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When you've got to go.... You've got to go!

 
by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor


The ladies' room, potty, doing your business, going to the bathroom, or even powdering your nose. Whatever you call it - we ALL have to do it! The problem is, what in the world do you do with your concealed firearm when you do? 

For some obvious reasons, men have it a little easier in this department, well... most of the time. There is quite a bit of confusion and not a lot of discussion on this “interesting” topic. In a recent discussion on The Well Armed Woman Facebook page, the lack of information clearly results in less-than-safe solutions. So, what should you do? You don’t want anyone in the next stall to see your firearm, freak out and call 911 when you’re simply answering Mother Nature’s call. You don’t want it to fall on the floor and slide over to into the next stall with a mother assisting her young child and you certainly don’t want to do anything that could risk an accidental discharge. So what do you do? 

Photo: Theo Romeo UCD Advocate
The answer is quite simple. The less you do the better! Any time your remove your firearm from its holster you create risk. A well-made "in the pants" or "on the waist" holster should hold your firearm snug, even if you accidentally turn it upside down. If yours doesn’t, get a new one.  Not everyone likes a thumb break but here is a good place where they come in handy. Keep your hand on the HOLSTERED firearm as you carefully slide down your pants and keep your hand on it. Keep the top of your pants up off the floor and out of view from “neighbors”. If you’re wearing a belt, this is even more important as once you undo your belt - the weight of whole package takes on a mind of its own. 

The problems arise when you remove the firearm to get comfortable. Some of you are placing it on the toilet paper dispenser, the back of the toilet and even hanging it by the trigger guard on the hook on the door. These are no safe solutions and yes, even the most responsible and conscientious gun owners can leave and forget their firearms behind. It has happened, perhaps it has even to you. 

Many women are wearing bra holsters and belly bands. With these holsters this challenge is eliminated. For those of you that carry in your purse, as awkward as it may be, place your purse on your lap or even hang it over your body cross body style.  

If for some reason not addressed here you MUST remove the firearm from your body, keep it holstered and hold it or keep it on your lap while you’re “busy”.

All of this “work” just to do your business may seem cumbersome, uncomfortable and even a pain in the neck. The truth is, this comes with the responsibility of safe gun ownership. If you really think about it, we are very lucky to even have the right and opportunity to be a little uncomfortable this way.  So... Give thanks and go take care of business! 

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit www.thewellarmedwoman.com


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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.


Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Top 10 Reasons I Hunt

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

As a new hunting season approaches there are a ton of things that run through my head in preparation for what is to come in the next few months.  Is the boat ready to go?  Are the decoys rigged up?  Did I make all the repairs on equipment that needed to be made?  Last week I was out in the garage answering all these questions.  I pulled out my old blind stool and sat down in it and started thinking about things.  One question that kept coming back to me was WHY?  Why do I go to the extents that I do to chase fowl?  Why do I spend the amount of hard earned money on this sport?  Why do I wake up at 3:00 AM to run a boat for 30 minutes in 30 degree weather, trounce through marsh mud that rivals some of the deepest quicksand around, and then spend 45 minutes setting out decoys just to shoot some waterfowl?

Here is my top 10 reasons I do what I do to chase waterfowl.

10.  The smell of gunpowder at sun up as a group of greenwing teal buzz the decoys.

  9.  I have a chance to be out on the water. Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I have saltwater running through my veins!

  8.  Seeing a bird crumple in mid air after I pull the trigger on my Beretta A400 Xtreme!

  7.  Watching my yellow lab, Aeva, charge hard after that bird that just crumpled.

  6.  Enjoying a hot cup of coffee and a blind breakfast during that first lull.

  5.  Because duck breast, jalapeno, and cream cheese all wrapped in bacon and grilled tastes Mmmmmm Mmmmm GOOD!!!

  4.  Knowing that I am in GOD's country and I am doing what he intended for me to do.

  3.  I am able to share that blind with some of my closest friends.

  2.  I can spend time with my kids that I cherish so much.

And the number one reason I do what I do to chase waterfowl:

Passion!  I have a passion for the outdoors and everything that it stands for.  I have passion for sharing those times with my kids and friends.  I have a passion for what God has graced me with.

