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A Riddle: What Is Black & Blue and Tough As Woodpecker Lips?

A Girl and Her Gun: A Riddle: What Is Black & Blue and Tough As Woodpecker Lips?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Riddle: What Is Black & Blue and Tough As Woodpecker Lips?

ME!!  Ok, I am not all that black and blue or tough, but I think it's funny, so deal.

Yesterday my husband and I met John and Mr. & Mrs. Awesome for some training on the range.  We covered a lot for our brief 3.5 hours there.  Again, there are not many pictures because we are all there training and it's just tough to focus and think about grabbing the camera.

I knew that the plan was to do self defense work from the ground to try to keep the bad guy from getting us to the ground and what to do if he succeeds. I think having that knowledge ahead of time made me a little jumpy.  At the beginning I was a little unsure of myself and I think I was trying to anticipate when the moment would come, which made me behave oddly.  Usually when I train with John, we are kind of in-sync.  I know where he is going with things just by his words or tone, but yesterday as he called things out, my reaction was off and my mind wasn't "on".  Either that or I have done too much psychoanalyzing this past year and I read way to much into everything now.  Either way, I was off my game.

One of the first things we did was, we learned how to access the gun if you find yourself on your back.  John simulated pushing us down, we would fall, then kick, kick, kick, the spin on our backs until we faced the target, drew and shot.

I felt pretty good about this drill.  The interesting thing was when Mrs. Awesome took a go at this exercise.  Both she and Mr. Awesome carry in the Remora as well.  They love it!! Time for the drill. John pushed her down, she kicks, spins, goes to draw her gun and it's not there.  It is not in the holster.  She does well, she feels for it, finds it and shoots, but we awere all kind of like, "Not good!"  She was wearing the model with the reinforced top, so I said let's try it with the collapsed version.  I had mine in my range bag.  She did.  She falls, spins, draws and the gun was there, but when she drew the whole thing came out, holster and all.  Here are 4 people that use this holster daily and and it failed, big time.  Not a good feeling.  Lots of chit chat, trouble shooting talk.  Mrs. Awesome does not wear a belt, so Mr. Awesome tosses out the idea that maybe that is the issue.  Mr. Awesome is wearing a belt, so he steps up to the line and does the drill.   Falls, kicks, kicks, kicks, draws and all goes well.  We might be onto something.  John happens to have an extra belt, so Mrs. Awesome puts her regular carry gear on with the belt and runs the drill.  Fall, kick, kick, kick, draws, perfect!  Looking good, but lets do that a few more times just to be sure.  She does not have any more problems.

You know how all the experts tell you, you should train with your gear and you should be sure it works on the range before you trust it to save your life...PAY ATTENTION!!!  I saw the look on her face and on her husband's and I felt the drop in my stomach.  I believe we were all beyond grateful, that scenario played out there and not in a parking lot somewhere.  In the past I have trained with the Remora as had both of them.  We did dry fire and I had even used it at the range a lot, but none of us had worked from the ground in a fight with it.  It is my opinion that a belt is needed for the Remora.  The company DOES NOT claim that one isn't needed and they specifically say that some kind of tension is what makes it work and if you are standing up or have an extra mag pouch, that is enough tension to suffice, it is not once there is slack like laying on your back. So much was learned from that one drill.  First of all Mrs. Awesome dealt with what to do if something goes wrong.  When her gun went MIA, she didn't stop and give up, she kept looking and she finished up with the shot.  Same when the holster stayed on the gun, she pulled it off, tossed it aside and shot. I will continue to wear the Remora and I think they will too.  It's good gear and I trust it, but it needs a belt.

One note, rolling around on the ground with a loaded gun, drawing from your back and shooting can be a formula for disaster.  I think good trigger finger control is beyond important.  If you draw and put your finger straight on the trigger, you are not ready for this drill.  You could shoot yourself in the leg or someone else as you draw before your muzzle is on target.  It is simulated, but it is "under" stress.  These drills are so important, but I wouldn't rush anything. By the way there is nothing wrong with that.  The point of training is to learn how to keep yourself safe.  It doesn't much matter if the bad guy gets you or you do, the end result is the same.  Sometimes we need to push ourselves, but never beyond what we can safely handle. I also would not train with people you did not fully trust.  I trust these people with my life and I was comfortable. I had shot with all of them before.  We have had conversations about guns and life and I know how they think.  I have seen how they handle their guns and their attitude about safety.  Feeling safe let me relax and focus.  I would not do this drill with people I just met.

