Saturday, February 13, 2010

Girls and Guns: 101

I think it is safe to say that a lot of men know the basics about guns, while most women don't. Things like recognizing different gun models, knowing which types of bullets are best for what situations, and understanding the power behind different gun calibers are just not what most women know best. I'm not really sure, but I think that most men are just naturally interested in guns, and perhaps society has lead women to believe that guns belong in a man's world. Either way, I think that needs to change. Women need to become equals and educated when it comes to something powerful enough to either take your life or save your life.

When it comes to guns, a girl has to start somewhere.

I, personally, was not naturally interested in guns. It took a masculine influence to get me curious about them, and even then, they really made me nervous and uncomfortable at first. I didn't want to contemplate the possibility of ever having to shoot anyone, and I didn't know enough about a gun to even hold one without feeling intimidated. The sound, the shock, the power behind them, and the pain and destruction they can cause ... guns aren't something to treat lightly. They are something to be treated with utmost respect, safety, and care. I will say that a strong part of me always wanted to be comfortable with idea of using guns and becoming familiar with them, but I still didn't ever want to shoot one until I had mentally prepared myself.

Mental prep:

Guns do not kill people.
People kill people.
And if a bad person is going to use a gun, then good people need to have them in order to defend themselves.
In a situation where someone might want to take my life, I would want to be able to have a chance and the ability to stop that person.
In a situation where I had fear of imminent death, serious bodily harm, or sexual assault, I would want to have control.
I would want to live.
I would want the innocent person in danger to live.
I would want to be prepared.

I'm not that tall and I look quite young. So in my eyes, if a huge man were coming at me with the intent to seriously hurt me, a gun would at least give me an equalizer and a chance to survive.

That is how I decided that I was finally ready to shoot a gun for the first time, and so began my interest in firearms. I wanted to learn how to recognize a serious threat and how to defend myself in that threatening situation. No one knows if and when they will ever be in a life threatening situation. I do know that I would rather have a gun and never need it, than to need a gun and not have one.

to be continued....

20 comments:

cw said...

guns are also fun...my buddy and i took our wife's out shooting at my bosses ranch a few years back. the girls had fun, but they are still uncomfortable about guns

watch the video
http://www.vimeo.com/2135178

The Traveler said...

cw - yes! guess I failed to put that in here yet. I'm now much more comfortable with them and really enjoy shooting. It IS fun! Especially when you start to become a good shot!

The Traveler said...

hey cw - love the video! lol. thanks for the link! looks like you guys had a blast. I'm not sure why girls don't pursue guns as an interest more, it is so fun to get into shooting. It does look like your wives had fun though, maybe they'd like to go out again :)

Bon vivant said...

A firearm's value for defense is directly proportional to your ease with using it . . . and killing the perp.

Always bear in mind your weapon can be used against you. Until you have confidence in your ability to use it well and willingness to kill another human being in a crisis, it can be more of a risk. Consider martial arts training. If you invest the same $$ and time there it doesn't carry the same risk AND martial arts training has many bonuses.

Luke said...

This post reminds me of a gun safety class for women my wife took, sponsored by the NRA in Los Alamos NM. While there was a lot of good information presented, unfortunately a lot of the information was about when (not if) you get attacked, and when you're going to have to use deadly force. Other women in the class were completely confident that possessing a gun would protect them from assault, even going so far to believe that the gun would be usable when their attacker already had ahold of them.

What was completely missing was any sort of defense training in this course. For instance, once an attacker is within 10 or 15 feet of you, your gun is useless if you do not already have it out and are ready to shoot.

Without the proper defense training, a gun at best provides a false sense of security, and at worst puts its owner in more danger than if they did not possess it.

The Traveler said...

Bon Vivant - very very true points. 100%. I would be very interested in marital arts training, I do agree that there would be many benefits to that. I did take karate in college although that was only really a small glimpse thru the window of martial arts. I would love to be highly trained in martial arts, too, but I don't think that would help me much if I were matched up against robbers, in my home, with guns. It could definitely be useful in many situations though.

