Tag Archives: tactical

Dry Fire Training

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

One Year Proud and Strong

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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!

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Upcoming Events:

March 29th Anniversary Port Meet Up

April 6th Monthly Meet Up

April 14th Shotgun Refresher

April 28th – SAW Self Defense in Garfield Location

December Port Meet Up – Ruger LCR

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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.

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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.

Ruger LCR

November Port Meet Up

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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…

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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!

Keltec Rifles

IDPA for Everyone

Our Intro IDPA group in Hellertown, PA
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So you have taken a first step or intro to pistol class, you have been shooting at paper at the range for some time and you may be thinking what’s next?  There aren’t many opportunities in this area to practice shooting from a holster or doing much more than standing in a port, but one outlet that is available to shooters of all skill levels, beginner through advanced, are matches run by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA).
IDPA is a shooting sport that was founded in 1996 and simulates self-defense and real life encounters.  Anyone can get involved in shooting matches as beginners are welcome and the cost of necessary equipment is minimal and limited to practical gear shooters most likely already own.
Recently, the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club/SAW sponsored an all-female introduction to IDPA shooting for our members.  Not everyone can afford to take advanced tactical classes and certainly not on a monthly basis.  IDPA offers an inexpensive opportunity to practice moving and shooting and experience how you will react when shooting under stress.  And our members were ready for the challenge!  Granted, the stress is not induced by your door being forced open at 2am and you having to confront a bad guy in your pajamas, however, there is some stress that comes from competition shooting even if you are only “competing” with yourself.
Monthly “local” matches usually cost between $10 and $ 20 . One even includes a pizza lunch on top of a full day of shooting various scenarios. All you need to bring is your firearm, three magazines, a holster/belt, and enough ammunition for the day.  After your first match a concealment vest or garment will be needed as well , and you will need to join IDPA for a nominal fee.  No special competition gear is allowed in IDPA, this would be the firearm you would use for home defense or plinking at the range.
A typical scenario starts with your gun holstered and Safety Officer pressing the buzzer on the timer.  Targets have an order to be engaged in, some will be moving,  some will be aimed at from behind cover,  sometimes there may even be an “injured” bystander who needs to be retrieved while the shooter continues to engage the targets.  All of the matches are performed in a safe and fun atmosphere which provides a perfect environment to learn about your firearm,  how you handle it under stress and how you respond to pressure while shooting, even if that “pressure” is your time elapsed flashing on the timer when the buzzer goes off and you show all clear with your firearm.
SAW had the pleasure of an introductory class taught by two highly ranked competitors, Ken Ortbach and  Joanna Lenczewska, this past month at the Hellertown Sportsman Center in PA.  Our students ranged from beginner to intermediate/advanced, but none had participated in an IDPA match.  IDPA ranks their participants and offers different stages so that all interested individuals can compete and be challenged.  Several of our members are continuing to participate in local matches.
Another intro class will be scheduled soon in Easton PA.  It is worth checking out, even if you just go to observe or pay your $10 to $20 to hang out with a group of like-minded individuals.

What is SAW? Thoughts on all female training

When I first started shooting about five years ago, I rarely encountered women at the range shooting alone.  I encountered women with a boyfriend, or husband, but rarely if ever did I see a woman by herself.  How that has changed in the last five years!  As I became more involved in shooting sports and began taking tactical and instructor classes, the ratio of men to women in those classes still seemed to be however many men had registered … and then one woman … me.  I went on to take classes in various other self-defense disciplines and I encountered perhaps a few more female participants, but women were always in the minority.

Was it sometimes uncomfortable to be the only female in a class of ten, fifteen even 50 men?  You bet it was.  (I took this Simunition teaser class as the lone female with 50 men at Gun For Hire.) But that wasn’t going to stop me, and in fact I firmly believe, it actually helped me. Part of taking an advanced class, one where you have to react and interact with those around you, is predicated on bringing the student out of her comfort zone.  The circumstances that will surround an individual having to draw her gun and perhaps use it, will undoubtedly take place under stress.  I had a jump start on feeling that way as I was already out of my comfort zone the minute I walked into the range with twelve men as my fellow students.

But as much as I enjoyed having the ladies room to myself during the class breaks, there were those times that I hoped I would walk in and there may be one other female there.  And there were moments like the time when the instructor told us to fill our pockets with thirty rounds of loose ammo, and my pockets were, well, too small.  Women’s fashion does not usually include large or multiple pockets (and just try to find a pair of tactical pants in a size 0).  It was awkward moments like that one, where it would have been nice to have someone who could understand.

When I took the low light pistol class, I was already used to being the only female in the class, already past the discomfort, already feeling like “one of the guys” but when I walked into the range this time Sandy was in the class too.  As we holstered up, and started to chat it turned out Sandy had just had a baby.  It was nice to be able to talk to someone else about tactical gear and how it fits on a woman’s body!

Although it didn’t happen right away, that was the beginning of the Second Amendment Women Shooting Club.  The idea that a woman can have other women to go to for an introduction to shooting, to find more advanced training, to be able to talk to about all topics firearms such as shooting, how to find gear that fits a female body and finding the time to shoot when you are already an active and involved mother and wife and so on – that was the basis for founding Second Amendment Women Shooting Club.  As well as the need to create a strong female presence in the shooting community, to show that there are many women and mothers out there, who are not asking for more gun control, but are advocating for the right to continue to protect their children and families.

One of the things Sandy and I both feel strongly about, is that while it is fantastic to have a group of women to socialize and train with, it is not a good idea to ONLY train with other women.  Whatever self-defense discipline you are training with – pistol, pepper spray, krav maga etc a woman is many times more likely to encounter a male attacker than a female one. If you have only trained with other women, you don’t know how it feels to be approached by a larger, male aggressor, to be intimidated by him, and then to injure him or knock him down and create an opportunity to escape, using what you have learned in the classes you have taken.

In the words of a popular quote used by shooting instructors, in a moment of crisis, you will not rise to the occasion, but merely default to your level of training. If your training does not include practice with the type of aggressor you will likely encounter, then your training has not served you in the best capacity. If a class full of other women with a female instructor allows a woman to show up for the first time, learn to shoot, be comfortable asking questions then Second Amendment Women Shooting Club is doing its job by organizing those classes and making those opportunities available.  But if we don’t go on from there and invite men to train with us and share their knowledge and experience, then Sandy and I have left our members at a disadvantage.

This is the reason the SAW club will have events that include men, like our gun cleaning and holster shows.  We will have all female events like the upcoming Introduction to IDPA (June 1) that allows a class full of women to get comfortable using a holster.  And we will continue to plan monthly social open shoots both for women only and for men/women.  Hope to see you all there!