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!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Women are the new Majority

I'm seeing more and more women in classes, learning, shooting, having fun.
They are strong, independent, smart and armed! 

There was a big gun show this weekend in my area and I saw a lot of women shopping, buying and smiling.  Yep, I always smile at the gun show, kind of "kid in a candy store" smiling.    Today was no different. 

But I really enjoyed seeing the women next to the men, shopping, talking, understanding.  I listened to a few shoppers, and they were asking intelligent questions, making good deals.  I remembered back to my first gun show when so few women were there and even fewer were able to talk with any knowledge. 

It is a great feeling to see women learning, being independent and able to take care of themselves.  The shooting community is a lot like a big family, welcoming, open, helpful...

Be safe, Be smart and Have Fun!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Use your Ears!


Hearing Protection, often call “Ears” helps us protect our hearing when we are on the range.  When looking at Ear Muffs, look for at least a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 25 or higher.  Electronic ears, which automatically shut down for loud noises but let you hear the person you are shooting with are great, but tend to be a little more expensive.  Also, you can use foam inserts, under your muffs to double up on protection. 

Lastly, there are custom molded hearing protection, that fit into the ear and block all sounds, they may also be available in an electronic version.  These do require the assistance of a professional, but I love mine!  (They are bright pink and royal blue swirled together. )

Bottom line, decide what you are comfortable with and what your budget can handle.  Even if outdoors, and the range allows it, do not shoot with hearing protection.  Once you lose your hearing due to exposure to loud noises, even partially, it is likely gone for good.  Protect your hearing.

Safe Shooting!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Developing a new class for women...ideas?

I've been working on developing a new class for women, focusing on very basic un-armed personal defense.  Not just physical contact, but more on situational awareness, using your voice, walking with a purpose, not being an easy target, getting creative with avoidance or distraction, some cyber-security, watching your drink when you are out, and, yes, some very basic physical resistance.

I was thinking of adding an optional hour at the end for holsters.  Just the ladies, try on holsters, carry purses, no shooting, no guns, just getting a feel for different types of holsters.  Maybe save someone else from "the holster bag".

That written, I'm asking you for your help.  If you were interested in a women only unarmed basic personal defense course, what would you want to learn?  I'm hoping to make this as helpful as possible and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Yes, I do think this might be a gateway class for some to bring them to shooting, but even if not, I want to give a good foundation, if only one woman is saved from a bad encounter, it will be worth all the effort.

Thank you!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shooter’s Elbow


Ever hear of it? It is kind of like Tennis Elbow for people who shoot. It is Tendonitis in the upper forearm / elbow. And, it HURTS!! Left untreated, like anything else, it can cause serious injury, so if you find yourself with significant pain that lasts for weeks, visit your Doctor.

Like most cases of tendonitis, the first suggestion was rest and figure out what was causing it. I had already adjusted my keyboard, changed the position of my steering wheel…the only thing I hadn’t done was stop shooting. In fact, some of us are just prone to repetitive motion injuries, and I seem to fall into that group, having had carpal tunnel in both hands.  So…off to my friendly Orthopedic Surgeon. (He and I are on a first name basis.) He confirmed my suspicions, discussed my options, and had the “If it were me…” talk.  I weighed my options and got cortisone injections in both elbows. If you’ve never had the pleasure…well, in a word, OW!!!  I also agreed to stop shooting for a month to see how I did. That was probably harder than the injections. Shooting is my release, it is my chance to shrug off the idiocy of my world and just relax. Ok, I lasted two weeks, but then only 100 rounds, that in about 15-20 minutes.

But, my month is up! I went to the range Saturday and let lead fly for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want to push it too much. It felt WONDERFUL! I learned a few things. First, don’t ignore the pain for three months before going to the Dr. Second, be more aware of taking breaks from those marathon typing sessions, and third…I really do enjoy shooting.  I’m easing back into shooting, I’m a little sore today, but nothing unreasonable.

