I Love My Guns

By MamaLiberty

Some recent comments on various message boards frequented by shooters indicate that a few people are either changing their minds or are bowing to the politically correct pressure of the day. They have begun to assert that they do NOT “love their guns” and only view them as necessary tools.

While I couldn’t agree more that guns are simply tools, pretty much like any others, I don’t know why that would make them unlovable. Most men love their tools, all different kinds, and men have always loved their guns. I’m certainly not ashamed to join those men.

But, you might ask, just what is it that we (who still profess it anyway) actually love about guns? Aren’t they killing machines, good only for harming others? We hear that a lot.

So, why do I love my guns? Let me count the ways.

To start with, about 30 years ago I was attacked and would likely have died if I had not been armed.

At that point the man started to walk toward me, in a few words telling me just how he would hurt me. I raised the shotgun, but he just sneered and said confidently, “you won’t shoot me” and kept coming.
He was still too close to my car, so I aimed the .410 shotgun just over his head and pulled the trigger.
I saw the shocked look, just before I saw the blood on his face and chest where the tiny #6 birdshot had hit him. He turned and ran away, destroying a low ornamental fence in the process, but never even slowing to untangle it from his legs.

How would the world be better and more peaceful if I had been raped and murdered instead, simply because I had no gun?

I love to take my guns apart and clean them, usually after a satisfying day at the range or out on the wide grasslands. I love their mechanical simplicity and elegance, the engineering miracle that really has not changed much for hundreds of years. I love the smell of the cleaning products and the silky sound of the action when it is oiled properly. The crisp “snap” of the trigger release is music to my ears.

Though I protect my hearing religiously, I love the sound of gunfire on the range when I’m there, and in the distance as others shoot. I’m about a mile from the range and can hear it often. It is the sound of freedom to me – other men and women both enjoying themselves and practicing a useful skill.

I have an old M1 .30 carbine. The scratches and dents in the old wooden stock have a serious story to tell… though sadly I can’t read it and the man who could is probably long gone by now. I love to shoot that gun, and imagine the story it might tell if it could. It’s a good old gun, and would certainly help me to defend myself and my neighbors if necessary.

My old Marlin 30-30 lever gun is just about perfect for hunting, which could keep me alive if things ever got to that point. That might mean bringing down deer for food, or holding off predators who would take my food away from me.  The scarred old stock has another and just as beautiful tale to tell, of hunts and shooting matches and the companionship that both can bring to all kinds of people.

The Springfield XD 9mm I carry on my belt each day, everywhere I go, is part of the ongoing story of my life. I’m 67 years old, and not able to run or fight meaningfully with my bare hands. The tool in that holster gives me the power to overcome my physical shortcomings and equalizes my opportunity to save myself or others from aggression and great harm or death. That is a heavy responsibility and one that most armed people take very seriously.

A Ruger .357 magnum revolver is my back up and concealed carry gun. I carried it openly for years, but found I had better control of the semi-automatic. Concealed carry is good for certain situations, but I’m glad that it’s not necessary all the time.

The most important reason I love my guns is something quite different, however.

They represent self ownership, and true independence. They mark me as one who is responsible for myself and willing to risk everything to protect myself and others. It also marks me as a free human being and not a slave. Slaves are not “allowed” to own and carry guns. Free people can’t be stopped from doing so.

I love my guns, and the liberty for which they stand.

******

*NRA Certified instructor and other certification for handguns, self defense. Thirty years teaching and shooting experience.

I Am Not A Victim” is available as an e-book free. Read the story at the link and follow the directions to get your pdf copy by return email.

A Flashlight on Your Gun?

Two posts at Autrey’s Armory, What’s the Deal with Tactical Flashlights? and How Do You Hold This? sparked a dialog, and then some serious thinking on my part as well.

I start, as always, by considering my own place in the self defense continuum, and any potential hazards. Not every technique, piece of gear or tactical idea is right or necessary for everyone, but most of them are certainly worth considering. I won’t be repeating anything much that is in the articles, so please do read them if you would like to join the discussion here.

