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.
The new club poster is hanging up in the Woodland Park Range where we have a monthly port meet up.
The Second Amendment Women Shooting Club is getting ready to celebrate our first wildly successful year with our Anniversary Port Meet up on March 29th. A year ago when we broke out with our first event, the Concealed Carry Holster Show, we could not have anticipated that only twelve months later we would have the fantastic group of active and engaged women we have today!
When I started shooting over five years ago, I still remember being in awe of the lack of women’s events and activity in the shooting community in this area. Even as the media continues to report that there is a rise in female firearms owners in the last few years, clearly women have been actively participating in hunting and other shooting sports throughout history.
When we started the club, the goal was to not only create a place to train and introduce new female shooters to the sport, but to gather together a group of confident, self-aware and responsible women who would stand up for our families, our freedom and our right to self-protect. I believe we have been successful thus far in our goals. We have introduced over 100 women to shooting in a safe, responsible and fun atmosphere. Some have joined to further their shooting skills and knowledge, some have joined for the social aspect of having a like-minded group of women to both go to the range with and spend time with outside the shooting environment. Our club has become a warm and welcoming place for women of all ages and demographics, and with the introduction of our children’s firearms and safety events, we have become a family place as well.
This past week I attended a local event, a discussion on Guns, Safety and Solutions. I sat there and listened to one of the panelists, Mandi Perlmutter from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, parade alleged statistics that would have one believe that women neither want to or should be “burdened” with the responsibility to protect themselves from becoming victims of crime. As I listened, I reflected on all the women who have come to our events and joined our club. Intelligent, independent, brave, responsible; these women are not victims. These women are proud and strong!
When I leave my house every morning, I have many goals for the day, but only one is really important. When I walk out the door of my house each morning, my one goal is to make darn sure I return through it to my children each evening. When a group of “Moms” say that the “onus” of my protection should not lie with me – I question who does it lie with? When the response time for police officers is upwards to thirty minutes in our area, what words will be used to comfort my children if God Forbid something happens to me? Your mother was not responsible for her own protection? That she did all should could to make sure she was here for you by calling for help? That is pure nonsense and inexcusable! I teach my children to be responsible and productive members of our society, of course, at their age appropriate ability, but we have no excuses and no participation awards in our house. My children expect me to stand up for my own life, not to rely on anyone else and that is why my ten year old looks up to me and in his own words and description, told me he doesn’t need any further protection as I am his “bodyguard”.
Whether its self-defense classes on situational awareness and ways to protect yourself inside and outside the home, or classes on how to become proficient and confident with your firearm (for use within the laws of your state), the SAW Shooting Club will continue to provide the means for women to become educated in how to protect themselves. We are fortunate to have many police officers and first responders who work tirelessly to protect our communities. But there are only so many of them, and at the end of the day, if I am not ready to defend myself and my children how can I ask anyone else to do so for me?
As we expand our events throughout NJ and PA in the coming year, we hope we will double, if not triple, our club membership. We are listening to our members and will continue to provide everything from basic firearms and self-defense training to advanced tactical classes. We also will continue to add opportunities to learn new skills, such as hunting and becoming involved in competitions like IDPA which are both educational and entertaining.
For the coming year we have added some new sponsors and supporters. We appreciate everyone who becomes involved with supporting our goals, however I cannot close without expressing our gratitude for the incredible support we get from the Woodland Park Range staff and most importantly, Anthony Colandro. We could not have done it without you and we hope to continue to work together in the coming years!
April 6th Monthly Meet Up
April 14th Shotgun Refresher
April 28th – SAW Self Defense in Garfield Location
For the past several years, the NSSF Shot Show has held a press conference to present the latest on women’s involvement in the shooting sports and industry in general. The first year the topic was presented, it was revealed there were more presenters at the podium than attendees; but certainly not any more. This year, it was standing room only! The room was packed with interest in the incredible increase in participation and buying power of gun owning women in the past year.
A comprehensive report was revealed by the NSSF with topics researched including everything from what women are buying, how much they are spending, whether or not training is important right down to how comfortable we feel at the gun counter. For those of us in the field, women who are involved in hunting and competitive shooting, as well as teaching, and outreach to increase accessibility to gun ownership to an ever increasing number of women, the new report brings no surprises.
The study is chock full of wonderful statistics based on a majority respondent profile of an educated, middle aged, married, Caucasian mother. Leading women in the shooting industry were consulted on the types of questions and topics that would reveal the true interest and involvement of today’s gun owning women.
