All the instructions and guides have watchwords like Daunting.
...to a completed rifle in under three hours. And I stopped to eat dinner in the middle.
Granted, it's got a bunch of bitty parts that I wouldn't like to try to find in the dark and granted, AK-type hammer usage would likely result with you having a pile of scrap, but I have to wonder what all the fuss was about.
If you've ever rebuilt a carburetor you can build an AR from a kit. If you've ever rebuilt a Rochester Quadrajet you can build one from a kit while drunk and in the dark.
A new year, a new start, blah, blah, blah. Everyone is doing lots of deep self reflection but me. I'm having a pity-party. I'm 38 years old and just like everyone else, my life has taken a completely different direction than I had planned. Most have been really good changes in my life but...I've got a bit of envy for the 2016 beginning female shooter.
In 2008, I started going to the range weekly after our house was broken into and I was told to get armed. This was the second time my home had been violated in my life and I was done being a victim. I traded my chalk for a revolver and insisted we go to the range every week.
Now I've worked in IT since 1998. I work in IT because I don't like women and I prefer to be around men. I have no girly talents when it comes to my physical appearance and never have. I wear jeans and polos every day. My friends tease me that "homeless" is one of my hairstyles. Thank God baseball caps are required when shooting. Although I don't have a large collection of shoes, I do have more holsters than shoes. I carry in the same spot but some holsters just work better with some activities or clothing.
Over the past eight years, I have been one of the women trying to bring more women into the shooting sports. When I first started shooting, I was always the novelty or token female at the range. No matter where we were, I was the ONLY female shooter. I'd like to think I didn't have a chip on my shoulder but I'm sure I did.
Only one range ever treated me badly but lots of gun stores did and wouldn't talk to me until Knitebane showed up. Anytime there was a female only shooting event, I would attend. I joined every female gun clubs in my area that my schedule allowed. I didn't want to be alone and that was my only motivation! I met a handful of women who where more advance than me but most had even less experience than I did or no curiosity to learn more than they had to. At times, I was like that too.
There were multiple events that pushed me to learn more. Very few were flattering. I often learned due to the kindness of strangers but I had no goals and learning was sporadic and inefficient.
In 2014, I became an NRA Basic Pistol instructor because one of my rare female friends didn't want to be the only female in a class of 30. That got me into volunteering at NRA Women on Target events as often as I can where I get women to shoot a revolver or semi-auto for the first time.
As a couple, Knitebane has been a huge supporter of my passion to educate women. He is known for his female friendly attitude which prompted a local ladies group that I'm not even part of to make him their Chief RSO! He's going to become an instructor before you know it.
I hadn't planned on keeping the NRA certification, it was just to help out a friend but I forgot how much I love teaching. I've taught GED Math classes, college computer classes, riding instruction, and dog training. The Ah-HA! moments are a little different but they're still there and it is addicting.
In 2015, I took The Well Armed Woman Certification course and have a quota to meet of students I work with each year plus my own minimum training requirements. It has actually been a good kick in the tush and the women are all very, very supportive. Most were tomboys and almost everyone has the same motivation - to empower other women to take charge of their own safety, encourage newbies to commit to the training and time it takes to become proficient, and make sure no one has a bad experience (like most of us did) when they first go to the range - the exact mentor we wish we had when we first started.
As I work at becoming a better instructor, with Knitebane as my RSO, I see that my beginner students have a much easier start than me. It is positive, it pushes them but doesn't overwhelm them, they have clear goals for at least the first six months to a year as we work through the NRA Winchester Marksmanship Qualification program, and they are all smiles at the end of the day. I look at their groupings and compare it to where I was a year after going to the range weekly (and paying for one on one instruction) to where they are after just ONE or TWO afternoons with us and...IT ISN'T FAIR!!!
