Most of us do not know how we will respond in an crisis situation because thankfully, we have never been in one. It doesn’t matter how many classes you have taken, what level of training you have accomplished, if your ultimate reaction to a stressful situation is to freeze.
Small encounters will give you an idea of how you may react. One evening, my ten pound dog was attacked on a walk by a much larger, stronger dog. I was walking with a friend, on a quiet street when the other dog came out of a backyard and latched on to my dog’s leg. I had no training in how to break up a dog fight, but I knew from previous situations that my brain will assess the encounter for a quick response.
While I was on the ground literally fighting for my dog’s life, I noticed my friend, who has quite a bit of self defense training and was wearing a large pair of solid boots, was frozen to his spot. He just stood there and watched the entire encounter which probably only lasted a minute and a half although it seemed like an eternity. Later at the veterinary hospital, while I was beginning to realize I had also been scratched and bitten, it became clear he had no recollection of his behavior.
Our brains are programmed to respond in certain ways to various stimuli, but we can try to train our brains the same way we train to achieve muscle memory with other self defense tools. Simply knowing where the most vulnerable place is to strike another person’s body, or how to hold a firearm and aim properly is not necessarily going to save your life by itself. Seek out training that will also exercise your brain. It is the most important self defense tool you have and you carry it with you no matter what the laws may be in various locations.
There are those who attend self defense classes and start out questioning their ability to respond in a high stress situation, but the reality is many people just assume they will be able to do what is necessary when the situation arises. Make a commitment to training in ways that will not only teach you hands-on skills, but will challenge how you respond as an individual. Seek out instructors that will provide an education in the psychological response to fear, both yours and your attacker, as well as those who will challenge your own response to high stress situations.
My encounter pushed me to educate myself in what to do when a dog attacks. Know your own limits and seek out training that will give you the best possible package when it comes to protecting yourself and those you love.
On each Thanksgiving holiday, we all have a chance to look at the people who surround us and give thanks for those that stand by our sides; bringing the warmth of love, the strength of understanding and the comfort of friendship. The individuals that we call “family” are the ones who we truly enjoy spending good times with, and the ones that are there to weather the difficult ones
with us as well.
When I look at the members of our wonderful women’s shooting club, I see far more than a group of women who get together at the range to share a few ports once a month. I see a community of women that I am blessed to know and call my “family”. Yes, we freely share our firearms and targets, as well as our knowledge both of firearms related topics as well as issues that touch our everyday lives. So much is freely shared among the members in our SAW community. It is not unusual for our members to meet outside the club events for BBQs, nights out, and shopping trips. We follow up with each others families, pets and jobs, making sure everyone in our community is doing well.
It is particularly striking to see how close the members of our club have become, no matter how often they get to see each other, when we get together at a membership table event or a port meet up the laughter is heard and the conversations flow. In the last five years, we have created more than a women’s shooting club, we created a community of amazing women. Women I am proud to know, women who support each other and any new comer. Women who are “proud and strong”.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you wonderful women and your beautiful families! See you on December 11th at the next meet up!
It’s Mother’s Day and since we are a shooting club, of course we have a firearm related post. Today we celebrate mothers, some people believe this means spending time with your children, some think its about getting a few minutes of time to spend on yourself, because most of us always put our kids first (especially tiring for those of us with young ones). I think it can be a little bit of both and the people in your life are the ones that know what will make your day special.
The urban dictinary definition of a mom is “the woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one who you can always count on above everyone else”. As many of us know, it doesn’t mean that you have to be biologically connected to someone in order to be a “mom” to them. So many people want to push their definition of what a mother really means on everyone else, and what her role should be, that they begin to create stereotypical and fictional definitions of what a “good” mom wants for her children. As with any and all things these days, even the meaning of “motherhood” has taken on a political agenda. But truthfully, we all really define motherhood the exact same way, giving unconditionally to a person that you protect and care for and want the absolute best for. Just what that means to each individual and how you choose to accomplish that, is the subjective part.
In that vein, I support all the responsible gun moms who continue to teach their kids about safe gun handling. I so enjoy seeing all the pictures of our club moms teaching their kids to be safe around firearms and to enjoy the sport. But even more important than teaching your children to shoot is pledging to continue teaching safe firearms handling. Surely we would all love to have our child take after us and enjoy the same pastimes as we do as they proudly hit their targets with confidence at the range. Who wouldn’t want the next generation to know how to protect and defend themselves with strength and knowledge. And selfishly, I would be happy to know my firearms will one day be passed down to the capable hands of my offspring.
But all of that, all of it, is secondary to the maternal instinct of being absolutely sure, that my children have the knowledge to keep themselves safe in whatever environment they find themselves in – and that includes in the presence of firearms. So in honor of Mother’s Day, please make a pledge to continue to keep our kids safe by teaching age appropriate gun safety to the next generation. That means talking freely to your children, your family and other families about gun safety. It can be difficult to start those conversations and I applaud every parent who takes that step despite the damning and judgmental climate we live in.