I take this time to be thankful for those ten things and many others that I am afforded in this great nation and have been so graciously given by the Man upstairs.

So what is on your top 10 list?


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

How About a Duck Recipe?

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

One of the most asked questions that I get from people that don't really care to eat ducks or geese is "how do you cook it?"  My answer is short, sweet, and boy does it taste good!  GUMBO!!!  After the jump (that means click on the link that says "MORE"), I will share a recipe that was shared with me and I have perfected.  This stuff will make ya slap yo momma!!!



What you need:
2 lbs. cubed duck meat
1 lb. raw peeled shrimp
1/2 lb. raw cubed fish
1 lb. smoked andouille sausage
1 lb. okra
2 lbs. bacon scraps
1 cup of flour
1 can tomatoes with onions & peppers
1 can tomatoes with chilis and lime
1 can roasted tomatoes
2 onions chopped
2 bell peppers chopped
6 stalks celery sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Franks hot sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
Tony Chachere Cajun Spice

Fry the bacon scraps until it is nice and crispy then remove. Keep about half to throw in the gumbo.

In half the bacon oil add the flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper. Cook your roux on medium heat until the flour is browned to your taste. Mine normally takes about 15 minutes. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO CONSTANTLY STIR YOUR ROUX!!!  If not it will burn and ruin your gumbo.

With the leftover bacon grease, sear the fish, shrimp, sausage, and duck meat and set to the side.

Put the roux in big pot and add the shrimp, fish, sausage, onoins, bell peppers, garlic, 1/2 the bacon. Turn up the heat to high and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Put the duck in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once it begins to boil, put the shrimp peels in the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Strain out the shrimp peels and discard of them.

Place the duck and it's water, okra, the 3 cans tomatoes, celery, bay leaves, Worcestershire, Franks, thyme, cayenne pepper, Tony Chahceres to taste in the big pot. Add water to the concoction to make it like a thin soup.

Turn heat down and simmer about 2 hours or until the desired consistancy is reached.
Serve it over white or dirty rice.

I have made this for a number of people and I have yet to find someone that didn't like it.  Be sure to let us know how your next meal turns out when you decide to cook this favorite of mine.

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Swapping Guns With Social Media

 

By Jason Parks – Guest Contributor

About a year ago I joined two Facebook groups that were formed for the purpose of buying, selling and trading sporting goods locally. One group focuses on a closer geographic area to me while the other has a wider geographic reach.

At first the pages mainly listed guns then gradually as more people joined the groups I started seeing other items like tree stands, boats, ATVs, trucks, golf clubs and even dogs.

I have purchased two guns from individuals listing on these sites and both times were a lot of fun. I was a little hesitant at first about buying a gun from a complete stranger, but you can tell a lot about a person when you are haggling with them.

Here is a sample of one of the posts:



I have made several observations about the sites that I want to share with you.

First, these swapping pages on Facebook are a great way to bring sportsmen together. The only other time you might get even part of this group together is at a gun show.

Second, listing on these pages is more advantageous than classifies ads due to the ability to post multiple pictures which allows potential buyers to get a good look at the seller's items.

Third, these pages are a seller's market. Items are usually listed at or above fair market value. Based on what I see, the majority of the people selling don’t come off their posted prices, but there is a lot of haggling via personal messages between buyers and sellers that you can’t see so there is no way to tell how much people are negotiating or coming down off listed prices.

Note: trolls that are abrasive or verbally abusive are usually quickly blocked by the page admins so members don't have to deal with them. Here is the definition of an internet troll according to UrbanDictionary if you don't know what a troll is.

