Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another Gun Dude Introduction

Like you, I have an addiction to "The Gun", and I'm not ready to enter a 12 step program about it.  I guess I don't see it as a problem.  Following Shepard K's lead by way of introductions, I go by Double Tap, I'm an NRA Certified Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Officer (RSO), Refuse to be a Victim Instructor, competitive shooter, and Student of all things self-defense.

I met GunDiva at the range, shooting competitively a number of years ago and we've been friends since.   Seven or eight years ago seeing gals at the range was a bit rarer than it is today, almost an anomaly for the time.   I've limited my writing mostly to FaceBook, though GunDiva has been encouraging me to get a blog or a web page of my own for years. She recently offered the opportunity to write here occassionally, so I jumped at the opportunity and I thank her for it.

My love is the pistol- revolvers, semi-autos, S&W, Glock, 1911s, I love them all.  I've done some hunting in the past, I currently dabble in ARs, karate and knives, but I'm passionate about self-defense.  Whether it be defensive shooting, instructing new shooters, or improving a shooters skills, I'm on it and I'm trying to learn more about it.   I'm a pretty active instructor in NOCO, and each class I'm amazed by the numbers of people who are just becoming aware of taking responsibilty for their own safety.   Better late than never I guess, but these are the people who have had a taste of what it might be like to be a victim and have no further desire for that meal.  I respect that decision, and I'm here to help in whatever way possible.

I'm looking forward to exchanging ideas with you about equipment choices, practice or training regimens, carry methods, or just what happened at a fun day on the range.

shoot straight,
Double Tap

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I have to get this off my chest:

Just because I'm a girl does not mean I do pink!  Do not try to lure me in with a pink gun; I'll turn around and walk off.

Just because I'm a girl does not mean I do hair and make-up, so don't try to portray me in full make-up and perfect hair.

Just because I'm a girl does not mean I am a size zero who goes to the range in skimpy clothing, so quit associating me with the scantily-clad "models" who've never fired a gun in their lives.

Yes, there are some women shooters out there who embrace the stereotype of pink guns, perfect hair and make-up, and are willing to show off their assests at the range. 

I ain't one of them.

You'll find me at the range in old jeans or my 5.11s, hair in a ponytail, covered by a ballcap, my only make-up will be sunscreen (if I remember it) and range dirt and I sure the hell will have the parts of my body that are most likely to get brass burns covered up (though I don't know a female shooter out there who hasn't caught one between the twins, no matter how covered up you are).  The finish on my Para is wearing off because it's so well used and when I have it re-finished, it won't be in pink that's for damn sure.  And I'm no size zero - I love my food.

Not a hot supermodel,
but REAL and I can shoot.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hi, My Name Is...

...Shepherd K, and I have a gun addiction. It has been six months since I bought my last gun and a few days since I sent rounds down range (but it was only 10 rounds of .22...nobody has to know about it...oops, wait a minute....).

Greetings one and all. I figured it was high time to post something here seeing as how GunDiva went to all the trouble to invite me to be a contributor here. If you haven't guessed by now, I have a bit of a dry sense of humor. Some might call it warped. What can I say?

Anyway, GunDiva says I'm the one to talk to about zombie guns for some reason. I write a couple of posts about zombie guns; and, suddenly, everyone thinks you're an expert. For the record, I am far from an expert in anything with the possible exception of handling liability insurance claims (and even that's kinda iffy some days). So, take my firearms opinions with a grain of salt...or the whole shaker.

So, what do you all really want to hear about from the perspective of a middle aged, married, male, claims professional who is over weight and out of shape but drools at the sight of a Cabela's or Cheaper Than Dirt catalog (my wife is eternally thankful that it's not the Victoria's Secret catalog)? I can tell you about guns I've known, guns I'd like to know, stupid/cool things I've seen involving guns (like the ex-girlfriend that almost cleaned her ear out with a .357 revolver...shouldn't have stopped her in hindsight), etc. I can play the "Dear Gun Nut" advice column guy role.

Also, if you are local to Dallas Fort Worth or happen to be in the area, give me a shout if you need or want a shooting partner or someone with whom to go to the gun show. If my schedule and The Queen allow, I'll be happy to drool on guns or blow stuff up with ya'.

So, how about it? What can I do for you?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Knife Fighting Class

Tara and I had been looking forward the the Knife Fighting Class that Double Tap organized.  Of course, some of our friends looked at us askance.  They weren't suprised so much, as perplexed, after all, we're shooters, why on earth would we need a knife fighting class?

The answer is, because sometimes you don't have time to employ your gun.  And, quite honestly, I think shooters tend to become too dependent on their guns.  It's not always the answer.  Once a gun comes into play, it's a whole lot harder to de-escalate a situation.  I've always believed that a gun is the last resort - the very first thing that should come into play is your brain.  I would not hesitate to shoot if it was necessary, but you can't unpull a trigger and recall a bullet.

