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Archive for June, 2011

The weight of the pistol

I was at the range on Saturday with a young woman who was having trouble with all her shots going down or to the left. She was very frustrated, saying that she was always jerking her wrist & couldn’t break the habit. After watching for a short time, I realized that she was not jerking, but was pulling the trigger rather than squeezing the trigger. After she corrected that action, her shots were all in the 9 ring, with several on the bull’s eye.

Now that she was confident shooting with her Glock 17 9mm, she wanted to try some other pistols. So we reached for my 2 favorites: Tanfoglio 9mm, my very first pistol, and the Kimber Aegis II, my most prized pistol

KIMBER ULTR AEGIS II                                                                                 TANFOGLIO

The Tanfoglio has a very comfortable grip for a women’s smaller hand, a smooth chamber action, and great front & rear sights. (http://www.tanfoglio.it/eng/home.php). It is a little on the heavy side, so the recoil is not bad. The Kimber Aegis II is a little lighter weight, also has a smaller grip and is very accurate. (http://www.kimberamerica.com/1911/aegis-ii). The Kimber is also much more attractive, we both like the pretty wood sides on the handle. My friend shot both, with similar results; all rounds in the 9 ring or better at 7 yards. Her comment was that both guns feel more balanced than the Glock 17. I agree, given that much of the Glock is plastic, it does have a little uneven weight distribution in my hand.

Because I am getting prepared to take the instructor’s class to teach concealed handgun license classes in Texas, I also shot both pistols. I shot at the 3, 7, and 15 yard lines, as I will have to do to at the class. My total score difference between the two pistols was 1 point; Kimber 238, Tanfoglio 237 out of a possible 250.

In the end, the weight of the pistol does not have as much of a bearing on my preference as the grip, the accuracy, and comfort in my hand. I’m not sure which pistol I will ultimately shoot in at the class, but I better get more than 238 points! I’ll keep practicing during the next month.

Don’t be afraid of a little heavier gun, your arm and hand will eventually get strong enough to handle the weight. Look for a comfortable feel, a slide that is easy to pull back & release, good sights, and a comfortable trigger squeeze.

My friend….she is saving for a new Kimber Ultra Aegis II!

 

Women and Concealed Handgun Licences

I don’t get it. Why is everyone so surprised that more & more women are wanting to carry a concealed hand gun? In 2010 the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that 21.94% of all licenses issued were to women (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/PDF/2010Calendar/ByAge/CY10AgeLicApplIssued.pdf). As far as I am concerned, that number is way to small.

Women are still discriminated against, in the work place, in society, and yes, the gun range. I belong to the local range, Greenwood Gun Club, and am actually the director of women’s activities there. The majority of members (99.99% probably) are men. Now family members can use the range, so the club certainly does not discriminate with who can be on the range, but only recently did the club begin issuing membership cards to women. It isn’t that the male members of the board are not supportive of women, it is just a matter that there has never been enough women in the club to ask for a change of mind set. The guys have it now, and are incredibly supportive of women members.

So back to the CHL and women issue. I think one of the major reasons more women do not carry a concealed weapon is that we do not think in violent terms like men do. Most women I know (including me) have a very hard time thinking of having to use a lethal weapon against another human being. We are so opposed to that fact that we just refuse to participate in the idea of carrying that weapon concealed on us somewhere.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) reports that one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape in their college years (http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html). The Violence Policy Center reported on 1998 statistics of violent crimes against women and concluded that although 6.6 women in the U.S. at the time owned a gun, 1,200 women were murdered by handguns in the same year. So the conclusion by this organization is that more women were killed by a gun than those who own a gun, so therefore, owning a gun does not prevent murder (http://www.vpc.org/studies/myth.htm).  Honest…I can’t make this stuff up!

So women are at high risk of being attacked, yet influential parties try to tell us that owning a gun is unsafe. Shannon Nass wrote in May of this year that women buying guns for protection is up 83% over previous years (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11107/1139929-358-0.stm). So it appears that the mood is changing. Women are deciding that owning a gun, and knowing how to use it is appropriate. Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times I suppose.

So if we are increasing our ownership of guns, it is important to learn how to use that tool, and to practice with it often. The next step is to be able to carry it concealed, offering even more protection. Find a CHL instructor in Texas, one who is knowledgable about women & firearms. One who won’t demean you, or act condescending. It seems pretty stupid for a man to act that way, since he knows that the women he is talking to does have some ability to knock some sense in him! But, still I have found many instructors who will not treat women with respect. When you find that right teacher, take the class, get your license, and protect yourself and your family as much as you can. We have come a long way with equality, this is one of our last frontiers…let’s get it done, ladies!

Women and Project Appleseed

On June 4 and 5 I spent time with 15 other women from Lake Jackson and the Greater Houston Area learning about shooting a rifle and our American history. What a great weekend!

Project Appleseed (http://www.appleseedinfo.org) is part of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. The mission of the organization is to help Americans learn the basic skills of using a rifle and learning about our heritage from the Revolutionary War. How are the two connected? Even though the modern rifle had not yet been invented, our forefathers did use muskets, the precurser to the rifle. The stories about the first battles on April 19, 1775, the day the war started are fascinating and riveting. To think about what our first familes in the U.S. gave for our freedom is something we cannot forget.

And the rifle skills were just as amazing as the history! I had never shot a rifle. Since my birthday was just before the event, I asked for a rifle for my birthday, so I had a new Ruger .22 for the event. Of course the rifle has a pretty laminated stock with a bull barrell (extra thick to reduce recoil). I took it out one time before the event, just so I didn’t look quite so stupid as I shot.

In addition to Project Appleseed, the national women’s shooting club Diva…WOW (www.divawow.org) was involved in our event. I recently became a member and had seen an Appleseed event on their calendar. I emailed Diva…WOW whining that there was no event like this in the Lake Jackson area. Before the day was done we had the day scheduled! Diva…WOW is an incredible organization of wonderful women who love the great outdoors and have come together to shoot, hunt, fish, etc.

With Diva…WOW and the Appleseed Project, we learned how to safety handle those rifles, and by the end of the second day could load, shoot standing, move to a sitting position, shoot, and then lie prone to shoot some more! The targets were tough, but not impossible. With the help of very dedicated instructors and range officers all of the women learned how to shoot & how to become better shooters.

If one is able to shoot good enough, they are awarded a Rifleman patch at the end of the event. Unfortunately, I missed that patch by 23 points…what a bummer. I will definitely go to another event & try again. I highly recommend that women become members of Diva…WOW and spend the weekend with an Appleseed event. Not only will you get to meet wonderful women, you will also learn from a group of dedicated men who give up their weekends so we can learn our history and learn to shoot.

Thank you to everyone from Diva…WOW and the Appleseed Project for bringing such a wonderful event to the Greenwood Gun Club in Lake Jackson. I can’t wait for you to return!!