Riding Shotgun With Charlie is a aims to entertain and educate people who are into firearms. However, not everything is firearm related. We may talk music or politics or whatever may come up during a conversation between the driver and the passenger.
RSWC #155 Chris Cheng
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Top Shot Winner
When Chris Cheng came up to me at Gun Rights Policy Conference 2019 in Phoenix, I was buzzing from being awarded the Blogger of the Year the day before. He said when I was in San Francisco he wanted to be on the show. I’d seen him play the tunes on the Musical Targets, which was like a shooter’s xylophone and told him about the GunGrams. And that we need to film a duet with him on pitched plates and me on trumpet. We tried to connect this past summer while I was in California, but it didn’t happen. However, we were at Rick Ector’s (RSWC #032) Ladies Event in Detroit this past summer and were able to film a show there.
As a young man, Chris did some shooting with his dad, but they didn’t go to the range regularly. After working with Google and having some expendable income, Chris started shooting again. He started getting into shooting IDPA and USPSA, and learned that shooting was static and you could run and gun.
While watching The History Channel’s Top Shot, Chris decided to audition for the show. That meant he needed some training and practice. Practicing was nothing new because he also played the double bass and understood that he needed a practice schedule. He was an amatuer shooter who practiced 20-25 hours a week, and worked his way to win Season 4 of Top Shot. Along with the winning prize, he was now a household name in the firearm community.
He was offered a sponsored shooter position with Bass Pro Shop and traveled the country teaching at their stores everywhere. Having access to all kinds of firearms and ammunition was great, but Chris really enjoyed being around like-minded people who enjoyed shooting and sharing his passion with everyone. All of these things lead him to becoming a Second Amendment advocate.
After the Bass Pro contract expired, Chris decided to take everything he learned, everything he was sharing, and put it into a book, which is called Shoot To Win: Tips, Tactics, and Techniques to Help You Shoot Like a Pro. This book is geared towards the new shooters for any firearm, rifle, pistol, or shotgun. It’s a lot of what he studied to get on to and win Top Shot.
During the pandemic, Chris was contacted to be on a show called The Go Big Show. He says it's like America’s Got Talent on steroids. There were many celebrity judges on the show. Chris got to shoot several types of firearms in many fun situations, but this time it was in an indoor sports area. He and the producers need to get some lessons on building a safe area where he would shoot. He also said that he was going to need some full auto fun for the show!
More recently, Chris has been active with suicide prevention as over 60% of deaths with a firearm are suicides. With the pandemic producing 12,000,000 new gun owners, there’s a concern about preventing suicides. There is a new Suicide Prevention Hotline number which is simply 988. If you or anyone you know is in crisis and thinking of taking your life, please call that number to talk with someone. You can even reach out to me and I’ll talk with you.
I'm honored that we finally got our schedules to work out and have Chris on the show. He’s accomplished a lot as a shooter and showman. He’s testified in front of Congress in 2021. He’s a force to be reckoned with. And I’m glad to call him a friend.
“Top Shot made me change my life where it made me realize that the freedoms that we take for granted may not always be there.”
“We all have to speak up and show up to defend the things we believe in.”
“There’s a lot of training and education opportunities.”
“I 100% absolutely need to shoot full auto.I’m not going to come on the show if you will not let me shoot full auto.”
01:13 Chris Cheng
04:42 Starting shooting
06:33 Running & gunning
07:45 Watching T
RSWC #154 Bill Dalpe
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Patriot Firearms Training
Bill Dalpe and I have been social media friends for a while. I will admit that I’ve got another friend using “Patriot” for his training business and I may have gotten them mixed up at first. I met Bill at the GOAL Breakfast this past year and I took the Before You Carry & Defend class with my good friend Mark, who I’ve done a few other courses with. I”m glad that we finally made it happen this summer.
