Posts Tagged ‘NRA’

Way to go Blaze for encouraging more women to shoot….

 

Hey Women, if You’ve Ever Been Intimidated by the Thought of Going to the Gun Range, There’s Now a Show for You

“For many women, a public range can actually be the first barrier to picking up a gun, simply because they don’t know what to expect.”

That’s how the introduction to the new NRA show, “Love at First Shot,” begins. And if you’re a women who’s ever been intimidated by the thought of going to the gun range, it’s entirely dedicated to you.

“If you’re afraid of anything, it has power over you. So let’s take that fear factor away.”

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“It’s a show for the female shooter, and really for the beginning female shooter, although it’s great for anybody,” Natalie Foster, an NRA commentator, new wife, gun enthusiast and blogger told TheBlaze.

Foster hosts the show, which just launched on the NRA Women website. “There’s no content out there to help navigate the world of firearms, and it can get so overwhelming.”

So the NRA and Foster set out to change that.

“We wanted to give women a starting point, a friendly face, a friendly format to where they can just click on it and say, ‘OK, this is what I should expect going to the range for the first time,’” she said, speaking at the NRA convention in Indianapolis earlier this month, her blond hair hanging loosely over a flowery dress.

(Source: NRA video screen shot)

The show will follow Foster as she interviews industry experts and new gun users about what it means to take up shooting as a hobby as well as a means for protection. And it will walk them through how to do it.

“The point is to make all women feel welcome,” she explained. With more women than ever joining shooting in the last five years, “the industry is finally catching up to the enthusiasm of the female shooter.”

Viewers can expect everything from talk about shotguns to discussing shooting stances to understanding what to expect on a first hunt. (Foster was jetting off to the Midwest to film a turkey hunt the day after our interview). There’s even an episode guiding you through how to cook your first kill.

And it’s not like Foster — who is proficient in firearms — is standing idly by as a stoic and condescending expert. There are some things she’ll be learning along the way.

“I’ve grown to appreciate all this so much more,” she says of the experience of shooting the show.

Reducing the ‘Fear Factor’

Some may be wondering if a show about new women shooters is geared only toward younger women. “No at all,” Foster said emphatically. “It’s ageless.”

In fact, the first episode features a mother of three taking up shooting to protect herself and her children while her husband travels for work.

But besides teaching beginners the basics, Foster sees the show as fulfilling a larger purpose.

“People are so afraid of firearms,” she said. ”And it’s because they’ve been conditioned to be so fearful, and the reality is they don’t need to be.”

“It’s really about reducing the fear factor — it’s a nasty thing. If you’re afraid of anything, it has power over you. So let’s take that fear factor away.”

The show’s first episode, then, offers new shooters the “do’s and don’ts for your first trip to the range.” It also offers advice about what to wear: Cover up your legs, wear a hat if possible, and stay away from low-cut shirts. Why? Because hot shell casings can find their way into every nook and cranny:

Backlash

As Foster’s name has started to grace the lips of the gun community, she’s dealt with a variety of backlash. The “most frustrating,” she said, has been charges of being anti-male.

“I got into guns because I love guys, I love my dad, my brothers and my husband. The whole reason I got into shooting was to build a relationship with the guys in my life,” she said, echoing comments she made to TheBlaze last year.

“We all come from different backgrounds with guns. Everyone has a firearms history whether they realize it or not, from watching it on TV or being exposed to it on TV,” she said.

“Make guns your own. This [the gun community] is a place where we can all feel confident.”

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Child_Gun_SafetyAs most of you know, gun ownership increased dramatically this past year. Many of these new gun owners are facing a challenging array of dilemmas: to carry or not, how to carry, where to keep the gun at home, what type of ammo to use, what to tell family members, what about the children? Of all the issues new gun owners face, correctly addressing gun safety with their children is without a doubt the most important (carrying coming in a close second). Some parents take the approach of simply hiding and/or locking up the firearms. Some tell the children never to touch it. Some teach their children safe ways to use the firearms. The same parents may use all three approaches depending on the age of the children. While methods are debatable, one thing is clear. There are far too many tragic stories of children killing or being killed with their parents’ firearm to simply ignore the issue. And while you may successfully hide your firearms from your children, not everybody is as successful and your child may discover a firearm at a friend’s house.  As common as firearms are and as little accurate information children receive from society, it is vital you, the parent, teach your children gun safety.

