Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Rating System for 3-Gun?

I've had some interactions in the past few weeks which gave me an idea. I'm sure nobody is waiting with baited breath to actually hear this idea, but I'm going to tell you anyway. LOL

I think somebody should come up with a rating system for matches - especially 3-Gun matches - and especially for us amateurs.

I'll tell you why. Because we as shooters are a REALLY diverse group. We've got middle-age average and novice shooters who shoot for fun, all the way up to hard-core-cross-fitting-tough mudder-running-adventure-seeking bad-a$$es who are always looking for the next level. 

Those diverse groups  aren't always looking for the same thing in a match. Some folks want their match to be all about pushing themselves to the very limits. Whereas, I personally prefer a match to be more about shooting than windsprints, and more about accuracy than climbing up into, or over physical obstacles. There's nothing wrong with either one of those styles - as long as the folks shooting them know ahead of time what the expectations are. Knowing ahead of time what KIND of match is being held would help each group better choose what to sign up for.

For instance, I'm over fifty, and I have a "big girl" job. I'm in private practice, which means that I don't have "sick leave". I am essentially self-employed, and if I'm not working, I'm not making money, and my bills are not getting paid.

Which means that I have zero interest in getting into a match in which I might seriously injure myself, or aggravate a pre-existing injury. If I'm at home in a knee immobilizer awaiting surgery, I'm not at the office or hospital taking care of my patients, and I'm not paying the light bill, either. 

Being realistic about my abilities and my life situation does not mean that I am somehow "afraid", or "untrained" or being a wimp, or anything else. It simply means that I am not willing to trade my ability to eat and support myself for a few thrilling minutes of shooting entertainment. And honestly, that's what shooting is for me - entertainment. I will never be good enough to be anything but an unsponsored amateur, and I totally accept that. I actually prefer it that way. But I still LOVE to shoot - especially 3-Gun - because it's fun. And I spend a crap-ton of money doing it, too. But I also recognize that it is "only" fun. It's not life or death, (at least not in competition), and I recognize that sometimes one has to make prudent choices. I personally choose to not be permanently injured by my hobby.

The problem is, that there seems to be an increasing trend toward matches trying to out- extreme each other. That's fine for the young, athletic shooters whose bodies are still cooperative. But folks like me might prefer to shy away from that particular style match.

In my opinion, it's not fair to sign up for a match,  only find out in the last week when the stages are finally posted, that the physicality is not something you want to chance. (This recently happened to a friend of mine) And though I know that sometimes accommodations can be made, nobody that I know of wants to ask for special treatment. It seems to me that there ought to be a way to know ahead of time what you're signing up for - especially for bigger matches that involve large registration fees, and travel expenses.

SO. I was thinking that maybe somebody could come up with a rating system for matches - kind of like ski slopes. Like "AA" (or Double Black Diamond) for very athletic with many obstacles, "A" (or Black Diamond) for athletic, "B" (or Blue Square) for intermediate physicality, and "C" (or Green Circles) for almost anybody can do this. 

Back when I skiied alot, I had a T-shirt with a big green circle on it that said "I suck" - LOL. I sustained an ACL tear when I was in med school at age 40, trying to learn how to play soccer with classmates who were 15 years younger than me. I had neither the time off, nor the money/insurance to repair the injury at the time, and just rehabbed it as best I could. Because of that injury, I think I skiied a black diamond once - just to prove that I could - and never did it again, because I didn't want that weak knee aggravated or worse. I'm kind of feeling that way about 3-Gun now. I'm very happy just tootling around on Greens and Blues, because I don't want to end up eating dog food when I end my medical career with a permanent injury.

I know that a rating system like I described would help me personally immensely, and I know of many people in my age bracket who could make use of it too. That way, cranky old bags like me aren't holding back the hard-core young go-getters, but I don't have to give up 3-Gun completely just because there is a defacto "race" to out-extreme the next guy. I can find the matches that are most friendly for me and my bod.

I realize that I am a "nobody", and one older gal dropping out of 3-Gun wouldn't make the world come to an end. But, the thing is, I'm not alone. There are a bunch of older guys and gals out here who have great shooting skills, but whose bodies just don't work as well as they used to. Some of them successfully adapt and overcome with prostheses, and replacement parts, but some of them aren't able to make the new parts work as well as original equipment. That doesn't mean that they don't still have money to spend and a desire for shooting competition in their blood. It does mean however,  that making them climb up on top of things, and into or over obstacles etc, can essentially shut them out of the game. I think leaving these shooters behind in the mud, in a relentless race to the physical extremes, would be a really bad idea for the sport. A rating system would help these shooters find matches that still suit them, and keep them in the game for as long as they want to play.

My two cents.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Glock 42 ... or ... Glock 43?

