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 4 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!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Follow up on new Holster - The Ava

About 1 ½ weeks ago I wrote about my new holster from the Flashbang folks, the Ava.  I adjusted the clips so the holster rides a little lower and changed the cant slightly.  I do love adjustable.  End result, you can not see my Glock 19!  It is so comfortable and so easy to wear. 
We are all built differently so what works for me may not be what is best for you, but…I love this holster.  All my other IWBs are going into the holster bag for training classes because this is it!  This is “the one”.  And…it’s pretty! 
Enough rave review, let’s talk holsters for a few minutes.  What is the purpose of a holster?  Duh, you say, to hold your gun!  Well, yes, but to hold it securely and safely, in a consistent location, easy to get to if you needed it, …  Does your holster fit your gun?  Is it specific to your make and model?  Does it stay in place and not slide around?  Does it cover the trigger guard?  Can you draw from it without lots of gyrations?  Is it complex with lots of retention that you have to defeat?  Does it fit YOUR body?  Yes, your holster is there to hold your gun, but if it isn’t comfortable, if it doesn’t stay in place, will you use it or decide, “I’m not going to carry today, it is uncomfortable and I’m only getting groceries.”?  You don’t know when you will need your firearm so you want a consistent, safe and comfortable way to carry (assuming you are in a state where you can and have the appropriate permit…must be law-abiding first). 
Like so many things in this world, you may have to try quite a few before you find what is perfect.  Keep looking, I guarantee there is a good one out there just for you.
Guys, this may be marketed as a Ladies Holster, but I have spoken with a couple men who LOVE it.  Since it is cut lower, and has the soft suede backing, it is extremely comfortable, and it is adjustable.  So, if you can live with a deep purple backing (hey, it isn’t pink) this might be a good choice for you.

Safe Shooting!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bullets and Braces

Check out the story of this young lady who is already a champion, and just hit her teen years.

The NRA Women’s Network is excited to present the latest Armed & Fabulous profile featuring junior shooter Katie Francis. At only 13-years-old, Katie Francis has already accomplished more than most. Her father, Sergeant First Class Chad Francis, bought her a .22 when she was 9-years-old. At the age of 10, she got her first buck, an 8-point, with an AR-15. Today, the ambitious teenager counts the possibility of making an Olympic appearance as one of her goals.

"I think she’s got a future in it if she stays with it,” Katie's dad said.   Check out her story at

http://nrawomen.tv/#/profiles/video/157


Something Different

If you have ever read my blog you know I almost never post about day to day stuff, I try to focus on “tips, tricks and the occasional political inanity”.  Well, I’m going to break that trend and tell you about what is happening in my life.
I’m an Author!  I can’t tell you what it meant to see a draft cover of my book, which is due out in Jun (was originally April but that was a scheduling glitch).  It is very much like what you read here, and there a lots of nice shiny photos!  What really has been exciting, humbling and a little scary are the people who have stepped up to help.  Kathy Jackson, who I adore and respect wrote a fabulous foreword for me.  Julie Golob wrote such a nice review that is made me sniffle.  Others are writing reviews for the cover and inside page as I type and all have been so kind and supportive.  It is an amazing feeling, and more than a little humbling. 

draft cover




I submitted my first magazine article, and I will give you all the details after I’m sure they accepted it.  LOL  Don’t want to set the expectation and not be able to make it happen. 
Yesterday was a long day, which may account for my melancholy mood.  Up at 4, out of the house by 6, setting up a classroom by 7, class started at 8:30 and by the time we had finished a long day of classroom, gone to the range, done the shooting and did the instructor debrief, it was nearly 8 pm.  I love teaching, almost as much as I love writing, but man am I tired!

Today is back at the day job, but it’s ok, I’m on my lunch break, trying to type and eat a salad at the same time.
Tonight, I have guns to clean, laundry to do…and maybe work a little more on my second book, yep…already working on round 2.  Taking Your First Shot is really an introduction, but it has things for more experienced shooters, too.  Lots of gun speak, tips, fundamentals, concealed carry tips and some unarmed defensive information. 
Book 2, working title is Book 2, is not about guns or shooting.  It is about keeping yourself and your family safe.  Ways to make your home more secure if you are a renter, things you can do if you own your home; your online life; calling the police, what do you say?  There is more, but it is just in outline now, so who knows how the final product will look.  But if you have a better title than Book 2, I’m open to ideas!
I bought a new toy last weekend.  Ok, firearms are not toys, but shooters will understand.  I bout a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm. I’m a Glock Girl, through and through, but I wanted something I could let students shoot if the Glock wasn’t a good fit for their hand and I don’t like giving them a small gun (especially the new shooters) because they are harder to handle.  So, now I need to name my new baby.  I’m thinking Sheehan, which is Celtic for Peacemaker or Saundra which is a Scottish name meaning Defender of Mankind. No I don’t put this much thought in to all my guns, but I like names with ties to my ancestry. 
So, I wish you all a safe week. Thank you for indulging my ponderings.

