Sunday, April 5, 2015

Trust but Verify

President Regan used these words.  They apply to so many areas in our lives, including shooting.
 I was recently caught up in a “debate” involving a premise espoused by a well-known instructor that I was not 100% comfortable with.  I took his basic statement, tried it, found that I got a different result, and attempted to explain to some of the followers that while I agreed with part of it, I thought what was missing from the statement was practice on the part of the shooter and that when I recreated the situation, I got a different result.

What followed were multiple men, yes, it was all men, telling me I clearly didn’t understand the concept.  To say it went downhill from there would be an understatement.  I decided to withdraw from the debate, the FB Group and any association with this particular program. 

The whole thing got me to thinking.  No matter who your instructor is, you, as a shooter, should be responsible for your own beliefs.  If something doesn’t seem quite right, do you homework, challenge.  This makes you a better shooter and a better student.  Challenge your instructor.  If the response is “you just don’t understand”, well, maybe you need a different instructor.  If they take the time to listen, explain and consider your point…you have made a better instructor and they are a keeper.

In shooting, as in life, Trust but Verify.

 Safe Shooting.

Shooting Clays Versus Skeet – What is the difference?

To an inexperienced shooter, the two may seem a lot alike, but to a sport shooter the differences are significant.  Both use a clay disc as the primary target, and have a defined course.  That is where the similarities end.

Sporting Clays are cast in a variety of directions and angles to simulate a field experience, such as bird hunting.  In competition you follow a 10-15 station course and don’t know exactly where the clay will come from.   The clays vary in diameter and weight to simulate natural variances in birds.

Sporting Clays is sometimes called “Golf with a Shotgun” because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain (Wikipedia, n.d.). Clays actually pre-date Skeet by several decades. 

In Skeet, you have 25 shots from 8 stations.  The clays, which are generally 4 516 inches in diameter.  These discs are launched from “houses” come from pre-determined directions. At stations 1 and 2 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house.  He then shoots a double where the two targets are launched simultaneously but shooting the high house target first. At stations 3, 4, and 5 the shooter has single targets launched from the high house and then the low house. At stations 6 and 7 the shooter confronts single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double, shooting the low house target first then the high house target. At station 8 the shooter shoots one high target and one low target.

The shooter must then re-shoot his first missed target or, if no targets are missed, must shoot his 25th shell at the low house station 8. This 25th shot was once referred to as the shooter's option, as he was able to take it where he preferred. Now, to speed up rounds in competition, the shooter must shoot the low 8 twice for a perfect score. (Wikipedia, n.d.)

American Skeet Shooting started in the 1920s and there is a variation included in the Olympics.

Jim Bogle, Guest Blogger, Associate Instructor, F&A, LLC

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Take your Students, and Yourself, as you are

So often instructors get stuck in a mindset of this is how to grip, this is how to stand, this is how to whatever.  But what about the student who had a limitation, who can't do it that way?  Or what if you can't do it that way?  Are you prepared to think on your feet and come up with ideas?

One of the most common examples I've seen is a hand limitation.  I worked with someone quite recently who was recovering from a stroke and had lost most of the control of his dominant hand.  He still wanted to keep his trusty .38 for home defense but asked for advice on how to hold it.  I encouraged him to practice with his left hand, which works perfectly.  Remember, if you are going to shoot one handed, cant, or angle the gun, slightly toward to center.  20-30 degrees is enough.  This gives your wrist more stability.

I've been putting too much wear and tear on my hip and have small tears in the lining and other issues.  This meant using a cane for a while.  Well, what looks more vulnerable than a 50+ woman limping through a parking lot?  a 50+ woman limping through a parking lot with a cane.  So, BOB earned his place again with me practicing balance while wielding the cane to create distance and give me a chance to do something else...running isn't really an option at this point.

What do these two things have in common?  Limitations, and identifying workarounds.  It doesn't have to be complicated, but find a way and then practice that way.  If it is you, remember, you CAN DO THIS.  It may take a little out of the box thinking, but you can do this. 

If you are an instructor working with a student who has a challenge, remember they are probably frustrated and really need your patience, understanding and support.  Help them find a way.  You may have to try a couple different ways before one works, but part of being an instructor is taking your student as they are.

Safe Shooting!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Life Gets in the Way

I apologize for my absence and promise to try to do better.  Life can get in the way.  I am dealing with some serious personal issues, just put the finishing touches on my next book which should be out late summer (and I hope you like it!), went to Shot Show and been working on a proposal for book 4.  I know, I’m nuts!


But, I wanted to write about something near and dear to my heart that has been a recent topic of discussion.  Training.  As a Student.  It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced instructor or a brand new shooter.  Training is critical.  With more people buying firearms and getting Concealed Carry Permits, Defensive Training takes on new meaning.  You have to be ready to make those split second decisions, and possibly to justify them later.  You need to be confident in your ability.  You need to practice but perhaps most importantly, you need to take every class your budget will allow.


I enjoy taking basic classes occasionally. Not only do I learn something I want to incorporate into my classes, but I sometimes find things that I want to be sure I’m not doing.  Advanced classes, even though I tend to teach beginner by choice, are fun!  They challenge my skills, teach me new ones…I am signed up for a Defensive Shotgun Class in Jun!  I can’t wait.  I’ve never taken a formal long fun class and I think this will be awesome.  I’m mostly a handgun shooter, although I have a couple long guns and hope to go hunting one day.  But in my situation, living in a townhouse, a shotgun may actually be a better defensive firearm than a pistol, at least for my neighbors. 


Bottom line, no matter who you are, or what level you are at, take a class!  Not just any class, since you are spending your hard earned money, investigate the instructor and the course content.  Make a wise decision, but train.


Then, practice what you learn.  I spent some time this past weekend, I have a BOB (Body Opponent Bag).  I have a nickname for him, but I won’t share it here.  I practiced empty hand defensive strikes, followed by quick draws of a SIRT gun and firing.  I practiced rolling on the floor, drawing and firing.  I incorporated a few defensive yelling words, and at the end of 30 minutes was very much out of breath and feeling more confident in my ability to get knocked down still draw and fire my gun. 

My Buddy BOB, handsome fellow
My poor BOB takes a lot of abuse, but better him than me.  It is one thing to be shown how to push off an attacker, gain a little distance and fire, or get knocked to the ground, draw and fire without sweeping your own body, it is a very different thing to actually try it. 


And…it is fun.  


So, train as if your life may depend on it!

Safe Shooting!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Gun Bunnies

I may be a little late to the party but I just learned the term Gun Bunny. Women like this reflect badly on women in the industry, They dress inappropriately for the range and pose for pictures with unsafe gun handling then get all defensive when called on it. They have cutesy names, and trade on their looks for goodies from manufacturers.
The opposite of the women I know who are serious, safe and have IQs higher than our bust measurements. I can not tell you how proud I am to be associated with this amazing group of women.

For the Gun Bunnies, you do us a disservice, posing as "real" shooters while pointing a gun at yourself and justifying with "It isn't loaded and I can't reach the trigger".  You think it is cute to pose in a bikini top with a gun.  If this is you, you are a poser.  I'm sorry if you are offended, but you damage the female shooting community every time you do the cute little pouty face over the barrel of a gun. 

Real women Shoot!  Real women are Serious, and Safety Conscious.  It doesn't matter if we are young and nubile or old and wrinkled.  We care about the sport, the industry and sharing the concepts of safety and responsibility. 

If you recognize yourself, take this as a wake up call.  You are not helping anyone, not even yourself.  We are laughing at you and calling you what you are. 

Wake Up sister, no one likes a poser.