What are your building blocks?

Our administrators, trainers, legal support, call center workers and everyone at the uscca, from my experience so far has been very encouraging.
It would be interesting to hear what started you all on your journey to self defense and landed you here. Was it a life or death situation? Family members positive influence? Or just seeing a need for a new approach?
Be as detailed or vague as you are comfortable with.
And, thank all of you for your talent!





There were always guns in the house. My father hunted and he also had a few handguns - small caliber, ancient weapons. He paid for my daughter’s hunter safety class - an offer he made to all his sons for his grandchildren. My daughter and I shot trap one season - her with the 20 gauge pump my father and I bought her, me with his old 12 gauge semiautomatic. I met an instructor at the gun club and he introduced all three of us (my wife, our daughter and I) to handgun shooting.

Fast forward a couple of years and we moved to Florida from Wisconsin. I purchased a Beretta Storm and was hooked on handgun shooting. Within a few short years, I had my CWFL.

That was four years ago. I have spent a lot of time reading, attending classes and practicing at various ranges. I own a library of reference materials and I am almost always now in condition Yellow (it only goes up from there). My closest friend and I regularly discuss shooting and the role of a sheepdog. We go to the range as often as distance and time allow.


Interesting question. I started carrying as soon as my permit went through after turning 21. It was also simultaneously the moment I began my gunsmithing hobby. I bought a brand new 1911 Colt Officers Model and 30 days later I took a hacksaw and file to it to install a high rise beavertail by Ed Brown. My military career took a turn after I was accepted onto the Navy Rifle Team and as part of it I ended up working for some VERY serious people. For the next several years I kept getting loaned out to “folks” because I was a Corpsman that could drive a long range platform better than average. Over those years I shot a LOT of pistol, SMG and carbine as well as bolt guns and other stuff. I’ve probably been to more than two dozen professional shooting schools as well as various Mil and Leo training and international stuff as well.

My USCCA road came very late in the game (last July). I have always kept up on the laws and current carry regulations but the overwhelming fact was I could not AFFORD to defend myself after defending myself. I listen to talk radio and Sean Hannity kept having spots on the USCCA so I looked into it and was impressed with what I found.

The sentient moment was when I muzzle punched a young thug that was attempting to rob a woman at knife point that I stumbled into. The thug ran off but police were called and statements taken. One officer quietly recommended that I get a lawyer on retainer or standby. Asking why , he said if the kid or his parents files a civil suite it will be a years long battle. At that moment I realized that there was too much I didn’t know and needed assets that I didn’t have.

The gun and training / mindset part I got, the legal system, not so much. Knowing what you don’t know is important, knowing where to find what you don’t know is IMPERATIVE and that is what USCCA does for me. As well as a great community and some outstanding people of honor, integrity and determination. I have a lot of experience both physically and technically that I enjoy sharing. I am an instructor and have been since 93’ officially but will probably never get a USCCA cert or any of the NRA certs that I have let lapse over the years. In 1994 I learned a very valuable lesson, DON’T turn an enjoyable past time into a JOB.

I walked off the Camp Perry 1K line and threw my rifle into the case loaded up my booty and bounty and headed home, I had been on the road for 4 months straight shooting every day from 200 to 1K and I was burnt out. I cleaned the rifle in 1998 and have not shot it since.




I was 26 and a brand new father to a beautiful baby boy. I had just returned from a business trip in Spain where I was held up at gun point by a junkie in the middle of the day amongst hundreds of people that just ignored what was happening.

I didn’t even bother calling the police. Just left to get home 2 days ahead of schedule. Got home, kissed my young bride, looked into the crib at my sleeping baby boy and realized I HAD to do whatever it took to protect them from evil, and I couldn’t do it if I was not around. Got my concealed carry permit within a month and started my life long unrelenting effort to become waaaaaaaaaay more proficient than those who would harm me and mine.

I have been fortunate enough to have had a lot of very knowledgeable/proficient folks train me, some out of the sheer goodness of their heart. I now know enough to pay it forward and I’m blessed to work for an amazing company that does just that!

Like the rest of you, and The USCCA, Born To Protect!


No story. A friend took me to the range back in 2012. I liked it and signed up for my CCL. Didn’t carry until 2019, as it was about the engineering and range until then. At that point I had all of the hardware, so dove in and signed up for USCCA.


