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?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lessons from Sandy..

The recent events following Hurricane Sandy proved that people better start thinking ahead.

I had food and water in the house, because I always have a supply on hand. I have enough dry pasta, Spam, tuna, sauce, soup, and cereal on hand to last more than a week. Would it get boring after a few days, sure. Would we go hungry? No!

We had extra propane on hand for the barbecue as well, and while grilling in bad weather isn't perfect, we wouldn't have starved.  And since the power outages in my area will likely last about 2+ weeks, certainly the weather has cleared, but the need for food hasn't.

We were fortunate to only be without power for 3 days, and the weather was fairly warm for this time of year in New York. Nights went to the 40s, but days remained in the 60s, it was cold at night, but it wasn't unbearable.

Here are some tips that I use for prepping for a storm, and for an unexpected disaster:
  • Keep a supply of medicines handy.
  • Always keep bottled water in the house. A way to purify water is an extra bonus if necessary.
  • Stock up on nonperishable foods such as canned soup, pasta and rice. A gas stove can be lit manually, ensuring you can always boil water, make coffee or tea, and heat soup.
  • Keep extra propane tanks stored safely away from your house. Buy a grill with a side burner, especially if you have an electric stove.
  • Keep a good supply of pet food at home. You never know when disaster might strike, your pet shouldn't have to pay the price because you weren't prepared.
  • If you have a generator, keep enough gas (stored safely and properly) to keep it running for several days. Once disaster hits, you won't be making a trip to the gas station to get fuel for it, ask anyone in the New York Metropolitan area..
  • Keep a chain saw gassed up and ready to go. Extra fuel and an extra blade are necessities when trees start falling.
  • Have a list of safe places you can bug out to if you need to, as well as emergency numbers for doctors, veterinarians, etc. Print it..if you don't have electricity, you wont be able to look things up.
  • When the power grid goes down, you cannot get gasoline..stop driving unnecessarily.
  • Keep cash on-hand. Places that had power and could open (restaurants, supermarkets etc) were on a cash-only basis, while I have my own suspicion as to why, they said they were unable to process credit cards..which may or may not be the true story, but anyway, keep cash on hand!
  • Keep a car charger for your cell phone handy. For a while, it was the only way we could keep the iPhones up and running, which not only provided communication, but provided internet service as well. 
  • Invest in good lanterns and flashlights. Sturdy, reliable equipment you will rely on. My favorites are Surefire (Surefire G2x Tactical Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) and Mag Lite (Mag Lite 2 D Cell, LED Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) Keep lots of batteries on hand, because you wont be able to buy them when you really need them. Eveready Energizer MAX Alkaline Batteries, 9V,4/Pk - Alkaline (Google Affiliate Ad)
I realize the above is basic common sense, especially for anyone reading my blog because you're probably an outdoors-man or a prepper to start with. But we're far and few between in my neck of the woods, and the lack of common sense here baffles me. Hotels were booked the second power went out. People bitching they didn't have fresh batteries or even flashlights (HELLO??) 

Growing up with my Dad as the local fire chief and my Mom on the ambulance corps, made preparedness a way of life. I don't panic in an emergency, I respond with what needs to be done. A godsend this week was a small, portable battery operated scanner. I was able to monitor police and fire calls, and knew what was going on in my area. You'll have to print your local frequencies, but once done, you'll have them when you need them. My Dad, still an active fireman in his mid 70s, covered 68 calls in the first 24-hours of the storm. 

Powers back at my house but not everywhere. I have friends who are still waiting..some don't even have water at their house. My door is open to them and they know it. Here's hoping they're better prepared for next time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You did not just ask me that..

Seriously, it just happened again. While shopping with D2, we wandered into the Hunting and Fishing Department of our newly opened national retail chain sporting goods store. While we perused the racks, and wandered from the apparel to the firearm accessory section, D2 naturally gravitated toward the bows. The salesman, who had been laughing at the lady afraid to touch the stuffed bear (she was seriously freaked out by the taxidermy in the section), wandered over and asked if we needed any help.

