Best Defensive Handgun

As a highly credentialed firearms trainer, I have seen, handled, and operated more than my fair share of different handguns. Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that I am frequently asked by many prospective first-time handgun owners about the best firearm for them to purchase for personal protection. It's a fair question. However, the definitive answer to this inquiry is simply: "It depends."

The best defensive handgun for a specific person is a pistol that perfectly fits his hand, is at least 9mm or higher in caliber, is a pistol he can reliably shoot, and is a handgun he feels good about owning.

The Best Handgun Must Fit Your Hand
A handgun must perfectly fit the shooter's hand to allow maximum control while operating it. To that end, no fingers should be hanging off the bottom of the frame, the trigger finger must be able to reach the trigger at the proper point, and the thumb must be able to reach all available controls: safeties, magazine detach button, and de-cocker.

Although most introductory gun safety training classes teach new shooters how to discharge a firearm with a two-handed grip, a handgun was designed to be used with one hand. Ultimately, it should be a goal for novice shooters to learn how to shoot one-handed - both left and right.

The Best Handgun Has A Caliber Size Of 9mm Or Higher
In addition, a defensive handgun should pack enough power to eliminate any threats. One must take into account that violent predators may be wearing heavy clothing or be high on drugs. A handgun with too low of a caliber size may require multiple hits to be effective. Most gun authorities and firearms experts suggest the following caliber sizes for a defensive handgun: .357, 9mm, .40, and .45. In general, less hits are required when engaging a threat with a higher caliber sized handgun.

The Best Handgun Can Be Reliably Used
Furthermore, the operator of a handgun must be able to reliably engage his target. As mentioned earlier, it is preferable to operate a higher caliber sized handgun. However, higher caliber sized handguns have more recoil (i.e. kick) and may require additional training and practice to master than is the case with a smaller caliber sized handgun.

There are penalties associated with missing your target when shooting a handgun. There is a legal concept known as "Transfer Of Intent." In simple terms, it means that the 'intent' to fire your gun travels - if you will - with your bullet until it hits a target. Thus, if you ever fire your handgun - at an assailant and miss but managed to unluckily hit another person who posed no threat to you - prison is likely to be your new residence.

In the aforementioned scenario, you 'intended' to shoot. Your intent traveled with the bullet that came out of your handgun until it hit a target. This target did not pose a threat to you so you will be looking at some type of a murder charge for 'intentionally' shooting someone. Harsh? Perhaps, but it is the law.

The moral of the story is to not miss your target. Only carry a handgun that you can reliably shoot and go to the range regularly to practice your defensive accuracy and marksmanship. I advise my students to practice at least once a month and to shoot at least a box of fifty cartridges. This is a minimum recommendation.

The Best Handgun Is A Joy To Own
Finally, a handgun should make its owner feel good. No two gun owners are exactly alike. Different people like different types of guns. Whatever you like in handguns should be manifested with an appropriate purchase.

Some folks love to watch the wheel turn on a revolver whereas others love autoloaders. Some folks swear by Glock™ while other would only buy an American-made handgun. Some ladies love pink guns and some guys love all stainless steel guns. The cool thing about personal preferences is that there are no right and wrong answers. It's really all about being happy with what you own.

Bottom Line:
In summary, there is no single best definitive handgun for all people. For sure, the definition of 'best handgun' that I described in this article does establish some minimum standards. Namely, your defensive handgun should be chambered in a caliber that is effective against threats, you should be able to reliably shoot the caliber you selected, your handgun should fit your hand properly, and your gun should give you pride of ownership.

So, what defensive handgun do you carry?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Handgun Buying Consideration: Form Factor

A prospective handgun buyer should consider 'form factor' when making the decision to buy a firearm. Form factor is a term that refers to the physical size and shape of a device. In this context, it will refer to the measurable dimensions of a handgun. The physical dimensions of a desired firearm will have resultant consequences and influences: operatability, caliber size, ammunition capacity, recoil level, and concealability.

A Handgun Must Perfectly Fit The Buyer's Hand
For starters, a handgun should perfectly fit its owner's hand as if it is a mere extension of it. The buyer's shooting hand should able to comfortably hold and control the firearm to maximize his ability to reliably control it. Thus, the buyer should not have any fingers unable to make contact with the frame. It is imperative that the buyer has complete control over his firearm such that there is no shifting and undesired movement of the gun while it is being firmly held.

