Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Classes - Sat. June 27, 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: http://www.detroitccw.com

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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Your First Handgun: Safeties

As a firearms trainer, I meet a lot of people who have a desire to increase their knowledge about firearms. Invariably, I get a fair amount of questions about handgun safeties. This article will explore the topic of safeties and explain their role in safe gun handling.

What Are Handgun Safeties?
A handgun safety is a mechanical device that is designed to prevent a firearm from discharging until it is deactivated. A lot of people view safeties as a fail-safe method for preventing accidental discharges. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As mentioned earlier, safeties are mechanical devices. As such, it is possible that they could fail to operate as designed. If a handgun user incorrectly assumes that his safety is fully functional, a unfortunate accident can occur if basic safety rules are not followed.

Thus, you should continue to exercise fundamental safe gun handling even if the firearm you are carrying has one or more safeties activated. A defective safety on a handgun is an unacceptable excuse for having an accidental discharge of a firearm.

The fundamental safe gun handling rules are listed as the following:

  • Always Treat A Firearm As If It Is Loaded
  • Always Keep A Firearm Pointed In A Safe Direction
  • Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
  • Always Keep Your Firearm Unloaded Until It Is Ready For Use
  • Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Beyond It

Types Of Handgun Safeties
There are no universal standards for handgun safeties. In fact, safeties are not present on all handguns. For example, it is rare for safeties to be present on revolvers. So, if it is very important to you that your firearm has a safety, you should consider buying a semi-automatic handgun.

Some semi-automatic handgun models have only one safety and others may have several safeties present. One common safety, that most newer handgun models have, is an internal safety designed to prevent the firearm from discharging if it is dropped.

Another safety that may be present on a handgun is a grip safety. This particular safety, present along the grip's spine (i.e. backstrap), prevents the gun from discharging if it is not held correctly. Moreover, there may also be a safety on the handgun's slide, within the actual trigger, or both.

The best way to determine both the types of safeties present on your handgun and how to use them is to consult with your handgun's operators guide. All new handgun purchases from BATF regulated gun shops include these manuals. In the event that a buyer acquires a firearm second-hand from a private seller, he may have to utilize info from other sources: manufacturer's web site, Internet gun forums, knowledgeable users, or a professional firearms instructor.

Should Your Handgun Have Safeties?
There is no right or wrong position to take with respect to whether you should have safeties on your handgun. Quite simply, it is a personal preference. However, be mindful, that there are trade-offs that have to considered before making a final decision.

A handgun with safeties is slightly more complicated to use. All safeties present on your particular model will need to be disengaged before the firearm will be capable of firing - assuming none of the safeties are defective. One consequence of the added complexity is that you will have to invest the requisite time to effortlessly be able to fire the gun when needed.

Some people think that safeties on a handgun will mitigate carelessness. For example, I have had some students suggest to me that their handgun must have safeties just in case their children gain unauthorized access to their firearm.

Make no mistake about this - if a child gains access to your firearm with multiple safeties engaged, it is only a matter of time, perhaps minutes, before they figure out to discharge it. So, do not harbor any false illusions about safeties making your children safe from the firearm's unauthorized use. As a responsible gun owner, you will need to make whatever lifestyle changes that are necessary to keep your gun out of reach from your kids.

In contrast, a handgun without a safety is extremely easy to use. All the user literally has to do is point it at a target and pull the trigger. Exercising and practicing good finger placement in accordance with the aforementioned gun safety rules will make a revolver as safe to own and use as a semi-automatic model.

Bottom Line:
Safeties are an added design feature, present on some handguns, that should not be solely replied upon to make a firearm safe. The best safety is a gun owners brain: gun safety rules should be learned and used every single time that a firearm is handled.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Michigan CCW Class: Shooting Qualification

For many students, the most highly anticipated component of a state of Michigan compliant Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (BPSTC) is the shooting range qualification.

It is in this module when students will have the opportunity to demonstrate how well they have retained firearm safety information that was presented to them earlier in the day: safe gun handling, safe gun loading, fundamentals of marksmanship, and safe unloading of a handgun.

This class module also presents a lot of uncertainty and angst for some students, as many participants had neither previously attended a target range nor discharged a firearm. This article will explore what students should expect when visiting a shooting range for the purposes of satisfying their statutorily defined shooting requirements while enrolled in a state of Michigan compliant BPSTC.

