Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Singing, Sewing, and Shooting

Here we go again, with another post about how my hobbies and real life overlap and sometimes interfere with eachother. But, this blog isn't really "gun news" so much as my public "journal" anyway, so I don't feel too bad about it. Hopefully my life mirrors your life, and you can relate.

I'm sure you all have the same problems. (Didn't JulieG just miss a big match because one of her little ones was sick?) We are women (and men) who are versatile, and wear many hats in our lives. It's inevitable that there will be juggling involved to fit it all in.

I had just such a conflict a few weeks ago. I had been planning for months to attend a Babes With Bullets Camp that was being held at a club in my part of the country. It was a camp that I had agitated for and helped promote. I was hoping for my daughter to be able to attend with me again - just like last year. Those plans were scuttled however, when the fall marching band schedule came out. There were not just one, but two big band events that weekend that my daughter could not miss. Also, with this being her senior year, I as a mom couldn't miss them either. We had a great time and she did a fantastic job, but we had to miss Babes Camp. We got to have a fun visit with all the gals on that Sunday night though, so there was at least that compromise!!

Then there was last weekend. Saturday was my daughter's Homecoming dance. There I was Saturday morning, reinforcing a hook and eye that was loose on the dress -- my mad sewing skillz (and my old gal cheater glasses) were defintely in play. I was also working on a new sewing project involving guns, (which I can't tell you about, because it might be "marketable" and I don't want to spoil the surprise). So, even though I had a club level match the next day, I wasn't doing any shooting practice.

While that was going on, I was also in a baking mood and threw together both a peach cobbler and some pumpkin muffins. Then, with fifteen minutes' notice my daughter tells me that her boyfriend's mother and grandmother would be coming by to take pictures before the dance. Eeeek! If you saw the photo of my kitchen table at Christmastime, you know what my house usually looks like. Housekeeping just isn't a priority in my life. We meet health codes (barely), but clutter and dust are another matter entirely. So, I dropped everything, told my daughter to take her 47 pairs of shoes out of the entryway and back up to her room, swiffered the birdseed from the feeder can off the floor by the front door, swept the porch, cleaned the spiderwebs off of the broken doorbell button, dragged the vacuum cleaner out of the "good" living room and hid it upstairs, and hoped for the best.

The "good" living room was a concession that I won when we were hashing out building this house 16 years ago. It's really just a sitting room size alcove off the rest of the family room/kitchen that can be closed off with folding doors. The idea being, that with 3 small children (at the time), I could have ONE small corner of the house that was always relatively clean and free of legos, plastic dinosaurs, and juice box stains, into which I could usher unexpected guests straight from the front door.

And this is exactly what we did. My daughter was gorgeous, her boyfriend looked very dashing ... and his mom and grandma were completely unaware of the gun cleaning supplies, fabric scraps, and other detritus that lay just beyond the folding doors!

Once we got Cinderella off to the ball, (and a few tissues later), I finally had time to gather my gear for the pistol match the next morning. I don't know about you, but I have to lay out my gear the night before. I can't really trust my morning pre-coffee brain to remember small details like .... ohhh mag pouches for instance. LOL

         Thanks to my friend Scott for the photo - at least I didn't have plumbers' pants!

I'm going to be doing even more juggling this next weekend. This Saturday I have my last club IDPA match of the season, and there is usually a picnic/dinner afterwards. But my quartet is also singing in a chorus show that evening in another city north of here, so even if I can finish the match, I can't stay for the food. (Boooo)  The quartet is staying overnight in a hotel, and then I have a level II pistol match to shoot the next day on Sunday, up in that area.

So, I've got some deciding and planning to do. Do I shoot the same pistol both days? Or would it be easier to shoot the Glock on Saturday, leave it at home, and have the M&P all pre-packed and ready to go with my singing gear? If I shoot the M&P both days, then I should clean it Saturday night in-between. But would that wierd-out my quartet mates (who know nothing of guns) that I'm cleaning my pistol in the hotel room? Or maybe I should just get my own room? Or just shoot a dirty gun? (wouldn't be the first time)

I'll let y'all know how it turns out. Suggestions appreciated LOL!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Earrings, Bagels, and Ammo - OR - How I Spent My Friday Off

I had the day off yesterday and since I didn't have the duties that I had originally anticipated, I decided to go shopping. Can't hate that, right?