From an operational standpoint, the buyer's shooting hand's thumb should be able to effortless reach and engage any controls that are present: magazine detach button, slide release lever, de-cocker lever, and any safeties. If the buyer can't engage the controls, this firearm is not the best purchasing choice for that person. If the shooter is left-handed, a gun with ambidextrous or opposite-side controls should be evaluated for purchase. Further, if the gun is ill-sized for the buyer's hand - too big or too small - a better size handgun should be consulted.

Moreover, the buyer's forefinger - also known as the trigger finger - should able to reach the trigger at the proper position. The middle fleshy part of the forefinger's first segment - centered exactly between the fingertip and the first crease - is what should make contact with the trigger when firing the handgun. If the buyer's trigger finger is not the proper length, another handgun should be evaluated for purchase. Improper trigger finger placement can induce a torque (twisting) force that will cause shots to be errant.

Ammo Capacity & Caliber Size Are Often Related To Size
It should come as no surprise that the ammunition capacity of a particular handgun is related to form factor. Quite simply, a larger gun can house either more chambers in its cylinder (for revolvers) or accept a larger magazine in the frame's well (for autoloaders).

Furthermore, a buyer's desire for a specific handgun caliber size can also influence ammunition capacity. For example, gun owners with smaller caliber sizes often realize that it may require more hits to neutralize threats than if they had a larger caliber firearm. Thus, a gun owner with a 9mm handgun may want and require a larger ammo capacity than another gun owner with a .45 caliber handgun.

Smaller Handguns Have More Recoil
With all other factors equal - including caliber size - smaller handguns generate more recoil (i.e. kick). Most of my CCW Class students are surprised to learn this fact but readily concede that it has to be true when I explain why. A small-sized .45 caliber handgun and a large-sized .45 caliber handgun both shoot the same ammunition.

Accordingly, the power generated by the discharge of both firearms are the same. The only significant difference between the two guns is the size differential. Thusly, a constant force applied to a smaller object - in this case a gun - will cause it to move more (i.e. have more recoil) than that same force applied to a larger handgun. So, if a buyer desires to acquire a small-sized large caliber handgun, he must know that he can handle the generated recoil such that he can reliably hit his intended target.

Concealability Is Related To Size
The ability to conceal a handgun on a person's body is an important consideration for folks with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL). The whole point of having a CPL is being able to secretly carry a gun. The element of surprise is lost if other people can see the gun's outline through the gun carrier's clothing. Obviously, larger handguns are harder to hide than smaller handguns.

Concealability of a handgun can also be influenced by the gun carrier's body shape, the gun carrier's style of dress, and the gun carrier's method of concealed carry. It might be necessary to conduct a lot of 'trial-and-error' tests to find the right combination of a suitable gun size along with the other aforementioned variables to optimize a firearm's concealment but it can be done.

Bottom Line:
A firearm's form factor is an important consideration when buying a handgun. The size of the handgun will have implications on other characteristics. Specifically, the following aspects of a gun are impacted to varying degrees by size: ammo capacity, recoil level, concealability, operatability, and caliber size.

Handgun Buying Consideration: New Versus Used

A prospective handgun purchaser may want to consider whether he should buy a new or a used firearm. For some people, the mere thought of buying anything used is unpalatable. In this scenario, it doesn't matter if the item in question is a laptop computer, an automobile, or a television set. These consumers typically have the mindset that the item is suspect. After all, if it was an item of value why would someone want to sell it? Other folks might be open to the idea of buying "pre-owned" goods if a good deal could be realized. This article will explore both sides of the debate.

Reasons To Buy A New Handgun
Buying a brand new handgun has the obvious benefit of implied utility. If a person acquires a brand new handgun it is expected to be in factory condition and free of defects. Thus, there are virtually no fears about making a bad purchasing decision on a lemon - a gun that has operational problems. A defective gun bought brand new can be readily returned or replaced to the gun shop without any issues.

Furthermore, on a retail purchase of a new gun, the buyer is assured of getting everything that the particular manufacturer intended for the end user of that firearm model to acquire: extra magazines, empty chamber indicator, operator's manual, and extra grip panels. In contrast, it is entirely possible that an unsophisticated buyer might not get a great deal when buying a used handgun because he was shortchanged a few extras.