Do yourself a favor, if you are prone to this type of injury, be mindful of the signs, make adjustments, take breaks, see youe Doctor if it gets worse. Listen to your body, and be well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Update on National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day

Ranges are starting to sign up, but we haven't listed many yet on the website pending agreements.  I'm hoping that more ranges will sign up early to give them the most time to plan, raise funds and get donations for their events. 

I have sent out a letters to many gun friendly companies in hopes of finding sponsors to help us fund the next years but haven't had much support so far.  I recognize that we do not have our 501c3 status yet, but we can not file until we meet a minimum donation threshold. Then it takes about 9 months before the IRS approves the application.

If you are not familiar with the corporate structure behind NTYDTTRD, it was founded as a non-profit corporation early in 2012.  We have 4 Directors, each with their own area of expertise.  The 2012 event was supported in part by donations, but more than 50% by the Directors, in hopes of getting it started and then securing funding.  What you may not realize is we received more in $5 and 10 donations than we did in large sponsorships. 

Our original goal has not changed.  Teaching safe handling to young people, encouraging families to take not just their sons but their daughters to shoot, and bonding over the fun of shooting sports. 

If we are to continue, and provide much needed support to host ranges, we need help.  We do not charge ranges to host an event as we recognize that they are covering their own expenses.  We would like to be able to provide more promotional materials, prizes and financial support to ranges.  We can't do that with the small amount of money we have saved now (actually, if we reimbursed ourselves for the money we spent out of pocket we would be in the hole, but have opted to consider those funds donations). 

Please visit the website at www.NationalTakeYourDaughtertotheRangeDay.com, like us on FaceBook, and if you have any ideas, suggestions, questions, would like to register your range or can help us financially...please contact us!

Thank you!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Latest Trip to a Gun Shop - Update

 
Based on comments received, I wrote to the company, linked to the orginial post, and expressed my frustration at the apparent gender bias.  I also asked permission to quote from the reponse.
I did hear back, one step above a form letter, that barely addressed my issue and did not answer the question about posting a follow up, even though I did write that I would not name the company.
 
Essentially, I got they've recently expanded, adding firearms, you know how hard it is to find knowledgeable help, they've hired a woman to oversee that section for all of the retail stores, etc....
 
Pretty much not an answer.
 
So...I guess they don't need my business.  Since the store is local to me I will share the name with people in the area so they can avoid them as as well.
 
It is sad that there are still some companies who, instead of addressing the issue, hide behind good help is hard to find.  However, since not all of them are like that, it will be survival of the finest.  I will go where I'm not talked down to or ignored; i.e., vote with my feet.
 
 
Original post below

I stopped into a Tactical / Gun store today looking for a new bag for my first aid kit and wandered by the counter in the back with a lovely assortment of Smith and Wessons. I waited patiently while the clerk finished with the person he was helping, somewhat patiently while he did something with a rifle box, started losing patience when he walked out from behind the counter and came back with a man answering questions, then left again. The other man who had been behind the counter the entire time typing into a computer finally looked up and asked if I had a question. Really? Me standing there for five minutes didn't give him a clue?

I asked about the M&Ps in the case, he informed me that I had to be LEO or Military to buy from that case. I asked if Retired Military was adequate, it was. Thought that might have given him a clue, or that I new they were M&Ps...nope. He pointed to the 9mm, I mentioned I was intereseted in the .45. He told me they had 40s. Does this guy not shoot? I told him I didn't want a .40, I was interested in the .45. Shrug, he opened the slide door by the .45s and said I do have a compact model. Ok, at this point I get lots of credit for not clocking him then and there. I said no, I didn't need a compact model. He tried to show me a tiny little polymer revolver, saying it could go in a pocket or a purse (ARGH!!) then when I commented that it would not be fun to shoot because it was so light he told me it would make a good backup gun. I replied, not if I don't practice with it!

Bottom line, the prices were good, but the service was clueless!!

It is getting better, and if he had been a shooter, he probably would have gotten a clue by how I checked the pistol to be sure it was clear, and handled it...FRUSTRATING!

