shooting

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

A common thought (maybe even a rational one) is that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media. A recent study confirmed that more people are refusing to answer questions about firearms ownership.

Iowa State University political scientist Robert Urbatsch analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and found that the number of people refusing to answer a question about gun ownership roughly tripled since the year 2000. The increase appears steady from the year 2000 through 2016 and Urbatsch found the increased non-response rate concentrated among Republicans (though the rates among Democrats and Independents also increased). Coincidentally, Pew recently confirmed that gun ownership is far more common among Republicans – meaning, the people driving the increase in the GSS question refusals are also those most likely to own a gun. Go figure.

Urbatsch discusses how this increase could be driven by increased polarization, by political elites’ and partisan commentators’ fear-mongering, or by distrust of government and an institutionalized belief in individual autonomy. For some reason, more people are hesitating to share their gun-owning status with a stranger on the phone conducting a survey for the government.

This isn’t new. Take a look at the Gallup trend below; notice the sharp increase after 1993…right around the time Congress was working on a major gun control effort (the 1994 assault weapons ban). In December 1993, less than 0.5% of respondents refused to answer that question. In July 1996 (the next time the question was asked), 2% of respondents refused. The number acknowledging they had a gun in their household dropped from 49% to 38% in the same time period. The percent refusing first hit 4% in October 2009, then hit 4% again in October 2013 and October 2014 – when anti-gun politicians controlled both the White House and the Senate. The number of refusals dropped from 2016 to 2017. A simple trend line does not indicate causation…but one major difference between 2016 and 2017 was the political outlook. In 2016, there was a concern that a historically anti-gun politician could win the Presidency; by October 2017, President Trump had secured the White House.   Continue reading

Getting Women Involved

Earlier this year, as I prepared for SHOT Show 2018 coverage, I asked some of my girlfriends who own firearms or are involved in the shooting sports what they were wanting to see this year from the show.  During our conversations, an unexpected theme emerged.  In addition to the same requests for better concealed carry options, and weapons/gear that are designed to better fit a woman’s anatomy, there was a more intangible concern: the social aspect of women in shooting.  Almost all of my friends wanted three things: to know more women like themselves, ideas on how to get more involved in shooting, and to feel more included in the shooting world.

There are enough women becoming involved in the shooting sports that the NSSF felt it necessary to do an extensive study on the female shooting demographic and the NRA now has an entire section (including a TV channel) dedicated to women’s interest.  Many manufacturers make specific models of rifles (like Savage and Weatherby), shotguns (such as Syren), and handguns (such as EAA) that have been designed specifically with a woman in mind.  These companies did not simply take an existing model and then apply the “Shrink It and Pink It” (SI-PI) cosmetic makeover.  There was actual thought put into these weapons to improve the shooting experience for women.  Firearm design is not the only part of the shooting world trying to play catch-up. There are now many concealed carry options that were designed specifically with a woman in mind, including more and more in off-body carry options.  Several companies have even tackled the gear portion by designing hunting clothes, law enforcement uniforms, and backpacks, to name just a few, to fit the female body better. While many women may not be happy with the available options, many more choices are coming to market every year.  Many companies are also open to suggestions for how to improve existing designs, but changes do not happen overnight.   Continue reading

Pistol Sights of SHOT Show 2018

Rear SightsFace it, pistol sights are kind of a boring topic. There is not a lot of real estate for mounting fancy optics, pistols are not typically used for long distance shots that necessitate heavy duty upgrades, and, often, it can be a difficult or impossible task depending on the pistol. Many concealed carry guns have integrated sights machined into the slide, proprietary dovetail mounts that make it hard to find sights for, or simply require a pricey tool to do (unless you’re not afraid of whacking on them with a punch and hammer or if you use this one weird old trick).

And pistol sight upgrades are usually just not sexy unless you have a tricked out race gun topped off with the latest, greatest, highest speed, lowest drag optic, which seems to be the latest trend for “carry” guns. You will certainly find more “2-pound trigger of the week,” “custom Louis Vitton laser stipling,” “unicorn horn speckled platinum infused Cerakote,” and “slide cut” talk at the gun counter and on Instagram than you will “I put new sights on my self defense handgun” talk.