I politely answered that we did not, we were just looking around. Then it happened. Again. He said those words I dread.."Can I help you find something for your husband?" And with that..D2 legitimately laughed out loud and looked at me and said.."Oh boy.." And while she was saying that to me, I apparently replied to him with "Don't do that..Don't ever do that.." And that's where his education began..

Don't ever assume that a female in the hunting and fishing section is there to pick up something for her husband. He actually ended up being a terrific guy, along with the other guy in the department  He did make one more assumption early on in the conversation, he assumed I was a LEO.  After we cleared up that fact that while I owned a Springfield XD-9, it was not my duty weapon. It just so happened that I was a female firearm enthusiast, who held NRA Certification as a Range Safety Officer and as a Pistol Instructor. He soon stopped asking me questions he was sure I didn't know the answer to, and we had a really pleasant conversation. D2 and I probably spent a good 15 minutes BSing with them about different local sportsman clubs and what firearms I owned, and what I did with them. (I was apparently quite the novelty!)

This was D2s first experience with someone making an assumption based on our gender.  She's heard me blabber on at home after having a run-in with various salesman, but she's never actually been there before when something really stupid like that has been said to me.  I seriously think I need to design a course to teach to salesman on how to sell to female clientele.

While I was "educating" the boys, D2 was looking at the rack of bows. She found a crossbow that she liked (exclaiming "Ohhhh...this one is pretty!!") His remark? "Oh, that's a really nice bow..AND we have it in pink camo!"

Don't do that either!!!! Don't assume that because we're lady's, we want pink bows, pink guns or pink camo clothes! If I want it in pink camo, I'll ask if it comes in any other colors. After laughing at her that she called a crossbow "pretty" he explained that most of the bows he's sold to women recently were because they "really liked the Hunger Games.."

I already covered the whole "pink thing" in an older blog..I don't want a pink gun, or a pink bow, or pink anything..don't assume because I'm female, I want a pink!  (Again, I have no problem with the color pink, what I have issue with is the assumption that because I am a female, I automatically must have pink everything!)

It was then he told us we were marriage material! =) They don't get many of our kind in their department!

As we left, I told him next time, don't make the assumption I needed help picking out something for my husband, and he said not to worry, he'd know us upon return! We'll go back, even just to test my education process. I guarantee they will think twice next time a female wanders into their department.

Now to work on my Selling to Women sales program..I think I could get rich!

Friday, September 14, 2012 want a what?

So my youngest turns 16 this fall. While every other girl in town is having swanky Sweet 16 parties, D2 seems to have a dilemma. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she said she didn't want a party. Instead she thought she wanted to take a friend into New York City and see Wicked. OK! We can do that!

Then last night, while driving to Junior League, (where she out-shot the boyz) she said she might have changed her mind..cause she really, really wants..a crossbow..wait, what?

This is the same girl who wanted a bow and arrow for her 14th birthday, so kind of as a joke, we bought her an inexpensive junior model. She's had more dang fun with that thing in the back yard, (which reminds me, I need to run to WalMart and get another big foam target!)

She's also talking about wanting to try hunting. Now to meet this girl, your immediate impression would be she's a "girly-girl." But while her hair and makeup always look perfect, this little athlete could whip your butt without ruining her eyeliner. All 100 pounds of her..

She truly is an athlete, a softball player, and between her high school team and her summer travel team, she really hasn't had all that much free time. Most of her summer was spent playing 2nd base on her travel team. She played like a boss, stopped a line drive with her face and despite her 2 blackish eyes and a swollen nose from the impact, still went and hung out with her friends that Saturday night. She even brought home the MVP medal in one of the tournaments.

So let me summarize, I've got a 16-year-old girl, who rides horses, shoots guns, plays competitive softball and now wants a crossbow. Of course she'll end up getting one..she'll be the only girl in her High School with one too. (Whats that saying, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl?) 

