Saturday, December 28, 2013

Year in Review for The Well Armed Woman - North Cincinnati Chapter

Its hard to believe we are at the end of our first year already!  As I look back its been fun to see what we have accomplished individually and together as a chapter.  Here is a peek at what this first year has brought ....

February and Early March
We began getting organized here locally and set about finding a local range that would be willing to host our chapter.  That in itself was a tough battle and we were turned down by one range, while another wanted so much to help us, but didn't have a facility that would accommodate us - yet. 

We finally found a home.  We began renting Target World after hours.  Its a little late, but its nice that our chapter has the range to ourselves.

In May we had our first meeting and shoot! 

For our June meeting, Michael Yoakum, owner of Gary's Gun store in Fairfield, was our guest speaker.  He brought along several guns and talked about how to choose your first firearm.


In July we nearly reached our membership limit and had to consider closing membership until we could make arrangements to accommodate a larger group. 

For our August meeting Detective David Mize from the West Chester Police Department was our guest speaker.  It was very informative and great to hear from a Law Enforcement Officer how to interact with Law Enforcement.

For our September meeting we reviewed The Fundamentals of Shooting.

In October Defense Attorney, NRA Board Member, Buckeye Firearms Leader, and Founder of Second Call Defense, Sean Maloney was our guest speaker.  Sean had so much information to share that as soon as the meeting was over we decided to invite him back. 

In October we also had 10 of our ladies take the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home at Mad Duck Training


In November 7 of the ladies began the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.   All of them qualified in Basic Pistol, Pro-Marksman, and Marksman skill levels.  Since it was winter, most of the decided to finish the program in the Spring when warm weather returns. 


In December we had Sean Maloney back to give us more information about our legal rights as gun owners.  And two of our ladies qualified as Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, Expert and Distinguished Expert skill levels of the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Program!

All in all, it was a great year!  It is amazing to see all these women learning how to protect themselves, improving their skills, and finding a whole new confidence!    I look forward to what the new year brings!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Need Whaaaat???

If you've taken one of my classes you have heard me say, and hopefully demonstrate, the need for further training.  A basic CCW or Basic Pistol class is just that - basic.  It does NOT prepare you adequately to defend your life against a violent attacker(s).  A CCW class, simply teaches gun safety, legal issues, and the fundamentals of shooting a handgun.  That's it.  

In fact, its a great idea to have a training budget and plan ahead to take more training.  Here is what I've done so far and what I have planned.

I got my own CCW training at the Hamilton Police Department.  Then took my Instructor training from John at Mad Duck.  From him I received my Instructor Certifications for Basic Pistol, and Home Firearms Safety.  I then went on to get my Certification as a NRA Range Safety Officer. 

Next on my list is to take the Ohio Peace Officer Training for armed security.  I have no desire to work in that capacity, but because I have in a sense, assumed that position at my church - I need to get the proper training.  In October I will attend Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's "The Bullet Proof Mind".  Next year I plan to take more classes at Mad Duck.  I will probably take the Personal Protection Inside the Home or the Personal Protection Outside the Home courses.  And IF he's anywhere around here, I hope to take at least a MAG20 class (hopefully a MAG40) with Massad Ayoob.  

Additional training is not just for Instructors though ... its really for anyone serious about defending their life and the life of those they love. 

And so ... where might you find this additional training?

In my classes I give a few places where I believe good, solid training can be found.  I'll include those here for anyone who has not taken my class.  There are many options out there, but these I know something about and feel good about recommending them. 

Mad Duck Training - John has been doing training for about 20 years.  He is my NRA Training Counselor so I am very familiar with what he does ... and he's good.  Since I've taken a class with him I have heard from people in various places, from attorneys to people in other states, that he has a fantastic reputation. 

Tactical Defense Institute - in Adam's county.  They have a reputation for being one of the best firearms training centers in the Country.  They are difficult to get into, so if you plan to go there, plan way ahead of time and book early. 

Massad Ayoob Group - Massad is one of the very few Five Gun Masters among the 10,000-member International Defensive Pistol Association, and was the first to earn that title.  He is the leading trainer of Law Enforcement.  You will not find a better Instructor to learn from - and he travels to various states doing his trainings.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman also does an excellent seminar on "The Bullet Proof Mind" that is highly recommended for any armed citizen.

