I wanted to compare USCCA's Self-Defense Shield and NRA's Carry Guard insurance programs. What follows, is what I found:
You've no doubt heard by now that USCCA was dis-invited by the NRA to the Annual Meetings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, make sure you check out the article we wrote about that, first, as you may be confused concerning what you're about to read.
The basic premise is that the reason why they weren't allowed to go is because the NRA started a firearms insurance program very similar to the self-defense insurance USCCA offers.
They didn't want another company stepping on their toes, so they were uninvited.
The two insurance programs, while they look similar topically, are actually pretty different when you take a closer look at them under a microscope. Sure, they both offer up weapons coverage should you ever need your gun in self-defense. But, many of the similarities stop there.
I wanted to get the training aspect handled, first, because one thing that many people are excited about is the NRA's Carry Guard training program. I've seen nothing that indicates this high-level training from combat veterans is included in your monthly cost. In other words, any gun owner can take the in-person concealed carry training regardless of their status as a Carry Guard member.
This is important because at first glance it looks like it's included in the cost, along with some dicey wording to make it seem that way. Upon further digging, however, it doesn't look like it is included. Instead, the included training you do get immediate access to, is a video series entitled: Rights & Responsibilities. It looks like it talks about just that: your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner. USCCA has similar training.
Being that I was just at the NRA's Annual Meeting, I had the opportunity to confirm with an NRA employee at the sign up booth that the in-person concealed carry training is not included. He even agreed that the website wasn't very clear on this.
Now, that does not mean that they can't (or won't) change that, or offer up some sort of discount to NRA Carry Guard members in the future. This is very plausible, especially once the NRA figures out how many people they just upset with this USCCA stunt and the simple fact that their insurance program is about as good as the USCCA's was three years ago.
Once we realize that this tactical training is not included, we can compare the two different programs for exactly what they are: Gun insurance programs. How are they different? Let's dive deeper into it. The following chart compares the two, and their most important aspects:
As you can see, the programs are vastly different. The aspects that stand out most to me are: The cost for the program, the amount of self-defense coverage it buys, access to funds when needed, and exactly what is covered. What it boils down to, is that off the cuff the USCCA's program looks better with cheaper cost, more coverage, and the ability to use my fists or knife in self-defense should something happen to my gun.
More importantly, if I do need to use my weapon in self-defense, I can get access to 100% of the money needed right away, up to $1.125 Million. The NRA's Carry Guard, on the other hand, gives you 20% up front, and the rest only if you're found not guilty.
So, if I go to court and spend $500,000 in fees after I legally defend myself with a gun, but am found guilty for the stupidest thing, I'm responsible for that money. That sucks.
Then again, the NRA has been around forever and has a pretty good track record of being the go-to source for firearms training and programs for many years. I highly doubt they will falter, and the program will likely get better with time. The choice, I suppose, will be left up to you. In a throw-back to one of my favorite movies, The Matrix, I offer you a choice.
On one hand, the blue pill will bring you to USCCA's website and show you all their gun insurance program has to offer. The other hand has the red pill, and will bring you to NRA's Carry Guard website to show you the benefits to their firearms program. Remember, I offer you a choice, and nothing more:
Which pill did you choose? Let me know in the comments below.[Update] … Both the USCCA and NRA's Carry Guard offer 1 million dollars for civil claims. USCCA offers $125,000 for criminal proceedings up front. And upon further investigation, the NRA offers $150,000 for criminal with 20% up front. This boosts the NRA's amount to 1.15 million dollars. [Update #2] … The above chart is incorrect in the spousal arrangement. I have confirmed with an NRA Carry Guard representative that your spouse is also covered outside the home. Here is the exact quote, I received as an answer to my question: “Good afternoon, your spouse will be covered outside the home as well if you sign up with Carry Guard.”