About Me

I am also the author of 4 books, available on Amazon, and at many major outlets. I have been contributing writer for Combat Handgun Magazine and Women and Guns Magazine.

I was an instructor for many years, Recently retired.

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

Safe Shooting!

my books

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Going Un-Armed in a Scary World

Due to a series of incidents over the last couple years, I’ve learned a lot about vulnerability,
being realistic, and fear. I have carried through a variety of injuries, but these last few had me
too unsteady on my feet to practice with consistency, and my philosophy has always been if my
skills aren’t sharp, I don’t carry. In the course of 15 months I have both hips replaced. Then as
I was just about ready to start back to the range, I fell and fractured my femur. Surgery, metal
plate, screws. And months of crutches. All of this adds up to significant changes in my personal
defensive strategy.
I miss going to the range, but I’m just not steady enough on my feet, or crutches, to be
comfortable shooting. Actually, I could probably shoot, it is dragging the range bag with all its
assorted heavy objects that is really slowing me down. But I’m close.
For now, I’ve tried to ramp up my situational awareness even more than my normal, which was
pretty high. Because I have trouble walking or standing for any length of time, I’m at home
more, so my exposure is less. I still know how to swing a crutch and use is to extend my punch,
but with the plate in my leg I’m more fearful of falling. That, and I don’t bounce like I did when I
was younger.
I will be returning to the range soon. My plan is an hour on my own, stressing fundamentals,
starting at 8-10 feet and just concentrating on grip, shot placement and not falling over. The
next time I will likely enlist support from another instructor to help me spot anything I need to
correct, they can always see it faster than I can, just like I can spot something they’re doing
almost immediately that they aren’t even aware of. Good instructors are great allies!
Then, since crutches are in my future for a few more months…appendix carry will be my new
best buddy. I’ve always been a strong side hip, but the sound made when the crutch hits the
gun is pretty obvious.
This is new territory for me. I’ve carried through lesser injuries, and worked with people with
severe limitations. But I believe, if I’m not practicing, I’m not carrying. It isn’t worth the risk to
innocents. I need to know exactly where those rounds are going.
Be Safe, have wonderful holidays, and for those of you getting something special this year,
happy shooting! My gift to me was a new AR (but that will be a while unless I shoot sitting down.

Safe Shooting!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Negligent Discharge

Negligent:  failing to take proper care in doing something.  We in shooting talk about Negligent Discharge (ND) when a gun is fired without intent.  Accidental Discharge (AD) used to be another common term that has fallen out of favor as safety has been built in to modern firearms making the AD nearly obsolete.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot as a friend recently shared an experience of teaching a non-firearms related class where a student ignored the safety precautions and slightly injured herself.  This was a situation that could have been much more serious outside of a controlled environment and my friend felt very bad for not preventing it.  I had to ask, can we really stop someone from doing something dumb or can we only provide the tools and knowledge to do it right?

NDs come in many forms.  Have you ever sliced toward yourself, instead of away, and yep…here comes the blood.  Did you know better?  Sure, but it always worked before.  I once dropped a freshly cleaned rifle on my foot while putting it away.  It slipped.  Did I know that I should always wear shoes while handling weighty or pointy objects?  Yes.  Did I that day?  No.  I ended up with a 2+ inch gash on the top of my foot and a toe with three shattered, not just broken, bones, lost the flexor tendon in the process.  Luckily I have a toe that is essentially one long fused piece, slightly longer than it used to be, that doesn’t bend.  Given the damage it could have been a lot worse.  And, I got a great safety story out of it.

Many years ago I took flying lessons.  If you have never been up in a small plane, it is completely different that the commercial planes and is SO MUCH FUN!  My instructor, Bernie, was a sweet older man who just loved to fly.  He had been at it for more than 40 years, and his career included time as a Navy Test Pilot, and more than 20 years teaching.  The club I belonged to held monthly safety meetings.  One night our speaker was Bernie.  He explained there were two types of pilots. Those that have pulled the mixture and those that would.  If you don’t know, pulling the mixture on a small single engine plan kills the engine.  He had reached for the throttle, to slow the engine, while up with a student and instead pulled the mixture.  (Luckily I was not the student.)  The second part of his lecture involved explaining the challenge and failure to air-start a Cessna 152 below 2000 feet and the difficult but successful dead stick landing.  No injury, no damage. 

Sometimes it is carelessness, sometimes it is distraction.  But it is avoidable.  We know the safety rules.  We know what we should do.  We know bad things happen.  Was it the instructors fault?  No!  Was it my fault breaking my toe?  Yes!  Was it Bernie’s fault for puling the wrong knob?  Yes!  What is the common denominator?  Negligence.

