Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Ruger LCR Part 2: The Carrying

This post will be fairly quick and photo heavy.
It's just an update to my previous post where I discussed range-testing my new carry revolver.

My incentive for wanting to try a snub-nose revolver for carry was the neighborhood dogs, which I have discussed in two previous posts. Given the HOA's pearl-clutching response to my revelation that I have a carry permit, I wanted what I did carry to be as unobtrusive as possible. 

Thus, up until 2 weeks ago, I was carrying my Ruger LCP on my walks - a semi-auto micro pistol which I have had for years but do not like - simply because of it's small size and unobtrusiveness under yoga tights. I soon discovered another reason to dislike the gun - it gets very slippery with sweat, even in kydex on a bellyband, thus making it tricky to clear safely when I get back home. The slide is small and stiff, and the slide catch is difficult to engage under the best of conditions. These are compounded when the gun is slick with sweat after my walk. I felt like it was a home basement accident waiting to happen.

I thought that a revolver - the LCR - might be a better solution. So far, despite the LCR's not being a "fun" gun to shoot, it has met that challenge. I jury rigged a Velcro attachment for an IWB holster to use on my old model Crossbreed bellyband. (I haven't tried it with the new model bellyband yet, nor have I ponied up the cash for an actual purpose-designed Velcro holster for the revolver yet) I have been walking with this revolver rig under my tights for about 2 weeks now.

    My beauty-ous IWB purple holster from GunGoddess 

    Do not try this jury rig at home, kiddies. I am assuming my own risk for experimenting, but I    make no warranties or recommendations.

Though the revolver is slightly bulkier than the single stack micro pistol, it still conceals well under a T-shirt - especially with wearing my phone and pepper spray on the outside opposite, which draws the eye away from any bulges.

The grip of the LCR is rubberized, which helps with hand traction in the sweat department; and clearing the gun after I'm finished has proven to be much less anxiety-provoking. Though it only carries 5 rounds, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for more piece of mind. Especially when you consider that the LCP only holds 6+1, and I had started to carry it without one in the chamber, due to my concerns for clearing the durn thing. I'd rather have 5 rounds confidently ready to go, than 6 or 7 rounds that I'm worried about having to "mess" with. You may argue with me about that, but life is about making individual choices and compromises.

Later on, I may try my G42 with this rig, as that is much easier to rack, but for now, I'm a snubbie revolver gal when I exercise. :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


"The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them."

~Eowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan
  JRR Tolkien

The concept of women learning the art of weaponry for defense of self, home, and family is not a new one - despite what today's helpless liberals would have you believe. From the Shieldmaidens of Norse and Germanic Folklore upon whom Tolkien based his character, to the hardy pioneer women of the American West, to today's "Porcupines"  and "Cornered Cats"  women have ALWAYS had need of a means to defend themselves.

It is only within the relatively recent past that liberalism has poo-pooed the very existence of evil, and the capacity of the human heart to contain it. Criminals and murders are only reacting to their awful social environments, they claim, and if we just love them and rehabilitate them enough, there will be no more crime. Therefore, in the world view of these social elites, defending oneself with deadly force from an attack is nearly a worse crime than the one being perpetrated upon you - because you are daring to act as "judge and jury" upon the poor downtrodden and disenfranchised individual who chose you as victim.

Furthermore, they claim that we women - pitiful, weak wretches that we are - are simply incapable of handling weapons safely and employing them effectively. Thus, they patronizingly pronounce that we shouldn't be permitted to have them at all. I'm not even going to bother posting links to examples, because we've all heard them.

To add insult to injury, many of those voices telling women that they are incapable of self-defense are other women - liberal "feminists" to be exact. Unfortunately, these people also equate teaching self-defense with "victim-blaming", and they heap derision upon men who try to enlighten us about such skills as "Man-splainers".

I'm frankly tired of the crap. Allow me state this unequivocally :

Gals, you need to "woman-up". Learn to be responsible for your own self. The guy who tries to attack you doesn't care if you are a good person or not. In fact, broadcasting being a "good person" with your body language can make you a target. Your husband/ boyfriend/father, and even the police won't necessarily be there to help you when you need them. Being a true "feminist" means "owning" your own self and your own safety.

