Monday, January 31, 2011

Winners! We Have Winners!

Whew!  Lots of fast and furious commenting on both give-away blogs.  Winners were drawn using Random Name Picker.

Drumroll please...

The seven winners of the SHOT Show swag are:
  • Colleen B
  • Ursula
  • Stephanie
  • Vaquerogirl
  • Midlife Mom
  • K. T. Sparks
  • Funder
The winner of a signed copy of LOOSE ENDS is:
  • Tori Lennox
Congratulations to all of our winners!  Please email me by midnight Friday, February 4th with your snail mail address so I can get these out in the mail.  I will re-gift any prize not claimed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Drum Roll, Please.. We Have Another Guest!

By: Mrs Mom

Ladies (and gents), it pleases me to no end to invite you all to read below, a guest post by the ever amazing Momma Fargo. What? You have not read anything by Momma Fargo? Don't mind me saying so, but I highly suggest you rectify that situation post haste! Momma Fargo- a one of a kind, witty, intelligent, talented writer is not just a Pistol Packin' Momma- oh no. Momma Fargo is also a law enforcement officer in the wilds of the north west. Her blog is filled with insight, humor, heartbreak and a birds eye view of what being a "girl" in law enforcement is about. Five star reading to be sure!

With out further ado, I present
Momma Fargo.

Enjoy! And be SURE to pay her a visit!

First, let me tell you what an honor it is to be a part of Girls With Guns! I’m so flattered I think I’m going to pee my pants! Stand by…
OK.*tap, tap* Is this thing on? Ok. I put my big girl panties on. No bladder problems…or at least I think I can, I think I can… But… I’m so excited! OOOOey and we get to talk about guns. ..and safety…and being a big girl in this world!
I was not always so excited about guns. Let me take you back to my experience. See…my dad was a tough guy…a man’s man. And well, I was the oldest. Although he wanted me to be a lady…I fished, I rode wild horses, I drove tractors, I got dirty. At 8…dad decided I was old enough to have my first gun. Mind you…I wasn’t thrilled. I mean, seriously…they didn’t even come in pink back then.
He had me open it up...all wrapped pretty…a shiny Remington .22 rifle. A brick of .22 shells to boot. Weak smile…”thanks, dad”…and in brown. At 8…PINK was my world. Oh…I was a tomboy..but I loved pink. Later, I would learn that brown and green are my favorite colors…such as in …camoflauge. YEAHUS! didn’t stop there. Dad took me to the haystack where he was so excited for me to shoot my first round. I imagine I had a trench from the house to the haystack where he shoved me in my boots all the way there, toting the .22 rilfe and tiny shiny bullets.
I remembered he put some tin cans up on some bales…Olympia beer type to be exact…his beer of choice which later turned into Miller. But that’s a different story. I digress. Back to the gun thingy. “A lady has to know how to defend herself”, he always said...”besides you can start practicin’ by shooting all those gophers that are playing hell with my irrigation ditches.” Call me a naysayer…but protect myself against gophers…prairie dogs…what? It was 1975 for Pete’s sake. ..not like the age of crime these days. What? Was the grain man going to rape me in the wood shed? I thought dad was on crack…although at 8 I didn’t even know what crack was…unless it was that stuff plumber’s were made out of.
So…days of Ward and June…you didn’t argue with your dad…or your mom who was always wielding a fly swatter as her weapon of choice next to flying her broom. You did as you were told. I did as I was told. I think I was sweating bullets.
All I really remember about that day after the first fire…was I fell down. Not from the kick of the gun mind you…afterall, it was just a .22 long gun. No kick. I was so scared that the big “boom!” …ok it was more like a pop…frightened me to the ground…causing me…to throw the gun forward like a hot potato. And it was the devil. Dad was none too proud of that one…but he laughed hysterically…and like a good father would…GIT BACK UP ON THAT HARSE! Damn the luck. I had to do it again and again and again. If I didn’t like it…I had better fake it that guns were a girls’ best friend. Dammit. Where’s my Barbies?
In fact…I still sit here today wondering when they are going to have a gun totin’ Barbie? Come on!
I had the best father in the world. Even though he was rough and tough like John Wayne, he had a heart of gold and taught me many valuable lessons in the world. He still is my voice of reason... although he has been gone since I was 21.
Sgt. Downtown Brown and I took out my first .22 rifle just the other day…oiled it up…and shot it off the back deck like a couple of hillbillies. It still works…like a charm. Oh…I’ve added a scope and a bigger magazine..a girl’s gotta have a little fun, right?
I have come more accustomed to shooting since I became a cop. I still have a lot to learn…and I can’t own enough guns or have too much ammunition. Thanks, Dad.
So with that…I would tell any woman out there who is thinking of carrying or shooting a gun…
(1) Do it at least once. If it scares you…get a good trainer and practice. Be familiar with it. Be comfortable…it might save your life one day. Be the gun!
(2) If you can’t like it or can’t get comfortable…don’t pack it. You are a danger to yourself and others. Get a dog. And make it a mean one and walk it. In public.
(3) Buy it in pink. Guns with sparkle farkle are cool. Trust me. My daughter has a pink .22 rifle. I tried to steal it… once. Just once. She squealed like a good girl should when someone tries to steal your gun.
(4) Take a safety course. Do it! Even if you don’t like guns or want one. (Are you crazy? Guns rock!) Actually, you might have to take it away from someone someday. Don’t be without knowledge.
(5) Don’t ever let your gun collect dust. Practice, practice.
(6) Clean it like you do your hoohah. Clean barrels make sharp shooters. Yes, I’m talking about the guns.
And that leads to safety awareness. PAY ATTENTION! Do I need to preach this? Don’t be distracted. Walk tall. Carry yourself with confidence. Scan your surroundings. Pack your heater (not a frickin’ Lennox stove) and know when you need to grab it or your pepper spray (not for cooking) or both. Take a self-defense class and a shooting class. Arm yourself with knowledge! And remember one thing….if the hairs on your neck go up…it’s for a reason…even if you don’t see a threat. Don’t ignore what is naturally born in us. Be a woman…and a strong woman…wherever you are.
Socker games are deadly, ladies! Trust me! Ok…maybe a little over the top on that one…but you never know…that was the point I was making.
Thank you to the GIRLS for letting me guest post. It has been a HUGE honor! Keep up the fantastic work!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Q&A with Tara Janzen