Like many instructors, Bill started off teaching from friends and friends of friends. After someone suggested he become an instructor, he learned that he didn’t know what he didn’t know. That’s where his passion for training and training trainers started. Bill is a certified instructor with the NRA, the USCCA, and the MA State Police. And he’s a Training Counselor for the NRA and USCCA, too. He started Patriot Firearms School and has built it to a great training school with it’s own classroom stocked with all the things an instructor needs and more! He’s got some Patriot Firearms School swag, too. With his facility, he offers it for use by his instructor candidates. Eventually, he had a client who had some local property and offered to build him a range. Like many offers from folks, he didn’t believe it until he saw it. Now it’s where he does live fire for his courses.
Bill wrote a book called After The Bell Rings. It’s a situational awareness book for kids in their early teen years. There was a local boy around 13 years old who was abducted over drugs. Wanting to do something to help, he took the NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim course to a local school and offered it for free. After the school administrator saw “NRA” on the back of the book, they rejected wanting the course in their school. Bill took this obstacle and turned it into an opportunity to write this book.
The book looks at several situations that are realistic and how a teenager can respond to them. He uses the Cooper Color Code of Awareness, but adapts it to a Trust Ring, which relates better to younger people. The book is written for teenage students but their parents should really read it and talk with their kids about how they can implement these ideas into their own lives.
The backseat rider we have is Fred. Fred is a 3D target made by Target Nation. He’s a cardboard target torso and body that can be used with the downloadable vital organ targets or traditional targets. The aim with the targets is that in self defense situations our “target’ isn’t a 2 dimensional concentric circle or a bowling pin Q style target. You could shoot at an angle and not hit any vital organs, which can be analyzed with Fred. Fred can be dressed up in clothes and comes with several accessories, including a shotgun, knife, phone, and a gun. He can also be a target backing and opens up to put targets inside him. Fred really takes the scenario training up a notch as many folks haven’t shot at targets that look, shaped, and dressed like people.
Bill also has a podcast that gets into something close to his heart. His son has dravet syndrome so he and his wife are life long caregivers for their son. His podcast & YouTube channel “A Matter of Perspective”
“I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but then I knew what I knew, I was like WOW”
“I have a very huge soft spot for new instructors. I remember what it was like when I first became an instructor.”
“I’ve been exposed to a multitude of sh!tty instructors.”
“I take my role as a Training Counselor extremely seriously.”
“I like the role of mentoring instructors.”
“None of us have our (stuff) completely together.”
Patriot Firearms School
Patriot Firearms School Facebook
Patriot Firearms School YouTube
RSWC #153 Michael Schwartz
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
San Diego County Gun Owners
Gun Owners Radio
This past June I finally got to California to film some shows. One of the folks I absolutely had to have was Michael Schwartz. He’s the founder of San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) and co-host of Gun Owners Radio (GOR). I booked a trip with John Petrolino (RSWC #093) and we headed to SDCGO’s GunProm 2022. It was not just an amazing event, but John was awarded the Media Figure of the Year. The day after the event, Michael and I had a chance to get him on the show. After all, I have been on GOR a time or two. And the night we filmed this show, John and I were able to be in-studio for the show. You can get the link here. https://youtu.be/sRKiSkbB3hY
While Michael did own some BB guns when he was young, he didn’t get into firearms until he was older. He thought a GLCOK 19 would fill the void. It didn’t. Then maybe a Mossberg 500 would and it didn’t either. Being a big fan of Red Dawn, he went to purchase an AK-47. The store was out and the salesman encouraged him to buy an AR-15 as they were going to be banned soon. Talking to some colleagues about going shooting and having to answer questions about why he wanted to go shooting combined with the gun salesman's ban-talk, he decided it was time to fight for his civil rights to own a firearm.
Michael spent years working in the banking industry. He watched many groups and observed what they were doing, the good and the bad things. Then he decided that he wanted to start a group that supported pro-gun political candidates in the San Diego County area. It was more work than he realized, with thousands of decisions to be made. But they modeled other PACs that were doing the right things and they applied those strategies to SDCGO.
