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!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gun Belts


Yes, if you carry a holster at the waist, you want a gun belt.  The pretty little dress belts are not designed to hold your gun.  That doesn’t mean you must sacrifice fashion for function.  There are some very nice options available. 

Galco makes a contoured belt, it is curved slightly to fit better and closer to the body.  Looper Law Enforcement, home of the Flashbang, has some lovely belts to choose from.  My favorite is Miss Be Havin’, notice the pink backing?



These are just two of many sources.  The key is you need a substantial leather, or leather with kydex, belt.  They are an investment, but they are truly worth it!  If you are like me, you need different size belts depending on what you are wearing.  My low slung jeans are bigger than my at the waist 5.11 Tac pants.  I buy a belt that will fit the largest size I need, and then take it to a shoe repair shop and have a couple extra holes punched in it.  Remember the investment?  I can’t afford multiple belts, so I buy one that I can wear multiple ways. 

 The purpose of your holster is to keep your gun secure.  The purpose of your belt is to keep your holster secure.  It works as a system.  Carry safe and carry smart.

 

Safe Shooting!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Anniversary of the Tragedy at Newtown

There has been a lot of coverage of the anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown Ct.  In the days following my original post I wrote that I believed that people on both sides of gun control would use this tragedy to justify their positions.  But as we watch the still grieving faces, it is important to remember, these were innocent children and adults trying to protect them. 

This incident highlighted many things. 
  • The power of a community to come together and support each other in tragedy.
  • The courage and humanity of First Responders.
  • The impulsive nature of some people to take advantage of a tragedy.
  • The need for quality mental health care and personal responsibility in storage of firearms.
  • That we, the people, should think first of the victims and their families, not jump to conclusions and start pointing fingers.

Below is what I wrote on 12/14/12. 

Over the coming days I’m sure we will see much about the latest school shooting, and both sides of gun control will have their say.  Today, however, please think of the innocent children who may never feel safe again, the innocent victims who tragically lost their lives, and the families left behind.  My thoughts and prayers are with them, wishing I could shelter the victims from such senseless violence or somehow find words to comfort the families as their shock and disbelief turns to grief.
Thoughts and prayers to those who were lost, those who are injured and those who are picking up the pieces.
May God welcome the lost with open arms, guide the emergency responders and give them strength, and bring comfort to those still here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carrying while Pregnant


There are lots of reasons not to shoot while you are expecting.  Noise, lead, chemicals…none of these are good for a baby. 

There are lots of good reasons to carry while pregnant.  As your body changes, your center of gravity changes.  Not experienced that yet?  Watch a woman who is in her third trimester walk.  She is leaning back to balance the tummy.  Her hips (the pelvic saddle) is under stress and spreading.  That protruding tummy is throwing her off balance, and making her feel very protective.  It also makes her more vulnerable.  It is difficult to move fast and react when your balance is off.  It shows.  This makes her vulnerable to bad guys who are looking for an “easy” target. 

Carrying concealed when you are in advanced pregnancy presents challenges.  You can’t see your feet, and your waist is a distant memory.  A bra holster isn’t accessible.  Strong side hip isn’t an easy option since there isn’t a waist.  So...what to do?  Consider a belly band, a wide piece of stretchy material with pockets for your gun and a Velcro attachment.  This can be worn under clothing or over slacks, wrapped under the tummy much like a pregnancy belt. 

If you are pregnant and choose to carry, I encourage you to practice your draw stroke, preferably with a blue gun.  Minimize handling your firearm and only shoot in defense of your life.  Don’t let the bad guys think you are an easy target.  Keep up your situational awareness. 

Note:  exposure to the chemicals, lead and noise associated with firearms are potentially dangerous.  This is not intended to be medical advice and you should make an informed decision, or consult your physician before carrying a firearm.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gun Show Weekend!


Woo-Hoo!  Went to “The Nation’s Gun Show” in Northern Virginia this weekend.  It was, as always HUGE!  I love gun shows.  So many lovely things to ooo and ahhh over, I always run into lots of folks I know (this show prohibits photos or I would show you a few familiar faces).  Fun accessories (a speed loader in pink!), holsters, ammo…

This time I went with the intention of picking up a Ruger LCP if I could find one with a decent price.  I know, I’m not a huge fan of the pocket pistols, they aren’t what I call “fun to shoot”, but they serve a purpose.  And, I have enough students who really want to try one, so I caved, and decided to get a new LCP. 