First, then, is thinking about potential attacks in your home or during the evening or nights when you are out and about. Close your eyes and imagine as many as you can. And I mean real possibilities. Nobody can anticipate everything.

In how many of those potential attacks would having a light be imperative to locate, identify and aim at your target? How might using that light make you MORE vulnerable, more of a target? If you have not been to a comprehensive tactical class, you might want to consider taking one because a lot of these questions are covered.

Of course you don’t want to put yourself into the position of possibly shooting anyone unnecessarily or, heaven forbid, a family member, so the second consideration is making sure your plans for lighting are integrated with all of your other self defense necessities: barriers, alarms, and so forth. The neighborhood drunk going into the wrong house isn’t going to be a problem for you if you always lock your doors. The family member, guests, renters coming home late at night would have a key, turn on lights, and convey agreed on signals to demonstrate that he/she is not an intruder. Children who can’t be trusted to do the same probably shouldn’t be going out alone at night anyway, I’d think.

Where light would be an absolute imperative, can you think of anything besides a flashlight that would do the job and not work against you? Motion detector lights on entrances, with smaller ones (and/or regular night lights) in hallways would be good if you have people wandering around at night.

If you must be out of the house at night, either in the car or walking, what precautions could you take to minimize being alone in the dark? Where would you need a flashlight, and would there be any way to avoid that place and time? If you had to draw your gun, would you have time or presence of mind to draw a flashlight as well? If you had the flashlight already in your hand, could you draw and fire without hesitation or fumbling? See an older article of mine to consider the necessity of being able to shoot well with one hand.

One suggestion in Autrey’s article is to mount a flashlight on your carry or home defense gun. She goes into the problem of that making you a greater target, of course. My contention is that I would not want, ever, to point a gun at someone before I had identified them as a threat; as one I would be willing to actually shoot. Some folks might be more comfortable with that possibility than I am.

Holding the flashlight in the other hand is the subject of the second article. Lots of good ideas and plenty of expert input there. Try them all, and see how they might fit into your own self defense program.

Lots to think about, and plenty of things to try. What would you do if you found yourself in a situation where you needed to be holding both a flashlight and a gun? Or, even better, what has worked for you so far? Any real life experiences to share?

I Can’t Believe I DID That!

Did you ever walk out of a bathroom and discover later that your holster was empty? OOPS

I’ve only done that twice in all the years I’ve carried a gun, and both times were at home, thank goodness, but it is something to think about seriously, and something to add to our training and conditioning.

But how?

I can’t remember the details of the first time, shortly after I started carrying, but the most recent episode of total dumb was just the other day. I sat down immediately to analyze it and see what I could do to prevent it from happening again. I absolutely, positively refuse to ever let it happen at the library or someone else’s home.

The first problem I could identify was the fact that I’d given up carrying ALL the time last year when I hurt my back. After a bad fall last autumn, the weight of the gun and tightness of the belt was just too difficult to bear all the time. That was about the time I started carrying concealed a lot when I went out, and the CC “fanny pack” just isn’t as heavy or tight as my belt rig. The worst of it was that I stopped carrying either way, pretty much completely, when I was home alone. So, I was simply out of the habit of being aware of the gun at my waist all the time.

Just recently, I got a new gun belt that holds the holster properly and doesn’t need to be so tight, so carrying OC became a lot more comfortable and I went back to it most of the time, including in the house. Now I need to get back into all the habits I’d cemented years ago when I started this.

The second problem can and does happen to us all, no matter how well we train: distractions. I realized that I’d just finished washing my hands when the phone rang. I went out to answer it, and just never thought about the gun until half an hour later when I noticed the empty holster.

