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.

Are you missing out?
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for exclusive content and free prizes for subscribers only!
We respect your privacy. One email a month, no spam.

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

Observations From a Shooting Class

Posted on Posted in Classes, Stories, Training Notes

I completed another training class yesterday and I decided to write what I have learned from fellow classmates. At all times we are all novices and experienced – skills HAVE to be practiced to be sustained. We have a great mix of experience among our classmates and goals for taking the class.

Jason was quiet and unassuming, but easy going. Jason had been shooting only since December, he decided that he needed to learn how to defend himself and his wife and started taking classes. He has a twitching trigger finger, it wants to be in the trigger guard a little too quickly and a little too long. He did admit that he doesn’t practice often and that the last time he shot was the last class he took one month ago, which I also attended with him. He apologized to me for making me nervous, I responded that any with a live firearm would have me on alert.

Jason was the one I watched the most for muzzle control and safety issues. He caught me watching him a few times. He has only been shooting for 3 months and hasn’t found his confidence yet he is still grasping the fundamentals. Jason wants to learn, he wants to do well although he is a bit slow in mastering, I know he will get there. His steadfast desire to correct his mistakes and his awareness that I was uneasy a couple of times (with good reason), I have no doubt he will be successful as long as he practices in-between classes. I worry that he may get discouraged if he doesn’t practice the skills he learns in class.

I had been in class with Brian before as well. He was a bit more vocal this class then a previous, indicating he was feeling more comfortable. I recognized that he is a gun fan (aficionado) or however you wish to say it. Anyone who is aware of current happening in the firearm industry and watches YouTube videos, takes their hobby a bit more seriously than occasional shooters. His gear was all matching, neat and tidy, he had on new shooting pants. He brought his 1911 and a couple of different magazine capacities, including a few 30 rounders. I could tell he is genuinely interested in becoming better, and takes himself pretty seriously. He is a good shot and you could tell he has practiced and used the same gun for a while. In fact, there was a bit of discussion about using a 1911, and he said he has shot it for a year now.

Brian didn’t seem pleased when he was warned by our instructors that not using the safety on the 1911 could lead to a negligent discharge, especially when re-holstering. He was thrown a bit off by trying to engage and disengage the safety as he holstered his hammered tool. I recognized the importance of getting to know your firearm and practicing with it by watching him. I hope I am not describing him wrong, he didn’t have the cocky ego that some may have, I could tell he took the instructors’ comments seriously but he also quipped back that he didn’t want to use the safety even if it meant a higher chance of discharge. I noticed that he uses a weaver stance that has been practiced, his motions were smooth. He was applying what he was learning systematically and it was showing.

There was a husband and wife in the class together which made me wish my husband was with me. It was obvious that he has been shooting for a while or at least more comfortable with guns for a longer time than she was but she is gaining ground in shooting skill. Kelly was smooth with her presentation, solid in her stance and you could see she was locking her arm. At the beginning of the class we were shooting static and she was not doing well, as the class when on, she became very proficient with her shots. Her husband, Jet did the opposite. He did very well at the beginning of the class during static shooting and as the class progressed his shots weren’t making their aim. He was quiet throughout the class, seemed to be one to keep to his own. Seeing a couple together going through a skills class, it is a reminder to be supportive of your partner through the good and the bad. Kelly did exceptionally well towards the end of the class, she was shining bright. Jet went from being vocal to being reserved as the class proceeded throughout the day. He wasn’t moody just quiet. I could only imagine if my husband was there outperforming me, how that might feel.

Chuck, my last classmate, I had never met before. I learned in class that he had recently had foot surgery and in talking to him, he was only a week out from wearing a boot. He was walking great, I would never have guessed! His shooting skills were a bit rusty but he took it all in stride. Chuck is a bit older and I could tell he takes the class seriously as well. He was quiet throughout the class and he sat next to me. He had a few grip issues with his Glock, which indicated to me that he probably doesn’t practice much outside of class. With his foot, he probably didn’t go to the range but I wasn’t able to get a feel for if he would dry fire at home or not.

