The Shooting Center Newsletter Fourth Edition July 2018
'The Rally in Tally'
Stand and be Counted for the
2nd Amendment; Anti-gun Forces
Set to Rally Same Day, Same Place
The Art of Dry Fire
Training for the Real Thing
'American Warrior' Gary O'Neal represents the Hall of Fame & Shooting Center in Tombstone, AZ parade
Gun Shop Confidential
Things Your Gun Salesperson
Really Wishes You Knew
APHF Represented at the
Film's 25th Anniversary
July 21: Counter Home Invasion / Team Tactics
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn from premiere instructor Paul Pawela on the fine points of protecting yourself in your home. Do you know what to do in the event of a home invasion? Where is your family? Where are your guns? Where are the bad guys? How do you survive? $125. To sign up, please contact email@example.com or click here
August 4: Florida Concealed Carry Weapons Class - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. $40 - sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org
August 5: Handgun Fundamentals & Concealed Carry Course - Perfect for Carry Class for beginners, lapsed shooters, or those wishing to try several different types of handguns. Taught by author of "The Handgun Guide for Women." 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. $50 - To sign up, click here.
August 11: CCW 3 Advanced Pistol Class offered by RTBA Training Group and taught by Shooting Straight radio host Royce Bartlett. Bring 200 rounds of ammo, eye/ear protection, no open clothing or shoes. If you have a good flashlight, bring it, as some shooting will be in the dark. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. $100 - email@example.com or go to the RTBA Facebook page, here.
Sept. 15: WO-MAN CAMP! Yes, it's back! Ladies, time to get in touch with your primal selves. Learn to kick butt and take names! Find out more in our August edition.
To find out more about these classes or to find other
classes offered at The Shooting Center, click here.
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6350 Horizon Drive Titusville, FL 32780
Open: Tues-Fri: 12 to 8 p.m. Sat & Sun - 12 to 6 p.m.
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Gun shops, just like every other retailer in the country, exist for one purpose — to make a profit. There may be many other, more noble reasons for their existence, but the bottom line is: if a profit isn’t made, nothing else matters. Doors close. Lights go out. Employees are dismissed.
So, it’s important that shop owners and employees alike remember that the goal is to acquire — and retain — customers. Doing so demands more than good prices or a convenient location; it requires knowledge, patience, and a spirit of service.
BUT — it is equally important for the customer to put some effort into being the kind of patron that makes a salesperson break into a grin. By earning the status of “valued customer” you have also earned a lifelong resource for firearms information, accessories and activities. You’ve earned unbiased opinions and technical advice from folks who live and breathe gun stuff. And, on those rare occasions when something goes wrong with your brand new firearm, you simply have to hand it to your pals behind the counter and let them fight with the manufacturer.
You just can’t get that level of responsiveness from a mail order company and you often can’t get it at a mega store that just happens to have a gun department! A real “mom and pop” shop staffed by true blue “gun goobers” is always a customer’s best bet.
So how to you establish a mutually beneficial relationship with a reputable gun shop? Well, it’s kinda like dating; you want to be the best possible person so that you attract the best possible person!
Recommendation 1: Know the basic rules of gun handling — or ask the salesperson to instruct you. I used to cringe when I handed a gun across the counter and the customer’s first action was to crook their finger around the trigger and point the muzzle straight at me! Of course, when you work behind a gun counter, you actually get used to having guns pointed at you. It happens all day long, but it’s usually just for an instant, and it’s virtually unavoidable in a busy shop. Still, it is easier to concentrate on providing good service when you're dealing with someone who already understands that fingers stay off triggers and muzzles stay pointed up or down. And no, I don’t necessarily expect a beginner to know these things — but I do expect them to ask!
Recommendation 2: If you are visiting a gun shop to look at guns, please be willing to touch them. Seriously, I’ve had to physically wrap fingers and thumbs around the grip, while the customer holds the gun at arm’s length, visibly repulsed. Most often, it is a female patron with a hubby, boyfriend or dad who is determined to get her interested in shooting, despite her objections. It rarely works. But, every so often, even a female on her own gets skittish about handling a gun. If you are serious enough to be considering a gun purchase, please understand that achieving firearms proficiency requires actually holding the weapon!