Be aware of your surroundings
Don't drink yourself into helplessness at bars and frat parties
Take responsibility for the security of your home or apartment
Take a self- defense class or a Refuse To be a Victim class
Consider buying a weapon
But if you do  - GET TRAINING and PRACTICE

Don't be a Damsel - BE A SHIELDMAIDEN

Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Ruger LCR

What follows comes with the usual caveats - I am NOT an expert, or an instructor. I'm just sharing what my personal experiences are, while I travel along the learning curve like everybody else.

As you may recall, I started playing around with shooting an L-frame revolver in IDPA last year, just for the giggles of learning something new. I even carried the gun a time or two with .357 defensive rounds as a "woods/hike gun". I discovered that I LIKE revolver. It's a challenge, and it tweaks my inner history nut.

So, this spring when I started having some neighborhood dog problems, I wondered how I would do with a snub-nose revolver as a defensive gun. (My other concealed guns are all semi-auto). I understood the drawbacks of having only 5 rounds available, but I just wanted to try it and see.

I ended up buying myself a Ruger LCR for an early birthday present, and I bought an IWB holster from to go with it. I've also been playing around with how to mount that kydex on an elastic bellyband to wear under yoga tights when I go exercise walking. That part will be fodder for another post, once I make sure that it works well.

Though I had put a handful of shots downrange with the Ruger during the week I bought it, I was waiting for the holster to arrive so I could really blow the bugs out. Today was the day.

I used a standard IDPA target at about 7 yards/Tuller distance, shooting Armscor 158gr .38 special. The first few shots ran high. Turns out that this was a pretty consistent thing. The only time my shots got lower was when I was rapid firing, and I'm assuming, dipping the muzzle with the trigger pull. All shots remained on target (except the ten that I later launched at the fifty-yard steel just for giggles), but many did not land in the -0 ring. That's the first thing I discovered with this gun.

The second thing I discovered was that this gun is NOT a whole ton of fun to shoot (unlike my full-size revolver). This thing "hurts" to shoot after awhile, and I wasn't even using +P. I had planned to blow through 2 whole boxes of ammo, but I stopped at 75 rounds, because I'm not a masochist. Strong hand only was even worse - and I have fairly large hands for a woman.

The third thing I discovered about this gun is that it doesn't like to be short stroked (I think that's the proper term). I'm used to just letting the trigger out enough to reset on my semi-autos. My full size revolver doesn't really "let" me do that, so it hasn't been a problem. But this trigger, although it felt overall lighter in the store than other snubbies (which is one of the reasons I bought it), also kind of "allows" the short stroke, and then skips a chamber (at least that's what I think was happening). I don't think that would be a good thing in a defensive situation. I'll have to pick some revolver friends' brains about it to see if this can be adjusted, or if it is the nature of the beast.

So, I've learned some things. I can see where frame size and frame weight make a big difference. Maybe the heavier snubbies with heavier triggers might mitigate some of what I was experiencing - not sure. I knew the frame size issue to be true with semi-autos, but my Glock 43 is still manageable. Granted 9mm is not .38 special, but the differences seemed more pronounced with revolver.

I can definitely say that the Ruger LCR (at least in my experience) is NOT a gun for beginners. This is in reply to the old-timers (always men) who push "the little lady" toward  snub nose revolvers for their first handgun. Granted that in an emergency you may not feel the pain, but to be ready for that emergency, you have to PRACTICE. If practice HURTS, then you aren't going to do it. "The little lady" is probably better off starting with a .380 or 9mm semiauto with somewhat larger frame to mitigate perceived recoil for her first gun.

Unless you find some .38 special defensive rounds that feel like bunny farts, the Ruger LCR is not that gun.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Random Updates

Life has been a bit scatterbrained for me lately, so I thought I should make a sort of "catch-up" post. I'm trying really hard to keep THIS post unpolitical - and save all of that anger, outrage, and heartache for another day. 