The state of Michigan statute, PA 381 of 2000, specifies that students enrolled in a valid BPSTC shall accomplish the following tasks: ammunition selection, shooting stances, and discharging 30 cartridges.

Range Safety Briefing
BPSTC students should be given a range safety briefing before they arrive at the range. This informational discussion will explain to students what is expected of them as a visitor to the target range. Topics covered should include a recap of fundamental firearm safety rules, an explanantion of target range specific rules, and a general understanding about what it is like to visit a range.

No student should be allowed to participate in a shooting session until they have satisfactorily demonstrated their comprehension of five fundamental safety rules:
  • Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Always keep your gun unloaded until it is ready for use.
  • Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Furthermore, the attending firearms instructor should ensure that students are aware of any specific rules that must be obeyed while on the premises of the target range. Some applicable items of interest may include any of the following:
  • Acceptable Behavior
  • Required Safety Equipment
  • Acceptable Ammunition
  • Acceptable Firearm Calibers

Moreover, since many students have never ventured into a target range, it is a good idea for the presiding firearms instructor to inform them of what to expect. Students should be prepared to see ominous looking signs that cautions visitors against producing firearms on the main floor.

As a practical matter, most gun shop employees are always on the lookout for suspicious behavior. Producing a handgun, outside of the shooting range area, may cause them to believe that you are attempting to commit a robbery. Thus, the practice of revealing a firearm should be strongly discouraged to avoid the possibility of a misunderstanding.

In addition, it is a common occurrence for all gun shop employees to be "openly carrying" a handgun in a holster that is visible. Since some students aren't yet totally comfortable with seeing handguns, students should be told that they shouldn't be shocked when they see a lot of people wearing firearms.

Yet still, the biggest surprise that many students usually experience is the sight of all of the firearms for sale in the display cases and mounted on the walls. Many students haven't seen a gun in person and are amazed at the wide variety. Most instructors let their students window shop before assembling the students together to start the shooting qualification process.

Ready, Aim, Fire!
The moment of truth for many students occurs when they are finally in the shooting stall with their firearms instructor. It is certainly understandable that some students will be a little nervous. The best firearms instructors 'size up' their students state of mind and talk to them for a bit to calm and soothe any periods or occurrences of nervousness.

By this point, all range fees have been paid, a handgun of an acceptable caliber has been selected, the proper ammunition type has been chosen, and everyone is wearing their safety equipment. For each student, the firearms instructor will hang the target on the conveyor system and send it away from the firing line to the designated distance.

The best firearms instructors leave nothing to chance, as they conduct a last-minute review with the student of everything that needs to be done to safely shoot the designated target:
  • Review Fundamental Gun Safety Rules
  • Demonstrate Magazine Loading
  • Demonstrate Magazine Insertion
  • Demonstrate Shooting Stance
  • Demonstrate Marksmanship Fundamentals
    • Breath Control
    • Sight Alignment
    • Trigger Movement
    • Follow-Through

  • Demonstrate Firing Firearm

Once the firearms instructor is satisfied that the student knows what is expected of him, he will then coach the student through the process of safely loading and discharging the firearm. While the student is shooting, the firearms instructor's first and most important duty is to ensure safety.

Safety is accomplished by closely monitoring the student's actions: muzzle control and thumb placement. The gun should always be pointed down-range towards the target and the student's thumb should not be positioned under the slide.

In addition, the instructor should be monitoring the shooting session for ammunition and handgun malfunctions. At anytime a potentially unsafe condition can occur. If it does, the firearms instructor's duty is to safely get it resolved.

It may require him to loudly vocalize a command over the noise level of the target range to get his student's attention. A loud and firm command is not a reason for a student to feel that he has been slighted. It is far better to have a student's ego slightly bruised than to have him experience an otherwise preventable accident - such as a thumb sliced by a handgun's slide.

Once the student has demonstrated the ability to fire a handgun safely, the instructor can then place more emphasis on coaching the student how to more accurately hit the designated spot on the target. Essentially, the instructor must decipher the student's results on the target and communicate to the student the correction that must be made.

Shooting Aftermath
Once the requisite amount of cartridges have been discharged at the target, the firearms instructor will give the student an assessment of the results. Most students will readily agree that they will need more practice to accomplish their personal protection objectives. However, in almost all cases, students will shoot well enough to satisfactorily complete the BPTSC and be bestowed a Certificate of Completion.

