Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect. It's something we all heard at home or in school while growing up. Working in the real world and now with firearms, I know there is a difference. Owning a firearm is only half the battle. After all it is only a tool for self-protection. Just last week, there was a crime spree of five robberies overnight that ended with two people dead, SWAT, Bomb Squad and two suspected gangsters in custody. That's scary! One victim was a female cab driver. It's alarming! But it happens every day. What's even more disturbing is when elected officials try to pass anti-gun legislation in CA and then these bills make it to Governor Browns desk, but that's another story. Anyway, now is the time to buy a gun and learn how to use it. I mean, really know how to use it. Train with a Certified Trainer and practice what you learned at the Range on your own. Practice vs Training: there is a difference. I'd love to tell you that all I've been doing is shooting and training during the last six months since my last post, but that's simply not the case... Although maybe it should be! After all, I am a responsible CCW permit holder who should know how to properly protect myself, right? Right. So about 6 weeks ago I joined a home defensive handgun class with 2 Crow Firearms Safety Training that just happened to be Ladies ONLY and it was so much FUN! We were able to shoot against the clock and in a various situations, such as one-handed from behind simulated cover. 200 rounds later and collectively we all felt better about using a gun to defend ourselves in our homes. It is so important to be familiar with firearms to protect yourself and I cannot stress that enough. The world is a crazy place with crazy people. Now, I won't even go most places without being armed on my person. (I say "most places" because there are certain areas that are off limits to licensed holders of concealed carry permits.) We just introduced a NEW Shooter Clinic for people who want to learn more about guns and how to use them, but do not own a firearm. I encourage NEW shooters to start with taking a firearms safety class like this one prior to making the first purchase or going shooting for the first time. Believe it or not, just years ago, I only associated guns with crime, death and fear. Now I feel empowered, knowledgable and more confident in my ability to talk about guns and protect myself, my loved ones and my property. This statement makes sense: "Know guns, no crime. No guns, know crime." - Ralph Lauretano. Please continue to train as if your life depended on it and continue to practice because practice makes perfect.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Concealed Carry Holsters & Clothing: A Good Fit

Just as it's important to find a gun that is a good fit, it is as important to find a holster and clothing that is a good fit. If you're reading this, you have probably already purchased your ideal concealed carry pistol, like me. Selecting a compatible carry holster is just one part of the principles of concealed carry. Your holster must be paired with proper clothing and you must be constantly aware of your body, actions and activities that promote or hinder weapon concealment. I choose to wear my Ruger LC9 with the versatile Galco Underwraps Belly Band in black which is adjustable and super comfortable. So the holster part of the equation for concealed carry was easy for me. I love it! I can put on almost any type of clothing, even my LBD, with minimal forethought and planning. This weekend was the first time this season that temps hit just above 80 degrees in the valley. Spring has sprung and it's warm! The weather also serves as a reminder that the seasons are changing, as my wardrobe will have to change soon, too. Right now, I'm comfortable wearing just about anything while it's cool. During winter, the possibilities are endless! You can wear pretty much whatever you want & throw a jacket on over it all. But here it gets take-off-all-your-clothes HOT from now until mid-October, so I will have to adapt. Quickly! I'm thinking of looking for clothes that I can wear with my belly band like new flowy tanks and sleeveless tops that angle out at the sides leaving plenty of room for my firearm and extra mag to sit nicely where ever I want it. I already dress casual for my job and I've decided Men's T-shirts one size too big work well enough to wear most days. I will want to sport skirts & shorts while I can, although I don't think I'll even contemplate using the Garter Holster like Steph from Sons of Guns because I do not like the idea of steel (or anything similar) between my legs. And I do like the Flashbang Holster but it is very unlikely this will do it for me as a bra is required and I don't wear one... But I do like the concept! Another cool idea is the concealed holster shirts like the 5.11 Holster Shirt. I would only use a Holster Handbag if I was to carry and I could not in any way conceal my weapon, but decidedly that will be a very rare instance, like more close to never... Just doesn't feel safe! Plus, I never wear a belt, so I don't give those kind of holsters a second thought. Whatever way you choose to carry and whatever you decide to wear, you will find that there are more and more chic, stylish options for women who choose to carry on their person, like Smith & Wesson's NEW line for female shooters. (Read more on that here.) While I create my own line of concealed carry clothing in my closet, I intend to get some practice and get some lead therapy. See you on the Range!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Because I'm a Woman