So here for your captivation is the list of the top five things that have been keeping Dr LateBloomer busy for the past couple months. (Besides the day job which keeps me in guns and ammo to begin with)

5) The BWB 3-Gun Challenge.     was a complete blast (no pun intended), and the 3-day camp afterwards was an even bigger hoot if that is even possible. That entire 2-week roadtrip adventure deserves its own post, and I promise that I'm working on it. I did however, post pics and video on the Facebook page as events transpired.

     (Bonding with "Buddy" on Shootout Lane)

4) Exercise walking and dog problems
After those semi-traumatic experiences, I started carrying one of my pistols in a kydex - rigged bellyband, along with pepper spray, phone, and house key. The bellyband has become a bit like my Batman Utility Belt, and it all continues to evolve. 

I AM, at least, continuing my walks (for those who need encouragement). I'm managing 2-3 miles a day, averaging 5-6 days a week.  I haven't lost more than about 5 pounds, but I feel better, my pants are a little looser, and the caboose is definitely tighter than it was 6 months ago. So, good things DO happen - even if the scale itself isn't very forthcoming. 
Then there are the slightly more intangible, but still important things like having another birthday  - while still maintaining the BP, lipids, and blood glucose of a 29 yr old  - if not the waistline or hair color  :-)

         (My Batman Utility Belt)

3) The Invictus Practical Mid-Atlantic Multigun Challenge. This was a match that I attempted in June. Alas, I failed the challenge. Or more more properly, as a friend quotes Dirty Harry in this regard  - "A man's got to know his limitations." 

This was seven stages of 3-Gun in one day. And though it was in PA, not SC, the temp was 93 by my car thermometer and the humidity was about a billion. It took my squad over 5 hours to complete 4 stages. I had drunk 3 quarts of water and did not yet have to pee. I finished the fourth stage, and I was still sweating, but I was not feeling right, and decided to call the match for myself. When you start feeling woozy and thinking slowly, it's time to put the firearms away - match fee and hotel charges be damned.

I'm glad I made the decision, because even after making the call, telling the RO's, and finally getting our squad lunch break at 2:30, I still wasn't "right". I ate my lunch in the pavilion shade and slammed a Gatorade, and it still took me half an hour to load my gear back in the car, because I was still mentating a little slowly. I didn't pee until I got back to the hotel - and it would not have passed Gunsite bathroom color chart standards. 

I'm so glad that I recognized my own distress and swallowed my pride. It could have been ugly. Lessons learned. At least I got a shirt :-)

    (The shirt that cost me several hundred dollars :-))

2) Sporting clays. I was invited to try this new (to me) addiction last year (Thank you Phil, wherever you are). This year I'm still not "good", but I'm showing some slow improvement, and having a ton of fun with friends who I might not have made otherwise. I even got a plaque the other week (inserting tongue in cheek). I placed 2nd high lady.......... Out of two. BWAHAHAH!! Ah well, it was fun anyway :-)

       (It's the thought that counts)

1) Buying more guns and parts. Since I won a Luth AR       stock off the prize table at BWB 3-Gun, (Thank You!!) I decided to redo my older M&P 15 in slightly more tactical colors (Well, "my" version of tactical anyway-ha!). My birthday purchases included a custom handguard from GunGoddess, , and I'm now redoing the stamping in bronze-gold in anticipation of a friend offering to help me out with assembly.

     (Gold/bronze is tactical-er than pink, right?)

Also for my birthday ( I can rationalize almost ANY purchase), I sprang for a purple Ruger LCR, to use as another possible "walking" gun, and a purple holster to go with it (also from GunGoddess).

    (The purple gun was ten dollars cheaper than the black one - don't judge me)

So there you have the utter randomness that is my life. Thanks for inviting me into "yours", and I'll try to stay more organized in the future - Ha! I crack myself up :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why I Don't Want to be a Sponsored Shooter

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a tiff with a longtime friend. Unbeknownst to me, he had thought enough of me and my minuscule contributions to the shooting world, that he decided to recommend me for sponsorship to one of the companies he associates with.

While I was incredibly touched by his generosity of spirit, and good intentions, I had to turn him down. I did it awkwardly, because in part I hadn't really clarified in my own mind the "whys", until we had an email exchange. But I do know my own mind now, and this post is based on the thoughts and explanations that gelled during that exchange.