While I'm a firm believer in gun training, I also believe we should train in other types of defense.  Hence, the knife fighting class.  We were issued training knives by Keen Edge Knives.  They look like the real deal, but will only leave bruises.

And - look - it's wrapped in paracord,
it's for survival :)

The "blade" is nice and wide and dull.

The back of the blade is even wider.

I've handled children's toys that are more dangerous.

Let me tell you, I'm not an easily intimidated woman, but I was intimidated by this class.  It was completely out of my comfort zone.  One of the first drills we did was a simple test to see how big our personal bubble is.  Now, I know I have a big bubble, and I don't like people in it, but because of the out-of-my-element factor, it almost doubled.  I actually let the instructor take a couple of extra steps into my bubble before I stopped him so I wouldn't look so freakish.  I stopped him about eight feet away from me - I would have rather stopped him at twelve feet.  Interesting, though, I have *no* bubble with Tara.  None whatsoever, we can occupy the same space in the universe without a problem.  My bubble with Double Tap is about two feet, so it was a good demonstration (to me at least) of how comfort impacts our bubble.  My bubble with other people in the class was pretty much the standard six feet until I relaxed.

I learned that the fetal position (albeit standing) is a defensive pose: hands and forearms up around your face, palms in, abs tight so you're curled down a bit, knees bent and rotated toward each other.   Standing that way protects all major arteries, yet still allows you to move.  We practiced moving across the floor that way, pushing with our front leg and stepping with our back.  After we'd chased each other across the floor, we did some unarmed defense, where we slowly walked through the three basic steps that became the basis of pretty much everything we did.

Our attacker stood with one fist extended, as though they had just thrown a punch.  Our first contact was with our weak hand, to brush their hand aside (away from us); second, our strong hand came up under our weak hand to make contact with their arm, at just below the elbow, we brushed our strong hand down their arm until we got to their wrist, at which point we locked our middle finger and thumb around their wrist.  Our third contact was a strike with our weak hand to their arm, just above the elbow.
Tara and Double Tap,
just before the third contact

Tara's not very big,
but she figured out how to put Double Tap down

After we mastered those three steps, we started incorporating moving to our weak side as we made contact with the attacker and built from there.  We learned wrist locks and arm bars, all from the same basic first couple of contacts.  We learned how to strike to cause the attacker to lose their weapon.  We learned how to re-direct an overhead strike, causing the attacker to stab himself.  If we missed the re-direction, we learned how to dance under their arm and execute an arm bar.

I had an a-ha moment when I realized that if I could move 1100# horses around, I could certainly move a 200# man if I just quit fighting it and used their momentum against them.  After that, I felt a bit like Steven Seagal and things started clicking.

We didn't get to "attacking" with a knife until the last half hour of class, and I'm still very shaky with the "Flowing Hands", but I'm much more confident in my ability to defend myself and create space between myself and a bad guy should the need arise.

My take-aways from class are:
  • You're going to get cut and it's going to hurt; it's up to you to direct where you're going to get cut - protect the major arteries (radial, brachial, carotid, femoral, aorta).
  • This is not something that the instructor verbalized, but I found that once I made physical contact with the attacker I felt more confident that I could "read" his movements and I felt a whole lot more comfortable tucked up against my attacker, with my hand on his wrist than I did at the sharp, pointy end of the knife.
  • It doesn't take a lot of force or brute strength to do any of the moves we did.
  • A lot of what we learned would work against a bad guy with a gun as well.
I will most certainly be taking more of these classes, and will pay for Ashinator to take them as well, because I think it's important to train not only with your gun, but in a variety of different disciplines.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's For Survival

Photo cred: Southern Winds Solutions and
The Asylum Creations

I don't know how many times I heard kids and adults alike say those words in a hushed tone, almost reverently, as they passed the booths selling bracelets made of paracord.

"It's for survival."  Oooo, aaaah.

The phrase was uttered like the bracelets were one of Wonder Woman's bullet-deflecting cuffs.

"It's for survival."  Oooo, aaaah.

Folks, they're not magic.  Everything at the gun show was for survival.  The guns, the ammo, the freeze dried food (which, by the way has come a long way and is quite tasty), the paracord. All of it.  Yet the only booth that got the reverent whispers..."It's for survival"...the booths with the paracord bracelets.

The thing was, you would think that those people truly thought that they were magic, that just by owning one, you would be able to survive the end of the world.  Never mind, food, water, shelter.  All you need is one of these handy-dandy paracord bracelets..."It's for survival."

There is no magic to surviving. You survive by being prepared, with the necessary tools. Owning a paracord accessory is a tool for survival.  And let me tell you, Mrs Mom makes some pretty darn cool paracord accessories.
Snake belly rifle sling

Double Tap's sling


Even, believe it or not,
a banana hammock

Side note:  I don't want to be anywhere near that banana hammock if it has to be deployed.  It started as a gag-gift and has continued to sell.  Crazy.

Any time you have extra rope, or cord, that's lightweight and functional, you're ahead of the game.  But it's not magic.  You still have to train and prepare for survival.