I found one, and this is where the story differs from the norm.  When I told the gentleman behind the table that I wanted the LCP he asked if I had seen another Ruger in .380.  My response was, “Oh, the new LC380?  I saw it at Shot Show in Jan.”.  That got his attention.  He was prepared to ensure I understood the challenges of shooting a tiny gun and wanted to ensure I knew there were options.  I stayed around long enough to recognize that the tips were not gender based.  These folks really wanted the customer to not only buy a gun, but to buy the right gun.  I filled out the state required paperwork and watched my documents go into the queue to be entered.  As I was waiting, I spotted a new Mossberg 12 guage.  I started looking at it.  Another employee came over to help, and I told him that I had the pistol grip 12 guage and was looking at another.  I explained that my goal is to go on my first hunt next year.  He told me about a Mossberg Rifle they had, didn’t have on display because they only brought a couple, and started talking fast about the virtues of this 308 rifle.  Well, I decided to look at it, it was polymer so it was lighter, has a nice recoil pad, mounted bi-pod and nice scope.  For those who know, it is a Mossberg Night Train 2.  (Got some serious gun envy looks walking out!)  Ok, I’m a pistol girl, it has been a long time since I felt out of my element, I didn’t understand everything he said, but I’m learning fast.  This looked like the perfect rifle for hunting.  I decided to get it, and they even gave me a little off because I was buying two!

As I was checking out, the owner opened each box, walked me through the contents, encouraged me to clean the gun before shooting it, with chemicals specifically made for guns, not something from the auto parts store.  He emphasized the owner’s manual, and asked if I had any questions.  Ok, I wasn’t surprised that this man was doing this, because I had seen him do it for the previous customer, who was a man.  But I was surprised in that NO ONE had ever done that for me when I bought a new gun!  This was so smart, I had to tell him that while I already knew quite a bit about firearms, I was so impressed that he took the time, and that I really appreciated it.  This should be the norm, not a surprise. 

Every person associated with this company was professional, knowledgeable, and helpful!  I have to give them a Blog Out, and encourage you to visit their Facebook Page to give them a like.  They were great!  Thank you to SWV Firearms!  You all set the bar pretty high!

 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Take Your Students As They Are

People come in a wide variety of shapes, skill levels, strength, physical ability, emotional maturity and size. Some instructors adopt a one size fits all philosophy.  Using the classic 80/20 rule, that works for about 20% of your students.  The other 80% are not getting what they need. 
 
The best instructors, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with some amazing people, take into account the wants, needs and abilities of the individual student.  They will adapt their instruction to ensure that everyone gets what they need.  Sometimes that means we bring a student back and work with them a little more. But that is ok.  Sometimes it means thinking outside of the box, such as when confronted by an amputee who insists on learning to do everything for himself.  Sometimes it means we are careful of the direction we face when speaking so the deaf student, who is a very adept lip reader, doesn’t miss out.   
 
Good instructors teach 80% of their students.  Great instructors teach 100% of their students.   
 
What kind of instructor do you want to be?  And, what kind of instructor do you want to have? 
 
If you are an instructor now, ask yourself what do my students think of me?  
 
If you are looking for an instructor, you can ask what are you looking for in an instructor and what are your needs, challenges, fears and wants.  Share what you can, it will help make your instructor understand you, and make your training more beneficial.  Training isn’t cheap, get the most out of it you can! 
 
Safe Shooting! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New from NRA WOMEN

NRA WOMEN
Tips & Tactics: Mentally Prepared
In this week's Tips & Tactics video, Dianna Liedorff talks about the importance of mental preparation. Visualizing yourself winning a fight will improve your chances of success if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.

Friday, November 15, 2013

moving on

Veteran's Day is past, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then...Christmas!  Wow, where did the year go?

Before we now it, Auld Lang Syne and then...SHOT SHOW!  I've booked my trip and I am so excited, I can't wait.  The people, the exhibits, the parties...my suite at the Venetian. 

My website it up, my training company is back in business, now...I need clients!  I'm pursuing the Home Training Party concept.  Offering NRA and custom classes. 

Been a little crazy.  I had some personal bumps in my road, took some time off, then finished my second book (watch for it in Aug of next year), and submitted a proposal for a third.  Now, I need to get my blog muscles back. 

Be patient with me, we will be back to business soon, less personal, more fun stuff.

You are all wonderful!!

Safe Shooting

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

To all the service members, past and present, and their families...to those who came home and those who made the ultimate sacrifice...God Bless our service members and God Bless the United States of America. 

Remember that a simple Thank You means the world to our veterans.  Fly our Flag, thank a veteran, and be grateful for this great nation!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November!

Where has the year gone?  It is November already!!  Here is Virginia leaves are falling, frost on the windshields in the morning, ...  But it is still lovely.  As you know, I'm active in shooting and teaching but I'm considering trying my hand, and  eye, at Archery.  I've decided that I want to try hunting next year, and that means probably deer or bear.  I would prefer deer because I happen to like venison and there are wonderful programs here, and elsewhere I'm sure, where you can donate the meat to food banks.  But while I can shoot a target at a reasonable distance, can I do that with a bow?  Is it worth it to try? 

Next year is already filling up, but this is a personal goal.  So, I will let you know.  At least if I drop a bow on my foot it isn't as likely to shatter my toe  LOL. 