So long as you’re shopping at a professional operation, nothing bad is going to happen. The gun will not discharge, explode, or otherwise harm you. Trust your salesperson and let him or her walk you through the mechanics of gun handling.
Recommendation 3: Be respectful of the salesperson’s time. Playing a game of 20 questions is fine if the shop isn’t crowded. As I say repeatedly, a gun shop should be an informational resource for new shooters. BUT, if the counter is stacked 5 deep and the sales staff are running around like ants on crack, it might be better to see if you can make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation. Many gun shops will accommodate this, or, at a minimum, you can ask someone when it might be more convenient to pop in with a list of questions. (Caveat: if they act like you’re crazy for having a list of questions, you are in the wrong shop anyway, so move along!)
Recommendation 4: Don’t dismantle the gun without asking (this doesn’t usually apply to newbies, but sometimes to the friends they bring with them). You may know how — and you may want to show your buddies that you know how — but that gun doesn’t belong to you, yet. As soon as you sign form 4473 and pass the background check, you can proceed to dismantle your new toy (depending on whether your state allows you to take it home immediately). If you’re not sure how to take it apart, most counter staff will gladly demonstrate the process. But we do get tired of having to pause and reassemble a gun that you “coulda sworn went back together easier than that.”
Recommendation 5: Ladies Only: If you are seriously planning to ask questions and gather information, please don’t bring your know-it-all father/brother/boyfriend/husband who wants to show off his gun smarts (and who is probably already annoyed that you aren’t relying solely on his advice.) It’s been my experience that your male friend/relative may lack some of the answers you are seeking (and you probably know that, or you wouldn’t be questioning your local gun goober). As your salesperson, I don’t want to have to correct your beloved, but if he is giving you bad information, I kinda have to say something! Like the fellow who insisted to his petite and timid novice shooter girlfriend that an Airweight .357 magnum would be very comfortable for her to shoot (uh…not likely); or the guy who insisted to his wife (and her shooting instructor) that a Ruger single action .22 cowboy revolver was a “great little carry gun” (uh…double no); or the fellow who argued that setting the safety on a Sig P238 was “optional” ...with one in the chamber (oh, heck, no). A good salesperson knows when to shut up and not interfere with family dynamics — but when those dynamics involve a potentially bad, or tragic, decision on your part, we HAVE to speak up. If you want to avoid an uncomfortable situation, come to the gun shop solo and ask your questions. Then you can research the information for yourself and have a follow-up discussion with your all-knowing spouse/boyfriend/father.
Recommendation 6: Have a price range in mind. One co-worker spends his days asking shoppers what type of gun they are looking for and, most important, how much they want to spend. “Knowing their budget will help me narrow the list to 4 or 5 guns that we can compare and contrast,” he explains. “I hate it when someone says ‘I want the best’ without understanding what that really means. So I hand them an Ed Brown and they almost faint at the price tag. You have to have some idea of what you can afford to pay. The bottom line is, don’t waste your local Ferrari dealer’s time when all you can afford is a Volkswagen.”
Recommendation 7: Don’t expect a rush job. The process of buying a gun, from start to finish, takes a minimum of roughly 20-30 minutes. Even if you walk in with a specific gun in mind, there’s still paperwork to be done, there’s still a process. “It’s like telling your doctor you want the surgery but you only have 15 minutes to spare,” my co-worker grumbles good-naturedly. “And if you’re gun shopping on a day when three-quarters of the country has the same idea — like Black Friday — be prepared to wait even longer!” And he’s right — I’ve seen the national background check service become so overwhelmed that it simply shuts down. Meanwhile, customers are pacing in frustration, sometimes threatening “to go buy my gun somewhere else.” Well good luck with that. If the system is down…it’s down EVERYWHERE!
Recommendation 8: Don’t blame the individual gun shop for following the rules. Yes, you need photo ID with a current address. No, your buddy can’t fill out the form for you. No, you can’t buy that handgun yet, even though you’ll be 21 in four weeks. No, we can’t make an exception for your domestic violence conviction, even though you’re no longer married to that horrid person. And no, the special military/law enforcement pricing for Glock Blue Label products doesn’t apply to you if you’re still in ROTC. Firearms dealers can get in serious trouble if they don’t follow the rules. If you find one who offers to “cut you a deal,” with a wink and a nod, please run as fast and as far away from him as you can.