Safe Shooting.
Laem Chabang SeaPort Tower, Pattaya Thailand

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Musings on Gun Control

There is so much controversy these days about gun control, firearm and ammunition sales, magazine capacity, even some bone headed advice coming from politicians and anti-gunners trying to tell us that we don’t need a gun for self defense.  Suggestions like using a whistle to deter a rapist, or firing a shotgun into the air to deter a home intruder (what was that law Congress can’t change?  Oh yea, Gravity!  What comes up must come down.). 
My new mantra…I don’t want a firearm to kill or injure someone.  I want a firearm to stop them from killing or injuring me. 
Make your voice heard, protect our rights to defend ourselves.  If you are in doubt, look at areas with strict gun control where the criminals have easy prey with an unarmed population.
Stay safe!

Open Letter to VP Biden

I read your recent advice on purchasing a shotgun for home defense, and that I could use it to scare away an intruder by firing it (randomly) outside my home. 
Sir, are you aware that shotguns have the potential to kill is used indiscriminately or unsafely?  Are you aware that if I have a “double barrel shotgun” as you recommend, and I fire two shots in the air, that I now have a bat to use against the intruder?
Do you, as a person with significant personal and home security, truly understand what it is like for the average citizen?  Have you ever fired a 12 gauge or an AR-15 to be qualified to speak on the differences in handling and effectiveness? 
IMHO, I will keep my home defense options open until you can provide me with 24x7 personal security.  I will keep a double barrel shotgun next to my whistle to prevent rape and my bible to pray that I never need help. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Zero Tolerance – Too Much?

A six year old boy was suspended from school for threatening to shoot a classmate.  The weapon?  His index finger. 
How many of you grew up playing Soldier, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians?  Running around in the outdoor (sometimes fresh, sometimes not so fresh) air yelling, Bang, Bang..?  I did!  I played with my brother and the kids on my block, we hid around trees, pretending to have shoot outs with toy guns, sticks and finger guns.  As best I can tell, me generation did not produce more than the average number of mass murders or serial killers.  We also played with building sets, beating pegs into boards with play hammers.  Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was a popular Beatles song, and contained the refrain “Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer came down upon her head.  Clang! Clang! Maxwell's silver hammer made sure that she was dead.”  We have yet to try to outlaw hammer’s but I’m heading to the hardware store to stock up before there is a run on them. 
I understand not putting a firearm into a child’s hands without supervision.  I understand that schools are hyper-sensitive in view of the atrocities over the past few years.  However, this isn’t a teenager promising to come back the next day with a gun, this isn’t a credible threat, this is an innocent child playing a game with classmates. 
How about the 3 year old deaf child in Nebraska named Hunter?  The sign for his name made it look like he was shooting finger pistols and the pre-school claimed it violated the “weapons in school” policy and wanted his parents to change his name.  Really?  At three you are learning to communicate with the world around you, and Hunter’s communication relies on American Sign Language (ASL).  That is his name.  Can you imagine if your child was named Hunter, and your school wanted you to change his or her name because of the possible reference to shooting sports? 
Where does our governing bodies; i.e., school boards, county supervisors, state level governments and yes…all the way up, inject some common sense?  Ok, maybe these incidents should be handled no higher than the local school board, but where is the sense in a zero tolerance policy?  Actually, isn’t that an Oxy-Moron?  Sense in Zero Tolerance?  There is no room for an exception, for innocence, for children to play.  Can we honestly expect kids to grow up with a healthy respect for the 2nd Amendment and for the shooting sports if guns are demonized and blocked even from innocent play? 
Be safe.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Holster - The Ava from Flashbang


I have a new Holster, the Ava from Flashbang’s Pin Up collection.  I’ve been wearing it for a few days and my response is I love it!  I have it for my Glock 19 (which I found at Gun Goddess).  I have one on order for me Ruger LC9 from Loop Law Enforcement.

