Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Sneaky Little Thing

Most things we do in life come down to mindset. 

Complacency is one of those sneaky little things that can creep up from time to time.   Most likely is something we will all battle on some level.

I will admit that complacency is something I struggle with from time to time.

True confessions - I do not like carrying a gun.  Sometimes I downright resent it.  Its inconvenient.  Its uncomfortable.  And frankly, its a reminder that I can't always trust my fellow humans.    There are times when I think, "I am just going to run to the store for a minute.  I think I'll leave my gun at home."   BUT, I can't let myself begin to think that way.  You can't either.  Unless we are ok with the possible ramifications.

I am 56 years old and have never needed a gun a day in my life.  Odds are that I will live out the rest of my days and not need a gun.  However, I live every day as if I will need my gun before I get home ... because I may.

That is not because I live in fear; I do not.  Its because for me, its not about the odds; its about the stakes.

For the record, I still believe the good guys outnumber the bad guys.  There are a lot of good people out there. I talk about some of them over on my home page.  There are a lot of screwed up people out there too.  And there are a few really evil people.  And since I have no control over when I might cross paths with one of those evil people, I carry a gun every day of my life, everywhere I can legally carry. 

And you know what?  That makes me less afraid ... because I am prepared.  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Its Different, Teaching Women

I love teaching women.  I teach men too and like that as well, but there is something about being with a group of women that is just, well ... different in such a refreshing way. 

Some of my observations are:

  • Women are generally more conscientious.  They want to perform the skill correctly.  They are less interested in being fast and furious with a gun and more interested in learning the skill. 
  • Women talk.  Oh do they talk!  Sometimes as an instructor, this can be frustrating and annoying.  However, that is how women process information!  They are learning when they are talking (assuming it is talk related to what's going on). A good instructor will recognize this and be more patient.  Instructing is not always about what the instructor is saying - its how the student is processing the information.
  • Women love feedback!  I have found that women really respond to feedback, and not just positive feedback.  They thrive on the positive feedback but they need honesty and welcome it.  They do not like to feel like someone is placating them or tolerating them.  Women have a keen sense of that and will respond to the instructor accordingly. 
  • And of course, there is the all-female environment that allows women to discuss things that they would never discuss and ask questions they would never ask if men were present.  Our anatomy is different and that can present some issues that men just know nothing about.  
These are just some of the things that make teaching women a delight!  It is also beyond rewarding to see women who value themselves and love their family enough to get out of their comfort zone and do what they need to do to be able to protect what they love.  Women are fierce in protecting what they love and it is awesome to see that they love themselves enough to defend themselves. 

Stack the Deck

Last night I had the pleasure of teaching a group of 8 women. During the class, we discussed briefly why we recommend a larger gun over a smaller gun.  I admitted that I had at one point purchased one  of the smaller semi-automatic handguns, a Sig Sauer p328 to be exact.
It was my "pretty" gun.  And it was indeed pretty.  I loved it!  But I didn't feel confident in using it for self-defense.  I never carried it.  Not even once.

Let me tell you my story....

I grew up in southern Indian where everybody is pretty much expected to own a gun.  I grew up around them but never had much interest in them.  Guns were not good or bad, they just were part of life.

When I married my husband, he had grown up in northern California and had no exposure to guns at all and was not a fan.  His position was that, "we will have no guns in our home".   For me, that was an odd way to think, but it wasn't an issue because I didn't feel a need to own a gun.  I live in a nice neighborhood.  I have good neighbors who do a good job of looking out for each other.  I am married, so there is a man around the house.  The police station is just a few streets over from my house.  I raised two boys, so there were 3 males around the house for a time.  One of those boys grew up to be a police officer so for a while, a cop lived at our house.  I don't go to dangerous places and I don't hang out with dangerous people, so I was the lady who always felt safe ... until I didn't.