I'm proud of D2 having an interest in things that are completely not the norm here in our part of New York. She's intelligent, articulate, and well-rounded. I'm thrilled that her interest in shooting sports is growing. 

We will be looking at colleges this year, maybe we can find one where she can continue with her new hobbies! And lets face it, mentioning to that boy who keeps hitting on you that you're on a shooting team, can't hurt! =)  Well, unless he's a real country boy, then it's still probably all good! =)  Now to get started on a piece about D1 and her shooting adventures..

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I've heard it before..and if you're a female shooter, you probably have too.."you should try a revolver, it will be easier for you." Wait, what?..Seriously? Why would a revolver be "easier for me?" Do men really believe they're so superior to women that we are not semi-automatic worthy? Do they think we're too weak to properly handle anything larger or more complex than a basic 6-shooter?

In short, yes! It's the same reason manufacturers push their little pink .22 revolvers on women. I don't want a little pink .22 revolver, I have a .22 and I love it, but its a Browning Buck Mark semi-auto. And it's not pink!

Firearms are tools. I prefer my mine to be black and semi-automatic. Do men think I'm unable to rack the slide on my firearms? Guess again buddy. Is there an upper limit on calibers that a lady shouldn't shoot? Not in my book.

I happen to love revolvers! Who doesn't?! They're great, reliable firearms. In fact, my next firearm purchase will be a Smith and Wesson .38 Special. But don't you dare presume because I'm a woman that one will be "easier" for me than my semi-automatics. They're not a "ladies" gun, plenty of men I know prefer revolvers, that's why manufacturers make so many different shapes and sizes, so we can buy what we like (and feel most comfortable with).

I know I'm not alone out there, I'm certainly not the only female who has faced this issue. I've seen other female bloggers write about similar subjects because these are issues we all face as women shooters. (@fateofdestinee has an AWESOME video blog about this and other subjects that face us, so be sure to check her out and give her a follow while you're at it!)

I love my Springfield XD-9. I love my Kimber 1911 too. Do my hands get tired after the umpteenth time racking them? Sure! Whose don't? It's not just a women's issue!

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with pink, or pink guns, but if you're going to assume it's all I can/should shoot because I'm a female at least make it pink camo!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pushing past her comfort level..

For the past several weeks, my girls (ages 17 and 15.5) have been enjoying range time with my clubs newly reinstated Junior League. We're fortunate to have some great volunteers who have shot  both competitively and while on the job, who are teaching a great group of kids how to improve their skills.

Last week, with it being the day after the Fourth of July, only my girls were able to attend Jr. League. Giddy up and game on! They decided they wanted to see who was the better shot, so we held a little friendly competition. In all fairness, D2 (short for Daughter #2) has had a lot more range time than D1 because of work schedules, so she's had a lot more coaching.

While they both shot well, D2 outscored D1 and held bragging rights around the house for the week. Planning a rematch, D1 was sure she could outscore her younger sister, but as fate would have it, she got called into work and put in a 10 hour day. No range time for her tonight. Instead, D2 went alone (straight out of work herself, hence the scrubs in the pictures!).

We had 5 kids show up tonight, 3 boys and 2 girls. (This may have been the first week where the boys outnumbered the girls, but no worries, the girls held their own!)  At the end, there was just D2 and two of the boys. We decided to shoot plates. Suddenly, the girl with the bragging rights all week was a bundle of nerves. She tried to convince me we needed to go home. She tried to tell them she was tired. She didn't want to have to shoot plates against the boys. But she did. Her coach saw to it that she at least try. (She was less than thrilled with being put on the spot, but she went along after telling everyone not to expect her to hit any of them).

The boys weren't flawless. D2 held her own. First round, she shot 3 out of the 6. When she missed that 4th plate her nerves got the best of her and she missed the next 3. Second round, however, she took her time, watched her breathing, and took down all 6! She pushed past her comfort level and surprised herself with a perfect round.

