Thursday, February 13, 2014

Exercises to Improve Your Accuracy

If you are new to the world of shooting, perhaps you have not put much thought into the connection between physical conditioning and your shooting accuracy. Strengthening your “shooting muscles” can go a long way toward improving your accuracy and keeping yourself healthy.
ImageWhether you shoot pistols or rifles, you need a strong upper body. Target rifles can be downright heavy, especially after shooting for a while. While pistols are much lighter, the fact that you are holding them with your arms extended in front of you, generally with no support, you can fatigue quite quickly. In a match or in a defensive situation, the last thing you want is to feel fatigued early on in the game.
Below are some basic upper body, core strengthening and cardio exercises, which can be performed at a gym or in the privacy of your own home generally without fancy or pricey equipment. Nobody knows your body better than you do, so why not spend a few minutes researching alternatives and additional exercises if you would like to target some areas more thoroughly.
Core strength: Your core muscles are the underlying muscles of your torso, running from your hips to your shoulders. Core strengthening exercises include the muscles of your abdomen, back and your pelvis. Crunches, planking, yoga, sit-ups etc. all make for a stronger core.
Grip trainers can increase hand and forearm strength.
Grip trainers: Grip trainers are designed to strengthen your hands. A strong grip on your firearm will help counter recoil and you will feel less hand fatigue after shooting. Inexpensive grip strengthening gadgets are available everywhere these days and generally run in the $10 to $20 range. Since they exercise the hand, they are great to have around the house for you to pick up and use while watching television or talking on the phone.
The forearm is made up of many muscles that you use while shooting!
Forearm strengthening exercises: One way to combat forearm fatigue is with wrist curls. Sitting down, place one dumbbell in each hand. Rest your forearms on your thighs, with your hands hanging over your knees, palms facing up. Raise the dumbbells by moving only your hands, hold, lower and repeat. Be sure to keep your arms still. After you have done your set, turn your hands over so that your palms now face down. Repeat the exercise this way, pulling the dumbbells up. Try to increase the number of repetitions with each new workout.
Dumbells, free weights and bands can all be effective in strengthening your upper body, arms and shoulders.
Arm and shoulder exercises:  To be a competent shooter you need to have good arm strength. Whether you are shouldering a heavy target rifle or shooting a pistol, your arms will get tired if they are not in shape. The stronger the arms, the longer you can hold them in a shooting position, the less movement you will have and the steadier your shots will be. Lifting weights will tone and strengthen these very important muscles. You will want to focus on all of the major muscle groups of the arm and shoulder.
Kickboxing is not only a great cardio workout to get your heart rate up, it is also a lot of fun! Practice those defensive skills!
Cardio: Cardio exercises are designed to get your heart rate up, which in turn improves your stamina and physical endurance. Examples of cardio include: running, biking, treadmill, Zumba, kickboxing etc. Any exercise that increases your heart rate for an extended period of time can be considered as cardio; but do not forget to stretch, warm up, and properly cool down, your muscles will thank you!
Dry fire exercises: While technically not a physical exercise, dry firing when done properly and safely can improve your muscle memory. I often practice drawing and re-holstering while keeping my eyes locked on the target, not my weapon.
Even if you do not own a set of weights, there are items already in your home that you can use if you think outside of the box. Here are some ideas for homemade fitness apparatus:
Lift..then have lunch! Soup cans make great barbells
  • Empty and clean milk jugs or laundry detergent containers filled with sand or water can double as weights or kettle bells. You can vary the amount of sand/water to change the weight.
  • Fill some sandbags, they make great weights.
  • Stairs! Most of us have them, you do not need a fancy stair climber just run up and down them a few times!
  • No treadmill? Hit the road!
  • Disposable water bottles filled with water or sand make a great alternative to weights. If you fill them with water, you will have something to drink while you are out for a run.
Think outside the box, equipment doesn’t have to be expensive
Do not discount different types of exercises such as yoga and Pilates. Both are excellent for core strength, and yoga especially is excellent to help you control your breathing, which as we know is an important part of shooting.
You do not have to spend hours in the gym, but improving your physical fitness will pay off even when you are not shooting. Adopting a healthier lifestyle and getting into better shape is something we should all shoot for! (Pun intended).

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shooting on a Shoestring Budget

I recently wrote this article for The Shooting's a link! Enjoy!

Shooting on a Shoestring Budget

Getting Youth Off the Internet, and Out to the Range

My latest article, Getting Youth Off the Internet, and Onto the Range, as published on The Shooting Channel.

It's been a while.. here's some news!

I haven't been blogging much content lately. I know, I know. I have been quite busy though! For the past six weeks or so, I've been contributing to a column for new shooters on The Shooting Channel. It's an exciting opportunity for me and one that I'm enjoying.

My work there has brought one major flaw to light.. I need better photographs to go along with my articles. So, with that being said, I'd like to introduce my new photographer, Bob Doerr!
(Clearly, Bobby does not get the photo credit for this picture!)

I'm looking forward to adding better content with better pictures. Bob is also going to start contributing to the blog with the "Man's side" of much of what I write about. I'm also still working with Alan Dubbs, who is a fantastic photographer, but since Bob is my husband, we're usually together when we're shooting. Gosh, who would have thought I'd have two photographers! =)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This blog is on the move..