When I was a new shooter, I was always impressed by logo hats and guys/gals wearing sponsor jerseys. In my mind, these were the "cool kids", and I wanted to be like them. As I went along and grew in the shooting sports, though, I realized that there are responsibilities and obligations that go along with accepting sponsorship. There is no such thing as a free lunch, as they say. So here are some of the main reasons that I've decided that I won't accept formal sponsorship.

Medicine and Ethics - All through my medical training it was drilled into me that accepting "perks" from drug reps was the path to perdition. Eventually, even accepting a sandwich or a lousy plastic pen made one suspect. That is the world I have come from. Even though the Outdoor Industry is a totally different animal, it is a tough habit to break. I still have to live in BOTH worlds though, so I have had to make compromises. I'm fine with swag bags at matches now, and freebies at SHOT - because those are provided to EVERYBODY. I'm not being singled out or "bought" for accepting those things. If I like them, I'll use them, and write about them. If not - oh well. 

Also, as a blogger, I have written pieces that are critical of Organized Medicine's meddling in 2A politics. So far, I haven't gotten any formal push-back from that, but it could happen (the main reason I still use a pen name). In the event of push-back, I look more credible if am NOT sporting company logos all over my back. Medicine (at least superficially) is all about declaring conflict of interest, and I avoid the most glaring appearances of that, if I am NOT sponsored.

Forced Associations - I am an introvert, and a cranky one, by nature.  I'm much more comfortable hiding behind a keyboard. Sponsored shooters should be "ambassadors" and a "public face" for the companies they represent. Those two realities simply don't mix for me. I don't hide my feelings well, and I might quickly become "That Cranky B in the So-and-So jersey". The same might apply when it comes to being forced to interact with, and be photographed as part of Team So-and-So. There are a couple individuals on the unnamed team that I have a very personal, and very poor opinion of. I wouldn't be able to hide that either. I'd rather avoid anything to do with that situation.

Identity - As an offshoot of the above, I have no desire to have my own identity and preferences be subsumed by that of the company whose logo I'm wearing. I know, I know -- I'm going to get arguments about that one. But it's a very personal and closely held thing for me. I spent the first half of my life having no identity of my own - I was my parents' daughter, my husband's wife, and my children's mother - there was no "me". It took a long and painful struggle to build my own "me" - a piece of which is Dr LateBloomer. Nowadays, I may be a nobody, but at least I'm my OWN nobody. And I LIKE it that way - LOL

Outsider/Observer Status - I still consider myself "new" in the shooting sports. Though I've now been at it for seven years, every time I learn something new I discover how much more I DON'T know. This is rather a blessing, in that new things always give me new insights to write about, and new material to bore you all with. Part of me thinks that wearing a sponsor jersey would make me one of the "other" - like I used to think when I was new. I'm afraid that this "other-ness" might put up a barrier between myself and Josie New Shooter in the trenches. I don't want that. I LIKE being a bit of an outsider - with one foot inside the spotlight of the Outdoor Industry, and the other foot still in the beginner trenches. I don't want to lose that perspective.

So you see, as many arguments as people might give me, I strongly feel that being formally sponsored is not for me. I have great respect and admiration for those of you who ARE sponsored (well, most of you anyhow - LOL), but I don't think that this is where my path lies. I think I have a different role to play. 

I'll be happy to accept products for review (as long as I am under no obligation to be nice if I don't like it). I'll be happy to promote events that I am excited about, or the handful of operations (like Babes With Bullets) which are close to my heart. But I will NOT be wearing a sponsor jersey.

This probably means that I will be perpetually doomed to penniless obscurity in the Industry LOL. But at least I'll still be able to be cranky and tell you exactly what I think :-)

Thanks for Reading,
Dr LateBloomer

Monday, July 4, 2016

Otis and Cleaning

So, I guess it's pretty common knowledge that I hate cleaning.
That goes for pretty much any kind of cleaning - except personal hygiene of course - I'm totally a fan of long, hot, showers. But household cleaning, car washing, and gun cleaning - not so much. Those are pretty much a do-it-when-I-have-to proposition. It's not like my home has been declared a superfund site or anything, but let's just say that the paperwork was in process a time or two.

