One of the more rewarding conversations I had at SHOT Show was with Thomas Carlson, the Director of Marketing Communications for Daniel Defense, and John Johnston of Ballistic Radio.

John Johnston of Ballistic Radio
John Johnston of Ballistic Radio. American Shooting Journal did a cool interview with him.

Daniel Defense is a very well-established premium-quality AR-15 manufacturer and don’t really need any introduction, but Johnston and Ballistic Radio might. Ballistic Radio is syndicated weekly radio show and podcast that covers self-defense, firearms, and training, with an eye towards bursting so many of the myths and misinformation common in gun culture in general, and on self-defense topics in particular.

In fact, I just finished listening to one of the most recent Ballistic Radio podcasts, where John talked to the “Tactical Professor Claude Warner about John Boyd’s famous aerial combat study about something called an “OODA Loop” that so many of us in the firearms community get very, very wrong, including members of the firearms training industry.

But the topic of our conversation in the Daniel Defense booth wasn’t any specific radio show or podcast or livestream, but the new partnership between Ballistic Radio and Daniel Defense, which I found very intriguing.

Big companies like Daniel Defense typically sponsor a show like Ballistic Radio because someone in the marketing department was able to make the argument that by spending X in in sponsorships in media outlet Y, that they can see Z tangible benefit.

But Ballistic Radio typically covers self defense, and typically with a combination of education to avoid using guns if at all possible, and when “going to guns” is what must happen, it most frequently involved handguns, particularly concealed handguns. Daniel Defense doesn’t make handguns (Yeah, I know they make a “pistol.” Unless you can carry it in IWB holster, hush).

This wasn’t making any sense at all.  Except that it really does in the larger scheme of things.

While a premium AR-15 (and now AR-10) platform manufacturer Daniel Defense isn’t likely to make any direct revenue from sponsoring Ballistic Radio, what they are doing is helping support a popular and growing radio show that is doing a great deal to correct so much of the “conventional wisdom” that is simply wrong in the gun industry, and they’re helping to make gun culture much better educated along the way. Better educated consumers make for a more discerning audience, and that audience will likely come to the conclusion at some point in the future that to get the most of of their training, they will require the best tools they can for the job.

In the context of AR-pattern rifles, perhaps some of those Ballistic Radio listeners will chose Daniel Defense products, and even if they don’t, they are better educated shooters and consumers of firearms, ammunition, and training who can more articulately advocate for our Second Amendment rights, which is still an incredibly important win for our side.

The Daniel Defense support of Ballistic Radio doesn’t stop in the broadcast booth, however. Daniel Defense is also partnering with the new training company launched by Ballistic Radio, Citizens’ Defense Research.

Melody Lauer of Central Iowa Defensive Training is a very insightful firearms instructor, and the new Director of Training for Citizens’ Defense Research. They’re still refining the curriculum, but the most important take-away we’ve had in our conversations with John and Melody so far is the strong (and I believe crucial) emphasis on the context of average citizen who carries a firearm for self-defense.

Too many of our tactics and training courses get bogged down in ideas and techniques originally developed for either military units engaged in combat, or law enforcement officers entering an unknown threat environment, either as an officer attempting to investigate a call as an individual, or as a part of a team dealing with a known risk. These contexts are common in many training classes, but not necessarily what will best suit our needs are folks who aren’t wearing a uniform, and who make very likely have a spouse and children with us that we need to consider in how we train reaction.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens as Ballistic Radio and Citizens’ Defense Research continue to grow, and it’s fortunate for the entire shooting community that Daniel Defense had the foresight to jump at the opportunity to build a stronger gun culture overall.