The average women in the study owned a gun for at least five years, however a large proportion owned a gun for over ten years. A significant portion, about 30% of participants in the study became a gun owner in the past three years, showing a demographic change in female gun owners, since the newest gun owners are between 18-34 years of age. It does not come as a surprise that most women are still purchasing with the main purpose of self-defense and home protection, but more and more are seeing the social aspect of shooting with family and friends as important as well as an interest in learning to hunt.
Overall, women felt more confident and safe as gun owners and the fit and feel of a gun in their hand was extremely important. Guns are not typically an impulse purchase for women. According the study, 67.3% of women are spending at least a few months and up to a year choosing the right gun. And of special note to manufacturers, their research includes visiting the websites of manufacturers as one of the main sources of information in order to make that purchase.
The buying power of women is also significant as the study reveals that female gun owners spent an average of $870 on their first gun purchase in the last year and the majority are buying semi-automatic pistols. Women also spent an average of $405 on accessories in the past year, including items such as gun cleaning kits, targets and ear protection. The availability of feminine accessories was not a factor in gun purchases. When it comes to non-traditional colors and patterns on guns women either liked them or did not. There isn’t much gray area here. However if women specific accessories were available, such as holsters, grips and apparel, the study indicates that there would be a market for them among a select segment of women. And as women become more involved in hunting and shooting sports and begin to seek out guns and apparel that fit them better, about a quarter of the women polled said that they had trouble finding items that fit them.
One of the more interesting outcomes of the study reveals that women are seeking out training in high numbers. Almost three quarters of women have taken at least one training class whether it be a concealed carry class, hunters education or range safety instruction. And on average women continue to take around three gun training classes. In general, women are not buying a gun and a box of ammunition and throwing it in a drawer. The amount of training a woman participates in also has a correlation with how much women spend on guns and accessories. Not surprisingly, as women increase their confidence and knowledge of guns, they are willing and enthusiastic to become more involved in shooting activities. Women have a tremendous amount of buying power and this should be of significant interest to ranges with training programs and retail sales.
Certainly many women’s shooting clubs are already seeing this trend. At the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club (SAW), the NSSF research confirms what we already know, that women will seek out other women, will value training more, and spend more on a gun and accessories than those that don’t train. Our monthly port meet ups for women only are packed and our members are showing increased interest in advanced training, classes in gun cleaning, and assistance with well thought out and researched gun purchases. The research indicates that women respond positively to other women shooters. And that “women only events” will encourage some women to participate more frequently. We have certainly seen that trend.
We have all heard that women are the fastest growing segment in the firearms industry. Whether the introduction to firearms came through a family member, friend or some outside influence, we want to learn more, increase our confidence and get out there and have fun.. and we will do it safely.
(All statistics are from the NSSF Report – Women Gun Owners 2014 Edition)
Shooting the Keltec Sub-2000 at the Woodland Park Range in NJ
Monday night was port meet up night for the women of the SAW club. Despite the rainy and cold weather, ten of us (and two junior SAW members) showed up at the Woodland Park Range to send some lead downrange. As always, we have a variety of firearms for the group to try out, including those suitable for beginners. Among the firearms we had available were a Ruger 22/45 Lite, a Glock 19, a Berretta 92FS, a Sig Sauer P226 Elite, a Colt 1911 and we rented a Keltec Sub -2000 in 9mm. We always welcome new shooters and last night was no exception. Sandy and I are always on hand to instruct and help women take their first shots.
We chose the Keltec because it is one of my favorite guns and I wanted to share it with the other ladies. The Keltec is a pistol caliber carbine, it is available in .40 S&W and 9mm. We were shooting the 9mm with Glock 19 magazines. The Sub-2000 is a lightweight carbine, not the most attractive gun (I once owned a Beretta CX4), but it is super fun and gets the job done. It is hard not to pick this gun up and love it.
We were shooting indoors at around 10-15 yards and the Sub-2000 is incredibly accurate and recoil is minimal (see Sandy’s target picture). We can’t speak to the ease of cleaning or take down as this was a rental gun – and unfortunately as we are in NJ, this gun had a fixed stock. No folders for us in the People’s Republic…
Sandy’s Target with a full magazine on the Keltec Sub – 2000.
We look forward to trying another “gun of the month” when we get together on December 15th, along with our usual array of choices for the group. The link below will take you to the specs for the Keltec Sub2000 and this one will take you to our Facebook page where we will have information on our next meet up at the Woodland Park Range! Hope to see you there!