It's not that I don't appreciate clean things, it's just that the ephemeral nature of the cleanliness renders the effort required to achieve it, totally unsatisfying. If I put in the effort to sew a quilt, it stays made for the next 20-50 years. But does the bathroom stay clean for even a hot minute after I'm done.? What do you think. Yeah - UN-Satisfying.

And then there's the gun cleaning. A few years ago I tossed the idea out there for someone to make a dishwasher for guns, (a capital idea, right?) but so far no one has taken me up on it. I mean, I know that I have it fairly easy. I'm not a shooter putting thousands of rounds of crud a week into my firearms. But I always have a backlog. If it's not the revolver from an IDPA match, it's the ETHOS from sporting clays the following day, or the carry gun that needed a mag extension check. And shooting a 3-Gun match automatically puts me weeks behind. I know there are some people out there who claim they never put away a dirty gun, and I would like to know when they sleep. Seriously.

I do have a day job, and there are only so many evenings that I have the brains left to sit on the floor, disassemble important parts, and get it all back together again in the appropriate sequence. I know some women have husbands who take over that entire job for them, but I don't have one of those, and up to this point it has been a point of pride for me to do all of the disassembly and cleaning entirely on my own. But I'm starting to think seriously about advertising for a cabana boy. MSR-cleaning and Margarita-making skills a must. If you know one, drop me a message, 'kay?

In the meantime though, I have discovered what I can only describe as the "Swiffer for Firearms". Yes, I know that's a trademarked term - don't sue me. I personally use it as a verb. As in - I Swiffered the kitchen 6 months ago, why is it dirty again?

This amazing cleaning product for firearms (Act now, and you get a second one, Free!) is the Otis Ripcord.
I first discovered this handy little item (items, actually, because they come in a variety of calibers) at the Otis booth at SHOT Show this past January.

The Ripcord consists of a flexible cable that is stiffish, but not rigid, which is covered by molded rubber, which is then all wrapped with a Nomex outer cover. Otis advertises this as "Unrivaled one-pass cleaning", and I believe them - because I have used the rival. 

The stiffened nature of the Ripcord allows you to push the product down the barrel from any angle, rather than having to dangle a weight and a tiny string from above. The Nomex gives heat resistance up to 700 degrees Farenheit, which means you can use it in the middle of a match on a hot barrel if you need to.

The Ripcord is also very handy for the nights before a match when I remember that I never cleaned my pistol after the LAST match. A little CLP of choice, a Qtip or three, a swipe or two with the Ripcord, and I have "Good Enough For Dr LateBloomer" -LOL.

I even recommend this product for you gals out there who have husbands (or cabana boys) to do all your cleaning FOR you. Because, and I know this is hard to accept - you might one day on the range or in the field, have an issue and need to *Gasp* - DO. IT. YOURSELF. I know that's a traumatic thought, and I'm sorry, but if you have a Ripcord in your bag to fit your gun, you will always have SOME thing.

An additional reason for using Otis Technology products, is that they are a family owned and operated business, who have been supporters of Babes With Bullets like.... Forever. AND they were the title sponsors for the Babes With Bullets 3-Gun Challenge, in May.
What an AWESOME time I had, and what awesome products they make!

Otis Technology - excellent products, made in the USA, and supporters of women in the shooting sports. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Saga Continues - Neighborhood Dogs, Part 2

After the last post, I had hoped that the dog encounter I wrote about was an isolated occurrence. I did however, go buy a pepper spray canister that I have carried with me on my walks ever since. I mulled over carrying one of my smaller pistols, but decided that I was overreacting.

I hadn't even contacted the HOA yet. I didn't, because, being the "nice" female personality that I have been trained into since childhood, I started to question myself. Was it really all that bad, and was it worth turning my neighbors against me to make a formal complaint? It's male surgeons who are supposed to curse and throw things and give people a hard time - not female pediatricians, right?

Turns out, the answer to that was yes, it was that bad, and I should have cursed and thrown things. Because Thursday evening, (4 days after the last dog incident), even though I changed my route to avoid that street entirely, I experienced an even worse situation with a different dog on a different street.