By: GunDiva and Tara

Today is the big release of LOOSE ENDS, the final book in Tara's Steele Street series.  We got the chance to ask Tara a few questions about her shooting habit.  She's also generously donated a signed copy of LOOSE ENDS to one of our commenters.  Just leave a comment between now and Sunday night at midnight CST and we'll choose a winner using a random name generator.

1) What influenced the decision to learn to shoot?

After writing the first two CRAZY books, CRAZY HOT and CRAZY COOL, I realized I really needed to at least hold a gun in my hand to see what it felt like. Here I was, writing about these super cool guys who drove hot cars and were weapons specialists, and I had never even held a handgun. So I went down to the greatest gun shop in the world, Colorado Gun Works, and the more questions I asked and the more answers I got, I realized I needed to do more than just hold a gun. I needed to actually shoot one.

2) What was the first gun you shot, and what did you think of it?

The first gun was a .22 pistol I used for the first pistol class I took. I wasn't very excited about shooting the .22, but I was there to learn, and I was learning some very important stuff, especially gun handling and safety issues - then I was offered a .45 - and everything changed for me. I was wary about pulling the trigger on the .45 for the first time, because I knew this was a much bigger gun, with a lot bigger bang, and I wasn't sure how that was going to work out for me. The first shot went better than I had expected. I was pretty jazzed and thought "well, I ought to shoot another round" - so I did, and out of the blue I got the biggest grin on my face. I was soooo hooked - and that hasn't changed. I've bought a lot of guns since then, and shot even more than I've bought, and I'm getting ready to buy another pistol next month. For me, there is something so inherently fascinating about shooting. I never get tired of it. A day at the range, kicking around in the dirt and sending rounds downrange, is a great, great day.

3) What is your absolute favorite firearm?