To be honest, I love it when a woman puts her trust in me to show her that guns are not scary and that she can do this. I love that she will have opportunities that I did not have. I love that women are focusing on training for self-defense, not just getting a gun because their husband bugged them to. I love that they are having fun and being supportive and encouraging to the other women around them because it's really fun to shoot like a girl.
This post is triggered by an article over at The Cornered Cat that was notionally about why female shooters don't get advanced training. On that subject Kathy Jackson is the expert and I can find no fault with her findings.
But what triggered me screaming at the monitor was the same blind spot that the gunny community seems to have and seems to be willing to stubbornly excuse when pointed out. It might seem like I'm singling out Kathy for chastisement but I'm not. Most of the gunny community seems to share this problem. An earlier article by Kathy also stems from the same problem so I hoped that she'd spend a little time looking into the root cause. She didn't so I'm going to.
What's the problem? Well bust my buttons, there seem to be a lot of people shooting themselves with their own guns while holstering. Gosh, I guess it's just the way things are. Maybe some people can be trained out of the problem but I guess it's just something that happens and no one is to blame.
Let's reflect a bit on the way things used to be, shall we?
Once upon a time there were single action guns and single/double actions guns. Actually they weren't really called that because you had cowboy pistols (single action) and service revolvers and 1911s (single/double action).
Cowboy guns had holsters that usually covered the trigger but so what because you didn't holster while cocked. In fact the retention on a cowboy holster requires that the hammer be down since the loop is only long enough to go over the hammer spur when the hammer is down:
If you had a single/double action revolver, you carried it with the hammer down in a holster that fully exposed the trigger like this:
That's a modern reproduction of the Bill Jordan style of holster that was extremely common back in the day. The exposed trigger is no accident. It was purposely made that way.
This was considered common sense because only an idiot would have a holster that could push your finger into the trigger upon holstering a gun with no safety. Since revolvers don't have safeties the lack of material that might force an accidental pull of the trigger while holstering is a safety feature.
If you had a single/double action 1911, you carried it in a holster that covered the trigger but you also carried it cocked (pay attention here kids) AND LOCKED. This was considered common sense because only an idiot would carry a gun with a 4 lb. single action trigger without using a safety. Specifically, a safety that didn't involve the trigger finger.
Fast forward to today. The tacticool crowd says to use a hard Kydex holster that covers the trigger and a gun with no thumb safety and says to stuff said gun into said holster. Shockingly, sometimes the newbies (and some oldbies) make the gun go bang.
And the same crowd then lambastes poor newbies for doing it all wrong. Of course, that crowd never seems to get around to discussing what part they had in setting those people up to fail.
Let's sum up, shall we:
We went from the world pictured above to the world we have now because:
Double action guns should have single digit trigger pulls. (Because Glock)
Holstered guns should not have exposed triggers. (Because Scary)
Safeties are superfluous. (Because GLOCK PERFECTION!!!!)
All guns should be like GLOCK! (Because Marketing)
Yeah, people should keep their booger hook off the bang switch. It's one of the rules after all but why do we have three more rules? If you just obey that one rule all will be well, right?
As it turns out, not so much. People are fallible so we have other rules that will often save us from ourselves even if we violate one of them. But if we make changes to our guns and gear that increase the likelihood of disaster for violating one rule then we have departed from wisdom.
Setting up the trigger as a single point of failure is stupid. Compounding that with holsters that invite negligent trigger manipulation is dangerous.
Stupid and dangerous all in one package. How efficient!
So when the inevitable happens remember who owns part of the blame.
I have repeatedly said that I have very little use for the AR platform due to its inherent weaknesses, among these the direct impingment system, the under-performing primary caliber and its relative fragility. As long as there are better choices available the AR has been way down on my list of "must haves." I've not had a really good reason to own one.
That may have just changed.
Press Release: Olympic Arms, Inc. Announces New York State Sales Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Olympic Arms is a staunch believer in and defender of the Constitution of the United States, and with special attention paid to the Bill of Rights that succinctly enumerates the security of our Divinely given Rights. One of those Rights is that to Keep and Bear Arms.
Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States, ignoring such SCOTUS rulings as District of Columbia v. Heller - 554, U.S. 570 of 2008, McDonald v. Chicago - 561 U.S. 3025 of 2010, and specifically the case of United States v. Miller – 307 U.S. 174 of 1939.
Due the passing of this legislation, Olympic Arms would like to announce that the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity - will no longer be served as customers.
In short, Olympic Arms will no longer be doing business with the State of New York or any governmental entity or employee of such governmental entity within the State of New York - henceforth and until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the State of New York and the American people.
If the leaders of the State of New York are willing to limit the right of the free and law abiding citizens of New York to arm themselves as they see fit under the Rights enumerate to all citizens of the United State through the Second Amendment, we feel as though the legislators and government entities within the State of New York should have to abide by the same restrictions.
This action has caused a division of the people into classes: Those the government deems valuable enough to protect with modern firearms, and those whose lives have been deemed as having less value, and whom the government has decided do not deserve the right to protect themselves with the same firearms. Olympic Arms will not support such behavior or policy against any citizen of this great nation.
Olympic Arms invites all firearms manufacturers, distributors and firearms dealers to join us in this action to refuse to do business with the State of New York. We must stand together, or we shall surely fall divided.
Olympic Arms, Inc.
Let them eat progress.
Representative Brandon Phelps (D-118) has filed HB997 in the Illinois General Assembly that would allow for shall-issue concealed carry. Rep. Phelps is the representative for some of the most southern counties in Illinois, including Massac, Johnson and Pope counties.
The permit would allow a permit holder to (a) carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, "concealed or otherwise", on his or her person; (b) on his or her person in a motor vehicle; or (c) in a vehicle either openly or concealed while not on the person. Concealed is defined by the law to mean "completely or mostly concealed".
The requirements set forth in this bill are:
- Age 21 or more
- Valid FOID card if a resident
- Not prohibited by either state or Federal law from possessing a firearm
- Not under pending arrest warrant that would be a disqualifying offense
- Not a chronic abuser of alcohol in prior 3 years as evidence by either (a) residential or court-ordered detox or treatment for alcohol abuse or (b) 2 or more DUIs.
- Has completed approved training and education component
There is both a training and a shooting requirement but they are substantially in line with many other states.
The restrictions on carry would be:
- Any building under control of the Illinois General Assembly including district offices. Members could carry concealed in their district offices.
- Meeting places of local governments
- Bars but not restaurants that merely serve alcohol
- Airport secure areas
- Area prohibited by Federal law
- K-12 schools without consent
- Child care facilities without consent
- Gated areas of amusement parks
- Stadiums and other sports venues
- Colleges and universities without consent
- Public libraries without consent
- Police stations and sheriff's offices without consent
- Prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities
- Permit holder cannot be under the influence of alcohol while carrying
The bill provides for reciprocity with other states that recognize the Illinois permit and that have substantially similar requirements to that of Illinois. So I'd get to visit family there. Yay!
Businesses would be allowed to post against concealed carry and the bill does specify the posting requirements. Local governments and school boards may prohibit by a majority vote concealed carry in any building controlled by them. However, they cannot prohibit carry in public housing, rest stops, public right of ways, or parking facilities. State buildings under the control of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, or Treasures would be allowed to be posted against concealed carry.
The bill contains a very strong state preemption clause. It prohibits any home rule unit from regulating the possession, carrying, or transportation of firearms. The only exception is that local governments can post buildings owned by them against carry. In addition, no home rule unit can regulate the number of handguns owned or require the registration possessed by a person under the act. Violation of Section 95 brings a $10,000 per day per individual affected punitive fine.
There is a notification requirement so it's not perfect. Oh well.
If you live in Representative Phelps' district give him a call and thank him. Rep. Phelps' district covers Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Johnson, Pope, Hamilton, Galladin, Hardin and White counties.