Luke - thanks for the input, I do also agree with you. That is too bad that alot of important information was left out of your wife's gun safety course. I took a defensive shooting course which actually gave us range time and gave us different routines and methods to practice - fast shooting, from behind barricades, etc. I was actually very impressed with my instructor and his ability to be very realistic with us. He let us know how FAST an attacker can get to you AND your gun (and disarm you!) IF you are NOT prepared. He emphasized the IMPORTANCE of training! If a woman thinks that a gun will just "automatically" protect her, then that is just her own ignorance. I really do hope to get a positive and realistic message thru to women. I don't want them to be unprepared, scared when they don't need to be, uninformed, robbed of their rights, or ignorant. Thanks for the comment!

The Traveler said...

cw - I hope you don't mind me embedding your video on my site, I just thought it was an accurate description of how fun it can be to target practice :) Please let me know if you want me to take if off! thanks again for sharing

Guntard said...

Bon Viviant, the problem with your 15 feet assertion is that it assumes that you are going to be standing in place and stagnant during the conflict. While it is true that the "rule" is 21 feet or better, most encounters take place inside that range. This is the reason we teach *movement* during encounters, never stay stationary and always getting offline as you draw and engage. Good training with a firearm is worth the money spent. While martial arts can be helpful, most arts are simply "dojo dancer" forms and not really helpful (other than conditioning) in the real world. At least that's what I've found in my years of arresting and fighting people.

cw said...

share the video all you want...

Lauren Neher said...

Hi, it's good to see good information about guns posted on the internet. I have carried for years, sometimes in some areas where it was very illegal (San Francisco area). Carrying a gun did NOT make me feel tougher, or invulnerable. If anything, it made me more aware of what was going on around me, and more likely to avoid trouble. I am happy to report I have never needed to defend myself, with a gun or otherwise. I am aware of what could happen, and try to live in an aware state of where I am and what is happening around me.

Col Jeff Cooper's conditions of awareness changed my life (for the better) If you are interested, look him up on Wikipedia and go from there. He is the subject of one of my favorite gun stories ever. He flew into a South American country in a helicopter to provide training to their police forces. As the helicopter landed, a car raced up, full of men with guns, seemingly bent on shooting Col. Cooper. He was unarmed, but simply reached back like he was preparing to draw a gun, and calmly looked at the approaching car. The occupants of the car, realizing their intended target was not unarmed, panicked and drove off without firing a shot! But he wasn't armed. He just scared them off, all without having a gun at all!

A friend who is now a long haul trucker related to me that he is not allowed by company policy to carry a gun. He drives all over the country, and he was happy to get this tip~ he now carries a can or two of 30 foot range wasp spray. Apparently, you don't want to be nailed with that stuff, and it has a greater range than any pepper spray I have heard of. That said, I think Cold Steel has some great pepper spray products. Not to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

I recently read When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lundin. He is a survival instructor, based out of Arizona, and he is refreshingly free of macho posturing and sentiments that some survival experts seem to be full of. The chapter on self defense is great. It talks about American Combato system, which has no sporting uses whatsoever. It teaches a mindset like what you already know of for gun use (last ditch after all else fails, to save your life). It teaches how to disable anyone, no matter how big or strong. It would be a great compliment to you and gun ownership. Because yes, even 20 feet away is less than 2 seconds away from you!

Thanks for posting, I hope I can give you some food for thought, take care and be well.

Lauren Neher
fardarrigger@yahoo.com

The Traveler said...

Lauren - wow, great comment. and it is so refreshing to hear from another woman who carries. I also notice a very increased sense of awareness when carrying a gun and a definite desire to avoid conflict. I've never heard of Col. Jeff Cooper but really appreciated hearing your story about him and am now very interested in learning more - I will google him as soon as I'm done typing this. Ah, wasp spray - an excellent idea - and also thank you for mentioning "When All Hell Breaks Loose." I'm extremely interested in learning more about this American Combato system .. yes, excellent food for thought - you've given me lots to research this evening and I appreciate that. Keep in touch!