First stop was at my local jewelry store. Personally, I think having a local jewelry store that you trust is as important as having a local gun shop you trust. Being a single woman with disposable income means I'm spending decent sums of money at both places, so I want to know I'm being given good information and good service. Besides, guns and precious metals both retain some value, so I'm not REALLY spending my childrens' inheritance, I'm just investing it, right? LOL

My local gun shop owner knows my face and greets me as soon as I walk in the door. It's getting to be that way with my jewelry shop now too. The jewelry shop is owned by women, and even cooler - at least one of them shoots. I was in there yesterday to get a ring repaired (all that healthcare handwashing is hard on my EDC jewelry - ha), and I also ordered a pair of .45 cal sterling and diamond earrings. I've been thinking about it for awhile and decided that the earrings would be my early Christmas present to myself. These aren't the crafty kind made out of the actual spent brass, these are sterling silver that the shop casts themselves. They are really cute, and I hope to have them in time for Lady 3Gun at Halloween. I'll post pics when I get them.

Then, after the jewelry store, I decided to stroll farther up the street and get myself some brunch. There is a new Panera at the top of High street, and I was craving an "everything" bagel. Anyone who follows gun news knows that Panera recently was pressured by the Anti-Moms group into making a statement about firearms in their restaurants. As part of that statement, they also said that they would not be posting signs and would be following state and local law.

All of which, to me, amounts to a nod and a wink and then business as usual. I'm not much into boycotts, and there was no sign on the door, so I and my "little friend" enjoyed our bagel without incident. Nobody looked scared either -- because I wasn't wearing rumpled camo and a slung rifle -- I was a respectable-looking middle-aged woman carrying concealed.

This is an illustration of the ignorance and hypocrisy that drives me crazy when it comes to this sort of thing. It's all about appearances and "feelings", and has nothing to do with reality and logic. The store chains that make these statements and "requests" are using smoke and mirrors to make it look as if they have taken some sort of stand, when in fact nothing has changed. Yet - the Anti's are appeased somehow. If I were a political cartoonist, I would draw a restaurant scene with one couple saying to the other, "I feel so much safer now that no guns are allowed here", while in the background there are cartoon x-ray bubbles show all of the folks around them with concealed handguns on their persons. It's the Ignorance is Bliss defense - "If I don't see anything that makes me afraid, then I must be safe". 

The corollary to that is the Fear as Validation defense - "If something makes me fearful or uncomfortable, then it must be evil, and I am correct in wanting it banned". This is the voodoo situation where gun owners become imbued with the evil that their firearms impart to them. This is where the Anti's become unable to distinguish between criminal activity perpetrated with a firearm, and lawful citizens carrying firearms for defense. The firearms are inherently evil, contaminating everyone and everything they come in contact with, and no one should be allowed to have them. I know - it's not logical - but fear isn't logical, it's emotional, and most of these folks are driven by emotion.

But... because I didn't provide any emotional triggers (pun intended), with a visible gun or a threatening visage that day, I was able to eat my bagel in peace, and no one was the wiser.

Moving on, but speaking of inexplicable behavior... what is it that drives men (usually senior-aged men) to try to give women who are complete strangers, gun advice?

There I was at a grand opening for an outdoor store, looking for bargains and checking out ammo and minding my own business. I was handling a couple boxes of .380 when some older guy started talking to me. He starts rambling about ammo prices and showing me the picture in the store flyer of the gun he just bought, and talking about the hole in the ground that was next to the squirrel he tried to shoot, and I'm thinking "Do I know you - do you think I'm someone else?" Then he asked me what gun I'm buying ammo for and I said I had a G42 and he replied "Well, that's all you need". 