A lot of blogs on Blogger have been shut down for no reason. Seems a lot of them were pro-gun blogs like mine. For that reason, I'm in the process of changing my Blog over to WordPress.

Please visit our new location:

Friday, December 7, 2012

You shoot..GUNS??!!

So here's how my day started the other day. I walked into a clients office, the new-ish secretary jumps from her desk and yells.."Wait..I have a question.."

Me: Whats up?
Her: You shoot..(insert long, awkward pause)...GUNS??!!
Me: Yes..why?
Her: Your NRA gun person?
Me: I'm an NRA member, NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and NRA Certified Range Safety officer, is that what you mean?
Her: Why?
Me: Why what?
Her: Why do you shoot guns?
Me: Because shooting rubber bands isn't nearly as much fun..whats your point? (At that point, the other secretary burst out laughing..)
Her: You have kids, aren't you worried?
Me: Worried what, that they won't share? My girls both shoot..again, whats your point?
Her: Oh..nothing..I just didn't know..
Me: Why would you need to?

Turns out that last week, I sent some information to them via email. I used my personal Google email address. Apparently she saw my personal Google profile in which my bio states the above information, along with some adorable pictures of my horse. She Google stalked me.

Do I care that she knows? Heck no, I've got nothing to hide, in fact, I'm proud that I shoot. Was I surprised by her reaction? Yep! Will I ever send work in using that email address? Probably might be time to make one just for my business services clients. Does it matter? No..I am what I am, and I do what I do..and I really don't care who thinks what of it.

What I don't understand is the negative reaction she had to it..the whole.."you shoot....GUNS?" (My defense mechanism clicked on in my head at that point, and the rubber band line just kind of shot out of my mouth..)

And to question my girls safety? Well that just makes the assumption on her part that all gun owners are irresponsible, and I guess that's the part that bothered me the most..she automatically assumed my kids might be in danger from my hobby.

I guess we just need to educate people the best we can when they ask questions like that..because it happens here in my part of New York..a lot..sigh..

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How would you handle this?

I had a lovely day on Saturday. One of my cousins hosted a little reunion because we only see each other at funerals. I'm the youngest of my 16 first cousins on my dads side. Most of us grew up pretty close because we lived in the same county, but my oldest cousin was married and living upstate most of my life. Because of our age difference, we never got to know each other. Recently connecting on Facebook, "E" and I shared our first real conversation this weekend. He knew from FB that I shot, and over the past few months, we have had had many pleasant exchanges about firearms which I've enjoyed.
(Photo by Alan Dubbs)

We were chatting away like old friends at the picnic, talking firearms and getting to know each other. My other male cousins in attendance, joined in on the conversation. They all thought it was cool that I obtained my NRA Pistol Instructor certification earlier this year. We laughed, shared stories, and caught up with each other.

The conversation was quite fun, until one of my female cousins walked over with her new husband. She came into earshot when E was talking about one of his pistols. She gasped and exclaimed to E "OMG, you have a gun?" E was a little taken back, but replied cheerfully that he had many firearms. Her next question: "Why? Why do you need a gun?" "Is it on you? OMG.."

Now clearly..she had no idea that the rest of us did too, and she looked at me and mouthed the words "He's crazy! He has guns!" Her new husband asked E if he thought he was on the show Duck Dynasty, and why wasn't he dressed in camo and have a beard? (Nice to meet you too, right?)

E did his best to answer her questions, like why he thought he needed a gun, and did he "shoot things" with them?! I finally caught E's attention and gestured he should just stop talking to her..she was getting nastier and nastier, but since E hadn't been down our way since 1981 when his dad passed away, he felt the need to still be polite despite her ridiculousness. After-all, we were family, right?? Her husband turned to me and said our family should have a reality show, because "you can't make this stuff up."

"Umm..what stuff?" I asked, and again she said, "Crazy E has guns!" (Classy, because she was standing next to him..) My reply both baffled the two of them, and made my cousins burst out laughing.."So.Do.I."

There was now no way to have an intelligent conversation with either of them..and each cousin in the circle in turn answered owned guns too..but I guess because he was the new guy, she still seemed to be going after E.."Let me guess, you have a bunker in you're basement too right?" (Timing it perfectly, my husband walked past and said our bunker was being installed outside, away from the house..apparently he was having fun watching the whole train wreck..) She was so jaded and anti-gun, that I'm sure she thought I was just joking. (No way I could have a gun right? A woman would never, right? I have kids too, gasp..nope, no need for one, downright dangerous right?) Still not believing I was truly in the good ole boys gun club, she asked  why would I "need" one?  Being the good sport I am, I answered honestly..Cops were too heavy to carry around..) but I have no doubt she thought I was just being funny. Because really..why in the world would I have one? She was baffled...obviously I was just playing with she continued to badger poor E..

I guess my point is, how do you deal with an anti? There was no way to have a civil conversation with her.  She was not open to the idea of learning about why we had them, she asked that while "maybe" E "needed" one because he (her words)  lived with wild animals like bears, why would he ever need more than that?  And really, why would he shoot a bear?

So what is your response when someone is SO anti-gun that there literally is no having a civil conversation with them? Arguing would have made it worse, her mind was made up and she was the only one who was right..we were all crazy..guns are crazy, and dangerous, and unnecessary!  Is there any way to get through? Or isn't it worth the effort? I'm all for educating, but if there's no way to get through, what do you do?