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Sunday, September 11, 2016

We Remember

Today is the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks upon the people of the United States of America.

On 9/11 I was in my first month of medical school at the age of 38. I was in the "blue room" with my classmates, studying and killing time between Biochem and Psych. We had those IBM laptops that everybody had, because they were required by the School of Medicine, and people were checking out the news on the Internet. Someone in the room suddenly announced that a plane had crashed into the WTC. I was not worried - I was thinking a little Cessna or something had gotten off course. Then all the news servers got overloaded and it was hard to get online for updates. All the immediate smartphone video that is a thing now didn't really exist yet then,  so we were dependent upon network news sources. 

The rumors flew, and we traded info from whoever was able to get a connection. On the way to Psych someone said that a tower had fallen, and I remember thinking "That's impossible - sheesh some people will believe anything they hear". 

When we got to Psych, it was in one of the new (at the time) tech enabled lecture rooms, and our professor had the news playing up on the big projector screen. There it was in all of it's horrible reality - the fire, the smoke, the panic and destruction - played in near-continuous loop. Then, info began trickling in about the Pentagon, and Shanksville. 

Our professor told us that class was cancelled, but he would keep the screen and connection up for those of us who wished to remain and watch, or talk. I stayed for awhile, but then went to pick up my youngest daughter from daycare, and went home to watch the news, and wait for my older two children to get off the school bus. I had heard that some parents were in a panic and were rushing to get their kids out of school, and I remember thinking "Why?" 
At the time, I really didn't have any mindset about being under attack. In my mind of the time, it was really more like a set of natural disasters (though man-made).
Obviously, I don't think that way anymore. The world changed that day, and hasn't been the same since.

Since then, I have been honored to know many people who were personally impacted by those events - Police Officers, an Air Marshal, Firefighters, and many members of our Armed Forces who were called to duty. Many of them bear personal injuries, and many of them lost friends in those ensuing years, and many of them still struggle.

Though I shall never forget, and have visited at least one of the National Memorials, I am choosing to act positively in Remembrance. I encourage you to do so as well.
Exercise the rights that you enjoy as as American. Do not take for granted that which has been given to you - earned for you - through centuries of struggle and blood.

Exercise your Right to Vote.
Exercise your Right to Bear Arms.
Exercise your Freedom to Worship as you please.
Exercise your Right to Peaceably Assemble.
Exercise your Right to Speak Out - with voice or in print.
And just as importantly...
Support those same Rights for Others - even if what they believe and say is different.

Because it is that Give and Take - that tension between ideas - which has shaped our country.  That tension is often painful. But it is necessary in order to inform intelligent decisions, and mold a country as great as ours - out of so many different people.

DO something with your Freedom today.
We Remember.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sex, Guns, and Yoga Pants


I am probably making mountains out of mole hills here, but I am going to drag out the soapbox about a pet peeve of mine, because it has reared its head again this week.

The peeve is the sexualization of women with guns. I've written about it before here, 
 and here,

And yes, I freely admit that I am a cranky old broad. But I am going to have my say once again.

I'm not going to provide a link, or even mention their name, because I don't want to give them any more attention, but a Facebook link showed up this week from a particular purveyor of tactical wear (NOT the manufacturer of said pants), touting "11 Reasons Why Your Girlfriend Needs Tactical Yoga Pants". The article proceeded to show mainly buttock photos of women (mainly NOT wearing the actual product mentioned), accompanied by double-entendre type captions.

Now, I'm not an idiot. I know that sex sells product. I know that men look at women's buttocks. I get it. But I also think that this particular post/"article" is disrespectful of women shooters, objectifies them, and ignores their actual skills by reducing them to mere jiggle.

I didn't like it, and I made no secret of it. Thus I posted a rant on Facebook, stating that BS like this sets women shooters back.
I was asked whether I meant that it was the article or the pants that would set women back. 

This was my reply, 


"In a way, both. That will not be a popular view, and I acknowledge that. Mainly I am steamed about the article and how it objectifies women shooters and reduces them to nothing but ass-jiggle. 