The reluctance to buy a used handgun, for a lot of people, is mostly due their lack of knowledge. This condition can be easily overcome as knowledge about handguns can be readily acquired from a variety of sources. For example, there is a wealth of info available on firearms on the Internet: Gun Forums, Manufacturer's Web Sites, Gun Rights Organizations, and Firearms Instructor Sites. A little time spent "doing your homework" can pay off handsomely in realized bargains and increases in knowledge that can be shared with others.

Another argument often made to me, by students in my CCW Classes, is that many first-time buyers are uncomfortable about the idea of owning a gun with an unknown history. Specifically, they are concerned with whether "a body is on the gun." This interesting phrase makes reference to the fact they don't want a gun that someone may have been shot or killed with.

A firearm is a neutral inanimate object. Anything done legally or illegally with a lawfully owned and registered firearm is not the fault of the handgun; the result - good or bad - rests with the prior user. In a similar vein, in most states it is not a "material fact" for a real estate agent to disclose to a house buyer if someone died in a residence. It is legally not germane. Of course, if a handgun buyer believes in ghosts, haunted houses, and spiritually "possessed" firearms then it is important to know. It is not my intent to belittle folks who feel this way, but it shouldn't be the reason why they balk at buying a used firearm.

The Best Reason To Buy A Pre-Owned Handgun
The largest benefit of purchasing a used handgun is the ability to get a good deal. Firearms, like most other physical goods, suffer greatly from depreciated value from the moment it leaves the store with its new owner. The market value of a used firearm in good condition drops appreciably regardless of whether it was carried/used daily or safely stored in the back of a closet. Accordingly, a reasonably knowledgeable buyer can invest in a firearm purchase with a good expectation that the price he paid will at least retain its value.

To illustrate, some time after I had bought my first handgun - a brand new Smith & Wesson 9mm autoloader - I somehow became enamored with the idea of buying a matching 'twin' gun. My first handgun was purchased brand new from the now defunct Northwest Gun Shop in Redford, Michigan for the price of $400.

A short time thereafter I researched the local used gun market and found a matching twin for my autoloader in Lansing. I called the owner and we made a deal over the phone. The ensuing weekend I hit the highway and bought another Smith & Wesson 9mm autoloader. The gun was in excellent condition as it had been only used sparingly, had all the original factory issued equipment, and had a fully transferable limited life-time warranty from the manufacturer. This handgun cost me only $200, the time to drive to and from Lansing, and a quarter tank of gas.

In my personal example, I was able to basically get a 50% discount on a decent quality handgun. Sure, it wasn't brand new but it was definitely "good as new." Plenty of bargains, such as the one I received, are available in the used handgun market if you are willing to do your research. There are many used firearms that are not being actively used by their current owners: some owners upgrade to higher calibers whereas other owners inherit guns they don't want or need.

Bottom Line:
In today's political environment, which is openly hostile to gun rights and firearms ownership, prices for handguns have risen steadily since the last Presidential election. Buying a used handgun should be at least be considered, as a means to avoid paying inflated retail prices. It's a true win-win arrangement: an unwanted gun goes to a good home and a handgun buyer gets a great deal. Concerns about making a bad purchasing arrangement on a used handgun can be easily mitigated by doing basic research over the Internet or consulting with a knowledgeable firearms owner.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Saturday, May 30th 2009

We are pleased to announce another CCW/CPL Class of this year! So, if you have a desire to qualify for a Concealed Pistol License, so that you can feel safe, register for our next class.

Southfield Hampton Inn (Map to Hotel)
27500 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield, Michigan 48034

Option I

Pay Tuition in Advance ($150) and Save $20! (Total Cost: $150 + Range Expenses)

Option II

Pay Tuition Deposit ($85)/Pay Balance ($85) at the Door.
(Total Cost: $170 + Range Expenses)

Register at our site:

Range expenses will be incurred at the range to handle gun rental, range time, ammunition costs, and a fee for a target. The estimated fee is $35.

Our class starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp!

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - 99 - December 28, 2008

Handgun Buying Consideration: Revolver Or Semi-Automatic

A prospective handgun purchaser must make a decision as to which type of pistol he wants to buy: revolver or semi-automatic. This article will explore the differences between the types, so that a buyer will make an informed decision as to which suits him better. In general, I advise my CCW Class students to avail themselves of my training session before buying a handgun because I cover handgun buying considerations in great detail. Of course, it is not necessary to do so, but it can help a person from making an unwise purchasing choice.