Safe Shooting and Happy Fall! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ghosts and Goblins and Ghouls…Oh My!

Halloween is upon us.  It just happens to be one of my favorite holidays, probably because there are few things I enjoy as much as dressing up in a costume.  

Will you walk your kiddos around to Trick or Treat?  This is an easy time to get distract, the kids are laughing and screaming, the costumes are fun…the risks are high.  Be alert for teens roaming in costume and adults in masks without kids.  They might be looking for a different kind of treat.

We generally look through the peephole and many of us don’t open our doors to strangers.  On Halloween we throw open our doors ready to hand out candy to the sweet like princess, the adorable Harry Potter and the rattling skeleton.  What if it isn’t some delightful child?  Look through the peep hole just to be sure BEFORE you open the door.  The odds of an attacker having a child in tow are slim, but not impossible.  Be ready, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t open the door.  They will move on to the next home.  

In years past, I’ve sat on my front steps to pass out candy, bottle of wine and small cups next to me for the grown ups.  Adults like to trick or treat, too.  If you opt to do something like that, keep your situational awareness on high alert and keep scanning.  It is nice to chat with the neighbors, and the parents really liked the wine, but think of yourself first.  

Lastly, this is fun for the kids.  Play along a little.  Ooo and Ahh over the Princess, jump back from the witch, make the zombie feel like you are a little afraid.  They will love it and the smiles are truly heartwarming.

If you are taking your kids out, remember to carry a flashlight for crossing the street.  A light, held chest high and shining straight down doesn’t blind drivers but makes them much more likely to see you and your crew.  If you have to be on the road, remember to drive a little slower.  

Happy Halloween!!!!  

Friday, October 25, 2013

National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day Update


A lot of you have been waiting patiently to see how the changes would come about.  We had some pretty high hopes and goals, unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to support them.  We had lots of gift in kind sponsors and wonderful support, but just not the cash required to keep everything going, even as a non-profit.  And, like all good ideas, by the second year there were so many imitators (sincerest form of flattery?) that it became difficult to protect the branding.

So, with a HUGE HUG of Gratitude to all who supported us, we are changing direction.  It is an awesome idea and should continue.  We will remain active in terms of encouraging, sharing ideas and promotion, but we are no longer going to be officially behind the events.

We encourage ranges across the country to host events during the month of June.  Let us know, and we will list them on the website which will be live soon.  But we will no longer be doing formal agreements with ranges, nor will we be directly sponsoring events.  If you would like ideas, we’re here.  If you want to share your ideas, we’re here.  

We encourage hosts to use June to get the kids out in a safe and supportive environment, learning firearm safety and trying their first shots, or just shooting as a family.  You’ll have several weekends to work with, you can even host multiple events in the month, maybe you have an archery range and a rifle range, you can host two different events.  

So, it is not too soon to start looking around and local organizations you can partner with to host an event.  As always, you can contact me if you have questions or need to talk through ideas.

Let’s keep this alive, keep it growing and keep the kids SAFE!

Thank you!
Lynne Finch, co-Founder, National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day

Veteran’s Day at the NRA Range in Fairfax, VA

Veteran’s Day at the NRA Range in Fairfax, VA

If you are in the Northern Virginia area, the NRA is the place to be on Veteran’s Day (November 11).  Cam & Company will be hosting their show from the range, LIVE, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.  Are you a Veteran?  Bring your ID or DD214 and shoot free from 2 pm to closing!

This is a great opportunity and sounds like a lot of fun!  I plan to be there, both as a NRA member and a Veteran.  

See you at the Range!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I love teaching

Some of you know that in my day job I work for the government, which means...yep, furloughed.  I put the word out in my office, if you want to go shoot, I would do a free lesson, just cover your range fees.  Well, yesterday one of my co-workers brought his teenage son to the range so he could get introduced to safe gun handling and try out shooting.  This young man was attentive, focused, safe and A NATURAL!  We pulled down one target where all the shots were through the center ring.  What more can you ask for?  I'd love to take credit as an instructor, but, he deserves the credit.  He was excellent, and I had so much fun. 

I've had some personal issues recently and had reluctantly suspended teaching while I worked through them, and this was my first time on the range with a student since August.  What fun!  There was a very proud papa, a huge smile on a young man and a revitalized instructor. 

We all need moments like that, that smile when a new shooter realizes "I can do this!"  The high five for the awesome shooting...The feeling of pride that you introduced someone to something and they loved it!

Yesterday was a good day...

Safe Shooting

Friday, October 4, 2013

Do Guns and Alcohol Mix? NO! Well, maybe…


If you know me, you know that I’m 100% against consuming alcohol while armed.  It is potentially dangerous and, usually, illegal!  So, where does “maybe” come from?  I adore kitsch, and when I saw this small silver pistol shaped flask, I had to have it!  Of course, I can put anything in it, doesn’t have to be alcohol.  It is perfectly sized to fit into a thigh band (can you say Halloween Costume?)  Of course, with the cap at the muzzle, you really need to be aware of which one is the flask and not mix them up.

