Sunday, August 30, 2015

Crossbow Crossroads

Well, I've really done it now. I've put a deposit down on a crossbow.

It's not bad enough that my firearm experience is already a mile wide and an only inch deep. And now I'm telling you that I'm trying yet another "something new"?

I know, I know. I had the same conversation with myself. Really, I did. But I'm hoping this is going to do a few things for me, which I'll explain in a bit.

This all started back at SHOT Show Industry Day 2015, here  and here . Archery had never been a consideration in my mind, because I thought It was a skill set that I was "too old to start now" on. Maybe I wasn't giving myself enough credit, but it is what it is. But, on the Industry Day range that day, I happened upon a crossbow booth. I watched a little, I wandered away, then I came back. This was something I knew ZERO about. But everything I've done for almost the last ten years has been about pushing my boundaries, so after watching a little more, I stepped up and was shown how to shoot a crossbow.

It was FUN, and not as foreign as I thought, because there was a stock, a scope, a trigger and a safety. Sure, the strings,and cables and cams and such were weird, but the handling wasn't all that different than a rifle or shotgun. And I didn't perform badly either - maybe this was "archery" that I could handle. But I also knew that crossbow wasn't legal for hunting in my state. It was legal in the state where the family camp is, but I only get up there for barely a week a year - not worth it in my estimation. So I moved on.

Later on in the spring, at the NRA Annual meeting I got to try out an actual compound bow at the "Shoot Like a Girl" Trailer.

The ladies there were great! This too was fun, but a bit more intimidating. I really didn't think that a bowhunting was going to be in my future.

Fast-forward to last week. I went to a local chain sporting goods store to buy some shotgun shells for the upcoming Ladies Upland Hunt  that I am attending.  When I walked in the store, there was a big sign saying they were offering crossbow clinics, since the state legislature had finally authorized crossbow use during both archery and rifle seasons starting this fall

It was total serendipity that I was there and saw the sign, so I signed up for the class being held that coming Saturday. The bonus for me is that the class was taught by a very knowledgeable and experienced - woman. There turned out to be only one other guy who signed up for the same time as me, and he had to leave early, so I ended up having pretty much a personal tutorial that lasted twice as long as the one-hour class. My head was swimming with information and advice, and to top it off, the instructor not only quietly steered me away from the chainstore and into the arms of a well-stocked local archery pro-shop, she also offered that if I decided to go ahead with crossbow, that she could help me.

The archery pro shop was another goldmine. I was the only female in the shop at the time, and when staff asked if they could help me, I asked for the name I was given. I got another half-hour tutorial about the kind of crossbow I was looking for, features, what I needed, and what was extra, and did I want to shoot these models? 

Another clue that I had been steered to the right place was that the main ten or so target lanes were busy - because the state conservation officers were there giving a kid's safety class. So I was taken to the back of the store to where the shop guys test-shoot stuff. I tried two different models. One of the shop guys commented that I was shooting offhand and not sitting down - "Do you shoot guns?" he asked. LOL, yeah, kinda.

I found a model that I preferred hands-down - the Ten Point Shadow Ultra-light.  It has a built-in crank to cock it with, as I am too short even to rope-cock the 12.6 inch power stroke.  (Oh yeah - sheesh the new terminology I have to learn!) I put down a deposit, and am going to try to sell a couple guns that I never shoot, to pay for it. The shop owner said that I can even make lay-away payments if I want, and come to visit it, and shoot it in the meantime. Told you they were a goldmine! :-)

So, back to what I'm hoping crossbow will do for me. I'm a little weird about my hobbies. After I master the basics, then I like them to have a purpose. For instance, my sewing abilities have practical applications. Yes, there is the "artistic satisfaction" of creating something pretty, but I can also fix holes, hem pants, add pockets, and do a host of other time and money-saving jobs with those skills. When I quilt, I create and then give away, a pretty yet practical way to keep someone warm.

My singing has a little less tangible results. Yet, our quartet sings the national anthem for sporting events, and we sing for fundraisers and other local events, so the singing hobby still has a "purpose".

I kind of want my shooting to have a purpose too. I'm slowly learning more self-defense skills, and I'm starting to want to branch more into hunting now. As exciting as 3-Gun is, I'm starting to see that for me, it involves a lot of money and a lot of travel, and thus it's going to have to stay in my "occasional entertainment" budget, rather than coming out of my "practical application" budget. Now that my youngest child has started college, I need to start paying more attention to expenses.

