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A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm A Hunter!

At least in my heart I am. I have never actually been hunting, but I have wanted to for a year, longer really.

I have always known where my food came from and I have never had a problem with it. Well, once when I was about 11. I decided to become a vegetarian because I saw something on TV about the killing of animals and it made me sad. I was not very committed though because on the third night of my conversion my mom made tacos and the smell of the hamburger was too much for me to handle. I am not a big portion eater, but I think I ate 4 tacos that night and have been a carnivore ever since.

When I was younger I did a lot of camping and fishing with my dad. My dad would catch a fish, gut it, clean it, and then cook it.  That never was a problem for me. I wasn't grossed out. We ate a lot of trout from the Truckee River

On my journey this year I have tried to pin point my thoughts and how I came to be who I was.  I also wondered why I so quickly fell in love with shooting and the life style that surrounds it.  The bad guy thing aside, I am a full fledged gun enthusiast.  A few people have said to me that they are waiting for this gun phase to pass.  They have been thinking once I got over the ordeal of the parking lot, I would slide back into the routine of my life and guns would not be such a central focus. I have bad news for them...Not. Gonna. Happen. 

There is a sense of calm and peace about me now that is separate from feeling like I can defend myself.  It is more like I found a part of me I lost. As a kid, I loved to hike and be outside. I don't remember being afraid of guns.  I don't remember it becoming an issue in our home until I was a little older. I think that I allowed myself to become something I really wasn't. 

I loved my life.  I was happy and confident and didn't feel I was missing anything.  I had no longing to find a missing part of myself.  I thought I knew who I was and I liked it.  I liked being delicate and soft.  I liked being taken care of.  I identified with that person and I liked her.  I liked her so much it took me sometime to let her go, but I think I have always been more.  I think over time between my violent childhood and the brainwashing of my family, I buried a part of me. I think I am fighter.  I think I am a survivor. I think I am hunter.  I think I always have been.

Once I got over my aversion to guns and all things associated with them, I immediately  said, "I want to go hunting."

Problem was I didn't know anyone who hunted. But, now, I do.

The other day I was reading a post by Weer'd and read a comment left by Zercool. He was talking to Weer'd, "Come hunting with me this fall" or something close to that. I then left a comment saying I wanted to tag along. To my surprise and delight, Zerccol said, come! I sent him an email saying I was serious and he said great and sent me a link to his blog where he talks about preparing for a hunt and all that goes into the actual day and what happens afterwards. Very interesting! Beyond excited.

The next day I get a call from my husband telling me his has good news for me. He was talking with a friend who asked about me? How is the wife kind of thing. My husband tells him I very well and that I am a now a gunnie. He tells him I am all pumped up to go hunting later this year with new friends. My husband's friend is completely blown away because we haven't seen each other in years and he remembers me fondly, but he also remembers me as a "delicate" prim and proper, not a violent bone in her body kind of gal.  Anyway, he tells my husband, "I will take her hunting."

He has some books on hunting he wants me to read and then his plan is to take me along with him on his hunts.  I think my husband is going to come too.  He says we can hunt for turkey and deer, which apparently are much smaller than the deer where I will, hopefully, be hunting with Zercool. He says a person has to shoot 6 Virginia deer just to make a sandwich. He also hunts dove and black bear. Don't know that he has ever shot a black bear, but they do have bear on Quantico and it is legal to hunt to them.  I think it would be hysterical if the first year I went hunting I saw and shot a black bear. Don't laugh...I dream BIG people.

Now, I need to sign up for a Hunter's Safety Course, get my licenses, get a gun or two and do lots and lots of reading.  I am living the life!!


Backpack, Backpack

I have little kids, so if someone says backpack, my mind automatically goes to the song from the cartoon, Dora. 

Anyway, as I mentioned before I was contacted a few weeks ago by a gentleman who asked me if I would be willing to review a shoulder holster.  I said sure.  That never arrived, but he also asked me to review a product of my choice under $25 from PXSupply.com.  They are an Army/Navy supply store. Finding something I wanted to review was a feat because they offer so many items and I had no idea what to choose. 

Since I have been shooting, I have had an issue with my purse.  Mostly, I just don't like carrying it anymore.  I have always carried it on my left side, but my gun is there and it's just a pain.  I tried moving it to my right side, but for the life of my I can't get used to it and it is so uncomfortable.  Before it would be no big deal because I would just have to carry it into the store and then toss it in the cart, but I no longer to that.  It stays on my body the whole time.  Hate it. In addition I don't want to carry my lovely Coach purse into the range when I go shooting, which is a lot.  Just feels wrong, but there are things I need in my purse, so I usually end up taking my CCP, DL, money, ect from my purse and tossing it into my range bag, but I sometimes forget to put it back and I have, more than once, been walking around town carrying concealed with my permit back at home.  I thought about a backpack, but they are either too big or too small or too girly.  I like girly.  I like feminine, but I have never liked to draw attention to myself and nothing says, I want attention like a bright pink backpack bedazzled in crystals.

When I was perusing the website I saw a smallish backpack that had a retro look. It caught my eye and I thought it looked like something I could carry to the range and also something I would feel comfortable carrying around town, so that is what I picked.

The black bag on the left is my husband's and the nice brown one with the red star is mine.  As you can see it is quiet a bit smaller, but still a good size. 

It is extremely well made.  The stitching is solid and I have purposely been rough with it to see how it would hold up.  I took it to the range the weekend I worked and it got tossed all around between my car and John's truck.  I was in and out of it all day in the rain and mud and not a fray to be found.

The backpack has a lot of pockets which I like.  I can carry all the things I would normally carrying in it plus a bigger first aid kit.  For me my normal daily carry would be chap stick, gum, 2 pens,  my wallet, checkbook, small first aid kid(I have always carried one by the way), a small knife(it sucks), some kind of healthy cereal bar, mace, paper, small cosmetic bag that has needle/thread, kleenex, other girly essentials and sunscreen. I do also carry a flashlight, but that is on my body along with my gun.

Everything fits nicely in all the different compartments and I still have room to toss in a bottle of water if I want. My only tiny annoyance is that it does not have a specific place to put a pen or pencil.  I am always taking notes and writing my my name for someone, so it's nice to have quick access to a pen.  There isn't a place for one in this back pack, so even if I put it in the small pocket up front I am forever digging around to find it.

That aside, I have carried this backpack every single day for 2 weeks and I love it!! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Universe Has A Plan

Last week the Deaf Education instructor at my children's school emailed me and asked if I would be willing to contact and then meet with some friends of hers.  Her friends are a Deaf couple couple in the process of adopting a little girl from China and since I have been there, done that, she thought I might be a good resource and provide support for them.

Yesterday after my morning at the range, I rushed home to spend a few hours with the kids and then I met up with the couple at Starbucks.

First, I have to say these two are some of the neatest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  Had a fabulous time talking with them.

Talking with them in a public place was a new challenge for my situational awareness because since they are deaf we were signing.  Eye contact is incredibly important for the politeness, but also if I looked away to check the doors, I would miss what one of them was saying.  They had arrived before me and found seats, so the only seat available left my back to the only incoming door as well as everything happening at the counter.  Fortunately, the chair was not bolted down and I could move it a little to give me a better view of things and still be able to see them.  I was amazed at how much I have actually learned and processed.  I was able to scan the room, count how many people were there, converse with my new friends, and be aware enough to find times that I could take a quick scan of things.  It was pretty natural. Eventually they asked to see pictures of my kids and I moved to sit on the loveseat next to the wife.  That was a much better place to see the haps inside the coffee place.

We had been talking for about an hour when the wife asked me if I worked and if so where.  I told her that I work for a firearms instructor. The husband immediately lit up and says "I want to take your course"  I explain that I am the gopher girl, but that if he took the course from John, I would make sure to be there. He told me there was no way his wife would go for it.  She does not like guns.

I have mentioned before that every time I go somewhere I have no intention of talking guns or about being mugged.  It never crossed my mind in a million years that I would spend an hour discussing shooting and my attack, but I am starting to think the universe is determined to squeeze every ounce of good it can from my misfortune. Even with gun people I try not to bring it up, but generally when I meet new gun people they are curious and often ask me how I got into shooting.  I say a bad guy encounter and try to leave it at that. Men don't tend to ask me for details.  Women always do.