So, as a collector of fun stuff, this was too good to pass up.  It even comes with a little holster!



Monday, September 30, 2013

Can I be Feminine and Armed at the Same Time Part 2

I realized I posted a photo showing the model raising her top to access the corset holster in the previous post.  Well, I wore mine this weekend, all day, with a V-neck cashmere sweater  No print, and based on practice with my blue gun I knew that I could reach down into the opening and securely draw the gun if I needed it.  (Was carrying a Ruger LC9 and a Remora mag pouch in my waist band)

Not only was the gun fully secured but so was my middle jiggle.  Yep, the only 6 pack I have is my Diet Coke. 

Safe Shooting

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Can I be Armed and Feminine at the Same Time?


Oh YES!  Meet my new favorites, Femme Fatale Holsters.  These are a delightful cross between lingerie and holsters, and will keep make the most feminine among us very happy.  The lace is beautiful, the styling is ingenious.

I personally own the corset (so far only in one color, but as soon as the budget allows…RED!) and it comfortably held my Glock 26, Ruger LC9 and LCPs, while provided awesome concealment, easy access in an open neck blouse, and a little extra tightening of the middle.


At first, I wasn’t sure about the thigh band, but once I got used to it…I LOVED IT!  Since the firearm is carried on the inner thigh, I stuck to a single stack compact like a LC9 for comfort, but it was secure while walking, sitting, standing, climbing stairs. 
 

 

They also have an ankle holster, my calves are a little too big for a comfortable fit but Donna is working on a new design that I will be trying and I’ll let you know.
 
Ok, I admit, I felt a little sexy with my gun tucked into something lacey and secret.  Is that wrong?  How about wanting one in every color?  LOL  These are sexy, fun and functional.

One thing Donna mentioned on her site, these holsters also make great stash pockets for ID, cash, a slender wallet or even a cell phone.  If I’m using my carry for my larger firearm, or I’m somewhere I can’t be armed, I can use these for a secret stash.  Fun and secure!

Follow the directions on the website for measuring, I found them to be perfect fits when I followed the direction.  Check out Femme Fatale Holsters, you might just love them as much as I do!


Safe Shooting

Monday, September 23, 2013

Continuing Education


Most of us understand the need for continuing education in our professional lives, but we need to continue our education in our defensive lives as well.  I know I have written about the need to keep training before, and I try to live by it when I can.  Time and money are serious constraints for most of us, so we do what we can when we can. 


Friday evening I had the pleasure of training in an area that was new to me.  Handgun retention.  It was taught by Kathy (the Cornered Cat) Jackson and her associate Don.  The class was approximately four hours, and it was a “level 1” class, meaning it was introductory.  The presentation, demonstrations and content were excellent!  I learned so much, and it was presented in a minimally intimidating way.  I’ve read about retention classes where people get pretty banged up.  I can see, in a life and death struggle for the gun, that is could get rougher than what we did in practice, but I learn better when I’m not afraid of getting hurt.

I did have the honor of being the first, but not the only, one to land squarely on my butt.  Mats really help!  It is Monday morning, I’m still a little sore, but I’m also “of an age” where I don’t bounce back (no pun intended) like I used to at 20. 


The techniques were effective in practice, easy to remember and I hope I never need them, but I will practice with a buddy and work on making them reflexive.  Learning so much reminded me how much I enjoy training and that I wish I could do more.  I think everyone had a great time, and if you ever get the chance…do not let a chance to train with Kathy pass.  She is awesome!


Safe Shooting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Concealed Carry Handguns Magazine reviewed Taking Your First Shot!!





Two Full Pages!!!!!  And, they LIKED it!  Great review, I'm so thrilled. 

If you haven't gotten your copy yet, it is now available on Kindle and Nook, if that is our preference.

I went to the store yesterday, read the review at the magazine stand then bought 5 copies!  LOL. 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Moving on


Thank you for your patience, life gets crazy sometimes and you need to step back and reassess.  I’ve been doing that.  I’m making changes in my business, changes in my personal life and generally reorganizing my little world.  The last few weeks have been pretty stressful and I’m reminded of the Mary Chapin Carpenter song, Sometimes You’re The Windshield, Sometimes You’re The Bug.


 
Lots of changes.  New business model, focusing on gun training parties, keeps the costs down for the students and promotes a friendly environment.  Plus, it is a great way for the host to get specific questions answered about their home.

 
Still writing lots of articles.  Haven’t seen them published yet, but writing like crazy.
 