So there you have it: A few well-intentioned tips for beginners (or those who can’t figure out why the sales staff runs and hides when you walk through the door). Building a solid relationship takes work, and the best customer-merchant connections happen when each party is considerate and appreciative of the other. In fact, that’s a pretty good recipe for ALL relationships!
By "Salesperson X"
The 3rd annual Hall of Fame Cup golf tournament will be played at the Indian River Preserve Golf & Country Club on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. 100% of proceeds support disabled law enforcement and their families. Sign up/find out more by clicking HERE.
Anti-Gun Forces Plan to
Converge on Pro-Gun 'Rally
in Tally' Slated for July 28
TALLAHASSEE – It could be an epic confrontation that will shape the direction of Second Amendment debate in our country.
But organizers of The Big Pro Gun Rally slated for July 28 in the Capitol Courtyard are determined it will be a peaceful, patriotic and thought-provoking gathering, even though the “March for our Lives” anti-gun group has added a stop in Tallahassee on
the same day and location.
The “Rally in Tally,” as it has been affectionately dubbed, is the brainchild of Jon Gutmacher, often referred to as Florida’s leading expert on legal issues dealing with firearms, weapons, and self defense. His book, “Florida Firearms: Law, Use & Ownership,” has sold over 230,000 copies in Florida alone.
Gutmacher has assembled an all-star cast of pro 2nd Amendment speakers that include Youtube sensation Hickok45 (with 3.5 million subscribers); radio personality Royce Bartlett of 'Shooting Straight'; YouTube viral phenom Mark Keith Robinson (he gave the impassioned ‘I am the majority’ speech); Lt. Col. Joe Waldron (ret.) VP and Legislative Director of the Florida Sport Shooting Association; NRA trainer
and author of The Handgun Guide for Women Tara Dixon Engel; Kaitlin Bennett, conservative activist who became a viral sensation when she did a purposeful, on-campus protest carrying an AR-10 on her shoulder following graduation, and many more.
“We represent Americans from all races, genders and walks of life who care about the constitution and our right to protect and defend ourselves,” Gutmacher said. “This event is intended to be our way of giving a voice to our concern, and our rights. With the recent announcement regarding the ‘March For Our Lives’ targeting the event for a counter-rally, it becomes something far greater...a referendum on those who would restrict liberty, and those who cherish America’s founding documents and the security born of free speech, free assembly and the right to keep and bear arms.”
Speakers at “The Big Pro Gun Rally” will get underway Saturday, July 28, 2018, at 2 p.m. and end around 4:15 p.m. For more information, use the web site contact form: www.thebigprogunrally.com.
The following sponsors have gone above and beyond in supporting the Rally, according to organizer Jon Gutmacher. They are:
Kel-Tec Weapons https://www.keltecweapons.com/
CCW Safe, Legal Defense Plans https://ccwsafe.com/
Shoot Straight, Inc. https://shoot-straight.com/
If you need a ride to the rally, the following locations and sponsors are providing bus access. Please check with the individual bus sponsors to find out the cost of the trip.
1610 NW 65th Pl, Gainesville, FL 32653
Obloy Family Ranch
Sponsored by Frogbones Shooting Center and A Girl & A Gun
165 Gator Drive, Merritt Island, Florida 32953
Pickup Location: Walmart
2500 W Broward Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
In-Gauge of Polk County
Catch A Ride With Us To The Big Pro-Gun Rally
in Tallahassee Saturday, July 28th http://www.thebigprogunrally.com
Multiple pick up locations along the US 27
corridor from Sebring to Davenport
Departure times vary upon on pick up location.
The first departure time will be 6:00 am in Sebring.
The last pick up time will be 8:30 am in Davenport.
Tentative pick up locations:
Exact locations and times will be provided at time of registration.
