If you have read this blog in the past, please head over to my newest blog by clicking on High Caliber Cate. I am going to put the Heritage Family blog on hold for now. High Caliber Cate will cover a lot of the same topics as HF, but will focus on women and juniors, as well. It will also be tied in with my Rowdy Girls facebook page, which is a group of women whose focus is firearms, self-defense, preparedness, and basically just changing the world for the better. You can find Rowdy Girls here: https://www.facebook.com/RowdyGirlsGroup. Come join us!
I wrote the following on a facebook page today: “I was talking to a woman recently about firearms training, when she said, “Oh, I’m afraid of guns.” Now, I’ve had women tell me that before, and I haven’t said what I would like to, but this time I said, “You know, I’m more afraid of a bad guy than I am of a gun that is in my control.”
I was hoping she would realize that the only reason to carry a firearm is because there are bad guys out there, that might be planning to harm us. I have zero control over what someone is out there plotting to do, and when the opportunity might arise for him to do it to me, but I do have control over the level of my preparedness to handle that threat in the best possible manner. We (women) need to stop seeing the tool as the threat, and realize that learning to use the tool properly will enable us to defend ourselves better against the true threat – the bad guy.”
It does seem that many women fear the tool, rather than understanding that the tool is what you use against the actual threat, but a firearm should not be the only tool in the toolbox. If we believe that using a firearm is the option of last resort when faced with a threat, then we need to also learn other skills that we might employ first, such as situational awareness, self-defense, even knife fighting skills, all of which might prevent us from having to employ the firearm tool.
I would love for some of the women I come across to stop thinking they will never be in a life or death situation and to plan for the day that they might. If we are trained and prepared, but are never placed in that situation, that’s awesome; however, if we are untrained and unprepared, but our life is threatened at some point, then we are basically helpless. I’d much rather prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
We had an awesome day with 19 young ladies and their families this weekend for our National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day. The girls were able to try their hand at pistol shooting, rifle shooting, and archery, and even got a hands-on lesson in wildlife identification from a representative of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
They enjoyed gun-shaped cookies with pink camo icing from Qtzie Cupcakes, won some cool door prizes, and most importantly, learned the basics of safe gun handling.
Volunteers braved the blazing heat – and being in southeast Texas, it was HOT – but they said it was worth it to see all the smiles on the girls’ faces when they made a good shot. And let me tell you, these girls were good shots! It was amazing to see some of them blow the center out of their targets, and was really encouraging when they started off far from center, but walked it in until they were inside the bullseye – that’s when we knew they had it.
Many thanks to those who helped put on the event, and to Houston-Tactical for sponsoring it, and Lynne of Female and Armed for coming up with the idea and supporting all of us. Next year will be even bigger and better! For more information on NTYDTTRD, CLICK HERE, and see below for pictures.
I watched a video today that was shared on the GunDivas blog site, and I wanted to pass it on to you for a couple of reasons. The video was made by PatriotNurse, who has many more great videos that you can find on YouTube, but this one was called Firearms Training and Women.
In the video, PatriotNurse makes the point that women have a natural instinct to protect their young – the Mama Bear response that we’re all familiar with – but that young mothers are rarely taught how to defend their own lives, much less the lives of their children, when they begin to have young people whose lives depend on them.
In our American society, we are still very patriarchal, which is not a problem as long as the patriarch realizes that the primary care-giver in our society is still, the majority of the time, the mother. In that environment, the father is spending the majority of his day at work; and the mother is spending the majority of her day with the young children.
Even if the mother works outside the home, she is still – typically – the one that drops the children off at daycare or school and picks them up. She also tends to have the children with her more often at the grocery store on the weekends, and while running other errands or shuttling the children back and forth to extracurricular activities.
And of course, this does not apply to every family, but there are still many more families in America that it does apply to.
That being the case, would it not be beneficial for the father to make sure that the mother could protect herself and their children if dad is not around and something goes wrong? Granted, mom could take the responsibility of acquiring that training herself, but many men already have those skills, they just don’t always pass them on to their wives and daughters – and admittedly, some wives are not even interested in firearms training.
In the typical nuclear, patriarchal family, everyone tends to depend on the dad’s wisdom and strength to take care of a problem when it occurs. But what if dad is not there? What if mom and the kids are at the grocery store when it is robbed – and dad is miles away?