So, what can we do about that sort of thing? First, there was no earthly reason why I HAD to answer the phone right then. If it had rung a few minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have thought a thing about ignoring it and letting it go to the answering machine. Why we react like Pavlov’s dogs to a ringing phone or the doorbell, I’ll never really understand, but all kinds of distractions are something to think about and most are certainly under our control.

Next I remembered that I had previously put the gun on a shelf directly at eye level when standing at the sink to wash. That shelf got filled with other things, so this time I’d put it on another shelf lower down – and it was out of sight once I stood up! The lower shelf might be a bigger problem for other reasons if I didn’t live alone, but “out of sight, out of mind” was problem enough.

Then, sometimes the habits necessary for one thing cause trouble in other areas. When learning to carry concealed, I’d carefully schooled myself against patting or otherwise touching the gun once it was in place… something I did occasionally when carrying openly before. I’d have noticed the gun was missing instantly if I’d not taught myself not to pat it.

Sometimes you just can’t win.

Has this happened to you? Where were you, and what did you do to correct the problem? I can tell you that I won’t forget to look for that gun and make sure it’s in the holster each time now for quite a while.The shock was pretty good incentive, and I only hope it lasts. I don’t even want to think about how embarrassing it would have been to leave the house like that, or to have a visitor find the gun I’d left behind.

Changing how you carry

No matter how or where you carry a gun, I’m sure you know how important it is to train with it and be comfortable with it there. I carried several different guns openly, in a belt holster, for many years, but after I started teaching concealed carry, I knew I needed to carry that way myself enough to work out the kinks and understand completely how it worked and become comfortable with it myself. You can’t really teach what you don’t know.

I’ve gone through the CC training myself several times over the years, trying out many different holsters and carry locations, and discovered that I just couldn’t get comfortable with anything under my clothing, or having to partially undress to draw a gun. None of that was going to work for me.

So, about a year ago, I bought my first nylon “fanny pack,” made especially to carry a gun. The semi-automatic wouldn’t fit into it, so the Ruger Sp101 revolver wound up as my carry gun. I wore it, trained with it, and worked hard to get good with it, but the five round limitation of the revolver always bothered me. I carried two “speed loaders,” but reloading a revolver is anything but speedy, and I couldn’t imagine being happy with it in an emergency.

I haunted the gun shows and tried out any number of “gun purses” and fanny packs, but they all had more problems or limits than what I already had, not to mention the fact that most were seriously expensive. And then I found the ONE I’d been looking for. My Springfield XD compact 9mm fits in it like a hand in a custom made glove, and the spare magazine fits into a front pouch perfectly – leaving plenty of room for wallet, lip balm and a pack of tissues. I have not carried a purse for many years, and I discovered it was nice to get all that stuff out of my pockets.

DTOM Concealed Carry Fanny Pack BUFFALO / BISON LEATHER-Tan
by DON’T TREAD ON ME CONCEAL AND CARRY HOLSTERS

Training with it came next, and it took me a little while to change a few things I’d been doing with the previous fanny pack. Then it was ready to take out into public. So far so good. The concealment is far superior to any holster under clothing, as far as I’m concerned. There is no possibility of “printing” or accidental exposure. If I avoid the “tell” of patting or adjusting it constantly, nobody will know the gun is there. And, unlike a purse, I likely won’t ever walk off and leave it.

I much prefer to carry openly, and my belt holster hasn’t changed in seven years, but I’m still interested in looking at and talking about the different ways people find to carry concealed, especially other women.

How do you carry? If you’ve tried using a “fanny pack” or purse for CC and didn’t like it, or still have problems with it, why not drop a line here and tell us about it? If we put our heads together, we can probably come up with something.

Umm, Vice President Biden…?

shotgun_tlcI already knew that Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comments on the relative suitability of Modern Sporting Rifles and double-barreled shotguns were a bit silly. An AR-15 (something around 5.5 foot-pounds of recoil energy) is harder for a woman to shoot than a 12-gauge shotgun (17 up to a staggering 54 foot-pounds of recoil energy, depending on load and gun weight)? Hate to break the bad news, Mr. Biden, but in a contest between politics and physics, Newton’s Second Law wins every time.