This holster is designed for women, look at the photos comparing the Ava to my Desantis holster.  The cut is lower, so it doesn’t poke me in the ribs, the clips are adjustable to raise of lower the position of the holster.  It has an gorgeous suede backing in a lovely purple.  The suede is soft against the skin, but it is well died because it hasn’t left any staining on my skin. 

I tend to be skeptical of products “for women” but this is a full holster, with great retention and coverage, and it is cut down to fit my curves in a way I never imagined was possible.  It was comfortable immediately, and by the end of the first day, I had my new favorite holster. 

I first saw this at Shot Show in Las Vegas, I was not given a promotional holster to review, I chose this one and bought it.  Now…I love it! 
My Desantis above and the Ava below

 
The Ava


The beautiful purple back of the Ava

 

The Ava on top of the Desantis, back sides up.  Notice the cut?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Emergency First Aid on the Range


I’m not an expert, I have basic level skills, but I did some research and consulted a Physician before writing this post.  This is not intended to provide medical advice, but to give you something to think about and make your best decision.

When I took the Defensive Firearms Coach training recently one of the topics was emergency medical response to a shooting on the range.  The instructors advocated a small med kit with a tourniquet, compression bandage and a clotting agent (such as quick clot), in a readily accessible bag.  I have such a bag attached to my primary range bag, so … easy.  However, my pack also included a couple tampons, based on previous advice from a recent returnee from Afghanistan.  The instructors advised me to remove them but we didn’t have time to talk why?

Well, I like to know Why, so I did some research.  The web is full of conflicting opinions and advice.  Some for, some against.  The arguments for seemed compelling, you could insert one into the wound, it would expand to fill the hole, and apply a pressure bandage over the top.  The arguments against were also compelling, you are introducing a foreign body into the wound, potentially forcing dirt and debris deeper into the body, they are not sterile, they are made to absorb, not clot, blood, and there is a risk to the underlying tissue and organs.

Who to believe?  I emailed my favorite M.D. for an opinion.  Based on his advice, they have been removed from my kit.  Mostly for the negatives above.  At the range we are looking at immediate action, stop the bleeding and treat for shock while awaiting the ambulance.  Most places, the timing in minutes, not days.  While the risk may be acceptable in a combat zone, here at home, we are never that far from fully trained emergency medical care. 

Should you know how to apply a tourniquet?  Yes.  Did you know that the guidance has changed over the years, specifically about loosening it for a few seconds every hour or so?  Once it is on, leave it alone.  The risk of bleeding to death outweighs the risk to an injured limb in the relatively short time until help arrives.  Direct pressure, elevation if possible (keeping the injured area higher than the heart), clotting agent if you have it, and a pressure bandage.  Once the wound is secured, leave it alone and focus on the person.  The immediate goal is stop the bleeding and keep in injured person as comfortable as possible, and treat for shock.  A basic Red Cross First Aid course can give you the information you need to do that.  If they are conscious, talk to them, help them stay calm.  Remember, in order to keep a victim calm, you must remain calm.  Believing you will survive is critical to survival.  Statistics show that the majority of non-self inflicted gunshot wounds are not fatal.  Therefore, the odds are good that with some immediate intervention, the victim will survive.  They may have some interesting stories to tell, but they will be around to tell them. 

I hope this gives you something to consider, always do your research, just because it sounds like a good idea, doesn’t mean it is. 

Be Smart, Be Safe and Safe Shooting

 