After the husband tells me his wife will not go for it, I look at her and she smiles.  "Guns scare me."  I smile back and say "I get that".  "Guns used to scare me too."  I tell her the traditional once I realized the gun is just a thing and I control it, I was better able to open my mind.  I tell her that my kitchen knives tend to be more dangerous because I am not as careful with them.  I am so comfortable I will pick one up and start chopping food while chit chatting and signing and oops, I just took a slice out of my finger.  I tell her I am always aware and careful with my guns, so my confidence in dealing with them is high.

We get back to talking about adoption for the next 30 minutes or so, and she says "I want to meet your kids"  I said sure, lets set up dinner.  She looks to her husband who says "Yeah, great, I want to take her shooting course."  Again, she smiles.

She explains to me that her husband grew up hunting and likes rifles, but has never shot a pistol and she does not understand the need.  He chimes in with "What about to protect our home?"

I want to say this was a very friendly light-hearted conversation.  There was no tension at all and I did not feel like I was put in the middle between these two people.  He genuinely cared about her feelings and she about his.  Honestly, it was sweet and tender to be a part of their conversation.  I loved to watch them loving each other.

Anyway, I do decide that I will share that I was mugged.  No details, no tears, no drama, just me saying, your husband has a point.  Self protection is a concern and I know of what I speak.  She is shocked that something like that happened right in our town, to me, in the day time, not too far from where we were having coffee.

She listens and then starts to asks a lot of questions.  Lots.  She would make a good detective.  I do end up going into the full account, in more verbal detail then I ever have before.  I am fine.  Not traumatized at all.  She gets teary eyed once, but I do not.  At one point I am talking to her and I come to the part where I put E in the car and she looks me in the eyes and says, "Why didn't you get in the car?"  I am taken a back for a minute because I thought, What? Wait?  Why didn't I get in the car????

In all the times I have recounted this story I have said I should have ran into the store, I should have yelled, I should have done this or that, but I have never said I should have got into the car.  Why didn't I just get into the car?

I look at her for a few seconds and I very softly say, "Why didn't I."  "Good question."  "I did a lot wrong that day."  Then I told her that at the start of every self defense class the question is asked what does a criminal need?  He needs a victim and then I tell her a good deal of the class is spent discussing how not to be chosen.  She asks me why I think the bad guy chose me and I tell her, "Because I was the perfect choice."  "I made it easy."  She said "How?"  We talk about what bad guys look for and how I fit each of them.

I loved this conversation because she was honestly wanting to know.  She was not being judgmental or harsh or accusative.  We were discussing things she had never thought of and if I did nothing else yesterday, I got her thinking.

Somehow we get back to adoption and we talk for another 40 minutes.  At the end the wife says, I can't wait to come to your house for dinner.  Her husband says, I can't wait to take her shooting course.

I laughed and said, "Yep, I am a full service friend".  "I am here for all your adoption and shooting needs."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Drought Is Over

This morning  MSgt B, CTone, Nancy R, David, and Angry Andy , who is aparently actually Broken Andy, were getting together at the range and I was able to join them!!!  I took a picture, but it is all kinds of blurry.

We met at the range an hour before it opened and just did the chit chat thing.  I was going to make a joke about how they were all jerks and I didn't like them at all. Every time you read about one of these bloggy get togethers it is just one big lovefest, so I thought I would shake things up a bit, but I couldn't do it.  I just love them too much. 

They are all great and let me tell you about Nancy R's sweet daughter...precious!! Smart as a whip that one.  Unfortunately this range does not allow children under the age of 7, so she was not able to shoot.  Big time bummer!!

We got 3 lanes and, of course, the generosity was in abundance...aka they let me shoot everything! 

I shot MSgt B's Sig Pro and his Ruger SP 101 with .357 Magnum bullets.

 With his Sig
The lower shot on the left is where I was aiming his Ruger.  I shot 4 shots and got 2 on the white and 2 a little to the right in the black.  I am not entirely sure how far out this was, maybe 7 yards.

I also shot an HK P30 which I loved. A Kahr 9mm which I didn't.  I shot a Walther of some sort. I shot a .22 with red dot something.  That was pretty cool!! I typed the names, calibers and who they belonged to in my phone, but between my hurrying and the iphone's devilish spell check I can't tell what I meant, so if I got something wrong, I apologize.

A couple of people shot my M&P and then we headed to a local coffee place where MSgt B treated us to a cup of coffee.  I really enjoy getting to know these people as much as I love to shoot and you all know how very much I love to shoot.

Had a blast.  Thanks so much for inviting me!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Am Asking For Your Help

It has come to my attention that I am in no way a perv. I have lived under the false assumption for years now that I was. It has been a somewhat painful and totally embarrassing, public realization, but after hanging with you all, it is obvious I can no longer continue in my delusional state.

My earlier post was meant to showcase my stellar fighting skills and was not my attempt to share with the world foreplay with my husband. The first version on the post included a statement about how, had Arete been present, he would have been proud of me. Sure, take a moment to visualize that threesome. Apparently, God had mercy on me and must have quietly nudged me to remove it.

I read that post so many times and I got nothing risque from it. My only attempt at any sexual innuendo was the "I am extremely fond of his groin area". I was so blind to the nature of my writing I let me 13 year old read it and thankfully, public school has not corrupted her mind completely because all I got was "Eww, gross." "Who says groin?"

I feel confident that I am in the right environment to cure my problem of clean thinking and I'm hopeful that my conversion will be a quick one because I am getting tired of accidentally sticking my clean thoughts into your filthy minds.

Feel free to email me "educational" material that you think might be helpful.  Pictures are appreciated.

**My husband's says he would appreciate it more if no actual pictures were sent:)

Motivated

This morning my husband and I were laying in bed when our lovely daughter A, starts screaming for help. She is in the shower and needs more cream rinse. I get up and tend to her needs. When I get back to bed my husband starts whining in his best little A voice, "help me". I said "You want help." "Sure, I will help you." "I will help you wake up", and I start to kind of poke him and tickle him. I have a tactical advantage here because I am not the least bit ticklish anywhere.

This does wake him right up and he grabs my wrist and without thinking I remember exactly how to twist my wrist in and down and wouldn't you know it, right out my hand comes. I am so excited I start doing the smack talk thing and I grab his wrist. He is a little more determined now and he grabs both my wrists and jumps on top of me, but I am able to free one hand and tickle him. Things kind of fall apart at this point because we are laughing so hard.

A few minutes later I see my pen sitting next to my bed and I decide to test his situational awareness and see if I can stab him in the neck. This is more me being the "bad" guy then a defensive strategy, but I am amped up from my earlier success and I have a desire to play some more.

We are casually chit chatting when I grab him and artfully jab him several times in the neck and try to sweep his legs out from under him, but he has good balance and he wrestles me to the bed. Giggling too much thwarts any further success by me.

The kids are all awake and we do the mommy and daddy thing. A few minutes later my husband reaches over, gentle grabs my wrist and pulls me into him and he hugs me. He is being sweet. I like being there. I will admit to a very brief urge to knee him in the groin, slam his head on my leg and toss him to the ground, but since I'm not really ready for the counter attack to that particular "drill" I decided to suppress that urge. Plus, I am extremely fond of his groin area.

My husband said this morning.s escapades are not exactly how June Cleaver sent Ward off to work. To which I responded, "I am not June Cleaver."

I am so ready to move a little past the crawl phase.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's Worth It

About 2 years ago I ordered a book from Amazon.com using an echeck payment.  After a few days, I noticed that the money never came out of my account, so after about 2 hours of searching Amazon.com's extremely un-user-friendly site, I sent them an email that said, "I received this book, but I do not believe it was paid for".  The fine folks in the customer service department sent me an email telling me, the book had in fact been paid for.  Great!