Remember - when it matters, no one ever wishes they had trained less.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Your Biggest Enemy as a Gun Owner

Ok, as a gun owner we have our share of enemies and some politicians may well be at the top of the list, but let's consider another enemy that is much closer. 

Anyone who has attended a basic firearms class will know that the two biggest causes of firearm accidents are

  1. Ignorance

  2. Complacency
Ignorance is pretty self-explanatory - someone who doesn't know anything about gun safety gets their hands on a firearm and ... something unintentional and bad happens.

Complacency is something that happens to gun owners who have been shooting for a while and have gotten comfortable.  There are many examples and ways in which we can become complacent.
We have probably all heard of someone who was highly trained but accidently shot himself cleaning his gun.  There are lots of stories very similar to this and while the scenarios differ, the basic problem is the same - someone got complacent and something unintentional and bad happened. 

Don't Slap Your Trigger

This will be the first in a series of posts about errors we make that affect our accuracy.  Most new shooters or those taking a Basic Pistol or a CCW class, will not be able to take in all of the information and put it to use.  It all takes time ... and practice.  Once they have the basics down, then they can start to work on accuracy. 

Similarly, even experienced shooters can develop bad habits that affect accuracy.  In either case, these posts will be a good place to start to consider what you might be doing to throw your accuracy off.  There are many things that can affect accuracy and it can take time to determine exactly what you're doing wrong, but  I'll start with a really common error - Slapping or Jerking the Trigger.

To be accurate, it is imperative that the trigger be squeezed smoothly and continuously in a straight backward direction.

A tendency to slap or jerk the trigger may result in group shots that are low and to the left (it would be low and to the right for left handed shooters).

To correct this error, concentrate on the trigger squeeze with the goal of producing a surprise break in firing the shot. 

One dry fire drill that will help with trigger control is to balance a penny on the front sight of the gun while you squeeze the trigger.  The goal is to fire without the penny dropping.  (Remember - dry fire can be dangerous so be sure to have a suitable backstop and practice ALL of the gun safety rules while dry firing - you don't want to be creating other bad habits.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Gun Do I Need?

Just a little follow-up from our meeting last night about what kind of gun is best.  First and foremost in  your decision of what gun to buy should be - what are you going to use the gun for?

Home Defense
Concealed Carry
or just something to take to the range to do target practice with.

Those considerations will determine what caliber of gun you need and what size frame. 

If you are going to conceal it, it will be much easier to conceal a small firearm.  Small framed firearms generally have more recoil the higher the caliber.  However, if you are carrying for defense, you want to carry as high a caliber as you can handle.   Remember, you want to stop the threat, not just make them mad.  I wouldn't worry too much about caliber at this point.  My Training Counselor (the guy who trains the Instructors) hast been teaching for 20 years and in all that time has only seen two people who could only handle a .22 - both were women in their 80's.  It is my opinion that women are capable of far more than they think they are. 

If it is just for home defense, you might consider a  high caliber, full size handgun, or even a shotgun. 

And if it is just to take to the range to do target practice, a full sized .22 is a lot of fun.  I do hope you will do more than just go to the range though.  I hope you want a firearms for self-defense.  Whether you are younger or older, women can easily be chosen as victims and we need to be prepared to defend ourselves and those we love. 

So what would I recommend?  I would suggest starting with a .22 semi-automatic and once you are comfortable with that - move up to a 9mm semi-auto and try that.  I'm willing to bet you'll do just fine with it.

Whatever you choose - rent first and then buy.  Rent several.  Its only $6 to rent a gun and it is far better to spend $50 or so on rental than to buy a $500 gun and find out you don't like it. 

Another piece of advice - never buy a cheap gun.  Be sure the gun you purchase if high quality and has a good reputation for being reliable and safe. 

Still feeling a little unsure?  Get training.  I can't stress that enough.  Good training can make all the difference in the world. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Toy or Real?

This will not be a popular post among my gun owning women friends.  I bring up this unpleasant topic because as a Firearms Instructor I've been considering teaching a Gun Safety class to kids.  All of the material I find, be it from Police Departments or the NRA all say the same thing - that it is important to teach your children the difference between a real gun and a toy gun.  I agree.  But ... HOW exactly do you teach them the difference?  