In-Gauge Club Member: $40
Non-member: $45 per person round trip
Tickets can be purchased through EventBite at:
For further information or to reserve your bus seat, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Firearms Academy
13317 W Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL 33635
Pickup Location: Shoot Straight – Tampa
Tampa, Florida 33619
Pickup Location: Walmart
4770 Colonial Blvd
Ft Myers, FL 33966
Central Florida Rifle & Pistol Club
14646 Wewahootee Rd
Orlando, FL 32832
Pickup Location: Shoot Straight – Apopka
1349 S Orange Blossom Trail
Apopka, FL 32703
Palm Beach County
Pickup Location: Kohl’s
8751 Southern Blvd
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
Wyoming Antelope Club
3700 126th Ave N
Clearwater, FL 33762
In-Gauge of Polk County
6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd
Winter Haven, FL 33884
Pickup Location: Walmart
4381 Cattlemen Rd
Sarasota, FL 334233
The speaker portion of the rally will begin at 2 p.m. but will be preceded by entertainment from noon to 2 p.m.
Please note: All buses from Shoot Straight are subject to cancellation and refund if they don't get enough sign ups to fill a large portion of each bus. Therefore, you may want an alternate plan, or a different bus sponsor.
We ask everyone to maintain a positive attitude, even if there are protesters at the event. We are patriots and we will set a great example for all!
...Shall NOT Be Infringed
Things You Need to Know About The Rally In Tally
By Brian C. Smith
Many years ago when deciding to purchase my first handgun for home protection, the deal-breaker for me was if the pistol had night sights affixed to enhance my shooting accuracy.
I had listened to several people that I considered knowledgeable about firearms at that time (and I later learned that their experience on this topic was somewhat limited). In my early years, I was impressionable to the suggestions of my peers about firearms, because there were very few opportunities to attend professional training classes in the Chicago Metropolitan area in the 1970s.
Fortunately, during my long tenure in law enforcement, I had the opportunity to attend many firearms training classes taught by several high profile instructors. That’s where I learned that gun sights may not be the best option in close quarter survival shooting scenarios and immediate response to an armed threat.
In some gun sales, night sights are optional for a handgun purchase. They are also expensive. I consider this component part of the pistol to be a decorative addition, but not necessary to my survival if
I am defending myself in an armed robbery or carjacking that usually occurs with close proximity.
I was taught in survival shooting classes and experiments performed by my training team that the sympathetic nervous system will not allow a shooter to
focus on the sights or close the non-dominate eye in a close-quarter response to an immediate attack.
In a quick reaction to a life threatening attack, the shooter can only focus on the threat, not on the sights atop the weapon. Therefore, closing one eye to focus on the sights in a close quarter immediate attack is not only not an option, but it is impossible.
To have the opportunity to use the sights on a handgun in a self-defense scenario, the shooter must be granted the luxury of the three elements of “Time – Distance – Cover” in order to acquire a proper shooting stance, grip, and sight picture. Not much time is available when defending one’s self in an armed confrontation. If the armed citizen is in close proximity to their adversary, there's no time to aim, and the armed citizen must react with lightning speed to neutralize the threat.
On the other hand, in a situation where you hear suspicious noises approaching your location in your residence, you may have the opportunity to position Scroll to Page 15
Continued From Page 8
yourself to an advantage in a low-light environment awaiting the threat to appear, “Night Sights” would then be an ideal tool for focusing on the doorway for an approaching intruder. The use of sights, in this case, would allow the armed citizen to exercise the three elements of “Time – Distance – Cover.” It is important to know when sights might be useful and when you do not have the luxury of employing them. This is just something to think about when considering your next gun purchase.
About the writer: Brian Smith can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a 40 year veteran in law enforcement, retiring at rank of Captain at Chicago Heights PD, former Police Chief at Glenwood PD, and currently serving as a patrolman with Prairie State College PD along with Steger PD. He is a certified firearms instructor in a variety of firearms disciplines by the Illinois State Law Enforcement Standards Training Board, the National Rifle Association’s Law Enforcement Activities Division and was appointed anNRA Firearms Training Counselor in 2012. He is the founder and director of the Metropolitan Police Self-Defense Institute, which was awarded the 2012 and 2013 NRA “Public Service” Award. Brian was also named the 2014 Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor of the Year, by the NRA Law Enforcement Activities Division and 2016 Trainer of the Year, by the International Law Enforcement Educators Trainers Association. Brian was appointed to the Board of Director of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors for 2018.
Gun Sights Require
Time, Distance, Cover
By Eric Roessler
Editor's Note: This is part two of a (now) three-part series.
