“Sassin’ Up My Mags”

I love Beth’s ideas :0) Check out her blog and watch for her at the Single Stack Nationals and Bianchi Cup this year! Good luck, Beth!

Sass, Brass & Bullets

"Kiss My Sass"
“Kiss My Sass” by Nike

I’ve been feeling awful sassy this week. I blame it on Nike for creating a new t-shirt.  I just happened to see it when I walked by Lady Footlocker the other day on my lunch break.  The color they had in the store wasn’t the cutest but I ordered one online and it should be delivered to my local Lady Footlocker next week.  I can’t wait!  Be sure to look for me at Single Stack Nationals and Bianchi Cup.  I’ll be wearin’ my sassy shirt!

The other reason I’m feeling a bit sassy is because I decided to add some sass to my G34 magazines.  I was browsing the scrapbooking section of Walmart the other day and found some cute little twirly stickers that I thought would look cute on my mags.  Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “do the words ‘cute’ and ‘magazine’ belong in the same…

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Training with Colonel Colt and Friends

A great example of how shooting can make everything better – even if only for a little while 🙂

SlowFacts

I was out shooting with a friend yesterday.  A day shooting outdoors with a friend is a wonderful gift after a tough week.  It was a pot luck of pleasant surprises.  No two trips will ever be the same because we bring something different each time.

Start with good company–  As I learned from Lt. Col Dave Grossman, pain shared is pain divided.  Joy shared is joy multiplied.  It was great to talk and listen in the company of someone who also has their ups and downs.  I’m reminded that life isn’t perfect.  Embrace the suck and the laughter.

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Interview: “Allie Cat” Barrett, A Top Junior Shooter

As stated in a previous blog post, I have become very impressed with the young people I’ve met through the world of shooting sports lately, the ones I call the “High Caliber Generation.”  These young shooters seem to be extremely mature, focused, dedicated, and disciplined – and I know they have a lot of fun, as well.

Recently, I read more about Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, a 15 year-old, Stockton, Missouri, high school sophomore, who is on her way to becoming one of the top female shooters in the country. Allie placed 3rd in the Ladies 2011 World Champion Ruger Rimfire Competition and came in 4th overall in the Junior Competition. And besides her many other accomplishments (and there are many), she is an NRA Certified Apprentice Pistol Instructor and helps her parents (Tim and Heather, along with her brother, Andy) at their family-owned shooting range, Midwest Tactical Firearms Academy.

During the 2011 season, Allie was sponsored by Sportsman Paradise Gun Shop, MTFA Range, and recently, Volquartsen Customs in .22 rimfire competitions. She is also sponsored by Hodgdon Powders, Dan Burwell Gunsmithing, Strader Solutions, Rudy Project Shooting Eyewear, and Zero Bullet Company.

I asked Allie some questions recently, and thought I would share her answers with you from her own pen. I think you will see why she qualifies as a member of “Generation HC.”

Q. What three life lessons have you learned from shooting?

A. Three life lessons would be to try your hardest, even when it might not work out; just because you’re smaller than the rest, it doesn’t mean you can’t win; and live life to your expectations.

Q. How has shooting played a part in how you relate to your peers?

A. Shooting does get in the way of a social life, but its way worth it in the end. My friends support me in everything I do.

Q. What is your favorite type of shooting competition?

A. My favorite type of competition is USPSA [United States Practical Shooting Association] and Ruger Rimfire.

Q. What are your favorite firearms?

A. My favorite firearms are my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Pro that I shoot for USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA [International Defensive Pistol Association], and other centerfire matches. I love my Volquartsen firearms. They are pretty sweet! Volquartsen has been an amazing sponsor, and they have given me awesome support.

Q. How has school affected your shooting career, if at all?

A. Shooting does get in the way of some school activities sometimes, but I always seem to work everything out. School does come first, but I always catch myself day dreaming about shooting matches when I’m in class. 🙂 On some weekends I feel the need to get out and practice, but sometimes I can’t, because I have a mountain of homework, or my mom and dad need help on our family’s gun range teaching CCW or junior shooting lessons.