I have recently changed my everyday carry, and its sights. I recognized the value of using the same firearm for consistent training. There was a point in the class I couldn’t hit a target 10 yards away although I was consistently shooting well before that. I got over the crisis in confidence and started doing well. I haven’t had much chance to shoot while moving and was surprised how well I did. We had to walk through a path in the woods with steel targets hidden through out and eliminate the threats. Ping, ping, ping…what a beautiful sound. In the moment, you don’t have time to worry about how you’re doing, you are moving and shooting and focused on the front sight. No time for anything else. It felt like time was standing still while you are shooting at the targets, moving to the next after you hear the ping. Ducking and crouching around trees to shield yourself from the pretend enemies. There was a golf ball that I wanted to hit, after wasting 2 shots on it- I moved on. My instructor warned against wasting resources and time on a missed target, serve them all, he said.

While the instructors are teaching the class, I was also learning how they responded to our questions, how they encourage and correct us, and what they leave alone for the time being. This is my 5th class with these instructors, I am very comfortable with them, to the point of ribbing them when the opportunity arises. GRIN!

When others make a mistake, I find myself taking care not to make the same mistake. I made my own mistakes during the class, I forgot to scan and assess a few times, I got my shirt stuck in my holster as I was trying to re-holster, and each time I worked harder not to continue the mistake. It was a great class, we all had a good time and learned a lot. I look forward to seeing my classmates in another class soon!

 

 

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?

Instructor Types Along the Way

Posted on Posted in Stories, Training Notes

I never thought it would be easy. I knew it would be a struggle. Being a woman in the firearms field is still challenging. Julie Golob and other women like her have been doing it a long time. They have opened doors but each journey is different depending on your area. Stepping into the firearm community with a plan is not what most do. Having goals to achieve while others are just slinging brass down the lane is not common. I would meet many obstacles which I was not prepared for, I blindly trusted instructors and learned from that as well.

Since I decided to take this journey into the shooting world, I have met many personalities. The very predictable ‘southern gentleman’ who is all sweetness and condescension about how this is a man’s world but you can have the smaller guns to practice with. Here you go, take this very nice pink pistol that will fit in your purse.

The ‘how dare you’ men who either are supportive but limiting or the plain outright, I have 20+ years of experiences, how dare you think you can you can do what I do! Let me explain the supportive but limiting part, these people will encourage you to the point they feel comfortable with in your growth.

Once you reach that threshold, they treat you as if you cannot grow anyone until you stay in your current condition for a period of time. It doesn’t matter how much you practice, how hard you work. Their mental peak for you is your current training peak. How do you like those limitations?

‘I support the NRA but loathe the NRA type’. At some point in this person’s life they have gotten upset at the NRA and played that broken record until it has become a part of their training. It can be an instructor from another walk of life such as law enforcement, military, etc. that doesn’t value the education the NRA provides to civilians because they feel they could do it better.

Or the NRA critics that feel the training is not sufficient for their liking. These critics are dangerous, if they are so critical of a firearms training program that has been informing and encouraging shooters for decades then using them as an instructor should come with a warning label. The NRA training program is nationally recognized and professionally developed whereas it is a crap shoot with some instructors and their homegrown curricula.

Each student I teach is a learning experience for me. I learn what is effective for each student and I can add that to my teaching toolbox. Using the NRA’s curriculum provides a solid base of knowledge for all shooters. The NRA curricula only goes so far, but for most it is all they want. Not everyone wants to become a tactical shooter or shoot in competition.

I have also met some of the most giving and caring people while on this journey. People who will cheer you on and encourage you because they enjoy seeing other succeed and want to encourage you to do so. Ones that will find any way to compliment you so that you feel encouraged. Instructors that will share their knowledge and experience without being egotistical. The women instructors who have been down this path and encourage new shooters and instructors on their journey, too many to name to fully effectively thank them but one in particular is Kathy Jackson.