To all the gun toting mamas who want what is best for their kids, and that includes teaching them safe handing of firearms, the world is not going to change any time soon, and neither should you.
Recently I was chatting with an acquaintance, she mentioned that she needed some guidance with her shooting. Her range trips resulted in targets with no consistency and shots landing all over the paper. She was baffled because she bought as much ammunition as she could afford and spent time at the range loading magazine after magazine but she wasn’t getting the result that she wanted. At this point, she just wished she could afford more ammunition so she could practice more.
During our conversation, it became clear she never had any firearms training and we agreed a formal lesson to assess her fundamentals would be helpful. After asking what type of firearm she owned, I suggested that there were ways to practice at home through dry fire and without breaking the bank. She was skeptical that training without the recoil of the rounds would be helpful. But dry fire can be a very useful training tool if done properly.
While there are some firearms that should not be dry fired, for example those that use rimfire rounds, most modern firearms can be safely dry fired without damage to the firing pin.
What is dry firing? Dry firing is the practice of squeezing the trigger on your firearm without any ammunition in the chamber. The goal is to as closely simulate the actions you take when firing your gun and practicing them over and over until the motions become ingrained in both your mind and your muscles. Dry firing does not take the place of live fire practice but it is a very useful practice especially for new shooters and can be easily supplemented with range time to experience the recoil and force of shooting the firearm.
Things to remember when dry firing:
Even though you may not be at the range, proper safety rules should always be practiced when handling firearms: Including always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and never point your gun at anything you do not wish to destroy. Before you begin make sure your gun is unloaded and all ammunition has been removed from your practice area.
Identify a target with a proper backstop and proceed as you would in a live fire situation. The key is not to change anything you would normally do when preparing to fire your gun. Use the same motions, stance, grip and distance. Align your sights, squeeze the trigger (don”t “pull” it), and use the proper follow through retaining your sight picture and stance. Don’t waste any squeeze of the trigger, use each opportunity to simulate your actions at the range and train your mind and muscles in how it feels to fire the gun.
Reset your firearm and do it all over again. If you are going to do a lot of dry firing you may wish to invest in snap caps or dummy rounds. They can also be useful training tools in live fire practice at the range.
Repetitive dry fire practice will help the actions involved in the perfect trigger press become more natural over time. Use each squeeze or press of the trigger to simulate your actions at the range and train your brain, eyes and muscles in how it feels to fire the gun. You can speed up the practice over time and add in other motions such as holster draw. The consistent repetition will help develop the perfect trigger press and clean up those frustrating, inconsistent targets.
Summer is here and so are the opportunities to have some fun at the range! A new range has just opened in Lakewood, NJ and S.A.W. Shooting Club is spreading our wings to start a new southern chapter of our women’s social and shooting club.
Garden State Shooting Center, a newly renovated twelve port, 25 yard, indoor range, opened its doors a few weeks ago to an excited shooting community. The range is open to the public and also offers memberships and rentals. A spacious, well stocked firearms retail area is connected to the range as well as a comfortable lounge for relaxing or waiting for your port to be available.
The entire interior has been remodeled and updated both inside the range with spacious updated ports and in the lounge area with televisions, couches and a large classroom for training classes.
With the S.A.W. Club going strong in North Jersey with our monthly port meet ups for women and many events for new and more experienced shooters, we are taking the group just a little bit South, to grow our social circle and include as many women in New Jersey as possible. Our first event at the Garden State Shooting Center will be on July 9th at 7 pm. Like our Port Meet Ups in Woodland Park, this event is for women with all levels of firearms experience. Whether you bring your own firearms, or choose to rent something from the range’s inventory, we will also have firearms available for sharing and instructors on hand to help with beginners. If you have never been to a S.A.W. event, now is the time to see what it’s all about! The cost for this event is $15 per person. For more information on how to register for our upcoming events and become a member, please go to our website S.A.W. Shooting Club or email us at email@example.com. You can also join us on Facebook in our closed group (Closed Group) or follow us our public page (SAW).
Our upcoming events include beginners classes, member only events, port meet ups, self-defense for women as well as kids events!
Join us once a month on Wednesday nights to find out more about the Firearms permit process in NJ and about upcoming events for the club! Next meeting is June 10th at the Woodland Park Range – no charge for this event!
– Learn how to protect yourself and your family.
– We will cover – use of pepper spray, situational awareness, tips for safety in your home.
– Learn and practice a handful of key self-defense moves to surprise your attacker.
Taught by female instructors who completed the instructor courses in Sabre Self Defense Spray, Refuse to be a Victim and Krav Maga (2004).
$30 members / $35 non members Register via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 28th @7pm
Meltzer’s Sporting Goods, 118 Outwater Lane Garfield, NJ