A week later I get a call from a collection agency.  I get these calls all the time.  There is a man and a woman who have been giving out our phone number for about 7 years and as far as I can tell they have never paid a single bill in that time.  I am in the bath, my answering machine picks up and I hear the typical..."This is an attempt to collect a debt for.." Holy crap, WHAT???  It's my name.  I jump up and try to answer, but they are already gone. I call the number back.

I know you will be stunned to find out the man on the other end was none to pleasant.  I tell him my name and the case number and he says, nope nothing.  I said, "But there has to be something because you called me at my number and used my name".  He insist there is nothing.  Ok, fine.

A few days later I receive a letter in the mail from a guess who?? The collection agency.  I call the number again.  This time an equally unfriendly woman takes my call.  She can't find anything either.  I said, Listen, clearly there is something to this claim and we are not hanging up until we figure it out.  I was probably more pathetic then forceful, but she did agree to look deeper.  To her amazement there was a default notice under my name from Amazon.com. They were looking for their $20 that I told them I owed them that they refused to believe.

I am super annoyed because I knew that and tried to solve the problem and now it's at collections.   I explain everything to the woman, but she could give a flying flip. Eventually, I just say, "How do I rectify this?" She says, send us a money order for the amount, blah, blah, blah.  I do and I include a copy of all the emails and such.  I also recontact Amazon.com to explain the whole thing and I resend copies of everything.  I am worried about my credit. They kind of say, our bad, but not really.  The emailer tells me I don't need to be upset because it is just their in-house collections, not one that reports to credit bureaus. He/she said it was because their bookkeeping, collections and customer service departments don't talk to each other, so that was probably the issue.  Yeah, probably. You would think that would end the matter, but because God likes to keep me humble for the next 6 weeks I still got emails from Amazon.com claiming the book was not paid for.  I sent another email(up to about 30 by now) back with all the emails and the confirmation number from the collection agency, but this time I also included a threat to contact an attorney if they sent one more email.  They stopped. 

I swore I would never buy another thing from Amazon.com and I haven't...until today. 

Today I bought An Ordinary American's Book


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Will Never Learn

Several months ago Miller arranged a blogger get together up at the NRA range, but I was heading to Tennessee to take the Cornered Cat class, so I missed it.  Then Sean planned a get together at the Appleseed event in North Carolina and I was going to get to meet him, Keads, and several other really neat and generous folks, but E was really struggling and I just couldn't leave her.

A few weeks ago Weer'd announced he was coming to Virginia and asked if any of us in The Commonwealth would want to meet up and, of course, I said, yes, yes, yes!  Most of you know that I am in love with Weer'd(in a completely appropriate internet stalking kind of way) because he went through the incredibly painful process of teaching me the difference between single action/double action and because he was so darn nice to me when I thoroughly embarrassed myself with the whole tongue punch debacle.  I truly thought I had a pervy mind, but mine pales in comparison to his...love that about him. Unfortunately, since my mind doesn't go there, I made comments on his post based on what I thought a tongue punch was. If, unlike me, you actually do know what a tongue punch is and then you read my comments you would think my mind was way beyond pervy and more like twisted criminal.  I had mentioned what I wrote to my 20 year old son, who said, "Mom, that is not what tongue punch means."  "This is what it means"

I think I turned white. Terror. Sick to my stomach, Oh my goodness! What have I done??  This is not good.  In what turned out to be a junior highish exchange, I emailed North in a panic who then emailed Weer'd who then emailed me and only moderately laughed at my naivety and then promptly removed my comments. A man like that I want to meet, but that is when we lost Newbius so it wasn't to be.

While on vacation in the Outer Banks last month, I thought I might get an impromptu meeting with Brock, but that to did not come to fruition either.

This past weekend I was scheduled to attend the Appleseed event here in Virginia and was to meet a man who I have been emailing with and who has been very nice to me, but that is when my new job started...foiled again.

After all of those let downs, you would think I would learn not to get my hopes up, but I am stubborn and hard headed(proof...as we speak my legs are crossed.  I know they are not supposed to be, but in an act of rebellion, I am keeping them crossed) so I am bouncing off the walls excited that this Saturday, fingers crossed, I will get to not only meet, but also shoot with MSgt B from My Muse shanked me(also a perv), Nancy, CTone, and Broken Andy.  No Old NFO which breaks my heart, but he has an open invitation to come have dinner at my house, so hopefully soon.

Praying this puts an end to my blogger get together drought!!

I had planned to take a Rape Prevention seminar, but it would have meant being gone all day and now that I am working weekends, I decided to stick closer to home.  This will be a nice compromise.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Training Failure

Yesterday I got a text from Arete and it said something like..."uncross your legs". Actually, it said that exactly. I found this annoying and told him I was going to hit him.

Again, in hindsight probably not the best thing to say since one, he wants me to hit him and two, he would probably hit me back, but it was a text, so I felt safe talking a little smack. He just laughed and mocked me. He said, "Why, you know you are standing there with your feet crossed or standing like a flamingo." That was followed by "Being annoyed is good." "Hitting is better."

Both he and John are in my head. I can hear their voices. I am a little like Cybil right now. Good news is that I didn't cross my legs much today. Bad news I am beginning to look like I have some kind of seizure issue because I will start to cross my legs, realize it and then stop my leg midair and put it back down, sometime throwing myself off balance. If I do this while having a conversation with someone who doesn't read my blog, I try to play cool and just keep talking. After the third time tho, the people start to look at me funny and one person actually took a step back.

I am not sure my training is working for me the way I had hoped.

Reviewing Products

Recently I have had several companies contact me and ask me to review products for them. I have struggled a little with whether or not I want to do this.

On the one hand I still have so much to learn and I don't have a lot of experience, but on the other hand it gives me a great opportunity to try things I might not normally get a chance to try and therefore increase my experience and learning.  I like that idea.

I received a backpack last week and I feel fine reviewing that because, well, the only real qualification I need for that is a back, but ammo, that was a different story.

Here is the email exchange I recently had with a company...

We have found that a lot of our customers appreciate product reviews and feel more confident in their purchases if they can read a review and relate with someone who has already tested the product.

Given your strong following of firearm and ammo enthusiasts, would you be willing to review some product for me and for our customers? I can ship you ammo for free if you will shoot it, enjoy it, and tell the world about it.


This was my response...

Good morning! Thank you for the email...I want to let you know I am new to shooting. I have only been shooting about a year...I am not sure how much credibility I have in the community in terms of product reviews of ammo. I want to be sure you understand that I am not a seasoned shooter like the other bloggers you listed.

And their response...

This is great... I’m excited for the chance to work together. I appreciate that you wanted to make sure and identify yourself as a new shooter...a new shooter is less likely to carry preconceived notions into a review, so a new and refreshing point of view is always a great thing to read!

So, here is the deal. I am going to try this from the perspective of how I have approached my entire blog. I am going to simply tell you my experience with whatever product I get.  It won't be a typical review or even a recommendation in the normal blogger fashion.  I probably will not be able to give technical specs and whatnot of certain things because in most cases I won't know, but hopefully I will be able to give a newbies perspective of things and then if I am lucky(and I am) you all will chime in with extremely helpful ideas, suggestions and/or points of view to help me and other new shooters who read my blog.

It will be an experiment and we shall see how it works out.  If it turns out not to be such a great idea then I'll just stop.  I think it will be fine though. Plus I know right after I post this those of you who love me are gonna leave a comment or send me an email cautioning me against this or that which I always appreciate.  Keeps me from getting myself into too much trouble.

I am not going to review every single thing I am asked because for one I don't have the time and for two I am still learning about some of these companies.   I am a capitalist and I have no problem with a company using me to try to push their product and I have no problem benefiting from that relationship, but my goal is and always will be to help people learn from my experience and to hopefully encourage them to find ways to be more safe.  I won't sacrifice that for a free holster or ammo.  Although I might for a 1911 or a M1 Garand, but what are the odds of that?




Monday, April 23, 2012

Let's Not Mince Words

I have recently been getting a few anonymous comments about my hand to hand/knife training.  I am not sure if it's the same anonymous that is posting all the not so encouraging comments or not, but this is the latest one...