I doubted my journey when I ran into the ‘support the NRA but loathe the NRA type’ – I almost gave up because I kept hearing that even though you achieve a level you’re not ready to move on the next level until you spend x amount of time in the current level. I call BS. If you feel you are ready, go for it. If you’re not ready you will realize it and step back and re-evaluate.

I pledge to be one of the supportive voices, to be an encourager, I will tell you if you need an instructor past my experience level. No one’s ego should be a part of your training, you are in training for you, not the instructor. I will give you my best for you to be able to do your best, that is my pledge.

Her Budget Hunting Rifle Search

Posted on Posted in Being A Woman, Product Reviews, She Hunts, Stories

My husband hasn’t been hunting in a few years and had a chance to go with his father since they both had the same week off from work together. I want to hunt, I love to hike and camp so being out in the woods is preferable to me. We are conscientious about buying so we have to do our research. At this point, I do not have enough knowledge to pick a hunting rifle at the $500 plus price point. If I had to choose today, I would choose a Tikka rifle but with more experience, who knows?

The biggest decision I had was what caliber to shoot- which meant borrowing or renting rifles. I borrowed a 30-06, 25-06, and 270 Win to shoot to determine. When you borrow, you cannot choose the weight of the rifle so it is a consideration if you are looking at synthetic vs. wood stocks, the difference between a 12 lb rifle and 7 lb can change your felt recoil.

Opinions are not helpful, everyone has their preferred caliber and sometimes preferred rifle manufacturer. Some said the .243 was more than enough to hunt with, while others warned it wasn’t enough stopping power. I did my research and yes, some shoot the .243 with excellent results but for the most humane hunting, I would prefer a larger caliber. The last thing I want is to prolong the suffering of an animal.

The 30-06 kicks. I stood my ground with it but it was a shoulder punch and not something I would ever consider shooting from a tree stand. When I shot the 25-06, it was okay but I preferred the .270 caliber rifle. Then the research began!

rifleammobuyingguide_chart

Hubs and I agreed that a first hunting rifle should be under $400, preferably with a scope already mounted for the best value. A quick internet search yielded a few models to consider. American Hunter had a great article about budget hunting rifles for under $500 that was written in February 2016 (timely). With this short list, there was a starting point of model research.

riflesunder500

The first rifle to research was the Ruger American rifle, we have both heard good things about this rifle it seemed to be a safe place to start. The price point was a little higher than I had hoped for but I found the Ruger American Rifle with a Vortex scope! (SCORE!) Then it was to read the reviews. Nutnfancy on YouTube is very thorough on his reviews, even when he voices his personal preferences, he tells you flat out. He goes over all the features and what he likes about them or doesn’t without prejudice.

 

I personally do not like the Savage AXIS rifle, I held it at a gun store and it is not a good fit for me. The bolt was not smooth, the trigger was long. I did not take the time to research the Savage or the Marlin rifles on American Hunter’s list. After seeing Nutnfancy’s video and a few others on YouTube, we set out to find the best deal we could on the Ruger American. The Ruger American seemed to be the best deal for the best value, a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 mm scope with BDC is priced (on sale even) at $149-$199, which with a price point of the Ruger American at $447 (-$149=$298 rifle). Proof below.

americanriflevortexWe had a gun show in town so we figured where else to go on Black Friday weekend than to the gun show! Yes there was Ruger American rifles there in .270 but none with the scope. Of course, that’s how it goes sometimes especially if you are looking to buy online vs in-store. Table after table we looked for a .270 even if it wasn’t a Ruger American, just to get the best bang for our buck. We stopped at one table and when asked what we were looking for the personal opinion came out that the .270 has more recoil than the .308. Ho! Lookie here, there’s a .308 on the table for sale. Wink. Then Hubs started second-guessing the .270 selection, as he wants a .308 himself so he could shoot military surplus rounds (7.62×51). Then his wheels got to turning and we did a quick assessment of whether to look for a .308 or .270. Honestly, I could handle the 30-06 and as long as my rifle has LESS recoil than that, I’ll do fine with it. I believe the more you shoot a firearm, the more familiar and easier it gets. On to the next table that sent our little world spinning for about the next 2 hours…