I have a rifle, an "accurized" Remington 700 .308 with a Schmidt und Bender PMIIK scope that'll take me out to 1000 meters and let me nail a 10 inch target. It is a thing of beauty and grace, of stillness and breath, and challenge.

4) What advice would you offer to women who were just learning to shoot, or who want to learn to shoot?

a). Take a class, take lots of classes - practice and train.

b). Do not let your husband or boyfriend teach you how to shoot. GunDiva and I see a lot of really pitiful, dangerous teaching going on out there on the range with significant others. Find qualified, certified, experienced firearms teachers.

c). Have a pistol that fits your hand. I'm not talking caliber. Your pistol can be a .45, or a .40, or a 9mm - just make sure the grip is right for your hand. This will save a lot of marksmanship problems.

d). Clean your guns after you shoot them, and clean the magazines - this is not optional. Do it.

5) Did you think when you started the Steele Street series that you'd end up being such a proponent of the shooting sports?

It never occurred to me for a minute. When I started the series, I was more excited about the cars, all that American muscle from the 60's and early 70's - but then along came the guns, and the more I learned, the cooler all the guns in the books got. GunDiva and I just got back from Shot Show, and at one of the booths, I got to hold one of the guns I'd written into CRAZY LOVE, a Heckler and Koch UMP - very very cool! And YES, I want one!

Don't forget to go here to enter the give-away for SHOT Show swag!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SHOT Show give-aways!

Me and Tara with R. Lee Ermey.  Definitely worth the wait.

Tara and I brought back a lot of swag from Las Vegas and we thought we'd share.  Of course, there are strings attached, but they should be fairly painless.  Mrs Mom and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for us to learn more about our followers, and for you to learn more about each other.

I'm going to make up seven grab-bags of swag.  What you're going to do is leave a comment sharing with us a couple of things:
  • Tell us about your first gun memory; when did you learn to shoot, was it a positive experience, etc.
  • What drove you to learn to shoot (or for non-shooters, what makes you want to learn to shoot)?
  • What advice do you give new shooters or what advice do you wish you'd been given?
You'll have until midnight on January 29th to enter (one entry per commenter/follower), and I'll use a random name picker to choose the winners.  This is the perfect time for you lurkers to comment *hint, hint*.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Presents! I Brought Presents!

Lots and lots of swag at SHOT Show; as Tara and I were gathering them up, we decided they'd make great give-aways for the blog.  So...just as soon as I figure out how I want to give all of it away, we'll do so.

Just a couple of quick notes from the show:
  • Perhaps one of the all-time best bonuses of being a woman at SHOT Show - no lines in the bathroom!  Yep, you heard me right - no lines!  It effing rocked!
  • R. Lee Ermey is a charming gentleman.  We queued up about thirty feet from where he was going to be and waited and waited and waited.  But it wasn't because he was late, but because he took the time to talk to everyone.  The person (or people) in front of him got his full attention, and he spent time talking with everyone.
  • I fell in love.  Okay, okay, I was at a gun tradeshow - falling in love was inevitable.  I fell in love over and over again, but the gun that stole my heart was Para's new Slim Hawg.  And that's despite the idiot contracted salesman.  Please, Para-Ordinance, for next year's show, hire someone who knows the product, not some damn non-shooting contractor.
  • Steven at Springfield Armory was amazing - he took the time to sit and talk with Tara and me about the XDM.  Tara's been looking for one and had some questions that he patiently answered (and gave us two of the coolest hats ever - no, those aren't up for the give-away, we already put our cooties on them).
  • If you ever get the chance to go to dinner with two former Border Patrol Agents - take it!  It was a blast!  Thank you for an amazing evening, J and K.
  • And a big shout out to the other women shooters we met and chatted with - Maddie and Diane - we both love meeting women of a like mind.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Booze and Guns Don't Mix - So What's Wrong With This Picture?

Vertx Drink Ups - SHOT Show 2011
Each day at SHOT we'll be tapping kegs at 4pm. So stop by, grab a beer, meet some Operational Athletes and the Vertx team. Get there right at 4pm, as last year we kicked two kegs in less than an hour.

