Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Moving

Please follow me to my new website and blog at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't think it is "just that easy"

Just a quick thought this morning as I pack up for Waco and get ready to host the first National A Girl and A Gun Training conference. I have been a student, a competitor, and volunteer safety officer at many events over the last few years.  I have reviewed my participation at each level and have gained a completely different perspective, now that I am the event organizer.

Being a student,participant, competitor... Whatever fits... I had high expectations for the experience because of the investment I was making.  a few times easily disappointed, others extremely satisfied, but always won over in the end with a praise from the instructor, nice goodie bag or prize at a match

Being a staff member at major matches I watched and learned.  Mostly baffled by how these big events all come together, I took any nugget I could because I knew that someday I wanted to be the girl in charge...

Well today is that day. I am the head girl in charge.  I appreciate now more than ever what a match directors job is, how instructors produce top quality training programs and just how critical I have been as a participant/staff all these years.   So on behalf of every instructor and match director out there, this is my request to those of you taking classes or shooting matches across the country... Know that your experience and satisfaction is our top priority.  Understand that hundreds of hours have been devoted  to thinking of everything, and that even with the best planning shit happens and we deal with the best we can.  Constructive feedback is always welcome be because we thrive on making the next experience bigger and better (type A personality involved here).

So my lesson for this season of my life.... It ain't as easy as ya thought now was it!

Go forth and enjoy the time you have set aside for the class or match, say a pray for those in charge.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hi! I'm a long time "wanna learn to shoot & own a gun" girl, but I've never done it

Now is the time ladies!  2012 was the year of the woman in the firearms industry, but 2013 is the year of the woman doing more with her training and education.

Events like Girl’s Night Out, Breakfast & Bullets, Target Time and Clinics are an economical way to get in some meaningful practice, meet other women with similar interests, and most importantly bond in community!  These events are stepping stones to help you figure out what you like and dislike about your gun, how to shop for guns and ammo, and  introduce you to quality educators who offer the kind of training classes you need a civilian and a woman. 

So what kind of training should you look for?  “Ninja squad” classes are fun and all, but there is a practical application we must have for our everyday life.  You need to know how to find your front sight, press the trigger and follow through until the threat has stopped…. and keep your cool.  Each facilitator with A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League has resources for instructors in your area, if she is not already an instructor herself.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Media Day at the Range (SHOT Show)

My 2nd year attending SHOT Show was completely different from my last year (my eyes were glazed over with new and exciting products and opportunities).  This year was full of meaningful networking and dinner meetings, one social event, several interviews, plus walking the floor visiting vendors I want to do business with and the realization that I was still missing a lot and need a better plan next year.  

Media Range was very different this year.  I was among the invited Media and was able to attend with a select group for the morning session allowing us more time to visit with Vendors, get our questions answered and pictures taken.   Yes I got my picture with Gunny and had a great interview with him, I did get to test drive a few new guns coming this spring and see some really neat stuff.  BUT it was so cold that day, the misery factor was extremely high, and I didn't shoot every gun like last year.  

I am smitten with the Rhino 200D mdae by Chiappa.  This Defense revolver is easy to conceal because it offers a thinner profile. The flat cylinder grants maximum comfort. and the barrel is aligned with the bottom most chamber which is the key component to Rhino's low recoil.   "The position of the barrel lowers the center of gravity and yields a centerline of the bore more in line with the shooter's arm allowing for the most natural "point ability" while engaging a target. This characteristic also drastically reduces both recoil and muzzle flipwhich insures subsequent shots to be on target faster than ever before. The reduction of the recoil allows for the use of ultra light alloys to be used in the construction of the Rhino minimizing any adverse effect. The flat sided cylinder design of the Rhino reduces the typical revolver profile allowing greater concealment. Featuring both double and single action characteristics, the single action is actuated by a hammer cocking device that engages the unexposed hammer to prepare to fire." quoted from their website.

Warning: the low position of the barrel requires a specific grip style, please view instructions in the manual section.  Ask me how I know? Mr. Chiappa and I were so busy in conversation that when I picked up the gun to shoot, he didn't see my grip and the first shot my thumb felt the blast.  It stung really bad and I instantly new I had gripped that gun wrong.  

