Visiting the Gun Range 101 - Politicrossing
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Visiting the Gun Range 101

Photo courtesy of Patriot Outdoors, Inc.

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Does it Surprise You?

Does this surprise you? There are many factors that have contributed to the increase in firearm sales last year. Already knowing it was an election year, we had some added “scare” factors which we reacted to that led to this increase. Fears of gun ban legislation in one form or another by states and potential federal action by then potential new administration. The unprecedented outbreak of rioting across the country. To make matters worse, there was an amazing amount of illogical rational by state and local governments not enforcing law in many left or left leaning cities and states.

They literally threw gas on the fire by exacerbating law enforcement agencies with threats of decrease in funding, further scrutiny (some justifiable) but also leading to a notable decrease in officers on the streets.

So, more than ever Americans started coming to their own conclusions. “What should we do if we call 911 and cops aren’t going to show up or can’t show up fast enough?” Answer: “Well, maybe we need to protect ourselves!”

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Myself, being in the industry and personally witnessing and assisting the rush of thousands to the stores and ranges for guns, gear and more importantly training was indeed unprecedented. The look of bewilderment of these first time visitors to a gun store or range was alarming. Fear in their eyes and money in hand they looked to us for answersand solutions

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Did You Know?

Did you know in the first seven months of 2020, we added easily 5 million Americans to the ranks of the existing 100 million new gun owners nationwide.  Oh, wait there’s more… A stunning 39.6 million FBI background checks were conducted and at the end of the year we Americans purchased over 40 million firearms and increased ammunition sales by 139% from 2019.

Further surveys indicate that 58% of firearm purchases were done by black Americans, while women initiated 40% of all purchases. Firearms retailers also noted that sales of firearms had nearly doubled, and ammunition sales were up 139% from 2019.” ~Americas1stfreedom.org

How to Visit the Gun Range

If you put all of that together common sense would dictate there are millions of unaware Americans needing knowledge, skills and a well rounded view of what to expect when going to a gun store or range for the first time. The statistics show already this year that millions more are flocking to the stores for gun purchases and training. I’ve been asked by the awesome staff here on politicrossing.com and many others over the years, how to “bridge the gap” or interpreting gun range or store protocols to the average all American.

Gun Ranges 101

Ok, here we go! So, How do you pick a range? I’m here to tell you that with the hundreds upon hundreds of ranges across this great nation, they are not all created equal! There are many ranges that are stellar and then there are those that are just “trying”. Like any business in any industry you will find that people make a business and we as humans are all not perfect. However, since people make up a business; you as a consumer should want the best experience possible. So, look for the best business possible to give you that experience.