Fourth, these sites provide a free service by allowing their members to list items to sell or trade. At no cost, it is also cheaper than exhibiting or attending a gun show.

Last, since these pages have started I have noticed a sharp decline in gun related classified ads. I think we will see a complete migration away from classified ads on guns in the future and any other items listed in classifieds as soon as someone creates the page for it. I can even see the potential of how pages like these could replace local gun shows if done correctly.

Facebook gun trading pages are a great way for folks to buy, sell and trade guns, bows, knives and other sporting goods and will probably continues to grow as a medium for sportsmen and gun enthusiast to connect...

...as long as "they" will allow the sites to operate.

What do you think about this sudden growth of these pages?

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You can follow Jason on Twitter @thejasonparks


This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

10 Gun Wish List

 

By Jason Parks – Guest Contributor

10 guns I can’t afford....

…right now…

….but wish I had.

In no particular order:


I generally prefer short barreled pistols, but this one is the exception. I have always liked the look and feel of long slide 1911 pistols. I tried to buy or trade one away from a good friend of mine, but he never would let go of it. As long slides go the Nighthawk is the coolest one I have see so far. It comes in 10mm so the only thing that would make it better is if it was in .45 ACP. (Picture courtesy of http://www.knesekguns.com/commercial/Nighthawk-10mm-Long-Slide)



In a world where tactical semi-auto pistols reign supreme, I like the direction Smith & Wesson went with this pistol. Given the choice between Smith & Wesson Model 325 Thunder Ranch and a tactical semi-auto, I would have a hard time deciding on which to get. (Picture courtesy of http://www.knesekguns.com/commercial/SW-Model-325-Thunder-Ranch)



This is one awesome rifle. I would prefer an original 1895 Winchesterin .405 but would not complain if it was in .30-06 or 7.62x54R. I love old, large caliber, lever action rifles like the .405, but it would be really cool to have one that shoots .30-60 like my deer rifle. Who wouldn’t want to own a piece of history like a Model 1895 Winchester(Picture courtesy of http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/winchester-model-95/)



I am a big fan of .45-70’s and of carbines. The 1873 Trapdoor Springfield is the original .45-70. The Springfield Trapdoor Carbine is the Alpha Prime Numero Uno of .45-70 carbines and I want one. (Picture courtesy of http://www.uberti.com/firearms/springfield-trapdoor.php)



Every hunter alive wants a double rifle, but few can afford them. Once again, the USSG Double Rifle comes in .45-70, but I didn’t know this one was available until I started this post. As double rifles go, this one is almost affordable. The next step up costs 5 times as much. I might be able to afford this one if I liquidate some inventory and clean the kitchen every night for the next 8 years and vacuum for the next 12 years and.... (Picture courtesy of http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/60304)



A take down, lever action .45-70. What more could I ask for? (Picture courtesy of http://wildwestguns.com/copilot.html)



Small, stainless and .45 ACP, this Kimber would probably be my first choice for a conceal carry pistol. Sorry Beretta. (Picture courtesy of http://www.knesekguns.com/commercial/Kimber-Stainless-Ultra-Raptor-II-45ACP-3200196)



I grew up watching Steve McQueen bring in the bad guys with this gun on Wanted Dead or Alive. Ever since then, I have wanted a Mare’s Leg. There are several out there now to choose from, but I like Henry's brass receiver and octagon barrel. (Picture courtesy of http://www.henryrepeating.com/rifle-mares-leg.cfm)



If I were to take up Cowboy Action Shooting full time, this pistol would be my first choice. I prefer short barreled revolvers especially when it comes to single action pistols and the ease of loading and unloading a top break pistol is obvious. (Picture courtesy of http://www.uberti.com/firearms/top-break.php)



Like I have said, I like light, short barreled guns. I also prefer semi-automatic shotguns over pump or double-barreled shotguns. I didn’t add this one to kowtow to Beretta. I have a semi-auto shotgun that I am very happy with. It is not a Beretta, and it is not a 12 gauge. But if I needed a new shotgun, the Beretta A400 Xplot Light KO would be at the top of my wish list. (Picture courtesy of http://www.berettausa.com/products/a400-xplor-light-ko-12ga-3/?F_All=Y)


