Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Post: A Girl and Her Gun

A week or so ago, I read one of AGirl's posts about her training and I was struck by how amazing her training has been.  I tell you, when AGirl makes up her mind to do something, she does it right.  I thought that the training she did was too important to just link to, so I asked her to guest blog here.  If you don't already follow her, you certainly need to.  And if you've clicked over from A Girl and Her Gun, welcome.

About a year ago I was mugged walking out of a grocery store parking lot.  Unfortunately for me, I ended up on the ground with a not nice man on top of me.  After that experience I decided it was time that I got a gun and learned how to use.

I have spent the last year taking a variety of different classes and spending an awful lot of time educating myself on the best ways to stay safe.

While I still have an awful lot to learn, I feel very comfortable that I have a good solid foundation with my firearms training, but recently I have wanted to step it up a bit.

I have friends who think the “odds” are against being attacked and even if a person is attacked it’s rarely that bad, so carrying a gun is overkill.  I also know people who carry guns, but think basic shooting skills are plenty because they think the chances of needing an extra magazine or force on force train is so rare that it is just a waste of time and money.   Since I have already been face to face with a bad guy and ended up on my back while my daughter watched, I do not have the luxury to live in that fantasy world.  Most people think they are safe as long as they don’t go into “bad” neighborhoods or go out at night.  I agree with them, that there are plenty of things we can all do, to make ourselves less of a target, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.  For me, it was broad daylight, in a ‘good’ neighborhood. I was with a small child, and I wasn’t causing any trouble. Most people would assume, I would be safe, and like me, they would be wrong.  I think part of the reason I didn’t react and leave when I saw the guy approach me is that my brain just didn’t think anyone would be that bold.  I knew he was a bad guy, but it had been ingrained in me that people don’t attack people in a parking lot in the day time, but that proved to be incorrect.

I think anything one does to make themselves less of a target is great and I think the more one can do to avoid a violent encounter is fabulous and I do believe that there is much we can do to avoid ever having to use deadly force, but I am not leaving my life in the hands of the odds makers. For me, I don’t train for the events that are mostly likely to happen; I train for the least likely.

 A couple of weeks ago, I headed out with my husband and some friends and we did some out of the box training. 

One of the first things we did was, we learned how to access the gun if we found ourselves on our backs.  John, the instructor and owner of the range, simulated pushing us down. We would fall, then kick, kick, kick, then spin on our backs until we faced the target, then we drew and shot. We each did this several times and I cannot tell you how many things I learned about positioning my body, equipment failure, and mindset with this one drill. Just being conscious of how the body falls and practicing how I want to fall, if I can, so it becomes more automatic, is extremely valuable. It reinforced trigger placement and how important it is to NOT put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.  If any of us had done so prior to muzzle on target, we could have blown a hole right through one of our legs. This is not a good thing to have happen in a gun fight, or ever really.
All photos courtesy of A Girl and Her Gun

I felt pretty good about this drill, but something interesting happened when the next person did the same drill.  I call this woman Mrs. Awesome and her husband Mr. Awesome, cuz they are, you know, awesome.    Both Mrs. and Mr. Awesome carry in the Remora holster.  They love it and so do I.  OK, 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 were 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 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 let’s do that a few more times just to be sure.  She does not have any more problems.

I see a lot of people go to a training with an OWB holster that is big and clunky and it is not the one they were everyday.  Not a good plan.  The place to find out your equipment doesn’t work, is on the range, not in a parking lot somewhere. To be fair, this really wasn’t an equipment failure as it was a learning of how the equipment works best which is when a belt is worn.  As an update to this story, John went to a force on force kind of training this past weekend where he wore the Remora while rolling around on the ground, kicking, fighting, and being very aggressive.  He reported having zero trouble as long as he had a good quality belt on. 

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.

We took turns lying 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 had a large bruises on my thigh and I am clueless as to how I got them, but he technique is so important it’s worth any amount of marks left behind. Repetition is vital, for skill building and mindset.  If you do end up on the ground it's not good to just lie there and say, “well, I am toast”.  It is crucial that no matter what, you tell yourself again and again, you will make it out.  Being on the ground is not where you want to find yourself and it puts you at a great disadvantage which is why, it is important to train from that position.

We did a drill shooting from retention.  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 it made me aware of an issue and let me know what I personal needed to work on based off of my skills and body. 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.

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. We ended with some basic marksmanship type drills.

The exact moves are not important and it doesn’t matter if you do exactly what I do, but it is important to start thinking about ways that you can expand your training beyond just standing in front of a paper target that doesn’t move.  Marksmanship is important, but it really is just the beginning.


deejo3 said...

I LOVE the training AGirl is doing. I am so amazed at where she started to where she is at now. An absolutely amazing transformation from pacifist to sheepdog!

2A Mama said...

Great guest post! I love reading about her training and love that she's doing so much!

Momma Fargo said...

Very great post! Thanks for sharing.

Home on the Range said...

That last sentence should have its own T shirt. Thanks so much for sharing this with others.