Posted on Posted in Advocacy, Classes, Perspectives

It has been a while since I have written. Life has been very busy with students and projects. I have thought about what it means to be a strong person. I am sure your life has taken you down some rough roads the same way mine has and you have overcome the obstacles. Maybe, you are on the rough road now as you read this.

What I have learned is that every change starts with education. You can learn how your life can be different. You can learn how to be better. You can learn what other options are out there. While in an abusive relationship I thought for the longest time the abuse was my fault, somehow I was causing it. It was the library that saved my life: learning about boundaries, healthy relationships, emotional abuse made my life finally make sense. It was in those books I found a strength I didn’t know I possessed, a strength that came from hope for a better future, better life- a healthy one.

With education, I learned how to become healthier and how to leave.

On a lighter note, I recently started exercising for strength- again I turn to education to be effective. After reading books on women’s strength training and countless articles, I crafted a workout plan that I am putting into action. If the current plan fails, I have resources for backup plans and I have a program to graduate to once the current plan becomes easy.

Every change starts with education. We must KNOW what is possible to move towards it, education is the beginning catalyst of change. My journey into shooting started with education, it was through classes that I gained knowledge and confidence that led to me to here. Now I aim (ta da dum) to share that gift with others, providing the knowledge to increase their confidence and having fun in the process.

emPOWERed is the new motto for Live Love Load and Girlfriend Gun Party as it is ultimately the goal to empower others to better after education. It is my hope that all that visits Live Love Load and Girlfriend Gun Party will feel empowered.



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Why Refuse To Be A Victim?

Posted on Posted in Classes, Perspectives

As soon as I saw the Refuse To Be A Victim course, I knew it was something I wanted to share with others! It is from the National Rifle Association, but has no firearms or physical training in the seminar, just solid, relevant information to help anyone formulate a personal safety plan for everywhere you go. Learning how to safeguard yourself from crime doesn’t mean you have to walk around afraid, but aware. Awareness is 90% of a proactive self-defense plan.

With this class, I learned so much about practical information my family and I can use in our home, our daily lives, and I came home and taught my kids a few things. The class changed my life and the way I view my daily life- I started changing my habits. Adopting new habits that if nothing else, made me feel safer and allowed me to be more confident in my life.

To live life with confidence? Sign me up, all day long! Take the information in this course and apply it to your life, and you too can have more confidence. Wishing you had a safety plan after experiencing crime is not having a plan to help prevent it in the first place. I hope you will give this seminar a chance and see for yourself.





Fear to Power

Posted on Posted in Classes, Perspectives

I could tell she was nervous when I first met her. I could see that she wasn’t sure what she had gotten herself into but was willing to try. As we talked about our past experiences, she shared how scared she was to hear gun shots fired at her next door neighbors home just a few months ago. She became visibly upset as she shared.

I was there to facilitate a Girlfriend Gun Party and show her and her friends how to safely handle firearms, how they work, and hopefully demystify their fears. Truly, education is knowledge and knowledge is power. She participated with everyone, did all the activities, and then it happened. She relaxed and had fun. She laughed. She enjoyed herself. After all the activities we talked about next steps for after our Girlfriend Gun Party.

The next step after a Girlfriend Gun Party is to go through a full basic class, either Basic Handgun or the NRA Basic Pistol class. Both provide a comprehensive understanding of shooting fundamentals and other practical knowledge new shooters need. As the ladies discussed whether or not they would take another class, she joined in saying she wanted to take another class. We then talked about the South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit, while others agreed they wanted theirs, she was apprehensive. No biggie, it is a personal choice I told her.

A few days after the Girlfriend Gun Party, I got a message that she was leading the other ladies to go to the range and buy a gun! Whether or not she ever decided to buy a gun was not the point. She moved from fear to education to knowledge to power! It is what I hoped the Girlfriend Gun Party would be! Talk about inspiring!

Did He Just Say That?

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Perspectives, Stories

You’ve arrived at the range, you stop by counter to check-in and here comes Fred. Fred takes a look at you and says…

Oh no, better watch out, she has a gun.

Women should shoot revolvers, they are simple.

Here’s a pink gun you will like.

Forget that gun, this one is a Muddy Girl.

You have to have big hands to handle big guns.

Your hands are too small to shoot a gun properly.

To his friend, you better not let a girl beat you.

Are you sure you want to shoot THAT?

You can’t carry a .45, it’s too powerful for you.

This range is too long for you, the shorter one is over there.

Women always limp-wrist, they are too weak to hold a gun properly.

Women can’t rack the slide of this gun, it’s too hard.

You shooting a .22 or .380?

Do you want me to show you how to handle that gun?

Wow, your husband lets you shoot his guns?