I'm glad her coach encouraged her to try it, I think she learned a few things she didn't expect to. Now I'm waiting for D1 and D2 to request range time so they can have a plate shooting competition!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Little ole me..on the NRA Blog!

Admittedly, I was pretty psyched when I got the notification that was now following me on Twitter! (Sweet!) But when I got a direct message asking if they could post my blog about becoming an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, I did a double take! Who me? Ummm...YEAH!

About two hours later I received a message back, saying it was done. My little blog, with all of 6 posts..out there for the world to see. I guess that's the beauty of social second you're anonymous, the next the world is looking at your picture.

I started my little blog as a sort of experiment. I wrote a few pieces that had been published on another blog (Girls Guide to Guns) and I posted a few on one of the firearms forums I belong to ( But I wanted somewhere to keep them all in one place. I tried to come up with a creative name for my blog, and after the third try, I settled on WeShoot2. Because we do!

Other than starting a Twitter account under the same name as the blog (@WeShoot2) I didn't do anything to promote the blog. Heck, I think I only tweeted two of my pieces on that twitter account. I really didn't care if anyone read my writings, and frankly, I didn't think anyone would be interested in it..oddly enough, I'm still not sure but it was kind of fun to take things out of my mind and put it out there for people to see.

As a female firearms enthusiast, I'm constantly reminded that it's still very much a "mans world" especially here in my part of New York. I'm tired of going into a sporting goods store and having the sales people either ignore me or worse yet ask me what my husband wanted me to pick up for him. (Cause that.just.happened.) I'm tired of coming up with smart remarks when a clerk asks me something ridiculous..because I'm a woman. ("Ma'am, you realize those are for a gun, right?" "Oh really..I thought they were pretty, I was gonna make some earnings out of them..") (And yes, that also happened).

That said, I've also found that the guys that I know who do shoot, are some of the nicest, helpful and most supportive people I've ever met. Always willing to lend a hand, offer advice, or even meet me at the range so I'm not there alone. To them, I'm one of the guys, and that's cool with me.

I'd love more women to get into shooting. I'd love them to see you're not alone when a salesman tries to sell a gun to your husband, when it's really for you. I'd love for every woman out there who got their pistol permit for the sole purpose of co-owning their husbands firearms, to get out there and try it. I'll try to plan a Ladies Day at the range, and now that I'm an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, I can start helping ladies get out there on the line and get comfortable around a firearm, and just maybe like shooting as much as I do.

And in the meantime, between my random writings, I think I'm going to start keeping track of the dumb things people say to me that are firearms related..Stay tuned..and thanks for reading! And thank you NRABlog for putting me out there!

Now I have to work on getting decent pictures of me at the range..

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First meeting of the Junior Club..

The newly formed Junior  Club met this morning.We ended up with 6 juniors, ranging in age from 12 to 17. Three were boys, and three were GIRLS! It was nice to see an equal number of girls and boys, even if two of the girls were mine!  There are a few more kids who will join in the next time they meet but it was nice to have a smaller group, as some of them hadn't handled a rifle before.

After a thorough safety lecture, everyone started with the basics, regardless of their own personal experience with firearms. Square one..The guys who volunteered to take charge of the group did an excellent job talking about more than just what they'd be doing in the club, they also covered situations the kids might find themselves in outside of the range. Life lessons that go beyond range time, that's what I like. 

The kids had a good time, each shot a few different .22lr rifles. Each time they meet, they'll build on the skills they've learned. We're hoping to keep it safe, fun, fresh and interesting. Keep them coming back and improving their skills. 

Who knows, maybe we started a future Olympian today! If nothing else, they're gaining skills and having fun, in a safe, supportive and instructional environment. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Working with kids..

OK they're technically not "kids" they're between the ages if 12 and 18, and they're learning to shoot!

After almost 2 years, we were finally able to get the club I belong to, to start back up their Junior League. We start tomorrow.

