When the Balloon Goes Up! has always focused on the concepts of concealed carry, home defense, 72 hour preparedness and the competition that helps engrain the weapons handling skills that are useful in those pursuits.I have discussed sights, holsters, lasers, flash lights, off-body carry, shot gun myths, selecting a shot gun, understanding a shotgun’s pattern and a whole host of other gun topics, but the AR-15 pattern rifle has been discussed exactly twice.• Once on a Friday when I was short of content ideas (I’m not sure how that happened!), I posted a picture of my rifle and it was linked to as “Gun Porn” by Ma-Rooned and Say Uncle.• Once when a friend was looking to buy his first AR (I say first because he know has two), and I decided to crowd source suggestions.4 main reasons for this are…1. As a civilian, my pistol is my primary weapon and if I am going to spend the time, energy, effort and resources on a platform, it makes sense to focus that effort on the tool I am most likely to use.2. I am not as skilled with my pistol as I know I can become and splitting my training time would slow that progression.3. 5.56 ammo is more expensive than my 9mm and I can get more trigger pulls with my 9mm.but the main reason is… 4. Fear. There I said it. There is a lot to learn about the AR platform, it is new, and no one likes to look like a fool. Last week I had what is for many a once in a life time experience at GUNSITE, in a very small class taught by Kyle Lamb… Being filmed as a “Crash Test Dummy” in front of Michael Bane for Shooting Gallery. How did it go?How do you think? I had exactly zero experience running an AR and was thrown into class with a former Delta Force trainer. We got ~2 runs at each skill before we moved forward and built on the skill. Using brand new guns that were neither oiled nor broken in before the training started. The whole thing was witnessed by a film crew that happened to be filming for the biggest show in the industry and all of my friend, family and readers would see my performance (No Pressure!) and on top of it all we had to stop, start and hit our marks so it could all be filmed during the day and a half we had.It was a complete dumpster fire full of mental errors, and could have been accompanied by the Benny Hill sound track! AND…It was a great experience and one that I, in no way regret.• I had gear issues that highlighted the need to be familiar with your gear and to make sure it fit with your physiology.• I made mental mistakes on the loading procedures, which will result in me having a magazine fall out of my gun (possibly multiple times) on television and will ensure that I never make that mistake again.• There were ammo management issues (not mine), which will result in me being more conscious of it.• We had one run filmed for television with absolutely ZERO instruction on how to approach doors or clear a room with an AR before entering or any look at the layout of the “house”.I also had the opportunity to learn the basic skills from one of the greatest trainers in the world, before I learned any bad habits. Over the next few months I will share some the things I learned and my progress as I learn to run an AR.Hopefully, it will inspire someone to get past their fears about looking dumb and taking a course as a rank beginner and learn the right way from the very beginning.This was possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever done (being filmed, learning a new skill, in front of people I respect on the biggest stage I have ever been on), but no great things happen in our comfort zone.In 2013 WTBGU! is asking everyone to step out of their comfort zone and take a class on a new platform, shoot a 1st match, compete in a different shooting sport, try 3 gun, compete with a revolver (they still make those) start taking an unarmed combat course, learn CPR, go camping, improve your diet, start exercising, go shooting for the very 1st time, or even start a blog (you can always submit a guest post for consideration on this site).What are you willing to commit to trying in 2013? Let us know by leaving a comment below and please share this article you want to encourage others to get out of their comfort zones in 2013 and try something new.
Moral of this lesson:Don't get in any gun fights with buffalo hunters. There ain't no such thing as cover.
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