Be Safe!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Day My World Changed


Eleven years ago today was a turning point for me.  I remember it like it was last week, the sky was a lovely blue, I was in my office, a typical morning, when someone came in with the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  Like many people, I assumed it was a light aircraft that had succumbed to a tragic accident.  I went down to the cafeteria in my building and locked eyes on the news coverage.  It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t a small plane.  As the reporter was talking, I watched in disbelief as the second plane hit the adjacent building.  I remember thinking; “they just said they didn’t have footage of the collision!”  Then my mind translated what my eyes had seen and I knew…this was a second incident.  Time stood still for me until I suddenly remembered where I was…directly across the street from the Pentagon.  I ran up three flights of stairs to warn my co-workers when we heard the roar of jet engines.  The next thing I knew the building was moving, followed almost immediately by a sound I will never forget.  A jet had just crashed into the Pentagon and the force of the explosion sent a shockwave that literally rocked our building.  I saw several people running toward the windows and I yelled at them to “get the F*** away from the windows!”  I don’t use that language at work, but it seemed appropriate at the time. 

The next several hours were building evacuation, frantically listening to car radios for information, calling my main office to let them know we were safe, mixing with others on the street, like refuges...  dazed, confused, crying, scared…

Then, finally, driving home, looking in the rear view mirror and seeing the smoke rising against the clear blue sky.  People on overpasses waving flags.  The silence of no traffic in Northern Virginia because the Interstate going North had been blocked.  Going home, putting my flag out and then sitting in front of the TV, too numb to cry, too overwhelmed not to watch the coverage, thinking about the heroes on Flight 93, the courage of the first responders…

We didn’t return to work for two days while the building’s structural integrity was verified, but driving in and seeing the charred space where the wall had been…

Take a moment and remember those who were lost and those who survived but were changed forever.

Be safe.

 

 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Fundamentals of Combat Focus Shooting (CFS), My Introduction

I had the chance to spend a day observing an 8 hour class this past weekend.  I had planned to take the class but because of a flare of tendonitis I can’t shoot for a few more weeks.  However, I was able to go, observe and take a lot of photos for Evan Carson, the instructor.
The course was held outdoors in Northern Va, near Harper’s Ferry.  If you’ve never been up there, it was beautiful, mountains, wineries, farms…that was the up side.  The downside was bugs and a couple spells of heavy rain.  Ok, I’m spoiled, I like the indoor range I go to. 
The CFS Course was incredible.  It was progressive, building the skills.  All the students were already proficient shooters.  I can’t imagine doing the class without the fundamentals in place.  The philosophy includes incorporating the natural startle response into your actions, recognizing if a threat exists and shooting if there is, scanning and evaluating for additional threats..  The students were pushed physically and mentally and went away very pumped, excited and yes, tired.
I am still a strong believer in getting your fundamentals down but I can’t imagine a better program to take your shooting to the next level.  These guys went through several hundred rounds, my arms wouldn’t have held up.  I am really looking forward to actually taking the training. 
I can not recommend CFS strongly enough.  If you are in the Virginia Area, check out Evan Carson and Innovative Defensive Solutions.

Ladies, do not be put off by the name!  This is great training for anyone who wants to move their defensive shooting to the next level.  It isn't easy, but it is more mental than physical.  If I wasn't recovering from an injury I would have taken the class instead of photographing it.  I can't wait!
 
Stay Safe!

Latest Trip to a Gun Shop

I stopped into a Tactical / Gun store today looking for a new bag for my first aid kit and wandered by the counter in the back with a lovely assortment of Smith and Wessons.  I waited patiently while the clerk finished with the person he was helping, somewhat patiently while he did something with a rifle box, started losing patience when he walked out from behind the counter and came back with a man answering questions, then left again.  The other man who had been behind the counter the entire time typing into a computer finally looked up and asked if I had a question.  Really?  Me standing there for five minutes didn't give him a clue?