If you don't live in Representative Phelps' district give your State representative a call and insist that they vote in favor of HB997. If you don't know who your state representative is (really?) you can find your state representative by calling the State Board of Elections Springfield office at 217/782-4141.
This is a very strong concealed carry law and it deserves to pass. In some ways it is a better concealed carry bill than what we have here in North Carolina.
Come on Illinois! Join the rest of us in freedom!
H/T to John Richardson at No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money
Born this day in 1855, he made his first firearm at age 13 in his father's gun shop, and was awarded his first patent on October 7, 1879 at the age of 24. He is credited with a total of 128 firearm patents.
Thank you Mr. Browning for bringing us these:
U.S. M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun
FN Browning M1899/M1900
Colt Model 1900
Colt Model 1902
Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer
Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless
Colt Model 1905
FN Model 1906 Vest Pocket
Remington Model 8
Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket
Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless
FN Model 1910
U.S. M1911 pistol
Colt Woodsman pistol
Winchester Model 1885 falling-block single shot rifle
Winchester Model 1886 lever-action repeating rifle
Winchester Model 1887 lever-action repeating shotgun
Winchester Model 1890 slide-action repeating rifle
Winchester Model 1892 lever-action repeating rifle
Winchester Model 1894 lever-action repeating rifle
Winchester Model 1895 lever-action repeating rifle
Winchester Model 1897 pump-action repeating shotgun
Browning Auto-5 long recoil semi-automatic shotgun
Browning 22 Semi-Auto rifle
U.S. M1917 water-cooled machine gun
U.S. M1919 air-cooled machine gun
U.S. M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)
U.S. M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun
Remington Model 24 semi-auto rifle Also produced by Browning Firearms as the SA-22 and several others
The Browning Superposed over/under shotgun
Ithaca Model 37 pump-action repeating shotgun<
A number of them are still available as new in-the-box firearms.
David Gregory needs to please turn himself in to the authorities.
Mr. Gregory has been accused of having a piece of metal of the wrong size. We've all seen the video of him waving that metal box and spring about on Meet The Press, a box and spring that is illegal to posses in the District of Columbia. We can debate the logic and sense of the law and how it is interpreted at a later date. There is no time for that now. Mr. Gregory needs to act before this spins out of control.
He needs to do the right and merciful thing and turn himself in before someone tells a member of the FBI HRT where his family lives.
Officially the penalty for his crime is 1 year in jail. Unofficially the penalty is much, much more. Vicki and Samuel Weaver are sadly unavailable to comment but before their fate is repeated I beseech Mr. Gregory to do the humane thing and surrender himself to the authorities. It's not worth having your children watch their mother die. A year in prison is nothing compared to knowing that your son will never see his 15th birthday because you thought that being punished for having a piece of metal of the wrong size is not a serious matter.
It's a very serious matter. Deadly serious. Turn yourself in, Mr. Gregory. Turn yourself in now.
The last few times I've sworn I'm not going to buy a gun at the gun show I've made a liar out of myself. So no promises.
I and the Mrs. will be attending on Sunday afternoon. Hope to see you there.
We went to see Brave back in July simply because it is about a princess who knows how to use a bow. Today it is being released on DVD and I'm looking forward to watching it again. I loved the movie but it got me thinking about how women responding to violence with violence is still a bit taboo in our society. It often takes something tragic to make a woman decide to start taking control of her life and learn about firearms. Very few of us will ever be physically strong enough to fight off a man but guns are a great equalizer. Why aren't we raising our daughters to value their own life and give them real self-defense training?
Of course there are exceptions. The best man at our wedding and his wonderful wife have successfully raised an amazing daughter. She is strong, capable, intelligent, and heading out into the world on her own now. Being the only girl with an older and a younger brother, she's learned how to defend herself. She is not afraid to be competitive when needed. She can shoot very well and has no issues standing up to guys that try to show her how its done. I'm a touch jealous of her upbringing.