I was involved in martial arts for 30 years, boxed and placed twice in the police Olympics. Taught at a large police academy. The problem is disparity of force. No matter what you do unless you can get a advantage ( gun and a bit of distance vs knife or open hand) you will lose. My late wife was 5'4" and 105. Do you really think she could fight a 200 lb in shape main with the element of surprise? I told my wife one think survive. She did this by her natural advantage. She was a runner, and I told her to run like Hell. Learn to fight and live another day. Too many instructors in Dojo's etc have not spent any time "really doing it" in the Military or Police. Play the game with your rules not attackers.

I can not disagree more with this mindset.  I am not saying that there isn't a time when running away might not be your best option.  Absolutely, run if you can.  That was my very first mistake. Had I hightailed it out of dodge then there wouldn't be a blog for you all to be reading because the story would have ended there.  Run, run, run, but DO NOT EVER and I mean NEVER think you are out of the fight for any reason.


Here was my response to him...


I will not argue the merits of Arete's skills and training, mostly because I don't think he would want me to. It is not my place to say what he did or did not do, so out of respect for a relationship I value I will leave it at that. However, I will say two things about it. One, I have great respect for anyone who served honorably in defense of this country whether it be at home or abroad. Secondly, I will grant you that simply being an MP or a service member does not automatically qualify one to teach self defense or knife training, but it also does not automatically exclude one either. And one more because I can't help myself...he was not an MP.

As for me, I train for a lot of reasons. The most important is for self defense. I have no idea what kind of situations I will find myself in and I most certainly will not leave it to odds to decide my fate for me. I have read story after story where the little "guy" who shouldn't have won, won. I am not giving in and I train to gain any kind of advantage that I can, however remote.

I also train for mindset. The more I train the more confidence I gain, and the more confidence I gain the better equipped I will be to handle any of those bad guy situations I might find myself in. If I go down and I might, I am going down with a fight and a bloody bruised attacker left behind.


****Adding a comment here. This paragraph was not in my original response. If I am attacked and running isn't an option, I do not care what his or their size is, I don't care what kind of weapon they have, their crazy jacked up evilness will pale in comparison to mine and if need be I will fight to the fricken bloody end.  What is there to lose at that point?  Nothing and who knows, I just might win.  Story added from the Cornered Cat's FB.  Look what we have here...surprise, disparity of force, no gun...no dead victim, well all be damned. Thank God she didn't know she didn't have a chance.

My Weekend

Oh my gosh where to start...The range that I train at and now work at is about an hour from my house, so Saturday morning I got up at 4:30am to leave by 5:30 to be at the range by 7:00.  I know I said an hours drive, but I did not want to be late.  I actually had a moment of panic because in all the times I have been to this place, I have never driven and I have never paid attention on how to get there.  It's a bit remote and I didn't want to rely on my GPS, so I  asked my husband to give me a brief directional refresher, but the Marine in him came out...a full recon exercise ensued.  He mapped it on the computer and showed me, he got out the actual map and traced the route with a pen, and he wrote me directions to include a map he drew, so there was pretty much no way I was getting lost. He takes good care of me.

My purpose for the weekend was mostly to attend the training, but also to do some work.  I got to put up targets, lots of targets.  For some reason I put up 8 targets with the plain white side facing out and the bad guy skeleton flat against the cardboard.  Not a very impressive first run out of the gate, but it is what it is.  I also got to hook-up a student with a loaner gun and gear for the weekend as he did not have his own.  I took pictures, I picked up lots of brass(so did everyone else), I picked up wet soggy, muddy trash left by the side of the road.  Pretty much anything John needed.  The class was small and as with every single training I have ever attended the people who I shot with were phenomenal.  They knew I was new and in training and they were extremely gracious as to let me work the line a little.  I did not do any actual instructing, of course, but John was there and he let me call a few cease fires and little things like that.

Being in an environment with all men for 2 days is interesting.  Sunday morning we are all standing around chit chatting waiting for 9:00am when we could start shooting and the guys are telling colorful, dirty jokes and cussing like sailors when I hear John yell "Hey, Bob(not his real name), say good morning to AGirl."  I turn around and he is peeing.  He waves to me and I wave back.  I tell him it was good to see him again..all of him.  I then ask John when the sexual harassment brief will be starting and he said "You just had it."  I turned around with a big 'ol smile on my face, started loading my magazines and said, "My life is so different."  It was fun being one of the "guys".  I have never been one before.  Being men, gentleman really, some of them had a hard time not being gentlemen.  John asked me to grab a table from the classroom and bring it to him.  As I stood up, so did several of the guys and as I walked back with the table, one very nice man asked if he could help me.  I said "No, thank you. I have it"  I think it was wonderful that he asked(I teach my sons to do the same thing and my husband would have asked too) and if I was not working I probably would have said, Yes, thank you, but I wanted John to know he could count on me to actually work and plus, it was kind of cool to have a bunch of men sitting around doing nothing while I did some heavy(it wasn't really heavy) lifting. It's neat being a chic in a man's world. Of course, these are cool men.  It would have sucked if they were assholes.

As for training this is what we did...we shot a lot from 25 yards.  This I hate.  I stink so bad.  There are no words to describe how bad I stink.  When I first starting shooting from 25 yards a few months ago I could not even hit a paper plate sized target.  Before this weekend I was able to do that, but that was it.  Could not hit where I was aiming to save my life, literally.  Saturday was the same way.  I hit the target, but there was no group to be found.


You can see I mostly hit the dude, but it was ugly. A bullet here and one way over there and perhaps a few straight into the berm.  Good stuff.  However, by Sunday I was able to hit kind of a group to the head area and I was thrilled.

I was at 25 yards, aiming for the head and as you can see 5 of the 5 shots were kind of close to said aiming point.
I also hit the steel plates from 50 yards.  3 shots standing, 3 shots kneeling and 3 shots in the prone.  There were 2 other shooters shooting at the same time as me, so I couldn't tell if I hit anything, but assumed I hadn't, until the guys told me I most certainly did, at least 3 times.  That was a win in my book as I have never even attempted to shoot anything from 50 yards.  I was shooting my Smith & Wesson M&P full size 9mm gun the whole weekend.

We rotated between drills that were close and fast and drills that were long and slow.  Lots and lots of scenario based shooting.  I love this abut John's classes.  The have context.  Shooting to shoot is awesome and I love that, but for me adding the real life thinking process to it is really why I train.  So, we shot single moving targets and double moving targets.  Shooting a target while they are moving and you are moving, in the rain and mud is not as easy as one might think.  My first time through was not so great.  I had a lovely tight group, but unfortunately my group completely missed the bad guy.  Solid white.  I was not leading the shot.  I missed partly because its just hard to do and partly because John was yelling at me to NOT. CROSS. MY. LEGS as I moved.  The second time through I got several good hits on bad guy one and even more on bad guy 2.  Seriously, who does not think that sounds like crazy fun??!!

We shot scenarios where there were multiply assailants.  First time through we moved from left to right and I have to say I rocked that drill.  I was fast and accurate as all get it out.  Second time through, awesome! The third time we reversed the order and went from right to left.  This time I drew and had a dead on hit, but I backed up into the bad guy that was flanking me.  Not good. Would have been toast.

We shot drills from high cover, medium cover and low cover.  We shot simulating shooting a guy in the leg from under a car.  We actually shot a can of paint.  So fun.  I loved it because I shot twice then needed to change my magazine, so I rolled back behind the cover, reloaded and rolled back, right on target and shot a few more times.  Did I mention I had fun?

When it is time to top off magazines one thing we do is an admin reload.  I know most people probably know what this is, but for the newbies, I will explain. An admin reload is where you leave your gun holstered, but pop out the magazine and insert a new fully loaded mag.  That way you start the next drill completely ready to go.  I have been doing these since the first class I took with John a year ago.  Remember that complacency 45er was talking about.  Yep, I did an admin reload and forgot to insert a magazine, so first time up, I get off one well placed shot and then click.  No problem tap...nothing to tap.  Fine, I grab a mag from my right hip load, rack and shoot.  Dang that sucks, but I moved and handled the problem so good for me.  What was not so good was about an hour later, I did it again.  I shot one great shot, click. I realize this time right away I did it again. I am PISSED, so I reload and then pretty much unleashed my magazine on the guy.  When I get done John asks if I felt better and I did.  A little brag, every singe shot was dead on.  I was pissed, but I was controlled. No issues getting back on target between shots.

