Key Insight

About Chris BirdChris Bird Author and Firearm Expert

I was born and raised in the United Kingdom and lived there for my first 24 years. I grew up on a diet of television westerns – Gunsmoke, Cheyenne and Have Gun Will Travel. I must have seen The Magnificent Seven a dozen times. I was always interested in shooting – particularly handguns. I shot rifles in competition at school and later bought two Smith & Wesson revolvers. You could own handguns in Britain in those days provided you belonged to a shooting club. Self defense was not considered a good reason to own a gun. There was very little instruction in the sort of handgun shooting I wanted to do so I turned to books. Sixguns by Elmer Keith and Fast & Fancy Revolver Shooting by Ed McGivern were my bibles.

I joined the British Army and was commissioned as a short service officer into the Royal Military Police, serving mostly in Berlin and West Germany. Because of my interest in shooting, I became weapon training officer for my unit almost by default.

After leaving the Military, it was natural that I migrated to Canada and worked as a cowboy in British Columbia. I also worked as a newspaper and television reporter, and as a private investigator.

I met my wife in Vancouver, a Texan, and we moved to San Antonio. That changed everything. In Texas using guns in self-defense is considered normal. Anita told me that when she was 17, she was stuck in traffic in a park in San Antonio when a man opened the car door and got into the passenger seat of her Mercedes. She had a small semi-automatic with her. She laid it across the arm holding the steering wheel and said: “I’m going to blow your head off.” He must have believed her because without a word he got out of the car and disappeared.

Texas Concealed Handgun AssociationHer story confirmed my belief that guns more often save lives than take them. A gun is the great equalizer particularly for women. Since then I have taken training courses from some of the best self-defense instructors in the country to improve my skills. I have passed on these skills to other ordinary citizens interested in being responsible for their own safety.