Q. What is it like to compete (and win) against people older than yourself?

A. I think it’s fun shooting against adult shooters. It challenges me to shoot the best I can and makes me want to win even more. I get more satisfaction winning High Lady Overall than High Junior.

Q. What would you like to tell new shooters – young people that are just getting interested in shooting?

A. I tell new shooters that come out to work with me, to just try their best and just have fun. I emphasize that safety comes first, that they need to learn the fundamentals of shooting first. Speed comes later, with experience.

Q. How do you see yourself involved in shooting 20 years from now?

A. The world is full of opportunities, and if you have the drive and the right attitude you can accomplish anything. In 20 years, I will be 35; I see myself following in my Dad’s footsteps and going into Law Enforcement, be on a SWAT Team, and still competing in USPSA competitions. Firearms will always be a part of my life. I am very thankful for the 2nd Amendment. It seems that kids my age don’t even realize what freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and how some people want to try and take away those freedoms. I plan on living my life to the fullest and taking it just like shooting a match – one stage at a time.

* Photos courtesy of Allie Barrett

Susan G. Komen gun-backing controversy

Oh, the humanity!  The Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has gotten their signature pink on yet another product – and it’s a gun!  Whatever will we do?

As I have said before, I’m a little over-done with breast-cancer pink being on everything from toilet paper to pro football players, as well as the fact that one form of cancer is getting so much more attention and support than all others.  It also does not make me want to support the organization when I hear of so many sufferers of the disease not being the recipients of all those millions (billions) of dollars.

But those are my personal opinions – (and yes, I’ve had cancer (not breast) and several people close to me have had various types of cancer in the past year, including a long-time friend who died of breast cancer, so I don’t like it anymore than anyone else does).

Now, however, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has teamed up with the Walther gun manufacturing company to produce the Walther P-22 Hope Edition, of course, with a beautiful pink slide – but, Lord, the controversy this is causing!

Many people, who are thrilled to spend their money on sponsored products in order to raise funds for breast-cancer research, are now railing against this alliance of the pink campaign with a firearm.  I guess they don’t want money from women who like to shoot.

Comments I’ve seen around the web include:

“What should women do, shoot themselves?”  Who has EVER said that ANYONE should shoot themselves with a gun?

“Guns are a major killer of women.”  Do you really want to talk about what is killing women?  Well, do ya?

Newsflash:  Cancer kills many more women each year than guns.  According to statistics, approximately 275,000 women are expected to die this year from cancer – a number that was much higher in 1999, when 1884 women were killed with guns.  It is not easy finding specific statistics on handgun killings among females, maybe because it is uncommon, but the numbers boil down to approximately five killings of women with handguns/day and approximately 753 killings of women from cancer/day.

‘Nother Newsflash:  Cancer can strip you of all dignity, confidence, and empowerment, but shooting (and many other sporting activities) can give all that back.

Personally, I don’t care if your gun is lime green with orange polkadots!  Face it, women like many different things, and if pink floats your boat, go for it – and if those purchases support breast cancer research, all the better.  So where’s the problem?

http://www.discountgunsales.com/walther-p-22-hope-edition-34-pr-4228.html

I love to clean…my gun!

Ladies, do you clean your gun(s)?  No, I don’t mean, does your husband, son, boyfriend…clean them for you.  If you shoot, and you should, then you need to learn to clean the firearms.

“If ya shoot ’em, ya gotta clean ’em,” is one of my mottos – trust me, I have many :0)

And do we even need to discuss the fact that something that contains gunpowder and lead, and that EXPLODES in the barrel, even needs to be cleaned?? (big eye roll)

I know, I know, one more thing to scrub, right?  But cleaning your gun is much different than cleaning your toilet.  There is no better way to become truly comfortable with every aspect of your firearm, to know it literally inside and out, than to break it down and clean it.  (Nobody needs to get to know a toilet :/)

So here are the reasons, in a nutshell, that I think it’s important:

1.  You become very adept at field strip and reassembly of the gun, which could be very important should you ever have a problem during use and have to strip it, fix it, and reassemble it in short order.