My next carry gun will be the Springfield XDS 9mm.  I know, I know I am the Glock Girl.  All true and I LOVE my Glocks, but this baby will fit perfect in a Flashbang or in a pelvis holster while still fitting my body size and shape.  There was no recoil as compared the same version in .45 ACP, and I am girl who shoots guns with no safeties because my muscle memory is trained that way.  It meets all my requirements when I am shopping for a gun:
Grip, Size & Weight, Able to Conceal, Price.

Having a light or laser on your self defense gun is always a topic of discussion.  I personally don't use lasers on my guns, but I do LOVE the Viridian Green Dot product line, and if I did ever use a laser it would be this one.  I also like the lights they have that are small and compact, nice for a carry gun.  New this year they have developed a holster line that works specifically with their laser/lights and turns the laser on when you draw from the holster. Here is a link for the light I am diggin!

The HIGH LIGHT of the day was meeting Kim Rhode 5 Time Olympic Champion in Shotgun Sports.  She is the most down to earth gal, so sweet and really genuine as she gave us tips on shooting and demonstrating the awesome TrAAcker shells that Winchester has introduced.  When working with new shooters having instant feedback makes a huge difference in their progress.  For pistol shooters it is hearing the "pa-ting" of hitting the steel... for Shotgunner it is seeing the clay break apart.  But when the clay doesn't break apart and you have no idea how far you missed it, it can be very frustrating.  The TraAAcker aides the student to see their "miss" and make corrections.  Really cool!  

Tom Given's Rangemaster Instructor Course

After a full week at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to take the Rangemaster Level 1 Instructor course in Tucson.  It was on the way home to Austin and at the perfect time!

I have taken several classes as a student, but always tend to look at them from the instructors perspective on what I can add to my own knowledge tool box and pass on to my clients.  I was questioned recently on my life experiences (or lack there of since I have never been a victim of a violent crime or confronted with deadly force) and why I was qualified to be a firearms instructor, or even have an opinion on use of force issues.  I didn't entertain that question because I know who I am, what I know and why I do this job.  But is did inspire me to never have that question asked of me again, I want people to be able to look at my resume and be confident in who I am as an instructor, what I do for our shooting community and hopefully I will NEVER have a personal testimony of being a victim as part of that resume.

I had heard the written and qualification course was very challenging, that Tom's standards for his students are higher than that of the FBI, that I would have a ton of homework and have to teach a class.  I was extremely nervous on Day 1, but so excited to be a sponge.  I took 25 pages of typed notes!  I have been an instructor for almost 5 years for the TX Concealed Handgun License and teaching new gun owners in level 1& 2 skill sets, so I knew I was going to know some of the material presented.  What I was looking for was a fresh approach on how to present that material... and that was delivered as promised!  I am a civilian, I teach to civilians, and having the correct civilian perspective is vital.  I got all of that from this class and so much more.

Tom and Lynn Givens are the nicest people!  They run a very organized class, and the emphasis on safety was paramount.  I am not going to give a blow by blow after action report because I think if you are interested in taking the class you should have the opportunity to experience the way I did, from a fresh set of eyes and the surprise of several light bulb moments.

This course draws a wide variety.  In  my class there were several LEO and Military Instructors, and few like me that were teaching to civilians.  There were people who had never taken a formal training class even as a student (which kind of surprised me, but I guess it you want to be an instructor this would be as good of place as any to figure that out) and those that have years of teaching behind them.  I can say all of us learned something.