Another note, just for FYI.  I trained with my M & P.  Flawless.  Not a single issue.  Well, there was one issue, but that was not the gun.  I also brought my AGirl holster from Michael Hast.  I wanted to see how it would preform now that I had spent time breaking it in.  Perfect!!!  I feel comfortable now carrying the M & P and using my new holster. 

We did a drill shooting from, ugh, I can't remember what the position is called.  I want to say position 1, but I think I am making that up.  So, you draw, the gun is at your side, low, no extension and you start shooting from there as you move up to the full two handed, extended position.  I think the drill is called "The Zipper"  Another fabulous lesson.  I am rather well endowed, so when I drew my gun and pulled the trigger the slide hit my breast and did not have room to fully go back, so my gun jammed.  I did do tap rack, bang, which only made it worse and instead of taking care of it, I stopped.  This is not like me.  I am very good at dealing with malfunctions and finishing up, but my mind was not on and I noticed everyone else had stopped shooting, so I did too.  NOT the right thing to do.  Anyway, it was a good thing to have happen because I knew I needed to make an adjustment to my draw.  I did and did not have any more problems.  I will practice that drill a lot in dry fire. I think it is important that I do it again and again, so it is ingrained, naturally.  Under stress, I doubt I will remember where my boobs are.

Next we did ground work.  We completely disarmed.  Nothing, not even a flashlight on us.  Did the TSA groping drill to be sure no one had forgot anything, then used a blue gun.  For my newbies, a blue gun is just that.  A plastic "gun" that is blue.  It really is a gun shaped object.  The slide doesn't move, there is no where to put bullets or snap caps. It is just a molded piece of blue plastic in the shape of a gun.

We took turns laying on our back, bad guy on top, grab, pop hip, shove off, grab gun, shoot.  This is where I got bruised.  My hips are boney and tossing someone off of me, made my hips black and blue and sore.  I also have a large bruise on  my thigh, clueless as to how I got that.  Again, I felt good about this, but in a way - not.  My bad guy was my husband, so he was on top of me and I don't think he was trying very hard.  I understand simulation and I know no one wants me to kick them etc, but I would have preferred actually being pushed to the ground and trying to get a person who was trying off of me.  The technique is so important and that repetition is vital, for skill building and mindset.  It's not good to just lie there and say, well, I am toast, but I don't know if I could really get a big huge dude off of me.  My take away really was, I do not want him to be able to get me on the ground.  For the record John said that.  He did not endorse letting the bad guy A. get close or B. Get you on the ground.  I am just stating the obvious. My mind was fine for this drill and I think it would have been no matter what, but since there was man on woman, we did it with couples.  Again, I think it would have actually been better for both my mindset and skill building, it the bad guy was not my husband.  I am not afraid of him, I know him well and I know he was not "trying".  By afraid, I don't mean I want to train with someone who scares me, I just mean there was not once ounce of apprehension or anticipation. I know that training is not all about me.  I am not the only person to be considered and no one wants to lose a knee, the family jewels or an eye to my obsessive need to learn, I'm just saying.

We did some drills where we were pushed up against the wall and the bad was choking us.  We learned to drop the knees to get slack and push the arms out, run, grab gun etc.  Again, my husband didn't really choke me and I was kind of annoyed (I am strange like that) I said, "Babe, you are not trying"  So, for the next few times he did and it was more difficult to get his hands off of me, but I felt a little better about those attempts.  The Refuse The Mount, the bad guy on top and the back against the wall drills were very valuable to me, for what should seem like obvious reasons.  My son is a pretty large man and I am gonna make him do the drills with me.  I don't think he will try very hard either, but just by virtue of his size and mine, it will pose a very big challenge for me.

We ended with some basic marksmanship type drills.  I suck at those.  I can shoot accurately on the move, under stress, from my knees, on back etc, but ask me to line up the sites and shoot, forget it.  I hate the sites on my M & P. For the record neither John or Mr.s Awesome like my sites either.  I shot Mr. Awesome's 1911 with Heinie Sites and those I loved. Also for the record, I really loved his 1911.

As with any range session I could write endless posts and I am know I leaving things out, but this pretty much covers the main points.  I had a great day!!!  I learned so much and I did not have any flashbacks, I did not get shaky or have an emotional breakdown.  I did not cry and I did not have any nightmares.  Something did happen in my mind about the attack, but I will save that for another post.