I was climbing a long hill, and approaching a house that often has two dogs tied in the front yard. They were there, and I had my hand resting on the OC canister clipped to my fanny pack in front, because even dogs who are tied can lunge and get loose.

It was then that I heard a snarl from behind me, and it registered that I hadn't passed any other dogs back there. As I turned, a big light-colored dog from a completely different house was bearing down on me at a dead run with his teeth out. I had less than a second to react, but I turned to face him and yelled at him as I backed up into someone else's driveway to try to make space. I was shouting and pressing desperately on the OC button - while nothing happened with the damn thing. The dog was within a foot or so of me, snarling and getting ready to grab me - I was physically prepared to be bitten - when the owner started yelling and calling the dog off from down the hill - like at least 40 yards away. Yes, I was zero threat, yet this dog sprinted 40 yards to attack me. The teeth-on-legs hesitated for a long second, and then turned and ran back down the hill.

I don't know how long I stood there, but the adrenaline rush started draining, and I started to shake and cry. Somewhere in there, the other owner at the other house must have come out and brought the tied dogs inside, because they were gone too. 

Not a soul came from anywhere to help me, or apologize, or ask if I was okay.  It was 7 pm on a beautiful evening, and suddenly everyone disappeared. I have rarely felt so alone and abandoned. I was a mess. I think I even yelled an obscenity down the hill at the direction of the dog and owner.

I finally realized that I shouldn't just stand there, and I started backing my way up the hill so I could watch the direction the dog had gone. I was so rattled though, that I wasn't even sure which house I needed to worry about.

I finished the loop to get home, but I don't really remember.  I was physically unharmed but I was decidedly not okay. This was different than the last episode. The dog on Sunday was weighing his options and vying for an advantage, which I tried my best not to give to him. This dog, however, was dead serious, and if the owner had not called him off, I would be in the Emergency Room. While I probably would have just pepper sprayed the first dog, this one I would have shot if I were armed. I'm sure of it. I can see the angle in my head, and it was point blank to the dog's face. I was literally in fear of life and limb, and it rattled every inch of me.

After I got home and showered some of the panic and adrenaline away, I found an email contact for the HOA. In my email I pointedly mentioned that since this was the second incident in four days, and the pepper spray had failed me, that I would henceforth be armed. You want to know what the incredibly galling response was? The HOA president attempted to threaten me with calling the police if I fired a shot in his neighborhood - because "there are kids here". 

Seriously? I informed him that if I were forced to discharge a firearm to defend my life and limb from a dog in this neighborhood, that the first one to be calling the police would be ME - and the second call would be to my attorney. And I further informed him that I have raised children here for 18 years, and if he was truly concerned about the welfare of children, that he should be worried about the dogs, and not ME. I was livid.

I only slept about 3 hours that night. It's now the second day after, and I haven't done any more walking yet. I need to get a different, more user-friendly pepper spray, and TEST it first. I also need to figure out what carry rig I'm using for the spray and which gun I'm carrying.

As far as the OC goes, I need to figure out why I couldn't get it to work. I realized after the fact (the next morning) that the clip was still clipped to my fanny pack. In my panic, I had ripped the whole damn thing away from the body of the canister. That may have been what caused the malfunction, but if it is, then the thing is poorly designed and I need something else.

Another lesson learned as I'm processing all of this, is that if I am going to carry a firearm, I need to practice more strong-hand only scenarios. I had the OC in my strong hand, and was reflexively getting ready to fend off with my left arm. If the OC were a firearm, I would really have only had time for strong hand anyway. Once I realized that the OC wasn't spraying, I tried to add my left hand to make it work, but by then the owner was calling the dog off. It all happens slowly in my mind on playback, but reality was a second or three at most.

This episode rattled me in a way that the first dog incident didn't. The first one just pissed me off. This one actually shook my confidence. I think it's because not only was this dog even more vicious, but also because the defense method I employed failed me. I was helpless. And that is one of the worst feelings in the world. Thank God it was "only" a dog, and not a human being, who was trying to hurt me.