The Little Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association
If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me:
The Little-Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association
Why Do Tough Guys Always Think I'm an Idiot?
Tim: Like I mentioned before, after I mailed the 30,000 copies of the first issue of Concealed Carry Magazine, about 1,000 people decided to subscribe!
I was very excited.
But then it dawned on me. It had taken me six months to create that first issue. I now had 1,000 people expecting six MORE issues before the end of the year. You don’t have to be an engineer to realize that math doesn’t work.
That’s when I started getting some help.
I hired this girl named Maria and a few others. That was from 2004 to 2006. It was three or four of us trying everything we could think of to get this thing to work.
I’d work on engineering projects for Schmidt Engineering during the day, and I’d work on Concealed Carry Magazine at night. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get the subscribers to grow fast enough. Not to mention, it’s almost impossible to find magazine advertisers when you have practically zero circulation.
It just wasn’t working at all.
After that second year, I was in debt another $100,000, and it was just like … every dollar I was making from the engineering business that wasn’t feeding my family was going into this thing. It was essentially a very, very expensive hobby.
That was when I said, “Dad, can you come out to Las Vegas with me to go to this thing called the SHOT Show?” It’s the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, and it’s massive.
There’s like 10,000 companies, 70,000 people. I said, “This is what we need. This will be our launching point. We’ll finally get ourselves on the scene.”
So Dad said, “All right, yeah.”
You’re not supposed to do what we did. You’re supposed to pay for a booth and all that. But we just showed up. I finagled some press passes, and we shipped maybe 500 copies of the magazine to the show. This would have been January 2006.
I was at my wit’s end because I was out of money and out of ideas. This was a Hail Mary. So we’re staying at the crappiest hotel in north Vegas and my Dad is with us. We’re walking around the show introducing ourselves and trying to hand out copies of the magazine to people.
Remember, this is Tim the Shy Guy and I’m way out of my comfort zone, but I have no choice. “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
The first booth I walked into was a high-end custom handgun manufacturer. I saw a badge that told me who the main guy was, so I walked up to him, stuck my hand out and said, “I’m Tim Schmidt. I publish Concealed Carry Magazine.” He looks at me, looks at the magazine, and just walks away.
That was a gut punch. Most people didn’t do that, but that first guy did and it rocked me. So I introduced myself to a few more people. I also had a contract ad salesman walking around who I would pay a commission on any ads he sold. He represented a bunch of magazines, but I think he felt bad for me and just wanted to do me a favor.
He called my cellphone and said, “Tim, you’re not going to believe this, but Colonel Bob Brown, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine, said he wants to meet with you.”
I was ecstatic. This was going to be my big break!
Colonel Bob Brown has been publishing Soldier of Fortune since the ‘60s, right? So I said, “Great. Where am I meeting him at?”
I told Dad about the meeting. He said, “All right, son. Good luck.” So I took off for the meeting and Dad kept walking the floor. This place was so huge that it was easy to be in different parts. Finally, I walked into this enormous booth with lots of private meeting rooms and I had an invitation from the man himself, Colonel Bob Brown.
I presented myself at the front desk and the woman said, “Oh, you’re Tim Schmidt.” Then she looked at another person and said, “Take him back to Room 3.” So they took me back and there he was, Colonel Bob Brown, and he’s reading a copy of my magazine.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited.
I sat down and Colonel Brown held up the magazine and said, “So, Tim, you’re doing this, huh? This is you?”
“I’ve got to tell you, man, this is not a good idea. This is not going to work. You’re just going to waste a ton of money on it. You realize I’m just trying to help you, right?”
It hit me so hard that I literally couldn’t think of anything to say. I just sat there, frozen.
Finally, Colonel Brown said, “That’s really all I’ve got to say.” And then he got up and walked out of the room.
Roy: You make it sound like he might have had good intentions.
Tim: His intentions were good, no question. But it wasn’t a message I was ready to hear. So, yeah, it hurt like hell.