Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... But is it really?

They say "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". It is, until it becomes malicious or when it's used to give the appearance that the imitator is the originator of a particular work or product. That's when we call bullshit, and that's what this post is about.

In 2016, we started Riverside CCW Training. Soon after, we became an Approved Training Vendor for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. We put a lot of time and effort into our training curriculum and have a very well rounded method of education, which is very different from most other vendors.

We consistently fill classes. We have a strong following which comprises of mostly, "word of mouth" customers. We don't do paid ads, or paper gun stores with post cards, fliers, or other marketing materials other than our simple business cards. Here's the problem. We are very busy, and as such, several competitors want to take a bite out of the work we've done by starting Instagram pages with names eerily similar to ours. I'm here to clear the confusion once and for all.

It started with a local company a few years ago. The owners used to present USCCA memberships to my students on a weekly basis. They noticed that my classes were always at capacity and that the majority of my students signed up for the membership. They were immediately impressed. So impressed, that they made an offer to purchase my business. When I declined their offer, they went for the jugular making repeated attempts to purchase my business. When I was adamant and said, "NO", they created an Instagram page called, "riversidecountyccwtraining". It's clearly NOT us. They began printing material and peppering the areas closest to our location (they're based in the High Desert) in an attempt to convince people that they were actually us. They began offering classes in the same area as me and using the same vernacular in describing the courses they offered, while making their company logo as small and inconspicuous as possible. (Vendors are established in different locations and must stay within the area their business is based in.) They didn't play nice. As a matter of fact, I was prepared to never speak of this until a woman came to my door this morning and rang the doorbell. She stated she had a San Bernardino CCW Renewal Course with us and was here a bit early. I spoke to her through my Ring Doorbell (we're closed) and assured her it wasn't with us. She went on to say, "It is with Riverside CCW Training. I saw it on a post." Again, I assured her that it wasn't and it was a mistake for her to come to us. You see, I learned that over a week ago, this company was granted the right to conduct San Bernardino County CCW Renewal Courses. They inadvertently posted our name on their IG post rather than the one they created to appear like us. Needless to say, this woman wasn't too happy having driven almost an hour to be at class on time. I ask myself. Why would a company change the name of the IG page to a name that closely resembles a competitor? It's because they want to capitalize on the marketing and branding we've done to fill their classes. That's the only reason I can think anyone would do something like that.

Here's another example. A "friend" that I taught the NRA Basic Pistol Course, went on to become an NRA Firearms Instructor. I've known the friend for a little over 2 years. He was a student of mine, from the NRA Basic Pistol, to the CCW Prep, and eventually through to his Initial CCW Course. When I met this friend, he was very nice, polite, and eager to learn. Within a few months of him completing his NRA Basic Pistol Course, he expressed interest in becoming an instructor. I encouraged him to continue training and within a month or two, he became an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. He didn't stop there. He continued to stack up certificates and eventually started his own firearms training business. The problem was that his bio on his website stated he had, "over 40 years experience as a firearms instructor." (don't believe me? I'll send the screenshot to you) Hmm. Math was never my strong subject but I know something just didn't add up. This friend has always been a jovial guy. He's always kind to me when I see him but I saw right through his bullshit when I discovered that he purchased the domain, "" and points it to his own website. I can't think of any reason why someone who calls themself my friend would do such a thing. Shady shit in my book. But hey, live and learn right?

Then there's another. They're another vendor in the county of Riverside that changed his IG page to "riversidecountyccw". Why the hell would he do that? Isn't his name good enough? Are these people incapable of getting the business they need to keep the doors open? Some may say it's just creative marketing. Others would say, "move on", "get past it", "be the bigger man". I would have, had this been an isolated instance of someone using a name similar to mine, but it clearly isn't. Here are 3 companies that changed their names to something very similar to ours, while one used my exact name to draw from my good reputation. I haven't changed my name to anything that does not accurately represent our company name in hopes that I could pinch someone else's clientele.

It's clear to me that they're sponging off what we're doing that they can't. I've received messages from loyal customers of ours that include screen shots of what these companies are doing. If it angers our great customers and friends that see it, how do you think we feel? Well? How do we feel? Mad enough to make this post.

If you inadvertently land on any one of those similarly named IG accounts, please know that it's not us. @riversideccwtraining is the ORIGINAL. Our name is our IG account and our website is in the link. We are grateful to those of you have chosen us to be your firearms instruction providers and look forward to seeing you for further firearms training.

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