After a lot of soul searching and angst, I have had to change the model for National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day.  I couldn’t not continue to sponsor it out of pocket and financial donations were not adequate to keep it self supporting.  I have a website in the works, www.DaugthersontheRange.com (soon to be live) and will encourage and support events and shooting and safe instruction during the month of June, but the events will no longer be under that umbrella of the national organization.  Anyway that I can help, encourage or advise a local organizer…I’m in!  I will even list events as I can to help promote them, but the corporate entity will not be backing the events going forward.  It was, and is, a great idea, and I think it has potential to grow beyond what it is now, which is something, but it just god to be too expensive for me personally. 
 

I’m also going through some personal changes that I won’t share here, some of you know and I greatly appreciate your support.
 

As for exciting things coming up, Sep 20-22 Kathy Jackson, The Cornered Cat, will be in Culpepper, VA.  She is teaching a two day shooting course the 21 and 22.  But, on Friday night she is teaching a four hour weapon retention class.  I can’t wait!  I’m going, I’m excited.  I adore Kathy and can’t wait to take her class.
 

Taking Your First Shot is now available as an EBook (Kindle or Nook)!  How exciting for me!  I checked my ranking not long ago on Amazon and out of the 400,000 titles ranked it was around 38,000.  Not bad for a niche book!  Thank you all for reading it, buying it, telling your friends…now, leave a review?  J

 
My most recent purchase in the holster arena, and I’m still trying them out but am very optimistic, is from Femme Fatale.  They make the prettiest LACE holsters for ankle, thigh and a corset style.  These are a girly girls dream.  Sexy stuff, ladies.  I will be posting a full review soon. 

 
Be well, be safe and thank you for your support and kind words.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sometimes the fork in the road is a spoon

You hit a point in your life where you need to make choices, thinking you've hit a decision point, or the proverbial "fork in the road" and realize it is a spoon.  A spoon reflects back when you look at it.  It also reflects a distortion of reality.  The concave nature of the spoon gives you a warped perspective, kind like a mirror in a fun house.  It is a challenge to examine your life, and answer the tough questions, when your reflection is looking back at you from a warped view. 

This is my way of explaining my absence from the blog.  I've been going through something rough and it isn't over yet.  Hang in with me and I will be back on track as soon as I can.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Training Opportunity in Va - Kathy Jackson!

Kathy (Cornered Cat) Jackson will be in Culpepper Va in Sep to teach both a Gun Retention Course (Friday Sep 20) and a 2 day shooting course (21 and 22).  This is a great opportunity to train with Kathy who is smart, funny and very experienced.

The classes are coed.
Defensive Handgun 2 Day Class

Where: FPF Training in Culpeper, VA

When: September 21-22, 2013

Cost: $400

Requirements:
•Previous completion of a basic handgun safety class or equivalent training/experience
•Handgun: at least .380 caliber or larger
•Three magazines or speedloaders (more is good too)
•A non-collapsible belt holster, worn on a pants belt, on pants with belt loops
•300 rounds of jacketed ammunition
•Eye protection with side-shields
•Ear protection (electronic muffs preferred)
•A brimmed hat or baseball cap

For more information or to register, please email John@FPFTraining.com

The 4 hour Handgun Retention class is $100 and is filling up fast, it is limited to the first 12, keeping the class size small so we all get to practice.  There is no live fire for the Handgun Retention class, and if you are interested, contact Lynne at FemaleandArmed@GMail.com to find out if there is still space and how to sign up.

Come on out and training with Kathy.  It will be a great time!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Different Training Strategy - The Home Gun Party!


One of the hardest things for me as an instructor has been finding venues that I could use that made my classes affordable.  I prefer a small class to a mega class, I think the smaller group is more comfortable for new shooters.  Recently I conducted a class for a group of neighbors in someone’s home.  We improvised a screen using a white paper table cloth held up with blue tape, determined a safe direction, and…had a ball!  That sparked an idea of how to teach the classroom portion in an affordable way…Borrowing from brilliant marketers like Tupperware, Mary Kay… the Gun Class Party!



Why not?  You and a few of your friends, comfortable, cozy, learning together, built in shooting buddies…For a First Steps class we don’t need a lot of room,  we do need a safe direction and a little advance prep by the instructor can go a long way.


Then, with the money we save, we can afford to rent the range for just us!

 

The next generation of instruction!  Have fun and be safe!

Look through the comments, others had the same idea and some great suggestions!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review of Lessons from Unarmed America (Mark Walters and Rob Pincus)


This book is available as an e-book on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EAQAMJY/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img#_, with hard copy to come.

This was not an easy read, it isn’t a light summer beach book.  This is a thought provoking, hard, scary book that EVERYONE should read.  Reading most of the stories, I found myself thinking I’ve been there, right up to where it all went wrong.  This just served to remind me that bad things happen to good people and we need to be aware.  Mark Walters relates the true stories in a matter of fact way, not embellishing, the stories stand on their own.  Coming after with analysis of what might have been done different is tricky, but Rob Pincus handles this without laying blame. 
This book doesn’t attempt to convince the reader that a gun is a panacea.  It offers real life situations that went horribly wrong, and discusses how situational awareness, training, and yes a gun, might have made a difference.
If you can read these stories and not relate to any of them, you live in a bubble.  I found myself thinking of situations in my life and how lucky I was they didn’t meet the same end.  Scary, un-nerving and thought provoking.  This is a must read. 
 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Podcast from PoliceMag.com

I was interviewed for PoliceMag.com last week, had a great time, talked about Taking Your First Shot and concealed carry.
http://www.policemag.com/podcasts/2013/07/off-duty-carry-for-female-officers.aspx

Fun interview.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why should I spend money on training beyond the basics?