2.  You know without a doubt that the firearm is clean and in working order.

3.  It helps you take ownership of the gun.  Some women shoot guns belonging to others, which is fine, but then they walk away and forget about it until they shoot again.  Even if it isn’t your gun, take ownership and responsibility of it.

4.  For the new gun owner/user, the firearm will be much less intimidating if you see it in pieces on your kitchen table.  I’ve seen ladies who were really afraid of “weapons” completely change their mind after holding just the little round barrel in their hands.  Things are not as frightening when you know them inside and out.

One of the best ways to learn to clean your gun is from someone else who knows and who will take the time to show you, step by step.  Many ranges are now hosting gun-cleaning clinics, some especially for women like the ones I hold, and that can be a fun, social time, as well.  When I’m in a room full of women cleaning their guns and talking, laughing, and having a great time, I usually say the gun-cleaning circles of today have replaced the quilting groups of old :0)

But if you don’t have someone to show you, or a clinic to attend, just go online to Youtube, search for “field strip” or “take down,” “break down” of whatever gun you have, and I can assure you someone has a video on it.  That’s how I learned to break down one of my new handguns.

So don’t stress over it, get with some other girls and make it fun, leave a window open so you don’t all get high on the solvent :0) but remember, “A clean gun is a happy gun” (another one of my mottos).

** CAUTION:  NEVER, EVER, EVER EVEN ATTEMPT TO CLEAN A FIREARM IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, DON’T HAVE SOMEONE WITH YOU THAT DOES, AND UNTIL YOU HAVE, PERSONALLY, CLEARED THE GUN AND MADE SURE IT IS UNLOADED.  ABOVE ALL, STAY SAFE!

Om…bang…om…

I was encouraging a friend and fellow shooter this morning that has a lot on her plate, and I told her not to forget to shoot.  I think everyone that is involved in a sport or hobby knows how calming and stress-releasing it can be, and shooting is no different.

And it’s not an anger thing, like some people joke about – “Gotta go to the range and burn off some steam!”  Sure, sometimes I feel like that, but more often, it’s just that tightness you get between your shoulders when you have too much going on, and you have so many things flying around in your head that your eyes are about to pop out.

But there is no better way I know to forget all of that, than to put a full magazine in your gun, focus on that little black dot downrange, and punch holes in paper.  The focus that you must have to shoot well is incredible, and staying in that zone for even a little while can make everything else just melt away.

Yep, shooting is definitely my yoga :0)  Can “bang” be a mantra?

(Here’s a great post by Lynne on the same subject – as well as an update on National Take Your Daughters To The Range Day:  http://femaleandarmed.blogspot.com/2012/01/for-sheer-joy.html)

To Pink Or Not To Pink…

So here’s the question:  “Women wearing pink camo:  What are you trying to blend into?”

And of course that question could be asked of anyone wearing any color of camo in any setting outside the typical hunt setting, i.e., the woods.

But as the debate continues on whether pink camo, hunting gear, fishing gear, and pink guns themselves are actually enticing to women, more pink gear is being made and displayed in stores every day.

Only about 15-16% of women, “survey said,” prefer the color pink for their hunting and fishing gear, although no one is sure of the percentage of women that actually purchase those items.  Obviously, pink gear is being sold or savvy manufacturers would not be making it, but are the women who actually shoot and fish primarily the ones purchasing the gear?

About half the women surveyed in recent studies said they felt pink outdoor gear to be insulting, and most women in the survey said they prefer traditional camo colors or black for their gear, although many probably don’t care one way or the other.

Initially, I was put off by the pink camo due to the fact that I’ve never been a pink girl and I felt that the manufacturers were just assuming that most women likepink – because we’re girls.  In fact, I’ve never seen pink gear out at the range where I shoot, and most of the women I know who hunt and fish are not into the girly-girl look – at least not at the range or in the hunting blind.  I also felt that if companies wanted to appeal more to women, and thought the color of the gear was the way to go about it, they would offer a wider range of colors and not focus so much on just one.