I think there are some common misconceptions about me because I'm a woman. Especially in dealing with firearms, an industry dominated by men. (There are major misconceptions about women in general, but that's another topic.) I've developed a thick skin after working with these guys for almost a year. Not much phases me these days (plus I have brothers). But earlier this week, this customer coped a major attitude with me that really made feel uncomfortable. He walks in and sets a pistol on the counter and asks to register this gun. I don't know whether this gun is loaded or what, so I go through the motions, asking the right questions and as I'm relaying pertinent information to him regarding Private Party Transfers in the state of CA he gets on his cell phone while ignoring me because he didn't like what the law dictates or what I was saying. Because I'm a woman! Then, after he realizes we won't do the transfer, he proceeds to move on to Hunter's Safety classes and I let him know the fee, cash or check and he says flatly "card". I repeat myself. He responds with the same answer. I repeat myself again adding a please and something about policy. At this point my heart is beating faster cause I can just feel the tension! I accept the cash and make the transaction to register his boy for the class, then he exits the front door, only to return to ask for a receipt. I let him know his booklet is his receipt, as no one is admitted into Hunter's Ed without the coursework completed. He exits the front door and I finally feel some relief! I ask myself: why are some people are so damn difficult?! As if I really wanted to transfer this gun to this dude anyway. Then, he comes back in with his LE friend (the seller) who asks me why I told this guy that he needs CCW classes to transfer a firearm. I clarfied my position on the subject, reiterated what was required (by law) to register the gun into his friends name. Then, the officer continues to question me because "all of his LE friends transfer pistols without the HSC card..." And because I'm a woman! Yes, I agreed, that's because law enforcement is exempt from this requirement... He's not even listening! But he keeps staring at my chest. At this point, I'm done talking in circles, so I interject and ask one of my guys to confirm what I'm saying. Sure enough, the guys seemed to be somewhat satisfied with that response, only because it came from a man. Boss said I could have used my right to refuse service to anyone just by pointing to the sign. But I didn't feel that was necessary. Now, I'm not bitching, because I'm a woman... I'm just saying, in my experience, most men assume I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to "man" things like guns. Well, guess what? I do! And if I don't, I'll find out. I pride myself on exuding excellent customer service all with good information - the facts. Lots of women are gun enthusiasts who shoot... Some of these women can perform better than some men I know. Again, just the facts. For the record, I am no different from anyone else just because I'm a woman... And never underestimate the power of an confident, intelligent woman, with a gun.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Behind the Gun

Who is the one behind the gun? This is a question I not only ask referencing myself, but one I ask myself about others, too... I come in contact with all kinds of different customers every day working at a local FFL dealer with Indoor Shooting Range. People are crazy! That's a fact. And there's no background check currently available that screens mental health. Anyway, without getting into politics and the Giffords shooting or any recent sad stories about Navy officers and murder/suicides, I think it's time to let you know more about who I am and how I got into firearms. Growing up, I loved the outdoors, just not to the extent of hunting with firearms or shooting. I can recall I shot a gun, maybe once. Since I can remember, I was always fascinated with the sky, sun, planets, moon and stars. Through school I played sports and I went camping and fishing with my Dad sometimes... That was about it. As I got older, I began to explore the great outdoors with friends and lovers on short trips here and there to the beach or up to the mountains through the canyon. I even took up water sports and hiking while becoming more and more interested in the stars and planets and how they influence us (astrology), meteor showers, photography and writing. Then, I fell in love with a gun enthusiast two years ago! We now work together. He is an avid outdoorsman, hunter, NRA Member and certified trainer and Range Master. And me? I'm just a girl in a gun shop... I work behind the scenes managing the office. Firearms has been my 9-5 for almost a year! I've not only become more familiar with guns, handling, laws, transfers, safety and shooting but I've obtained my CA CCW, become a DOJ HSC instructor and I am moving towards taking full advantage of all firearms training we provide. My experiences with guns before I started dealing with them weren't good. I had been carjacked and shot at with a .380 and victim of home invasion, twice. So naturally, I associated firearms with fear... And criminals and crime. Now, I am on the other side. I admit, when I started this job I was still afraid! But not anymore... I am a responsible, law-abiding American citizen who chooses to exercise the Second Amendment to the fullest. I am a more confident and empowered young woman who feels damn good about being able to protect herself at almost anytime or anyplace. I hope I never have to use my gun on anyone, but I am prepared to do so. Carrying a weapon has made me much more conscious about how I carry myself, too. My goal is to practice, practice, practice, complete some courses... And become a better shooter and a better person behind the gun.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Something Is Missing