Money is tight, why should I put my small discretionary income toward additional training after I’ve done the minimum to get my permit?  A lot of people are asking themselves that question.  Why do I need more training?

 
There is no one answer that fits everyone, but training is important.  Train with different instructors, take away the tips that work for you.  We all say it in different ways, maybe something will click.


Shooting is a perishable skill.  You need to keep practicing, but if you have only taken basic level instruction, it is possible that you are practicing by standing square to your target and slowly taking shot after shot, looking for the 10 ring.  But if you are carrying your firearm for personal defense, will your ability to slow fire at a stationary target help you?  Probably not a lot.

 
Advancing your skills includes learning to safely draw from a holster, reload without looking, scan your area for additional threats, possibly shoot fast, make the shoot/no-shoot decision quickly, shoot under stress, shoot around a barrier…If you already know how to do all that, still take training.  There are styles, techniques and tip evolving every day.  Sometimes the same information presented in a new way is what you really need.

 
Train as if your life depends on it…as it someday may.

 

Safe Shooting

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Unintended Consequences

Recently I published a guest post from my husband in response to some local "difficulties".  As I consider that matter closed, I will not readdress it, and ask others to respect that it is settled and over.  The guest post was removed not long after it was posted and it is no longer visible.
 
However, I learned from that.  There is an adage about never sending an email in anger, and the same can be said for blog posts.  I may not have written it, but it is my blog and I am ultimately responsible for it's content. 
 
I've learned in recent days that some people whom I care about and respect were hurt by words in the post.  I sincerely regret that, and humbly apologize to the innocent.  I hope you can forgive and we can all move forward.
 
I would also like to set the record straight on my personal opinion of Combat Focus Shooting (CFS) and Rob Pincus.  First, CFS.  I took Fundamentals of CFS in Nov of last year.  My reaction at the time remains true today, exhilarating, exhausting, challenging and a lot of fun.  I came away bruised, sore and so wound up I had trouble sleeping (in a good way).  I considered, for a brief moment, taking the Instructor Development (ID) for CFS, but that is not my area, or my intended market.  I leave that to those who have the heart for it, my heart lies in a different direction.
 
As for Rob Pincus.  Rob can be polarizing, but he can also be fair.  Would I like to take a CFS class from him?  Yes, and will if I get the opportunity in the future.  Rob stepped in to help resolve the situation I found myself in, and I'm grateful to him for bringing about an equitable resolution that was, IMHO, fair to both sides..
 
So, after all of that, why am I writing now?  Again, to offer heartfelt apologies to those who didn't deserve the fall out, and to accept responsibility.  I'm truly grateful to those who supported me, sincerely sorry to those who were hurt, and I will be vigilant going forward to at least sleep on anything controversial so that friends are not unjustly caught up where they don't deserve to be.
 
Thank you all for understanding, for caring and for letting this matter rest.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mastering the Art of the Grip - part II

This is an update of a post that originally ran in Feb 2012

This is a tough concept for a lot of people.  I once heard someone say “Maximum meat on the gun”.  Maybe not very eloquent but an excellent point.  Simply put you want to maximize the contact with the surface area of the grip. 
 
Talking to the Semi-Auto shooters here:  You start by wrapping your strong hand around the backstrap (the back of the grip) so that it fits snuggly into the webbing between your thumb and index finger.  The goal is to be as high as you can.  Stretch your index finger along the frame, and then curl your fingers around the front strap under the trigger guard.  Then take your weak hand and get as much of the heel of your hand on the grip panel as you can (again maximum contact with the pistol) stretching your thumb forward, (and parallel under your strong hand thumb) aligning with the strong hand thumb, and curl your fingers over your other hand fingers, under the trigger guard. Your knuckles on both hands should line up, and there shouldn’t be any air space between any of your fingers and the others.  How does it feel?  Can you support the weight of the gun comfortably?  Can you see daylight between the heels of your hands?  If you can, you need to bring the weak, or support hand in a little tighter.  Are you high on the backstrap without blocking the slide?  Some guns have a tang, beaver tail or protrusion that prevents you from being too high, like the 1911, but not all. 

When you take your shot, does the slide abrade your hand?  Does your grip come loose and you have to readjust?  Neither of these is desirable.  You don’t want to cut yourself, it HURTS!  You don’t want to readjust your grip constantly, it means you are breaking your grip, wasting precious seconds, and then still need to reacquire your site picture. 