Some of the biggest news that came out of the NRA Annual Meeting last weekend in Nashville, was the debut of the new Glock 43 - the single stack 9mm carry gun that folks have been clamoring for for years. I personally, have been ridiculously happy with my Glock 42, which came out last year, as Glock's first single stack micro pistol in .380 ACP. Some of you may recall that I even shot my Glock 42 in the IDPA BUG Nationals last November.  Link Here

For me, the G42 fit my carry gun needs perfectly, but the caliber wars wage on, and now there is another option in the Glock 43 in 9mm.

What I CAN tell you about the Glock 43, is that it still feels pretty good in my hand. It is just a hair larger than the G42, but still does not feel as big as the S&W Shield 9. But what I CAN'T tell you is how it shoots.

I have to tell you that I missed that boat big time. There are drawbacks to being a doctor who pretends to be a writer - LOL. Being new to the whole NRA Annual Meeting thing, I didn't realize that events really start up on Wednesday or Thursday. I already had non-refundable airfare locked in for Friday night (I have a kind of important day job - LOL), when I received the media invite from Glock to the G43 launch party Thursday. ARGH!! Had I not been such a clueless Noob, I'd have been able to be an actual "insider", and give you a report on how the gun actually shoots.

But, alas, one lives and learns and there will be no further Glock 43 report from me - at least for the time being. My local shop does have a few, but I also had to pay for my daughter's prom dress this weekend. (Yes, sometimes we moms have to prioritize). By the time I get around to getting one for myself, it won't be news anymore. Oh well.

I guess you'll just have to get your info about it from - you know- actual experts LOL!
That being said, I did find this article to be quite interesting.

Even though I was not able to shoot the Glock 43, I WAS able to comfortably carry my Glock 42 throughout the show. Yes, contrary to hysterical media reports, showfloor goers were permitted by Tennessee law to carry if they had a valid permit - which I do, and I did. 

I secured my Glock 42 for travel, in my Gun Vault microvault. The cable made it easy to secure to the inside ribs of the suitcase, and the design satisfied TSA that the gun was secure.

While wearing jeans, I used my Ava IWB holster by Flashbang, which I purchased at , and although I'm not a fan of purse carry, I did use an OWB holster attached to the inside of my purse while wearing a dress on Sunday. 

While wandering around the show I also purchased two new additional carry options for myself and my little G42. I'll talk some more about those when the package arrives in a week or so. I'm very excited!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Colt and GunGoddess Go Great Together!

My big excitement of the past couple weeks was attending the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville last weekend. I think pretty much anybody who was anybody was there,  ( present company excepted - I don't really consider myself to be an "anybody" - I'm more like a coattail rider - LOL).

One of the activities I decided to take on during the event, was to do a bit of a photo safari - to catch some awesome women of shooting while they were out and about. ( You can find photos of several of the women I "caught", on my Facebook page here )

While on my self-imposed mission, I ran into Leah Engler - WOMA Board member and newly sponsored shooter, and Athena Means - owner of
I've had the pleasure of meeting both women through various women's shooting opportunities - Leah, through Babes With Bullets, and Athena as a squadmate at my first 3-Gun Match at Rockcastle in 2013.

Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, I asked Leah and Athena if we could gather at the Colt Booth  to look over Leah's new rifle,  the Colt CRP-18, blinged out with touches from GunGoddess! What a fun collaboration, and what  a deserving shooter to receive a sponsor rifle like this!

In the Colt Booth, our host Glenn Wisser, graciously pointed out the many features of this gorgeous (and also Bad-A$$) rifle. During the course of conversation, Glenn revealed that he has actually been supporting women in shooting for many years - all the way back to the days when he taught revolver -handling to police "matrons" in skirts. Wow, we've come a long way, gals - from skirts and revolvers to tac pants and rifles.

So, what a treat, for Colt and GunGoddess to come together to offer this beautiful rifle that is NOT just another pretty face. The CRP-18 is a fully-featured Colt Competition Rifle - complete with 18" match-grade, stainless steel, fluted barrel; triple-port muzzle brake; Geissele 2-stage match trigger with enlarged trigger guard; patent-pending finger adjustable gas block; and forged and precision-fitted upper and lower receiver, with matched bolt and bolt carrier with H-buffer. On top of all of that performance, this competition-ready rifle has the GunGoddess filligree aluminum, free-float handguard, with the whole shebang done up in your choice of basic black, or 8 different Cerakote colors.

Leah is posing with the robin's egg blue version that was on display in the Colt booth, but she ultimately chose a somewhat more traditional blue version as her 3-Gun workhorse for the season. I am SO excited for her, and I can't wait to watch her put it through its paces!

You can pick out YOUR Colt/GunGoddess beauty, and get started here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Women with Guns, and the "Sex" Factor

Rant Warning.

