About Me

I hold multiple NRA Instructor credentials, as well as SabreRed Pepper Spray. I have my own training company in Northern Virginia, www.FemaleandArmed.com and am focusing primarily on teaching women, especially those who are new to shooting.

I am also the author of 3 books, available on Amazon, and at many major outlets. I am a contributing writer for Combat Handgun Magazine and Women and Guns Magazine.

Thank you for following along with me as this journey continues.

Safe Shooting!


my books

my books
Thoughts, comments and insights for women who shoot and the men who love us!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The world around me is changing…


I can’t turn on the news without a report of violence, mass shootings, corrupt politicians and
more calls to strip me of my 2A rights. Last night 5 Police Officers lost their lives in Dallas,
responding to sniper fire and trying to protect the protestors who were protesting Police
shootings (note the irony here). POTUS and the left immediately responded with the cry for
“gun control”.

I recently watched the movie 13 Hours, the story of Benghazi and the heroes who risked
everything to save American lives. This was my second time watching this film. It isn’t an easy
film. I was a bystander to 9-11- 2001, being directly across the street from the Pentagon. I
watched the live coverage of the second plane flying into the WTC. I heard the third plane and
felt the blast even before the sound of the explosion as the plane entered the Pentagon. Those
are hours, minutes and seconds, that still haunt my memory and my nightmares. Watching 13
Hours I started thinking about what is happening here. I realized that we are on a steep slope
and picking up speed to becoming just as dangerous as many places in the middle east. Taking
my gun won’t make me, or you, any safer. It makes both of us nothing better than a staked goat
waiting for a predator.

Police Officers are second guessed at every turn. Terrorists, both home grown and infiltrating,
are attacking our way of life and killing without discrimination or warning. We are at war, and it
is the worst kind of war because there are no uniforms to help discriminate one side from
another. Angry protests erupt every time a black person is shot by a police officer. Where are
the protestors when a cop is shot, or a white person is killed by a Police Officer? I subscribe to
a simple rule:

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SHOT BY A COP, DON’T BREAK THE LAW!

If we don’t put the brakes on fast we could easily be overrun by thugs and criminals who have
no regard for life or property and the Police won’t be able to stop them. Stop pandering to the
loudest and teach personal responsibility.

I am proud to support the Law Enforcement agencies of our Nation. I may not always agree
with those at the top (i.e., Director Comey), but I support the boots on the ground. The men and
women who risk their lives for ours every day. I support our Military, even when our government
looks at them with disdain. I wore a uniform for 20 years. I know the sacrifices, the long hours,
the feeling of homesickness when on the other side of the world. I even support Government
employees, who are some of the most maligned workers in the country and the first to suffer
pay freezes, furloughs and job loss at the hands of a bloated Congress.
I love my country, and I want it back…from the thugs, the terrorists and the corrupt politicians.
Do what you can…
Thank a Law Enforcement Officer.
Thank a Military Member.
Display the Flag.
VOTE!

#Blue Lives Matter
#All Lives Matter
#USA
#Dallas
#911

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It's a Mans Word


Well, not really, just some of them think that way.  I’ve been reading stories lately from women instructors who are belittled by men.  There are not a lot of them that do it, but they are getting more attention as out numbers grown.


I call these men “Range Randies”.  I also have another, less polite term for them, you can probably figure that out.

 
I’ve had my share, having shot for more than 15 years, and taught for nearly 8.  Sometimes it is an instructor, sometimes it is a gun store clerk and sometimes it is a RR on the range.  I walked off the range one time and got stopped by a man who asked what I was shooting.  Ok, didn’t think much about it.  GLOCK 19.  He proceeded to inform me that I had too much “muzzle flip”, yep, “flip” not climb for a 19 and clearly I wasn’t shooting it right.  A lot of responses ran through my head; the excruciating case of tendonitis, aka shooter’s elbow, that almost stopped me from going to the range, my credentials, the single hole, albeit jagged as befits multiple rounds through almost the same space, in the center of my target and the fact that he appeared to be shooting buckshot, or the fact that his “big ole pistol” might be over compensation.  Instead, I smiled and walked away.


I was taking an instructor course, was on the range and this RR yelled some instruction.  I was on the line, gun up…I turned my face toward him and said “What?”  He repeated the same words, louder.  I gave him a blank look and he repeated himself, even louder.  I lowered my muzzle, looked him straight in the eye and said “until you put it in different words, you can get as loud as you want, I don’t understand what you are asking for”.  He then told me to rack the slide.  I nearly punch him. Did I leave out the escalating set of instructions was roughly 3 sentences long about sliding my support hand up, blah, blah, blah?  At that point, I had multiple instructor credentials already, so I knew who to rack a slide.  He thought he was funny.  Had it been up to him, I might not have passed that class but fortunately he was one of 5 votes. 

Hang in there!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The world is changing...


The world is changing so fast!  Now, more than ever, you need to be aware, and prepared.  If you carry a gun, when is the last time you went to the range to practice?  When is the last time you practice your draw stroke with an unloaded gun?  When is the last time you did a defensive drill with the family?
 

Do you have your peripherals?  Flashlight, knife, pepper spray?  How is your Situational Awareness?  Have you practiced active threat assessment to help focus your attention?  Are you mentally running what if scenarios in your head?  Have you done any personal defense training?  Hey, even we aging baby boomers can kick butt if we know how!  If you aren’t a member of the American Warrior Society, consider joining.  There are some awesome training tips and videos by Mike Seeklander that are well worth the cost of joining. http://www.americanwarriorsociety.com

 
What about Active Shooter training.  We all pray it will never happen to us but it is becoming more common, in more environments, and odds are it will get worse before it gets better.  The Department of Homeland Security had Active Shooter training on its website, free.  It is actually pretty good.  https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness  If nothing else, it will give you something to consider. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

From There to Here


As an instructor I frequently get asked how I got started shooting.  I grew up in a house with
guns, rifles and pistols, although I didn’t get to shoot them.  Not sure my Dad did either but he
had them, all the kids knew where they were (on the shelf in the den closet) and not to touch
them, which we didn’t.  I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other. 

