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The Best Defense:

 It’s not what’s in your holster but in your head that counts

By Doug Gilmer

While you can buy a handgun, all the necessary gear, and even pay for excellent training, what is most overlooked, and cannot be purchased, is the mental preparation required of anyone who chooses to carry a firearm. You can be well armed, well trained, and even shoot well but not have the necessary mindset or mental focus to carry a firearm. It is deeply personal and something each person must develop and determine for themselves. This has nothing to do with gender. It has nothing do with occupation. Over the years I have met a number of people, both male and female, who have entered careers in law enforcement and the military who are not mentally equipped for the job and the requirement to be armed.


Armed self defense is more mental than physical and requires you to accept four realities. First, when you choose to own and or carry a firearm for self protection you are accepting the reality one day you may be in a position where you will have to deploy their firearm, whether at home or in public. Second, you may one day be required to fire your weapon in the face of a threat. Third, you must come to terms with the fact, morally and otherwise, you may take another person’s life: kill them, make them dead. That’s right!  The actions of an armed individual may result in the death of the person who poses the threat justifying the deadly force response.  I emphasize this because I don’t believe many people understand the finality of their actions. Death is what it is, dead. Fourth, you must have a plan to deal with the aftermath of an armed encounter.


Do you carry a handgun for self protection? Are you considering it? What does all of this mean for you?


First, if you are properly licensed or are otherwise legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm then carry everywhere you can. To carry only when convenient or when you feel like it means you can somehow predict when you will need your firearm and you are in denial of the first previously mentioned reality. The news is full of stories of people who fall victim to violent crime and who never thought it would happen to them, when it happened. You cannot predict when bad things happen, you can only plan and prepare for them. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” In matters of personal defense, failure is not an option as there may not be a second chance.


Secondly, firearms training is an essential aspect of mental preparation. Learning how to carry and properly deploy a handgun effectively, hitting what you aim at, and doing so under stress, will help build confidence and improve your comfort level carrying a firearm as well as with the idea you might have to use your handgun at home or in public to stop a threat. Carrying a firearm does not make you invincible or a super-hero. It is not an ego builder. It’s serious business. Should you face a dangerous situation and deploy your handgun you should know the one creating the threat is not going to necessarily stop and run at the mere presence of your firearm. After considering your surroundings and the totality of the situation (done within a split second) you may have to pull the trigger. Of course once you do, you own the rounds you fire down range. Ensuring you hit your target is critical.


Third, the idea of taking another life does not come naturally to us. We cherish life. We celebrate births, birthdays, and mourn death. I have heard a number of people who carry a firearm claim they don’t want to have to shoot anyone. Good! No one does. But then some go on to say things such as, “Hopefully seeing my gun will be enough to scare them,” or “If I have to fire my gun I am just going to try and wound the person, not kill them.”  This is the wrong perspective to have. Again, while we don’t want to ever have to use deadly force, much less kill anyone, if you carry this apprehension along with your firearm, chances are if faced with a deadly force situation you will hesitate under  stress or fail in your attempt to only wound the subject by missing your target. Either way, the outcome is not good and leaves you at a tactical disadvantage. You could end up dead yourself or with your rounds hitting unintended targets.


Finally, you need to have a plan to deal with the aftermath of an armed encounter. Do you know a criminal defense attorney you can call? Do you have concealed carry insurance such as a policy offered by CCW Safe ( or the U.S. Concealed Carry Association ( Do you know what to do and say, or not to do and say, when responding police officers and detectives arrive? Is there a clergy member or mental health professional you can talk to following an event to help you deal with the post traumatic stress? Do you have another firearm? The one you used in the shooting will be taken as evidence.


The choice of which firearm to carry and how you carry is a personal decision. There are pros and cons for revolvers, semi-autos, different ammo choices, and carry methods. No doubt,  some will offer you an advantage in a life threatening situation but ultimately, you have to carry what you feel most comfortable with and are able to shoot best.


Don’t forget however, your best preparation for a life threatening encounter is mental preparation. You can’t buy it, but before you carry a firearm, you best have it. It is your responsibility. You owe it to yourself and others. Nothing is more important.