Once you’ve established a good grasp of grip, sight picture and trigger pull, it’s time to work on achieving those in minimal time, starting with your hands off the firearm.
Before going any further, I want to reiterate that dryfire practice is about attention and perception. It should be approached with an attitude of, “let’s see what’s going on” not, “let’s make something happen.”
Dryfire should be fun, not a chore or a grind. Dryfire training is like weeding a garden; if we truly want to weed out flaws in our shooting, we have to *want* to find them, not dread them. It’s very easy to become frustrated with stubborn problems or unmet goals. That frustration will split your concentration and poison your practice. Dryfire should be an undistorted mirror that tells the full truth, not just an exercise that will gratify your ego.
To begin, place your holster on your belt. Your holster should have enough structure to remain open when it’s empty, allowing easy re-holstering with one hand. Make sure your pistol is UNLOADED. Establish your best two hand grip on your pistol, arms extended in your shooting position, sights within your line of sight. Remove your support hand from your pistol. This is your perfect one-handed shooting grip. Take some time to feel it. Note in particular where the middle finger of your shooting hand makes contact with the notch where the bottom of the trigger guard meets the front of the pistol grip. This will be very important to your practice.
Slowly, with your index finger off the trigger, lower the pistol toward your holster and seat it fully in the holster, *without* releasing your grip. Now, just as slowly, draw your pistol, raise it *directly* toward your firing position while establishing your perfect two-handed grip. As you perform this process, pay attention to where and how your support hand meets your shooting hand to establish your two-handed grip. The two handed grip needs to be complete when your arms reach their full extension. Keep your index finger off the trigger while you practice this. This is your draw stroke.
Once you’ve established a draw stroke, it’s time to proceed to practicing your draw. A good draw depends on establishing a perfect, one-hand grip on the pistol *before* you withdraw it from the holster, and doing so consistently.
The cheat for achieving this is in the initial contact between the middle finger of your shooting hand and the trigger guard. As mentioned earlier, your middle finger will contact the juncture of the trigger guard and the front strap of your pistol grip at a particular spot when you’ve built your perfect grip. That spot is the nucleus of how you build your perfect grip every time. Neither your hand, nor your pistol change size. If the contact point between your middle finger and the trigger guard are correct, the rest of your hand will go to all the same places every time. Practice making that initial contact, building the rest of your one-handed grip, drawing the pistol from the holster with your index finger off the trigger, meet your support hand and build your two-hand grip while raising your pistol sights to your line of
sight. Always re-holster slowly, mindfully, with your index finger off the trigger, while watching your muzzle into the holster. Draw with your eyes on the target.
It's important at this stage to pay careful attention to precisely what is happening, not only with your hands and the pistol and doing it consistently, but also with your stance, posture and body tension. Tension and effort should be minimal. The only tension exists in the hands and wrists when the grip is complete. You need a repeatable baseline as a foundation. As practice progresses, elements of your draw and grip will change, new efficiencies will be discovered and adjustments and corrections will be made. This process will never end as long as you practice.
At this point, it’s time to introduce your best developmental friend, the par timer. There are programmable shooting par timer applications available for free for all smart phone platforms.
Download the best one and, next month, we’ll get to work in part three of this "two part" series!
"Pay careful attention to precisely what is happening, not only with your hands and the pistol...but also with your stance, posture and body tension..."
Help Us To...
Support the families
of fallen officers;
Honor those who
Officers & their
Provide K9 units
to small agencies;
Donate Today by texting the word 'Police' to 91999 on your cell!
TI Training Donates Shooting Simulator
An exciting new partnership between The American Police Hall of Fame (APHF) and TI Training LE will help forge greater understanding between civilians and law enforcement (LE) officers and will allow smaller departments to gain valuable training that may save lives, both LE and civilian.
TI Training LE has donated to the Hall of Fame a firearms training simulator that includes a training lab library with over 700 varied scenarios, a high def projector, computer, speakers, cameras and VRG blue guns. Valued at $42,000, the system was designed with guidance from subject matter experts on police tactics and training objectives.
“Our goal is to not only honor and serve our law enforcement officers, which we’ve been doing for many decades,” said Hall of Fame CEO Barry Shepherd, “but we are also dedicated to improving relations between communities and law enforcement agencies -- and we want to be certain that officers have access to the best training and information available. This donation really ramps up our ability to achieve all those goals!”