Let's face it, sometimes trained Law Enforcement can't tell the difference.  I've been in toy stores (as I'm sure you have) and have seen toy guns that look very real.  Sure, if you inspect it closely you can tell, but do I want my three year-old grandson to inspect it closely if its real?  Uh, no. 

I've also been in some gun stores and have seen some guns there that, if I didn't know better I would assume they were toys.  They were not.  I've seen yellow guns, orange guns, green guns, and oh yes, pink guns.  Lots of pink guns. 

So ... if I can't tell children how to tell the difference by color ... what criteria do I use?  Weight?  Toy guns are plastic and therefore light weight.  Real guns are heavy.  But again, do I want my three year-old picking up a gun to check the weight and decide if its real?  Uh, no. 

So how exactly DO I teach a three year-old to be able to tell the difference when sometimes its hard for an adult to know?  So far I've not found a satisfactory answer to that question.  If you have one, please share. 

Just to make my point, here are some pictures of guns.  Can you tell which are real and which are toys?   










Ok, so the first one was easy.  The plastic "bullets" gave that one away, but what if the magazine was not out and you couldn't see that?  Would you have had to take a second look?  The thing I find alarming is that they are all real except for number 1, 3 and number 7.  That's right.  The Hello Kitty and My Little Pony guns are very real.  Why?  I have no clue.  Number 8 is a real gun that a criminal painted to look like a toy.  Nice. 
Below is a picture from a police department.  Officers shot a suspect who pointed a toy gun at them.  The problem was, it was impossible to tell that it was a toy when it was being pointed at them in a threatening way and when seconds can mean the difference between life and death for police officers.  Here is the toy gun that was used along with a real gun.  Crazy, huh?
Now, tell me again how I explain to my three year old how to tell the difference?

Call me crazy if you want but I believe guns should look like guns and toys should look like toys.  Period.  I know the pink guns are "pretty" and I know there are places that will duracoat your gun to make it any color or pattern you want, but ... why,,,, and what are we sacrificing for the sake of appearance?
I am not about banning guns - toys or real. I firmly believe every law-abiding citizen should have the right to own a gun if they choose to. I also think kids should not be so uptight about guns that they are afraid to shoot a squirt gun.  I do not think that guns are the issue here but I do think there is an issue.  And I'm still trying to figure out how to tell my grandkids as well as other kids exactly how to tell if a gun is a toy or real. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Second Level of Responsibilty

I've got to admit.  Sometimes I just don't feel like carrying my gun.  I know, I know, I'm an Instructor and I tell my students all the time that they should always carry their gun because you never wake up one day and think "this will be the day something bad will happen".   Attacks on innocent people, always happen by surprise.  You can train for them, but you can't predict them - therefore, you should always be prepared. 

But sometimes I just don't want to.  Let's face it, its a burden to carry a gun.  It puts me in a position of responsibility.  Not only is there the responsibility of gun ownership which ALL gun owners assume the moment they purchase a gun (to operate, store, and maintain the firearm in a safe manner), but if you carry a gun, you have what I call the second level of responsibility.  You have a tool and the training* to confront an attacker and because of that, you also have the responsibility to respond if something bad happens.  Let's not make the mistake of thinking we have a legal responsibility - we do not.  In fact, we can get into legal trouble by using a gun in the defense of self or in the defense of another.  But there is a moral question we do have to consider. 

In Ohio we have a legal duty to retreat when attacked out in a public place.  I have no problem with
that at all.  A gunman comes into a public place with bad intentions and I'm all ok with getting the heck out of Dodge.  If there is a way of escape, I'm all about taking it.  But, in reality, could I leave innocent people behind?  Could I leave children behind?  Could I put myself in danger of being wounded, killed, arrested, or sued or would I just get out and hope the others are ok?

So you see, its a burden.  . 

So yeah, some days ... I would really like to leave the gun at home.  Its a whole lot easier to just be a victim and allow others to be a victim  and not have to wrestle with such questions.  But ... that's not who I am so I'm going to go put on that gun and hope and pray I never have to use it.

*A CCW class does not prepare you for a gunfight.  Get your CCW training but if you are serious about defending your life, it is important to get further training.