I bet if we had polled the people who walked by the magic talisman paracord bracelet booths on how it was going to help them survive, we would have gotten a lot of blank stares.

Your brain.  Your training.  Your preparation.  That's for survival.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tomorrow's The Day!

1st Annual NTYDTTRD!

Sadly, there aren't any ranges in my area who are participating.
So, if you're in an area that is not covered by one of the 37 participating ranges,
gather up your family and go anyway.
Help teach your children, especially the girls ones, about gun safety.

Women Firearms Instructors posted this on Facebook
and I thought it was appropriate for this weekend...
Photo Cred: Molon Labe Industries

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

USA Liberty Arms

My friend Stein told me over the weekend that we had a new gun shop opening up in our area.  Since CGW closed (and you all know how Tara and I worried about that), I've been looking for a new shop.  But looking for a new shop is hard when you're a female.  That sounds weird, but there truly are so few female-friendly gun shops around.  Stein told me he spent some time talking to the owner on Friday and thought I'd like the place.

He was absolutely right.  RCC and I drove over on Monday, thinking we'd check it out, but it turns out they're closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Poor timing on our part - everyone's entitled to a weekend - so we planned to stop in today.

Stein had told me that they had an incredible inventory and that they were still unpacking and getting set up, but that the owner took time to talk to him.  I had a picture in my mind of what I thought the store would look like and it far exceeded my expectations.  I was running late getting back from my parents' place this afternoon, so by the time RCC and I arrived at the shop, it was ten minutes 'til closing time.  I thought we'd run in, say 'hi' and plan to go back at another time.

As we walked up to the front doors, we ran into a welcoming committee of kids who literally welcomed us and asked if we had a good experience there to please spread the word.  This is me spreading the word :)  Plus, it helped that the kids loved the 1911 decals on Ripley.

The store is amazing.  You know, there are some gun shops that are crowded and dark-feeling?  This one is the exact opposite.  No problem with claustrophobia for me in this store.  It's huge - open and airy with lots of natural light.  And guns everywhere.  If it goes bang, not only do they carry it, but they carry multiples.

The owner was welcoming and friendly, even though it was just a few minutes before closing time.  I told him what I was looking for, and though he didn't have any in stock, he offered to find it for me.  Then he started showing me guns.  Me.  Not RCC.  He spoke directly to me without talking down to me.  That carries a ton of weight in my book.  Like I said earlier, female-friendly gun shops are hard to come by.  Oh, there are plenty who say they are, but are lying through their teeth just to get your money.

We talked until well beyond closing time and then talked a bit more in the parking lot.  He told me about the classes that he recommends (I might take one just to see what it's like) and what he does for new gun owners, which I think is brilliant.

Each Saturday, he opens the store an hour early for people who have purchased new guns.  In that hour, he holds a class to teach them how to break down, clean, and handle their guns safely.  For free.  He's very conscientious about gun safety and pushes training; he wants to know that the people who purchase guns from him know how to handle them safely.  Because of this, he's also very picky about who he recommends as instructors. 

I like his philosophy and I love that he's not just giving lip-service to gun safety and training - he's actually providing the stepping stone for new gun owners to bear the responsibility of gun ownership.

I will most definitely be returning to USA Liberty Arms frequently and spending my money there.  You know, when I have some to spend :)

As a side note: I love their location.  Right next door is a spa where I can get my happy toes and then just skip next door to fondle guns.  Pretty much a perfect situation.

USA Liberty Arms
921 E. Harmony Road
Suites 101, 102
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Monday, June 4, 2012


The GunDivas, first and foremost, will always be a safe place for women shooters to ask questions and share experiences.  There will be no belittling of anyone who asks an honest question.  Of course, if you are a vendor at a gun show, I will make fun of you in public for not spelling rifle correctly, but if you are a female who wants to know more about shooting, this is a safe place to be.

When I was first learning - really learning, not just plinking with my ex-stalker - I was lucky enough to be surrounded by men who were willing to teach me and not make me feel like a fool.  Since I don't have all the answers - I'm still learning even after eight years of shooting - I often still ask questions of "my guys".  They've made me a much better, much more prepared shooter than I would have been on my own and I have the utmost respect for them.

I've invited some of my guys to join the site as authors.  I invited them because I feel they have valuable information to share and don't talk down to me or make me feel like an idiot because I don't understand something or need clarification.  Trust me, if they couldn't talk guns so that I can understand it, I wouldn't ask them to be one of our GunDudes.  I don't know how often they'll post - if at all - but you might see posts written in different "voices" by different people.  Feel free to ask questions of them, share your stories and so forth.

As always, I want this to be a safe place for women shooters and I believe the GunDudes will help to expand our knowledge.  I'll try to assemble bios for each of them and post the bios under the GunDudes tab.

Now...with that's off to investigate the newest gunshop in town.  I've heard good things about it and I'm really excited to go see it with my favorite GunDude, RCC.