Further, most students will readily confess that the experience of shooting was enjoyable. Very few other activities function better as a stress reliever than shooting at a target. Additionally, students will confess that they now feel more empowered. For many, shooting a handgun for the first time is a defining moment in their lives, as they had to overcome many unfounded fears to summon the courage to enroll in a BPSTC.

Bottom Line:
Without a doubt, the shooting exercise in a BPSTC is the most exciting module for many students. In just one day, they started out as a novice gun handler and steadily progressed to being able to safely load, discharge, and unload a firearm. As a consequence, they have now met the state of Michigan's requirements to apply for a Concealed Pistol License.

The success of a student's progress at the shooting range will be dependent upon their firearms instructor's ability to safely monitor the shooting session. The student will be taught safe gun handling and his actions will be closely scrutinized. Further, the student will be coached on marksmanship fundamentals and given specific tips to improve their ability to hit exactly what they desire on a target.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Firearms Instructors Really Sell

Firearms training services, like any other business, have to effectively market their services to stay in business. They trade their time, knowledge, and expertise in exchange for monetary gain from their students. However, if you think that firearms trainers actually "sell" gun safety classes and shooting lessons, you couldn't be more wrong.

How Effective Businesses Market Their Services
In the field of marketing, astute business owners sell the "benefits" - not the features - of the goods and services that they offer for sale in the marketplace. For example, in the 1980's the Domino's Pizza empire did not really sell pizza; they sold piping hot delivered food which was guaranteed to be at the customer's doorstep in 30 minutes. No one could have ever accused them of serving the best tasting pizza.

In a similar vein, FedEx does not really sell package delivery services. Instead, they sell guaranteed over-night delivery. Their slogan was, "When it absolutely positively has to be there over-night."

What Firearms Training Providers Do Not Sell
Firearms training services do not sell protection. In fact, no one can guarantee that a specific individual will be shielded from an attempt on his safety. History has repetitively shown us that even the most powerful can be brought down with a rifle from a solitary predator.

There have been many attempts to sue police departments for their "failure" to prevent heinous crimes from being committed against helpless victims. In court case after court case, the rulings have always been that the role of the police is to only keep and preserve the general peace, arrest suspects, and to investigate crimes. That's it.

Furthermore, when it really comes down to it, the police couldn't protect you, even if they really wanted to do so. They simply can not be everywhere. However, if they could be everywhere at all times of the day, would you really want that? Personally, that scenario sounds like being under the constant supervison of the government. You can't have freedom in a police state.

Fireams training services do not sell the right to keep and bear arms. All citizens of the United States already have that right conferred upon them as a birthright courtesy of the Second Amendment. It is not too surprising that not too many people know that it is perfectly legal in most places - including Michigan - to strap on and carry an openly displayed handgun without a permit of any kind. The government is not interested in its citizens knowing about and exercising their rights.

Firearms training services do not sell James 007 Licenses To Kill. A Concealed Pistol License, issued by the state, only authorizes you to carry a concealed firearm "on or about your person." No one has the right to indiscriminately kill another. However, as I have shared with many of my students, criminals care very little about the law and will kill, rape, rob, assault, and stalk anyway.

All citizens, with or without a CPL, have a right to self-defense when presented with a threat to their safety. So, do not think for a minute that because you don't have a CPL that you can't defend your life. Admittedly, defending your life with a firearm is much easier than without one. But since most people lack the will or the knowledge of the legality of carrying an openly displayed handgun, it is effectively a right that is by default lost.

What Firearms Instructors Do Provide
Firearms training services provide their customers ultimately with independence. As a consequence of taking a course that prepares them to carry a concealed firearm, they are exercising more responsibility over their own safety instead of expecting someone else to do it for them.

It is rude to ask someone - like the police - to do something for you that you are unwilling to do for yourself. Personally, I don't think that the police make enough to do the job that they do. It is a dangerous and often-times a very dangerous occupation. Something inside of me tells me that they have an ingrained disdain for those who do not value their own life and the lives of their loved ones enough to do what is required to achieve safety.

Today, our country's economy is teetering upon collapse, the state of Michigan is closing down prisons, Detroit has been crowned both "The Murder Capital" and "The Most Violent City In America," and Kym Worthy - Wayne County Prosecutor - has accused Detroit Police of under-reporting crime figures to the FBI. As troubling as times are today, they will only get worse.

Concealed Pistol Licensees have an option should they ever be confronted with unprovoked violence from a dangerous predator. There are no guarantees as to how a show-down will play out, but having a chance to protect yourself is significantly better than having no chance at all.