Used by permission of Blaze Magazine, the official publication of Outdoor Women Unlimited – Accept No Limits. Copyright 2016

Some Gun Clubs Can’t Handle the Growth

Media reports of violence have always played a major part in civilians’ interest in personal protection. It’s no secret that with a tragedy, an increase in firearm purchases is sure to follow. And with the Paris massacre, the Orlando shooting, and police/civilian tension and violence, we are seeing a huge upswing in firearm and ammo purchases. Similarly, gun club member numbers are soaring through the roof.


At Magnum, we’ve experienced this first hand… though we have yet to reach capacity – don’t worry! But across the states, gun clubs are feeling the pressure of many members, huge class attendance numbers (and waitlists), and more people interested in firearms training. Gun clubs in the US are certainly feeling the weight of more members, and have had to turn new members away!


At our Shooting Center, we are finding that more and more people want to learn the right way to ensure their own safety, and to examine the hows, whens, and whys that may go along with it. And with training and knowledgeable instruction, we get to see good people like you stand up to the “bad guys”… and succeed.


We can’t believe that “gun free” is the answer. And with the ever-increasing demand for gun club memberships, many of you think along the same vein. So train hard, learn continuously, and be ready for the unexpected. We believe in a well-trained, armed citizenry. And in this day and age, who can we trust, but ourselves?


Why Gun Giveaways Shouldn’t Freak You Out

This month at Magnum, we are having an exciting promotion where people have the chance to win a Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II, while also having the option to help law enforcement get the body armor they need.


And, this promotion put us on the news! There are a number of opinions on this particular giveaway, so we thought we’d clarify a couple of things:


  1. Firearm giveaways happen all over the country, and aren’t as scary as some may think. Anyone who wins a firearm must go through the regular background check that is required of those who purchase a firearm. It is the exact same process. If the winner does not pass the background check, he/she will not obtain the firearm, nor will he/she be able to transfer the firearm to a friend or family member. An entirely new winner will be chosen.


  1. To enter this giveaway, there is no purchase necessary. However, if you want to participate in the Poker Shooting Showdown, you may purchase a special, 52-card target (suggested donation: $10), and shoot your best poker hand. The better you shoot, the more entries you will receive into the giveaway.


  1. All the donations that are received will go to Shield616, who will use all the donations to help purchase body armor for our police and sheriffs. We support our law enforcement personnel, and are excited to have the opportunity to help them buy body armor to increase their personal protection. We do not take a position on the faith-based aspects of Shield616’s organization, but can certainly get behind the protection of those who protect us. All of the donations will be used strictly to purchase the body armor.


Firearm giveaways are just one example of the many promotions that we run every month at Magnum. We’ve given away classes, free membership registration fees, training sessions for new shooters, and more! Magnum Shooting Center is passionate about continued, regular training for all shooters in the Front Range. And providing fun promotions for our Magnum friends!


If you’d like to hear about all the exciting promos happening at Magnum, register here!

2 Bills Gunned Down

Last Thursday, two bills were presented to the Senate… one that would “permit the federal government to place people on a problem-ridden, secret terrorist watch list without due process or recourse thereby preventing them from exercising their constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendments.” And another that would expand the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to include all gun transfers—online sales, private sales, in retail shops, and in gun shows.


“The List” Bill:

The former bill clearly states that the ultimate goal is to refuse the sale of firearms and explosives to known or suspected terrorists or affiliates. In theory, GREAT! But in execution, there are simply too many holes.


Firstly, how do people qualify for the list, and what is “suspicious”? If “suspicion” is the only qualification… it is concerning as to how many innocent Americans would be put on this damning list. What if “suspicious” includes having multiple firearms? Or just one firearm? Who determines what is “suspicious”? The bill is simply too broad.


Secondly, if you ended up on this list (because qualifications for the list are undisclosed, and could frankly include anything) they may not have to tell you why. But you could be denied your right to bear arms. Denial is simply “at the Attorney General’s discretion”. So, in the years to come, how many innocents would lose their 2nd Amendment right?


The bill was simply too problematic, so thankfully, it was not passed.