Whoa, that gun is bigger than you!

If the women are done clucking…

Do you know how to load that?

It never fails, they say exactly what they are thinking without thinking sometimes. For every supportive, experienced shooter there is two others that have more opinions than sense. Do not let these comments make you doubt yourself or stop you from shooting. Share the ridiculousness with your friends and laugh it off.

Tell Us What Your Mama Said

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Perspectives

Celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, I realize that a good bit of what my mama told me was true. Now that I have a seventeen year old daughter myself, I wonder what she will say, “my mama said…”

To celebrate and share the joys (and tears) of motherhood, let’s share what our mamas told us. Good advice, bad advice, funny stories, gross (should we go there?) stories. What other way to honor the mothers in our lives but with their own words! These are going to be GOOD!

When you decide you want more…

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Perspectives, Stories, Training Notes

Are you a hobby shooter wanting more? When you go to a range, what are you practicing for…skill, defensive, or just out hangin’ around just to have fun! I was one that found myself going to indoor ranges to become a better aim, hit that center target and have fun while building my skills and then something clicked that I wanted more.

I started paying more attention, getting more serious about what I really wanted in my knowledge. Thinking long and hard about this hobby of mine and what I really wanted out of it. Do I just want to go to the gun range and shoot a hole in the center target or do I want to get serious about what I’m doing and go further, push myself, learn more, crave more, desire more?

At this point in my shooting skills, the want to move forward in learning the correct way of shooting hit me hard. Paying more attention to my stance, grip, trigger pull, front sights and target put me in the running for more knowledge and understanding the fundamentals. I noticed that I was craving more, something fun although structured in learning.

Being around the indoor range and always hearing about competition, it got me thinking…what really is competition? Now, I wanted to know more. I got myself into a women’s league and one of the facilitators does competition shooting along with a few women in the group and that piqued my curiosity.

Consequently, one night I went to the gun range when they were hosting an IDPA match and whoa, was I hooked! This is what I’ve been looking for. The structure, the thought process, and development of shooting skills. I watched eagerly to learn and wanted to know more. The next week, they were having an ASPSA match and I got myself the necessities to shoot that match. Belt, magazine holders, gun holster, and ammunition. I was set.

Not knowing what to expect, I signed up for my first match. Nervous and not understanding the commands, I asked questions, a lot! Listening to the squad leader and RO tell you what the match will be about and how it will be played, you then come up with your strategy to move forward in this match.

My first turn came up, all eyes were on me, the new comer to the game. My nerves were racked as I’m trying to understand and digest what to do, how to do it and make it count. My first trigger pull, my firearm stove pipe’s, I wanted to cringe, although I got through it and by the time I did, I was extremely proud of myself for shooting my first stage in the four stage match.

I get through the second stage with better timing and better accuracy and by this time I was floating on cloud 9! I was so proud of myself and I felt good. I was getting it down and the 3rd match came and it was my turn. I instantly got disqualified as I unholstered planning my strategy without thinking, when I knew better. That was a definite learning experience.

After I was DQ’d I stuck around, help paste the targets, clean up and tear down to still be apart of my team and show excellent sportsmanship. This is the kind of person that you want to be and your team mates need. That night when I left there, I couldn’t be more proud of myself and still am!


Now, I’ve got the bug. I’ve got to get the training although don’t know where to go. Because I’m still new in town, I really don’t know anyone so I join online women gun groups in South Carolina and I make an online friend who is more than willing to help me get to my next journey in life.

Craving more and more, I had to set myself back due to eye surgery. In the mean time, I was looking for someone I could talk to about learning the correct way of handling my gun, techniques and understanding the commands for competition.

I make some phone calls, sent some emails and I found a person who I thought was perfect for what I wanted. The more I conversed in email, the more I realized I didn’t want to learn more defensive, I wanted to learn competition. Back to the drawing board. I see a message through an online group and I decided to call this place and the person on the other end of the phone understood what I was looking for and teach competition and we set up a date for myself and my husband who has caught the bug  to learn our new passion that we are now sharing together.

We went, we learned a wealth amount of education and we had fun. This is when truly I realized this is what I want to do. One step at a time learning as I want to do it right. Eager to move forward and excited, I’m hoping to find a mentor that will take me under their wing in my area to move onward with my new-found love, competition shooting! Earning the respect of my fellow shooters and making new friends who enjoy the same passion is where I want to be in life while enjoying….competition shooting!

 Smile…It Confuses People,
 Leah D. Lichtenberg  
guest author for Live Love Load

You’ve Got 20 Seconds Right?