I asked about the M&Ps in the case, he informed me that I had to be LEO or Military to buy from that case.  I asked if Retired Military was adequate, it was.  Thought that might have given him a clue, or that I new they were M&Ps...nope.  He pointed to the 9mm, I mentioned I was intereseted in the .45.  He told me they had 40s.  Does this guy not shoot?  I told him I didn't want a .40, I was interested in the .45.  Shrug, he opened the slide door by the .45s and said I do have a compact model.  Ok, at this point I get lots of credit for not clocking him then and there.  I said no, I didn't need a compact model.  He tried to show me a tiny little polymer revolver, saying it could go in a pocket or a purse (ARGH!!) then when I commented that it would not be fun to shoot because it was so light he told me it would make a good backup gun.  I replied, not if I don't practice with it!

Bottom line, the prices were good, but the service was clueless!!

It is getting better, and if he had been a shooter, he probably would have gotten a clue by how I checked the pistol to be sure it was clear, and handled it...FRUSTRATING!

Be Safe!!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gender Differences in Concealed Carry


With more and more women shooting, you would think that the holster manufacturers would catch up.  There is only so much you can do with a gun, except make it smaller or make it in colors, both of which is prevalent in the marketplace, but smaller is not kind to a new shooter, and colors…well, that is a matter of personal choice.

With the notable exception of the FlashBang Bra Holsters which are for the smaller guns (really, I don’t know anyone who could carry a full sized gun that way) and the Remora thigh band for smallish guns, the holster manufacturers have given us purses, which means carry off body and a host of other concerns and…what?  Pink?  Seriously, I have not found holsters intended for on body carry designed specifically for women!

Calling all holster manufacturers…Women need their own line of holsters?  Think IWB with less obtrusive clips?  Maybe a lower rise on the leather backing on a hybrid to accommodate the shorter torso?  Maybe a softer backing so it is less irritating to the skin? What about a kydex shell that is shaped to the gun on the inside, but has softer shaping on the outside to reduce printing with softer, feminine fabrics? There is only so much you can do, but women are carrying, and would like to be reasonably comfortable do so!

Concealed carry is a lifestyle, and we do need to modify our clothing, but a few holsters, maybe for the more popular, and not tiny, carry guns like the Glock 19, would be a welcome addition!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Do you Practice for Real Life?

Are you a marksmanship shooter of a Self Defense Carry Shooter.  If you are a marksmanship shooter, enjoy, but this isn't for you.  This is for the person who carries a firearm for personal defense.

How do you practice when you go to the range?  Assuming your range lets you draw from a holster, do you?  Do you clear your cover garment, then draw or tuck in first? Do you drop you mag when it is empty as you are reaching for the next one?  Do you shoot at 25 feet or less? Do you use your sights? Do you shoot slow and methodical for rapid fire 2 to 5 shots, and come back into a ready position or even re-holster?

In a threat situation, you may not have time to get a great sight picture, so do you shoot silhouettes and aim for high center mass?  If you are making one big hole, you are probably shooting too slow, if you are all over the target, maybe a little too fast.  Think of the goal of getting all of your shoots in about 6-8 inches, high center mass, with as much speed as you can. 


Are you catching your mag or dropping it?  Mags are expensive, yes, but not fragile.  If it breaks that easily, you probably didn't want it in your carry gun.  Plus it adds seconds to your reload if you are catching and laying down your empty mag and then reaching for your fresh one...seconds you might not have.  Do you watch you mag go in, or do you index so you can feel it (index finger along the front to help guide it in).  If you are looking at your mag, you aren't looking at, or for, the threat.  Practice loading without looking.  It is easier than you think.  Also, keep the gun high and close in your workspace.  Insert the magazine and bring your hand up and over to rack the slide, one smooth motion that flows together like dance steps.



Don't count your shots so you don't anticipate the reload.  If you are shooting with a buddy, have them give you the command for when to draw and fire so you aren't anticipating quite as much.

Have fun with your shooting but practice like you life might depend on it!

Safe shooting!