Paul said...

Good web-site/blog. I admire your freedom. I am a student of American Combato (tm) and have studied under Prof. Mark Bryans in Prescott AZ, and am friends with Prof. Bradley Steiner the creator of American Combato. I recommend going to the website www.americancombato.com ,and Prof. Steiner's site www.seatlecombatives.com and learn more about this wonderful real self-defense.
I also know Cody Lundin, and he has a website too. He is great guy and his books are worth reading.
Best in your travels,
Paul
p.s.
All the people I have mentioned and vouched for are approachable and will answer any questions you may have.

The Traveler said...

Paul - How cool, I am really interested in reading up on the American Combato System. Thank you SO much for the links. You've met Cody Lundin? That is really neat too. I just ordered his book "When All Hell Breaks Loose." Can't wait to read it.

glampink1 said...

Awesome! i couldn't agree with you more! i am a chick, recently into guns. learning as much as i can, and like a sponge! firing a gun for the first time last month gave me such confidence and pride in myself...i finally shot a gun!! I DID IT!! thank you for your write-up, and finding the words to express exactly how i feel!

The Traveler said...

glampink1 - awesome!! so glad to hear from another female! exactly, I have been like a gun sponge, too! Your comment has made me very happy :)

Redbeard said...

Hello again!
In regards to your 870:
I have the exact same shotgun! I really appreciate the added punch that buckshot and slugs give..there is no more awesome weapons system in the small arms arsenal than the 12 gauge shotgun. Its versatility and ability to rapidly change ammunition types are why its been such a gamechanger for over 100 years.
I struggled for the longest with the recoil control of a 12 gauge. Im six ft tall and skinny...well everyone else says Im skinny, I would say I have a runners physique. Recently I went to a training class on shotgun employment for private security professionals. A woman your size was the instructor. It amazed me how she could rack 2 rounds of standard buckshot, do a quick slug changeover and put it right in the brain housing group at 50 yards! How did she do this?
I remember years ago, while in the US Army School of drive-by shooting, a class we had to take in Kuwait before we crossed the border into Iraq. One of our instructors there told us of the push-pull method. You pull in on the grip of the weapon with the firing hand to seat it properly into the pocket of the shoulder and with the support hand, you would drive the gun forward with firm steady pressure forward. This caused the rifle to "Stand Still" during recoil allowing us to get better shot-to-shot accuracy.
Back to the shotgun...Our petit instructor told us to do this and I noticed that the felt recoil of standard 2 3/4 inch buckshot and 1 oz sabot slugs went from unbearable to that of a 20 gauge!! Driving the support hand forward helps to counteract the rearward motion of the shotgun. After that I walked my way up to shooting nothing but 3 inch buck and slugs out of my 870.
Have you had any quality issues from your 870? Have you ever had to deal with remington customer service? It was terrible for me! The detent pin on the barrel ring that holds pressure against the magazine tube extention, sheared off. Tried to get them to fix it to no avail and ended up having to take it to a gunsmith and pay out of pocket. Gun was only 2 weeks old. Also, as I mentioned before about the reciever and mag tube rusting real bad. Its very humid where I am and this thing will rust in minutes. When I told Remington Customer Service what my issue was their words were, "Perhaps you should refer to your manual for proper care and cleaning methods." Talk about a letdown. But rust and busted pins couldnt ever get me to give this thing up! Best shotgun on the market!!

Redbeard out!

FALIA REVIEWS: said...