Just because one partner in a team is prepared, it does not make the team safe, unless that partner is covering the others 24/7/365, which is simply not possible. I like PatriotNurse’s concept that the protection of the family should be a team effort. Just as in many other areas of raising a family, one person should not shoulder the entire burden of any one area of responsibility.
Women are natural defenders of all they hold dear, and those bear claws will come out when lives are threatened – especially the lives of their children. I say it’s time we help train and equip them for that purpose.
(And, yes, I know I’ve made some blanket, and even stereotypical statements in this post, but I am often out during the day and I do see many more women with young children than I see men with children. And that doesn’t even include the huge numbers of single moms, who don’t even have the dad to defend them.)
The Women’s Outdoor Media Association, WOMA, has a great post today by Julianna Crowder on “How To Get Women Into The Gun Concept.” Julianna makes many valid points in her post, but one part that I really like is where she says, “It is very important for women to have positive female role models in the firearms industry. I strongly encourage you when seeking out a firearms training course, that you look for one that has a female role model on staff rather than an overall male environment. Especially if you are new and feeling timid. Knowing that there is someone like you teaching from a similar perspective will ease the experience.”
Advising women to seek other female instructors is not anti-men, by any means; it is just an acknowledgement that many women will not go to a male instructor, especially one that teaches skills that may bring up many emotional issues from the woman’s past.
A lot of women are drawn to firearms and self-defense through painful circumstances in their past, and many times, those circumstances involved being victimized by a man. Those ladies are not going to feel comfortable putting themselves under the instruction of a man during a time when learning how to defend themselves brings up memories of a time when they could not do so.
Also, many women have been made to feel inferior, inadequate, dumb, clumsy, awkward, weak, etc., by men in their lives, either knowingly or unknowingly, so those women are more comfortable admitting their weaknesses to a female instructor, and asking some of the questions that they might initially be embarrassed they don’t know.
There are many reasons why women seek out other women as role models and instructors, and that’s perfectly fine. I instruct women in the use of firearms and am fortunate enough to have some extremely supportive men surrounding me and encouraging me. My husband is never intimidated by my ability to teach – and is even proud to tell others on those occasions that I might shoot better than him.
I also have men in the company that I teach for, who are so far above my skill and experience level that it’s crazy – I mean, these men have military experience and have attending so much training that it would take me years to reach that level, if I ever did; BUT they acknowledge that there are many women out there today that need what I have to offer – some skill, some training, some experience, but primarily just the fact that I can relate to them on a much different level than my male counterparts.
The men that I work with are happy to promote what I do, and they are proud of the fact that I, and the other female instructors I work with, are able to help women that the men may never be allowed to.
So while there are not nearly as many female firearms and self-defense instructors as male at this time, I would dare say that if you keep looking and ask around, you will likely find one in your general area. And after you get the training you need and become more proficient with your skills, consider paying it forward and becoming an instructor. We need more women out there leading the way, so come join us! The rewards are incredible as you help other women become more empowered and more confident in their lives.
“Generation HC,” or the “High Caliber Generation” is what I’ve begun calling young people I’ve come into contact with in the world of shooting sports. These “kids” are extremely focused, mature, and disciplined – but they have a lot of fun, as well.
You can read about previous Gen HC members Allie Barrett and Leslie Cernik below, but now it’s time to hear from our first male shooter, Jacob “Jaco” Hetherington, a 14 year-old IDPA and USPSA/Steel Challenge competitor from Prescott, Arizona. And Jacob doesn’t just compete in these challenges, he wins. He has achieved Master class in Stock Service Pistol in IDPA, “A” class in single stack, and Master class in Production in USPSA.
He told me of his love for all types of shooting, and of his family, by saying, “My family is really supportive. I have an older sister, Madeline, 16, and a younger brother, Craig, who is 11. My dad shoots with me sometimes, but it is mostly only me. My mom doesn’t shoot anymore, but when she did she was a good dove hunter.
My sister doesn’t shoot competitively, but loves to shoot, and is really good with bolt-action rifles. She also shot shotgun clays with me when we were younger for two years. My younger brother loves to shoot also, and is a beast with an AR 15! He shoots with me in steel challenge rarely.
My entire family hunts and has been successful. My brother, though, holds the record for longest hunting shot, 346 yard perfect vital shot on his first deer.”