I consider myself beyond fortunate to have access to the kind of people and training I have.  These people, their commitment to help me has literally saved my life.  Not just physically, but my mind.  Having the tools and support has helped me heal in a way that lets me have a quality of life that is free from fear.  Knowing I can defend myself and knowing I have people I can go to, well I consider it a blessing straight from God.  Also, I just fricken love it.  I am serious, if God himself came down, stood in front of me and said the world is safe.  You will never be harmed again, I would still call up John and say, hey wanna teach me how to roll around on the ground and shoot? 

P.S. my God is about my personal faith.  For me he is a he and he is in heaven and all that, but when I say "God", I mean a benevolent loving God and I don't mean him to be exclusive or limited to my version of him.  I just mean, I believe in a Devine-ness that has sent me foul mouthed, politically incorrect, often crude men (& women) who I adore, that's all.


At March 11, 2012 at 8:08 AM , Blogger Tango Juliet said...

Good stuff! We all need to get pushed out of our comfort zones with our training. Learning to draw a gun in awkward positions is paramount IMHO. Clearing the cover garment and drawing the gun one handed is important as well. It's amazing how busy the off hand can be in an up close and personal encounter.

And I'm like you. Even if some divine being could issue me a guarantee that I'd never, ever need a gun for defensive purposes, I'd still train. It's both challenging and fun!

I don't know what's going on with you and the gunsights though. Some folks think they're important. :)

Blessed are those who, in the face of death, focus on the front sight. - Col. Jeff Cooper

At March 11, 2012 at 8:13 AM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Hey goofy pants. I like sites in general and I use them, I just don't like the ones on my M & P. the white dots are distracting to me. I need to buy different ones, but you know money and all that:)

At March 11, 2012 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Job! What Tango Juliet said! I'm linking this post to my blog, because, people need to get out of their comfort zone.
Guffaw in AZ

At March 11, 2012 at 9:54 AM , Blogger Tango Juliet said...

Goofy pants? Where'd that come from? :)

Anyways, as long as you're hitting what you're aiming at, you must be doing something right. I didn't realize your issue was with the issue M&P sights in particular.

I'm glad to hear that you do like some sights.

At March 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM , Blogger 45er said...

Great training! For your jamming issue in shooting from "retention" (gun close to the body before you extend the arms) if you "flag" your thumb up (basically the thumb of your shooting hand sticking up between you and the slide) you will have something to create distance between you and the slide. It also is a great way to index to the same spot. Try it just shooting at the range and see how you like it. It should keep the slide from bumping you and fouling the gun.

At March 11, 2012 at 2:14 PM , Blogger Critter said...

do some more point shooting. it's very useful at these sorts of hand touching ranges and very fast.

At March 11, 2012 at 2:33 PM , Blogger Larry said...

Train like you fight, fight like you train.

If the white dots distract you, color them in with a Sharpie.

A day at the range is always well spent. Thursday I take my daughter to the range, I have the .22 and my range partner has a variety of 9mm handguns for her to try out. It should be fun.

At March 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

This is brand new information. Why hasn't anyone told me I know, your right and I do. I am still learning my gun, so I haven't made a lot of adjustments to it, but I probably will start now. Thanks! I heard about your upcoming range trip. Can't wait for the AAR.

At March 11, 2012 at 3:45 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Yep. I needs lots of practice.

At March 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Excellent. I will try that. Thank you!

At March 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Ahh, thank you!

At March 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Heeheehee. I edited the post to make it more clear. Thanks! I have a love hate relationship with sites. I think it's my eyes, because I do line them up and I do understand the concept very well. Somedays I shoot like a champ and then others, well, not so much:)

At March 11, 2012 at 3:51 PM , Blogger Old NFO said...

Good lessons learned, and if you don't like the sights, CHANGE THEM! And good lesson learned on the holsters too! That is why I like the 4:30 position vice the kidney position! If you're on your back, that weapon is NOT available until you can roll to clear it!

At March 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

I know, I know, but if you knew how much money I have spent this last year on training, guns etc and I still don't have a knife or any mag. pouches or really good ears, so sites are on hold. My sweet family is probably going to get sick of me spending all their fun money pretty soon:) I struggle with the carry position. I can't carry a big gun up front and I like a bigger gun, but I also don't like it in the back where it is not as accessible. Ugh:)

At March 11, 2012 at 4:10 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

However, I haven't actually tried carrying my M & P more upfront, so I just cleared my gun and I am gonna do a little testing this evening.