Redbeard - I love my 870 :) I'm 5'4" and 118 lbs, and it has a tendency to throw me around a bit even with low-recoil buckshot and slugs. So much fun to shoot though! Have you checked out any of my videos on it (they're listed up under "ALL VIDEOS"? I did some upgrades to make it fit me better. Best shotgun ever. Really interesting to hear about your lady instructor and also what the other instructor taught you - thanks for sharing - I'm going to try that push/pull method and see how it works out for me :) Very helpful tip. Also, I've been told to rack it by using the force of the recoil (which makes your shots faster), but that's awkward for me. What do you do? I wait to rack until after the recoil is over. As for quality issues, that's really awful that you had bad customer service. Luckily I haven't had any problems with mine yet so I haven't had to contact Remington for any reason.

redbeard said...

Miss Falia,
I used the Magpul furniture. The buttstock is so modular, because you can install a series of spacers to make it longer, or remove them to make it shorter. Also there is a series of interchangeable comb pieces. I really need a long length of pull due to my monkey arms, and a really high comb because I run an optic. I put a Bushnell First Strike on it. 100 bucks at wal mart. It is a cheaper optic, but it works and bushnell has a great warranty. It is guaranteed to handle to recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun. If it breaks, put it in the box, send it back and they'll fix it. Same warranty you get with a Leupold Delta Point or a Trijicon RMR. and for 400 bucks less.
Here is the link for the Magpul 870 furniture. ( http://store.magpul.com/category/shotgun )
Here is the link for the bushnell first strike (http://www.bushnell.com/hunting/rifle-scopes/trophy-red-dot/first-strike#)

My 870 goes everywhere with me. its always in the truck, over my shoulder or within arms reach at the house. I wouldnt trade it for anything. Good thing about a shotgun is they are easy to fix. My unit in Germany had a few when we went to Iraq and even though we never cleaned them, oiled them or even wiped them off, they still functioned every time. Some fella at the remington customer service department was probably having a bad day, or is just a jerk. I aint worried. Im a big fan of their product..especially the model 700 in .308...still hard to believe that you can take a stock bolt action remington rifle and shoot a 5 inch group at over 800 yards...love their stuff and wouldnt go with anyone else even if their service sucks sometimes.
As far as the drills, someday when I finally get around to getting my own channel on youtube, ill post some vids of me using the 870. One drill we always did, was within 10 seconds remove the shotgun from shoulder position on weak side, disengage safety and fire 2 rounds at a target at 15 yards, then safety, rapidly open the action and throw a slug in the chamber, close the action, disengage the safety and fire at the target at 25 yards, hitting a 6 inch circle. The hardest part of a shotgun can be the manual of arms, and doing ammo changeovers, mid-drill. Its easier for me cuz Im a lefty and can keep the shotgun in the shoulder, look into the chamber and reach for my slugs. I highly reccomend the shotgun video from magpul dynamics. Excellent shotgun work for pumps and gas-guns.
I saw how you had modified pepper with a sweet fore-end and shorter stock. Looks great!
As for racking the action, I tend to wait until the recoil has dissipated, which is only a split second then i draw back as hard as I can to prevent stovepipes. If you can ever fire buckshot or slugs without hanging on to the fore-end, you will notice an interesting phenomenon. When the shotgun fires, the action unlocks. with the rearward force of the recoil, the fore-end can actually come back on its own and cause a stovepipe/failure to eject. So, thats just another advantage to giving the fore-end a good amount of force to the front. You can control the recoil and prevent any failures. Heres a link to see it in action (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jncWh1BPzw)
Whew! that was a ton of information! And you can use this same trick on sprinkles. Push forward with the support hand and you can really speed shoot and you wont notice much muzzle rise or drift!
Take care and let me know what you think after you try it!
Redbeard Out!

FALIA REVIEWS: said...

Redbeard - thanks for sharing that link and all the info. I can't wait to try that method! You have a lot of interesting things that you share - you should start your own blog :)

redbeard said...

well...due to recent employment mishaps...I would call it a mishap, everyone else says I got spectacularly binned...potato pahtahto...I will have tons of time on my hands before school starts next week..I do have my own youtube channel, but nothing uploaded yet...music first, then guns...hope you are well!