Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Range Rules

From time to time, I have heard people moan and complain about range rules. "But, I want to draw from a holster." "I want to practice double taps." "I want to do a mag dump as fast as I can pull the trigger."

Well, there is a reason for those rules. You don't want to play by their rules....GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!

Why do I point this out?

Because the Dallas area is short one indoor gun range this morning because some MORON decided he wanted to shoot a TRACER round into the back stop at an indoor range in VIOLATION of the range's rules.


I happen to have frequented this range on more than one occasion being as how it is the host range for the action pistol club of which I am a member. It had the advantage of being convenient (more or less) to my commute home from work.

It's a good thing I happen to know a new, better range range where I can get my indoor recoil therapy fix; however, if DFW Gun Range rebuilds to a higher standard, Eagle Gun Range in Lewisville may have some competition.

I tell you. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Introducing Baby Girl

Last year, when I was in my "I'm gonna get in shape and run" phase I began running on trails in the foothills.  The problem with that was that there are rattlesnakes in the foothills and I don't really like rattlesnakes.  So I decided a needed a bra gun and I had just the one in mind: a Beretta Bobcat in .25 cal.

I'd had a Bobcat, named "The Noisy Cricket", way back when.  However, like most of my guns from that time period, I had to sell it.  I did really love that little gun.  It went everywhere with me.  So when I needed a new bra gun, of course The Noisy Cricket was the first gun that came to mind.

However, when I went to the gun shop and had some to think about it, I decided that I would "upgrade" to the .32 cal Tomcat.  Unfortunately, I had to wait until I had an extra $465.00 to buy my new gun. Drat that whole "budget and need money to buy stuff" business.  Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I finally brought my new baby home.

I'd like to introduce you to Baby Girl...

Isn't she pretty?

She's got a couple of features that I love, love, love.

First - and simply for uniqueness' sake - I love the pop-up barrel.  This feature, as I understand it, was to make it easier for people who didn't have the hand strength to cycle a slide to chamber a round in a traditional semi-auto.

Ok, so it's not a great picture, but you get the idea.
Second, I love how easy she is to clean.  Even easier than cleaning a Glock.  Pop the barrel up, run the slide backward and pop it off.  That's it...field stripped.  Takes about three seconds.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Baby Girl is how she fits my hand.  You know how important I think gun fit is. Before deciding to go with a Tomcat, I dragged Jay all over looking for a bra gun. A lot of pocket pistols that I've handled just weren't comfortable.  There are several new-ish ones out there that are getting a lot of attention, but I don't like them.  At all. 

She feels like a "real" gun,
not like most of the pocket pistols out there.
She's not super accurate yet - we've still got to get to know each other.  She's combat accurate in that all eight shots are within an 8" x 8" area at 15 yards, but she's no tack-driver.  Since I bought her primarily as a snake gun (the slithery kind) to wear while running (stop laughing, it might happen again), she'll be perfect.

A .32 isn't exactly a self-defense round, but it is sufficient for a "get out of my face" encounter (you know, for the two-legged variety of snake).  The only problem is that ammo is so damn expensive.  $26/box of 50.  That's more than I used to pay for a box of .45!

Now that I've got my new Baby Girl, I've got to start with the holster shopping.  I've had my eye on a Marilyn from the Flashbang line, but am open to other options. Anyone have any suggestions?

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Haz Happiez

I received the greatest surprise in the mail today!

While at SHOT Show, we had the pleasure of meeting Jack from K Bar J Leather company.  In fact, we've got a couple of reviews of his holsters coming up; one from Mez and one from Mrs Mom.

Back to the surprise...

When I went to the mailbox, there was a package from K Bar J and when I opened it, I found these:

Leather coasters
I'm still smiling.  I love surprises like this.

Also, we've got some other reviews coming up and posts about maintaining situational awareness with children and introducing a significant other to shooting.

And! And! And!  My friend Lynne from Female and Armed is releasing her first book and I get to review it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Let’s talk about needs for a moment.