childgun_lgMany parents seem to believe their children are too young to learn about guns. However, modern media does not share that concern. A child will easily learn dangerous firearm handling habits from movies, video games and cartoons. Left with TV for their only guide, children will automatically pick up a firearm, put their finger on the trigger and point it at somebody. Why? That is the behavior of every TV character with a gun. It is up to parents and other concerned adults to correct such perilous impressions. Many times this correction can be done through repetition of key words and practice. Similar to “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” gun safety rules may be taught to very young children. (I personally have seen parents begin gun safety instruction when their son was but three years old.) The nationally renowned NRA’s Eddie Eagle program is directed at pre-K through 3rd grade students. This program teaches children four simple rules.

If you see a gun:
STOP!
Don’t Touch.
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.

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While this method works well for the majority of children, I realize there are children that insist on learning things the hard way and will automatically reach for whatever you tell them “don’t touch.” For these children some extra steps may need to be taken to impress upon them the severity of the consequences of mishandling a firearm. A trip to an indoor range, exposing the child to noise and recoil, may be enough to convince some. I’ve heard of other parents, with the intention of demonstrating the destruction a bullet traveling at high speeds will cause, shooting watermelons or some other such object. Children raised on the farm typically learn this lesson watching an animal being put out of its misery, slaughtered for meat or killed to protect livestock. In some cases, simply allowing the child to handle the unloaded firearm under direct, constant supervision is enough to satisfy their curiosity.

learning-to-shoot-300x199In the case of the 3-year-old mentioned above, he was shown a firearm, informed of the basics of firearms, warned of the danger, strongly cautioned (nearly threatened) to never touch one unsupervised (and never to let his younger sister touch one), and promised to be taught all about it once he is older. This satisfied his curiosity and from there on he has been content to play with his Nerf gun (and has even gone so far as to carry it on his hip, inside his waistband). His parents are careful to answer any questions very matter-of-factly, without any sense of secrets or hiding. This approach, combined with adults being careful to keep all firearms inaccessible, has eliminated much of the fear associated with kids and guns. We gun-owning adults are careful but we are also confident this child would know what to do if he ever came upon a firearm unattended. I believe this honest, forthright method (and other similar methods) restores firearms to the “trusty tool” label of the past and strip off the “evil weapon” label of today. Removing the “evil” label also removes much of the curiosity from young minds. It becomes simply another tool, like a chainsaw, that they will learn to use as they get older instead of a sinister object of terror that makes grown men afraid (as the schools and media would have them believe).

nssf-dad-kidsAs a single woman, I have not yet had to traverse these murky waters myself but I have studiously observed others navigate their way to safety. That observation, coupled with common sense, says the best way to keep children safe around guns is to teach them about guns. Ignoring and pretending firearms don’t exist will only feed curiosity. Depending on always locking them up is also flawed, because we are flawed. We are humans and humans make mistakes. Teaching a child to avoid a firearm is similar to backing up the computer. You backup your files just in case your hard-drive crashes, why not train your child just in case you forget one time. I’m sure many of you have faced this issue before. Please share your stories, as well as advice and tips in the comments.

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.07.49 AMLast week a story emerged of a firearms safety instructor shooting one of his students. I happened to see the story on The Blaze, but it was also on CNN, Yahoo! News, Fox News, and other sites. The local newspaper naturally had the best coverage. My first reaction to the story, similar to many others, was outright condemnation and scorn for the instructor. I mentally began making a checklist for ensuring any future instructors I work with won’t be the “type” to do such a thing. I did some research, talked with some people (including coworkers here at Autrey’s and instructors), and developed the following checklist…

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A quick YouTube search will turn up numerous examples of bad instructors. Many times shooters fail because they were not taught proper stance or grip.

