Friday, February 24, 2012

You Just Never Know

I recently attended a State-wide Training for an event I've been volunteering for for several years (a non-gun-related event).  I'm "out of the closet" as a shooter and have been for a very long time, I don't try to hide the fact I'm a shooter and I love my guns, so I wasn't suprised when one of the other women at the training couldn't wait to tell me her husband had bought her a gun of her very own.

What did surprise me, thought it shouldn't have, was the sheer number of women (all in their sixties or better) who surrounded us and threw in their two-cents' worth about their favorite guns.  I was in gunnie heaven.  Easily eighty percent of the women that attended the meeting were shooters and several were carrying.

The only people not participating in the conversation?  The handful of men in the room.  In fact, they looked decidedly uncomfortable to see a gaggle of women get so excited about the guns in their lives, their favorite places to shoot, and their favorite targets.

Just thinking about the State-wide training makes me smile.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Bonding

Ashinator loading up her mags.

I got to spend the day with my daughter, Ashinator.  We started our day by breaking the bank at the eye doctor's.  Not exactly a fabulous way to start a fun day, but a necessary stop.  Lunch, then off to the indoor range.  I've only shot at one other indoor range, and that was years ago with Tara at Valhalla, just a couple of months before they closed.  Since we had private lessons there, we didn't really get the whole "indoor range" experience.  I've always shot outside, always with the ability to move.  I couldn't quite wrap my head around standing in a shooting stall and not going anywhere and I didn't know what to expect.

We first met up with my brother, Junior, and my future SIL, M, for lunch and then headed to the range.  We weren't the only ones who thought to spend the day at the range; when we got there, we were told there was an hour to an hour and a half wait.  Oops, didn't plan that very well.

Since we had time, Ashinator and I ran over to have our brows waxed.  Seems an odd combination for some - from the salon to the range - but it was a girls' day, so it worked for us.  With our newly shaped eyebrows, we signed in and met Junior and M.  The local indoor range has eight 25-yard lanes, which  are $20/hr to rent or $30/hr for two people per lane. They also advertise rental guns, but since we own plenty of our own guns, I didn't explore the rental options.

We got dressed in the store - eyes and ears - before entering the airlock to the range.  I expected eight lanes to take up a whole lot more space than it does.  The range was much more open than I anticipated.  I had built up a dark, dreary, cave-like facility in my mind - and I couldn't have been more wrong.

Junior and M were already on their range taking turns putting holes in their targets.  M purchased her first handgun three weeks ago, an XDM in 9mm.  She's only been shooting a couple of times, yet when I went with her to help her buy her gun, she hit the nail on the head...I asked if she was sure the gun she wanted was the right one and she said, "it feels like home". 

I think that far too many women get pressured into buying or shooting a gun that someone else, with more so-called "knowledge", thinks is a good gun.  M was absolutely correct in her statement.  She had the opportunity to shoot several different handguns before buying hers, but when she picked it up, she knew it was the right one.

I think it's safe to say, not only does it feel like "home" to her, she can shoot it like nobody's business...
There are a whole lot of holes in that target.
This was M's fourth time shooting - first shooting HER gun.
Ash and I quickly set up on our lane and took turns.  We did okay, not fabulous, for our first few targets.
Ashinator's first target:
Not bad,
not spectacular
My first target:
Not bad,
not spectacular
Ash wasn't thrilled with her groups and developed a bad flinch.  We adjusted her grip and her finger position on the trigger and her groups came along nicely.  The flinch, I couldn't do anything about.  I thought it was anticipation causing the flinch, but when I watched her closely, she was flinching when the guy in the lane next to us fired off his long-gun.  The sound and the resulting air disturbance was causing all of us to flinch.  I just didn't realize it until I watched her closely.  Only then did I realize I was flinching, too.  When you're used to shooting outdoors and suddenly you're enclosed, it's a whole different feeling.  With practice, she was able to overcome the flinch.
I'd say she overcame it pretty well,
wouldn't you?
Ashinator's a bad-ass.
Yup, that's my daughter :)
An hour at the range and six targets only cost us $36.  I'm not counting ammo costs, because that would just be a downer and I want to end the day on a happy note.

I love that I can spend the day at the range with my daughter and I'm proud of the shooter she's becoming.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Retail Therapy

I had a really crappy day at work.  All one hour and forty-five minutes I was there before I decided to take a mental health day.