My girls have been to the range with me many times, but I'm excited for someone other than me to be offering instruction and guidance to them. I'll be there helping. I'm hoping for a large turnout, and frankly I'm hoping the girls outnumber the boys.

Here's to GirlPower! Because we.shoot.too! I'll blog about the first day to let you know how it went..till then, keep your powder dry..

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Over-thinking and over-researching..

I tend to overthink things. It’s not necessarily a bad trait, but for over a year, I’ve gone back and forth over which 9 mm to buy for myself. Narrowing my many choices about 8 months ago, I’ve been pretty much down to two, a Springfield XD-9 and a Glock 19.

I’ve gotten plenty of advice and plenty of opinions. You know what they say about opinions, and I agree, but I’m lucky to have friends with pretty much any firearm I could ever want to try, and they’re more than willing to let me play! I’ve gone in shops and handled both firearms. They’re quite similar, so much so that I’ve heard the Springfield called a Mock Glock, or a Glock copy. Each in itself is a fine, reliable firearm, and I’m sure I’d be happy with either. Frankly I’m just not that hard to please. If I pull the trigger and it goes bang..I’m happy. 

I’d talk to one person who’d say Glock all the way. Then I’d talk to a Springfield fan. I even had the opportunity to shoot both one day and STILL couldn’t decide. The main problem was probably that I liked them both! And someday, I'll have both, but I really needed to narrow things down and just buy one! 

In the end, it came down to a few little differences and some safety features. The Springfield XD has a very similar double trigger system to the Glock, which they refer to as the Ultra Safety Assurance (USA) trigger system.. Another feature that kept me going back to the Springfield, was the 1911 style backstrap safety, which ensures the firearm won’t discharge without a firm grip. Another feature is the striker status indicator which makes it visibly clear if the firearm is in the cocked position and is ready to go. These aren’t the only features that made the Springfield standout, but at the end of the day, after comparing, contrasting, over analyzing and spending WAY too much time researching, I bought the Springfield XD.

I had the opportunity this weekend to put about 100 rounds through it. It's an excellent firearm and I'm thrilled with my decision. The grip feels very natural in my hand. I still need to dial in my sights a little more as it's shooting a little low, but the fine tuning is half the fun. I'm sure there will be a Glock in my future someday, but for now, I'm thrilled with my choice of the Springfield XD-9.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't ignore the female'll lose a sale..

I don’t do well with the “old boys club.” Never have, never will. Especially when I’m the consumer.

Today my husband and I went to our local Sporting Goods Store for their annual “Mega Sale.” I’m in the market for a 9 mm so we figured we’d stop up and see what they had. I know I can get a little better of a deal online, but I’m happy to support a local business if I can. My choices have been narrowed down to a Glock 19 or 17, Springfield XD-9, and just recently I started to consider the Smith and Wesson MP9. All great, reliable firearms, all with pros and cons over the other.

Because it was a special event at the store, they had reps from various firearm manufacturers there. Springfield was the first rep we spoke with. I told him I had narrowed my shopping down to the 3 manufacturers mentioned above. I asked him to tell me why Springfield was better than the rest. He did a nice job explaining the features, asking me questions, and speaking to me and my husband professionally and respectfully. My husband asked a question about the Smith and Wesson, so the Springfield Rep took it out of the counter for him to see. Enter the Smith and Wesson rep, who must have smelled the M&P come out of the case, and he bee-lined over like a shark. I explained to him, the same thing I did to the Springfield rep, who stood beside him. I then asked him to explain to me why a Smith and Wesson would be a better choice for me.

Then he did it. The Smith and Wesson rep spoke down to me. Condescendingly. (Strike One). He then proceeded to show off his firearm and all of its bells and whistles..TO MY HUSBAND. (Strike Two). I interjected several times trying to make my point that the firearm would be mine. He continued to speak directly to my husband. (Strike Three..)