Don’t fool yourself into skipping a safety rule “just this once”.  It only take one round missed when cleaning a gun to shoot yourself or someone else.  There are so many things that can go wrong.  Be smart, not a cautionary tale.  If you’ve done some of these things and are not scarred, you are lucky.  Be smart and don’t try it again.  You never know when the next time may be the last time.  You won’t always have an instructor close to jump in and rescue you. 

Only you can prevent a ND.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Why Blame the NRA?

Another school shooting, a tragedy for students, parents, teachers, and first responders.  I'm a baby-boomer, when I grew up, my biggest concern was getting chased home by the school bully, not getting shot at my desk.

There is an alarming trend, people are grieving and scared.  So, they blame the NRA, call it a terrorist organization.  Never mind the thousands of people who are trained annually, from safety for children to advanced skills for Law Enforcement and everything in between.  Never mind that historically NO NRA members have been identified as the assailant in a mass shooting, although there are examples of NRA members stopping them, as in the church shooting in Texas.

The NRA was formed in 1871.  In 1966 an Engineering Student entered a tower at the University of Texas and terrorized people for 96 minutes, killing 17 and wounding 31.  For most of us, the earliest memory is Columbine High School, April 20, 1999.  They murdered 13 and injured 21.  News sources report 18 school shootings in 2018, but two of those were what we think of as school shootings, the others being 1 on 1 situations.  But two is two to many.

What does this have to do with the NRA?  Well, nothing, really.  In spite of the rantings of some traumatized teens, the NRA is not the problem.  Evidence from the school shootings from Columbine forward shine a bright light on violent video games, bullying, social outcasts, the breakdown of family norms and personal responsibility and a general lack of understanding or appreciation for the value of life.

Also note, the Gun Free Zone law went into effect in 1990.  School shooting have risen dramatically since that time.  This is a classic fish in a barrel.  There is a reason why concealed carry states have less instance of person on person crime.  Thugs don't want to risk being shot.  Hanging a Gun Free Zone sign is like ringing a dinner bell.  Some schools are arming well training volunteers and hanging up a sign warning intruders that staff may be carrying concealed weapons.  To date, we have not heard of a school shooting there.

This is not a gun culture issue, this is much more personal.  Our country was founded on a "gun culture".  We shot for defense, liberty and food!  In current day add competition and fun.

If it was the NRAs fault, this would not be a relatively new phenomenon.  Could it be the manufacturers?  The advances in the technology?  The civilian use of "military" weapons?  Well, design hadn't changed that much, pull the trigger, go bang.  As a Veteran, I can attest that the weapon I fired on active duty is not the same as the weapon in my gun safe.

I would be the first to line up to surrender my firearms if I believed it would prevent another tragedy.  It won't and I'm not handing in anything.

There are no easy answers, but there are a lot of accusations.

Blame me if you must, but know that in all the years I've been a NRA member I have not shot anyone.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Where do you get your advice?

Got a question about shooting?  Looking for a suggestion on a new gun?  Looking for advice on how to respond in a particular situation?  Who do you ask?  Well, it depends.  I’ve been involved in several Facebook groups that are firearms and shooting centered.  There are a lot of great people out there who are happy to help and provide sound advice.  There are also a multitude of, presumably well intended, people who are keyboard warriors with lots of opinions based on, well, I can’t tell what.  It can be challenging, as an instructor, not to comment on every post, jump on each thread.  It is frustrating to read potentially dangerous advice being spread with a very authoritarian tone. 

There is no shortage of opinions and recommendations.  How do you sort through the uninformed but vocal and the trained, informed opinion?  It isn’t easy.  One clue is if the person is advocating their position as the only solution, odds are they are not someone to listen to.  People who have been at this awhile generally agree that shooting is not a one size fits all activity.  As an example, the pistol that fits me best, may not be right for you.  I like 9mm, you might prefer 40.  I have a defensive mindset, you might be a plinker.  There are so many variables that there truly is no one best answer.  Sure, we can ask for ideas, what worked or didn’t, to help narrow our focus.  There are some easy “not for anyone” answers, but no “great for all” answers. 

It is ultimately up to you, the individual, to find the right answer for you.  Pick through advice and suggestions if you want, it can save you time and money, narrowing your options.  But choose the solution that is the best for you.  Remember, the most insistent voice may not be the wisest voice.  Everyone has different experiences and different needs. 

If you are on the giving end of the advice, stay within your knowledge and remember that what works for you might not be the perfect solution for anyone else.  If you on the receiving end, like any free advice, be smart, take advice with a grain of salt and remember that opinions are just that, opinions.

