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!”

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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News

Tech Tools Leading to Our Fast-Forward Future

Researchers will likely develop nearly every tech tool you’ve seen in science-fiction movies and television

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Lowell Catlett, a retired professor in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, observes that all the high tech products on your desk and in your home will soon be antiques from a capability stand point. The almighty chip grows smaller and more powerful, and thanks to advanced microscopics, they’re proceeding towards a time in which the chip will be no thicker than a fraction of a human hair. In fact, microscopic motors today are no thicker than a human hair!

A World of Marvels

Scientists and engineers will likely soon develop nearly every technology you’ve ever seen in sci-fi movies, Superman comics, and all of the versions of Star Trek. Many miraculous breakthroughs are available now, but simply are not cost-effective for the masses. Existing sunglasses – far beyond the ill-fated Google Glass – allow you to watch any television show while you’re wearing them, wherever you are.

As “sun glass” technology is perfected, future models can be built right into your eye. You’ll automatically have protection from sun glare as daylight levels change. Laser technology in sunglasses for U.S. Air Force pilots will enable them to fire missiles or operate plane controls through their eye movements!

Professor Catlett says, “Once you combine laser and computer technology, you’re able to read smart books – books that know when you’ve lingered on a word and hence, don’t understand its meaning.” So, then and there, while you’ve got your magic sunglasses on and are reading this book, a synonym pops up on the screen.

Instant Updates

Well-funded fire and police departments will equip each of their officers with such sunglasses to instantaneously give them updated information in the field. A firefighter entering a burning building could be told to turn left to safety, rather than right. A police officer could be told that the bridge is out 50 yards ahead and to take a hard right into the sandbank.

One day, politicians will be fitted with such technology. A new algorithm for identifying thumb prints, ten times faster than what currently exists, is nearly ready. Hence, about 30 seconds after you look at someone across a room his name will spell out in the corner of one of your lenses. No more forgetting old what’s-his-name.

Every sales force worth its salt will be outfitted with such lenses. Imagine, you walk into a new company, you don’t know a soul, and soon enough you’re greeting everyone by his/her first name. Until the technology is widely known, you’ll be regarded as some type of wizard.

Think Your Way Through It

The electronic headband, an emerging product, allows you to think your way to everything you want to do in your home. Sitting in your armchair, you’ll be able to lock the doors. You’ll be able to start your coffee maker. Want the television on or off? You’ve got it. Same with the lights. Refrigerator door. Windows up or down.

If you want to write a letter to your sister in Des Moines, you’ll only need to think the letter. You’ll be able to “program” your personal computer, write, and e-mail the message simply through your thoughts.

Soon, jet pilots flying billion dollar planes will be able to sit in the cockpit, think about what they want to do next, and have the plane be totally responsive. “Ultimately,” says Catlett, “machinery will be totally user-friendly. No instructions, no need to speak, no need to do anything, just think what you want to do.”

The Ubiquitous Computer

The world will enter a stage of the “ubiquitous computer.” Computers will be all around you, anywhere you go, built into the side of walls. They’ll be so powerful and all encompassing that they’ll be virtually invisible.

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Life

Work-life Balance and the Five-Mega-Realities

Work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with needed leisure

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In the 1st edition of my book Breathing Space which appeared in 1990, I discussed five major trends – what I called mega-realities – that influenced every aspect of our being, and from which no one was immune. Briefly, these five mega-realities include:

* an expanding volume of knowledge
* mass media growth and electronic addiction
* the paper trail culture
* an over-abundance of choices
* population growth.

Knowledge – In one way or another, everyone fears being under-informed. The enormous volume of new knowledge broadcasted and published in every field exceeds our ability to keep pace. More words are published and broadcast in a day than you could ingest during your lifetime. America leads the world in sheer volume of information generated and disseminated.

The impasse of this over-information era is that the time necessary to learn the rules for effective living now exceeds your lifetime. This is why management books so often miss the mark: they list dozens — if not hundreds — of rules, when you are already grappling with more rules than you can handle.

Mass Media – The effect of the mass media on our lives continues unchecked. More than four out of five American households own DVD players. In 1972, three major television networks dominated television – ABC, NBC and CBS. Now, there are more than 500 full-power independent television stations. Many cable TV subscribers receive up to 200 channels that offer more than 72,000 shows per month.

With its sensationalized trivia, the mass media glut obscures fundamental issues that do merit concern, such as preserving the environment or feeding the poor.

Paper Trails – Like having too much data and eyewitness reports, having too much paper to deal with makes you feel overwhelmed and overworked. Americans today are consuming three times as much paper as ten years ago. There are two basic reasons why society spews so much paper:

* We have the lowest postal rates in the world.
* We have the widest base of paper-generating technologies.

The typical executive receives more than 200 pieces of unsolicited mail each month – about 12 pieces daily. The average family receives more than 100 catalogs that they did not request, on top of those they did request.

An Overabundance of Choices – Having choices is a blessing of the free market economy, but it’s overwhelming, increases time expenditure, and is a mounting form of exhaustion. More than 1,260 varieties of shampoo are on the market. More than 2,000 skin-care products are for sale. An excess of 75 different types of exercise shoes are available, each with scores of variations in style, function, and features.

Population – From the beginning of creation to 1,850 AD, world population grew to one billion. It grew to two billion by 1930, and is now approaching eight billion. Every three years, nearly 250,000,000 people are added to the planet.

Each day, world population (births minus deaths) increases by more than 265,000 people. Geometric growth in human population permeates and dominates every aspect of our earth, its resources, the environment, and all living things.

The Quest for Work-life Balance

Against this backdrop, the quest for work-life balance is more vital than ever. Predictably, a preponderance of speakers, trainers, authors, journalists, and others whose professions entail regular communication with the masses, proclaim the virtues of achieving and maintaining work-life balance.

However, a glaring question arises. What, exactly, is work-life balance? Compared to the legions of instances in which the term is cited, surprisingly little has been written in articles and books about what the concept actually entails.

During my 33 years in pursuit of understanding why the pace of society has sped up, what the impact has been on the typical individual, and how each of us can forge our own sense and experience of breathing space throughout our lives, I have honed and refined the tenets of what I consider work-life balance.

What Exactly is Work-life Balance ?

For several years now, those who apparently have no idea what work-life balance is and have virtually never experienced it are proclaiming that it is passe — in favor of work-life harmony or work-life integration.

The truth is, these terms all mean approximately the same things. You can split hairs anyway you want, and I suppose that’s a good way to differentiate a program if you’re seeking to offer one to clients, but the reality is work-life balance is the overarching issue of our time that all career professionals strive to achieve.

Work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with sufficient leisure. It is attaining focus and awareness, despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for your time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having some breathing space for yourself each day; feeling a sense of accomplishment, while not being consumed by work; and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. It is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within 24-hour days, seven-day weeks, and however many years you have left.

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