The handgun is the ultimate equalizer. Now, the aged can defend against the old - the female can defend against the male - the solitary person can defend against the many.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Your First Handgun: Proper Maintenance

A handgun, not unlike an automobile, needs to be properly maintained to function as designed. In the case of a car, you need to maintain proper air pressure in the tires, change the engine oil every 3,000 miles, and not abuse it by traveling over treacherous terrain. A handgun also requires proper care: shoot only authorized ammunition, don't drop it or otherwise physically abuse it, and clean it as specified in the operator's guide.

How Often Should You Clean A Handgun?
Most handgun operator guides will specify that you clean your firearm after each and every time that you use (i.e. fire) it. In truth, I will admit that I don't clean my own handguns after every firing session at the range. However, I do know that I am supposed to keep them cleaned and don't let too many rounds go down my barrel before handling the task of proper maintenance.

Further, firearms that have been stored away and are not actively being used should be cleaned every three months. An inactive firearm should be tended to, inspected, and cleaned regularly to head off potential rust and corrosion problems.

Cleaning a handgun does not take a lot of time - about 15 minutes - and is not a difficult task to perform. In fact, it is quite easy. Just like everything else, those things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. The real crux of the matter is that cleaning a handgun is not the most exciting thing to do in the world.

First-Time Handgun Cleaning Reluctance Is Understandable
First-time handgun owners may experience some angst about their initial cleaning of their firearm as some handgun owner's manuals don't give a lot detailed info as to how this routine task should be performed.

For example, when I bought my first handgun I remember reading my owner's guide several times before attempting to clean it and I still came away from the experience not fully understanding how it should be performed. In my opinion, the owner's guide did a great job of informing me how to 'field-strip' (i.e. disassemble) my autoloader into its four major components, but it left out the details about literally how to clean it.

This casual approach - in some manuals - to information delivery may give the brand new handgun owner a lack of urgency with respect to maintenance. New handgun owners may have some understandable reluctance about cleaning their handguns because they have never cleaned a firearm and don't want to make a mistake. A lack of information and perhaps a bit of embarrassment about their plight may ultimately lead to a handgun being neglected.

Consequences Of Not Cleaning Your Handgun
Make no mistake about it, a failure to inspect and clean your handgun can have dire circumstances. In the worse possible case scenario, the handgun may be needed to defend its owner against a threat and fail to fire because it jammed. A neglected firearm, especially an autoloader, can jam if its barrel is ladened with lead deposits from repeated firings without a thorough cleaning.

In a less severe scenario, a handgun owner's neglect can lead to his firearm being unnecessarily damaged because a small defect went un-noticed and eventually blossomed into a major repair job. With regular cleanings, the handgun is inspected and potential physical problems can be quickly identified and remedied.

Handgun Cleaning Resources To Be Consulted
A new handgun owner - having some difficulty understanding how to clean his firearm - should consult with a knowledgeable person. Many resources come immediately to mind: the gun dealer who sold him the handgun, the web site of the handgun's manufacturer, a local gun safety expert, and/or video tutorials available over the Internet. Many firearms enthusiasts have posted video clips on Youtube™ on how to clean a variety of handguns. There's probably one available for viewing about your handgun.

In my specific case, I was fortunate enough to have a brother-in-law who already had owned the same firearm model I had just bought. He was very familiar with his firearm and he demonstrated to me in short order how to clean my handgun.

How To Clean A Handgun
Obviously, all handguns are different. Thus, no one article can inform anyone how to exactly clean every handgun model on the market. However, in general terms you will need a handgun cleaning kit. These kits are available at all gun shops and some major general purpose retail outlets like Wal-Marts™.

Handgun cleaning kits usually contain the following components: a variety of different wire bore brushes, cleaning extension rods, and a case. Additionally, you will need to separately buy bore cleaner, cleaning patches, and gun oil.

The first thing that you will need to do is to unload or verify that your handgun is unloaded while keeping it pointed in a safe direction. It is absolutely critical that you are sure your gun is unloaded; some models require you to pull the trigger on your firearm before it can be field-stripped.

If the handgun is a revolver and has been unloaded or verified to be unloaded the action is already opened to facilitate cleaning the firearm. If the handgun is an autoloader it should be field stripped into its major components: frame, slide, recoil spring, and barrel.

In either case, revolver or autoloader, the proper sized bore brush from the cleaning kit should be located, have an extension rod attached to it, and have cleaning patches draped around the brush's bristles. Bore cleaner should be liberally applied to the covered brush.