Recently, my instructor told me I needed to be higher on the backstrap.  Looking at my grip, I probably would have said the same thing to a new student.  When I tried to inch up (fraction of an inch actually) I found the recoil was more painful, I was adjusting my grip every couple rounds, and I started anticipating the recoil.  How did I know?  My shots were centered and low.  I kept trying to find the sweet spot for me, and when I did I was once again drilling the dot.  However, it was a little lower than I would advise.  So…now what?  I had good control, good grouping, but my grip looked a little off.  Mmmm.  Ok, admittedly, we all have a sweet spot, but they should be pretty close.  What does this mean for me?  I needed to practice with a higher grip until I could control it and then have my instructor re-evaluate. 

What is the take away for you?  A couple things, 1., be aware of your grip, and make sure you work with someone who knows to ensure you have it correct.  This is important because it is a lot harder to break a bad habit than to form a good one.  2. If you are consistently shooting low center, you are anticipating the recoil or jerking the trigger, assuming you had the correct sight picture, and there are ways to overcome that, but it takes practice.  One way is to have someone else load your magazine and insert a dummy round. (ball and dummy technique). You won’t know when it is coming up and you will see yourself drive the barrel down.  That will help you realize that you are doing it and give you some feedback to break yourself.  Another way is to safely practice dry fire with an empty cartridge or coin on top of your front sight or your slide.  Does it fall off or stay put?  I'm not a huge fan of dry fire, it can build in habits since there is not recoil, and you must manually rack between trigger pulls.  But some swear by it.
 
If you have smaller hands, you may have a bigger challenge finding the perfect fit.  I had a student recently, who when we compared hand sizes, we were very close, except the index finger, mine was nearly an entire knuckle longer.  I can handle a Glock with ease, she couldn't reach the trigger and maintain a comfortable grip.  It is critical, when you are shopping for a gun, that you check the fit, You should be able to keep a proper grip AND reach everything you need to, i.e., trigger, mag release, safety if you have one...
 
For a while the only option for someone with smaller hands was a single stack, or a slim revolver.  However, manufacturers are starting to respond.  Some find that the Springfield HD fits better.  The Smith and Wesson M&P has 3 sizes of backstrap that comes with the gun.  Gen 4 Glocks have the ability to make the backstrap larger.  Just like shoes, one size does not fit all but your perfect fit it out there.


Safe Shooting!
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review of the new Remora Micro-Clip Holster


Regular readers know that I LOVE Remora products.  Recently, I got to try the new micro-clip holster.  When I first received the holster I truly thought they had sent me the wrong one, and had them send me a replacement.  It was the same size.  Back and forth, and a couple conversations and…light bulb.
First, I’m using this holster for a Glock 19.  Glocks have a boxy trigger guard shape.  As you can see in the photo, initially, I couldn’t wedge a gun into the holster, and thought it was the holster. 

                                                                            
 
 
 
Then, I remembered that Remora forms fits very well when warmed.  I stuck the nozzle of my blow dryer into the holster for about 90 seconds and warmed it, then forced my Glock 19 blue gun deep into the holster.  If you don’t have a blue gun, you can wrap you unloaded firearm in cheesecloth of a thin cotton and use it to shape the holster.  Let the gun and holster sit for 24 hours.  When you take the gun out, the holster will have shaped to the gun.

 



The holster is ambidextrous.  You can snap the clip on to either side, and it can be worn IWB without a belt, almost anywhere.  With a traditional Remora you need to ensure there is tension to hold the holster in place.  With the micro-clip, the special Remora fabric still grips but the clip keeps it from falling.  When the slight pressure of clothing is released, the gun tends to rotate, but with good coverage of the trigger guard, it is still safe, and it won’t fall.  I’ve worn it strong side hip, appendix, and now, with an injured strong hand, I can wear it on my weak side. 

It is an easy draw, but not an easy re-holster.  So, not a great range holster, but it offers minimal print for maximum concealment. 

It probably won’t be my primary holster, but it will be great with skirts, and dress slacks, clothing that make a more traditional holster a challenge.  Over all, I like it. 

                                                                                                                                      

Thursday, July 25, 2013

When your Students are of the Fairer Sex…Does it Make a Difference?

In a word, maybe.  Experienced shooters are less impacted by gender differences in style and mannerisms than new students.  I apologize in advance for some generalizations, not everything applies to all women, but there are things to consider.  The following information is based on my experience as a student, as an instructor and interviews with other women.

Women come to shooting for a variety of reasons, but many come out of fear.  They may have had a threat, or be fearful because of the bad things happening around them.  The future of their shooting is in the hands of the instructor.  A caring, positive experience can help build confidence and trust.
Many women are less likely to ask questions in a class than their male classmates.  You need to watch them and anticipate their questions, make them feel that it is ok to ask.  Be careful with jargon or technical terminology unless you take the time to explain it.  They might not ask, but you will lose them.