So,  if I can find a local bow-hunter mentor, I can hunt locally. I wouldn't have to take time off work, drive across three states, pay for a hotel, and blow through 50-100 dollars worth of ammo, like I would for a 3-Gun match. I could stay in-state or go just across the border, and hunt for a good chunk of the year instead.  Learning to crossbow hunt would extend my available deer hunting season from only a couple of weeks of rifle to several months of bow. There's even some family property I forgot about that's 2 hours away. I might even come home with something for the freezer if I'm lucky. It just seems more practical to me in the end. We'll see.

It's strange, because these things just seem to "find" me. Maybe it's just a combination of good luck, and being ready for an opportunity when it presents itself,  but all of these lead-up events have presented such a glaring neon sign pointing to a fork in the road, that I just couldn't turn it down. Here I go into a new adventure!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back in the Pink

I don't think anybody who shoots with me regularly, doubts my attachment to the color pink. It's become a bit of a signature thing for me.  I even wrote a post about it a few years ago. Here .

Well, I happen to have a good buddy with an airbrush who offered to do some work for me recently, since I was laid up and not using my gear anyway. I have a secret suspicion that he has Duracoat running through his veins instead of blood. He combined Duracoat 
 with stencils from Montactical and MCM, to produce these gorgeous beauties!!

Boy, am I glad he offered! I am gob-smacked at how well everything turned out :-) Look how gorgeous! Thank you, Thank you, TriState Tactical Shooting!! 
Coming soon to a match near you! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Thoughts from a Doc WITH a Glock

I received this bit of news
In my inbox from my professional society last week, regarding the recent "Docs vs Glocks" ruling in Florida.

I've commented on this issue many times in many posts, but I'm finding it necessary to do it again. One previous rant can be found here.

If you read the article that showed up in my inbox, you'll notice that the AAP keeps painting itself as the wounded party...

"The Academy continues to advise its members in Florida and throughout the United States to uphold the standard of medical practice and ask about the presence of guns in the environments of children, and counsel families in their care about the importance of storing guns safely.

“Practicing gun safety saves children’s lives,” said AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, M.D., FAAP. “The important message is that pediatricians in Florida continue to fight to protect children. Asking appropriate questions about guns in the home is good medicine.”"

The problem with this lofty claim is that it is largely untrue. 

The claimed "standard of medical practice" exists solely in the minds of politically motivated medical societies, as I've ranted about here.

Their position on asking about firearms is even inconsistent within their own guidelines about other safety issues. There are no questions about backyard pools before counseling about water safety. There are no questions about the presence of bicycles or ATVs before counseling about helmets, either. Therefore, if their goal is truly ONLY safety, then they don't need to ask about firearms either.

I am no fan of having my speech censored during a patient interaction, but the AAP and its sister societies have brought it upon themselves by their own policy statements.

The AAP's position on firearms reads........

"In 2012, the Academy reaffirmed its commitment to advocating for the strongest possible firearm 
regulations. The absence of guns in homes and communities is the most reliable and effective 
measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents. The AAP supports a number of specific measures to reduce the destructive effects of guns in the lives of children and adolescents, including the regulation of the manufacture, sale, purchase, ownership, and use of firearms; a ban assault weapons; and expanded regulations of handguns for civilian use. To prevent gun-related death and injuries, the AAP recommends that pediatricians provide firearm safety counseling to patients and their parents."

With a public position like that, can you blame Floridians for not trusting that their physicians are ONLY interested in their children's safety and NOT in pushing a thinly-disguised political agenda? Especially when the results of that questioning are being recorded in the medical record?

American medicine has done a miraculous job the past fifty years of saving children from the infectious diseases that were the scourge of previous generations. It's been such a good job, that academic pediatricians have had to cast about to find something else to focus on. For some reason the AAP latched on to guns - despite the fact that rates of firearms accidents involving children have been dropping for decades. AND that decline has occurred WITHOUT the "good medicine" of the AAP.  That decline is due largely to educational efforts by the NRA and the NSSF  - not any of the medical societies who claim that "gun safety" is their business.