The brush should be then used in the bore of the handgun's barrel to scrub away lead deposits. The patches should be changed often and the process should be repeated until the patches are no longer sullied by lead from the handgun.

After the bore has been cleaned, any present chambers should be cleaned. Autoloaders have only one chamber and revolvers have several chambers in the cylinder. Whatever the case, all applicable chambers should be thoroughly cleaned.

Next, gun oil should be applied to the specified areas of the handgun as detailed in the operator's guide. Typically, only a drop is needed at each contact point.

The gun should be thoroughly inspected for wear and then made operational. For a revolver, close the action. For an autoloader, re-assemble the handgun.

Bottom Line:
A handgun needs to be properly maintained to ensure that it is available for use when needed. Most firearm manuals will stipulate that the handgun should be cleaned and inspected after each usage. Handgun maintenance is relatively easy and does not take a lot time to perform. New handgun owners unsure of how to maintain their firearms should consult with available resources to prevent their handguns from being neglected.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Your First Handgun: Use The Correct Ammunition

It is absolutely imperative that a handgun user loads his firearm with the correct ammunition. A firearm loaded with the wrong cartridges could lead to an unfortunate incident which could lead to death, severe bodily injury, and/or damage to the handgun itself. An improperly loaded handgun can lead to dangerously elevated internal pressures which can cause the firearm to literally blow up in your face. Fortunately, there are several ways to easily determine the proper ammunition for a specific handgun.

Read Your Operator's Guide Before Loading Your Handgun
The best way to determine the proper ammunition for your handgun is to thoroughly read your operator's guide. An operator's guide is provided to every new handgun buyer at the point of purchase. If you purchased your firearm second-hand ask the seller if he has it available for you to take. If not, all is not lost; you can use the Internet to visit the handgun manufacturer's web site. Most gun makers have manuals available for download.

Your manual will specifically tell you what caliber sizes that can be safely fired in your handgun. In most cases, the caliber of the handgun will exactly match the ammunition. For example, a 9mmm handgun will accept, chamber, and safely fire 9mm ammunition.

Moreover, if your handgun can fire other cartridge sizes - different from the handgun's caliber - that info will also be provided. A manual for a .357" caliber handgun will inform the reader that both 38 Special and .357" rounds can be used in a .357" caliber handgun. Be forewarned, however, that the converse is not true.

Furthermore, you should ignore advice given on Internet forums and bulletin boards about ammunition substitutions. Personally, I have recently read some disturbing posts in which it was suggested that a person could safely load, chamber, and fire a 9mm handgun with .380" ammunition. For the record, do not use any ammunition in your handgun that was not explicitly stated as acceptable. A failure to heed info in your manual can be extremely dangerous.

Hopefully, by now, you are getting the point about reading your manual carefully and not making any assumptions. If you do not fully understand something in your manual, do not use your firearm until you get the matter resolved. Talk with your gun dealer, a representative from your gun's manufacturer, a credentialed gun safety expert, and a knowledgeable user.

Your handgun manual will also inform you as to whether your firearm can shoot +P and +P+ ammunition. In a nutshell, both +P and +P+ ammunition rounds have been loaded with higher than normal charges. Rounds with a higher than normal amount of smokeless powder will make more powerful discharges and could lead to damage to your handgun if it was not designed to handle the stress. If your handgun is damaged because you used these rounds and your manual said that you couldn't, your warranty probably will not cover your loss.

Other Ways To Verify Your Ammunition
Another way to determine the correct ammunition for your handgun is to visually inspect your handgun for caliber designation markings. All new handguns sold today have the caliber size clearly marked, usually on the barrel. Thus, if your handgun is marked "45ACP," then your handgun's caliber is .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol).

Sometimes, you will have to decipher the markings to make a proper identification. For example, some 9mm handgun are marked as "9X19." If you did not know that 9X19 was also known as 9mm, you would have to consult with a knowledgeable gun authority to provide you with counsel. Under no circumstances should you ever guess the caliber of your handgun and load it with what you "think" is the proper ammunition for your gun.

Should you ever be lucky enough, during this current age of ammunition shortages, to be the recipient of an ammunition gift, you can inspect the cartridges to make a proper determination as to whether they are safe to use in your handgun. The bottom face of a cartridge's casing - the headstamp - has markings. Among the markings present should be the caliber. The imprint is very small, so if your eyesight is not that great, you may have to squint or use a magnifying glass. Other markings which may be present will often designate the manufacturer and +P or +P+ ratings.