  • Customer Service is Huge: Look up ranges in your area on www.wheretoshoot.org, google maps, yelp and on social media outlets. A good range facility will keep up with their content. You want to go to a range that has two key positive components
    • Product Knowledge: Do they know what they are talking about?
    • Industry Experience: Not everyone behind the counter needs to be some “billy badass” looking guy or “tough chick” with a cop or military background to get you great service or advice. I’ve personally brought staff on with little to no experience but what they did have was a care for others and a willingness to learn and those staff members I have cherished over the years and made my companies flourish! Bottom line, find someone who shows they care!
  • Location: Not all ranges will be in the most convenient locations, due to politics, price of real estate and encroaching negative demographics forecasting a ranges potential demise. Ranges seem to find themselves off the beaten path. Whether indoor or outdoor, I have found that to be true.  Just understand they all won’t be perched in the easiest to get to retail locations. Look for their website and directions and make sure it’sconvenient for you.
  • Essential Gear: Once you have picked a range, you’re on your way. Even if don’t have a gun with you already, you’re going to want some gear if you plan on shooting at all.
    • Gear Bag– find a range bag is what we call them, large enough for a couple handguns, ammo boxes, maybe even a first aid kit “I’ll talk about “medical stuff” on another video”.
    • Eye & Ear Protection: When you go to an outdoor range, any pair of good eye covering sunglasses will do, I prefer Smith and Oakley’s. However, when you go to an indoor range, you’re not going to want to where sunglasses due to being indoors. So, you’re going to need clear or yellow or other lighter colored shooting glasses to where. When it comes to ear protection being deaf sucks. Grab a great pair of “over the ear” ear muffs and “Listen Linda” don’t go cheap. Invest in a decent pair of Peltors or Howard Leights they range from 50-125.00 will do.
  • Questions to Ask: Now that you’re in the facility, looking around, they are going to know right away that you’re new. Here are some questions that will help you speak the native tongue and raise some eyebrows and just show that you’re serious and a little industry savvy!
    • Gun Rental and Gun Sales counters: Know the difference. Ask which one is which so you can start either handling one for a rental or handling one for a purchase and then ask if they have the same model to “test drive”.
    • Which caliber of ammunition does this gun use? the most popular handgun caliber is the 9mm. depending on your abilities or disabilities and hand size and body frame will typically determine what you may be comfortable to start with. Basic marksmanship classes will start you off with a .22. which has minimal recoil. If you’re wanting to start with something for defense right away look for a .380 “which is a short 9mm” or if you like a wheel gun (revolver) a .38special will suffice, but the most popular by far is still the practical 9mm.
    • Which gun manufacturers do you recommend? Now there’s a loaded question! Depending on which gunslinger is behind the counter and the shirt they where will determine that answer as well as their experience level. I’m going to just drop the mic right here though.. The Top 5 manufacturers out there that are guaranteed to stand the pressure of every day use on the street and in combat are: Cz, Glock, HK, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory. My personal tried and true gun models are the Glock 17 (full size 9mm) and my Sig Sauer 365XL every day carry and nobody knows I have it on with 26rounds of ammo on me. Contact me on Social for more insight, I’ll be glad to assist!
    • How do I get on the range? There are many types of ranges out there and each have certain protocols. The main protocol is for you to provide your ID and sign a waiver, whether digital or on paper.
    • Other questions to ask: Do you have instructors available? What’s it cost to get on the range? Do you have memberships? Discounts? What are the range fees? an I get this gun in pink? Where’s the bathroom? Can I rent multiple guns? Can I get a lesson for class for a fee or included if I get a membership?
  • Safety First: Two phrases I want to burn into your subconscious brain to help ensure you become not only an intelligent person upon your visit but a safe individual and potentially a responsible armed citizen.
    • Finger Discipline: Keep your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger well. there is no need to touch it at all until you are loaded up on the range and are cleared to shoot.
    • Muzzle Management: Point the gun in a safe direction always, a safe direction will be a directionthat for any reason the gun was loaded and you pulled the trigger or by an act of God the gun “went off” it would not cause personal bodily damage or “nominal” property damage. See Video
  • On the Range: Now that you’re on the range and hopefully with a staff member, let them guide you on the Gun 101 handling basics and how to start shooting,{you can also see my other videos on getting a grip and choosing an every day carry.}
    • “If you don’t know go slow” {I’ve taught this for years} You know we learn by crawl, walk, run. That means you can’t accomplish something fast and accurate if you’ve never done it before.. You gotta start somewhere, relax, have fun and enjoy the ride. Your goal should be to take it all in, slowing everything down and being patient with your learning this new skill will help reinforce confidenceand remove fears.
    • Correct, Continuous Repetitions: The old saying “Perfect Practice makes Perfect”. You don’t want to build bad habits. Understanding neuroplasticity and how we take information from the conscious to our subconscious mind requires us to complete quality reps. Therefore, when you go slow you will sealing in those good fundamentals which will build upon your successes.
    • Be Happy with Small Successes: Whether you just hit the paper or create any level of consistency on the paper when you are shooting, be thankful for any level of success. Your positive attitude will take you farther than anything. Be thankful for overcoming the initial fears of just being on a range. Be thankful that you are learning something new and it may take longer than you think to achieve your goals.  Just like in life, being content with our progress whatever it is helps us evolve into a better more well rounded person.
    • Note to Ladies: I have found over the years teaching thousands of women that they are, indeed, better shooters out of the gate. They are quite different then us men. They don’t come to train with fragile egos. They tend to be more coordinated, listen and learn more intently and their results show it!  

That’s A Wrap…

In closing, there’s so much to learn. Please get good quality advice from those that live and breath high industry standards for safety, crucial and relevant training, product knowledge and customer service.

I’d like to thank the wonderful staff and leadership at TSR {Ted’s Shooting Range} in Queen Creek, Arizona for allowing me to utilize their staff and facility to shoot the video. I walked in not knowing a soul there and was greeted with positivity.