On the Fourth of July, the best man had friends over and took the kids out back to work on their rifle skills. He came away with this:
"I had somewhat an epiphany a few days ago, while giving shooting instruction to some awesome young women that I know. Most guys want to hang out with girls that shoot. But most guys are too cheap to actually sacrifice what it takes to purchase decent weapons, much less ever get to the point where they actually "teach" a woman to shoot. Remember this "girls" - A boy will invite you to play "Airsoft" and try to impress you and gain your attention. A man will teach you to use a deadly weapon in order to protect yourself because he is naturally inclined to protect what is physically less capable of protecting itself. Learn to discern between each and choose wisely."
Reading that makes me realize just how lucky I am that Knitebane fell into my lap when he did because I was barking up the wrong tree when looking for a mate. I think I once told him, "I don't need a man. I can zip up my own dresses, open my own jars, and make my own money." It really was just dumb luck that I found an honorable man.
"Women are empowered! We can take care of ourselves! We don't need men to protect us!" I remember being told this in Health class in Jr. High when discussing sexuality. There was some discussion of self-defense but nothing of actually picking up a gun to even the odds. Apparently just thinking we were tough was going to protect us.
My family history has its own cases of violence that I almost repeated. It was generational and I grew up hearing bits and pieces but I never got the full story until just a few years ago. A common thread was sexual assault led to fear which lead to finding a strong and capable protector whose price was often steep. Sometimes just verbal abuse, sometimes beatings, and sometimes facing fits of rage that have become legend. Although I grew up with a wonderful father, the family history still had influence. Then I had an unfortunate incident with a neighbor that changed me forever. He did very little physical damage but tons of emotional damage. Suddenly I was repeating the family history and was driven by fear. I did not trust men and saw no need to involve them in my life. I can recall my fears being manipulated even more by women who were "trying to help me" by promoting my fear and encourage me to embrace being a victim, e.g. All men are rapists. I fell for it.
When I finally decided to give men a try, I was already a legal adult. The first man I dated was a Desert Storm veteran, very handsome, long blond hair, very protective of women, but abusive and controlling behind closed doors. I ran as soon as I realized what was in store for me. The string of failures just kept getting longer but I was starting to figure out what I should be looking for early in the relationship.
My mother was afraid she had not broken the circle because it was pretty obvious to everyone that I was looking for a protector. There was a very conscious awareness in me that I did seek comfort in Knitebane because of his strength. I knew he would defend me to the death from the first time he held me as tight as he could. What I didn't realize at the time was that he was going to encourage me by any and every means possible to learn to defend myself. That's a man who loves his wife!
Contrary to what most people would believe, the twelve year difference between Knitebane and myself has been a benefit for me more than him. With age comes patience and I taxed all of Knitebane's patience dealing with my fears. Somewhere in my mid 20's, I decided the world was not so scary and I went overboard with my new-found freedom. I never got hurt but I took chances that were probably not the smartest. Knitebane was always a broken record talking about getting us into a concealed carry class and I just ignored him with a "Yes dear." It took ten years and our house getting broken into before I finally started taking him seriously.
The past few years, others have been joining the chorus. Every time I see our gunsmith, Tom, he lectures me on how it is MY responsibility to learn how to defend myself, not Knitebane's. Just like I can't carry a cop around with me all the time, I can't carry my husband around with me either.
Having a gun isn't a talisman. You have to know what you are doing. Some may disagree with what I'm going to say but as long as I don't become complacent and actually do continue to improve my skills, I stand by my decision. Almost all of my formal instruction has been in short, hour-long individual lessons. For handgun training, I don't have much more than five or six hours of formal instruction. For two years, I did not carry my gun with me because I thought I needed more training but never actually pursued it. This year I started to carry daily on body with the gun I've had the most instruction with, a revolver. When I first decided to do this, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and would draw over and over again. This is very different from .22 steel match and firing from a low ready. There is still much to learn and perfect but I'm not crippled by the fear of the unknown anymore.
