At the same time I am wrapping up my book chapter on guns and gear technologies for concealed carry, I am ramping up the work on my chapter on the rise of the private citizen gun training industry.
To this end I am reading books and articles, watching TV shows, and listening to podcasts by and about gun trainers. This week, I have been listening to Mike Seeklander’s American Warrior Show podcast. In episode #62 from 2 April 2017, Seeklander has a long interview with Gabe Suarez of Suarez International.
One comment Suarez made stood out to me in particular:
I’ll use a term that they maybe they don’t identify with, but that’s what they are: American gunfighters. Because you know what? You get up in the morning, you put a pistol in your belt, and you go out into the street — you’re carrying that for a reason. It’s not to make yourself feel good. It’s because you may have to shoot somebody that day. That makes you a gunfighter.
He prefers this term because it connects the behavior of concealed carriers to a larger mindset, one might even say ethos. This is analogous to others who talk about civilian concealed carriers as “warriors” or “sheepdogs.”
Thinking about concealed carry as meaning that you “may have to shoot somebody that day” can be jarring, but I have seen many CCW classes taught in which the instructor starts with this same idea. And I have seen people discontinue CCW courses because they don’t feel comfortable with the idea that they might have to use the gun they are carrying to shoot another human being. So the plain talk can be helpful in that respect.
Of course, plain talk about these things can be uneasy. And sometimes speaking too plainly can generate backlash, as when a seminar that Gabe Suarez is teaching in May called “Killing Within the Law” drew some some criticism from gun bloggers Bearing Arms and TTAG.
The course title is certainly jarring, as is the notion of the “Gentleman Killer” in the course description. But if I was in Arizona I would certainly be interested in taking the course, if only to compare and contrast it to other courses I have taken which deal with self-defense and the law like Andrew Branca’s Law of Self Defense and Massad Ayoob’s MAG-40.
In any event, Seeklander and Suarez are certainly high on my list of gun trainers to learn more about for this part of my work.