Ease of Use
A revolver is clearly easier to use than a semi-automatic. All that it takes to use a revolver is to pick it up, aim it a target, and pull the trigger. It has the ultimate "point-and-click" interface. In contrast, a semi-automatic is more complicated. A semi-automatic may have safeties that have to be negotiated before discharging the firearm. These safeties may be located along the backstrap, along the slide, and on the trigger. Revolvers rarely have safeties. In addition, there are other controls which, if present, must also be mastered: magazine detach button, slide release lever, de-cocking lever, and etc.

Action Design
The action of a handgun is all of the parts that are used to load and unload the the firearm. The action on a revolver includes the cylinder release button which allows the cylinder to fold out away from the frame. Within the cylinder are several chambers where rounds of ammunition cartridges are loaded. The loading of the gun is completed when the cylinder is closed back into the frame. A revolver is unloaded by opening the cylinder and using the ejection rod to expel empty cartridge casings or live ammunition rounds from the chambers.

A semi-automatic handgun is loaded and unloaded differently. Ammunition rounds are first loaded into a magazine which is then placed into the magazine well in pistol's frame. The handgun is not ready for firing until a round has been cycled from the magazine into the gun's only chamber by pulling the slide completely back and releasing it like a slingshot. A semi-automatic is unloaded by first removing the magazine - via the magazine detach button - and then pulling the slide back to either unload a chambered round of ammunition or to verify that the gun is unloaded.

Firing Reliability
Through popular media, such as TV shows and movies, nearly everyone knows that a semi-automatic handgun can jam and fail to fire. Jams can occur because of 'limp-wristing' - a failure to properly hold the firearm such that the physics involved in the discharge of the gun do not allow it to fully expel a spent cartridge casing and 'auto-load' another round from the magazine. Proper instruction from a qualified firearms trainer can eliminate this cause of gun jams.

A jam with a semi-automatic can also occur as a result of not properly cleaning and maintaining it. All ownership manuals distributed along with the handgun at the time of purchase will state that you should clean your handgun after every time you shoot it. In truth, you could probably 'get away with' shooting your handgun for a while without cleaning it and not experience a failure to fire (FTF). However, each shooting session without cleaning your gun will lead to a greater possibility of a jam.

In contrast, revolvers are more forgiving with respect to cleaning. A manual for a revolver will also tell you to clean it after using it, but revolvers rarely jam due to poor maintenance. In extreme cases, a revolvers cylinder can in fact seize and cause a FTF.

In both cases - revolver or a semi-automatic - your handgun should be routinely maintained according to the schedule suggested in your owner's manual. If a fear of a jam is causing you to feel uneasy about purchasing an autoloader, don't worry. Semi-automatic jams are, for the most, overblown. Maintain your handgun and it will properly function.

Ease Of Maintaining
Most students in my Concealed Pistol License Training Class are surprised to learn that a semi-automatic handgun, despite the fact that it is more complicated to operate, is easier to clean and maintain than a revolver.

Without going into a lot of detail, cleaning a handgun is not that big of a deal; it takes me at the most only 10 - 15 minutes to perform on my autoloader: disassemble handgun into its four major components (frame, slide, barrel, and recoil spring), clean out my barrel with bore cleaner, clean up the slide area, clean up the chamber area, apply gun oil, and reassemble my handgun.

As mentioned before, an autoloader has only one chamber whereas a revolver has several chambers in the cylinder. The math is clear. A revolver has more chambers to clean than an autoloader. Thus, a revolver takes longer to clean.

Ammunition Capacity
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between revolvers and autoloaders is ammo capacity. Essentially, ammo capacity is the amount or quantity of cartridges that it takes to fully load the firearm. Revolvers are limited by the number of chambers that it has in its cylinder. Accordingly, most revolvers can only contain five or six ammunition cartridges. I will also add that this limit is not etched in stone, as caliber size of the firearm can influence maximum capacity. As an example, a Taurus Model 94 Revolver is a .22LR caliber handgun that has a maximum capacity of nine rounds.

Semi-automatic handguns, in general, have a larger ammunition capacity than revolvers. Autoloaders are limited only by the size of the magazine. For example, my Smith & Wesson Model SW9VE 9mm handgun has a total ammo capacity of 17 - that's with a fully loaded magazine of 16 rounds and a cartridge loaded in 'the pipe' (chamber). It should be noted that other factors can influence autoloader ammo capacity: handgun size, caliber size, magazine design, and etc.