Now I understand that female shooters are very much in the minority. But I was there to buy. The Springfield rep did a great job giving me tips and asking me specific questions as he knew sometimes racking the firearm could be more difficult for a woman. He also said he saw immediately I would have no issue with that.

Bottom line is, male sales reps need to get with the times. I’m an educated consumer. Do not disregard me because I’m female. My gender has nothing to do with my ability to handle a firearm. I’m an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, a Certified Range Safety Officer and I’m a consumer. Perhaps I should teach a course to salesman, about how to sell to a female consumer.

I’ll be picking up my beautiful new Springfield XD-9 as soon as my county pistol clerk adds it to my license, probably within a week. As a gift with my purchase, I got a Springfield hat, and a size was the smallest it came least my husband is happy, he can have the shirt..sigh..again..not very female friendly..

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Becoming an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor

I’m not sure who was more surprised, the 36 men in my NRA Pistol Instructors certification class that there was a woman in the class, or me, that there was ANOTHER woman in the class! 36 men, 2 women. Giddyup!

When a gentleman from my Sportsman’s club put out an email that he would be teaching an NRA Instructors class, I jumped at the chance. My husband was less excited about spending the required time in a classroom, but I honestly think he didn’t want me to do it without him so I signed us both up. There were a few other guys from my club there, but most of the other attendees were from other clubs.  

We were to start promptly at 9 am. Until about 8:55 I was the only female. I got some strange looks as the “good ole boys” club settled into their seats.  I sat with my husband and the guys from my club, all whom which I’m very comfortable with.  

The class itself was excellent. The NRA does a great job providing material and structure for the course. My instructor did a great job keeping the course work fun and informative. He said in the beginning of the class that there would be 100% participation because we were being certified to teach, and we should be comfortable speaking in front of groups of strangers. Then he did it..”Annette, come on up and speak to the class about how to teach to women and kids..” Ohhh...great...he could have given me a heads up at our lunch break so I could have mentally prepared something..but no. I was on the spot.

I did a decent job with my on-the-spot-no-prep presentation. Naturally in hindsight, I have a whole different lecture planned in my head, but I did the best I could, given the fact I had zero time to prep. As it turns out, only 3 of us spoke to the class that day. One was a lawyer, one a police officer, and me.

After all the instructional part of the class was complete we went on the range. We had to partner up and naturally they wouldn’t let my husband and I be a team. One person was the student, the other the instructor. The student had to shoot a course, clear a misfire, (we loaded dummy rounds into their magazine so it would cause a failure, and then had to teach them how to clear the failure). My partner and I whizzed through the range aspect of the course, then switched places and the student became the instructor. We had to evaluate their performance, and give suggestions for improvements. It was a fun, interactive process and it really brought to light some things that people may do on the range that you don’t notice, like raising their shoulders before they pull the trigger. It was my first time in an indoor range and it was awesome!

I will admit to being nervous prior to the class. I assumed I’d be the only woman there, but I was happy to see another lady taking the class. I met a lot of great guys at the class and I’m very happy I took the step to further my shooting skills and credentials. The instructors seemed happy that there was a female in the class, and they made sure to cover things like asking before you reach over a woman to show her how to do something properly.
Bottom line is, if you’re thinking of becoming an NRA Certified Instructor,  don’t hesitate to take this class and get it done. The more women on the line, the better!

My Little Monsters

(Note: Originally written and posted on another site in June 2011, prior to starting this blog) 

Watch out Lady GaGa, there’s new of “Little Monsters,” and they’re all mine! Yes, I’ve turned my two daughters into little monsters..shooting monsters that is! Shooting isn’t something that kids do in our neck of the woods. We live in a suburb of New York City, and firearms are, for the most part, a taboo subject. 

When my husband and I applied for our pistol permits back in 2008, I think my girls may have been a little freaked out. In our County, pretty much all you can apply for is a “Sportsman Residence” license which allows you to target shoot, hike and hunt. CCW’s are rarely granted because the judges who issue, make you prove “need.” Yes, it’s a violation of my 2nd Amendment Rights, and I am preparing to petition the Judge assigned to my license for conversion to a CCW, but I digress..that will be a whole ‘nother blog entry down the road..