Some years ago a man started attending our church who had a really nasty criminal past.  We had to set some pretty firm limits with him in order to protect our congregation, particularly our children.  He did not take very kindly to that.  In fact, he became so enraged that a man in our church had to identify himself as a police officer and escort him off the property.  This man was very, very angry .. at my husband.

And I began to wonder ... what would I do if he came to our house sometime when my husband wasn't around?  I thought I would feel better if I had some way to defend myself if I had to.  So my husband who had always said we would not have guns in our home, looked at me and said, "You should feel safe in your own home, go buy a gun."   And I did.

I bought a Smith & Wesson .38 special, snub nose revolver. 

I knew that now that I was a gun owner I needed to take a class and learn how to be responsible with it.  Going to the range and shooting is one thing, owning the gun and being responsible for it is another. 
I signed up for a class and quickly realized that I had bought the wrong gun.  I shot well with it, but had not taken into account a few very important considerations.

  1. Under duress, in a deadly force encounter, I may miss. I'm a decent shot but in under those circumstances I will be experiencing lots of adrenaline rushing through my body, I will likely have a moving target, and I will have to make life and death decisions in just a few seconds of time. 
  2. I may have to shoot my attacker more than once to make him stop.  While it is never our intention to kill, very often one shot, even when well placed, does not stop the attack.  If the attacker is cranking on some kind of drug, he may not even realize he has been shot. 
  3. Bad guys don't always come by themselves.  Sometimes they bring friends. 
I looked at my 5-shot revolver and knew I needed something more.  My next purchase was a GLOCK.

The small Sig Sauer p238 was not ever my "carry gun".  It was purchased to be my "pretty gun" that I treated myself to. 

Why was it not my carry gun when it is clearly smaller and easier to conceal?

  • Smaller guns tend to malfunction more frequently than larger guns.  We see that all the time on the range.
  • Smaller guns do not hold as many rounds as larger guns.  In a gunfight, no one wishes for fewer rounds. 
  • Smaller guns are generally harder to manipulate.  Very often people struggle with them. 
  • Smaller guns are not as accurate as larger guns.  In a gunfight I am going to lose accuracy for all of the reasons mentioned above.  I do not want to lose accuracy because I have a gun that is less accurate.  
My advice is to stack the deck in  your favor as much as you can.  There are a lot of things we do not have control over.  We don't have control over when we will have a car accident.  We don't have control over when we will have a heart attack.  And we don't have control over when a criminal will choose to try to make us his next victim.  You do have control over what tool you use to fight with and how much training you acquire to use that tool effectively.  Stack the deck in YOUR favor.   

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Do It Again

Do you ever hesitate to take a training class because you've already done one similar to it?  There is GREAT value in repeating classes.  I have found that among the benefits of repeating training are:

  • Repetition is mandatory for mastering a skill.  It is impossible to "own" a skill in a day-long class.  Even in a multi-day class, you learn the skill and get some practice, but really mastering it takes repeating it over and over, ideally with an instructor present to ensure you are performing it correctly and not creating bad habits.
  • No two classes are the same.  Every instructor is different.  And every class is different.  Each instructor brings their own personality and manner of communicating to a class.  Sometimes one instructor may communicate the same idea in a different way that "clicks" with a student.  Even taking the same class with the same instructor can vary from time to time depending on the other students in the class.  

So yes, push yourself to take the class is out of your comfort zone, but never, ever be reluctant to repeat any class again, and again, and again.  Its how you learn.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

I'm Going to Make You Mad

I'm going to make your mad. I'm going to step on your toes.  I'm probably going to hurt your ego, but I'm going to tell you the truth.

When I hear news reports of mass shootings like the one that occurred today in a small town Texas church, I feel as sad and angry as everyone else.  I also feel deeply frustrated.  I feel frustrated because we are not ready should something like that happen here, where we live.

And the reason we are not ready is simple - people refuse to train to respond effectively to such an attack.  Many believe that simply being armed is enough.  It is not.