“Background Checks” Bill:

The second bill is one that we are all familiar with… it would require background checks on all gun transfers.


Now, in Colorado, we are already required to submit background checks for private gun transfers, but this is actually not a nationally-recognized law. In fact, only eight states require universal background checks (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State). Ten other states have laws that extend beyond the federal law.


In most states, however, private and gun show sales do not require background checks. And with this kind of bill, comes a common fear of gun owners: what will happen, in the future, if the government knows of every firearm that is owned, and their owners? Could my firearms be confiscated?


This too was voted down.



Tell us your thoughts! Were these to bills small steps toward gun-control? Or simply measures that could reduce terrorist attacks?

Why That Cheap, “No Range Time” CCW Class is Bull

Concealed carry classes are sweeping the nation! And with the demand for concealed carry permits on the rise… the amount of CC classes is rising just as rapidly.  Because of this, you will need to use discretion when deciding which course will be worth your time, and your money. And those cheap, no range time classes are probably not your best choice.

Many CC courses have turned into “quickie classes” that don’t cover all the essential information, and don’t include range time. If you have made the important decision to someday carry concealed, you need a class that is comprehensive, and allows you to practice with your firearm.

It is also important to keep in mind that your concealed carry class can not be your only source of training. Plan on practicing frequently, before you carry concealed, and take further training courses. Your decision to carry concealed is great, but know that if you are to be a responsible firearm owner, that will require time, dedication, and money (in ammo and training, at the least).


Things to consider for a concealed carry class:

Is range time included?

This is by far one of the most important factors when you compare different concealed carry courses. A truly good class must include range time. Your instructor should be examining your form, making adjustments where necessary, and allowing you to practice with the firearm you intend to carry. Of course, it will be your responsibility to regularly practice, and become wholly comfortable with your firearm, before you decide to carry concealed. But any concealed carry class that you take should certainly give you time on the range.


Do you qualify for your concealed carry permit upon successful completion of the course?

Clearly, the course that you choose should qualify you for your concealed carry permit after you’ve completed the class. That is the main goal of taking a concealed carry course, after all. So, make sure that the course you choose will allow for your state-certified concealed carry permit.


What is your instructor’s training and credentials?

You should take a course from an experienced, instructor who truly knows the laws pertaining to concealing, and can provide you with the proper instruction. They should also be passionate about their own continued training and regular practice. And, most importantly, the instructor you choose must place the highest priority on safe learning.

For experienced shooters, especially, you should find someone who would be able to respect your personal knowledge, but also be able to offer further insight or adjustments for improvement. It can be helpful to learn new techniques or tips from other highly trained shooters.


Will the course provide in-depth classroom training?

It is important that your class time be used to cover firearm safe handling, proper storage, different firearms and ammo, proper technique, potential situations, as well as laws pertaining to your firearm and concealing. Your class’s curriculum should be comprehensive, and provide you with the necessary information pertaining to carrying concealed. It is also helpful to have a hands-on course, with classroom engagement encouraged.


Will you need to pass a test after the class?

Some classes will require you to pass either a Q&A test or a shooting test, but it is typically not state-required. Please look at the laws for your own state to determine the specific requirements. Additionally, the concealed carry class you take should cover your state-specific laws.



The decision to carry concealed is an important and well-respected one. Make sure you choose your concealed carry course wisely, and don’t get sucked into those cheap, quickie classes… they won’t give you what you need. When its your, and others’, safety on the line… it’s not the time to pinch pennies.

At Magnum Shooting Center, we have numerous options for concealed carry courses… for all different skill levels. Check out our calendar for all the upcoming courses, and let us help you get the training you need… range time included.

Why You Want a S&W Bodyguard .380 with Crimson Trace Laser

You want one because, firstly, it’s on SALE! You can get it, right now, for just $349.99 at Magnum.




And there’s more: we’re giving away a private lesson with each Bodyguard purchase.


And also, this little guy ROCKS! In terms of carrying firearms, this one is a great choice. It’s small, slim, and light… which make for more comfort (and ease) in concealing. Plus, you should have more carrying options, given its small size. Its overall length is just 5 ¼ inches!