No, I am not talking about the current media hysteria about “why do you need ________ [fill in the blank with the current evil, PSH instilling, inanimate object of the day]?” So, put away the torches and pitchforks (like anyone would want to waste good ammo on me these days). What I AM talking about is the concept of need versus want in a bad economy for those of us who are not independently wealthy (curse you losing lottery ticket…. CURSSSSE YOOOUUUUU!!!!).

Anyway, I’ll be alright. I promise.

For the sake of this discussion, I am going to assume that most of you are like me. You have a limited amount of disposable income and a wish list a mile long. Which brings us to the heart of the subject. We really have to learn how to prioritize our purchases.

Just like with any household budget, we have to pay for rent, food, lights and water before we think about cell phones, internet and satellite. We need to approach our firearms budget the same way.

It’s not easy.

We all want the new, shiny, sexy at the expense of the tried, true, dull and boring. I am no exception. Looking at my wish list, there is a lot of drool worthy stuff there, but there are also some basic tools that haven’t been taken care of yet too. I bet, if you are honest with yourself, you fall into the same category. Do you have a good .22LR rifle? Do you have a .22LR version of your carry weapon to practice with? Do you even have a carry weapon for that matter? Do you have enough ammo and the right accessories to use your existing weapons adequately?

So, how should I, or anyone else for that matter, tackle this problem?

The answer is: “It depends.”

Everyone’s situation is different. A newbie firearm owner is in a different place than an experienced competition shooter. Both have to prioritize, but they come at the problem from different starting points. Same goes for folks living in different geographic areas (my deepest sympathies to those of you in Colorado for what your kool-aid swilling legislature is about to do to you).

I will offer up the following suggested firearm’s budget/priority list as a means to analyze need versus want. Your mileage may vary.

1. The basics. I think we can all agree that everyone needs at least one .22LR rifle and handgun. How else are you going to train on any kind of regular basis with ammo prices where they are? Besides, they are just plain fun to shoot, and they are about the best tools around for introducing new shooters to the sport.

I would suggest you buy ones that will be similar to your planned or existing “big” guns. For instance, are you in love with ARs? How about a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 or the new Ruger SR-22 rifle? Are you afflicted with the 1911 fetish like me? Sig, GSG and others make a 1911 style .22 pistol. Are you into revolvers? You get the idea.

2. Accessories for the basics (and anything else you buy…this is more of a recurring budget item). Ammo, slings, holsters, cases, extra magazines, optics, sights, aardvarks, unicorns, entering the arc two by two, and extras of everything, etc. It’s best to get them now while you are getting to know your new firearm, and you haven’t committed to buying the next shiny toy on your list. Do not skimp on the ammo budget. Especially on the .22s, especially in this climate. I would suggest keeping 1000 rounds of .22 on hand as a bare minimum. That’s a day at the range for some people.

3. Where you go from here depends a lot upon your particular situation, likes/dislikes, etc. Some people may get their full sized or carry handgun next. Others may go the hunting rifle route. People living in Colorado are busy selling their first born for an AR, two dozen PMags and a case of .223/5.56 ammo. People in New York are trying to save up for the single shot, bolt action .50 BMG rifle because that’s the only thing left that they can buy.

4. At some point, you need to consider protecting your investments with a gun cabinet (at a minimum) or a safe. Most people reach that point somewhere between two firearms and “did you buy a gun store?”. People with small, untrained children need to bump this item up to number 1.1 to be purchased at the same time as their first gun.

You need to realize that a gun cabinet is not adequate theft protection. It is merely a means to keep the curious and the young from getting into trouble. Gun safes range widely in price and quality. Do your homework. Make sure your floor will support it (most good safes start at about 400 pounds and go up from there) and, more importantly (especially for renters), that you can bolt it to the floor and/or the wall.

5. Now we get to the luxuries. Your primary needs are covered, and we can now entertain the thought of some of our wants and desires. Barbecue gun? Everyone wants something to show off. You want a reproduction Sharp’s .45-70? Knock yourself out. Suppressor? Patience (and an NFA stamp) grasshopper. Duplicates of what you already have? Because two is one and none is one. Something custom? Because nothing says I have money to burn like a tricked out Ruger 10/22 with an integrally suppressed barrel that will shoot groups .0025” smaller than a Wal-mart special.