Additionally, if the ammunition was presented to you in a box from a ammo manufacturer, the box's labeling should also be inspected to double-check and verify the caliber of the ammunition. As an FYI, if you didn't buy the ammo yourself from a gun shop, you should check the headstamp on each cartridge. I suggest this because your gift may be a consolidation of left-over rounds from other ammunition boxes. A round of a different caliber could also be in the box. Mistakes happen. You don't have to be injured because of one.

Bottom Line:
Firing a handgun safely requires that the operator loads it with authorized ammunition. Improperly loaded handguns are a safety hazard that can cause harm to both the shooter and anyone standing close by. The proper ammunition for a specific handgun can be determined by reading the operator's guide, consulting with credible authorities, and inspecting the handgun's barrel and/or the headstamp of the cartridges.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW Class Snippet - Female Shooter

Your First Handgun: Three More Things To Buy

As a firearms trainer and a state of Michigan concealed pistol licensee (CPL), I sometimes take for granted the lifestyle changes I had to make and the small kernels of knowledge that I had to pick up when I first started carrying a gun. One such "Oh yeah" moment occurred a few months ago when I was assisting one of my students with her selection of a defensive handgun.

For a while, I had extended many free courtesies to students who took and completed my CCW/CPL Training Class. For example, I would freely (i.e. without cost) make my time available for students who wanted to recreationally shoot at a local target range and help them to pick out for purchase the best handgun that fit their unique needs. Unfortunately, I had to discontinue the practice as quite a few students started to "no-show" without calling. So now, I still "coach and shop" for a nominal fee to get them to actually show up to the meeting.

In any case, I had this one particular student who had to budget her finances for a while until she could raise the funds necessary to purchase her first handgun. As a rule, I tell my students to expect to pay "in the neighborhood of" about $400 - $600 for a quality defensive handgun to reliably protect themselves.

I do understand that for many people that this amount of money is a huge sum. Many times it takes moving some expenses around for a period of time to acquire the necessary amount. On the other hand, some people take the viewpoint and position I took after I was robbed several years ago before I started carrying a gun.

My mindset, at that juncture, was all about getting armed as quickly as possible. I didn't have any extra money. However, I was willing to pay some bills late and worry about getting them caught up later. Protecting myself was my highest priority. Everything else was secondary.

In her case, she had accumulated $500 to buy her handgun. So, we made an appointment to meet up at the gun shop. When we finally got together at the range, we looked at a variety of different pistols while considering different variables: form factor, caliber, brand, and etc.

In the end, we found what we believed to be the best fit for her among the models available for sale. Sometimes, you can't get everything you want in a handgun when the political climate has handguns in short supply with escalating prices. Coincidentally, her purchase - with sales tax - matched the amount of money she had budgeted.

My student "thought" that her shopping was now done. I had to then "remind her" with info that I had previously shared in my class. Specifically, she needed to buy three more items: a holster, defensive ammunition, and a small car safe. My student then told me that I should have told her about the additional requirements again before she arrived.

A holster is need to securely "carry" the handgun. Only criminals carry guns without a holster; they don't want to arouse suspicions from law enforcement that they may be in possession of a handgun. Licensed carriers, however, want to be able to securely tote their firearms without losing control of them, such as would the case if they dropped it in a supermarket check-out lane.

We had to discuss how she wanted to carry her gun. Did she want to carry her handgun with a waistband holster? If so, inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB)? Did she want a shoulder rig? Would an ankle holster work? Would a pocket holster or a concealed carry purse make sense. She hadn't considered all of the options and asked me to make the call. I went to the shelf and grabbed a quality leather IWB holster that matched her gun and tossed it onto the counter.

Defensive ammunition was the next item on the shopping list. As I also earlier taught in my class some time ago, jacketed hollow points (JHPs) should be carried in a defensive handgun. This ammo is specifically designed to stop in the first target that it hits. In so doing, it significantly reduces the chances of "over-penetration."

If a CPL made the decision to not carry JHPs and to instead use regular practice ammunition - full metal jackets (FMJs) - it is possible that a bullet could hit its primary target and over-penetrate completely through and strike another unintended target. The gun owner, in that scenario, would be held liable for that errant bullet and could face criminal prosecution and/or a civil action via an aggrieved party to a lawsuit.