The Shooting Center at the Hall of Fame offers access to law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level for training and proficiency exercises. Officials expect that the simulator will be made available for a variety of training situations, both civilian and law enforcement related.
Through these programs, family survivors and the families of disabled officers receive emergency funds, scholarship money, yearly birthday and holiday gifts to children under 17, summer camp funding and more. The facility also administers a K9 placement program that has raised and dispersed over $1 million for the purchase, training, and equipping of K9 units for departments that cannot afford them.
“We are thrilled that TI Training is partnering with us on making our streets safer for law enforcement and civilians, alike,” CEO Shepherd said. “This simulator will give visitors an idea of what officers face every day in terms of split-second decision-making, and it will allow us to provide state-of-the-art training for smaller departments who cannot afford a sophisticated system like this.”
Shepherd added that “this is the first of many partnering initiatives we are seeking to implement with companies who serve our nation’s LE agencies. We're honored and thrilled that TI stepped forward with such a profound spirit of service.”
TI Training Vice President Kila Otte noted that “TI Training LE is a world leader in simulation training systems for law enforcement. We’ve been in business over 12 years and have more than 2000 agencies using our products. The American Police Hall of Fame and its supporting agencies are doing very good work that is in line with our mission, and we are thrilled to create this partnership for the future.”
The simulator will be shipped to the facility in July, according to Otte, and museum and range staff will be trained on the equipment in August.
For more information about the American Police Hall of Fame, The Shooting Center, or related programs and its programs, call 321-264-0911, email Tarae@aphf.org or go to www.APHF.org. To find out more about TI Training LE, call 800-634-1936 or go to www.TITraining.com.
Hey, Shooting Instructors!
Paul Pawela, Director of Law Enforcement Training at the American Police Hall of Fame has been stacking up accolades recently. In August, he will be inducted into the Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Houston, TX. In June, he was presented The John Edgar Hoover Award by Hall of Fame CEO Barry Shepherd and CFO Brent Shepherd in recognition of Paul's service to law enforcement and to the Hall of Fame, and endorsed by National Association of Chiefs of Police President Jack Rinchich. "I honestly don't know what to say. I'm really honored," a stunned Pawela told the presenters. The award is issued to officers who continually seek a lifetime of education and advancement, as Pawela has consistently done. It is also issued to instructors or institutions who provide beneficial services to law enforcement, as Pawela does at the American Police Hall of Fame and Shooting Center, and through his company, Assault Counter Tactics. Pawela will also be a featured speaker at the July 28 'Rally in Tally' supporting gun rights. Pictured are: Barry Shepherd, Paul Pawela, and Brent Shepherd.
Coming This Fall
A truly unique ONLINE CLASS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM for Firearms Instructors, AND for students who want to be able to research a class or instructor in advance!
Pre-register at www.shootingclasses.com and get inside access, sneak peeks and be among the first instructors to sign up!
READ ABOUT THE FOUNDERS AND THEIR VISION
FOR THE SITE IN THE AUGUST EDITION
OF "HOME ON THE RANGE"
Sept. 15, 2018
Pawela Honored with Hoover Award
Taking A Stand in America
By Paul Pawela
We Americans are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth, governed by a Constitution that guarantees our freedom and individual liberties. However, we sometimes need to be reminded that this freedom came at a steep price, as many brave countrymen took a stand against oppressors or tyrants, even if it meant surrendering their own lives in the process.
I recently enjoyed an odyssey of freedom, traveling several thousand miles from Orlando, FL to Tombstone, AZ and back, stopping at some of our nation's most meaningful landmarks along the way.
Our first stop on this great American tour was San Antonio, TX, home of the Alamo! For 13 days in 1836, a small band of men, women and children, (with roughly 180 fighting men) would make a stand against one of the most advanced armies of the day, reportedly 4-6,000 strong. Most know how the story ended but few know how it began.
On the morning of June 29, 1835, 25 armed men boarded a wooden ship with a small cannon mounted on wheels at Lynch’s Ferry on the San Jacinto River The leader of this amphibious assault crew was a young lawyer named William Barret "Buck" Travis . Travis opposed Mexican rule of Texas and made it his mission to build a militia that would confront the Mexican army and secure Texas' independence.