The main point here is to think through your situation and spend your money wisely.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

The Colorado House just passed a bill limiting magazine capacity.

I have purchased six "high capacity" magazines for my Para.  I've used them for years at Defensive Pistol.  They are high capacity, in that they hold TEN rounds, instead of the standard seven (or eight, I don't remember, it's been so long since I've used my standard magazines).

Jay's M&P comes with 17-round magazines, standard.  Not high capacity.  Those are the ones that came with his gun.  You know, standard capacity. 

However, under the bill just passed by the Colorado House, my non-standard, high capacity magazines will be legal, while Jay's standard capacity magazines will be illegal.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shooting with Kids

It seems like a lot of the post suggestions asked about shooting with kids.  I've got three of my own who were raised with guns and started shooting at a young age.  None of them are as "hard core" as I am, but they all enjoy a day at the range and ask to go out a few times a year.

I've not taught a huge number of children to shoot, but I do have experience with a variety of ages, starting with my own.  I've taken Deejo's and Junior's kids shooting and have the pleasure of most recently shooting with Itty Bit.

Since they were very young (Monster was about 2 years old, Ashinator 4, and Digger 6) when we were "hunted", I had a small gun on me at all times.  I even showered with the gun within arms' reach.  Our house rule at the time was, "if you have questions about the gun, or want to touch it, you have to ask me first."  I didn't even own a gun safe, because the gun was literally on me at all times and was never out of my sight.

I never hesitated when they wanted to look at it - I took every opportunity to start pounding safety rules into their heads - I stopped what I was doing, unholstered, unloaded, and answered any questions they had.  In no time, it became a non-issue.  They never even noticed I had it on most of the time.

I started taking them shooting when Monster was about 8.  I tried to keep our shooting sessions safe and fun.

One mom and three children at the range - it could have been a disaster, but because they had years of hearing the safety rules and of observing how I handled my gun, they had a good basis.  When we started, we focused simply on safe manipulation of the gun.  Older kids and adults can focus on multiple things: safety, trigger control, sight picture, stance, etc.  However, whenever I take young kids to the range, the only thing I focus on is safety.

As long as their finger is off of the trigger and the muzzle is pointed downrange at all times, I don't worry too much about if they hit the target or not.  We work on how to manipulate the gun, which can be tricky with their smaller hands, while keeping their finger off the trigger and the muzzle pointed downrange. 

Only when I am comfortable with their safe gun handling skills do we add in other skills.

Last October, the Once Upon family came to visit and I had the pleasure of shooting with Itty Bit.

Itty Bit has lots of family members who are hunters and LEOs, in addition to his parents being shooters, so he has the opportunity to come across guns in his every day life.  He's got a good knowledge base, as Mr. Daddy and Rachel have taken him shooting in the past.  Though it wasn't discussed, I partnered up with Itty Bit so that Mr. Daddy could play with the big boys.

Itty Bit was at all times respectful of the firing line.
Very young shooters often don't have the strength to hold the gun,
so I always keep on hand on it for support.
This serves double duty; I can also take control of the gun if necessary.
The first time he shot the revolver, I manipulated the hammer.
The second time, he managed to do it and remembered (most of the time)
to take his finger off the trigger as he cocked the gun.
A simple reminder is all it took.
Even as "small" as a Henry Survival Rifle is,
it was far too big for Itty Bit.
He did a great job with it, despite the fact that his arms are
fully extended.

I think that kids are probably better than adults and aiming instinctively.  The only things I worked on with Itty Bit were keeping the gun pointed downrange and keeping his finger off the trigger until he was ready to shoot.  He was hitting the steel plate more than half the time with both the revolver and the rifle.

If I had been thinking, I would have filled some gallon-sized jugs with water, even though we were crammed like sardines in the truck.  Even as an adult, shooting jugs of water is one of my favorite things.

If you choose to use water jugs as your "reactive targets" when shooting with your kids, you can always play around with using food coloring.  OR...you can do what I used to do when I had time to prep: use the jello jiggler recipe and fill the jugs with jello.  Always a ton of fun.  I have tons of pictures of the kids and I shooting at them, but that was back before the days of digital cameras.