I don't know that the mental health day worked, but I at least didn't have to pretend I was happy to be at work.

So, what does GunDiva do when she's upset? One of two things: eat or shop.  Since I'm trying to lose weight, I had to choose shopping.  Not just any old kinda shopping either.  I'm not really girly, so the "typical" shopping wasn't going to work for me.  Nope.  No shoes or clothes or make-up.  None of that stuff.

Instead, this is what I bought...
Rocky, the bleeding zombie target
We'll see how well Rocky stands up to one of our marathon shooting days

I'm pretty excited about Rocky.  He makes me smile.  I've been eyeballing these "bleeding" zombie targets for a few months now, but I know he's only going to be good for one outing.  That's fine, though, because RCC has his GoPro camera mounted on Medusa (his shotgun).  I can't wait to see what the video shows.

Rocky made me feel better and then I saw this...

This can be used over and over again, all you have to do is replace the clays once you bust them out.  Precision zombie shooting anyone?

Now I've just got to arrange a shooting day with my boys and Tara.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Project

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from Defensive Pistol contacted me about his tactical handgun course.  He's been teaching basic pistol for a couple of years now, and has been holding his tactical class about once a quarter.  But demand for his tactical class has gone up and he's looking to add instructors, so he contacted me.

I couldn't answer him fast enough!  Hell yes, I will help him out and teach his tactical classes. We get to work on:
  • draws
  • point shooting
  • flash site pictures
  • reloads (administrative, tactical, and one-handed)
  • and outage drills
Essentially, he told me, anything that we've done at a Defensive Pistol match we'll be covering in class.

I'll be co-teaching his class first, in a couple of weeks, before I branch out on my own.  Since it's a class of his own design, I want to make sure I'm teaching it the way he wants it taught, so there will be lots of note-taking on my part.  Since I am a teacher in real life, I know how it feels to turn your "baby" over to another teacher.  Because of that, I'll be diligent in making sure the class is taught the way it's designed.

I love doing new things and I think this teaching gig will be right up my alley!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's The Day...

No, not Valentine's Day.

Today is the day the anti-gunners are boycotting Starbucks for refusing to refuse service to law-abiding, gun carrying citizens.

What does that mean?

It means that in order to show our appreciation for Starbucks not wanting to trample on our rights, they should be getting our business.

Check out North's short post and very cool picture about the Valentine's Day Buycott.

If I get off work before Starbucks closes, I'll strap on and go spend my money.  Let's not let this anti-gunner boycott hurt their business one iota.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blog Bling!

I was pleasantly surprised last week when CG from Wren Loop Thoroughbreds left a message that she'd given us an award.  Hopefully, you'll see this award continue to get passed around, as I plan on doing my share to spread the love.

There are some rules, but they're easy to follow:
1. Copy and paste the award on our blog. (Check)
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award.  (Check)
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award. (In process)
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

Seeing as how we're a gun blog, I'm going to try to keep our five winning blogs gun-related, so welcome to our fellow GunDivas (and one GunDude)...

1.  A Girl and Her Gun - A Girl has only been a fellow shooter for not even a year, but she's bravely chronicling her entry into the world of guns.
2.  Country Tea at Girls With Guns entered the gun blogger world just four short months ago.
3.  That Texas Lady, who I just found via Country Tea.
4.  Lynne over at Female and Armed is heading up the National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day on June 9th.
5.  Had to add a GunDude here, Shepherd K at Preachers and Horse Thieves.  His blog isn't strictly a gun blog, but he is exceptionally smart when it comes to all things that go bang.  His zombie gun lists always spark a lot of thought and conversation.

If I've listed a blog here that you've never visited, please stop on by their blogs to tell them hello.

Magazine Change - Weak-handed

Thank you to Lynne at Female and Armed for the goodies that arrived in the mail yesterday!  I got a button with her web logo on it, which will go on my range bag...
...and a coffee cup that says about the most true statement I've read (and have uttered many times myself)..."A Bad Day At The Range Beats A Good Day At The Office".  All I can say to that is, AMEN!

Since last year, I've made it my mission to learn to shoot as well weak-handed as strong.  Let me tell you, it has been a struggle, but I'm getting more and more comfortable with it.

Though the process is the same as for strong-hand mag changes, I did find that I had to adapt a couple of things.