Travis and his crew overcame a garrison of Mexican soldiers at Anahuac, led by Capt. Antonio Tenorio, but the attack was controversial and led some to label Travis a troublemaker.
Despite this, the attorney-turned-soldier eventually found himself commanding the preparation of the San Antonio de Valero Mission, also known as the Alamo, for an expected assault by General Santa Anna and the main command of the Mexican army. With thelp from engineer Green B. Jameson, Travis strengthened the Alamo walls, constructed palisades to fill gaps, mounted cannons, and laid in provisions for the seige. He also wrote numerous letters calling for reinforcements, but only about 35 men responded, raising the Alamo defenders to around 183.
The assault by Santa Anna began just before dawn on March 6, 1836. Although it did not take long for the Mexican forces to prevail, the courageous defense by those in the Alamo made posthumous heroes of Travis, Colonel James Bowie, Colonel Davy Crockett and others. But there were also many unsung heroes who fell that day, not professional soldiers but shop keepers, blacksmiths, lawyers, farmers. They came from 20 different states and six foreign countries, ranging in age from 15 to 56, all seeking to establish Texan independence. Although they died that day, their cause did not. Texas would not forget...
Time in Tombstone
From San Antonio, it was onward to Tombstone, AZ, where an 1800's Cavalry scout named Ed Scheffelin decided to abandon scouting and try his hand at prospecting. When he told friends that he planned to seek his fortune deep within Apache territory, they laughed at him and joked, "all you're going to find out there is your Tombstone! "
When Scheffelin did, indeed, hit the motherload he relished assigning an ironic name to the town he helped put on the map.
Many know of the famous gun fight at the OK Corral but there is more to the story than a family squabble between the Clantons and Earps. Tombstone was booming due to one of the richest silver strikes
in American history. Like any big money town, vices were plentiful and so were gun fights. The town was crowded with members of "The Cowboys," America's first "organized crime family," known for cattle and horse rustling, and associated with a string of stage coach robberies and numerous murders.
Following the killing of a well-liked local marshal by one of the Cowboys, Virgil Earp pinned on the marshal's badge, pitting himself, his brother Morgan, and his famous brother Wyatt against the Cowboys. The storied show-down in a small lot on the edge of Tombstone only lasted about 30 seconds, with 30 rounds fired at men standing no more than 8-10 feet apart. Three of the cowboys died, Virgil and Morgan Earp would suffer serious wounds, and Doc Holliday would be slightly wounded. Unscathed was Wyatt Earp.
But the gunfight at the OK Corral did not end the blood feud between the two groups. Virgil Earp was permanently maimed by a subsequent attempt on his life and, later, younger brother Morgan was killed. This raised the stakes to an epic quest for justice by the Earps and their friend Doc Holliday.
The film 'Tombstone,' one of America's classic Westerns, tells the tale of the Earps' efforts to eliminate the Cowboys and find some semblance of peace of in the 'Wild West.'
A number of performers from the original film were on hand for the 25th anniversary celebration in July, and the American Police Hall of Fame was a featured part of the celebratory parade. It seemed approporiate that a contemporary law enforcement organization would honor yesterday's efforts to bring law and order to the American frontier.
Heading back to Florida via Highway 80, we encountered an unexpected memorial in the middle of nowhere, one that truly inspired and moved me.
Native American Tribute
The man honored at this site was originally named Goyahla, but America would come to know him as Geronimo, the greatest warrior who ever lived. Geronimo made a stand for his people and his way of life, refusing to surrender to anyone...even the United States Army, which pursued him with an entire division. The Apache warrior spent his life living and fighting under the most adverse conditions but his warrior's spirit endured, long after his capture and death. During WW II, Airborne Paratroopers would jump into combat yelling "Geronimo!" And, as Seal Team 6 hunted the most wanted man in history, Osama Bin Laden, the mission operation was dubbed, Geronimo! Geronimo's courage lives on in every American who has ever resolved to take a stand.
We ended our incredible journey visiting another piece of hallowed ground, San Jacinto, where the battle for Texas independence took place. On April 21, 1836, General Sam Houston and 900 men confronted General Santa Anna’s army of 1,400 Mexican soldiers, with battle cries of “Remember The Alamo!” Houston’s men routed the Mexican Army in an astonishing 18 minutes. He spared Santa Anna's life if the General would agree to withdraw all Mexican armies from Texas.