Last night, there was a scene at the workplace that could have easily gotten out of hand... Fast. A customer came in, made a small purchase and asked to see a long gun. The Manager cleared the weapon and offered to show it when the man took the gun and told us rather matter-of-factly that he was leaving with it today and not paying for DROS or complying with DOJs mandatory 10 day wait as required. (It was later determined that it was his firearm that was in our possession as a consignment.) As they went back and forth, the situation quickly escalated and the customer became argumentative and more hostile with the gun still in his possession. Next thing I know, I was told to call the BPD as this person was becoming more of a threat. Then I thought to myself, something is missing... Where is my gun? It was only 100 feet away in my locker, but still! I felt naked, unarmed. Powerless! Ten minutes later, the man finally left and after no response from the police, I called them back and let them know we were able to resolve it without further incident as the customer explained he was under duress going through a divorce with a restraining order, etc. So we could not help him further. We were reminded that a lot could happen in mere minutes. But I think we learned a lesson... I sure did! I must always have access to my gun, especially while sleeping & working, because you just never know.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nice Shot

Today was the first day I shot my gun... There's my target. Only four weeks after I picked it up. I'm always busy, but even I know that I need to make some Range time and shoot more often to become consistent... Much more often than once a month, that's for sure! Anyway, I'm not sure if it was just my schedule holding me back or the fact that I am still such a novice, but I'll admit it, I was anxious, maybe even a little (gasp) apprehensive at first. I quickly got over that once I squeezed the trigger... Again and again. I chose the Ruger LC9 for a few reasons, but mostly because I liked the feel of it... It's compact and light... And that's very important when choosing a firearm. I've noticed more women searching for the perfect gun and I recommend finding something that feels good and go from there. Sight is a factor and I am left eye dominant and right hand dominant, so I use the isosceles shooting stance to ensure balance. While I'm not used to the double-action type trigger pull yet, I'm confident that with more and more practice, I'll get the hang of it soon enough. Nice shot, even if I do say so myself.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Openly Carrying Concealed

Last night, while we were sleeping, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed into law three anti-gun bills: AB 144 - Open Carry Ban, AB 809 - Long gun registration and SB 819 - Converts Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) fee to tax (slush fund). I think the Open Carry Ban will ultimately support the litigation against discretionary approval of California concealed permits... Registering long guns won't necessarily keep first responders safer if they know these types of guns are registered to a particular address... And finally, converting DROS fees to a tax... At least there aren't any more fees, I guess, but that's California. (I suppose I should note that he did veto the ammunition registration bill, but according to his message ONLY because the case is still tied up in the court system.) Today was the first day I chose to carry concealed at the workplace, just two weeks after picking up my piece. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the cold, hard steel against my warm, soft skin, but I feel good about carrying it. I feel empowered and responsible. I even noticed I walk differently. And I understand it will take some time to get more familiar with handling and shooting my gun and varying my wardrobe selections. My whole attitude about guns has changed since I started working in the firearms industry. I used to only associate guns with cops, crime and death, but now I see firearms as hunting and safety equipment. I definitely agree that guns don't kill people, people kill people and gun control is not the answer. It just doesn't work effectively to deter crime or even keep firearms out of the wrong hands, as proven with the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal. While I await approval for my CA CCW permit and AZ CCW permit, I will continue to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights and carry concealed on private property.