Cartridge Casing Disposition
When I cover the differences between revolvers and autoloaders in my CCW Training Class, I always get at least one student who brings up the fact that the disposition of the casings are different. In a semi-automatic, when a discharge occurs the resultant blow-back force causes the slide to retract backwards which engages the ejection pin to remove the spent casing. The casing falls to the ground. In contrast, casings in a revolver stay in the cylinder until they are manually removed.

Ease of Reloading
This article already covered how to load and unload both revolvers and autoloaders. However, a distinction was not made as to which handgun was easier to load and unload. In my opinion, both are relatively easy to operate, if you know how.

I want to add an additional consideration: operating a firearm under stress. A stressful event such a home invasion or a robbery attempt can cause a victim to undergo physiological reactions: loss of fine motor skills, time distortion, tunnel vision, and etc. In my opinion, the loss of fine motor skills may make reloading a revolver impractical.

To load a revolver, a cartridge has to be placed into each chamber by hand. I doubt that someone under stress can reliably do that function, even with a speed loader device - a tool to facilitate loading a revolver. In contrast, an autoloader can be reloaded by inserting another loaded magazine into the handgun. Some manual manipulation is needed but it is easier to do than to reload a revolver.

Cool Factor
As a matter of personal preference, some buyers may favor a handgun style because it is more cool. Some people think that an old-school .357 Magnum is the ultimate must own firearm. Other folks think that autoloaders are the ultimate handgun style. With respect to cool, beauty is truly in the eye of the holder. There are no wrongs answers.

Bottom Line:
Buying a handgun is not a trivial purchase. Many factors should be considered before investing several hundreds of dollars before making a final decision. Deciding which handgun style - revolver versus autoloader - is better for you is dependent upon several factors: ease of use, action design, firing reliability, ease of maintaining, ammunition capacity, cartridge casing disposition, ease of reloading, and cool factor.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Handgun Buying Consideration: Caliber Size

The first decision that a new handgun buyer must make is to select a desired caliber size for his firearm. Of course, before that determination is made, the prospective purchaser would be best served if he knew how he wanted to use that handgun. For example, a handgun that is going to be used primarily for personal protection must at least meet a minimum caliber size to be effective. In contrast, handguns to be used for other purposes, such as participation in competitive shooting events, can have smaller caliber sizes.

What Does Caliber Size Mean?
A handgun's caliber is determined by a simple measurement of its barrel. The barrel of a handgun is the cylindrical metal tube that a fired bullet travels through until it exits the firearm's muzzle. Within the barrel's inner wall is a pattern of grooves and flat spaces (i.e. lands) that are formed in a corkscrew-like fashion. The purpose of this barrel's 'rifling' is to improve flight characteristics of the bullet by giving it a gyroscopic spin.

A handgun's caliber is the distance between a groove and an opposing land that passes through the barrel's center. In other words, it is roughly the diameter of the firearm's barrel. Caliber size, depending on the handgun, is measured in either English or metric units of measurement - inches and millimeters, respectively. For example, popular English unit caliber measurements include the following: .22LR", .25", .32", .357", .380", .40", and .45". In contrast, two popular metric caliber sizes are 9mm and 10mm.

Implications Of Caliber Size
Obviously, if caliber relates to the diameter of a handgun's barrel, a higher caliber handgun uses and fires larger sized ammunition rounds. Accordingly, larger bullets in the ammunition catridges make bigger holes in their designated targets. Thus, if a handgun is being used for personal protection, a victim's ability to successfully fight off an assailant is better augmented with a higher caliber handgun.

Furthermore, since relatively larger bullets are discharged from higher caliber handguns, more power needs to be generated from antecedent firing sequence to propel the bullet. As a consequence, the firearm will have more recoil or "kick" than a smaller caliber handgun. It is for this reason, most shooting textbooks will suggest that a new shooter should first learn marksmanship skills with a .22LR caliber handgun, which is only marginally bigger than a .177" caliber BB gun.

As a practical matter, a new shooter should borrow or rent a smaller caliber handgun to master marksmanship, as opposed to buying a handgun that he will quickly outgrow. There is no need to allocate handgun purchase money on a handgun that can not be reliably used for personal protection. Many first time firearm buyers do not have access to resources to simultaneously acquire several handguns.