Here are some of its special features, as listed by the manufacturer:


  • Crimson Trace Integrated Laser
  • Stainless Steel Drift Adjustable Sights
  • Two Magazines Included (Finger Groove and Flat Butt Plate)
  • Ergonomic Grip
  • High-Strength Polymer Frame
  • External Takedown Lever & Slide Stop
  • Manual Thumb Safety
  • Double Action Fire Control (2nd Strike Capability)
  • Stainless Steel Barrel & Side
  • Adjust Laser Without Any Disassembly of Firearm


If you want, you can test out the Bodyguard .380 at Magnum. We have it available to rent, so you can “try before you buy”. It’s always a good idea to see if a firearm is the right fit for you, before you pull the trigger on purchasing. We try to make it easy for you to do that.


Over and above the Bodyguard, we have incredible, Black Friday savings… happening all month long! So come visit us this season. There will be deals galore.


See you on the range!


The Hearing Protection Act

By Anne Vinnola

Legislation was introduced this week by Arizona Republican Matt Salmon, to allow for instant background checks for silencers. This would replace the current outdated federal transfer process.

As the cumbersome and frustrating law stands now, a purchaser is required to first buy the silencer (suppressor), leave it with the retailer, apply for a $200 tax stamp, then wait for months to have the retailer receive the stamp. After the retailer receives the tax stamp, the purchaser has to go through a regular firearm background check. Then, upon approval of that background check, is finally able to take the silencer home. The entire process is exceedingly long, leaving the buyer to wait months just to receive the product he or she already paid for.

Silencer purchases are steadily rising as people see the benefits to shooting and hunting with them. While it’s impossible to completely silence the discharge of a gun, silencers lower the decibels to safer levels. The Hollywood stigma of “bad guys” only having silencers is rapidly being replaced by the understanding that hunting and range shooting is a much more enjoyable experience with a silencer.

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the number of registered silencers rose 38% last year… from 571,750 to 792,282 licenses in March 2014.

Rep. Salmon’s Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 3799) will hopefully lessen the federal government’s suppressor stigma, and create an environment to make it easier for sportsmen to protect their hearing. This legislation will remove suppressors from the burdensome requirements of the National Firearms Act (NFA), and allow silencer purchases to be conducted through the normal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). With this legislation, law-abiding gun owners will still be free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing them, as with any other firearm.

The measure would also repeal the $200 tax and, if passed, a refund will be issued to anyone who pays it while the legislation is being debated.

The NRA-ILA is in support of The Hearing Protection Act and will undoubtedly assist in the efforts to pass the legislation, with the support of their members.

“Suppressors significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss for anyone who enjoys the shooting sports,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA and our 5 million members, I want to thank Rep. Salmon for his leadership on this important bill.”

Magnum Shooting Center will be keeping an eye on this legislation, and invite you to contact your legislators to let them know your views about the Hearing Protection Act.

Gun Buyback… Could It Happen Here?

With the upcoming 2016 election, hot button topics are on display by each of the potential candidates. You may have noticed the subject of “gun buybacks” creeping up on a number of occasions. It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton is passionate about stricter firearm regulations… but it would seem that she is also interested in potential and buyback options.


Recently, in a New Hampshire town hall meeting, she may have insinuated that national, mandatory buybacks “would be worth considering”, following in the footsteps of Australia… which banned firearms in 1996. Their government bought back more than 600,000 semi-autos, rifles, and shotguns. Clinton believes that, “the evidence supports [buybacks]”. But does it really?


Have these places had a reduction in homicides and suicides? In Australia at least, the evidence suggests: yes, but it’s not as cut and dry as you might think.


In Australia, statistics have shown that there are clear declines in both suicide and homicide rates. But, it is important to note that those rates were declining before the buyback occurred. In terms of armed robbery, those rates peaked right after the buyback, and then slowly declined. It is unclear whether or not the ban caused the decrease, or if homicides were simply on the decline already. Still, there are those in the U.S. who would be willing to test the waters anyways.


Australia’s citizens must apply for firearms, and must have a legitimate reason for needing any firearm that they purchase—self defense is not a valid reason. There, self-defense is not a human right. But in America, it is.