You are not of my generation, so you cannot appreciate the many years that women my age have struggled to be taken seriously in their careers and in the world at large - nevermind the shooting sports. This is what colors my worldview.

To finally start to be accepted into something as male-dominated as the shooting sports is something that is very special to me, and was something that was not available to me when I was your age.  Anything that threatens that, concerns me immensely. 

Thus we come to the pants themselves. Admittedly they are not for me, and I have said as much. But the beauty of women's progress is that we now have more choices than we used to. So if some women like them, and have the body for them, then fine - isn't having free will a wonderful thing? With that said though -- would you wear a bikini to a job interview and then complain that you were not taken seriously or were stared at? 

For me, and many women like me out in the Podunk trenches of the shooting world, and NOT in professional sponsored shooting circles, just showing up to a match is a bit like a job interview. I still encounter men nearly every weekend who do not know me, and have no idea what my shooting skills are like. I have to prove to them that I know what I'm doing. Wearing those pants would make me a target of unwelcome attention and skepticism, even over and above what I would already encounter simply by my gender. Like it or not, there would be male shooters who would not take me seriously, and there might even be sexual comments - especially if I were a 20-something. 

In the world that I grew up in, you dressed appropriately for the job at hand, and to be functional, and to project an aura that you knew what you were doing. In my opinion, those pants don't project that aura. They project "look at me, and check out my ass". Some women shooters (such as Janna or Lena ) are bad-ass enough to get away with it. Alas, most of us are not. 
My opinion."



SO - Some "old broad" reminders and clarifications for the young gals out there, which might give you some insight into my perspective on this.

- When I was in early grade school, girls were not even ALLOWED to wear pants of any kind to school. Digest that for a minute.

- Title IX - regarding educational and athletic opportunities for girls and women - was passed in 1972. I was in 4th grade. It didn't really get rolling until years afterward.

- Women were not fully integrated into the armed forces and accepted into the U.S. Military Academies until I was almost in high school.

The freedoms and opportunities some of you young gals take for granted now, are fairly recently acquired. I remember when we didn't have them, and this colors my perceptions of what is appropriate dress and behavior in order to earn respect - and what is not.

I'm pretty sure that none of the legends of women's shooting sports who blazed trails for us, did that by showing off their asses.  I'm also pretty sure that Kim Rhode didn't win any of her Olympic medals that way either.

I don't have any sponsors - particularly the manufacturer of said "pants", or the company which posted the offending article -  so I am free to tell you exactly what I think. And it is this...

Do you have the freedom to wear whatever you want to the range? Abso-fricken-lutely. I am in no way advocating wearing a burka to your next match. But choose wisely. The image that you present may reflect not only upon you, but on other women shooters as well. You may be one of the few competent and accomplished female shooters that some men (especially men at local matches) have seen in the first person. You may have to "earn" their respect, as I have had to do. If you WANT your skills to be overshadowed by your "assets" then that is your choice. But just be aware that the type of attention you receive may be adjusted accordingly,  and the article I spoke of reflects that. 
For the record, I will NEVER purchase anything from the company that posted that piece of trash.

Are the authors of the article jackasses? Damn Skippy they are. Perhaps I shouldn't even dignify such crap with this rant, but I'm using it as an opportunity to remind young women on the range that the image you project is important. Don't give them any ammunition.

Men look at women - it's just biology - and in other more appropriate contexts, we women LIKE to be looked at. But especially on the range, men's attention will be drawn to what you CHOOSE to highlight - your marksmanship? Or your body? Choose wisely.

This has been the two cents contribution of your resident Cranky Old Broad. Oh, and "Get off my lawn" :-)

   Gym Wear? Or Range Wear? (Not the pants in question)


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. http://boostershotsblog.blogspot.com/2016/07/my-ruger-lcr.html#comment-form

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

Shieldmaiden

"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" http://www.secondcalldefense.org/sheepdogs-vs-porcupines  and "Cornered Cats" https://www.corneredcat.com/  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 www.Gungoddess.com 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.  http://www.bwb3gun.com/     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
And
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    http://www.luth-ar.com/       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, https://www.gungoddess.com/ , 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