Back to my girls! It all started a few years ago when we went with friends up to a cabin in Upstate NY for a day of shooting. My husband, who had shot competitively on the New York State Junior Rifle team when he was young, hadn’t shot in years after losing the end of his trigger finger in a lawn mower accident when he was 14. (Yeah, I know..) My friends Dad, who owned the cabin, was a World War II hero, Army 82nd Airborne, retired from the Sheriffs Department, worked for the FBI, Firearm Instructor, I could go on and on about “Pop” but first and foremost, he taught us about firearms and safety that day, and what a blast we all had. My girls at the time were 10 and 12, and with his guidance, they shot several types and calibers of rifles and revolvers. It was a great foundation for us all, and the beginning of what has become a passion of mine!

My 14½ year-old daughter had the opportunity to join me at the range when I earned my ProMarksman NRA rating. School was still in session, but winding down, and she had an afternoon full of nothing at school, so I took her out early, deciding that not every lesson in life was learned in the classroom. 

We were joined at the range by one of my shooting buddies, who usually emailed me before heading to the range because he knew I wasn't yet comfortable there by myself. My buddy has lots, and lots of “toys” and usually brings quite a nice assortment of firearms for us to “play” with! I brought along my Browning Buck Mark Camper .22 pistol, and my newly acquired Savage Mark II (NRA limited edition!) .22 rifle that I purchased from the widow of a club member who passed away last year. 

For privacy sake, I'll refer to my girls as D1 and D2. 

This would be D2’s second time to the range. She participated last Fall in our Club’s annual Turkey Shoot, where she was the hit of the group going from member to member trying out their .22 rifles, seems everybody wanted D2 to try their rifle. She had a blast, and it was her first time shooting since she was 10. D2 shot everything that day from a .38 carbine rifle, to a .357 Magnum, (he loaded the first 2 chambers with .38s so she’d get a feel for it, then the rest with .357s, she did great and loved every second.) She spent the next few weeks of school pleading for me to take her out early, so we could go shooting! Yes..Monster #1 created..

D1, my then 16-year-old, had all her hard classes in the afternoon, so there was no early dismissal for her! She had to wait until school was done and testing was over, but we found an opportunity last week when she had a day free of testing! We’ve tried to take her to the range before, but something always got in the way. When I got a call from another club member (Mike) letting me know he was going down to the range, we loaded the truck and headed out. 

I started her on the .22 rifle since Mike was practicing for the upcoming Bulls-Eye shoot from 25 yards, I figured rifle might be the better option, and placed her targets at about 15 yards. She got used to the scope quickly, and had some nice groupings for her first day! (Obviously, she takes after me!)  When Mike was done, we moved outside and she played with my Buck Mark a bit. She couldn’t decide whether she liked the pistol or the rifle better, so she shot both. I didn’t get a lot of practice in, because she was just having too darned much fun!  After a while, Mike left and it was just she and I. She was much more relaxed having just me watching her, and she really began to shine. I took her in close to the target and showed her some basic tactical shooting..well, clearly this was her favorite, and she did well! Yes, Monster #2..created!

Soon enough the girls testing will be done and another school year will be successfully in the books. This frees us up for a summer at the range..which we’re all looking forward to! Being self employed, I have the flexibility to work when convenient; if it’s a beautiful day, I can up and leave my home office and hit the range for a while! (I call it “group therapy!”) One of these times, we’ll even let my husband play..poor guy is stuck at work all day (hey, somebody has to pay for the new toys, right??!!) 

On a serious note, I believe teaching my girls to shoot will be one of the most important things they learn. Besides actual shooting, this sport involves patience, responsibility and self confidence. And lastly, as a mother of two beautiful daughters, I hope that the boys they eventually date have seen their FaceBook profile pictures of them shooting big scoped rifles..