As a matter of fact, it's been working so well that some of the surrounding counties wanted to start their own :”County Gun Owners” groups. They’re following the same process, fundraising,and charter of SDCGO. Their biggest fundraiser, GunProm, started off as a Second Amendment Celebration dinner. But when everyone got dressed up, they didn’t recognize each other. The following year in the spring, they decided to dress up and call it GunProm. In 2021, due to ‘virus restrictions’, they could hold the event with less than 1,000 and not need testing. So they sold 999 tickets! This year 750 members, spouses, and friends showed up. Michael calls it a ‘fundraiser and a friendrasier’.
Michael and SDCGO think outside the box. And it’s wonderful! At a gun show, SDCGO hosted a $10,000 gun show challenge. If someone was able to purchase a firearm or machine gun at the gun show, they were going to give you $10,000. Of course, they kept their money as gun shows don’t have ‘loopholes’. But when the traditional press was running stories and doing interviews, they were talking with SDCGO and not the anti-gun crowd. That’s such an awesome idea!
After we filmed this show, John Petrolino and I were guests on Gun Owners Radio with Michael, Joe Drammissi (RSWC #150), and Dave Stahl.Of course Action Jackson and Chase the Service Dog were in the studio as well. What’s really cool is 3 weeks later, I ran into Chase, Jackson, & Jackson’s parents at the SIG Academy in New Hampshire.
I’d love to see Michael and SDCGO take these groups and expand them around the country!
“We’re a community; we’re the Second Amendment community in San Diego.”
“I got bummed out and I thought ‘something has to change’.”
“Being harassed like that, kinda being singled out for exercising a Right, that had an affect.”
“I believe that our organization, our model, is the ounce of prevention.”
“My Second Amendment isn’t the problem.”
San Diego County Gun Owners
San Diego County Gun Owners Facebook
RSWC #152 Alex Sansone
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
The Suited Shootist
At the NRAAM in Houston this year, I got to co-emcee the Concealed Carry Fashion show presented by RealizeFAC with Amanda Sufffecool. She and I have hosted these all around the country. We use models who are influencers, instructors, and activists in the firearm community. One of the models at NRAAM was Alex Sansone, The Suited Shootist. Amanda said I needed to have him on the show, so after a quick intro back and forth, he said he would be able to make it happen while we were in Houston. We filmed the show on a Sunday morning and there were barely any protesters!
Alex grew up in the DC area with a ‘gun agnostic’ family, which only had a shotgun for trap shooting. He did do some .22 rifle shooting during summer camp, but it wasn’t a regular thing his family did. September 11, 2001 changed things for his family and his father became interested in firearms for self defense and personal protection. David Yamane calls these folks, myself included, called Gun Culture 2.0. Alex always had an interest in firearms going back to watching Air Force One on VHS and seeing an MP5 sliding across the floor.
During his college years, he became more interested in personal protection, after he noticed that many students didn’t have situational awareness. Later he moved to Texas and started working at a gun store and started some training. After a few years of ‘turning ammunition into expensive noise’, some friends turned him onto some of the well known trainers, including Massad Ayoob (RSWC #045). Currently, he’s got about 400 hours of training under his belt.
After meeting the woman who became his wife, he realized that he needed to start dressing better. He admits that he was the guy you’d see who had an attractive wife and you’d wonder why she was with him.. Alex was ‘that guy’ and realized that reflected poorly on his wife. So he made some changes in the way he dressed.
After doing some YouTube research, he found Tanner Guzy who runs Masculine Style. Guzy says there’s 3 style archetypes: rugged, refined, and rakish. And at some level, every man is a little of each. While working a white collar job and wearing only dark suits, he still wanted to carry. Alex discovered that he needed to find a way to be able to carry but not get bigger clothes as is often suggested to folks who carry. Claude Werner (RSWC #086) taught Alex that bigger clothes makes folks you see regularly take a closer look at what you’re wearing and gets them thinking that maybe you aren’t losing weight, which can also draw attention from them.
At one point while Alex was carrying at work and against company policy and was at a job. He talks about how making the decision to be armed at work vs working and being unarmed isn’t always an easy career choice because you still have to work and make money.
All of this led him to being outspoken about this issue and starting a YouTube channel called The Suited Shootist. After a year of writing a blog and someone telling him more than 500 words should be a video, Alex had to learn about video and editing and YouTubing. On the channel, he gets into lots of topics about carrying and making your carry gear disappear and the pros and cons of several methods all while keeping it fashionable and looking good.