Keep in mind that a handgun's caliber size does not have a directly linear relationship to its purchase price. Thus, it is very easy for a novice to mistakenly buy an expensive practice gun for the same money that could have bought two good quality carry handguns. For example, I had a student last year who bought a .22LR handgun just before he enrolled in my CCW Class.

I had the unpleasant task of informing him that for his purposes - personal protection - his $800 purchase could have bought two good quality Smith & Wesson 9mm caliber handguns. If you are going to buy your first handgun, it is imperative that you consult with an objective and knowledgeable gun owner; some gun shops just want your money and if they have an opportunity to sell a slow moving gun to an unwitting buyer they'll take it.

Another consideration related to caliber size is ammunition capacity. Larger caliber handguns typically can't be loaded with as many rounds of ammunition as a smaller caliber handgun. As a practical matter, a violent assailant - possibly high on drugs - may need to be engaged several times with a smaller caliber handgun. In contrast, a threat to your safety can be eliminated with less shots from a higher caliber handgun.

Minimum Carry Gun Caliber Size
The best caliber handgun that should be used for personal protection is 9mm. The 9mm caliber best balances the trade-off between power and felt recoil. It is for this reason, that many first-time handgun buyers choose this caliber size. A first-time handgun buyer should not immediately rule buying an even larger caliber handgun. Many new shooters, with excellent instruction from a qualified trainer, can learn to accurately and safely fire a .45 caliber handgun.

Student Video Testimonial #44 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #43 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #42 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #41 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #40 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #39 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #38 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #37 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #36 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #35 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Handgun Buying Consideration: Ammunition Availability

As a Firearms Trainer, I meet many people who desire to purchase their first handgun. In my state of Michigan compliant Concealed Pistol License Training Class, I share with them several handgun buying considerations that they need to assess so that they will make a wise decision. Until now, I had never mentioned ammunition availability as a critical factor.

The Reason Why Ammunition Is So Hard To Find
Ammunition is currently in short supply and will probably remain in that state for the forseeable future. This condition exists all over the entire United States, despite the fact that domestic ammunition manufacturers are working their factories literally around the clock to meet the increased market demand. It is of no practical consequence to discuss political ideology at this time, but the run on ammunition started in earnest after the recent U.S. Presidential Election.

Many gun owners believe that President Obama is vehemently anti-gun. This position and opinion gained traction in the minds of many when Secretary of State Eric Holder announced the President's plan to institute a gun ban. Holder's announcement created a huge backlash from law-abiding gun owners; many Democratic legislators in Washington distanced themselves, at least temporarily, from supporting that initiative.

As a consequence, many citizens are buying firearms of all types (e.g. handguns, rifles, and shotguns) and ammunition in large quantities. In fact, the buying behavior has gotten so pronounced that many retailers have begun rationing the amount of ammunition that a single person can buy at one time.

Implication For The First Time Handgun Buyer
As a firearms trainer, I am cognizant of the fact that it is preferable to teach new shooters the fundamentals of operating a handgun with a small caliber firearm. However, as a practical matter small caliber handguns are not acceptable options for personal protection. Accordingly, I have my students shoot 9mm caliber handguns during my gun safety training class; it is the smallest acceptable caliber for defensive purposes.

Ammunition for 9mm handguns, which is currently the most popular handgun caliber, is becoming exceedingly hard to purchase due to its scarcity. Stores are literally receiving ammunition shipments and depleting their stock in a matter of moments. Buyers have resorted to 'staking out' stores, consulting with others over the Internet, and cozying up to Shipping & Receiving employees to find out when ammo shipments are due to arrive.

One obvious implication of the current environment for a new handgun buyer is that there is no benefit to having a firearm if he does not have any ammunition to use with it. I ran into this issue head-on when I taught my last handgun safety class. The range did not have any 9mm ammunition for sale.

I improvised and had my students shoot .40 caliber handguns. Although, there is a difference in the amount of recoil experienced when comparing a 9mm caliber firearm with one chambered at .40, proper instruction will lead to new shooters performing admirably on the range. For the record, they did.