I'm sure some people will think I'm a big ole stick in the mud for this, but that open invitation to all attendees at SHOT Show really pisses me right the fuck off.  Gun owners/enthusiasts have a hard enough time because of all of the idiots who do mix booze and guns.  I find this extremely unprofessional and detrimental to the gun community.

No, I'm not against drinking.
No, I'm not against shooting sports.

I am, however, against supporting the stereotype that gun enthusiasts must mix the two in order to have a good time.  So far the Vertx folk have 162 people RSVP'd to their little party.  Now, that's only 1% of the anticipated attendees, but it still reinforces the stereotype and it pisses me off.

No wonder we have such a hard time against the vocal anti-gunners when our industry supports crap like this.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Die In The Parking Lot" by Tara Janzen

Yep, that was my motto way back when, BG, Before Guns came into my life. It all came about because of a college girl in my town. She worked at a clothing store in the mall. One night, I went into her store with a little extra cash to buy the coolest new outfit in the latest style – layering. Remember back when it first became cool to wear two shirts at the same time? With the under one showing via rolled up sleeves and an extra unbuttoned button at the throat? It was all too cool, and I wanted two shirts to wear together. The clerk was marvelous, spending all the time in the world with me to make sure I had just the right two shirts. The underneath one was a hot pink T-shirt material, and the on top one was a purplish, bluish plaid. I looked so cool when I walked out of the mall that night, got in my car, and went home. Safely.

A few weeks later, that beautiful, wonderful, precious college girl who had helped me was dead. Her picture and story was front page news in our local newspaper. She’d been kidnapped leaving work one night while walking across the mall parking lot to her car. They found her body someplace else.

You know the awful details. We all do, and I have read similar stories too many times since, local stories about a girl who lived two blocks from good friends of mine, another girl who went to junior high school with my children, a woman whose home in our town was burglarized twice before she was killed by the thief on his third foray into her home.

At the time of the college girl’s death, I swore to myself that I would die in the parking lot before I let anybody take me anywhere. That I would fight to the death, either my attacker’s or mine, before I would let myself be terrorized, raped, burned, beaten, mutilated or anything else. The list of atrocities is endless. Death I could handle, but not the rest of it, not without a killing rage welling up inside myself that screamed “FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE OR DIE TRYING.”

Then along came the Steele Street boys. They had guns, lots of guns, and they knew how to use them. As the author of these operators, I figured I should get to know guns. I’d never even held a handgun, so I figured that would be a good place to start. I was right, and it was while shooting a Springfield 1911 that I had a life-altering epiphany: “There is nothing like a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol to level the playing field. Any playing field.” To hell with dying in the parking lot.

Now, after years of shooting and training (TRAINING IS IMPORTANT!!!), I am still amazed that owning a gun and knowing how to use it for my own self-defense never crossed my mind before I started writing the Steele Street novels. The fact astounds me. Unless you really are Skeeter Bang or Red Dog, a woman is at a severe disadvantage in a physical struggle with an attacker. A .45 or a .38 or a 9mm changes the odds, drastically and in your favor, if you are willing to learn and train and step up. Let me repeat that last part: STEP UP. That’s right, step up and take responsibility for your personal safety.

A woman I know lives alone up in the mountains and thought maybe it would be a good idea if she got a gun, but her friends (friends????) convinced her that if someone broke into her home, they would only take her gun and use it against her. I could only stare, slack-jawed, at the mountain woman while she was telling me this story. When she finished, I said, “Well, they won’t take your gun and use it against you if you shoot the bastards first.” Duh. This is called Tactical Thinking, and I highly recommend it, especially when it comes to personal safety.

As for the woman who was killed by the thief, I still wonder why, in the very least, she didn’t get a big dog. The burglar only stole her underwear, which is so creepy, and ended up being deadly for her. She, of course, reported the incidents to the police, but even if you’re married to a policeman, he’s not going to be with you 24 hours a day. We all need to be responsible for our own safety – that’s the prime directive.

Until next time, GunDiva and I will be out there, practicing, practicing, practicing, putting those rounds downrange, armed and in charge.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Public Rampage Shooting Survival Guide

In the aftermath of the latest shooting spree MANY people have wondered what to do if it ever happened to or near them. There are a few things that you can do to minimize this but NO ONE can predict when or where this kind of psychotic behavior will erupt. If it ever does there are a few tips that can improve your chances of not being a statistic.

