Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hold It Like You Own It

One of the biggest mistakes I see with women shooters, especially new ones, is a fear to take control of their gun.  Having a gun that fits properly is just the first step; proper grip is the second.  YouTube is full of videos mocking women shooters who have hit themselves in the head with whichever handgun their "friends" have given them to shoot.  Those videos infuriate me for one reason - with proper instruction, no one would ever get tattoo'd by their handgun.

Proper grip will allow you to control the recoil and bring the gun back on target much more quickly, which means you can get your next shot off much more quickly.

Attitude is crucial when handling guns.  If you are afraid of it, or of the recoil, it will bite you.  Tara's favorite phrase when dealing with new shooter is, "Hold it like you own it, not like it owns you."  You control the gun, not the other way around. 

A good grip starts the same way you check for fit, with the gun snugged into the web between your thumb and first finger.  Your index finger should rest along the frame of the gun, the other fingers wrapped comfortably around the grip.  Your support hand should be wrapped around the gun, covering the fingers of your strong hand, both thumbs facing forward.

Having your support hand wrapped around your strong hand helps control muzzle flip - when the gun fires, the front end of the muzzle will "flip" up.  Not controlling the muzzle flip is what caused all those women in the YouTube videos to smack themselves in the head.

It used to be popular to support the gun in a "tea cup" grip, with the support hand cupped underneath the gun, like a saucer under a tea cup.  The problem is that the gun can flip up off of the "saucer", leaving the strong hand to control the gun and bring it back down on target.  In order to avoid that from happening, people who use the tea cup grip will hold on tightly to their strong hand and pull down, which can cause their shots to dive.

Thumb position is very important when shooting a semi-automatic.  Semi-automatics are designed so that when they fire, the slide is forced backward, ejecting the fired brass and reloading a new cartridge.  If your support thumb is wrapped around the back of the gun the slide will take off skin when it cycles.  It hurts.  A lot.  Trust me on this one.  Keep those thumbs out of the way.

Having the gun tucked into the web of your hand will direct recoil back through your wrist, through your arm and into your body.  Absorbing the recoil with your body instead of your thumb (as with a poorly fitting gun) will make shooting even the biggest gun a lot more fun.

Here's a slow-motion video of me shooting; watch the muzzle flip up and notice how my grip helps to bring the gun back down on target so I can get the next shot off.  Thanks to my flabby, out of shape arms, you'll also be able to see the recoil travel from the gun to my body.

Now here's the same clip at "normal" speed.  In slow-mo, the muzzle flipped looked huge, but in this clip it's minimal.  You can also see how my support hand balances out the upward movement of the gun, simply by resisting the movement.  I don't have to muscle it down like I would if I used a tea cup grip.

Friday, March 11, 2011

28 Hours of Hope Update everyone who linked up, re-posted, or donated to the 28 Hours of Hope.  If you haven't donated and think you can make it through the day without your espresso, why don't you donate your coffee money for the day?  Every little bit helps and together over $36000 was raised.  There's still time to donate (about 45 minutes), so I'll leave the link in the sidebar. 

Thank you all so much!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

28 Hours of Hope

In the three years or so since I've been blogging, I've seen bloggers who have never met face-to-face pull together to help little girls with cancer, mommies with cancer, people just having a rough time who need a shoulder to cry on and have seen the bloggers stand together, strong, through good times and bad.

I've been lucky enough to participate in the blogging community and have been blessed enough to help some of our fellow bloggers.

This time, I'm asking for help.  Not for me, but for abused children in Larimer County.  I was lucky enough growing up that my mom got us out of a potentially abusive environment.  She took the beatings for us until she said, "enough!" and got out.  She had a very wise counselor at the time who told her that she was going to get out of the marriage no matter what - she either gathered her courage and left, or she'd get out of it in a pine box.  There were no options.  He also explained that wife beaters don't stop with the wives - they move on to the pets and the children and when he killed her, who was going to protect the kids?

People knew about the beatings Mom was recieving, but what is there to do?  Our close neighborhood friends knew, but, you know, what happens behind closed doors, how is it their business?

We kids knew.  Hell, Dad would line us up on the couch in birth order and command us not to move when the beatings commenced.  We knew, but we didn't say anything.  It was our own dirty secret.  If we told, we'd be the ones getting the beating.  Selfish, I know, but we were kids.  Dad was a big, strong firefighter.  What chance did we have against him?

Silence was our enemy. 

We didn't tell. 

The neighbors didn't tell. 

The teachers didn't tell.


Thank God for Mom's counselor.  I don't know if she told or if he figured it out.  He was a smart man.  Smart enough that he knew the patterns of abusers.  When Dad started in on Junior, the youngest of the four of us, Mom realized her counselor was right and got out.

There are a lot of kids nationwide, not just in Larimer County, whose parents aren't as strong as Mom is.  There are a lot of kids for whom Silence is their enemy.