The gun does not save lives.  Training and preparation is what saves lives.  It will cost you time.  It will cost you money, but the alternative is simply not acceptable.

Think about it ....

  • Early reports are that in this church of about 50 members, 20 are dead and possibly 24 more injured.  
  • A two year old was wounded.  
  • The pastor's 14 year old daughter is among the dead.  
  • And a church is now forever going to carry the stigma of being "that church".  
  • Those who survive will never be the same.  They have lost family and friends.  They have lost their sense of security.  Some will lose their faith. 
Where to start?

Start with a Critical Casualty Care class.  Learn how to use a tourniquet.  You are more likely to need a tourniquet than a gun and often lives are lost as they bleed out waiting for help. 

Take a basic self defense class that focuses on becoming more situationally aware.  If you can learn to recognize a potential situation before it occurs you are always better off.

Learn some de-escalation techniques.  Sometimes this can stop a person or situation from becoming violent.

If you own a firearm, train to use it effectively in a real world situation.  Standing at a static range and shooting paper is not realistic and, in my opinion, is not training.  You must learn how to clear malfunctions, how to reload quickly, how to use cover, how to shoot from multiple positions, and how to engage a threat with innocent people around. 


88 Tactical of Ohio

Monday, October 30, 2017

Carrying A Firearm in a Purse

I have never been a fan of purse carry.   Sometimes get some grief f or my views on purse carry, but I want to offer solutions that will WORK for ladies.   Here is a FANTASTIC video show why I don't think its a good option.  Its lengthy.  Grab a cup of coffee, and watch.  Its well worth your time to think through this decision with careful consideration.

The only time I carry off-body is to the gym and then I use my Vertx bag, which is a great off-the-body option for those times when you have no other choice.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Training with "Tanto" and "Boon"

In August of 2017 I had the privilege of traveling to Nebraska and doing a 2-day Defensive Pistol course with Kris "Tanto" Paronto and Dave "Boon" Benton.  You may recognize them from the book and movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. 

They are both fantastic instructors.  Boon is so very patient and professional in his approach and Kris is the lighthearted of the two.  At one point we were shooting and Kris came up to me and started a little dance around me saying, "I'm right here ...  no pressure ... no pressure at all ... I'm right here watching every move you make... no pressure".  I think he could sense that I felt a lot of stress.  I was a new Apprentice with 88 Tactical and at the 88 Tactical HQ with 88 Tactical Senior Instructors looking on and the last thing in the world I wanted to do was look stupid and embarrassed the man who chose me to be on his team. I somehow think Kris got that and did what he could to lighten things up. 

Kris was also so encouraging. Not just to me, but to each student he would always take time to point out what they were doing correctly and compliment them when they did well.  So many instructors do not do that and yet, it only took a second for him to say something encouraging. 

An example of that is when the first day we were on the range getting warmed up so they could evaluate us and see where everyone was at in their skills.  I was on Kris's side of the range and noticed he would give a lot of attention to other shooters but never said a word to me, until he came up, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I just want you to know I'm not ignoring you.  You are just doing well and I don't see anything to correct." 

Again on the second day we were doing a drill that was timed.  I am a slow shooter. I joke about my claim to fame is being  the slowest shooter in the world.  But he was encouraging, telling me that i had no wasted movement and was more efficient and faster than I thought I was. 

I didn't get to work with Boon as much so I didn't get to work with him on the range, but in t he classroom he amazed me with his professionalism.  For such a impressive warrior, he is soft spoken and very sweet.   

I think the thing that impressed me the most was the complete humility they displayed. Of all people they have earned the right to say "this is the way its done", but they instead show "a" way to do it and don't mess with people if what they are doing is working for them. They are even open to hearing students and made the statement, 'We want to learn from you too". Amazing! I can't say enough good things about these men who are true American heroes. 

If you get a chance to train with them, do so!  Their schedule can be found at BattlelineTactical.