I had some equipment trouble.  I have a very high grip on the gun, but on my M&P the left sided slide release messes with my grip.  I tried adjusting to compensate, but I have been griping that way so long and am accurate with it that changing just isn't an option. I am going to have that release removed.  My belt/ holster combo was not good either and it really effected my time.  I could not get under 2 seconds on the clock, but it was easy to see that my belt was too loose and there for it took more effort to get my gun out of the holster.  I am too tiny to get that belt tight enough.  I can fix that problem with minor adjustments and that should improve my time.  Oh, if you are new that means I stand there, John says something like, "He don't look right." I say "Stop, get back" or something to that effect, when I hear a beep, I draw and take 3 shots.  The beep is from a timer. He is timing the first shot to see how fast I or we can draw and get my/our first hit, with accuracy hopefully.  Everyone else made it under the 2 second mark.  It was pretty cool to see their times improve.

I could go on for another 100 paragraphs, but I won't do that to you.  We did several other drills, watched some videos, did some classroom discussing and spent time getting to know each other.  My first goal was to learn.  I want to shoot better, faster, straighter and I want to change the way I think.  I don't want to stop crossing my legs, but apparently that is not an option.  Secondly, I wanted to represent FPF Training well and thirdly I wanted to represent female shooters well.  I was by no means the best shooter there, but I think I held my own against the men. I pray that at least some of the men there left with a positive view of women shooters(not that they had a negative one to begin with)and hopefully I did not embarrass our gender(talking to the girls here:) in anyway.  Also, in case I forgot to mention it...I HAD A BLAST!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Am Not Dead, But I Am In Heaven

Oh my, oh my, I love my life. I just got home from my first day working/training for John at FPF Training and what a day.

I was up at 4:30am and it's now 7:30pm, so this will be short. I promise to tell you all everything on Monday, but I did want to let you know how it went today.

First, I was the only female on the range today. This was an advanced class for conceal carry and John said in his 8 year of running this business he has maybe had 3-4 women take the advance class. I am making it my mission to change that. Not only is it crazy fun, the class builds very important skills that women need to know. I am gonna to pimp here a little. Of the 8 students who took this class, 6 were returning students. Each of them had taken at least 2 other courses from John and most had taken 4 or 5. That is a pretty impressive return rate.

One of the men in today's class was in the very first class I had ever taken with John back in March 2011. His name is Bill. He asked me if I was the same woman from that class and I said "Yes, I've improved a little, right?". He said, "Well I don't remember you being a poor shot(he didn't really shoot next to me then), but you sure were scared." I said, "Yes, I am over that.". "Uh, yeah, I'd say" was his reply. I just smiled.

I was, big surprise, nervous. I was not nervous for the class. I am never nervous to train with my gun. I don't care what anyone thinks and I know I am going to improve, but I did not want to embarrass John. I really didn't want the first time I massively screwed up to be today. I did, of course, screw up, but not massively.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT tell Arete this part of my day. At one point John is instructing and he says, "Gentleman, look at AGirl"(he used my real name, but you know). "A strong wind could blow her over."

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why? Yep, yep that's it.  My legs were crossed. I knew it the second he said it, but I was good and I did not uncross them, so he could make his point. For the rest of the day, I would periodically see John cross his legs, which meant for me to uncross mine.

I spent the day shooting and learning so much about everything. I left there sunburned, bruised, covered in dirt and grass stains and soaking wet from a storm that blew in...again I say heaven.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Needn't Have Worried

Before I met with Arete, I was very nervous.  Not so much yesterday, but the weeks leading up to it.  There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it was that I had no frame of reference for what we were going to do and even though I know him, I don't know him.  We are still getting to know each other and since I have done nothing like this, I was uneasy.

I was fairly certain he wasn't going to just walk up and punch me, but I had tried to make it clear that I was not looking for some girly class where he taught me how to blow a whistle and knee someone in the groin.  Perhaps effective.  Perhaps a useful tool and skill, but I am looking for something different. 

I was as worried about being coddled and I was about being hurt.

When I got to the park he showed me some knives.  Just to show me and we chit chatted a bit.  Then we walked over to an area less populated.  The place was packed.  Yesterday was mostly him showing me some basic moves, talking to me and I think him getting an idea of where I am at, which is about zero.

He talked to me about stance and much like shooting it focuses on balance and not being easily pushed back or pulled forward.  He showed me what happens if I stand with my legs crossed which is how I always stand.

One of the first things he said was punch me.

I said, "punch you?" 

"Yeah, punch me."  I stood there.  He said "do you know how to punch?"  I really didn't.  I have taken some "Fight Like A Girl" classes, but they were focused on fitness not fighting.  I can punch a bag ok, but I wasn't sure I knew how to punch a person.  That was his first glimpse at my level...not very high.  So we did a little punching on a pad.  Fine.  Then he showed me some other things and we chatted some more.  He asks a lot of questions...if I do this then what happens?  What's the first thing that happens in a fight?  Have you ever eaten a sandwich? I didn't know many of the answers. Most of our conversations went like this.

A- If I grab your arm like this what happens?

Me- Blank stare. I don't know.

A- Yes, you do.

Me. Umm, uh, I fall.

A-Yeah. Uncross your legs.  You don't have good balance with your legs crossed. Ok, hit me.

Me- Hit you?

A- Yes.

I just stand there.  He has no pads of any kind.  He wants me to hit him in the chest.

A- Hit me

Me- I throw a punch...hit

A- That's not a hit.  Your going to have to hit me. You can't hurt me. Hit me. Uncross your legs.

Me- hit, hit

A- Next time if you don't hit me, I am going to hit you.

Me- HIT, HIT

A- Uncross your legs.

Yeah, I don't think coddling is going to be a problem.

Now, I use caps to show that I hit harder the last time, but it was by no means a hard punch, however, apparently it was hard enough to keep me from getting hit.

It was extremely difficult on my mind to hit him.  I have never hit anyone in my life.  I don't even spank my kids. I know I can't hurt him.  That isn't the issue.  It is the mental block of hitting.  This is why I need to train.  I literally forced myself not to freeze.  It was a conscious effort and it was a tough one.

When I first went to the shooting course with John and he would say shoot, many times I  just stood there.  Fortunately, John didn't say if you don't shoot next time, I am going to shoot you, but sometimes he would yell. My husband said that weekend one could visible see me fighting my mind. I struggled to get over my fear of shooting my gun.  John has a very good ability to know when to push and when not to.  There were times he would yell shoot and there were times he would get close in and talk me through it and there were times he and the whole class would stand back and let me work through it.  It is no exaggeration to say I would stand there with my gun pointed at the target for several minutes and not shoot.  Then take a shot and stand there again for 30 seconds or more.

My mind is all kinds of, I want say weak, but it's not weak, it is, what is it..maybe, conditioned badly.

The difference between yesterday and my first Conceal Carry class was back then I was on the edge of quitting and crying the whole time.  Yesterday, I was not.  I never felt like crying and I never felt like quitting.

Arete explains everything he is doing and why.  He explains what vein is in that part of the leg, arm, hand.  He knows how many layers of skin or muscle lay on top of it.  He explains exactly what happens when said vein is punched, kicked, sliced.

We did a little walk through of my day in the parking lot.  He was the bad guy.  It was basic and it never got to the I am on the ground stage.  He asked me for my money and ironically, I wanted to say no, but the point was not what I would do now, but what I didn't do then.  We had been doing a lot of grabbing of the wrist and how to get out of that and I wanted to know how I could have gotten out of it when the bad guy grabbed my wrist.