Bottom Line
The experience of having my students shooting .40 caliber handguns because of a 9mm ammunition shortage has led to an addition in the info that I now distribute to my students. From this point in time onward, until the current environment changes, I will also add 'ammo availability' as a handgun buying consideration. Thus, a new handgun buyer should now assess his chances of being able to buy ammo for the firearm he is thinking about buying. He may have to forgo the 9mm as an entry-level purchase and consider buying a .40 caliber handgun.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"S-H-E-M-A Gurls Talk" Internet Radio Interview - Detroit, MI

The following audio file contains an interview in which I was featured last night. It's about 60 minutes long and IMHO is a good introduction to responsible gun ownership for women considering a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009 Aftermath: The Under Appreciated Gift

Another Mother's Day has come and gone. Like most folks, on at least that day, I stop to reflect upon my personal values, quality of life, life-style, my childhood experiences, and how all of that was impacted and molded by my mom. My mom is "old-school," so I was brought up right. If I didn't behave and govern myself accordingly, I was "corrected" until I got it right. Today, when I rose and looked into the mirror I was pleased with the man I saw. I owe my mom big-time for that.

As a child, I didn't have or get everything that I wanted, but - more importantly - I had all that I needed: love, understanding, shelter, clothing, and food. As a child, you don't ever fully appreciate those things until you reach adulthood when you now have that responsibility to provide for your children.

Moreover, there something else that my mom provided to me and my three siblings that I only recently discovered - at least since I have been teaching Concealed Pistol License (CPL/CCW) Classes. My mom also provided us with safety. Yes, during our entire childhood there was a handgun in the house "just in case" a threat presented itself to us. We never saw the firearm or even knew that it existed. My mom is not a gun safety expert, but she was exceedingly responsible with owning it.

By the grace of God, no one ever tried to committ a home invasion upon our residence - one with a single parent raising four kids. However, if a danger had materialized, there is no doubt - in my mind - that the threat would have been eliminated. My mom gave us the unknown and under-appreciated gift of safety in our home. Today, as a firearms instructor, I am even more immensely impressed by my mom.

During this aftermath of yet another glorious Mother's Day that I have been blessed to witness, I ask of all the mothers who read this post to consider if they are ready, willing, and able to bestow upon their children an often unknown and unheralded benefit - the gift of safety.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Professional Firearms Instructors Do Not Shoot Their Students

You may have already heard the story about the firearms instructor who last week accidentally shot one of his students in the face during a Concealed Pistol License Training Class. Initially, I wanted to blog about this incident right away, but thought it would be best if I waited a few days to make sure my feelings on the matter didn't change.

Well, it's been a few days and my thoughts on what transpired have not changed. In a nutshell, it was inexcusable. It should have never happened. A lot of things have to go wrong before a negligent shooting incident can occur.

For starters, there should not have been live ammunition in the classroom. Ammunition should only be present on the shooting range. This class was being taught in the instructor's garage. For the life of me, I don't know who would want to take a class of any type in somebody's backyard, but it is clear that the class was not supposed to be engaged in any shooting exercises at that point.

Secondly, at the time of the shooting, the instructor assumed that the firearm he was handling was unloaded - a classic error. A professional firearms instructor never assumes that a gun is not loaded. In contrast, he will always assume that a gun is loaded.

When you assume that a gun is loaded, you will handle it with the respect that it deserves. As such, you will always keep it pointed in a safe direction. During this mishap, the direction of the gun was bad; the discharged bullet hit a table before being lodged into the victim's face.

When I was undergoing my firearms instructor training, our class was told that if we ever picked up a gun and didn't check its status (i.e. loaded or unloaded) we would automatically fail the course. No exceptions. That rule is that important. It is so ingrained into the minds of professionally trained firearms instructors, that I have a hard time believing that the instructor was professionally trained to teach a gun safety class.

Moreover, the instructor then did the unthinkable act of pulling the trigger of a handgun without knowing for sure if it was loaded. The published media reports of this incident stated that the gun "went off." Let me say this one thing about "guns going off:" Guns do not randomly discharge themselves. They need someone to pull the trigger before they will "go off." Firearms do not have a mind of their own.

Luckily, the victim was not critically injured, however, he did get shot in the face. This story could have had a worse ending, for sure. The instructor could have killed someone. The story reported the instructor's age as being 74. I am not going to say that he was too old to teach just because he is a senior citizen, but maybe he had some memory lapses. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he was not a professionally trained instructor.