The FIRST thing is to get off the cell phone, ignore the many texts and PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings. Look for the oddball , or the person who is in WAAAAYY too big of a hurry for a normal situation. Be aware of the guy/gal that is dead set on reaching a person or destination with no regard to anything else. Also watch for the loner off to the side that seems completely innocuos BUT also has no real reason to be in THAT certain place.

BEFORE the mayhem begins know the exits and places that provide COVER, not concealment. Cover will protect you from stray bullets or ricochets, concealment will only hide you from the psycho. Jumping behind a wooden desk might seem like a good idea but modern bullets usually cut through wood like butter. Look for concrete walls or steel columns. Things that can stop a bullet or seriously reduce it's velocity.

IF the shooting ever does occur close to you then having used the 2 steps above you will be in a better mindset to deal with it. If it is a "random" shooter...move to cover and stay there. Movement attracts the human eye and you will draw fire. If you find yourself in the open then move as quickly and erratically as you can. Move laterally (lateral movement actually increases distance exponentially faster than a straight line) away from the shooter to the closest cover available. Shooters typically look for as many victims as possible so stay still behind cover. When the shooter stops to reload or moves towards you THEN it is time to get the hell out of dodge. The Army calls it "drop and move". Run about 10-15 feet then hit the ground rolling. Roll laterally and do it over until you are clear (or in the next county whichever is closer).

The last thing is children. Have them move ahead of you or you tell the child to stay under cover and YOU draw the shooter away from your kid. Make noise or scream or simply throw something...ANYTHING to keep them worried about you and not your child.

Last and very much LEAST is attacking the shooter yourself. DO NOT DO IT unless you are trained or it is the very LAST option you have. I know it is controversial but I will be damned if I will just sit there and wait to die if cornered. You fight with any and every thing you can possibly find. Sticks, metal cans of foods, purse, your shoes or your bare hands but by God you fight. NEVER QUIT!!!!

You have a family that loves and needs you so if you can run and get away then DO IT! Leave the apprehension or take down to law enforcement or others that are trained for this situation. If you do decide that you are cornered or there is no other option then you fight like a mama bear defending her cubs. Accept that someone is likely to die and then make the OTHER guy do it. (Or as they say in the movies.."Somebody is going to get hurt and it ain't gonna be me".)

**My thanks to Dear Husband for providing this information. Let's face it folks, Your BRAIN is ALWAYS your best defense. PAY ATTENTION- ALWAYS! Situational awareness will save your life. Intelligence will keep you alive, and your children alive.

Friday, January 7, 2011

We've Got A Visitor A'Comin!

My tall(er) blond friend and fellow GunDiva, Tara Janzen, will be joining us for a couple of guest posts.  I've told the story before, I think, but we met while she was doing research for her CRAZY/LOOSE series of books.  I was working at the gun shop and was asked to be a co-instructor for a family taking a basic handgun course from the Original Bad Boy.

I was beyond honored to be asked to co-instruct the class to begin with, but then I found out that the family included an award-winning author and since I've wanted to be a "real" author my whole life, I was beside myself.  Tara had started a series of romance/action books based in Denver; the Steele Street boys, a group of reformed juvenile delinquents, are now a part of a super secret government team working to stop the bad guys.  As part of her research, she took a basic handgun class.

I can't say that she was a natural with a handgun.  In fact, she wouldn't say she was a natural with a handgun, but she persevered and conquered it.  She is more than adequate with any of her handguns, but she comes alive with her rifle, a Remington 700 PSP topped with a Schmidt and Bender PM II. 

Her newest book LOOSE ENDS is being released on the 25th and she will join us for a Q&A session on its release date.  In the meantime, we'll be headed to SHOT Show and drooling over the guns.  And, for her, it's a research trip - which means write off.  I really need to get published - going to cool places and getting to write it off, is just about the coolest thing ever.

Join us on Wednesday, January 12th for Tara's Guest Post on why you should ALWAYS fight back (keeping with the Attitude theme).