I grew up with guns. We tried to do bounties with coyotes back in the day but, just could not make a living doing it. I later decided I wanted to be in Law Enforcement and became familiarized with the .357 Mag and at the time I worked at a convenient store and got robbed twice and shot at twice, all different occasions. I applied with State Patrol but did not make it so, I joined the Marine Corps. As soon as I got out, I could not get myself to go into law enforcement. Later on in life, my girlfriend was at home and a guy came in the house with a knife asking for money. She used her verbal skills to deter him and send him on his way. He was shot by the police trying to car jack someone else. At this point, I took her and got her a gun then trained her to use it. People told me I should teach gun safety and handling because I was good at it. I became an USCCA Instructor and I have been doing personal classes with people since.


I’m just in all this for the “Likes”. That’s it.


I’m here to remind @TexasEskimo I have a Sig p226 Legion and a Sig p938 Legion :rofl:

Seriously though, …nope that’s the reason. :crazy_face:

I used to have a decent collection many years ago and really enjoyed shooting, range time, and all things firearms. There was a crossbow in there too, which was a blast to shoot.

When I transferred to another state for my previous job ~1999 I ended up selling them all :cry:

Fast forward 20 years and I was ready to get back into the joys of gun ownership and getting range time. I’m slowly building the collection back up and am am really enjoying it. I also decided it was time to be able to better protect myself and my family and got my CCW. Shortly after that I knew I needed to get the protection provided by USCCA and signed up.

As it all turns out this was very fortunate timing on my part as this was in the January/February timeframe prior to the Covid mess and all hitting.

That…and someone has to give @TexasEskimo likes …

  1. Discovery Channel’s American Guns, seriously, revived my interest in guns. I didn’t grow up around guns but I recall my teacher cousin gifting me with a copy of The Big Book Of Guns when I was in grade school.
  2. My supportive family noticed me binge-watching the Wyatts show so one Father’s Day, they gave me a gun range gift card.
  3. I’m thankful that the range guy was patient enough to show me how to operate a Glock as the only gun I fired before was an M-16.
  4. Bringing a gun for the first time on a road trip was an eye opener for me. Unloaded and locked in a locked container per CA laws, it was useless. It motivated me to get a CCW permit.

You may want to hang your riffle on the wall. It could be the beginning of you sharing your wisdom with someone less experienced than you.


Something beautiful being born out of a tramatic event! And, now hundreds or thousands of people are learning from your experience. I expected nothing less then the story’s I have been reading. Some times it takes an unexpected event to make us realize how much we still have and want to protect! :heart: Thank you for sharing.


I think it’s a fairly common occurrence and I love reading folks aha! moments. I find inspiration and get a battery recharge when I’m reminded I’m not alone. Great thread!


Fear of my childhood abuser got me started on self defense I swore I would never be a victim again. What got me to the USCCA was something that happened to my daughter on
12-19-18. You can search it on here.


The stories here are incredible, and a loss of our words…

I remember my first days of owning a handgun. 357, short barrel, many moons ago (in my early 20’s), many moons,I am sure the revolver was stolen, shame on me for the purchase. My background with firearms? None. Did my Dad hunt? No. Did he own a gun? Single shot .22. Did I have any training? No, had a box of ammo, that is it. The recoil was horrible. I was a gun owner, darn proud of it. How many times did I fire it? Two or three, recoil was horrible.

Skip forward….Many moons ago……many…. I walked in on a drug store robbery in place, and was commanded to position execution style. If I would have any training, I would have not advanced into robbery in place. Yes, I was lucky. There were several “signs” I missed. Training? No. Awareness? Yes in some color net yet discovered. In other words, complete oblivion.

When I married my first wife, her family was avid hunters, and I became a novice hunter. I watch her family and how safe they were with firearms. Training? No. In fact I hunted with open sights, shot my first deer and antelope! Wow, I was a gun owner! I was a proud member of the pistol generation! To put this in perspective I was born in the double nickels year. When I met my current wife, she had shotgun and long gun hunting experience, and had shot different pistols. She had way more scatter gun experience than I.