Women are less tolerant of macho, alpha male style behavior and profanity.  Frankly, it can be a turn off, and once we turn off, your job as an instructor isn’t getting done.  So, dial back a little.  You can be professional without being intimidating, aggressive or profane.  Women, especially one who is there because she has been assaulted or threatened, may be more sensitive to being touched.  Ask first, unless it is a safety issue, minimize touching and ask.  You can get a sense of your student and know if it is ok.
Women often come into a class with fewer bad habits or preconceived ideas.  But, also with less experience.  Take the time to explain and demonstrate, build the foundation.  Many women are less confident and a little scared so they need to understand before they do.  Demos help, clear explanations are essential to build the fundamentals.  Generally, women retain instruction better when they understand the “why”.  Why do I do it this way instead of another way that may feel more comfortable?  Take the time to explain the concept, the method, steps and why.  This can be done with patience or even a little humor.  I take good natured teasing because I’m fanatical about cleaning my carry gun.  When people ask me often they should clean their gun, I tell them if depends on a variety of factors, but that while I might let some of my guns go without cleaning for a couple sessions, my carry gun gets cleaned every time it is shot.  I tell them “I’ve never heard of anyone having a malfunction because their gun was too clean”.

There are things that women need to know but a new shooter, especially one who plans to carry, may not realize she needs to know.  First, purse carry.  There is carrying in a purse and a carry purse.  Carrying in a purse is a bad idea.  Ask women how long it takes to find their keys?  Ok, that makes an image.  Now, point out that the gun is the heaviest thing in the purse.  Where will it be?  On the bottom.  Oriented how…who knows?  You reach in a pull it out and, gee, there is that pen you were looking for, sticking out of the barrel.  A carry purse has a dedicated compartment and holster for the gun, and NOTHING else goes in there.  This is “off-body” carry and still not ideal.  If your purse gets snatched, your gun is gone.  You can’t put it down, hang it off the back of a chair…it needs to be in your control at all times.  You need to be able to articulate this without being sarcastic, it may take practice to be able to talk about women’s accessories but this is important information.

Holsters…It is possible to carry on body and not advertise.  You also don’t have to carry a derringer, which I like to compare to trying to shoot a baby carrot, to conceal effectively.  For women, clothing makes a huge difference.  Prints hide better than solid colors.  Ruching, which is stretchy gathers, also works wonders to conceal a gun.  She can maintain a slim silhouette by wearing lose over snug to hide the gun.  Jeans can be a problem if they fit snugly, men’s jeans can fit the hips and leave a little extra room in the waist for the gun. 

Men and women alike need to find what fits them, what is comfortable and fits their lifestyle.  There are as many options as there are guns.  Some are better for men and some are better for women, and specifics will be explored at a later time.  It is important to remind a student that she, or he, needs to pick a primary carry method.  The last thing anyone wants is to do the body pat in an emergency.  Body pat referring to reaching for your gun only to realize it is someplace else and you start patting yourself trying to find your gun.  That said, there are times, especially for women, when your primary carry method isn’t practical due to attire.  She needs to know it is important to practice with whatever method(s) she chooses.  Also, suggest getting comfortable wearing her gun around the house for a couple days before carrying in public.  Once you can walk around the house without fidgeting and adjusting, you can go in public and most people will never know.

Range bags are another topic that women often have questions about.  Not all of us want to advertise that we are shooters.  It helps to know you can use almost anything as a range bag, from a back pack to a beach tote, and not advertise to your neighbors you are going to the range.  Sometimes a little discretion goes a long way.

It is important to have options and be able to demonstrate them.  Understand the lifestyle, a mom with kids needs to know how she can carry safely when her children are with her.  Discuss cover and concealment, as well as family practice drills for their safety.  Be prepared to discuss safe practices in parking lots, how to protect herself and her kids.  Generally, women don’t like to go there, playing the kids card, but it does get their attention. 

Women are less likely to spend money on advanced training than men.  You need to emphasize the importance of practice and training, not just because it is fun but because these are skills that deteriorate if they are not used. 

Women and men do learn and respond differently.  The differences blur with experience, but when you are working with a new shooter, it is important to recognize that there are differences in motivation, needs, and learning styles.  Make her feel accepted and comfortable, and you will have a student for a long time.  One last thought, and this comes from my experience.  When you tell a student to perform a task and they look at you for clarification, repeating the same instruction in a louder voice is very much like the American who travels overseas and speaks English louder, hoping to make themselves understood by a non-English speaker.  You need to have more than one way to explain something.  There is your first choice, but if she doesn’t understand, repeating the same words just frustrates your student and you.

More women are learning to shoot, for a variety of reasons, including curiosity, encouragement or pressure from their significant other, or yes, fear.  You can set the tone and help them to make a positive and safe entry into this world of shooting.