There are so many layers to that attack and so many ways I could have done things differently to have stopped it, from running back into the store(my car was far from the door, more isolated, but I saw him coming and I knew he was bad), to yelling(no one was there, but still), to saying NO, etc.  I know all that, but I want to deal with each part as it happened and know how to get out of that stage.  My goal would be to avoid it all together, but if someone gets their hand on my wrist again, I want to know how to get out.  If someone gets me to the ground, I want to have some idea of how to survive.  A more effective way than just squirming around.

I guess we were there a little over an hour and when we were done he gave me homework.  He told me the world is full of minors.  Meaning items in everyday life that show reflections.  Things I can use to see behind me like a car window or shadows. He talked about situational awareness and that when I go to, say the range I need to count the people in a room and find the exits.  I am suppose to be doing some knee striking exercise with a pillow.

Even though he threatened me with violence to get me to do what he wanted, he is very nice.  He asked me several times if I was ok, if I needed a break.  One time he made me take a break and drink water. He has a crawl, walk, run philosophy  We are currently at the crawl stage. I am not sure how quickly we move from crawl to run, but I am in no hurry.  There was a lot of information packed in that 65-70 minutes. A lot.  Even though I am still a little nervous I can't wait to do it again.




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Delusional Bravado

I have been watching a lot of shows on The Military History channel and I have been watching a lot of action movies. You know the kind with guns and knives and half naked chicks and everybody kicking the crap out of everybody else. The kind where everyone is all muscley and say things like "I ain't got time to bleed" and "Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans."

I have been loving pretty much everything I have seen. Unfortunately I think I somehow mistakenly began to think, not sure how, perhaps through osmosis that I am now a badass.

I can come up with no other reason why, when asked, "Do you want to knife fight/train with an ex Marine sniper, current MAA fighter whose philosophy is: I only know how to train hard?" Did I respond with, "Sounds fun."

What part of that sounded fun to me?? In retrospect, I probably should have thought that one through a little more, but hindsight being what it is and me meeting Arete in just a bit I guess it is too late to back out now.

Delusional grandeur aside, I am patently aware that I am not a mean motherf(you know the rest), but a girl can dream. What is it that they say, "Fake it til you make it"? Well, that is my plan. I am going to keep acting like I am tough until I either become tough or die trying.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Remington

I do not talk to much about politics or major gun issues on my blog because, well, I don't have any credibility in that area.  Even if I have an opinion and even if I can articulate it, I don't have much knowledge or experience to back it up, so I prefer to leave that to those who can like Tam, Weer'd, or pretty much anyone other than myself, but yesterday I got an email asking me to help get the word out on the debacle that is NBC.

I had not heard of the people sending the email and was not sure what to think, so I asked around and conversed a little with the woman who sent the email and since I do believe that what NBC appears to be doing is dangerous not only to our Second Amendment rights, but to our entire way of life, I decided that I would step out a little and post the link

Clearly, I do not have enough background to add any validity to Remington or this case, but I do think it is at least worth my tossing this out there for you all to decide for yourselves.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

E

While we are at the beach I was inside cooking dinner when my family started yelling "Come here, Mo, come here."  Of course, I ran outside and saw this...

E was trying to shoot into the little black circle on the hot tub mat.  She says she wants to be an expert shooter like mom.  Isn't it nice when kids still look up to their parents based on love and not so much talent.


Again, today I am in the kitchen when I hear, "You have to come here and see your daughter."  I did and this is what I saw...

I have never talked to her about knife fighting, so I am not exactly sure where this came from, but I am kind of thinking I don't need Arete with her around.

Step One

Last night I got an email from Mrs. Groundhog.  She won $300 in our first Give-A-Way and she decided to use the money to attend 3 courses.  The first one was this last Saturday.  This is what she had to say with some minor editing for clarification from me...

I took my first training class on Saturday and it was wonderful.  We were supposed to be at class at 7:45 and it was a 2 hour drive to get to class. We made it a few minutes late but all was well.  There were 12 in the class with 4 instructors.  We had a couple of hours of classroom instruction before going to the range.  Groundhog(the hubby) even said he  learned some new stuff and he has been shooting for years.  Then out to the range.  I have some bad habits that I needed to change.  I flinch which my husband has told me about many times.  They kept trying to correct my stance since I stand strange.  Unfortunately, when I stand correctly it hurts my bad knee.  They showed me how to adapt how I was standing so it is more effective without being painful.  And most importantly, they told me what we had suspected for a long time, my beloved Glock 17 is too big for my hand and that I need a new pistol.  Neither Groundhog nor I had ever been taught how to appropriately fit a gun so now we know what to look for.  For the class, I borrowed one of theirs, a Springfield 1911.  They recommended that I try the brand new Smith and Wesson Shield.  They said I might need to go down to a 380 to get the best fit for my hand. I want to get the new pistol before I take the next class; just doesn't make sense to do otherwise.  It will probably be sometime this summer before I can go back.  ( With the contest money, I will be able to take 3, 4 hours classes. They recommend you take a class, practice those skills and then come back later for the next class.)

Is anyone else crazy excited????  I am about to burst out of my skin with joy!  We helped get her on her way and look how much valuable information she gained in just one class and she has 2 more to go!!!  Of course, the real credit goes to her for taking the initiative to get training.  So, so proud of you Mrs. Groundhog!!  You are doing superb!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A New Adventure

A week or so ago John asked me if I would be interested in coming to work for him.  The job description went something like this: Low pay, lots of misery.  Heavy commitment.   I don't know about you guys, but for some reason I read that and thought...PERFECT!!

We talked back and forth for a while and still do not have all the details worked out, but basically I am going to help him in anyway I can: web site, publicity, that kind of thing.  I also will helping out with his classes by helping him set up, switching out targets, etc.

Clearly this is an amazing opportunity for me because I get to be around guns, I get to learn from someone I greatly admire, I get to help someone who has helped me tremendously and I get a few bucks to put into my ammo fund or perhaps an AR someday or if I don't screw it up and he keeps me on, maybe both! There is no chance I am going to screw it up, but that was kind of funny.

There will be a lot of new and exciting things happening for FPF Training in the next few months and I am thrilled to be a tiny part of it.  Of course, I am going to be an endless advocate telling you countless times that you should really consider taking a class from John, but that is nothing new.  I have been doing that since day one the only difference is now I get a few dollars to do so.  I think it's a win-win. Probably more win for me, but if you actually take a course you will see that you are the one that will come out on top.

This weekend will be my first official time helping out at the range, but the class is small and there isn't a ton for me to do yet because I still have so much to learn, which means I will also be able to participate in the training.  I think I might have mentioned a time or two or twenty that I love to train.


Bought my first pair of 5.11 tactical pants for the occasion


It is a very exciting time!

Feeling extremely blessed at all the wonder opportunities that have come my way.  Not sure I deserve them, but I darn well know I am gonna appreciate them and do whatever I can to earn them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Tiny Change

At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to change the picture at the top of the blog from my Glock to my new everyday carry, the M&P.

He also suggested that maybe I take the picture with the slide closed.  When he said that I had to laugh because, of course, I would not take a picture with the magazine out, slide open now, but back then I was terrified of my gun.  I was terrified of making a mistake. I thought if my gun was not on me then it had to be empty with the slide open.  I still store my guns without a magazine inserted and the slide open, but not my carry gun.  Actually at the time I took the picture of the Glock, I probably wasn't even carrying with one in the chamber.  Silly girl.

Anywho, there you have it...my everyday carry set up.  Actually, I go back and forth pretty regularly between my The Holster Site holster and my Remora, but I am vain and I really like the "AGirl" wording, so I chose that holster for the picture.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Week In Pictures

We are home after a fabulous week at the beach.  Here is a little of what we did.




Easter Mimosas






Kids racing dad...dad won

Me sun bathing

Of course my M&P came along for the fun


Dad and E kite flying



Not really a pet

This is Squirmy and Betsy

Lobster bake

Me smooching on my man

I really like him

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life's A Beach

Unless you are sick. I woke up this morning not feeling super chipper. My neck was a little stiff, my glands a little swollen and achy, so I did what any normal person would do, I went for a run. I adore running along the beach. Not in the sand, but on the street right next to it. The sound of my shoes, the quiet, the ocean...paradise. My daughter's friend is training for her high school track team, so they came along. I felt pretty good until I stopped, then it was downhill from there. Which doesn's really make sense in terms of running because going downhill is easier than up, but the point is, I felt icky.