Bonus:


I might be able to afford this pistol if I could ever find one. If you are not familiar with this revolver, it is a .38 caliber pistol that has the capability to shoot 25 different types of ammunition including .357 Magnum, 9mm, all types of .38’s and 7.62x25. This is one of those if I could only own one gun types of pistols. In a survival situation, this pistol is the one to have. (Picture courtesy of http://airbornecombatengineer.typepad.com/airborne_combat_engineer/2007/05/medusa_revolver.html)


So what guns are on your wish list?

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

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You can follow Jason on Twitter @thejasonparks

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Conservation, It's Our Duty

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Coastal Conservation Association, and many other conservation groups across North America are some of the greatest organizations to be a part of for hunters.  They fight not only for the rights of the wildlife that we love to hunt, but the also fight for the hunters' rights as well as our rights as gun owners.  We'll talk about some of the things these organizations do after the break.

I have been a member of Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, and CCA for quite a number of years.  I have served on the board of our local Delta chapter and have really been able to see where all of the contributions go and how much these great organizations do for wildlife and the sport that we cherish.  One thing that I see a lot of is people that like to try and say why one organization is better than the other, but that is the wrong stance to take.

Without DU we wouldn't have some of the best waterfowl habitat in the world.  Their attention to where ducks migrate to and from is some of the best I have ever seen in my many years as a waterfowler.  From the Prairie Pothole Region to the Texas Gulf Coast, DU has some excellent projects that are prime grounds for waterfowl from all over the country.

On the other side of the proverbial fence is Delta Waterfowl.  Delta is about nesting and predator management.  One of the biggest adversities that waterfowl have to overcome is predators.  Whether it is skunks or uninformed farmers, nests are at risk since most waterfowl nest on the ground.  With the constant implementation of nesting houses we are putting a dent in the danger that the predators pose.


One thing to remember, without our help and constant involvement in these conservation organizations that continue to help our habitat flourish, our future as hunters will be thrown out with the bath water.  Be sure to join today!

Delta Waterfowl
Ducks Unlimited


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

My First AR Build

 
by Keith Hollar – Guest Contributor

Yes, I know Beretta doesn’t make one, but this was something that I thought might interest a lot of readers.  Recently a local shop posted on CalGuns that they would be offering a class on how to build an AR and you get to take home the rifle you built.  The price was very reasonable so I headed up to Global Arms in Glendale to fill out the registration on the receiver so my 10 days would be up and I would be able to take it home on the day of the build.  I have done some minor gunsmithing in the past and I’ve been looking at getting an AR for a while so I thought this would be a great way to be introduced to the rifle.

When I got there the day of the class my parts were in two boxes along with the tools I would need all laid out ready for me to go.



We got started with Dirk, the head gunsmith and instructor, giving us all a short history of the rifle.  We then got down to building the upper first.  We were shown the correct way to install each of the surprisingly few parts to the upper.  While we were all trying to get the parts to fit correctly the owner, Harry, was walking around giving us help as well.  Once we got the upper finished we logically moved on to the lower.  This was a little more difficult for me as there were some small parts and those darned roll pins to get in.  However after some patience and a little application of force I got it put together correctly.  Here is the finished product:



My rifle differed a bit from their standard kit because I wanted the Magpul furniture so I upgraded to that.  At the time of this writing I have unfortunately not been able to shoot it but will soon.

I was very happy with the class because it was very informative and Dirk didn’t mind answering our questions or going over something again when we didn’t get it the first time.  I also feel pretty confident that if something goes wrong with the rifle or I want to upgrade it I will be able to fix or replace the part.  I do hope that I get to do something like this again either here or at another shop.