Still, if such bans are put in place here, who then is responsible for keeping the public safe? One cannot separate gun bans from increased security. If gun bans are enforced, highly increased security measures would need to be implemented… everywhere. Since citizens would be forced to surrender their means of self-protection, protection would need to come from outside sources. How could this be possible? Who would be funding this? And would we even have enough qualified individuals to fill this incredible surge in security? On this issue alone, (Ignoring the infringement on human rights) firearm bans seem impractical.


And, research suggests that simply stating that an area is a “gun free zone” simply won’t cut it, as every mass public shooting in the US since 1950 have occurred in places where firearms are banned, except for two.


Bottom line: who would be responsible for protecting the public, if the public is no longer able to protect itself? And who would be exempt from such a ban?


Let’s hear your thoughts!

Universal Background Checks for Firearm Buyers

Those in the firearm industry are all too familiar with the seemingly constant push for stronger regulations on current and future firearm owners. Still, the laws for purchasing and transferring different firearms can vary across the States.


But, universally, Federal law requires that criminal background checks must be conducted by licensed firearm dealers (that’s us!) on all of their firearm buyers. In addition, we are required to keep records of all our firearm sales, with those records available for inspection as needed. Additionally, Colorado law requires firearm transfers to be processed through licensed dealers… and for background checks to be conducted for private sales. But, in some states, private sellers have no such requirements.


And so, universal background checks are a hot topic for those who wish to reduce gun violence and for those who wish to uphold 2nd Amendment rights—with both goals overlapping at times.


The Case For


Proponents of universal background checks are most concerned that criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, and or other prohibited persons can illegally purchase guns (without a background check) through a private seller. And because, in some states, people have the ability to purchase firearms through private sellers without background checks—can these dangerous people obtain firearms too easily?


Universal background checks would require that private sellers, in all states, must adhere to the same laws that licensed dealers must abide by. In addition, private sellers would need to keep records of their sales. Those who would prefer that a background check be conducted for every firearm sale may believe that this is a step in the right direction in preventing gun violence.


Research has shown that many Americans are OK with universal background checks. So let’s take a look at why people might be opposed to the universal background check.



The Case Against


Universal background checks are concerning to some for a number of reasons.


The thought of universal background checks, and the potential for having your name permanently stuck on a list—recording your firearm purchases—is pretty unnerving to many. And that by requiring background checks and records, it seems that the government is criminalizing the act of purchasing firearms.


Additionally, laws already prohibit violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from purchasing firearms… and when they purchase firearms, they are already breaking the law. So, what’s to stop them from obtaining firearms illegally with the new, universal background check requirement?


It’s no secret that the government passes new laws and regulations continually… and that firearm dealers are quite familiar with the extensive regulations placed upon them. But when has the government taken it too far, and overreached? When have they infringed on the rights of the people?


With the universal background checks and records, opponents believe it could be a slippery slope in the years to come. For the most part, people don’t appreciate being highly tracked, with records of purchases and activity. And, most unnervingly, could firearm confiscation be something to worry about in the future?


What do you think?


Do you think that universal background checks, we could reduce this type of violence? Or is the infringement of rights too significant?


We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Helping Your Lady Fall in Love with Her First Gun Purchase

By Anne Vinnola


The FBI released the numbers: August had the highest number of background checks since the system was implemented in 1998. A whopping 1.7 million firearm background checks were performed. Female firearm purchases are soaring, and are one of the fastest growing demographics in the gun industry. Women are taking ownership of their own safety, flocking to shooting sports events as competitors, practicing in local ranges, and hunting in record numbers.

Everyday, men come in to Magnum Shooting Center wanting to purchase new guns for their wives and daughters. These men usually love the sport of shooting, and want to give their wives and daughters the chance to fall in love with shooting as well. And while good intentioned they may be, they may be going about this goal the wrong way. Those who are new to the world of firearms—men and women alike—may be intimidated by certain firearms, and should have the chance to “try before they buy”.

Here are some tips that you fellas can consider that may help your lady 1) find the right firearm, 2) encourage her love of firearms, and 3) become proficient with her firearm.