Another reason is that I think we’ve been inundated with pink everything lately, ad nauseam.  I have no qualms about the breast cancer pink campaign, but when it is showing up on everything from toilet paper to professional football players, I can’t help but feel like it’s gone too far.

And maybe it’s just the shade of the pinkness that bothers me.  I do have a couple of caps I wear to the range that have traditional camo along with a very light pink logo, or some other small, light pinkness to it – but the bright, hot pink that’s going around is just too much for this strawberry-redhead to handle.  And pink guns?  I still can’t get used to that.  Yes, I think some of the guns look cute, but is that really what you want to pull from your holster – a “cute” gun?  I mean, we’re not playing games here.  This is not Barbie’s Day at the Gun Range or Barbie Defends Herself Against the Rapist day, or even Barbie Takes Down a Big Buck day – you get the idea.

So do I mind that there are more options for women in hunting and fishing gear?  Absolutely not.  Do I know of anywomen who have purchased these items?  No.  Would I like a wider range of color options?  Yes.  Would I actually purchase them?  H’m, probably not.

And therein may lie the problem.  I think there are a lot of women who think some of the pink gear is adorable – in the stores, but when it comes down to actually buying guns and accessories that they will use out in the field or carry on their person, it’s probably rare that the pink stuff makes it past the front door – except as a gift from the guy who is trying to get his princess to go hunting with him :0)  I guess we’ll just see how the market unfolds over time.

So what do you think?  Pink or no pink?  That is the question.

Please, Don’t Teach My Wife To Shoot!

So recently I got to talking to the dishwasher repairman about shooting (somehow), probably because hunting season was about to begin.  I mentioned that I like to shoot pistols and that we had started a women’s handgun league at our range.  He seemed a bit surprised.  When he was packing up his tools to leave, I mentioned that if he knew any women that liked to shoot, or might want to learn, that I would be happy to send information to them about our women’s activities.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man’s head whip around quite so fast.  He looked like I was from Mars when he said, “There’s no way I’m teaching my wife to shoot!”

I said, “Really?  She might like it and actually be good at it.”

He said, “Yeah, that’s why I’m not teaching her.”

Seriously, that man looked completely terrified at the very thought of his wife being able to shoot a gun.  Does it really make him more comfortable knowing he has guns in the house and she DOESN’T know how to use them?  Or is he, personally, just too afraid that she might turn on him?  Either way, that’s not good.  This was a man that I could tell through our conversation really enjoyed shooting, whether hunting with a rifle, shooting a shotgun, or even a handgun.  Apparently, though, he was horrified at the thought of his wife sharing in those hobbies with him.

Houston, we have a problem.

I guess we just have to assume that in his opinion:  A)  Shooting is only for men; B)  She doesn’t need to know how to defend herself – she has him to do that for her (as long as he is with her 24/7); C)  It didn’t matter that should she have to try to use the gun in a bad situation, she might do something wrong and harm herself or someone else unintentionally; or D)  He just really doesn’t trust her not to turn on him.

I didn’t get into it with him, but there was so much I wanted to say.  Maybe his wife really is a horrible person that shouldn’t be trusted with a firearm, and if that’s the case, I feel sorry for him; but chances are that’s not the case.  And maybe she wouldn’t enjoy shooting, but who knows, because she’s not going to get a chance to try if he has anything to say about it.

How about this scenario:  Maybe their relationship would benefit from sharing some hobbies, such as time spent together at the hunting cabin or practicing their skills at the range?

All I know is that most of the ladies I’ve met who shoot, enjoy doing so with their husbands/significant others and spending time with them just as any couple would who play golf or tennis together.  And maybe my dishwasher repairman just didn’t want his wife invading his “man time” with the guys, but apparently she won’t have that option – unless another girlfriend comes along to let her know how much fun she is missing.  We can only hope :0)

Ladies, You Are In Good Company!

Everybody is talking about the huge influx of women to the shooting arena these days, to the tune of between 15 and 20 MILLION female gun owners in the U.S. – and that’s not counting the number of women who shoot, but do not have a gun registered in their name.  Maybe they shoot a gun purchased by their husband, or they shoot someone else’s rifle when they hunt, but regardless, that’s a lot of women; so I decided to try to get a better picture of just how many that is.