So have any of you done or wanted to do a build like this before?  Any thoughts or questions?

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Concealed Carry For Larger Women

 

By Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Women have multiple challenges carrying a firearm. Many of those challenges are due to the curves and shorter waists of the female body. Adding to the problem is finding holsters that can be worn comfortably, discreetly and safely while allowing for effective access to the firearm should the need arise. Most holsters are designed by men for a man's body and typical male clothing styles.

For larger, full-figured women the challenges are even greater. A large bust makes reaching for the firearm difficult and sometimes impossible, if crossing the body is necessary. A fuller middle also interferes with reach and accessibility. Clothing styles and options that accommodate concealed carry are limited, which only adds to the problems and frustrations. For some women, the combination of these challenges makes typical methods of concealed carry so uncomfortable and frustrating that they give up trying.

Each woman naturally will have her own set of challenges because every woman's body is unique. But the issues faced by larger women are significant and the topic is often neglected. Here, I will attempt to break down the problems as shared by hundreds of women who frequent The Well Armed Woman site, as well as advice and ideas they shared that work for them. Again - there is no single solution to the various problems larger women have, but I hope to offer two things: one - the sense that, as a larger women, you are not alone and that many women share your frustrations; and two - that through the sharing of all of these women, perhaps there is a suggestion or two that you will find helpful to carry your firearm safely and comfortably. All women need to push through and overcome their particular obstacles because if your gun is not on or with you - it can't protect you.

So, here are the most common problems:

Large Bust
Buxom women shared a few key issues pertaining to full-sized busts. The primary issue is reach. They simply can't get around their breasts to get to their gun, whether in a shoulder, cross-body, an on- or in-the-waistband holster, or even a bra holster. One might assume that a bra holster would work well, given that large breasts create sufficient "hiding space" for a gun, but a majority of larger women responded that bra holsters don't work for them, explaining that the gun "gets lost" and is extremely hard to draw. Sweat under the breasts was another key negative commonly shared.

Wide Around The Middle
Being wide around the middle restricts the ability to reach the holstered firearm especially with bra holsters and on- or in-the-waistband holsters (whether appendix or cross body). The need to wear looser stretch pants with elastic waistbands also limits the possible options for on- or in-the-waistband holsters as they need the support of either a sturdy, wide belt or a substantial and tight waistband. Having a large middle also makes it tough to access an ankle holster. Another common frustration of larger women is that the grip of the gun digs into them in most on-the-waist forms of carry.

Short Waisted
Most women are more short waisted than men. This makes drawing from an on-the-hip holster difficult as there is not enough room to fully clear the firearm without running a fist into the underarm or breast. And the more of you there is in that shorter distance, the tougher this becomes. The distance is simply not sufficient for an effective draw. Most on-the-hip holsters ride too high which only makes things worse. When you factor in elastic or weak waistbands and it becomes almost impossible.

Here are some suggestions women made:

So, what can you do to make concealed carry more comfortable and effective for you? This depends on your climate, and any one of the above issues or a combination of them. But there are a couple of common areas of agreement among the women we polled. The majority found the belly band to be a very good option. Lying against the skin, it can be rotated to any position around the middle. Belly bands can also be worn high or low on the middle, so the user can find the location most comfortable for her and which provides the easiest access to her gun. Unfortunately, a common complaint was that in warmer weather, belly bands can be hot to wear.

An alternative suggested by very large chested women was using an inside-the-waistband holster like "The Betty", but clipping it to the top of the bra near the arm pit. So the gun lies on top corner of the breast, not under it. A simple reach through the collar of the shirt allows for easy access. 

Carrying the firearm on the waist with a loose fitting cover shirt or in the pants, off the back of the hip, more toward the small of the back was another successful position for many of the larger chested, wider middle women. The middle and the bust do not come into play which allows for smoother access. Whenever holstering on the back, however, a woman must be hyper alert to her surroundings as she may be more vulnerable to another person gaining access to it from behind.