(Before we go any further, I would like to point out that uncles, husbands,boyfriendsfriends, etc... , who were in the _____(Army, Marines, Police, etc…) for ____ years do not make good firearms instructors. Just because a person is experienced in a skill does not mean they are able to teach that skill. And just because they were in the military does not necessarily mean they are experienced with handguns. Large majority of the military never carry handguns. As for Law Enforcement, many of them are not trained in the advanced skills and techniques of shooting. And, no matter what level of training a person has received, just because that person is experienced and proficient with firearms does not mean they will do well instructing you. The second problem [and probably the more common one I see at our range] with spouses and loved ones teaching others how to shoot is that spouses and significant others tend to have a hard time accepting correction from their loved one. It simply does not go over well when a husband tells his wife she is doing something wrong. Yet, I’ve seen an objective third-party say the exact same thing and the wife accepts their correction easily and immediately. So, I will repeat… Loved ones do not make for good firearms instructors.)

My Checklist…

1. ___ Do my fellow gun enthusiasts recommend him?130410-gun-show-hmed-11a.photoblog600

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a quality, local instructor. You may find a local gun store, range, shooting competition or gun show a good place to ask around. However, do your due diligence in selecting the gun enthusiasts to question. Attending a Tactical Course solely based on the opinion of one “expert” whom you happened to meet at the gun store is not likely to result in a great experience. Also, numerous instructors are excellent teachers of the basics of firearm safety and handling, yet are not qualified to teach more technical skills. For example, the number of instructors experienced in and qualified to train civilians in Close Quarters Combat is highly limited. Anyone who says the local Handgun Basics instructor can also teach such highly technical courses should be thoroughly questioned.

2. ___ Is he certified?gapatch

There are several nationally recognized organizations that train and certify instructors, the NRA being the most common. An instructor may also be certified through the State licensing board, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Safety, and others. These certifications provide a type of quality control for the firearms instruction community. A certified instructor has documented experience in the material they teach. The certifications also frequently demonstrate the level of commitment the instructor has to instructing. Typically (but not always), the more certifications an instructor has the more time and money they have invested into their chosen career field and the higher quality of instruction you are likely to receive.

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3. ___ Are our personalities compatible?

Though an instructor may meet all your qualifications, if he speaks in a manner that gets under your skin you will not learn well from him. There are instructors that are gruff and from whom some women are uncomfortable learning. And there are female instructors from whom men are uncomfortable learning. Call the instructor and have a conversation. The reviews and critiques of former students may also give you some insight into your instructor.

4. ___ Can he teach?

There are many skilled firearms owners and competitors that are not gifted with the ability to teach. When you talk with a potential instructor, ask for references and critiques from past students. These will likely give you great insight into their teaching ability, safety consciousness, and how personable they are. As you are talking with him, do your best to determine his purpose in teaching. Is he passionate about imparting knowledge that may save people’s lives? Does he enjoy teaching for the sake of seeing that “light-bulb” moment when a student “get’s it?” Or is he in it for the paycheck?

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5. ___ Is he experienced in the area I want to be trained in?

At the Introduction to Handguns level this is not so concerning, but as you move up in your skill development you need to ensure the instructor knows the material physically as well as mentally. Just as people without children will often foolishly advise people with children how they should raise said children, there are many things that sound great in theory but breakdown in reality. So also is the world of self-defense and combat. There are many theories about how things “should” be done but unless the instructor has tested his theories in the battlefield of reality the value of his training is limited. Even for a Basic Handgun Course, question the instructor on the basic fundamentals. If he doesn’t mention things like: stance, grip, sight alignment, breath control, trigger control, etc… then you should probably find somebody else. He is not experienced in the proper techniques of shooting.

6. ___ Is the course material from an established organization?pistolguide

If you are unsure of the local, independent instructors you may be better off going to one that is using the course material of an established organization (such as the NRA). Established organizations are typically founded on the reality-tested experience of an individual(s) and focus on training other instructors in the lessons learned through that testing. To ensure students receive the benefit of that life experience, instructors are severely restricted from making any deviations from the course material. This provides for continuity across county and state lines.

7. ___ Does he have a good reputation?