 Be smart and be safe.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Why I Carry

Years ago a man I was dating threatened my life, I believed him. I called the police, they contacted him to schedule an appointment for him to come in and interview, several days later. Because of that a judge expedited my carry permit from what was then 30-45 days to 3. Of course, I had to quickly take a basic course. As soon as I could I took more advanced training on carry techniques, shooting and carry law. He got off with probation and a warning I learned a valuable lesson about being responsible for my personal safety. That was 25years ago. Who knew it would turn into a love of the sport and a passion for the 2nd Amendment. Also to the honor to introduce so many to shooting in a safe way, to train with some gifted instructors, to meet and befriend some of the best people in the nation, and spread my passion through 4 books. I started from a place of fear. I grew to a place of passion and love and joy. #2A #FemaleandArmed #WhyICarry

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Shall Not Be Infringed

Passions are running high.  Students are protesting, demanding to take away our rights, claiming NRA members have blood on their hands…I have not found any record of an NRA member involved in a mass shooting, or attempted mass shooting, except as a defender.  Unless you live under a rock, you have been bombarded with the Florida School Shooting.  Tragic, sad, traumatic…but not the fault of the law, except maybe the Gun Free Zone law.  No one is talking about the more recent school shooting in Maryland that was stopped by an Armed School Resource Officer who actually did his job and saved lives.

The protests are showing the worst of our youth.  Profane, uneducated, ignorant.  I give them credit for passion and courage to speak in front of large groups.  I fault them for not doing the research.  The Florida students are balking about the school forcing clear backpacks, citing losing their rights because of the actions of someone else.  This is the definition of hypocrisy since they are the same children screaming for my right to own and safely operate firearms to be taken away.

Take away our guns and we all sit in a Gun Free Zone, easy pickings for any criminal.  People are putting red bulbs in their porch lights.  Hello, ring the dinner bell for the bad guy!  Plus, it is ironic as the red light was a known symbol for prostitutes. 

The most frightening thing to me is history.  Look back at socialist and communist regimes, they erased history, disarmed the populace and then ground the people into the dirt.  That is how it goes.  It is terrifying, there are people who are actively looking to do this and others who are following blindly, not realizing where it leads. 
I am proud of my history as an author and instructor.  I will not be silenced.  I am a Veteran, I am a gun owner, I am a NRA member, and I am an American!

#2A  #ShallNotBeInfringed

Friday, February 16, 2018

Social Media: A Blessing and a Curse

Social Media: A Blessing and a Curse

I’m active on Face Book and in several different groups, many of which are shooting oriented.  Occasionally I get so overwhelmed with the SJWs and the political nonsense and the fake news, I post #cutenessoverload and put up photos of my fur babies.  Yes, I’m an obsessive Cat Mom.  But I also love others pet photos.  It can soothe the nerves when I need it most.

I recently left a group for Women Shooters, most of whom were new to shooting and just getting their permits.  There were some good questions posted, but there was so much bad advice, and I finally posted a gently worded good-by and warning about taking advice on line.  I found myself commenting on nearly every post and I don’t have the time or patience.  Bottom line, be careful what you listen to.  If is it someone at a low skill level, probably best not to take their advice.  How you can tell?  You know who the top instructors and pros are.  Listen to them.  Ignore your FB Buddies 3rd cousin who gets their info from watching SWAT reruns.

The most common advice I kept seeing was shoot into the air.  NO!  This is incredibly dangerous.  Remember Newton and the apple?  Gravity?  Bullets don’t go up and get caught in a cloud, they fall, at a minimum at terminal velocity which is approximately 300 feet per second (yes, there are lots of factors and computations, but that is an estimate).  For the true math geek, look at Bullets in the Sky.  You can kill someone and not know it until the police come to your door to arrest you, and it is unlikely you will have a defense for reckless acts.  NEVER point your firearm in the direction of anything you do not intend to kill.  ALWAYS know your target and what is beyond it.  Plus, a true bad guy will not be frightened off by you shooting into the air as that shows a lack of willingness to shoot him or her, and may in fact be emboldened by with the prize being a free gun, yours!

The other most scary thing I was reading was essentially I have my shiny new permit, I’m going to start carrying my gun.  This is not like having a new lipstick!  There are a lot of things to consider.  Holster, practice, knowledge of laws, additional training, and…can I pull the trigger?  I’ve written before, a gun in NOT a panacea.  If you are not mentally prepared to pull the trigger on a human being who is threatening you, and deal with the consequences, DO NOT CARRY! 

Be wise, be careful and as always, Safe Shooting!