First, I don't have an ambidextrous magazine release on my gun, so I had to work my way around that.  I found that I could use the middle finger of my right hand to push the mag release and then pull the magazine out that way.
Sorry for the poor quality, had the wrong camera settings

Reloading the magazine is the same as doing it strong-handed for me, so that went well.
Still index the first round,
then slam the magazine home.
It took some thought, though, for me to regain a proper grip.  For eight years, my right hand has been the one wrapped around the grip and my left has been supporting.  I can think it through and know that my left hand is the one with gun contact and my right is my support, but getting those darn hands to do what I told them took some doing.  It will be a lot more weak-handed practice for me.
Left hand is gun hand, left hand is gun hand,
left hand is gun hand...

I fumbled around and got my grip re-established, then brought my gun back up into my line of sight.  I'm so used to using my slide lock release that it didn't occur to me to pull back the slide to release it (because the recoil spring is so heavy, it's very difficult to do).  I finally used my left index finger to release the slide, which worked beautifully.
Moving my index finger from the slide lock release to the trigger
went a whole lot more smoothly than I anticipated.
Unless your gun is fully ambi, there will be some modifications that you'll have to make when shooting weak-handed, but I think it's a skill all shooters need to acquire.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Magazine Changes - Strong-handed

I think, for every shooter, there are a few things that are a struggle and for me it was magazine changes.  The guys at the shop had this very complicated "tactical" mag change/reload thing that involved juggling two magazines in one hand that I could never master.  I tried, but it just didn't work for me.

Luckily, the Original Bad Boy had a much simpler way to do it and it has worked for me ever since.  I know that dropping your magazine to the ground is all the rage with competition shooters, but it was drilled into me that my magazines should never hit the ground.  You shouldn't leave a trail of magazines like bread crumbs - you never know when you'll need the magazines in a real-life situation.  Makes sense to me, even if it takes a half a second longer to retain the magazine than to dump it.  The other factor, for me, is magazines are expensive!  I'm not just dumping $35 to $40 on the ground.  No way, no how.

But just because I always retain my magazines doesn't mean you need to; it's my little quirk drilled into me by the OBB.  I know other instructors who drill their students to just dump their magazines because it takes too long to retain them.  Which ever method works for you is what you should do.

I thought I'd share with you a couple of things I've learned about mag changes; hopefully you'll find them helpful or can use the ideas as springboards to come up with your own methods.

#1 Loading your mag carrier
Always make sure that the round is facing forward
when loading up your mag carrier.
By loading your magazines into your mag carrier, or holster, with the round facing forward, you're allowing the natural rotation of your wrist/hand to properly position the magazine for insertion into the gun.  As your elbow comes down, and your hand up, the magazine is facing the correct way - it essentially "flips" right side up just through the movement of your arm.

#2 Leave the first slot of your mag carrier open (if you retain your mags) - or load it up, but always remove the front mag first.

#3 At slide lock, bring your gun back into your body.
Bringing the gun back into your body allows you to manipulate your gun
without taking your eyes off the target

Having the gun close to your body makes it easier to control. If you try to change your magazines while your strong arm is extended, you will waste time and increase your frustration as you attempt to find the opening.

Because my hands are normal girl-sized hands, not man hands, I have to use the thumb of my left hand to release my magazine and strip it from the mag well.
I shoot with extended magazines,
so there's a lot of magazine to hold on to.
Since I retain my mags, the empty goes in the front
and my hand moves smoothly back to the next mag.
#4 "Index" the first round with your finger to ensure it's facing the right way.
I actually do this a couple of times, I've become OCD about it.
I index when I load up, before I step to the line, and as I load into my gun.

Keeping my index finger on the round, I can "feel" my way into the mag well.
This allows me to keep my eyes focused on the target.

I always give my magazines a good smack to make sure they're seated well.
#5 Once loaded, bring the gun back up into your line of sight.
Using the slide lock release ensures I'm not riding the slide.

A couple of notes: I have made a few modifications to my gun.  It is not a race gun, nor is any of my gear set up for competition speed.  My set up is purely defensive.  First, I added an after-market magazine well, which makes it easier to find and feed the magazine into the gun.  Also, I have added a heavy recoil spring at Boss Man's suggestion (I think it's 22#), which allows me to shoot hot defensive rounds quickly.  I will say that the heavy recoil spring might be a touch too heavy, as it takes a lot of effort for me to lock the slide back manually and releasing the slide by cupping it and letting go is difficult.  Should I change it?  Probably.  Will I?  Probably not - it's a good workout.