Now, to make myself clear, I am NOT claiming that teaching gun safety to families and children doesn't need to happen - it most surely does. If you've read this blog in the past, you will know that I stand strongly for educating families about this issue. But for medical societies like the AAP to claim it is THEIR role to do so is laughable. I know a LOT of pediatricians, and I can count on one hand the number who would be able to competently deliver factual firearms safety information

In an attempt to support their inaccurate claims about their role, The AAP cites statistics about the number of supposed "children" being killed by guns every year. This is a data-padding smokescreen. The AAP and various anti-gun organizations love to include "children" even up through age 20 or more in their "gun violence" data. Now, last time I looked, actual children are not permitted to drive, or to vote, or serve in the armed forces. Yet it is young adult "children" like these - involved in criminal and gang activity, and also suicides - which comprise the lion's share of the data that is breathlessly put forth amongst pleas to "protect the children". To put this in perspective, 18 year old Michael Brown counted as a "child death by gun violence" by their reckoning.  This mislabeled data is presented so as to make it look as if preschoolers are dropping like flies. It is a practice which is both emotionally manipulative and intellectually dishonest.

You can search the data for yourself, and tag it out by age group, method of injury, intentional or non-intentional, homicide, law enforcement action, etc if you don't believe me.

This is not to say that deaths of young adults - even when they kill each other over turf or drugs - are not tragic. They ARE tragic, But the situation falls under the purview of law enforcement and the justice system, NOT Pediatrics. It may even fall to social scientists to figure out what leads these young, largely male, adults to do what they do, but it is STILL not Pediatrics. And it is most certainly not Public Health.

The AAP would be more convincing to me with their claims of providing safety information if they actually handed out NSSF pamphlets in the office.

Or how about a loop of Eddie Eagle videos in the waiting room?

Yeah, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Accepting Help Moving the Body - Back in the Game with the Glock 43

Ok, it wasn't a REAL body, but I got your attention, didn't I? I should write click bait for a living -LOL

The "body" was an old tire on the ground with a red-splashed IDPA target on it, representing my fallen partner, who I was required to drag out of harm's way while firing on bad guy targets.

In case you hadn't guessed by that scenario, yesterday marked my return to competition shooting - 6 weeks post-op. Now, I'm not a complete moron. I shot only the BUG portion of the stages, so I didn't have to wear a heavy gun belt, and I sat on my folding stool like a good girl when I wasn't actually shooting or changing bays. I felt bad not even pasting targets, but the match director gave me advance permission to be a lazy slug, so I tried to behave myself. This match was at my own club, so I am often there early helping set up, and late helping to tear down, in addition to helping run the clipboard. So being a total slug is rather foreign territory. But it was good in a different way, because it gave me an opportunity to chat with a couple women who came to watch. I am hoping that I'll see them again with gun belts on at some point.

In the aforementioned partner-down stage, it was evident to me that chivalry is not dead. Since I'm still not supposed to do much lifting, both the SO and a squadmate offered to do the body-dragging for me, so that the attached mover would activate. I would just take a procedural penalty for it. How many gals have two men in one day offer to help them move a body? LOL - Of course I gratefully accepted :-)

Other stage scenarios involved burglars in my living room, thugs in the neighbor's backyard, attackers at the office, and a pizza car-jacking. It must be a hoot to come up with this stuff.

It was hot out, and I was tired, but I'm very glad I went. The Glock 43 performed well on the six-shot BUG strings. There were no jams or misfeeds, and the new "01" magazines slid right in. (The original first-run magazines had a tendency to hang up sometimes, thus the second-run mags were produced to solve that). I only got my hands on the new mags the day before the match. (It pays to know the guys at the shop and to ask if you don't see something - sometimes there is a newly arrived box in the back that hasn't been unpacked yet.) My lovely cherry blossom holster from also performed well and brought some color to the black and khaki IDPA world.

This was only the third time I'd shot the Glock 43, so I did need to acclimate myself to the "snap" that I didn't have last year with the G42. The jump from .380 to 9mm does indeed make a difference with such a small frame size. I had to concentrate more on "control" with this gun than I did last year with my G42. Interesting that a couple of squadmates also mentioned that they noticed the muzzle flip difference just watching me. But I was getting a better handle on things by the last stage, and didn't feel too bad about my performance. I try to consider every match as a learning experience anyway, and for this one I had almost no expectations due to physical limitations and a new gun. And guess what? I STILL had fun!

That's a win any day -- even if if I did need help moving the body. ;-)