For the record, I do not know the guy and had not heard anything - good or bad - about him before this incident. If you know this guy, you may have info as to his level of training. However, as a direct result of this incident he is already facing possible criminal charges and a lawsuit. After all, this instructor's last name is not Cheney. Further, I believe that he should not be allowed to teach gun safety classes in the future. If any organization has certified him to teach, they should revoke his certifications. He probably doesn't have any.

If you have any desire what-so-ever to take a Concealed Pistol License Training Class, do your homework before selecting an instructor. Sometimes, it is not a good idea to go with the guy who has the lowest tuition price. When you pay less, there is usually a good reason why.

Join Our Affiliate Program And Earn Cash For Every Referral!

We are pleased to announce that we have created an affiliate program for our Concealed Pistol License Training Class. In a nutshell, for every person who registers for our class through your affiliate link you will be a paid an immediate $25 commission via PayPal™

Program Details:
Joining our affiliate program is very easy. It'll only take you a few moments to qualify and to immediately be enabled to earn some fast cash. Most people already meet most of our affiliate program's requirements: a PayPal™ and a Facebook™ account.

First, you will need to join PayPal™. This service enables our company to make cash payments to you via the Internet. Our affiliate program will only make commission payments by PayPal™. If you do not have a PayPal™ account, go to their web site and sign up now.

Next, you will need a Facebook™ account. Facebook™ is a free social networking site where you connect with and communicate with friends, family, and associates over the Internet. Of course, when join the site you will need to "add" people to your friends list. Once you have a friends list, you can notify them of our CCW Classes through a special link that you will publish as a status update on your profile. If you don't already have a Facebook™ account, sign up now.

Further, once you have registered with Facebook™ you must then join our Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit Fan Page on the Facebook™ site. Visit our company fan page and click the link to join us. It is important that you join this page because we need to ensure that we have a reliable means of passing on important info about this affiliate program.

Finally, all you now need to do is to access our Events Page information at EventBee™ to participate in our paid commission program. When you visit EventBee™ you will need to sign in by either using your Facebook logon info via their FBConnect Feature () or to manually create a free account.

Once you are set up with an account at EventBee™ you should then visit our CCW Class Schedule for the entire year. Select a class that you wish to promote on your Facebook profile. When that page loads, there is a section on the right-hand side of the page that has a links entitled "Participate" and "Learn More."

Once you make the decision to "participate" by promoting our class, you will be presented with three options: Publish A Feed to Facebook™, Invite Facebook™ Friends to Event, and Invite Friends By Email. Further, if you have a web site or a blog, you will be given a special link to promote our classes.

The easiest way to promote our classes would be the "Publish A Feed to Facebook™" option. If you select this promotion option, a dialog box will present itself and give you an opportunity to place our ad on your Facebook™ profile.

Press the "Publish" button and our event will be posted on your Facebook™ profile.

Payment Details
You will be paid your $25 commission automatically by EventBee™ to your PayPal™ account when someone registers for our class through your link.

You are authorized to use your own link to take our class at a discount. This is our way of thanking you for supporting us.

If you have a lot of friends in your network, this is a good way to passively earn some money.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Student Being Coached By Us At The Range

My Next Media Appearance: Friday, May 15th, 2009 - 11pm EST

I have accepted an invitation to be featured as a guest on an Internet radio talkshow.

The program notes are listed as the following:

Program Description:
We will be joined by CCW/CPL Instructor, Rick Ector. He will share with us information about guns and how women can use them for protection along with gun safety and laws. He will also share some information about the CCW/CPL classes he teaches in Michigan.
If you are a woman, you should tune in!

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Sunday, May 17th 2009

We are pleased to announce another CCW/CPL Class of this year! So, if you have a desire to qualify for a Concealed Pistol License, so that you can feel safe, register for our next class.

Southfield Hampton Inn (Map to Hotel)
27500 Northwestern Hwy.
Southfield, Michigan 48034

Option I

Pay Tuition in Advance ($150) and Save $20! (Total Cost: $150 + Range Expenses)

Option II

Pay Tuition Deposit ($85)/Pay Balance ($85) at the Door.
(Total Cost: $170 + Range Expenses)

Register at our site:

Range expenses will be incurred at the range to handle gun rental, range time, ammunition costs, and a fee for a target. The estimated fee is $35.

Our class starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp!

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - 99 - December 28, 2008

Student Video Testimonial #34 From Our Detroit Michigan CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #33 From Our Detroit Michigan CCW Class