When I explained my intentions they were willing to assist Which means a lot for them to care for thousands that will read this article and watch the video for the betterment of our fellow countrymen who are on their quest for shooting success. It’s comforting to find a great example in the industry of caring people who care about their business and those that are within their care. Go see them if you’re in the area!

That’s all I got for today, stay tuned with me on social media and please subscribe to my channel on youtube. If you would like for me to share my insight on a subject that you have of interest; please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or look me up on my social accounts!

 

Godspeed & God Bless,

Stephen D. Powell

~The GunLife Coach

 

 

 

 

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Stephen D. Powell is an Air Force veteran with more than 18 years of combined federal, military & civilian law enforcement experience. Powell has been teaching professionally for over 25+years as a firearms Instructor for numerous organizations and agencies rated with the NRA, NM & TX DPS and a Sig Sauer Academy Master Instructor. His company, Patriot Outdoors, Inc, has been operational in the defensive training industry since 2004, starting a thousand acre training facility located in Eastern New Mexico. Patriot has provided crucial and relevant firearms training to DOD and SOCOM, state and local law enforcement and armed citizen students. Over the past several years, Powell has appeared on several Fox News, Sirius XM radio, various regional newspaper, radio and tv shows, promoting military veteran entrepreneurship and patriotism as well as educating the shooting industry on range development, media relations and key second amendment issues. Patriot Outdoors is currently operating out of the Phoenix Valley, Arizona and with a new channel of The GunLife Coach to inspire and motivate other in life and on the range!



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Life

Ultra-Brief Movie Reviews

A very brief look at several current movies

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Here is a very brief look at several current movies, one that is an under-seen gem

Nobody

This is a movie with a protagonist and plot reminiscent of Keanu Reeves in John Wick. The good guy, a retired, reluctant human-killing machine, is compelled to get back into action against today’s ‘go to villains’ — cutthroat Russians Americans. Miraculously, he dodges several thousand bullets. If you’re 18 go see it, otherwise you can safely save your money.

P.S. It might be useful, not as a movie, but as a type of cathartic experience instead of, say, chucking things at the screen to symbolically hit the domestic terrorists destroying our cities.

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The Courier

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this is a Cold War era spy movie, par excellence, a bit reminiscent of the German film, The Lives of Others. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you know that I rarely call a movie great.

Completely overlooked by the ridiculously woke AMPAS, and probably way too subtle, The Courier is a great movie, easily among the best five pictures of the year, if not the best. One friend said, “Loved The Courier.”

“It deserves consideration especially with the unpatriotic events unfolding.” And I replied, “but woke Hollywood would object to the subservient wives and to no minorities in the film. So it has no chance for an Oscar.”

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Here is a look at previous reviewed films:

Judas and the Black Messiah

Starring the British Daniel Kaluuya, and Lakeith Stanfield, both of whom who have excellent futures in the movies, Judas and the Black Messiah is a pleasant surprise despite the ultra-clunky title. I was expecting a heavy philosophical overlay of how the Black Panthers’ experience then, somehow translates to Black Lives Matter today.

Indeed, 300+ movie reviewers fervently want to connect the two experiences but they differ vastly: 50 to 55 years ago the FBI, Chicago Police, and other police departments were verifiably hostile to black people. Today, the FBI knowingly and blatantly shields Black Live Matters crimes, be it rioting, looting, mayhem, and even murder.

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While a handful of regrettable “death by cop” cases arise each year, in general, police are not out to get black people, who are given more leeway and understanding than anyone from the 1960s could presume. And minority officers now represent 40% or more of many city police departments.

As Kaluuya is emerging as the new generation’s Denzel Washington, Martin Sheen hits a new low, not helped by the makeup director, playing an unconvincing J. Edgar Hoover.

Also, I wish someone had told me prior to my watching the movie that Fred Hampton is 18 years old, whereas Kaluuya at the time of filming is 30 years old; a major disconnect between the actor’s portrayal and the reality of the times.

The Father

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, and Olivia Williams, The Father is a 93-minute movie that is 63 minutes too long. You could watch the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes and be no less informed.

We should all be thankful if our parents, or our future selves, do not suffer from the level of dementia portrayed here: He can’t recall what happened yesterday, sometimes an hour ago, and sometimes minutes ago.