So good news.. I passed with a 95% on the written and a 92% on the shooting.  I was hoping to do a bit better on the range, but I was exhausted after SHOT show and had brain overload on everything I had just learned in the last 3 days.   I will take the 92%.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gun Owners and Consumer Dollars

In Texas, Penal Code 30.06 is the legal notice for those with a Concealed Handgun License stating entry

on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun was forbidden; or remaining on the property with a concealed handgun was forbidden and failed to depart.  When a retailer or restaurant places this
legal notice, I as a law abiding citizen must respect the law and not enter with my gun.  More importantly, I consider what are the consequences of going into a gun free zone if God forbid today is my “Luby’s day” (referring to the Luby’s massacre in Killeen TX with survivor Suzanna Hupp). I also think about my consumer dollars.  Why would I want to support a business that does not respect and support my right to self-protection and protection of my family?  Most of the time, I stop shopping at these retailers and will only go there if I have no other choices, get in and get out, and bring my knife and other non-lethal tools with me.

The Movie, Music, Games and TV industries has been very vocal about guns and violence again as of late, and I believe it is time to extend my 30.06 policy to them as well.  Why would I want to spend my consumer dollars to see movies that promote guns (with poor handling and skill sets at best) and violence, then have the actors and directors say I can’t have the very object they are glorifying.  Why would I listen to music that advocates gun violence just to have the artist scold me about my rights to own a high capacity magazine?  Why should I watch a TV show of ill behaved characters to have the actors tell me that I should behave better in my own life.  Enough is enough… they are right about that. 

Watch this video and pay attention to the faces in it.  Remember that the next time you are going to buy something of theirs, and support their body guards, high tech security systems, and the guns that protect them.  

It is not unreasonable that we should be outraged as a society over the epidemic of gun violence in our country.  But it is considerably lower than vehicle deaths and drug abuse, and let us not forget abortion.  Shall we look at what is influencing our society and the behavior of our citizens…. Movies, Music, Video Games and TV shows.  Pot calling the kettle black. 

There is an online resource I use frequently  It is a database of all business that post these signs. 

As for me and my consumer dollars... we will serve the Lord.  I am guilty of posting sarcastic political pictures and in your face morality issues.  Going forward I will do my very best to be a considerate member of society, respecting the rights of others, even when I disagree with them.  

2012 Year In Review

2012 has been a great year for me personally and professionally.  Looking at my year in review I can't believe this is my life!

The highlight of my training for 2012 was attending the Massad Ayoob Mag 40 course hosted at Gator Farms Tactical.  Not only did I gain knowledge about our legal system, I had my light bulb moment with some shooting techniques that I have been working on.  

It was a good year for working matches... and winning guns from the RO prize table.  I won a Seekins Precision AR at the Texas Multgun Match and a Glock 17 at the ProAm.  My hubby won an XD at the Texas State Tactical 3 Gun Precision Match, but I worked that match as well, so by proxy... I won that too!  Working matches has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people in our shooting community and learn about competitive shooting sports from a different angle.  I can't wait for the season to start again!  Maybe my gun luck will stick with me for a while longer.

A Girl and A Gun Women's Shooting League has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  My co-founder Renee Blaine and Membership Director Jennifer Galle have been a working hard behind the scenes keeping up with all my "adventurous" ideas.  We have a very dedicated Board of Directors, and an amazing leadership team building chapters and fulfilling our  mission.  Smith and Wesson is our presenting sponsor for our first annual AG & AG Conference at T.I.G.E.R. Valley in March 2013.  Members will be able to participate in two and half days of training at the range with some the best and brightest women in our industry.  And if that wasn't exciting enough, AG & AG will be launching International chapters in the United Kingdom and Argentina.   We have been blessed with many vendor partners and sponsors including Charter Arms that donated 2 revolvers for our members to win, Round 2 Brass that sponsored a STI Spartan and that donated an AR-15.  

I have to say I really love my job as a firearms instructor.   I take that title very seriously.  I am very aware that there are many more "qualified" individuals, many of whom have real world experience of serving our country or law enforcement.  What I have come to appreciate about what I do as an instructor is my ability to bring people in, change lives in small ways, and encourage continuing education beyond my skill sets.  I am extremely motivated to continue my education in 2013, and bring to my students more knowledge and opportunities to be responsible and educated gun owners.  Thank you to my friends, clients and of course my family for supporting me... even in my wildest moments.  I make myself tired, I can only imagine that I must exhaust everyone around me!

Happy New Year and hope to see you at the range soon!