So, my student "had" to buy at least one box of defensive ammo. There is absolutely no sense in having a gun if you can't load it and ultimately use it if a threat materializes without jeopardizing the safety of the neighborhood.

Finally, the last item to be picked up was a car safe. It is needed because there are places - Pistol Free Zones - where CPLs can't legally carry their concealed firearms. In those areas, the exempt parking lots can serve as a holding area. So, the safe is needed to securely lock away and store her gun when visiting those forbidden carry areas.

In all, she spent close to $200 more than she had originally planned. So, if finances are tight, handgun buyers should make sure that they have enough money to buy "must-have" accessories to accompany a concealed firearm. Before we parted ways, I also suggested that she buy some shooting glasses, hearing protection, and a cleaning kit. Those items can wait - for now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Your First Handgun: Read The Manual

Most handgun buyers are eager to quickly operate their newly purchased "hardware" at the nearest available shooting facility. It is certainly understandable that a new firearm owner wants to see how well his new acquisition performs.

More than likely this purchasing decision, especially if it was the buyer's very first handgun, was not quickly made; considerable time was probably invested in an effort to buy the best gun for his needs. The "moment of truth" has now arrived after mulling over and making a decision on the numerous options that had to be weighed: form factor, caliber size, new versus used, revolver versus autoloader, and etc.

However, despite the buyer's heightened anticipation, no action should be performed with the gun until he has completely read and understood his firearm's operator's guide.

The operator's guide is the definitive source of information on a specific handgun. It will inform the handgun owner of everything that he needs to know about his handgun. The following topics are usually addressed:

  • Firearm Safety Review
  • Firearm Features
  • Firearm Operation
  • Firearm Maintenance
  • Allowable Ammunition
  • Warranty Info

The operator's guide is provided by the firearm's manufacturer and is provided to the buyer with the purchase of every new handgun via a gun dealer. If a buyer purchases a used handgun from a private seller, the buyer should inquire as to the availability of the guide that was originally provided with the gun.

If the operator's guide is not available, the manufacturer's web site should be searched in an effort to locate one for download. If all else fails, the used handgun buyer should contact the manufacturer or designated importer by mail or telephone to locate and acquire a duplicate copy.

It is absolutely imperative that a handgun owner completely reads and comprehends everything in his operator's guide. If anything is not readily and clearly understood, the gun buyer should find someone to answer his questions before using his handgun.

Many handgun manufacturers have a customer service phone hot-line or a contact facility/mechanism on their web site. If the buyer has a question, he should use it to get the answer he needs. Other resources that buyers should be able to turn to for credible information about their gun would include the following: the dealer that sold him the gun, a firearm safety expert, or a knowledgeable gun owner.

A failure to read and/or comprehend the info in the operator's guide can have negative consequences. In extreme cases, it could lead to a death or severe bodily harm. In lesser cases, it could lead to a malfunction or otherwise avoidable damage to your firearm - which may not be covered by any applicable limited life-time warranties if the terms specified in the guide were violated.

Bottom Line:
An operator's guide is provided to buyers as a tool for them to learn how to safely operate their firearms. Most guides are less than 50 pages in length and will not require a great investment of time to absorb and digest. Thus, it is a no-brainer that new gun owners should read it before operating their handgun, especially when the penalty for not doing so could lead to death, severe bodily harm, or damage to the firearm itself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Detroit Michigan CCW CPL Class - Saturday, June 13th 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: http://www.detroitccw.com

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 #46 From Our Detroit MI CCW Class

Student Video Testimonial #45 From Our Detroit MI CCW CPL Class

Handgun Buying Consideration: Manufacturer's Reputation

A prospective handgun buyer may want to consider the manufacturer's reputation when making the decision to buy a firearm. For most people, the purchase of a firearm is not a trivial task. As such, a new buyer wants to ensure that he makes a great purchasing decision to maximize the value received. In many cases, selecting a popular brand via a variety of factors may simplify the purchasing process and the need to do extensive research.

Brand Market Leaders Are A Good Start
In any market for any type of good or service, there are always a few brands that are "top of mind" in the eyes of the consumer. For example, when you think of car rental companies, Hertz™ and Avis™ might 'come to mind first.' Further, if a person was considering the usage of a package delivery service the names FedEx™ and UPS™ may be instantly recalled.

In the world of handguns, certain manufacturers 'come to the mind' of the average person regardless of whether he has any appreciable experience or knowledge about pistol brands: Glock™, Smith & Wesson™, and Colt™.