As kids get older, you can start adding in other fundamentals, but I firmly believe that safety needs to come first, followed by fun.

Someone asked me at what age do I feel comfortable teaching other people's kids to shoot.  That's tough.  I've taken my kids' friends out to the range with us when they were teenagers, and with their parents' permission.  I don't know that there is an easy answer to that question; I guess I'd have to take it on a case-by-case basis.  Some children are ready to shoot at a younger age than others, and some children need some extra maturity before they are ready to hit the range.  Sorry, I wish I had a better answer.

Those of you who have taught your kids to shoot, at what age did you start them?  Do you have any tricks for keeping them interested?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl is doing another give-away of training, and she offers some great advice on choosing instructors and classes.  Hop on over to read her post, it's well worth it.  Also, if you want to enter her training give-away, click here.

Her give-aways put ours to shame; she has offered many women over the past couple of years the opportunity to receive training.

Having said that, there are two people (*cough, cough* Kathy N. and Anita M. *cough, cough*) who haven't claimed their prizes.  If they are not claimed by Friday night, I will draw two new winners.

Monday, February 4, 2013

FEMA Active Shooter Training

I've just completed the Active Shooter Training for a second time; we're required to do it at least annually.

While a lot of the information covered in the training is not new to me, I thought I'd share the link if anyone is interested in taking the training.  It's a free training and at the end, after you pass the final exam, you get a certificate.

Essentially, employees are being trained to evacuate, hide, and fight, in that order.  While some of us might immediately want to jump right to the third step - fight - it might not be wise.  Our primary role in an active shooter situation is to save our own bacon (and our families' if they are with us).

I still take issue with the hide thing - that's how so many children get killed in classrooms.  I understand (sort of) the logistics of evacuating lots of scared children, but my stomach churns at the thought of locking them in a classroom and awaiting their slaughter.  My belief is that schools do the lock-down thing because they're afraid of getting sued if a child gets lost during an evacuation.  Not lost, as in dead, but lost as in they run away panicked.  I've written about it before - that my children were always instructed to leave the building, to not allow themselves to be locked in a classroom.  It's a lot harder to shoot a child running away from the building than it is to shoot children huddled in a corner.  The one thing that my kids worried about was getting in trouble with the principal.  I was not very politically correct with them, as I told my kids to f*ck the principal, I would deal with him/her after the incident had occurred.  I almost wrote we were "lucky, an incident never occurred while they were in school", but that's not actually luck.  Statistically, our kids are super safe at school.  School shootings garner a lot of headlines, but when you look at the total number of public schools in the US and compare it to the handful of school shootings we've had, luck has nothing to do with it. 

Anygetoffthesoapbox, if we've done a good job with Situational Awareness, evacuation shouldn't be a problem, because we should have already evaluated the escape routes and kept an eye on what is going on around us.  The problems that can arise during evacuation are the two-legged kind.  The people who don't think evil can happen to them and go from Condition White (where they live their whole lives) to Condition Black (freeze or panic in the face of danger) can be our biggest obstacles.

Since I'm kind of preaching to the choir here, I'd like to encourage all of you to share this link with people who aren't of a like mind.  I don't want you to share to change their stance on gun control, and don't expect them to open their eyes to the world around them, but simply to maybe arm them with something they can feel they are in control of.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I used Rafflecopter to choose the seven winners of the SHOT Show Swag Bags.

The winners are:
  • Kathy N.
  • Jenny W.
  • Amanda W.
  • Anita M.
  • Tiffany B.
  • RabidAlien
  • Dracie
I purposely left off last names out of respect for privacy.  If you're not sure I'm talking about you, shoot me an email. :)

If you are listed as one of the winners, please email me (thegundivas at hotmail dot com) your mailing addresses and I'll get these out to you on Monday.

Thank you everyone who entered and who offered suggestions for posts.  In the upcoming weeks, we'll be doing posts based on your suggestions and I'm excited to tackle them.  We also have some upcoming reviews of products from SHOT Show, as well as more about our experiences.