The Beyond the One Percent presentation explores the topic of how many people train, why they train, what courses they choose and why, and ways to possibly motivate more than 1% of adult gun owners to take training beyond their state minimum. It is based on my presentation at the 2017 Rangemaster Tactical Conference.
I was interviewed on the ProArms podcast about this series. Episode 98 is here, for your listening pleasure.
I’ve had quite a few emails and other contacts from people who have read the series and had good ideas and comments. Here are a few worth sharing:
Make it clear in your marketing and from your behavior online that your classes are welcoming to all law abiding people regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or political beliefs. The key word is “law abiding”. It’s appropriate to require a carry permit for classes that teach skills beyond the state minimum. Being passionate about the right to self defense and gun rights in general can be done in a professional way without demonizing those that are different from you, particularly those that don’t hold your exact political views on a wide range of topics. If the goal is to get more people to attend your classes, the only reason to turn someone away is concern about potentially unsafe or violent behavior.
Understand that your reputation and image are a 24/7/365 effort, not just on class day.
Related to that, using the f-bomb like a comma in order to sound more tough, or street, or whatever you think it’s doing for you, is a bad idea. If you want to be perceived as a professional, act like a professional. Doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians, public speakers of all kinds – profanity and vulgarity is not part of their standard communication. Can you use profanity as a deliberate tactic in communication with potential threats? Yes. But understand that in a world where virtually everything you do in public could be recorded and shared with the world by someone, whether you want it shared or not, language affects perception, perceptions affect juries, and juries may hold the fate of the rest of your life in their hands. So using profanity should be done with the same precision and deliberation you apply to drawing and firing a gun. Unless it’s essential, it’s more likely to turn off potential students, or students already in your course, than it is to impress them.
I got some updated numbers from the NRA regarding membership and instructor levels in Texas. My estimates, gained by dividing national numbers by 10, based on Texas’ having 9% of the national population but high gun ownership rates, were actually a bit high. The actual membership numbers are around 400K members, (not 500K), and around 6300 instructors.