Friday, February 8, 2013

My story

I don’t share my story very often but I’ve gotten several requests lately.  So…this is me.
In the mid-90’s I was dating someone who just turned out to be Mr. Wrong, and I broke it off.  He left a rambling message on my answering machine, filled with profanity, that ended with “I hope you’ve enjoyed your life.”.  Well, I took that as a threat, stressed over it, talked it over with a good friend and called the police.  They had me go to the station to file a complaint.  Since he was in another jurisdiction they actually called him to come and turn himself in, sometime in the next few days…  I had endured a stalker a few years before for about 8 months, and was not in a hurry to feel that helpless again.  My friend convinced me it might be time to think about self defense, she meant buying a gun. 
I didn’t know a semi-automatic from a revolver.  I went to a gun store and threw myself on the mercy of the man behind the counter.  Luckily, he was a shooter and a nice guy.  I bought a Ruger P95, 9mm SA/DA semi-auto.  Back then I had to wait three days, three very long days, to pick it up.  I bought several boxes of rounds and headed to the range determined to figure this thing out.  (not how I would suggest anyone learn to shoot, btw)  I probably shot 200 rounds that evening.  My magazines were metal, and I had a significant hole in my thumb from reloading by the time I was done.  I’ve since learned about speed loaders, but then, I was more worried about making sure I could hit my target consistently than I was about bleeding on the paper.  I got a few tips from the guys at the range, and kept shooting until I was consistently within about 6 inches on my target. 
Well I had a gun, I had ammo, I had a clue (barely) but what about outside of the house?  I needed a carry permit.  I knew someone who was a NRA instructor and he did a private class for me so I could get a certificate.  I took that, and the police complaint, and filed for a carry permit.  A judge expedited it for me and a couple days later I started carrying…in my purse (Yikes!), but I didn’t know any better.  I took a formal class with range time, got a little better, started to learn that I liked shooting. 
Time passed, all was quiet, the court date came and a very young prosecutor informed me they were making a deal.  Obscene phone call, community service and record to be expunged if he did nothing for a year, and NO contact with me or we would all be back in court.  HUH???  This man had threatened me, we had the recording and he was going to walk?  Yep, that was, and is, the system.  In hindsight, I was incredibly lucky that I was never injured.  But it did change my sense of trust and comfort for a very long time.
If it seems my reaction was a little strong, remember the stalker a few years before?  And prior to that there had been an attempted assault that I got away from.  I was ready.  That was the last straw, it was time for me to stand up and say I’m worth defending, my life has meaning, and I’m not going to rely on a system that waits until after I’m injured to do anything.  I have the highest regard for the police, you couldn’t pay me enough to do what they do, but they are reactive, not proactive.  That is their role.  I just hadn’t realized it until then. 
Fast forward and hindsight tells me that he did me a favor.  I love shooting.  I love teaching and I love writing about it.  One stupid act of intimidation opened up a whole new world to me.  Not how I would like to see anyone else come to shooting, but we all have our own path to follow.  I’m worth defending.  You are worth defending.  No one has the right to take away your security.  Shooting is fun, but it is also empowering to know that I can defend myself if I’m ever threatened again. 
Don’t feel bad for me, my experience was mild compared to many women I’ve met.  And, look at all I’ve gained?  I have a loving husband, two beautiful cats (who we have had since they were babies), I teach, I write, my book is about to be released…I’m content with my life.  I’m also grateful to have my life.  It could have ended very differently.
 So, D, if you stumble upon this, thank you.  I don’t ever want to lay eyes on you again, but I owe you gratitude for your act of intimidation that opened all these doors for me to walk through and come out stronger.  The scar on my thumb faded away years ago but the memory of feeling helpless and the realization that I’m not will stay with me forever.
Safe Shooting.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting back to the basics

Ever have one of those days, you go to the range and feel like you are wearing mittens?  I had that experience not long ago.  It is incredibly frustrating!  What can you do?  Go back to the basics.
                Stance; feet shoulder width apart, knees flexed, bend forward at the waist, shoulders down and when you go to full extension make sure they are rolled forward so that shoulders are in front of hips.  Drive out from high compressed ready keeping your gun in parallel to your sight…
                Grip; balanced, firm, backstrap centered in the web between thumb and forefinger, no gaps or spaces, holding securely like you are squeezing and orange for juice…
                Sight alignment/sight picture; front post on the target, to edges of front and rear sight even, equal light on both sides of the front post…
                Trigger control; maintain contact with the trigger, slow steady press to the rear using the center of the front pad of your finger…
                Slow down, take your time and remember, THIS IS FUN!!!
Start fairly close, gradually step your target out as your confidence increases and you regain your skills.  It is very much like rebooting your computer.  Every now and then, you just have to!
Don’t get frustrated, we all go through it at some point.  Just remember, deep breath, step back and start from the feet up.
Safe Shooting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