What I wanted to say was, "Well, my 12 ga Benelli would disagree with you." But I chose the 'be polite' route, and just mentioned that I had other guns, and I was looking at ammo today and had just ordered some online... all the while continuing to peruse the boxes and act dismissive, but he just wouldn't go away.  He said something about buying so much ammo, and he didn't "burn up" his guns like that. That's when I dropped the hammer and said, "Well, I shoot competitively." 

It wasn't a lie. I didn't claim to be a "good" competitor or anything, and I didn't really mean it to sound that snarky, but it did finally shut him up.  He said something about needing to find his wife, and took his leave. I didn't feel threatened or anything, - it wasn't that - and the gun dept was full of people, but he was really annoying.  What possesses older men to do that? Am I that much of a novelty in the ammo department? You're there with your wife, so I hope that isn't your way of flirting with me. I'm middle-aged and look it, so it's not like I'm some young hottie.  Maybe he was just lonely and trying to be helpful, which is why I tried to stay polite. But I still don't get it.

Ah well, as the old Scots saying goes, "There's nowt so queer as folk".

So anyway, that's how my Friday went. How was yours?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BUG or Primary?

The acronym BUG, when referring to firearms is supposed to mean Back-Up Gun. As in, a gun one uses as a secondary/last resort when one's primary weapon is either lost or non-functional. A BUG, by convention, usually is smaller, lighter, more easily concealed, has a smaller round capacity and is often a "lesser" caliber than the primary defense gun. Thus, a BUG is considered somewhat "inferior" in the self-defense department, and until the recent creation of the BUG category, was not given much consideration in the divisions for IDPA ( International Defensive Pistol Association) - LINK.

As readers of this blog know, I've been shooting 9mm pistols in IDPA and USPSA for about 5 years now, but recently bought myself a Glock 42 .380 cal pistol, because I liked shooting it so much at the SHOT show. 

I've shot the G42 at a couple of club BUG matches so far, and I really like it. BUG matches have round counts limited to 5 round strings, with no holster draws, and magazine changes off the clock. BUG matches are kind of like "IDPA-lite" for smaller guns. I really liked the different experience,  and in a moment of insanity, I signed up for IDPA BUG Nationals this November.

Given that I need more practice with this gun if I'm going to not look like a fool in November, and given that this gun is now my "primary" carry gun, when I do carry, it made sense to try to push myself with it a little. Thus, it was suggested to me to try shooting a regular IDPA match with the G42, so I could have it challenge me a little.

That match was yesterday, and boy, was it interesting and fun! I think my brain still hurts from all the thinking I had to do! LOL

Shooting a BUG in a regular match involved some extra considerations. First of all --was I even allowed to do it by the club, and the answer was yes. (And I wasn't the only one doing it at this match) Second, was the question of did I have the equipment for that gun that was required for a regular match? I already had an OWB holster for my G42, that I got earlier in the summer from, so that was taken care of. (And by the way, I got several positive comments on its pink zebra-striped snazziness at the match - from men even) I had four magazines that held 6 rounds each, so unless I did a lot of missing, I thought I should be okay there, too. (For IDPA at least, where round counts per stage max at 18. USPSA would be a different story.) But what I hadn't really thought of until the last minute was magazine pouches - I didn't have any pouches that would fit these tiny little mags. I ended up just sticking them in my left bottom vest pocket for yesterday's match, but I may consider either creating fabric pockets for them on the vest, or sewing elastic loops to hold them upright in the pocket, or else modifying some existing magazine pouches. I suppose I could always just buy more actual pouches to fit, but where's the fun in that? :-D

    ( Zebra stripes and root beer, both brighten up a match)

I mentioned the thinking that I had to do. Oh, boy, was there a lot of thinking. In addition to the usual remembering the course of fire, I had to mentally change gears from doing round counts of my usual tens, to round counts of only six. On one stage, this meant that I had to plan for a tactical reload with retention that I almost never do, because otherwise, my seventh shot (from start of six in the magazine and one in the chamber) would have been on a steel popper/activator, leaving me to change magazines while the mover was moving and then disappearing before I could get a shot off.