Epiphany….as I call it…. Yes we had this miraculous epiphany!!! The day arrived when I told the mrs we needed to exercise our 2nd amendment right and acquire our concealed permits. Bought 2 glocks on a whim. Went to the class and fired 99 rounds as per state requirement. We were pistol owners that didn’t know sh$$$$t. The mrs had a rough time shooting the g43. We discovered, and had another epiphany, we needed training! Help! Were we safe? Sort of. Is “sort of” spraying bullets safe? Could we stop an intrusion? Could we stop a life threatening situation? I hope so. Is “I hope so” satisfactory? Help! That started our journey of training, shooting regularly, more training, and will continue to train and take classes, and shoot more. We are lucky as we live in the country and have our own range.

Since we are self-employed, a devastating experience could cost us everything. One day, the mrs stumbled into the USCCA, and thus the journey with that program began. As we participated in training from some of the best near us, we decided to give “back” what we have learned. Thus we became instructors and counselors. The mrs and I have had a fun journey together, training and shooting.

The USCCA family and experience, is overwhelming . So many like minded people, that are way more knowledgeable, and yet kind. We have learned so much from these members, and mentors! WE hope we can give “back” what we have learned, and add a little humor along the journey.

Our sincere thanks to all that are involved, joined, and shared their knowledge!!!


@SKIdaho, fantastic post. That’s a lot of scary stuff and a whole lot of determination. What an adventure you’ve had to get to this point.

I know I speak for us all when I say we are glad you’re here.

@Dawn, this thread could quickly become a source for a USCCA commercial or a section from the main web site focused on “hear from actual members about their journey…”


I have always enjoyed plinking, which lead to small game and turkey shoots, then to skeet, target, 3 gun etc. Shooting was always a fun hobby for me. What lead me here (more self defense) was the decline of the big cities. Quick background on me. I have lived and worked in five different countries for at least a year (or more) and in major cities. Thankfully work has brought me back to the US and I get to live in MY OWN HOME (but thats another story :wink: )
I was living in London, when knife attack robberies were on the rise.
I was on both sides of Canada (east and west) In Ontario it was perfectly acceptable
for someone who was asking for change to aggressively grab your arm and say “give me money”. Not considered assault or attempted robbery.
Vancouver - that city followed the same path as Seattle and is now worse than Seattle.
(Lets ask Micheal Moore if he has any thoughts on that?)
I was in San Francisco when the whole “its their right to live on the street homeless movement” was going on, I was spraying you know what off my landing and calling the police on people I didn’t know lurking on my steps all night…that was back in early 2000’s
(now look where are they are?)
Now I am back in my home in Los Angeles and with Covid, schools are closed, so tent cities are popping up there now. I have two elementary schools within 5 minutes walking distance. (I Had to put a security valve on my front hose spigot, because I came home and it was running (for how long…I don’t know) neighbor tells me homeless were filling there jugs up…and just decided to just let the water run when they were finished)

I could go on and on and ON, but the reason I am here and the reason I train for self defense shooting is simply personal protection of home and family. And with all the defunding talk …whole 'nuther subject on a whole 'nuther thread…

On a happy note, the two places I have lived and truly felt safe where ever I went
day or night…Tokyo Japan and Wellington New Zealand

Sorry if that turned into a rant :smiley:

everybody stay happy and healthy!!


Interesting story my brother, I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Bronx, NYC. I think about it now and the reason i am still alive today is a praying grandmother. She raised us all me and my cousins. At the young age of 12 I discovered my uncle kept a gun in the house. I am sure back then there was no safety training on it or even a safe to keep it in. It was in a shoe box. If grandma had to use that thing it was point and shoot. I remember it was a revolver which was silver in color and had white grips. I used to ask my grandma why my uncle had a gun in the house and she would always answer “just in case”. She only spoke Spanish my grandma. I grew up around street gangs in our neighborhood and watched them rumble from the 2nd floor apartment window. I wondered how I made it to High School and graduated yet alone become a Police Officer/Detective in one of the highest crime cities. It was a praying grandmother, so in short, I was street trained. Just wanted to share that with you since you have been so open with the family brother.
Johnnyq60 brother in arms
2nd Amendment supporter
Carry On.


I just figured out how to search :thinking:
That is like something you see on tv! I can not even imagine everything going through your mind. But, way to be there for her! Good thinking on the cups over her eyes! For someone with glass in both eyes managing to drive around the corner and make several phone calls says a lot about you daughter. Your childhood experiences probably helped you know what to teach her. She is a fighter! You and your wife must have taught her some good stuff. Is she a part of the community? If so I will love to hear her prospective after some healing/adjusting time.