Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Man in a Woman’s World

By Guest Author, Jim Bogle

Shooting has long been considered a “Man’s World”.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  There have been amazing women shooters throughout history and the current generation of shooters includes many highly skilled women.

Some wonder why I have decided to partner with a training company called Female and Armed whose primary, but not exclusive, focus is teaching women.  I grew up understanding that men and women could shoot if they wanted to, I didn’t think it was a “boy’s club”.  But as I got older, and had a daughter of my own, I began to think about the empowerment and safety aspects of teaching women to shoot.  Not only is it fun, it can save your life and that of your family.  While my daughter didn’t take to the shooting sports in the way I would have liked, she grew up around guns and is very familiar with the safety rules. 

Now, I am an associate instructor for a Woman Owned training company and I couldn’t be more pleased.  I’m supporting a friend in her business, I have a chance to share my skills and knowledge in a more structured way, and I am learning all at the same time.

Teaching someone to shoot is one of the most rewarding things you can do.  Making a woman feel comfortable with a firearm is very powerful.  She is learning a sport to enjoy the rest of her life, as well as the confidence of mastering a skill and often outshooting the men.  Not all men are comfortable teaching women, but I have always enjoyed sharing my skills and knowledge, and I find that women are excellent students.  They do not have a lot of bad habits, or preconceptions. 

Am I glad I’ve added instructor to my resume?  Absolutely!  I look forward to many years of shooting, teaching and seeing the smile that results from a well placed shot.

Female and Armed Adds a New Instructor

I am very proud to have a new associate instructor working with me.  Jim Bogle brings a lifetime of shooting experience, from pistols to long guns, and he is an excellent marksman often shooting at distances I can’t even begin to imagine.  This brings a different set of skills and perspective and I look forward to learning a lot from him.

Jim is also a Champion Skeet Shooter, holding numerous State, National and World Cup titles.  He promised me that he would be able to teach me to shoot Skeet, that starting out isn’t that hard, mastering it is a bit more work, but it is a lot of fun.  We will see, and we will both write about it here.

Jim will be a regular Guest Author here offering a different perspective on shooting and sharing his love of the sport as well as his extensive knowledge.

Welcome, Jim Bogle!




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Trust but Verify


President Regan used these words.  They apply to so many areas in our lives, including shooting.
 I was recently caught up in a “debate” involving a premise espoused by a well-known instructor that I was not 100% comfortable with.  I took his basic statement, tried it, found that I got a different result, and attempted to explain to some of the followers that while I agreed with part of it, I thought what was missing from the statement was practice on the part of the shooter and that when I recreated the situation, I got a different result.

What followed were multiple men, yes, it was all men, telling me I clearly didn’t understand the concept.  To say it went downhill from there would be an understatement.  I decided to withdraw from the debate, the FB Group and any association with this particular program. 

The whole thing got me to thinking.  No matter who your instructor is, you, as a shooter, should be responsible for your own beliefs.  If something doesn’t seem quite right, do you homework, challenge.  This makes you a better shooter and a better student.  Challenge your instructor.  If the response is “you just don’t understand”, well, maybe you need a different instructor.  If they take the time to listen, explain and consider your point…you have made a better instructor and they are a keeper.

In shooting, as in life, Trust but Verify.

 Safe Shooting.

Shooting Clays Versus Skeet – What is the difference?

To an inexperienced shooter, the two may seem a lot alike, but to a sport shooter the differences are significant.  Both use a clay disc as the primary target, and have a defined course.  That is where the similarities end.

Sporting Clays are cast in a variety of directions and angles to simulate a field experience, such as bird hunting.  In competition you follow a 10-15 station course and don’t know exactly where the clay will come from.   The clays vary in diameter and weight to simulate natural variances in birds.

Sporting Clays is sometimes called “Golf with a Shotgun” because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain (Wikipedia, n.d.). Clays actually pre-date Skeet by several decades. 

In Skeet, you have 25 shots from 8 stations.  The clays, which are generally 4 516 inches in diameter.  These discs are launched from “houses” come from pre-determined directions. At stations 1 and 2 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house.  He then shoots a double where the two targets are launched simultaneously but shooting the high house target first. At stations 3, 4, and 5 the shooter has single targets launched from the high house and then the low house. At stations 6 and 7 the shooter confronts single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double, shooting the low house target first then the high house target. At station 8 the shooter shoots one high target and one low target.

The shooter must then re-shoot his first missed target or, if no targets are missed, must shoot his 25th shell at the low house station 8. This 25th shot was once referred to as the shooter's option, as he was able to take it where he preferred. Now, to speed up rounds in competition, the shooter must shoot the low 8 twice for a perfect score. (Wikipedia, n.d.)

American Skeet Shooting started in the 1920s and there is a variation included in the Olympics.

Jim Bogle, Guest Blogger, Associate Instructor, F&A, LLC

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Take your Students, and Yourself, as you are

So often instructors get stuck in a mindset of this is how to grip, this is how to stand, this is how to whatever.  But what about the student who had a limitation, who can't do it that way?  Or what if you can't do it that way?  Are you prepared to think on your feet and come up with ideas?

One of the most common examples I've seen is a hand limitation.  I worked with someone quite recently who was recovering from a stroke and had lost most of the control of his dominant hand.  He still wanted to keep his trusty .38 for home defense but asked for advice on how to hold it.  I encouraged him to practice with his left hand, which works perfectly.  Remember, if you are going to shoot one handed, cant, or angle the gun, slightly toward to center.  20-30 degrees is enough.  This gives your wrist more stability.

I've been putting too much wear and tear on my hip and have small tears in the lining and other issues.  This meant using a cane for a while.  Well, what looks more vulnerable than a 50+ woman limping through a parking lot?  a 50+ woman limping through a parking lot with a cane.  So, BOB earned his place again with me practicing balance while wielding the cane to create distance and give me a chance to do something else...running isn't really an option at this point.

What do these two things have in common?  Limitations, and identifying workarounds.  It doesn't have to be complicated, but find a way and then practice that way.  If it is you, remember, you CAN DO THIS.  It may take a little out of the box thinking, but you can do this. 

If you are an instructor working with a student who has a challenge, remember they are probably frustrated and really need your patience, understanding and support.  Help them find a way.  You may have to try a couple different ways before one works, but part of being an instructor is taking your student as they are.

Safe Shooting!