But, alas – we did manage to find some interesting new products on the show floor that fall into this obscure category. Despite all of the above, upgrading the sights on your defensive handgun is often one of the most practical and affordable ways to make it better and more useful.

Below are the top three most interesting new (new to us, at least) pistol sight upgrades we found on the SHOT Show 18 show floor, and an honorable mention that will help you with the others.   Continue reading

MantisX System Gives Real-Time Shooting Feedback

GunLink-MantisX_1333Recently, Casey from MantisX reached out to GunLink to tell us about their system, which they describe as “a firearms training system that mounts on the rail of your gun and gives you real time feedback via an app on your smart phone,” going so far as calling it “most innovative development in personal firearms training in years.”  Bold claims, to be sure, but Casey was confident enough in the system to send one over for us to try out.

First of all – what exactly is a MantisX?  You are probably familiar with the ubiquitous Pistol Correction Targets.  Our Pistol Correction Target posts have seen hundreds of thousands of pageviews the GunLink Forums and the GunLink Blog, and have been shared far and wide on other sites, gun stores, and ranges.

When Casey first contacted us, the MantisX system was essentially a feature-packed, electronic, “smart” 21st century version of the targets that have been around decades (it has since gotten even better).  It works by attaching the MantisX device – packed with sensors, gyros, and other electronic wizardry – to your pistol and connecting it wirelessly via bluetooth to your Android or iOS smart device using their free app.

With the device attached and connected, the sensors inside of the MantisX unit track movement of the firearm before, during, and after your shots, analyzes them, and presents them in a variety of formats through the app.   Continue reading

NSSF Declares August National Shooting Sports Month

NSSF_ShootingSportsMonthThere are countless celebration days and months in America, and now the shooting sports have one of their own. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has declared August to be National Shooting Sports Month, a time to celebrate one of America’s great pastimes — target shooting — and to encourage newcomers and experienced shooters to #LETSGOSHOOTING.

NSSF developed the celebration month to focus the attention of everyone in the shooting sports community — shooting ranges, firearms retailers, manufacturers and recreational shooters — on the fun and excitement of target shooting.

An estimated 50 million Americans participate in target shooting sports, and millions more have expressed interest in learning about rifle, shotgun and handgun shooting, according to NSSF research.

“With so much going on in people’s lives today, the shooting sports offer an opportunity to tune out distractions, learn a new skill, socialize and share their experiences,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “It’s important to remember to pass on our traditions and to reflect on our unique freedoms that make participating in them possible.”

Experienced shooters are encouraged to introduce family members and friends to this rewarding lifetime activity, and newcomers without mentors will discover a safe, supportive introduction to recreational shooting at a range near them.

To help people find ways to celebrate, NSSF has launched www.ShootingSportsMonth.org. Among its many interactive features, the site contains an easy range search by state, events and sales promotions across the country and many other resources for target shooters of all skill levels.

Safety, of course, goes hand in hand with enjoying the shooting sports. Following safe firearms handling procedures and securely storing firearms when not in use are priorities for shooters. Find more about firearm safety at www.ShootingSportsMonth.org.

“It’s going to be fun month,” said Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Shooting Range Services. “And we want to know how everyone is celebrating. Tell us on our Facebook page, share your Instagram and Twitter posts with the hashtag #LetsGoShooting, let’s make this month one to remember.”

Learn more at www.ShootingSportsMonth.org.

Take the Project ChildSafe S.A.F.E Summer Quiz

Firearms can be a range of things, from useful tools to fun range toys.  However, given their nature, firearms can be dangerous in the hands of a bad guy or someone who does not know proper safety procedures.

Project ChildSafe, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), bills itself as the largest, most comprehensive firearm safety education program in the U.S.  The organization has partnered with over 15,000 law enforcement agencies to create safety education messages and had distributed more than 37 million firearm Safety Kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

You probably already know the Four Laws of Gun Safety.  Summer is a great time to get out and hit the range for some shooting fun.  While out shooting (or even just handling firearms in general), be sure to practice these four important rules and teach any youngsters or new shooters that you are are shooting with about safe firearm handling.

Project ChildSafe has put up a S.A.F.E Summer Quiz about gun safety.  Take the quiz today, either by yourself or with your kids to help reinforce safe firearm handling practices.

NSSF-SAFE-quiz

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