As with many young competitive shooters, Jacob’s entry into the world of shooting began early.
“I shot my first gun when I was two years old. My dad had a 10/22 on a bench rest with a red dot sight and I shot frozen gallon jugs. I was pretty much born into shooting. When I was nine, I started dry-fire practicing with my mom’s Glock 19, and when I was ten and a half, I started shooting competitive pistol. I shot an IDPA match and was hooked.”
Jacob’s location in Prescott is practically ideal for any shooter, as he is within close proximity to some wonderful shooting venues.
“I live 30 minutes from my local shooting range (Whispering Long Tree Range/Prescott Action Shooters) and shoot almost every weekend. They hold a sectional match for USPSA called the “NAZC” (Northern Arizona Classic). I live two hours from PRGC (Phoenix Rod And Gun Club), which is an IDPA range, and they hold a sectional IDPA match and the Arizona State Championships. I also live two hours from Rio Salado Sportsman Club, which is a USPSA club. It is also the local range of Rob Leatham, Nils Jonasson, and Cody McKenna, who are all [Grand Master] shooters and always try to help me out. All in all, I would not want to live anywhere else.”
I asked Jacob the same questions I asked the ladies, and here are his answers:
Q. What three life lessons have you learned from shooting?
A. “I have learned to take extreme amounts of pressure, and make it disappear. I am more mature, because I have more responsibility, and I have high confidence, because you can’t doubt yourself when you shoot.”
Q. How has shooting played a part in how you relate to your peers?
A. “My friends think my shooting [is] awesome. Most of them don’t really know about competitive shooting, but I try to teach them.”
Q. What is your favorite type of shooting competition?
A. “I don’t have a favorite type of shooting, but USPSA and IDPA are the most common types I shoot. All shooting is great, so it is hard to choose one. I also hope to shoot 3-gun someday.”
Q. What is your favorite firearm?
A. “I have shot tons of firearms. I have shot M&P’s, Springfield XD’s, Ruger SR9’s and 1911’s and shot very well with them, but right now my Glock 34 is my favorite. I am happy with it, but I look forward to competing with other guns, too.”
Q. How has your schooling affected your shooting “career,” if at all?
A. “Well, I think shooting has made me a better person, overall. It has helped my attitude toward school. I am a 4.0 student, and it is hard to keep [that level] when I leave for major matches. Homework holds back my practice, but I have to do it.”
Q. What is it like to compete against people older than yourself?
A. “Well, when I first started out, I thought that I was at a super disadvantage, but I now realize that it was just an excuse. I have won many matches against adults. I only have two years of USPSA experience, so I don’t have as much experience and confidence as older shooters. I enjoy learning from better shooters, and take what I learn from everybody and combine it with what already works for me.
I also like it when I meet a person that thinks that I am not a good shooter because of my age, and I blow their mind, and I get instant respect.”
Q. What would you like to tell new shooters – young people who are just getting interested in shooting?
A. “I would tell them that if you want to be good, you need to dry fire; and that reading books on competitive shooting is a good idea. Also, that you are going to hit bumps in the road, but if you are determined you will bounce back up.
As Rob Leatham said to me “Shooting is simple, aim shoot aim shoot move aim shoot,” and I would add that shooting is 95% mental, in my opinion. Also, major matches really help you improve fast.”
Q. How do you see yourself involved in shooting 20 years from now?
A. “I see myself as a great shooter that is really trying to help others win matches. I would like to be more of a contributor to the sport of shooting, than just a competitor. I hope I have a good reputation as a good shooter, and [that I’m] very helpful to my sponsors.”
As for his future career plans, Jacob said he hopes to get into a military college, or to get a scholarship to another college/university; but that if those plans do not work out, he will enlist in the military and then use the GI bill to get his college degree. He plans to major in law enforcement and become a Police Officer, then a SWAT officer.
“That is my plan, but it is always changing; and if the military and law enforcement aren’t for me, then I want to go into the hunting guide business.”
From the sound of it, Jacob should have no problem achieving whatever goal he sets his sights on.
You can read about our previous Gen HC’s by clicking on: “Allie Cat” Barrett, or Leslie Cernik, aka Western Rose. I know you will enjoy meeting all of our High Caliber Generation members, and we wish Jacob all the best in his future endeavors!