You can’t begin to come close the number of women gun owners in the U.S. until you add together the numbers of active military personnel in the following countries:  United States, India, Syria, Thailand, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Indonesia, Italy, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, North Korea, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Russia, Myanmar, Morocco, Malaysia, Jordan, Israel, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Cambodia.  Active military personnel from those countries COMBINED are approximately 15,095,300, which means the number of female gun owners is greater than the military force of 30 countries.

And compared with national population numbers, female gun owners would equal the number of citizens in either the Netherlands, Chili, or Romania – or more than the populations of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, and Ireland COMBINED (15,548,522).  Feeling empowered yet?

How about more than twice the number of motorcycles in the US (7,752,926), more than all the redheads in Scotland and Ireland combined (10,700,000), or about 15-20 times the number of lawyers in America?

The bottom line is that 15 to 20 million of anything is a lot, and for that many women to actually purchase a firearm, there must be a good reason – many good reasons, to be exact.

Of course, many of the active military personnel in the world today are women who own firearms; and if you add the number of female law enforcement officers, you have a large number of women who are armed to protect and defend.  Many other women who own guns are prompted to do so by a desire to defend themselves and others on a personal and individual basis, and with the current numbers of violent crimes committed against women on an annual basis, that’s probably a good idea.

Hunting for food or sport is another reason many women own and use guns.  The number of new female hunters is now outpacing the number of new male hunters, according to the NRA; and according to the National Sporting Goods Association, there were 163,000 new female hunters in 2009.

But women across the nation are also finding out there are shooting sports that have nothing to do with hunting or self-defense.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation tells us that more than 19 million Americans participate in target shooting each year, many of whom are women.  But standing on the line and shooting at a stationary target is not enough for some women; these ladies want a little action in their shooting, hence the rise in attendance at practical shooting events throughout the U.S.

“Imagine combining the athleticism of competitive sports with the choreography of modern dance, then toss in the adrenaline rush of skiing down a double black diamond sky slope,” is how the USPSA Ladies’ Zone website describes the sport of practical shooting.  The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) and the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) sponsor many events across the nation where women, and men, navigate various “stages” while shooting at stationary and moving targets.  These events are becoming extremely popular with women, many of whom attend camps such as those sponsored by Babes With Bullets in an effort to master this exciting sport.

If you add the fun of cowboy (cowgirl) shooting (who could resist dressing up in vintage clothing and participating in a shootout at the OK corral?), you have even more opportunities for female handgun shooters to have fun and compete alongside the men – check out SASS for more info.  But cowboy shooters do not only use handguns, and there are just as many women picking up rifles and shotguns these days, as pistols and revolvers.

The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is one group encouraging women to improve their rifle skills through Project Appleseed (Ladyseed) events.  The Appleseed program teaches three-position rifle shooting:  standing, sitting, and prone, as well as how to transition between positions, and throws in the history of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War just for fun.  Participants learn how important the rifleman was to the freedoms we now enjoy in our country, and with events just for women – click here – at only $10/weekend, there’s no excuse not to take advantage of these opportunities.   You might even earn your Rifleman’s patch in the process!

If rifles and handguns are not your cup of tea, how about shotgun shooting?  You don’t have to hunt birds to enjoy shooting a shotgun at your local skeet and trap range.  In fact, skeet shooting was named by a woman, Gertrude Hurlbutt, who suggested the Scandinavian word for “shooting” to replace the term of “clock shooting” in 1926.   And if Kim Rhode could compete against adults and win her first world title with a shotgun at the age of 13, going on to earn an Olympic gold medal at the age of 17, it might be something you could try, as well.  Now only in her early 30’s, Kim continues to compete (she will be a member of Team USA at the London Games), as well as encourage women and young people across the nation to become more involved in the shotgun sports.

So you can see that any woman who has a desire to shoot, also has many avenues and opportunities to do so, and with all of the many female shooting blogs (see Blog Roll to the right for just a few), Facebook pages, and support sites available today, I think we will continue to see women filling the lines at many more events in the future.