When freedom is on the line, Americans have a history of drawing a line in the sand and using firearms to hold their ground. I am asking our readers to remember that heritage and take a stand with us in Tallahassee at the Capital Building on July 28, as we peacefully rally for our Second Amendment rights. There will be an all-star line-up of Patriots (myself included) whose devotion to freedom mirrors the heroes I encountered on my journey. And, to sweeten the pot, I will give anyone who attends the "rally in Tally" a free Realistic Self-Defense class.
Let freedom ring! See you in Tallahassee.
On The Road
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IALEFI Picks AFP&CC President
Brian C. Smith, President of the American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens, a supporting organization of The American Police Hall of Fame, has been named to the Board of Directors
of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). Smith, a 40-year law enforcement veteran and certified firearms trainer, received the majority of the votes during the Board of Directors election. The votes were submitted by the membership body of just over 3,000 members through- out the world. After the final count was confirmed, Brian was officially appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for this prestigious training organization for a term of three years.
IALEFI was founded in 1981, with the mission to establish law enforcement firearms training standards in the United States and other countries throughout the world. Smith has been a member in good standing with IALEFI since 1992, and has participated in many of the conferences.
Brian’s firearms training background extends back to receiving his first firearms instructor certification for handgun/shotgun by the National Rifle Association’s Law Enforcement Activities Division in 1986. Since that time, he has acquired approximately 18 firearms instructor’s certifications for various firearms disciplines and numerous firearms armorer classes. In 2012, Brian earned the title of Firearms Training Counselor by the National Rifle Association’s Education and Training Division. The responsibility of this title is to train and certify qualified candidates to become firearms instructors.
Brian won national acclaim when his private training group, referred to as the Metropolitan Police Self-Defense Institute, was awarded the 2012 and 2013 “Public Service” Awards presented by the National Rifle Association during their annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Brian’s ability and willingness to share his skills has also been recognized by several other training associations. He was named (a.) “1993 Trainer of the Year” by the Midwest Tactical Training Institute, (b.) NRA‘s “2014 Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor of the Year” and (c.) “2016 Trainer of the Year,” presented by the International Law Enforcement Educators Trainer’s Association during their annual conference in Rosemont, Illinois.
Brian is a freelance writer with over 150 articles to his credit, along with his video productions related to training topics. He continues to teach firearms, martial arts, and tactical classes in the Chicagoland area. It is estimated that he has trained approximately 9,000 people on various self-protection and firearms related topics over the years. His public service classes have earned the sponsorships from organizations such as the American Police Hall of Fame and the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
“I am honored that I was selected by the membership of I.A.L.E.F.I. to serve as a member on the Board of Directors and I will exhaust all efforts to serve the members well in my capacity.” Brian said.
Brian can be reached by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian C. Smith
Brian has served as an adjunct instructor for the last 15 years teaching the segment titled “Tactical Pistol Craft” years at the annual S.W.A.T. Academy hosted by the South Suburban Emergency Response Team (S.S.E.R.T.). He also conducts firearms in-service classes for several south suburban police and security agencies.
Since 2010, Brian and his private training group, the Metropolitan Police Self-Defense Institute has volunteered their time to host three free classes annually titled: “Basic Pistol Fundamentals for Police Wives.” This class also counts towards eight hours of the required sixteen hours to apply for the Illinois Concealed Carry license.
Home on the Range is published monthly by The Shooting Center and Pro Shop at The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive, Titusville, FL 32780.
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Barry Shepherd / Brent Shepherd.......................Executive Editor
Tara Dixon Engel....................................................Managing Editor
Note: To have an article considered for publication, please submit to Tarae@aphf.org. Content will be edited for space and editorial considerations. Photos are encouraged. Article content can include: How-to pieces, equipment reviews, interviews, first-person training stories, event coverage and more. Content may encompass events and activities anywhere in the Brevard County region and is not limited to those activities taking place at The Shooting Center (although such activities do take priority). You may contact the editor by phone at 321-264-0911 Ext. 133.
Gun Sights Require...
Brian Smith Tapped for Three-year Board Term