I really enjoyed having Alex on the show. I appreciate that he was able to squeeze in a car ride with a stranger and that I’m able to expand my circle of friends.
“The kids that are just leaving their valuable stuff out…seem to be the ones suffering these consequences.”
“A lot of the style influencers were not delving too deeply into the why’s and the how’s.”
“I’ve been in environments where going armed is somewhere between unusual and unacceptable.”
“We’re going to have to live with the gun a whole lot more than we’re goi
RSWC #151 Ladies Event
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Ladies Event in Detroit
Legally Armed In Detroit
It’s not every day that you get to help teach 1,200+ women to shoot. I had a chance to attend Rick Ector’s Ladies Event recently. Rick (RSWC #032) runs Legally Armed In Detroit. For the last 11 years, he’s had a Ladies Event where women can come to learn to shoot a handgun. It started after a tragic story in the Detroit news about a woman’s body found in a dumpster and Rick thought that if the woman had a gun and knew how to use it she could have defended herself. He’s had 2 ranges that let him use the facilities for the weekend. He’s got an awesome woman who organizes the event, Tanish Moner (RSWC #113). And he’s got instructors from all over the country volunteering to come to Detroit for the weekend to help. This year, there were instructors from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, and California.
I talked with Tanish about getting some of the ladies to be interviewed before and after shooting. She helped me find a few ladies and I was off and driving. There were 4 women in all, including one mother and daughter. Each of the ladies have never been shooting before.
My first passenger is Deeandra. She was about to leave the event without shooting. Tanish and I caught her at the door just as she was about to walk out without shooting. She had on a tank top and was concerned about hot brass, which can happen to anyone. After talking with her, Tanisha offered her a LAID shirt to do the interview, go shooting, then do another interview. How could she pass it up?
I took her in and did the live fire with her on the range. She did an excellent job! Especially for someone who has never handled a firearm before. She does plan on getting some more range time and then pursuing getting a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) in Michigan. I always find it interesting that in “Free America” you can go to a range, rent a gun, buy ammo, and do some shooting. In Massachusetts, we only have a couple places where you can rent firearms. But you usually have to have an LTC (License To Carry) or be a member of the range.
The next ladies were a mother and daughter team. Keisha, the mother, has been to this event before. She brought her older daughters. But Tacaira hasn’t been shooting before. She was a little concerned about it. The stories she’s heard in the news about ‘gun violence’ and that brought on some fear for her. Keisha has a permit and carries Ruger 380. She wanted to take all her daughters to this event so they could all learn to be safe with a firearm. Tacaira said that she liked it, but it wasn’t really something for her. I suggested rather than starting with a 9mm, maybe a .22 would have been better. She came around and said maybe she would try it again with a .22 instead.
Cassandra, the last lady on the show, came by herself. She said she grew up in a gun free home, seeing all the news on TV, and she maintained that while she was raising her children. Eventually, one of her sons took a course at Recoil Range. He also brought his gun over to show her and tell her all about it. Cassandra is also going to head back to Recoil a few more times before she takes the steps to get a CPL. Training is always good for everyone. The more of it, the better.
It’s great to hear that all the women that weekend are interested in getting more training, more education, and more knowledge about firearms. We all need to reflect on the times when we knew less than we know now. I think their excitement is infectious and there was electricity at Recoil that weekend. Some of these women took their first steps toward gun ownership and taking some control of their own safety.
Deeandra: “I want to learn how to do it the right way.”
Deeandra: “I was scared, nervous, all at once. But, overall, I really like it.”
Keisha: “I have a li
RSWC #150 Joe Drammissi
What a concept!!!
I really love this concept and this Podcast!! In these interviews you learn history - not just pertaining to the Second Amendment - around the country, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be entertained. Also you’ll hear about Second Amendment events, activism and opportunities you (may not have been) aware of!
I’ve found other Second Amendment friends from this Podcast!
Charlie lets the guests talk.. and he has interesting guests.
Love listening to these...while I drive of course!