Posted on Posted in Perspectives, Training Notes

You are scared, you know it’s your turn next and you’ve watched Jill and Bob accomplish the feat before you. They were fine, Bob even made a mistake, you can do this. Your hands are sweaty, you feel nervous, and you wonder if you can convince David behind you to take your place, to go next.

It’s now your turn. You take your place, you begin to speak and it’s happening. Next thing you know it’s over. You survived and apparently you did well. You feel accomplished and ready to learn the next part. Oh, the next part is something else you’ve never done before. Whew, David and Kelly are in front of you this time you can see what they do and get ready for your time. You still feel nervous but not like before, you know everything will be fine in the end. You know you can do this, you step up and accomplish the next step.

The next task is presented, you volunteer to go first. At this point, you are still nervous but you know everything will work out, even if you make a mistake. You get comfortable and the fear that you first had is gone by the end of the event. You have new knowledge not only about the subject you were learning but also about your ability to learn.

This article is about how to break out of your comfort zone. It’s a fabulous read and will help anyone teetering on a decision point. I often push myself past uncertainty by telling myself that it will take only 20 seconds of courage to get the phone call done, the question I’m afraid to hear to no about, and the task I’ve never done before. I also tell myself that I am learning and it’s okay to make a mistake. As long as you learn from the mistake, it’s all good. The failure is in not trying at all. So I urge you to give it 20 seconds!




Can I bring students to shoot at your range?

Posted on Posted in Perspectives, Stories

As a shooter, you can walk into any range, pay your way and shoot. Most ranges offer instruction whether it be a concealed carry class or on-the-lane instruction. If instructor walks into a range with a student in tow to shoot- in my area, most ranges don’t want that. I just don’t understand.

Why not?

I talked to one local range owner and was told it was because of insurance purposes. Sounded plausible but when you think about it, when shooting at a range you sign a Hold Harmless Indemnity Agreement, stating that if anything happens to you while at the range you will not purse legal action against the range or its employees.

Why would an outside instructor be any different than Joe Public coming in to shoot? I pressed the issue with the range owner, asking more questions to get to the cold hard truth. The same local range owner said, “Belk wouldn’t allow Dillard’s to put up a Dillard’s tent in their parking lot.” Still, this just created more questions for me because it didn’t seem like a good business practice.

A range has multiple business revenues: range rental, instruction, memberships, and retail sales. A range is dependent on income from range rental, instruction and memberships during the retail dry spells. (Such as the one we’re having now.) A range may have staff instructors and offer training, but the public participation in these classes is highly dependent on how well the range advertises its services and their ability to turn lane renters into paying students.

On the flip side, an instructor beats the pavement to earn students’ business but still needs a place to shoot. The local place down the road doesn’t allow instructors to bring students in so the instructor has to find another path – create their own outdoor range, borrow or pay to use someone else’s outdoor range, or work it out with another range to bring clients in. These options cut out the range’s opportunity for revenue completely, now they have to advertise to the general public more to get the shooting community to come in their doors.

Why wouldn’t a range WANT outside instructors to bring in their students to shoot at their range? Let’s look at the PROS and CONS lists.

PROS of Ranges Allowing Outside Instructors In

  1. INFLUENCE. Every student coming in with another instructor knows their instructor trusts your establishment and they should too.
  2. It’s your range, ADVERTISE your own classes around your range, tell the visiting students about what you have to offer. If the current instructor doesn’t like you soliciting their client- they don’t HAVE TO bring clients to your range, right?
  3. Shooting clients shoot. They want to know where to shoot, where to find help, where to buy firearms, where to buy accessories. If the visiting instructor just taught about dry fire, the range could sell snap caps to the students.
  4. Developing a good rapport with the instructor will ensure they recommend your range not only to their students but to others they network with.
  5. The range is supporting the local shooting community instead of solely trying to make money from it.
  6. The range would learn which local instructors had what skills and could work together for special training events or if in a pinch, get outside help if their staff instructors aren’t able to teach.
  7. The range could charge visiting instructors additional fees if they wished or create an instructor membership.
  8. Knowing your competition helps- learn from what others do, good and bad.
  9. Instructors typically have Professional Liability insurance unlike the general population that comes to shoot at your range.

CONS of Ranges Allowing Outside Instructors In

  1. The range may have to disinvite an unsafe instructor from using the range. Same thing with unsafe shooters.
  2. Other shooters may ask the visiting instructor about his/her classes while on your range.
  3. The visiting instructor could approach other range clients to gain new clients. (A do not solicit rule or me asked to leave would solve this.)

Wow. Writing it out and putting it down, there is a TON of PROS and not many CONS at all. What am I missing? Why is this an issue? I really don’t understand why a business would cut off a source of revenue. Tell me about your experience with this subject. Is this normal in your area?