Don’t rush the process

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation 2014 Women Gun Owners Report, women consider purchasing a gun for at least a few months before finally making their decision. This would indicate that women are typically not impulsive gun purchasers. For most women, a large ticket item like this needs to be given thorough consideration. You may be super excited to help her, but women SHOP. It’s what we do.


Determine the purpose of her first firearm

Your lady needs to have a clear idea of what she is going to do with her firearm. Is she going to be target practicing? Will her gun be for self-defense and home protection? Is she going to be carrying it with her concealed carry permit? Does she want to shoot competitively? Will she be hunting? What she wants with her first firearm will help narrow down her options dramatically.


Get her some outside instruction

Even if you are an expert, you may not be the best one to teach her. We often have some trouble teaching those close to us. Help her find a great class where she will be able learn from an outside source, practice with the firearm, and feel camaraderie with the other students. I was an award-winning equestrian for years, and successfully instructed many people. But I quickly realized that my own daughters needed someone else to teach them. I took my ego out of the equation, and they learned to be excellent riders. Plus, there was much less fighting.


Consider female instruction

Women typically learn well from other women, so a class taught by a woman can also be beneficial.  We form a sisterhood with each other, and encourage each other differently than when we are learning from men. I am NOT saying men are bad instructors, but often women learn best from each other… building each other up as we go. Women understand other women well, and so your lady’s comfort level could increase if she’s learning from another woman. Magnum’s head instructor, Nikki Carroll, is wonderful with ladies, and naturally builds their confidence.

Remember, the goal here is to empower her, and help her build confidence. The more information and encouragement she gets, the more successful she could be.


Don’t buy a gun for her without her input—let her try some out

Buying a gun is like buying a bra… it needs to fit. Ok, maybe not quite like a bra but you get the message. Every day men come in to the store with the sweet words I love to hear… “I want to buy my wife a firearm.” Even though I can surely sell guns to these fellas, I would rather have her present, and able to participate in the process.  Everyone should have the opportunity to feel, try out, and own a firearm that fits them.

If you are intent on a surprise for her, perhaps consider a gift card, and let her know that you would like her to pick out the perfect firearm. Or, better yet, sign her up for some classes and training, and have her try several firearms. It would be tough to put down a large amount of money for a gun she really isn’t comfortable with.



Now, a lot of people might have some misconceptions about women and firearms. Here are come common myths that need to be busted…


 A woman must have a tiny gun because her hands are small

This seems to make sense at first, but I have seen many women come in to the store and test out the small .380’s—like the Ruger LCP or Smith and Wesson Bodyguard—and express some dissatisfaction with the firearm. Then, they would try out a larger firearm, and 9 times out of 10, choose the larger one. The tiny pistols are great for some things, but can sometimes be difficult for anyone to hold and maneuver. Women want a gun that they can grip easily and handle—without feeling like it is going to flip out of their hand.


A woman should start with a revolver because she can’t rack a slide

This statement usually makes my eye start to twitch. I love to watch a woman who was told this, grin and get super excited when I show her an easier, safe way to rack a slide. Additionally, there are some techniques that make it much easier for gals with small hands to do it. Get her some instruction and don’t tell her she can’t, because odds are… she can.


She needs a .22 to start out with, because the recoil on anything larger will scare her


Of course, if if she’s being told that anything larger than a .22 will be scary, then the chances of her being afraid increase. You don’t want her shaking on the range because she’s had a fear created within her by those close to her. Now, my own firearms of choice are not .45’s, but I am not afraid to shoot them. It is delightful to see women learn and become accomplished shooters… confident that they can handle any firearm sent their way. You want her to respect a firearm in her capable hands. Not be afraid of it.


Ladies want a pink gun

It is not the color of the gun that attracts a woman, but the fit and functionality of it. In only about 10% of the firearms I sell to women do they buy based on the color.  They may be attracted to a pretty colored gun at first, but that is definitely not what the final purchase is based on.



In all, we want you guys to help your ladies get the right firearm for them. You can help them every step of the way! But, if you want a little help… you know that, at Magnum Shooting Center, we are excited to be that resource for you. Check out our upcoming ladies’ classes on our calendar, and get your gal started!