At March 11, 2012 at 4:18 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

I hate to be obsessive about this, but I think 430 for a right handed person is exactly the same spot I carry except on the left side., about 830. Just behind my hip bone.

At March 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I replaced mine. I'll have to look and see what they are, but it was a huge improvement. They are the Trijicon night sights. Mine have a pointy rear sight that I've whacked the crap out of my elbow in, but as sights they are awesome.

At March 11, 2012 at 7:03 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Mine has moved to 4:30 (yes, 8:30 would be the left hand variant). I used to carry farther back, but I like it as close to 4 (9) without losing conceal-ability.
Also, when I took a class with Tom Givens, his wife said that women should do that particular draw more to the side than men do specifically because of the boob issue. I'm not particularly well-endowed, but it still helped. Instead of bringing your support hand to your sternum, go ahead and cross it over. Rock the pistol out and go up your side.

At March 11, 2012 at 7:04 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

BTW-I love hearing reports of how Michael's holsters function in hard training. Glad it did well for you.

At March 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM , Blogger GunDiva said...

This is an excellent post! More people should train that way. Hell, *I* should train that way. I've never done it, but I think it's on the menu for next time I'm out at the range.

I think it's very important for women to understand that the fight's not over when you're on the ground. My daughter wrestled for a season (I wish it had been longer), but the take away there was that even if the fight goes to the ground it's not over!

At March 11, 2012 at 9:39 PM , Blogger GunDiva said...

Forgot about the boob issue. I dang nearly turned my boob inside out at one match when the slide came back and tagged me square on the nipple. Man, that will take your breath away.

I do try to warn women of it when I teach, because it hurt enough that I don't want anyone else to go through it.

At March 11, 2012 at 9:46 PM , Blogger eiaftinfo said...

Great post - sounds like a great day of training. Lots of great lessons learned, sounded like fun and sounds like you have new things to work on. Good work! Enjoy!

At March 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Sport Pilot said...

Nicely written article covering solid and practical training that more people who choose to carry a firearm should also be doing. Weapon retention drills are a bit hard on the hands and side but actually work very well in the real world. Practice your speed rock for weapon retention and continue building skill sets and confidence.

At March 13, 2012 at 5:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to come practice with you, you have way more fun!

For your friends retention issue, just curious, if she puts a double checked unloaded gun in the holster, turns it upside down over a soft surface, like a bed, and gives a vigorous shake, does it fall out?

At March 13, 2012 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Blog Author said...

I'm another woman, newly carrying concealed, and my weapon of choice is a Glock 19. That thing is huge. I too am rather curvy so unless I want to carry it in a fanny pack (which is so obvious if I'm also carrying a purse), the only place I have a hope of it not sticking out and the stock totally printing thru my clothes is in the back, with a loose untucked shirt or jacket over it. But carrying it there is giving me a backache, it's hard to drive that way, and I dread being knocked on my ass, I think it would really hurt. The other gripe I have is that women's pants are too low-cut and all stretch anymore. This makes the gun weigh down the pants, and also most belts are not long enough for going on the hips. Also most modern jackets are too short to cover it up, but I've found one or two.

So far my solution (as right handed) is to wear a left handed in the pants holster behind me on a sturdy belt that is NOT attached to my pants, but a little higher and under the shirt. This also works with a skirt. A random-ish printed design on clothes also helps hide the print of the gun. The one I'm using is an Elite. That WON'T come off with the gun, but the clip is very stiff - it is very hard to put on the belt. I have also tried a Blackhawk in the pants holster. The plastic clip on that one is really weak, but it's easy to put on.

I am saving up for a smaller 9mm, maybe a Taurus or the new Ruger. That smaller Taurus also comes in .40 but I want 9mm so I can use the ammo I already have. I also got happy with some leather and made my own velcroed leg rig that you can clip a holster on, the Glock is just too big for it, but I think the smaller Taurus will work. (one could carry both!)

Another thing I want to try is a belly band, or maybe a shoulder holster. A belly band might work in the summer.

Being curvy with a big gun is a real challenge!

At March 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Being a woman in general makes carrying a gun a Thanks for sharing some of your ideas! Awesome!!

At March 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

Thank you! I will check out the link when I get to a computer.

At March 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...

The joys of being a

At March 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM , Blogger agirlandhergun said...



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