One ostensible justification for buying models from well known handgun brands is that they are typically well supported in the marketplace. Thus, should a pistol buyer ever desire to also buy accessories especially designed for use with his firearm, he should have no problems finding them at a local gunshop. In constrast, a buyer of a firearm from a lesser manufacturer may have to buy items, such as spare magazines, direct from the factory or Internet specialty shops.

A high level of awareness in the consciousness of the general public is not random. The marketing departments of those aforementioned manufacturers have exerted considerable effort, time, and money to popularize their brands. These brands are heavily promoted in a variety of venues: gun fan sites, gun forums, trade shows, dealership displays, and product placements in feature films.

Social Proof And Handgun Brands
A first-time handgun buyer may be more inclined to consider models from one of those aforementioned pistol manufacturers rather than from a lesser known entity. In the field of psychology, the propensity of a person to do a certain action or to behave a certain way - just because other people are doing those actions - is known as 'social proof.'

In very simple terms, social proof means that in uncertain situations a person will seek out cues or hints as to how he should behave based on the actions of others. To illustrate, there was at one time a very popular commercial that ran on television.

In that ad, which was selling enterprise computing systems, a voice-over at the end stated that, "No one ever lost their job by going with IBM." This ad was playing upon the fears of a corporate buyer making a bad purchase by considering a lesser known provider.

With respect to the purchase of a handgun, the financial stakes are not as high as they could be when buying an online transactional processing program. However, no one wants to make a bad firearms purchasing decision which could be potentially derided and citicized by others.

In a recent CCW Class that I conducted a student brought in a 9mm caliber semi-automatic handgun that was manufacured by Daewoo. Personally, I didn't even know that Daewoo made firearms and was rather interested in checking out her gun. I was careful not to be overly curious.

The last thing that I would want to do as a firearms instructor would be to belittle one of my students. I sensed that this student was a little self-concious about her gun's brand when we talked about better known brands which were well represented by other students in the class.

Thus, social proof can cause many firearms buyers to seek out the opinions of other gun owners who they know and trust. In fact, I bought the very same handgun that my brother-inlaw owned because he was happy with it. Additionally, it didn't hurt that the gun's manufacturer was Smith & Wesson™.

As such, I went to the nearest gunshop and told the dealer what I wanted. No sales pitch was needed. All he had to do was lead me through the piles of requisite paperwork to conduct the transaction.

The Handgun Brand As A Status Symbol
For many people, the goods and services they purchase makes a statement about their personality or their status. This concept exists throughout our society. For example, there are personal or societal reasons why someone would shell out $20,000 for a Herm├Ęs “Birkin” handbag.

Certainly, there are less expensive models of 'arm candy' available from other manufacturers. It is not wrong to buy a pricey purse. It's a personal preference, which may give an indication of one's wealth and perhaps inspire envy in the hearts of others. Whatever the reason, it's okay.

With respect to handguns, there are people who buy expensive firearms as an personal expression of their individuality. For example, Kimber, a well recognized and respected manufacturer of match-grade competition pistols, has a steady and consistent clientelle of persons who eagerly spend as much as $1,000 or more for their products.

For the record, a quality defensive handgun can be bought from a 'known' manufacturer for as little as $400. Thus, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to buy a means of personal protection. As with the handbag example, it is a matter of personal preference.

The Handgun Brand As An Identity
Many buyers of a particular handgun brand visit and join web sites devoted to a particular manufacturer. These online sites give gun owners a sense of community and belonging. While visiting these forums they are able share their feelings, opinions, original research, comparative analyses, tips, and justifications for not selecting other firearm brands.

For example, the following Internet sites are examples of online communities devoted to a specific handgun brand: GlockTalk, SIGforum, and BerettaGunForum.

A person who is conducting research on which handgun brand to select would be wise to visit and participate in as many of these forums as he can find. There is a wealth of information available on these sites that can help a prospective buyer make a better informed opinion about a specific brand. One word of caution: the opinions expressed on a particular site may be biased. After all, why would a community band together online to complain about a bad purchasing decision.

Bottom Line:
An individual who is contemplating a handgun purchase should consider using the manufacturer's reputation as a criterion. The selection of a popular brand can simplify the requisite research necessary to make a wise decision, as opinions from respected resources - people and online communities - can narrow the mind-boggling array of available options down to a manageable few. The remaining models to be evaluated can be evaluated for purchase based on other purchasing considerations which may include personal preferences and social identification.