They don't tell.

Their neighbors don't tell.

Their teachers don't tell.

Silence...'s killing our kids.

The Good Morning Guys at K99 sponsor the 28 Hours of Hope every year in an attempt to break the silence and raise money to help abused children in Larimer County.  They will stay on the air for 28 consecutive hours, taking calls and pledges from the community and Country Music celebrities.  They went on the air at 5:00 am this morning and will continue to be on the air until 9:00 am on March 11th.  Jeez, and I complain about working fifteen hours straight - these guys will be working non-stop for twenty-eight hours for a cause they believe in.

RockCrawlinChef and I will be making a donation and I'd like to ask each of my followers to make one, too.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  Even $1.00 on your credit or debit card will help.  The change in your car's ashtray or change jar will help.  To donate, click here or on the picture in the sidebar, that will take you directly to the donation page.  You can make a donation on-line, over the phone, or via mail.

If you can't afford to donate, then do something about the Silence.  If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, tell someone.  Break the cycle of Silence.  All it takes is a phone call to break the cycle - either to the police department or social services.

And, please, please feel free to steal this post for your own blogs or link to it.  The more exposure we can get, the more we can help the children and break the Silence.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Does Your Pistol Fit You?

By:  GunDiva

No one would wear clothes or shoes that are uncomfortable and don't fit on purpose, right?  We know that we might squeeze into a pair of pants or shoes for a short period of time just to look good, but we'd rather not do it.  If we had our druthers, we'd always wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

So why on earth would we women settle for shooting guns that don't fit?  I'll tell you why - because most of us got our start shooting our dad's, brother's, or significant other's guns.  They probably fit the males in our life, but most assuredly didn't fit us.  I'll clarify my phrase probably - there are a lot of avid male shooters out there that don't know if their gun fits them either.  From my experience, men are great about making sure their long guns fit them properly, but don't pay much attention to their pistol fit.  Maybe that's because if a long gun doesn't fit properly, it tells you about it often and painfully.  But if a pistol doesn't fit, it's only slightly uncomfortable.

Finding a gun with the proper fit will make all the difference in your shooting.  Your accuracy will increase, your speed will increase, you'll flat-out have a lot more fun and be less fatigued at the end of the day.

To determine if a gun fits you, pick it up in your dominant hand (after ensuring that it has been properly unloaded), placing the back of the gun in the web between your thumb and fingers.  The gun must fit snuggly into that webbed area; that way, when you fire, the recoil is allowed to move straight back into your wrist and arm.  If the gun's not tucked in there properly, the recoil is typically moved back into your hooked thumb.  Can you shoot that way?  Yep.  Is it uncomfortable?  Yep.  Will it fatigue your hand quickly? Yep.  Most importantly, though, not having the gun tucked into the web of your hand will affect your accuracy.

Next, lay your trigger finger along the frame of the gun and look at the your finger in relation to the trigger.  With the gun tucked properly into your hand, your index finger should extend beyond the curved end of the trigger.  If it doesn't, then you'll end up making an unconscious adjustment to reach that trigger.  The adjustment will be to "hook" the back of the gun with your thumb so you can reach.  Remember that moving the gun out of the web between your thumb and fingers will redirect the recoil of the gun, allowing it to move into your thumb instead of your wrist and arm.

If your finger extends beyond the trigger without adjusting the position of the gun in your hand, move your finger onto the trigger.  You should be able to place the middle of the pad on your index finger on the trigger, while flexing the second and third joint of your finger.  If you have to keep your finger straight to touch the trigger, the pistol doesn't fit.  There should be visible space between the gun and your flexed index finger.

A gun that fulfills those three simple things is a gun that fits you.  Take a look at how my Para fits my hand:

Gun tucked securely into the webbing between my thumb and fingers: CHECK
Finger extends beyond the curved end of the trigger: CHECK

Middle of the pad of my index finger fits on the trigger, with the second and third joints of the finger flexed and the gun is still tucked into my hand properly: CHECK

Another view of my finger on the trigger, the middle of the pad is securely on the trigger without shifting the gun out of the webbing of my hand.

Now, take a look at this Sig that doesn't fit my hand at all:
Top Left: you can see that I'm having a hard time getting the gun tucked into my hand properly.  I can't even lay my finger along the frame smoothly.

Top Right: my finger is attempting to reach the trigger.  I can sort of hook it with the very tip of my finger.

Bottom Left: you can see that I had no chance of laying my finger on the trigger properly - it barely reaches the trigger.

Bottom Right: in order to even get this much of my finger on the trigger, I had to shift the gun so that I was hooking it with my thumb.

Next time you're out at the range, be sure to pay attention to how the gun your shooting fits you.  If it means that you'll have to modify your gun or *gasp* buy one that actually fits, you won't regret doing so.  Your shooting experience will improve dramatically, as will your control and accuracy.