I respect and acknowledge the full responsibility carrying a gun brings. I don't wear a gun to kill, I wear a gun to live. My life is valuable and worth protecting.
Last night, Knitebane mentioned I should go read Garand Gal as I am often out after midnight. "Nothing good happens after midnight." True. I have been witness to someone fleeing from police at 02:00 after trying to steal a radio. Our neighborhood is an undeveloped subdivision with lots of half-finished and never lived in buildings. There has been a lot of theft here too. This spring, an obvious drug user attacked our car while we were at a stoplight 3 miles from our house. Well within walking distance. Knowing all of this, I still walk close to midnight with the dogs because I procrastinate till the dogs start threatening to redecorate the house if they don't burn off some steam. I should not be putting all of us in danger like that. I thought I was doing my best to not be stupid and embrace Knitebane's thinking of if there is trouble there, don't be there. It was a good wake up call.
Knitebane and I have discussed our training goals and we realize that getting training for me has got to be at the top of the list of priorities. The last semi-auto we purchased has picked me as its new owner. It was never meant for me but the gun decided. I shoot fairly accurately with it but I know I can be better. I do NOT have good muscle memory when it comes to drawing from concealment or even a holster and trying to get the safety off. I've been watching a lot of gun shows lately and I noticed just how the pros do a lot of dry fire practice and just rehearse, rehearse, rehearse before they actually shoot one bullet. This should not have been an epiphany for me but it was. I used to play in my High School band and we would rehearse without ever playing a note, just singing and fingering the music. I worked on my embouchure with just my mouthpiece. Breaking things down without ever playing a note still built the muscle memory, still reinforced how my part mixed with the rest of the band. It was not uncommon for the entire band to rehearse marching without playing or sometimes even carrying our instruments but we were still rehearsing and successful in competitions.
After realizing I can still improve without being at the range, I turned to the one closest to me for help. I take advantage of Knitebane a lot when I'm learning something new because I am a firm believer in very physical training. If I need to adjust something, don't just tell me, TOUCH ME. I also like to use mirrors and video to see what I'm doing and how I'm doing it right or wrong. So the Sunday before the election, we worked on me drawing from a holster with retention and just a cover garment. After about 5 minutes, we saw some improvement. I love to shoot just for fun but I also need that muscle memory and once a week is going to take a long time to get it.
2013 is thankfully still seven weeks away but I have some goals for myself between now and the New Year.
1. 15 minutes of drills with an unloaded gun 3 to 5x a week.
2. Review the budget and our calendar and try to get into at least 2 self-defence classes before summer 2013.
3. Get back into some form of competition. Learning to deal with stress is important and it gives me a goal to work towards.
4. Schedule another Appleseed shoot for us. Don't know how long it will take me to make rifleman but I know I can do it with practice.
And fellow gunnies are family.
Queen of Snark Tam has been told she has an operable cancer. Being "self-unemployed," as she calls it, she's without health insurance.
As usual, the gunny community has stepped up.
Zercool is having a drawing for one of two Dragon Leatherworks holsters.
Rimfire Designs is having a drawing for a set of grips for a Colt 1911 or Browning Hi-Power pistol.
Angus is raffling an AR lower for those of you with feral poodle issues.
OldNFO is raffling a Colt Diamondback revolver and Michael will throw in a holster, a gift certificate for Brownells had been added by The Nerds, Joe Spear of Jackalope Rifle Company has donated an hand-made hand cannon and Phlegmfatale has joined the fray by donating a hand-made necklace. Quite a haul.
You can also hit Tam's tip jar directly by going HERE:
And click that.
That puts cash straight into her pocket. Yeah, it's PayPal. Yes, they suck. MTFU and do it anyway. Besides, the raffles all require you to contribute to the PayPal account anyway. Just review the links first to see what the ante is.