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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!!

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Pink guns…really!?!

OK, I don’t get it. I love the frilly, girlly stuff…make-up, high heels, ruffles, getting dressed up, the whole works. I have plenty of pink clothes, underwear, shoes, etc. But a pink gun….never!

I’m actually a little offended by the male gun manufacturers and marketers who believe that women will more likely buy a gun because it is pink! I sit on a board of directors for a local gun club, and I get to have drawings every year specifically for women. I always have a pistol (last year two) as the prize for the drawing. Every year some men tell me to get a pink gun to give away. Really? Do you think that we want pink guns? We want a gun that we can manage, take apart, put together, and will shoot where we aim! We don’t care what color it is! 

More important to me than the color is if the grip is comfortable. I want to know if there is much recoil, and the weight of the gun. I want to know the caliber, and how many rounds I can put in the magazine. I want to know if the sights are aligned properly, and if I can see them in low light. I want to know how many pounds of pressure it takes to get the trigger to release. I don’t care if the gun has purple stripes as long as it isn’t too heavy, the barrel isn’t too short, and the gun isn’t a piece of cheap junk.

Let’s talk about junk for a minute. Smith & Wesson makes a small little revolver. Probably OK as a conceal carry weapon, barrel is too short for my liking. Some retailer will take this little revolver, and paint it with DuraCoat for only $135. A decent revolver just got turned into a piece of junk!

 

Now take a look at this: A beautiful 9MM Kimber. Not only will this pistol feel great in my hand, as the grip is smaller, the wood inset has some hash marks to keep it from slipping out of my hand. The slide is a beautiful brushed metal. When I carry this (or something similar) everyone know that I am serious, and it is very likely that I know how to use this baby! Carrying that ugly pink, my potential attacker is going to laugh his head off! I can hear it now….”officer, well, I was ready to shoot, but the guy died from laughing at my stupid pink gun!”

So just to be clear, I appreciate the looks of a nice gun. I am more likely to pick one up that is appealing to my eye (may not buy it, but I’ll look). I like the nice wood handles, the different colors of metal. In the end, I am going to buy a pistol that is functional, comfortable, affordable (well…maybe not so much), and comes from a reputable manufacturer. I’m not buying one that is PINK!

My first pistol

 Cute Italian Policemen

It wasn’t long after I got the hang of sight alignment & trigger squeeze that I wanted my own pistol. Funny…my husband was all for buying one for me! Seemed like a strange present, but what the heck. So, off to the local gun show in Las Vegas. I guess good & bad can be said about gun shows…private people are not supposed to sell their guns there, but it happens. When buying privately there is no background check, which I believe is pretty darn important. The good thing about gun shows is that you can touch lots of different brands, callibers, sizes, etc. from a lot of different vendors. So some good deals can be found there.

I am fortunate to be fairly strong, and I don’t like recoil. So, I wanted a relatively heavy pistol that would absorb most of the recoil while still giving me a comfortable grip. I also didn’t want to spend a zillion dollars! After looking around (remember, this is a man’s world so everyone tried to sell to my husband), I settled on a 9mm Tanfoglio http://www.tanfoglio.it/. I had been to Rome, Florence & Venice a few years before, and the fact that the Tanfoglio is made in Italy also was a plus in my eyes! I love those Italians! So, I was a new pistol owner!

Back to that indoor range. By now I was pretty hooked (ya think?). So I decided it was time to get a concealed handgun license(CHL)  for the state of Nevada. I had made friends with the women who ran the indoor range, and she had seen me shoot mulitple times, so she was confident that I knew the basics of pistol shooting. She also led the CLH class. After about 6 hours of good training about attitude, the law, where & how to conceal, etc. it was time to shoot. I nailed it! I had a few missed shots, but overall my new pistol & I proved that we could do some damage if needed. After waiting for weeks & weeks, I finally had that Nevada CHL.

Up to a few years ago I would not have considered owning a gun. As a matter of fact, when I first met my husband we was employed in law enforcement. I refused to talk to him as long as he was carrying a gun! Now, not only do I own a pistol, I own several. I teach safe handgun use to other women, am the chair of women’s issues for the local gun club, a member of the NRA and a member of Diva..WOW a woman’s shooting club. What happened?

It was a slow progression. We lived in Hawaii where all guns are to be registered and there was little opportunity for women to shoot. Plus, I was very busy working in nursing management, teaching, going to school, SCUBA diving, playing golf and involved in community. Plus Hawaii is a safe place to live, so I never had to think about self protection.

When we moved to Las Vegas, NV I experienced some changes: couldn’t SCUBA, didn’t have as many friends, the area was not as safe as Hawaii, and an in-door range was close by. My husband had met some friends who liked to shoot, he kept bugging me, summer is really hot, so I finally gave in to an air-conditioned indoor range. Once I started to shoot, it was easy to keep it up. The challenge of shooting holes in little pieces of paper was addicting. I found that I liked the challenge of breathing, a steady hand, the mechanics of the pistol…the whole package. Before I knew it I signed up to compete in the Nevada Senior Games…rim fire and center fire pistol shooting. I didn’t even know the difference between center fire & rim fire! OK, so I was a pretty young senior, especially compared to my competition, and I had some good pistols to use. Still, I did outshoot about 20 women in center fire, and about 10 in rim fire! I won real plastic gold medals in both events & got a t-shirt (I never wore the t-shirt…I didn’t want to admit that I actually qualified as a ‘senior’!!)

A defining moment that I was a real ‘shooter’ was Christmas, 2005. By that time I was a regular at the local indoor range, and had a Nevada concealed weapon permit. My husband was bugging me about getting a Kimber, the very best pistol in the world according to him. So, I bought a Desert Warrior for him that Christmas. When I went to the range to get the pistol, it was full of men. As they saw me purchase that Kimber they went nuts! I got several marriage proposals and just as many requests to talk to other wives about a REAL Christmas present! I had to laugh that the Kimber was registered to me! I thought about giving it to my husband as a ‘loan’, but eventually I did go with him to the local PD to re-register the Kimber in his name!

Next I’ll tell you about how I got from being a real plastic gold medal winner to teaching women to shoot!

Upcoming classes

Shoot…don’t shoot is offering 2 classes in April: the women’s basic pistol class and the Texas CHL class. Be sure to check our site www.shootnot2shoot.com to sign up.

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