I have been determined not to let my body's attitude beat me, so I continued on with our days plans to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, shopping and make a delicious lunch of homemade sushi, but I did opt to stay home and rest this evening.

I had no intention of being cooped up, but at least it's Tuesday and there are new episodes of NCIS and NCIS LA!! Travelled 6 hours to watch TV, read blogs, post on FB, and text friends...thank God there is a gorgeous ocean view right outside my window!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

After a very busy morning and afternoon, my family is having a bit of a rest, so I am doing what I always do when I have a few extra minutes on my hands, I read all of you. While hanging out at Brigid's place I read an awesome post about protection without a gun and in the comments I read...

Guffaw in AZ said...
Paranoia presumes mental aberration - no real threat.
Thinking defensively when there's a real threat, or possible real threat.
That's realistic.
Great Post!

I love that comment.



I can't figure out how to link and all that with my iPad. Hopefully the link works. If not search Home On The Range, it's worth it.

Life Is Good

Our family had a glorious Easter. I know "glorious", not one you hear a lot, but it really is the word that best discribes our day. I also use the word dandy on an almost daily basis.

Every single moment of yesterday was perfect. Nothing extraordinary happened, but something about this place, all being together, the food, the wine...I was in the absolute best mood.

My husband made the observation that last year at this time I was the farthest thing from relaxed. I had just started carrying my gun, it was the first time I had carried it out of Virginia, I was still very very jumpy and I was still trying to convince myself and my family that nothing more than a not nice guy had taken a few bucks from me. I re-read a post I wrote while I was here last year and I talked about how nothing bad really happened that day in the parking lot. That I wasn't even sure if the guy had nefarious intent. My husband said he knew at the time he read that post, that what I was writing couldn't be true. That there was no way for me to be as rocked to the core terrified because some guy asked for money, but he didn't ask me about it.

I did leave here last year more calm and more at ease. I felt more comfortable in my skin and more comfortable with my gun.

This year I am doing dandy, but my poor husband really needed this vacation. His work has been mighty stressful. He just opened a new office in a new market for his company and I am sure you can imagine the pressure associated with that. I wouldn't say we have ever said I "need" a vacation, but this year, he needed one. I have loved seeing him relaxed and rejuvenated. We are only on day 2, so I have high hopes for the rest of the week.

Another upside to this place is that all the sun and fun wipe our kids out. I truly enjoy them, but I also truly enjoy when they are asleep. Last night they settled into watch a movie and were asleep by 7:30. Our older children decided to do the hot tub thing and my husband and I decided to sneak off and watch a movie. This has become a brand new favorite activity for us.

Since my husband loves me, he said he would make me a martini and then try to find a death movie for me to watch. That's his way of teasing me about the fact that I now watch things other than "What About Bob". He found the movie 300 on TNT.

I realize most of you have most likely already seen it. My husband is currently laughing his ass off at me that I write about movies 4 years after they were released to a group of people who probably saw them the weekend they were released, but I am waaayyyyy late to the party, so ya all are just gonna have to relive them all with me.

I had never heard of the movie and I had no idea what it was about, but our only other option was Yogi Bear and since Yogi doesn't get shot in that movie, I opted for 300.

By the time we got settled and figured out which of the 900 remotes went to the TV in our room and then how to work it, we had missed about 25 minutes of the it. I am trying to watch as my husband is trying to explain what happened leading up to this point in the movie and I was a little confused, but by the end of the first commercial, I caught up.

I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. It didn't have guns, but it had a whole heck of a lot of warrior mindset. No surprise here, I loved the queen. The movie was chuck full of quotable lines, but my favorite was...

Persian Emissary: "Our arrows will blot out the sun!" Stelios: "Then we will fight in the shade." 

I really want to see it again from the beginning without an overly excited man in my ear giving me a history lesson at the same time.

Formula for a super fabulous day...beach, family, food, wine, Easter Egg Hunt, hot tub, more food, more wine, and a death movie.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

And Now A Word From Our Winners

Both of our latest Give-A-Way winners wrote me a little note to share with all of you.  I am so excited for them and for the opportunity to be an encouragement to them as they embark on this new adventure of self reliance and self protection. 

From winner #28
I entered this contest because I have recently purchased my first gun, and now I want to become the most proficient at using it that I ever can be. Seeing how the state of the world has become so violent and crime-riddled, I didn't feel safe any longer, even in my own home. That's when I realized that I had to let go of my old fears of owning and shooting a weapon, and take the proverbial bull (barrel) by the horns. You see, I was a student of Yoga, a pacifist, and against the death penalty, and guns didn't seem to have any place in my lifestyle. All of that has changed as this world has changed so much as to be unrecognizable from my childhood world. We could safely play outdoors at night then, unafraid of monsters lurking in the shadows who would hurt us.

After studious searches over the internet, I decided on a Glock 19, 9mm semi-automatic handgun as my first gun purchase, and a Browning Buck Mark .22 handgun for practice and fun, as my second gun. The Glock 19 seemed like a gun that could protect myself and my family if the need ever arose and we were invaded in our own home. I just wanted to at least having a fighting chance should someone decide to break-in and physically harm me or mine. Being that I am a mere 5'3" and handicapped with life-long rhuematoid arthritis, I wouldn't have stood a chance if someone wanted to overpower me and/or harm me. I know from personal experience what it's like to be assaulted and violated in the worst way. I was once held captive at knifepoint for hours, and raped by someone whom I knew and thought I could trust. I never ever want to be so helpless again and brutalized at some madman's whim. I am ecstatic that I'm going to be able to take the classes to learn how to shoot the gun, and clean it, and to act responsibly and legally with all aspects of gun ownership. With all the support and encouragement here at A Girl And Her Gun's blog and FB page, I am taking control of my life, standing tall and facing my past and future fears of the known, and the unknown ... and I've never felt stronger nor more capable of changing my life, than I do right now with all of you and your support and friendship. Thank you for making this possible. I can hardly wait to set-up the classes and get out to the firing range.

Kindest Regards,

Mazie


And from winner #20
I can't thank everyone enough for their support and generosity in offering this! I just got my CCW permit, but haven't carried yet. Been contemplating an M&P 9mm, need holster, training, range time, etc., I really want to take hands-on training from Thomas Sipin, and this will really help me get some proper instruction that I need.

About a month ago, we had a tactical situation a couple blocks from my work. He ended up running from the house, and they were reports that he ducked into one of the businesses Therefore, they were checking businesses and I just kept thinking, "WHAT am I going to do if he runs in here? WHERE can I go? WHY haven't I made this a priority?" Obviously, that was my big wake up call to make it a higher one. I felt panicky, helpless, and mad at myself.

So excited and stunned yet... I'm having a hard time finding the words to show my appreciation and gratitude.

Bless you all, and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Be SAFE and thank you for sharing your insight, comments and all that I have learned and will continue to learn from.

~ Colleen
 
 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vacation

Tomorrow morning my family is heading to the Outer Banks, NC for Spring Break. We are lucky in that our vacations are always fabulous. My kids are great travelers both by air and by car. We love stopping at little hole in the wall diners and even if something goes wrong, we seriously, just laugh. I love it, but I will tell you with all the great memories we have had, I have never looked forward to a vacation more.

No real reason other than a busy life and a real desire to just be with the people I love. I am extremely fond of them and I am looking forward to 10 days of spoiling them and loving on them and doing the whole wife/mommy thing without the distractions of normal life.

I might blog, but it's more likely I will post a quick note here or there on FB.

Try not to do anything funny, fabulous or earth shattering while I am gone. Sure I want you all to go on without me, but not as much as I want to be here for all your ups and downs.

Be safe, watch your six and if all else fails, fight!

Fear

I am not a fan of being afraid.  I do think it serves a limited purpose of warning one of danger and that is a good thing, but mostly I think it serves to paralyze us or at least me.