I have something I want to say on this subject, but I'm not sure where I want to start. I guess I'll just dive in and figure it out as I go.

It's no secret that I've been divorced and in the mid-life dating pool for a number of years - like 13 or 14 - I've lost exact track. I've been shooting for six of those years now, and it's become a topic that I've started bringing up right off the bat when vetting a prospective date.

I've decided that if a man is going to hate my guns, I need to know about that as a "deal breaker" from the very first couple of emails or texts.

In the best of all possible worlds, the exchange might go something like this:
Me: So here is a deal-breaker question -  How do you feel about firearms?

Prospective Date:  I have a couple and I shoot them regularly

Me: Oh great! Maybe we can shoot together sometime ( whew)

Him: Cool - what do you shoot?

However, sometimes the exchange goes like this:
Me: How do you feel about firearms?

Prospective Date: Firearms? I have no interest.

Me: But are you opposed?

Him: ( long silence) No.

Me: Okaaay, because I shoot competitively. It's one of my BIG hobbies, and if you really don't like guns, that's all you're going to hear about.

Him: *crickets*

This is actually okay with me, because I'd rather know upfront if we are basically incompatible. I'd rather hear crickets than get or give hurt feelings down the road.

But then there is an exchange like this:
Me : How do you feel about firearms?

Prospective Date:  I'm not interested in them at all.

Me: Well, I shoot competitively and it's a big hobby that is very important to me.

Him: That's so hot! 
The thought of you shooting guns is a big turn-on!

I'm sorry folks, but this just rates a giant "Ewwwww". Especially coming from someone with a professed lack of interest otherwise. There is no respect for skill there. There is no admiration for hard work, or challenge or determination. In that man's mind, everything I have worked so hard for is boiled down to sex. And that's just ... gross. I don't have a better word for it than a 5th grade term, because it's a 5th grade kind of response from a supposed grown man. 

I don't shoot for this, or any guy's icky self-gratification - I shoot for my own personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Now, don't get me wrong - I know that most men think about sex morning, noon, and night anyway - whether it involves women and firearms or not. But that kind of comment is TOTALLY inappropriate toward a woman you haven't even met yet. 

Context is everything. If you are a long time married man, you can get away with telling your wife you think she's "hot" when she shoots (and she probably appreciates hearing it).  She knows that she already has your respect and admiration first, and your comments are coming from a position of love and support. 

But saying something like that to a woman you don't even know is just slimy.

Yet men say stuff like that frequently. Especially on social media, where the usual social boundaries seem to be mere suggestions.

Guys, don't be "that guy". That's all I'm asking. I'm sure almost every female shooter out there thanks you.

End of Rant.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Revolver Rendezvous

I shot the WORST match that I have ever shot in my life, today.
And I am STILL tickled pink about it.

Because this was the first time I've ever shot an IDPA Match with a revolver. 

I've been shooting semi-auto pistols for about 6 years, and even shot in IDPA BUG Nationals last November, but I decided that I want to give the wheel-gun a whirl this year.

Why? Just because. 

I knew it would be a challenge, and it hasn't disappointed me in that regard. EVERYthing about it is different than I am used to. 

-The trigger pull is longer and harder due to the double-action. 

-The pointing/aiming is harder because the gun is heavier, and also because of that trigger pull. 

-The reloading is an ENTIRE other animal all together - not only is the gear different, it all happens "backwards" - ie: from the strong side, not the weak side.

-Then, there is the counting in sixes thing.

But I had a fantastic time today. I love shooting at my own club. I trust these guys to not laugh at me for trying something new ( well, just not very loud anyway - LOL), and I always learn something.

Some of the things that I learned, or discovered that I need to work on today are:

-Shooting weak-hand only with a revolver is NOT the same as doing it with a pistol. It takes a lot more "Oomph".

-Doing a "Tactical Reload" with a revolver means you'd better have a big pocket handy to dump that handful of mess into, because you can't let any live rounds hit the ground when you eject the mixed bag.

-A stage that looks easy-peasy for Stock Service Pistol, is not always so straightforward with Revolver.

-Accuracy is your friend when shooting revolver, because you just don't have the rounds available for follow-up shots. I found this out on my second stage when my brain was still in SSP mode. "Oh wait - I'm empty (insert profanity)" LOL

-Accuracy takes a little more concentration and a little more "finger" than I was using today.

All in all, it was a great day - despite the rain, the wind, the cold, the flurries, and eventually the sun. A couple of the guys even said they might drag their revolvers back out too if I was going to be shooting it all summer. 

As it was, today I was the only revolver shooter on the premises ( I think), so that means that no matter how badly I performed, I still WON my Division - Right? ..... Right? 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!