Monday, February 2, 2015

My Five Biggest Regrets of SHOTShow 2015

by Annette Doerr
I am back. I am recovered. I had an amazing time hiking the miles and miles of trail that is SHOTShow. But I will admit… I have some regrets. In fact, I have five.
1.     I was honored and flattered to be one of the selected media outlets to be invited to attend NSSF Media Day at the Range. Media Day, if you have never been, is an amazing day at Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club in Boulder City Nevada, held the Monday before SHOTShow opens. Attendance is by invitation only. This was my second time at the event so I should have learned my lesson last year; but I never gave it a thought. I did not bring my own eye protection. Crosman was wonderful in supplying every attendant with a pair of safety glasses and I thank them for that. But shooting the Stoeger M3K directly into the sun about blinded me. I will never go to a range, near or far, without the addition of tinted sunglass-type protection. Ever.
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2.     As for my ears, I KNOW those little foam plugs don’t work well for me. I know this! Did I bring my ears with me? Sadly no. I spent half the time trying to get my foamies to do their job. I don’t know if I have some type of weird ear defect making the plugs not work right, but I will also never enter a range again without proper hearing protection. If I had been shooting .22lr all day, maybe the foamies might have been acceptable. But that Daniel Defense DDMK18 at full auto, and the Stoeger M3K 12-gauge, were no match for the little orange foam pieces. (Plus, with my hair up, they show in every.single.picture!)
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While I am thankful they were provided for us, I should have remembered from last year that they just do not work for me. Never again.
 3.   SHOTShow draws wonderful people in and out of the actual industry. The manufacturers, the attendants, media etc; the show floor is chock full of very cool and famous people. I regret not asking for a photo with some of the people I ran into. I scroll through other attendees Twitter feeds and Facebook pages and see their picture standing with someone famous that I also saw (or even spoke with) but didn’t ask for a picture. It comes down to shyness I guess. I didn’t want to bother them with fangirl photo’s. Do I regret this? Sure! Will I change this for next year? Not likely, it’s just not in my nature. (I would love to insert a photo here, but I don’t have any!)
 4.     Pictures, more pictures! I regret not taking more pictures on the show floor. Afterall, I had media credentials; I had the proper credentials to photograph on the show floor. Did I? Eh, I took a few, with my iPhone. I left the good camera back in the room. She came with me to Media Day at the Range, but after that she stayed back in the room. Why? I thought it was heavy and a pain to carry around. I regret this because while my iPhone is convenient and takes decent pictures, there is no substitute for a good camera while covering a trade show.
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5.     While I was honored to be invited again this year to the Women’s Outdoor and Shooting Industry Dinner (also know as GunGirlDinner), I once again did not network as much as I would have liked. Put me on the range with a group of guys and I’m happy and confident. Put me in a room full of women… #notsomch. If I had a few close girlfriends who were going, it may have been different. But for someone somewhat shy, I was painfully uncomfortable. I was lucky to buddy up with a wonderful women that I met early on that evening who was also attending solo, so we used the buddy system and networked together and enjoyed ourselves; right up until she left early. Should I have been uncomfortable? Heck no, this was a room full of my peers. Was I? You bet I was, and it was apparently obvious because I was rescued by a “WONderful” woman who saw I was alone and refused to let me linger on my own (and you know who you are! Thank you again for the rescue!).
Overall my four days at SHOTShow were wonderful. My husband and I had a terrific time. I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and met a few wonderful friends that I only knew online prior to finally linking up at SHOT.
Were there regrets, sure there were. Would I do it all over again? Of course, it’s SHOTShow after all! It is what you make of it. I just need to work on a few things before next year (and make a packing list so I don’t forget those eyes and ears!) But all in all, it was fantastic, and like the song says:
Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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 Channel..here'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: weshoot2.wordpress.com

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 like..an 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 not..it 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..