It has been well documented on this blog just how I have let fear control my whole life.  No need to go there again, but it is worth saying that I think I have done a very good job of not only facing my fears, but seeking them out.  Finding what scares me and taking it on. I have loved the confidence and strength it gives me to attack it instead of avoid or or even just deal as it comes. This morning I woke up at 4am and couldn't go back to sleep, so I opened up a piece of junk email.  For whatever reason I read it all and then clicked on one of the links.  The link led me somewhere and I read this quote...

Don't manage your fear. Lead your fear. Take charge. When fear climbs on your shoulder and starts nattering in your ear, here's what you do: You stand master .-Danielle LaPorte


I can not tell you all the ways I love this quote.  You stand master...brilliant.  Good idea.  I think I will.


For the past 2 days I have been afraid to face something.  It doesn't matter what, but the point is, I have been so afraid that I have been consumed by it and in turn paralyzed by it.


The only person that might have suffered more from my fear than me would be Arete. Unfortunately for him, he was my sounding board and it wasn't pretty.  The more I tried to talk it through the more afraid I became.  This morning after I had thoroughly worked myself up I decided ENOUGH!  This is no way to live, so I bit the bullet and faced said fear.

I was again reminded that fear is often much worse than the reality.  The issue was resolved beyond my expectations.  I suspect that fear will, at sometime, creep into my life again, but the good thing is that I am getting faster and better and dealing with it each time it does.

The only possible downside is that Arete now has first hand proof that I am a full fledged nut and probably isn't gonna let me anywhere near a knife, but I am hoping a little crazy is good in the art of learning how to kill.




P.S. I really mean in the art of self defense, but kill is more dramatic and cray like:)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Time At The Range

It's Thursday so I met my husband and his work peeps for an hour of shooting at lunch.  Same 'ol same.  I am out of cards, so I got a couple of man sized targets and did a lot of low ready, aim, shoot, back down and tried to increase the speed between each low ready, aim, shoot.  Just wanting to see if I could improve my accuracy and get a faster sight picture.  Nothing fancy.



These were shot around 12 yards with the trust M&P 9mm




Things were going along swimmingly except that my gun was only locking back 1 out of the 3 times I emptied a magazine.  Put in a magazine nothing, next one slide would lock back, then next one, nope.  I cleaned my gun like Old NFO suggested. Not the problem. Odd. Just kept shooting until my gun jammed. I did the tap, rack, bang, of course, and nothing.  Drop the magazine, rack, nothing.  No jam, look a little closer at the magazine and bullets start pouring out the top and then this...


So, now I am thinking it is the magazines.  The 2 that came with it seem to be fine, but the 2 I bought later for my trip to Memphis, those are the boogers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Memory Of A Happier Time

I am finishing up homework with the kiddos and then I am off to say good-bye to Newbius.  I thought I would share my post about the time he took me to the range.  I pray he knew how much his kindness meant to me. 

After My Day At Range I Am Done With Guns

Another Woman New To The World Of Guns

The other day I got an email from a woman who wanted to enter the Give-A-Way and along with her information she included a little bit about why she decided to enter.  This is what she wrote...

I have already got my class picked out if I win! There is a group called CA Gun Girls who have their own office on my local range's property, and I would love some training from them!

Thank you for what you do. I'm so sorry that you had to go through a traumatic experience; I wish you could have gotten into guns without a perpetrator being involved. I'm new to guns, but just got there because of a disturbing new story involving two bad guys with a hunting knife, and one determined mom with a pistol and a newborn to protect. (Her 20-something husband had died only days earlier of cancer, and these jerks were ramming down her door to presumably steal his pain mess.) She successfully killed one and the other fled. But what would I do? Be left a victim. Nope. So I took the basic NRA class and want to keep going! As you can see from my address, I live in a gun-hostile state. I cannot even get my dream gun - Glock 19, Gen 4, bec they only allow the Gen 3s. I cannot carry concealed because I have no "reason" to. So, I am pretty limited but want to learn anyway. Because in the next few years my husband will be moving on to the next rung on the ladder of his career, and maybe, just maybe, we will end up in red state!


I loved that she was being proactive in her life, so I asked her if I could share her story.  I think it's great when a woman takes control and does something to prepare herself before the bad guy has a chance to strike.  She said sure I could share and then sent me an email she sent to The Cornered Cat.  It adds a little more to her story.


Dear Kathy,

I just discovered you 2 days ago and I feel like I owe you so much! Your wonderful, wonderful site has addressed every imaginable concern a woman could have regarding the proper safety/care/use of firearms. Couple that with masterful writing (and impeccable grammar, which is probably my love language) and you have THE most valuable site online for your audience.

Just the night before I discovered the Cornered Cat, I forced my husband to listen to me ruminate once again about all the reasons I was afraid to "pull the trigger" and get that Glock. He has no aversion to me owning and practicing with a firearm - he was raised on a farm in Minnesota and shot/hunted with the men in his family. It is ME who needs convincing that I should be trusted with such a responsibility.


I grew up in rural North Dakota where guns are part of life. Somehow, I managed to avoid exposure to them while my dad and siblings went hunting with rifles and shotguns and took classes called "Hunter Safety." My friends and their families all hunted with guns, I had access to friends' farms had I the notion to learn and practice, and my high school boyfriend's dad was a gunsmith - just think of how rich my early education could have been! But no. Instead, I find myself in my early 30s just beginning to learn about all things handguns.


My sister and I had been wanting CC permits for some time. We married men whose jobs took us far from our the safe land of North Dakota, where keys are left in the ignition and homes are never locked. My sister is on the east coast, and I find myself on the west coast. Our cities are very different from the town of 300 we knew and loved. When this story broke around New Year's this year was the final straw for us.
http://www.kfor.com/news/kfor-blanchard-woman-shoots-and-kills-intruder-20120101,0,2752550.story. This amazing young woman said something that reverberated through me - "There is nothing more dangerous than a mom with a baby." She's right. I am a law-abiding citizen who would not even be intentionally rude...but all that goes right out the window if I think you are after my child.
 

Having wanted to learn about handguns, married to a very busy man and wanting an effective way to protect myself and my little sons, I knew then that it was time to enroll in class. But I was scared because I thought, "You know, if you don't grow up using guns, you probably shouldn't try to learn later in life. How can you really catch up? No patriarch to guide you, you must trust the stranger teaching the class and hope you digest all the vital information from the textbook." But I did it because I figured if I didn't want to continue with it, at least I'd be richer for the experience. I'm so glad I just made myself do it. That NRA Basic Pistol class was lots of fun. And it made me think, "I like it! I can do this."


I came home, threw myself online and started to learn all that I could. Then I got scared again; there were terms I had never encountered, freak accidents being reported, and naysayers that thought women should leave the guns to men. I'm a registered nurse who spent time working in an ER; I have seen what bullets do to human flesh. I have 5 and 3 year old boys; I live in a town home - would I be able to even use my gun without fear of hurting my sons or my neighbors? I had gone from being so excited to learn something new (I'm presently a stay at home mom, and I rarely am away from the kids) to feeling foolish for entertaining such wild notions about range practice and having a lethal weapon around. I felt guilty about spending the extra money, or for knowing I'd need to be away from my family to practice at the range (no way am I bringing them there if I want to get any shooting done). I made myself sign up for the next class so I couldn't quit out of fear, and then began badgering my husband about whether I should have a gun or not.

I felt such sweet relief when I began to read the Cornered Cat's content. Here was a site that understood how I felt and the challenges that I was encountering! Turns out, being a woman who has children and who is a novice does not mean that she does not deserve to learn about and practice with firearms! I was scared to carry before, but I now think that would be a very good option for me in the future, after further study and experience. I cannot carry right now, because my county forbids it for almost everyone. One has to appear before a judge and state the reason one needs to carry. It is so specific; one man I know, who carries tens of thousands of dollars on his person could not obtain one because he doesn't also carry jewels! We don't plan to live here for more than a couple of years, but the next place I live will hopefully allow CC.






How cool is she?  Now, she didn't win the contest, but I hope she will get some training anyway.  Feel free to offer her words of praise and encouragement.