The Remora or a similar rubberized pocket holster, which will stick firmly to clothing without the need of a clip was another popular option for in-the-waistband carry. Many women reported to me that because of the non-slip qualities of the rubber - you can place the firearm in any location and it stays put, making it ideal for stretch waistbands.
Another suggested option is a magnetic outside-the-waistband holster, which instead of a metal clip, uses a very strong magnet that locks shut over the waistband. No belt is required, the strength of the magnet providing the necessary support. Also available are paddle holsters which slide down the inside of the pants, acting as a brace to keep the holster in place when no belt is available.

For larger women who happen to be long waisted, a very positive solution is to wear low rise pants. The lowered waistband will increase the distance between the grip of the gun and the armpit. Adjusting the location to just off the hip (front or back) and adjusting the cant to a steeper angle for easier access is also effective.

For women whose middles were "in the middle", the most successful reported option was in-the-waistband, appendix-style carry. Because the firearm is carried in the fleshy front (in front of the hip bone) this was found to be a very comfortable carry position, providing good access to the waist area.
The ankle holster was suggested by many women who deal with large bust and shorter waist issues, but this option is reported as ineffective for women who are larger in the middle as noted earlier.

The last and most reluctantly suggested option for most of these women is carrying in a concealed carry purse or fanny pack. Carrying in an external bag takes an extra dose of awareness and responsibility, but for many women it can be the difference between carrying and not carrying. When this is your only option, the firearm must be in a sleeve or pocket holster with the trigger fully covered and the firearm in a separate compartment within the bag. There are just too many items in the purse that can get in the trigger guard and contribute to an accidental discharge. The bag must be on you and with you at all times. Having the firearm in a separate compartment also makes access easier and faster. No fumbling around - you know right where it is.

Practice is essential when wearing any new holster or when changing the position of one you already use. The utmost care must be taken to make sure you are not "covering" yourself at any time during holstering and un-holstering. Practice with your UNLOADED gun (checking 3 times) to get comfortable and effective with the new holster and location.

Our ability to carry a concealed firearm is a powerful equalizer for women when assaulted. For many large women, running away or running for cover may not be a realistic option. She must be able to access her gun quickly, safely and with the skill necessary to defend herself. That requires at least three things: The gun must be with her, it must be holstered in a manner and location that SHE can manage and she must be well-trained and prepared to draw and use it effectively.

A sincere thanks to all the women who bravely shared their stories, challenges and photos with The Well Armed Woman. Hearing about your struggles and sharing what works for you will no doubt help others.


Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit www.thewellarmedwoman.com

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.
   

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The Hook

 
by Rick Chisholm -- guest contributor
   
It is often asked, do you remember where you were and what you were doing when certain events took place. It’s usually pretty easy to recall, in perfect detail, those memories formed when JFK was shot, when the Challenger exploded or when those events unfolded on that fateful day in September 2001. However, being shooters, hunters and gun lovers I bet there is something else squirreled away in the back of your mind, something special, something sacred -- that precise moment when you took that first shot that changed you forever.
    I remember that event vividly, I may have been seven years old, and we were attending a small party at my uncle’s place. I had one of those uncles, the kind that was easy to idolize as a child, the kind that could produce some manner of amazing gadget at the drop of a hat, the kind that drew a crowd of wide-eyed children whenever he reached into his pocket. A family gathering never went past without the appearance of a deactivated hand grenade, or a switchblade, or the ever-popular pyrotechnics of questionable legality. Yeah, I had that kind of uncle, it was pretty awesome. Did I mention the guns? 