Another other brain-strain with having six round magazines, was remembering to "top-off" when loading and making ready. Normally, I shoot SSP/Production, which is ten rounds, plus one in the chamber. Since I have 15 and 17 round magazines, I just put 11 rounds in my ready mag, and I'm good to go. Yesterday, I had to load the magazine, chamber a round, eject the magazine, replace it with a full magazine, and top off the short magazine with a loose round, in order to "load and make ready". Single stack shooters do this all the time, but for me this was a whole new world LOL!

Adding even more mental gymnastics to the day, was the fact that we were running a concurrent REAL BUG match along with the regular match. The way this BUG match went, was that once the shooters on a squad were done with a stage in the conventional way, then the BUG shooters on the squad ran the stage with modifications to the COF such that there were 5 shot strings and mag changes off the clock. 

"So ..... you mean that I just shot this stage in mental double-tap multiples of six, but now I have to switch gears and shoot the same stage, with the same gun, in single shot multiples of five????  Oh boy -- I need to stop ingesting so much lead, because I really needed those last couple brain cells I lost at lunchtime!!"

Despite the fact that my mental faculties were limping by the end of the day, I had SO. MUCH. FUN.  This was a great experience. I had a fun bunch of squadmates, and an SO who was in the same boat as I was - shooting a BUG for the whole match. Aside from taking a ten minute break to keep from being electrocuted in a thunderstorm which mostly blew on past, the weather cooperated, and there was a good turn-out for the match besides.

My take home lesson from this experience was that despite being an "inferior" caliber,  my G42 can handle being a primary weapon. (I certainly couldn't have said that about my LCP) My times weren't great, because I was doing unfamiliar routines, but my accuracy was acceptable to me (still always needs work), and I didn't even really have problems knocking down steel with the .380 as I had feared. One popper, on one stage out of seven, needed to be hit more than once, but the others fell down with one shot. (they may have thought about it for a second or so, but they fell nonetheless - LOL) It gave me more confidence with this gun as a carry piece, and it also gave me a lot more match experience with this platform. Now I just need to buy more .380 ammo! I've got a couple thousand 9mm rounds on hand, but .380 - not so much. I can feel my credit card warming up in my pocket as we speak!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Talking to Myself

I had a really busy week last week. August is always busy at our office, what with back-to-school exams and sports physicals. At one point in the chaos, I had about ten minutes to sit at my desk amid the chart piles and computer screens. I had just started plotting a strategy of where to start, when one of the medical assistants walked past my office door, and asked , "Dr. LateBloomer, are you talkin' to yourself?"

Honestly, the reality is that I am ALWAYS talking to myself. Sometimes the conversation is an outer manifestation of my inner monologue (which is admittedly usually not PG-rated, HA!), but more often I talk to myself when I'm trying to figure out a strategy, or talk myself through something unfamiliar. I also keep up an ongoing "patter" during an exam to help my little patients understand what I am doing and why. (The otoscope and speculum don't seem so scary when I point out that it's just a light to look for bunnies in your ears) 

So, given all that, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you when I admit that I talk myself through shooting stages, too. 

I do it in pistol classifier stages. "Okay, weak hand, ONE shot only ... One shot...just one shot."

But I really talk to myself constantly in 3 Gun. You can even hear me on videos, giving myself directions. "Safety on.... in the barrel... watch your 180... don't clear the holster til you're past the barrel..."

I never really thought of this as a problem. If it helps me figure out a tough stage or keep myself on track with detailed directions, then what's the harm, right? That's what I thought ... until I went to Gunsite the other month.

It was pointed out to me during a simulator, that my verbal self-coaching could more or less give away my position - LOL. I had to laugh when they told me that. I mean, there I am, a middle aged pediatrician, stalking my way down a desert wash, looking for targets that were supposed to be a motorcycle gang attacking my family. I've never done anything like that before, so NATURALLY I was going to be talking myself through it. It's just what I do. The "motorycle gang" could probably hear me stumbling over the rocks a hundred yards away anyway. Oh well. I guess I was never going to be a secret squirrel anyhow.

At least you'll always be able to find me on the range. I'll be the one standing on the firing line - mumbling to myself. :-)