View from the sidelines

Watching the industry scramble to meet the demands of the public is an interesting exercise in basic economics, specifically Supply and Demand, or the theory of capitalism.  With all the gun ban talk people are scrambling to buy their firearms in case they are outlawed.  People are stockpiling ammunition the way some used to stockpile gold.  Prices are skyrocketing, and that is IF you can find the gun or ammo you are looking for. 
A quick trip to my favorite ammo sites and the best I could find for 9mm practice ammo was about $.48 each, buying 1000 rounds.  Smaller quantities were a lot higher.  That is about double a couple months ago.  I’m not suggesting price gouging, but that is what a free market economy does.  Ammunition companies are reporting a ramp up in production to meet the demand.  Reloaders are looking at 6-9 months backlog on supplies because it is going to the manufacturers.
Firearms, if you can find one, are going for 20-50% more than they were in Nov.  Major manufacturers are reporting significant backlogs in orders and are maxing out production capability to keep up.  Not just the AR-15s, but 9mm handguns, and everything in between. 
Where will it end?  Who knows?  If I had to guess, I would see this as a bubble that will eventually flatten out, but only after the gun ban talk quiets down.  Will prices ever be what they were in Oct?  Probably not.  Do I think this administration can get a ban through?  No, but I do expect some restrictions coming our way. 
Me, I’m watching and waiting.  I had been thinking of picking up something else, but now I think I will wait a little longer.  Not only is the supply scarce the prices are high.  Where does that leave someone who is not yet equipped but has a threat in their life and needs to be able to protect themselves?  Unfortunately, that question doesn’t seem to concern the politicians.  I would suggest that you head out to your local hardware store and buy a couple hammers…quickly, before the politicians realize that more people are killed by hammers than firearms and they make you get a background check before you can take home that shiny new ball pein or claw hammer.   

Be safe, be careful and look out for one another. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Got to Shoot This Morning

If you read about the melt down on the range last weekend, you know I needed to get back to shoot.  This morning, before working with a student, I had that chance.  Lots of  lead downrange.  All of it on target.  No malfunctions, no errors, great control...Basically, I reassured myself that I have the skills I thought I did.

So...I'm relaxed and feeling better. 

Safe Shooting!

L

Follow up on New Safety Rules

If you missed it, the rule was ALWAYS wear shoes when handling your firearms. 
That simple act of dropping my favorite rifle while uncasing it to put into the safe, having it land on my foot, which was not covered with a shoe.

Well, that was Jan 1.  I have since been to my Orthopedic Surgeon, gotten new XRays, and ... it is worse than we thought.  All three bones have fractures (the three that stick out from the foot basically.  The end, or tip, has a fracture, relatively minor, but still broken.  The second bone, which we thought was in two pieces, is actually at least 4.  Gee, that explained the odd shape.  The third bone looks like a mushroom, the tip is pulverized. 

So far, hanging in there.  Don't know if the pieces will magically stay together.  It isn't likely, but it is possible.  Odds are I will need surgery to remove all the fragments (he did say the damage was too severe to pin together) and then put in a pin and fuse the toe.  Hey, will make pedicures a little tougher, but I get to keep the toe.

Why am I sharing?  This was a serious accident.  Best case, I'm looking at 6-8 months to recover.  If I had been wearing shoes, odds are it would have been a bad bruise, but nothing like this.  If just one person avoids a similar fate...it was worth fessing up. 

So, be safe and WEAR your SHOES!

Safe Shooting!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Follow Up to my Defensive Firearms Coach Training, previous post

Ok, five days later…I’ve gotten some comments and messages.  I want to be very clear that I am not, in any way, disparaging the training, the instructors or the course.  Was it tough, absolutely!  Do I want to repeat that experience?  Well, I did want to get certified to teach Combat Focus Shooting, so I’m hoping this is like child birth where you forget how much it hurts so you can do it again.
The teaching methodology is a valid and accepted method.  It generally appeals to men between 20 and 40.  That is probably the major demographic for this training.  I am not in the demographic, so it was stubbornness and ego that kept me going. 
Five days out and I was telling someone about the course and realized I could still recite many of the principles and concepts, verbatim.  I have yet to type up my notes, probably this weekend.  That tells me I retained more information that I thought possible from a 3 day class. 
So, what is the objective of the training, to teach me something important that I can use and share or let me have fun for three days?  Mission accomplished, I learned a lot!  I will have even more when I go back through my notes again and put them into an order that makes sense.
I want to assure everyone that I have the utmost respect for Rob Pincus, Combat Focus Shooting and I.C.E. Training.  I have even more respect for the my instructors, Jamie and Paul.  When I was at my lowest point, they quietly gave me encouragement.
I can’t wait to teach this class, Introduction to Defensive Handguns.  It has amazing information and even if you only have a gun to defend your home, I believe the information in the class could save lives.
Thank you for your comments and support.
Safe Shooting!