But now, I don’t have to fall back on nebulous little trivialities like science. I’ve experienced the difference myself firsthand.

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Care and Feeding of Folding Knives

20130124-185132.jpgWe depend on our equipment – our knives, guns, flashlights and other tools – to help us stay safe. Our brains and our awareness are our true weapons, of course, but we humans are a tool-using species and there’s no question our tools are important aids. That’s why it’s so important to keep them in tip-top working order.

Some of us throw these tools into our pockets, toss them on our shelves and headboards at the end of the day, and don’t give them a second thought. But is this really how we should treat the tools upon which we may have to depend our lives?

Here are some tips for keeping your folding knives in working order so they’ll be there when you need them:

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Buying Little Guns

20130112-223457.jpgAs those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I was at a Ladies Night event at my local range today. Two female friends of mine decided to go with me, and one of them wanted to show off a new gun her husband had bought her recently.

“D. said ‘It’s so cute!'” my other friend reported she’d said. I smiled, but inwardly I had a sneaking suspicion about what was coming. “D. said she wants you to look at it before she shoots it, because her husband got it used, and she also wants to know how to clean it and what kind of ammo to get.” I promised I’d take a look before the Ladies Night.

When we gathered at the appointed time to drive up to the range, D. produced a cardboard box. Carefully she opened it up and removed her new firearm. “See, it’s cute!” she said with a smile, handing it to me.

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Gear Review: Soteria Leather “Kratos” IWB Holster

20121224-155636.jpgI don’t know about you, but I appreciate gear that isn’t just functional, but that also looks good. Function is definitely important, but so are aesthetics and workmanship. I’ve never been excited by plain black Kydex holsters – they do the job, but I’ve yet to find one that qualifies as beautiful.

For that reason, I was excited to try a handmade leather holster from Soteria Leather. Soteria, the brainchild of Portland, OR-based entrepreneur and craftswoman Cerisse Wilson, produces custom-fitted leather holsters to fit just about any gun, with a dizzying array of thread and material colors and several holster styles. Cerisse’s holsters are definitely functional, but they’re also beautiful works of craftsmanship. I had high hopes for my holster after reading about them on Cornered Cat. Even still, what I got vastly exceeded my expectations.

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Choosing The Right Gun for Women

20121104-150608.jpgI don’t know why I torture myself with the Internet gun forums. I really don’t, because the amount of misinformation and downright ignorance I find there is simply amazing. Take the discussion I read a couple of days ago, for example. Someone asked a question that seems to come up every other week or so: “What kind of gun should I buy for my girlfriend?”

Now, I have my own thoughts and issue with this question, but what provoked my ire wasn’t the question, but was one of the responses posted in the thread. “Buy her a .38 revolver,” the poster advised, “because with a semi-auto she might forget to chamber a round, and then what will she do? Throw the gun at the bad guy?”

In other words, in this individual’s view, women are simply too stupid to learn to shoot semi-automatic pistols.

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Gear Review: Blade-Tech Nano Holster

Since I’ve been doing a lot more shooting lately, between the classes I’m helping teach and my IDPA matches, I’ve been experimenting with gear a bit. One of the holsters I’ve been trying out is the Blade-Tech Nano that I picked up for a good price a while back. I’ve been testing it for about two weeks now  and wanted to share my thoughts.

The Blade-Tech Nano is an inside-the-waistband Kydex holster. The manufacturer’s Web site says the holster is constructed of .080 Kydex, which is thinner than their standard material but can be prone to deforming under heat, and they recommend not leaving it in a locked car where the heat may exceed 160 degrees or so. The screw attachment holding the Kydex shell together, and the snaps attaching the belt loops, all seem quite solid. In fact, I had some difficulty re-fastening the snaps once I undid them. Gun retention was quite good with this holster, with drawing and re-holstering both being easy and secure.

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