He was a bit of a gun nut, or maybe just a nut, although hindsight is 20/20, it’s also biased so it’s safest just to say he was an interesting fellow with a decent collection of firearms. Getting back to my story, on that evening in question in the dwindling light of a chill late summer evening a gun was introduced to the crowd. It was a strange contraption, a .22 rimfire that was fed by a sizable magazine and fired from an open bolt. Later in life I discovered this to be a French Gevarm semi-automatic, an interesting firearm to say the least. I should also say I use the term “semi-automatic” loosely, as most who have had the Gevarm experience will understand.
My uncle’s house sat near a cliff and a couple Javex bottles had been tossed down into the surging wash of the Great Lake below. Bobbing in the surf, the bottles made for frustrating targets. Several men took turns alternately sniping and cursing at the elusive quarry as my cousin and I looked on in eager anticipation. To my astonishment, I was also to get a turn. I got the usual coaching you receive as a young, first-time shooter -- butt-stock to shoulder, hand here, hand there, look down the sights, shoot the bottle.
The small firearm was heavy and unwieldy to my younger self, I think the stock ended up in my armpit as I struggled to gain a sight picture of the small, white blob, floating so far below. My small finger squeezed, the bolt slammed forward and a small lead projectile spat forth to the water below. To this day I swear I hit the bottle, but more importantly, I fell in love. I was never to be the same from that point onward, I was hooked and guns would forever have a special place in my heart. It was a defining moment that I remember like it was yesterday, a moment that is largely responsible for who I am today.
What was your first gun experience, what made you love guns? Share your story with the Beretta Nation or shoot us a tweet or comment on Facebook, we would love to hear from you.

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Rick Chisholm is an IT Security Officer and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter


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Breathe, Breathe, BREATHE!!!

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

You have gone out and spent $1600 on a new shotgun, $25 on a box of the "best" shells, and $2000 on a prime duck lease.  Opening morning rolls around and that first group of blue wing teal completely commit to your $750 decoy spread.  You pull up, stick a bead on the beak of a bird, and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...nothing falls!  What's the problem?  I mean you bought the best of everything so shouldn't the birds just drop like rain?  One thing you forgot which happens to be the only free thing in your arsenal, AIR!  After the jump we will talk about how breathing, or not in most cases can determine a kill or a whiff.

When I first started hunting waterfowl really hard, I had a good friend that just so happened to be an excellent shotgunner.  When I say excellent, I mean the guy doesn't miss.  I have seen him have 3 shells loaded up with a 4th in his hand and limit out on teal during our early season with 4 pulls of the trigger in about 4 seconds flat.  My jaw dropped on that hunt.  Matt happens to be an excellent mentor to a lot of folks including myself when it comes to the outdoors.  One thing he taught me early on in our ventures is that my breathing was what makes me miss.  I would get so frustrated after a volley and only having 1 bird drop from my 3 shots.  What Matt pointed out to me was that when I would go to pull up, I would actually hold my breath.  Concentration is actually lost by doing this.

Now one might compare this to the breathing techniques of a sniper.  Honestly you would be comparing apples to oranges.  A sniper's breathing techniques require him to hold his breath between inhaling and exhaling for up to 10 seconds at times.  In this frame set the shooter is attempting to get himself into a relaxed state and thus connect with his target.  If he can not get himself into a relaxed state then his breathing exercise is repeated.

In a waterfowling situation, the shooter is actually very active and does not really have time to pause his breathing.  What is actually done is repetitious and uniformed breathing during the shooting process.  Holding your breath from the time you pull up to the time you take the last shot could potentially be 5-10 seconds.  Now sitting at your desk, recliner, or whatever it is that you are sitting in while reading this I want you to start holding your breath and stand up and act like you are taking shots at decoying birds.  Don't worry, we're waterfowlers and everyone thinks we are crazy to begin with.  I'm sure that duck call hanging from your rear view mirror gets a look from people every day.  Now how do you feel after the "shots" you just took.  I bet there are some that have no change, some that have to take a relief breath or 2, and then there are probably a few of us bigger boys that need to sit back down.  Relate this to your concentration in the blind while taking your shots and you can now see why breathing is important.

Next time you are in that layout blind in the stubble of a corn field, remember to take those breaths.  After all, your freezer depends on it!


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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