At the age of 17 I enlisted in the Air Force.  This was a long time ago, and women didn’t shoot in
Basic Training then, instead we had a “grooming” class.  Yes, go ahead and snort, but it was the
70’s.  I didn’t actually shoot until 1983 as I was about to go to South Korea.  I did a couple hours
of training on an M-16, went to the range, shot .22lr via an adapter, which didn’t work
particularly well, and that was it.  It would be years before I would shoot again. 
In the mid-90’s (years, not age) I was dating a man who had a real issue with truth.  As I began
to realize this, I knew I needed to break it off.  I did, and the response was pretty intense.  He
left a long message on my answering machine that included a lot of profanity and ended with “I
hope you’ve enjoyed your life.”  Well, I took that as a threat.  Contacted the police, played the
tape and filed a complaint.  He was called and asked to turn himself in so he could be
processed and released.  Yep, they took it real serious.  Me, I bought my first gun, a Ruger P-95
9mm.  I didn’t have a clue, but got lucky in that the man behind the counter did and gave me
excellent advice.  Not always the case, btw.  I had to wait 3 days to pick it up, that was the law
at the time, and then immediately took it to the range and shot a few hundred rounds.  Not me
recommendation for anyone!  Now I know, read the manual, clean it, and if you don’t
already know how to shoot, your first trip should be with an instructor.   But I was scared,
and determined, and I made some pretty big holes in the targets, and in my thumb (metal
magazines, no speed loader).  I took a quick NRA course and applied for a Concealed Carry
Permit.  Thanks to the pending charges and a supportive judge, I got it in record time and began
to carry. 

Over the years, I gradually stopped carrying, but kept my permit current, just in case.  (Also not
smart but I still had a lot to learn).  Things started to get interesting in the community, more
violence.  I still went to the range occasionally because it was fun, but something told me I could
do better.  I went instructor shopping.  I talked to a couple and then found the right one for me. 
When you find him or her, you will know.  We hit it off, and went to the range to “assess my
skills”.  Well, he turned out to be a training counselor and talked me into taking an instructor
course.  I worked for him (he has a robust training company and is an outstanding trainer) for a
couple years until it was time to move on and go independent. 

I found a passion for teaching, a joy in helping someone learn new, or enhance existing, skills. 
There is nothing like it.  I don’t teach as much now, maybe going independent wasn’t the
smartest move.  But I also spend a lot of time writing. 

So, in a nutshell, that is my journey, how I got here.  If not for a threat of domestic violence, I
might not have come to this point.  What happened with that?  He made a deal, plead guilty to
making an obscene phone call, and got community service and a stern warning to stay away
from me.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why Gun Training Parties?



My whole business model is based on doing the majority of my training in people’s homes with 2 to 5 students.  Kind of like a Tupperware Party only with guns.  Not claiming it is an original idea, or that I’m the only one doing it.  This is about how I got to this and why.

When I left the company I had been training for to become my own boss I had a few bumps with startup money for classroom rental and equipment.  After a lot of soul searching that included why do I teach, what is in it for me (hey, it is a business) and what were my goals I realized that money took a backseat to education.  I wanted my students to be comfortable, to learn and to be able to use what they learned.  So, the days of teaching a room of 20 people were over.  That wasn’t what I wanted.  I implemented my model of Home Training Parties. 

I will go to someone’s home, set up, teach the classroom portion, answer questions, sometimes walking through the house with them to help them understand the concepts of safe room, safe direction, possible entry and escape points, whatever they need.  Often it will be a host and a few of their friends or family. 

The up side for students?  A more relaxed environment, familiarity, able to see the home defense issues more clearly than in a classroom, comfort with the other students, and shooting buddies who are on the same, or nearly so, level who are hearing the same information.  Also, since I’m not paying for a room I charge a little less than I would if I was renting space, and I tend to offer discounts for the host/hostess, as well as military and LEO spouses.  The response has been amazing and if I wanted to I could be teaching every weekend. (I can’t because of other commitments, such as my next book is due the end of this month! YIKES!!)

What is the downside for the instructor?  I’ve talked with instructors who have this question as they contemplate a similar model.  First, smaller classes means less income.  But, hey, most of us aren’t doing this to get rich, we are happy when we can cover costs and have a little left over for ammo and new guns.  Second, you don’t see where you will be teaching until you walk in the door.  You need to be able to adapt fast.  No safe direction where we will be doing unloaded firearm handling?  I carry at least one with me.  I have a Kevlar Clipboard (which really works, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wQJ_J1zA7Q), I also have a soft level 2 vest that hangs quite nicely over the back of a dining chair.  I usually bring a piece of white poster board that I’ve been known to hang with Blue Painters Tape as a “screen”.  I have a music stand that doubles as a podium for my computer remote and training materials.  Yes, it is a lot to schlep but you get used to it and wheels are great!  It can be a little un-nerving going into a strangers home and spend most of the day.  But, I’ve talked with the hostess beforehand, gotten a level of comfort, and as long as people aren’t chain smoking I’m usually ok.

I may run a class in a more traditional environment from time to time, but probably only more advanced classes.  I like the intimacy of only a few people, especially with beginners.  They seem more comfortable and I get the joy of spending a little more time with each of them to be sure they are learning safely.

Is this a good model for everyone?  No.  Can it be rewarding and fun?  Absolutely!  If you are an instructor and want to talk more, reach out to me, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.