ruger-american-predator-product

There sitting on a table was a Ruger Predator in ugly green but with a thicker, threaded barrel and chambered in .308 at $399. It handled just like the Ruger American, was a tad bit heavier and was able to have a muzzle break added to it. Ugly green, really ugly and the only color it comes in. But it had NO SCOPE. Was it worth the extra cost? We found the Vortex Crossfire II scope on sale at one of our local vendor’s table for $149 (sweet!) so if we went ahead with the Predator ($399 plus tax)=$432 then the Vortex scope ($149 out the door)=$581. Um, OUT OF BUDGET! Again, Hubs, is it worth it? He decided no, thankfully. Bye-bye ugly green.

We left the gun show, no purchases but with a lot more confusion! Let’s go to Gander Mountain to look, we did- no Ruger American with a scope. The Ruger American was available in .308 at $349.99 without a scope (with tax) =$379.73 and then purchase Vortex scope ($149)=$528.73 URGH. Realization: If you find a deal online, you will NOT find it in a store and it is impossible to get a store to match that price. I wouldn’t even ask a local gun shop to match that price, they have to make money to stay in business and they need our support. We then went to Field & Stream (yes we are spoiled and we know it).

Upon waiting for one of the two people on staff at the counter, we saw a Remington rebate info sheet. This is what steered us to Remington over Ruger. The Ruger American was there for $349.98 without a scope, chamber in .308 ready to purchase. Same predicament as at Gander Mountain, too much money. The Remington 783 was there with a scope at $349.99 within budget. We couldn’t get over the Vortex scope yet so we left. I knew this was the better deal and the budget firearm we set out looking for. I did want the Ruger American more but our focus of this expedition was to get the best budget rifle we could.

We learned a couple of things: 1) Online deals cannot be found in stores unless you are looking at big box stores offerings. 2) There will always be PROS and CONS to your decision. 3) You don’t have to ‘upgrade’ unless you find a reason to upgrade through your experience.

Ultimately, we found a Mossy Oak camo Remington 783, .308 WIN with 22″ barrel with 9×40 scope for $343 delivered. This is the same deal below at little higher cost, apparently we got the only one available or others were shopping at the same time we were. I will post more about this after it arrives.

mossyoak308

 

 

New Shooter Smiles

Posted on Posted in Stories

Let’s see, where to start? I have started working part-time at a gun store and range. Every aspect of the range is designed with education in mind, such as the target system has training programs integrated. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I have an opportunity to handle all the firearms, learn their features, feel their trigger resets myself. I participate as a Range Safety Officer on the range and help take care of the clients as they come in to shoot.

Working with new shooters is the most rewarding experience! Time stands still as I go through the safety rules and fundamentals. It is not an ego thing, it is all about the new shooter- making her feel at ease and calm about what she is learning. When she finally shoots and smiles, that is gold!

Goodness, when someone wants to talk about purchasing a firearm, all the egos and opinions start rolling! I realize now that there are store lurkers, people who like to come in and talk for a looong time and love to start the conversation with this gun vs. that gun. I have to keep in mind the lurkers eventually buy too. I let the ‘talkers’ talk with the lurkers as much as possible.

I still work a full time position during the day and work at the range nights and weekends. This can be exhausting and sometimes it is hard to go from one well-established position to a still finding my footing position. I absolutely love it, that new shooter smile makes up for rude, obnoxious behavior, non-stop stories with mundane details, and the late hours. Figuring out what and when to eat has become a new side hobby. All of a sudden, I have a craving for Cherry Coke at night.

I think I learn something new from my co-workers, owners, and clients every single day I work there. I am very grateful for this experience and know it will serve me and my future clients well. Love the new shooter smiles!