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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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
Last night the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club hosted a safe gun handling and Introduction to Shooting event for children ages 8-15. What an amazing night! For all the instructors out there, we don’t have to tell you how incredible it is to watch new shooters take their first shots, and when its kids, its smiles all around.
To begin the night, our instructors presented the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program, which informs children what to do should they encounter a firearm without an adult present. Everyone who participated received an Eddie Eagle Challenge Coin for being able to correctly identify the four rules – Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult. This is an important lesson even though we would continue on to learn the rules of safe shooting before moving to the range so the kids could take their first shots. Our range portion took place under the careful supervision of parents and certified firearms instructors.
For most of the children in attendance, this would be the first time they would be inside a shooting range, however several had a chance to go target shooting or hunting with their parents before coming to the event. After going over gun and range safety, as well as introducing the kids to the firearms we would be using, we put on our eye and ear protection and headed into the range.
We had the range to ourselves which made for a very comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and all the firearms we used were .22 caliber. The choices included a Ruger 10/22 rifle, a KSA Crickett, a Ruger SR22, a Smith and Wesson Model 63 and for some extra fun, a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22. Each participant had a chance to try each of the firearms available. After everyone had a chance to try everything once, the parents were welcome to enjoy some family target shooting with their children and their own firearms.
As you can see from the pictures, it really was smiles all around. Hugs and high fives; and targets were saved to be hung on bedroom walls at home. The environment was safe, friendly and fun. On the way out the kids were already asking when the next event would be!
This event would not have been possible without the continued support of the Woodland Park Range, providing the venue and as always, anything we needed. Parents and friends donated ammunition and snacks and of course our experienced, NRA instructors volunteered their time – we couldn’t have done it without you!
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)
This past Monday was December port meet up time for the SAW club at the range in Woodland Park. Everyone took a much needed night off from their holiday preparations to get together for a ladies night at the range. We welcomed a few new shooters this month – and as a whole our groups’ targets are looking pretty good! Last month we started our “gun of the month” series with the Keltec Sub 2000; and this month we turn to carry guns with the Ruger LCR.
Buying a carry gun is no different than making any other firearm purchase, it’s a good idea to try out what you are buying. Everyone has a different opinion on what is “best” and the only real judge is the person who will be using it. However, as a woman and a pistol instructor, I have found that while many women like revolvers, a snub nosed .38 is not a favorite. A short barrel and a light weight frame results in a snappy recoil that can actually hurt the hand. Some will say in a defensive situation you can deal with the pain. Well, yes and no. Whatever firearm you choose it is never a good idea to throw it in a drawer to have it “if you need it”. Practice and muscle memory will make your shot placement more accurate and if you are dreading firing your gun, all the features in the world that make it a great “carry gun” aren’t going to help you.
The barrel on the Ruger LCR is just under 2 inches and the gun itself weighs around 13 ounces. It has a shrouded hammer and a fairly smooth double action trigger pull. The nice Hogue grip makes the LCR a bit more comfortable to shoot; I have small hands and it is fairly comfortable fit. About ten women took a try shooting .38spl out of the LCR. The responses ranged from “ouch”, to “one round is enough, thank you very much”, to “it is too small for my hand”, and then, finally, “I really like that gun!” So, out of ten women who tried the gun, we had only one resounding yes.
When I tried the LCR I was able to get a nice group, but I did not find it enjoyable to shoot. It does have a limited capacity, but then so does a Body Guard .380. After about 20 rounds though, I was ready to call it a day.
Based on the overall club review of the LCR I have to give it a thumbs down. However, there are many other carry gun options. We hope to go through them all as we make our way through the extensive rental menu at the Woodland Park Range.
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!
Sandy and Shari SAW co-founders joined Anthony and Sandy for an hour of Gun For Hire Radio at our home range in Woodland Park!