The saving grace of the film is that it shows reality from the father’s perspective, which is a constant jangle of dates, times, people, situations, and places; and the reality of those around him who have to deal with his constant ramblings, false assertions, obstinance, proud declarations, and outright inaccuracies.

The set decorations are simple and monotonous: one apartment, one stroll outside, and one nursing care facility. That’s it. Sorry to seem terse, but this movie represents a strong statement for euthanasia — what is this point of lingering on for years in a mental state of total disarray? Save time, watch the trailer and read a long review.

Nomadland

Starring Frances McDormand, Nomadland offers a view of the American west and people who choose to no longer have permanent roots. The film presents one brief encounter after another, moving to the next scene, and the next.

It does impart the sense of loneliness and in some cases emptiness of the people who have chosen this lifestyle and so is somewhat engaging while watching it, but otherwise totally skippable.

McDormand has been nominated for an Oscar, however, this is not among her best. The film itself is regarded as profound by many reviewers, but then so was The Shape of Water and Roma (!).

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Politics

‘Progressives’ are Wannabe Totalitarians

The Left repeatedly asserts itself in highly un-American ways, acting much like the East German Stasi

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The Left’s attempt to cancel the views by anyone deemed to be a Republican or conservative has been picking up steam since November.

Randall Lane, the chief content officer of Forbes Media and editor of Forbes, which most people don’t realize was sold by the Forbes Family years ago, recently called for destroying the careers of anyone who work for Trump, particularly his press secretaries including Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kayleigh McEnany.

“Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie,” Lane wrote, brazenly and gleefully.

“We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”

Can you imagine the temerity of a major business magazine, once considered “a capitalist tool,” seeking to diminish the livelihood, reputation, and indeed quality of life of those who served in the administration of our 45th president?

Squelching the Right

For having the ‘gall’ and legal right to challenge the election of Joe Biden on the senate floor, on behalf of major concerns of his constituents, Senator Josh Hawley’s book with Simon & Schuster was canceled.

The book had been slated for publication this spring. Simon & Schuster announced: “After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming Book, the Tyranny of Big Tech.”

“We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Senator Hawley responded, “Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.” He then said, “See you in court.”

Ostracism Beyond the Pale

If only the blatant social, civic, and financial attempts at ostracism we’re confined to American publishers. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is likely the least intelligent person ever elected twice to the U.S Congress, has called for the re-education, reprogramming, or indoctrination of anyone who voted for Trump. She is joined by legions of others calling for the same.

Thus, 75 to 80 million people, in her view, require a type of intervention for the high crime of having voted Republican. Log on to any alternative news site today – not the mainstream press – including Politicrossing, Rantingly, The Liberty Daily, Whatfinger News, Red State, etc., and every other day you will see articles of those on the left calling for drastic measures to silence those on the right.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, supposedly a moderate, openly called for removing both Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz Manchin via the 14th Amendment, over their objections to Electoral College votes. Where was Sen. Manchin in November, 2017 when Nancy Pelosi did exactly the same thing?

Ideological Litmus Tests

On the heels of the Left’s attempt to squelch the freedom of speech and livelihood of those on the Right came, perhaps, the most egregious development thus far. National Guard troops assembled in Washington, D.C. to insure domestic tranquility during the transfer of power on January 20th were subsequently looked upon by the Left in a new light.

The Left now wants to know who voted for Trump, versus who voted for Biden, and send the Trump voters to far posts, away from Biden.

This ideological litmus test is much more than the start of a slippery slope, it virtually guarantees that the nation will be fractured, and in record time.

Suppose that hereafter, within the professions, you must declare whether or not you voted for Trump. No more buying real estate using a broker who leans right. Don’t even consider getting insurance from an agent who voted for Trump. What about your doctor? Can he or she be trusted if a GOP member? Do you want to retain an attorney who voted for Republicans?

Major voices on the Left actually prefer this path. NBA basketball players have complained to the press that they don’t want to play for a team whose owner is a Republican.

Reason Takes a Holiday

Where will all this lead? Perhaps, more reasoned voices will prevail, and point out the absurdity of asking people for their “official papers,” much like was done throughout Europe in the lead up to and during World War II.

However, at the rate that the Left is already asserting itself in highly un-American ways, acting like the East German Stasi, and usurping the U.S. Constitution, there’s no reason to hold out hope.

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