Gun+Enthusiasts+Attend+Machine+Gun+Shoot+Military+dhKX-6Rcre0lOnce you have narrowed down the list of instructors and schools, begin looking into their reputations. Internet reviews may be very helpful in this, but take each review with a very large grain of salt. Negative reviews may be posted by competition and positive reviews may be posted by those associated with the organization. It is also possible for one unhappy, previous student to take to the internet for his/her revenge. Gun shows and stores may be other good resources for determining the reputation of an organization, course or instructor.

8. ___ Is he insured?

Having insurance is another indication of the commitment level of the instructor as well as being extremely important if something unfortunate happens.

9. ___ Does he have an emergency plan if something goes wrong?ROTHCO-EMSTraumaBagBlue

A professional instructor should have an emergency plan in place if something unfortunate were to happen. Not having such a plan may be an indicator that the instructor is either inexperienced, naive, arrogant or unprofessional… none of which I want in a firearms instructor.

10. ___ Is he within budget?

Financial constraints are a concern for most U.S. citizens and many times our training decisions are limited by these constraints. There are many amazing nationally renowned courses we would love to attend but simply cannot afford it. With that in mind, a local course is very appealing. So long as the instructor is safe, we may be willing to compromise on skill or experience in order to advance in our firearm handling. Recently, Limatunes wrote an encouraging post on budgeting for firearms training that will likely help you budget for next year’s training.

What Is It I’m Really Looking For?th

Before you begin looking for an instructor, it is very important to first determine what your objectives are. If self-defense is your overall goal, several objectives may be to learn situational awareness, basic handgun handling, how to use pepper (OC) spray, hand to hand combat, and home defense strategies. If winning competitive shoots is your goal, you will need an entirely different set of firearms courses. For either situation, the optimal instructor will be qualified and competent in teaching all of the subjects you desire to master. By sticking with the same instructor throughout a series of courses you will have the advantage of maintaining continuity. A good instructor will learn your strengths, weaknesses, and how you learn. As he gives you direction and instruction he will tailor it to the method that best suits you. As a student, you will also learn his methods, style and format. Building that loyalty between instructor and student will yield many rewards. While the above scenario is the optimal situation, you may not find such an instructor in your area or you may desire to progress past the level of your current instructor. In whichever situation you find yourself, I believe the above information will help you avoid the worst of the instructors, protect you from the scam artists, and hopefully help you find an instructor that best suits you.

Conclusion

While digging into the best steps to take to ensure I train only with a highly qualified and safe instructor, I incidentally discovered the trainer in the headlines, Terry Dunlap, Sr., is actually a highly qualified and exceptionally experienced instructor and range master. He has successfully instructed both civilians and law enforcement for decades. See this Active Response Training post or this Examiner article for more details. As far as I can tell, this instructor would have passed all of my checkpoints. So where does that leave me? I must conclude that all efforts of self-preservation are limited and ultimately my trust must not be in my efforts but God’s love and protection. Thankfully, He’s a lot better at protecting me than I am anyways.

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Other Resources…

An interesting read into what mindset a professional instructor should have? http://www.corneredcat.com/article/teaching-others/how-to-become-a-firearms-instructor/

http://www.usacarry.com/13-tips-choosing-right-firearm-instructor/

http://packingpretty.com/2012/02/24/finding-the-right-firearms-instructor/

http://news.yahoo.com/va-couple-accidentally-shot-gun-safety-class-111518724.html

http://www.guns.com/2011/01/10/how-to-find-a-good-shooting-instructor-the-essential-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-your-instructor/

http://www.officer.com/article/10711536/negligent-discharges-preventable-or-inevitable

http://www.policeone.com/police-products/firearms/articles/1354124-Causes-and-cures-for-the-negligent-discharge/

Other negligent discharges…

http://www.theppsc.org/Archives/Firearms-Safety/ArlingtonTX-Cops.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZdeAVOiQmU

http://www.twincities.com/ci_23046960/gun-safety-instructor-accidentally-fires-gun-stillwater-class

http://www.examiner.com/article/nancy-reagan-s-secret-service-agent-shoots-self-hip-pics

http://soldiersystems.net/2012/11/08/cqb-training-lets-be-careful-out-there/

http://toptacticalsolutions.com/firearms-safety-the-sympathetic-squeeze/

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080520/NEWS/805200357