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Going Through The Change

 

by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Photo: Change of seasons by Silveryn


I suppose I could be writing about the change of seasons as we all are invigorated by the crisp weather and the changing leaves. Or, I could even be writing about THE CHANGE. You know: the change that involves hormones and hot flashes! 

No, I won’t go there; not today.  The change I am talking about is the very profound change that a woman goes through after making the decision to own a firearm, goes through the very important process of deciding which firearm is right for her and training to properly, safely and proficiently learn how to shoot it to defend herself. 

It changes us profoundly. We feel different and we move through our daily lives differently. We in fact are different. How so? We have confidence. With this new sense of confidence we start to look people in the eyes more when we are out and about. We scan the environment with new keen sense of awareness of possible risks and people out of place. We walk through parking lots, restaurants and other public places more prepared and with the confidence that given the worst possible case scenario, we know we are fully prepared to give it all we’ve got to defend ourselves. This not only changes us in the realm of self protection, it also effects every aspect of our lives and relationships.

I believe society breeds high levels of insecurity in women, socially, emotionally and physically. We seem to always be the “weaker one” or the one “not good enough”. The ability to level the playing field, or more appropriately the battle field, is extremely significant for a woman. We feel less like a victim and more like an empowered, fierce force. 


The role of self protector doesn’t come naturally for most women. We are raised to believe we are protected by others. Today, this just isn’t an option for it is not possible in this crazy world, with out crazy schedules to be protected by our men, our police or others all of the time. Women are taking on this role with courage, intelligence and passion.

So we are changed on the outside because we now carry a firearm and are equipped to defend ourselves, but we are also changed on the inside because we carry a new sense of confidence that impacts every area of our lives. 

Has it changed you? 

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.

What A Weekend!

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

Hunting season!  I had the pleasure of spending the weekend chasing dove with a great group of guys. My younger brother is getting married in a few weeks so myself and a few of his friends put together a bachelor weekend at a friends ranch just outside of Weesatche, Texas.  There was great food, clay targets, shotguns, rifles, pistols, a decent number of dove, and an all around great time with some good people.

The weekend looked like it might have been a wash in all literal sense of the word.  Friday night and Saturday morning was an ongoing rain event that dropped 2-5" of rain in the area.  Saturday afternoon the rain came to a halt and the timing couldn't have been any better.  We were able to get a few rounds of skeet in before we all went out in the field to put a minor dent in the Texas dove population.  The final tally of birds in hand was 9 mostly due to the birds being spread out from the weather.  We stayed out until dusk and then made the short drive back to the barn.

Upon arrival at the barn we found that my dad, the cook for the weekend, had carved up the brisket that had been on the pit for about 12 hours as well as 6 beer can chickens accompanied with a pot of beans.  One thing about Texas country boys, WE CAN EAT!  Within an hour all the food was devoured, cold beverages were being consumed, washers were being thrown, and college football was on the big screen.  It was definitely the absolute best bachelor weekend I have ever been lucky enough to attend.

I'm dedicating this post to my brother.  Jared, I hope that your marriage is filled with good times and an eternal bond with a wonderful woman.  You are a hell of a man and I am thankful to be able to call you my brother.  I am extremely proud of you, and I love you.


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.

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.

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.

Shotgun Shells: The Ins and Outs of Selection (Part 3)

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

We now have a basis of how factory loads perform vs hand loads and a good understanding of how to figure out what load works best in your gun.  Now we will take a look at a few factors that we can manipulate in order to fine tune what we are working with.  Choke tubes and recoil pads, we'll take a look at them after the jump.

One of the first things that people like to change when they buy a shotgun is the choke tube.  There are a few manufacturers in the game that produce some excellent products.  I have personally shot some of the best choke tubes on the market and swore by a couple of them and it could have potentially been a huge mistake on my part.  My initial fault the first time I shot an aftermarket choke tube was due to me shooting it in the field on a hunt out of a buddies gun.  My shot to kill ratio on a couple of vollies actually went up and it really made me think it was because of the tube.  What I didn't take into consideration is the fact that I was shooting a different gun with a different setup.  Shotgun fitment is the number one reason people miss.  I have heard it too many times, "Do you think this gun will be good for me?" My reply is first and foremost GO FIT THE GUN!

Now don't get me wrong, aftermarket choke tubes can really improve your shot to kill ratio especially when your standard tubes that come in the gun do not have much research put into them.  This is the main reason I shoot a Beretta A400 Xtreme. There was so much engineering and field testing put into the OptimaChoke HP tubes that I don't have to go out and spend another $50-100 for an aftermarket tube.  It comes in the package!  The patterns through this gun are outstanding and produce a very high percentage of pellets on target while patterning the gun.  It is just one more reason this gun has my reliability stamp of approval.

The other thing we will talk about is recoil pads.  A lot of guys feel that follow up shots are more accurate when there is less recoil.  I will agree with this to a certain extent.  Recovery time between shots is vital in certain situations in the blind.  One thing the shooter should remember is a rushed shot is a missed shot.  IF you can concentrate, remember to breathe, and place your shots correctly then less recoil is a great deal.  Until you can get that down then your second and third shots are pointless.  My dad taught me this at an early age by letting me shoot a single shot 20 gauge.  His theory was my shot selection would be better if I only had 1 chance.

Now I can utilize this and become a better shot. The recoil reduction in my A400 Xtreme  is above and beyond anything else on the market and was the final piece to the puzzle for me.  Add to that the ability to change the length of pull with the extra butt pads, and you have a gun that can be tailored to just about anyone straight out of the box.

This wraps up my 3 part "class" on shotgun shells, how to select them, and how to manipulate their performance.  Hopefully your next trip out to the duck blind will be more productive with these extra tools in your blind bag.


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.

Shotgun Shells: The Ins and Outs of Selection (Part 2)

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

In the last segment we talked briefly about a few different factory loads and hand loading.  We saw a few examples of how different characteristics work in different loads and how those characteristics determine how the load performs when it comes to ballistics. Now let’s tie all this together and find what works best in our guns….






...after the jump.

The very first thing I do when I load a new recipe is load up about 3-5 shells with the recipe and take them out to pattern them.  I take a large piece of paper or cardboard and draw a 30” diameter circle in the middle of it.  I want the highest percentage of pellets I can possibly get in that circle at the range I will be using the shell at.  Now draw a horizontal and vertical line in the circle dividing it into 4 sections and label them 1, 2, 3, and 4 in no certain order.  This will help us understand how well the shot is evenly distributed.  Where the 2 lines cross will be your Point Of Aim (POA).  I then take the setup out to the field, walk off the distance I will be shooting at in real world situations, take aim, and shoot.

It is now time to check your results.  Start counting the holes in each quadrant of the circle and write the number down on a piece of paper for each quadrant.  I will also write down the number of holes OUTSIDE of the circle.  The first thing we are looking for is how well the pattern is spread out within the circle.  If I have 54 pellets in quadrant 1, 60 in 2, 58 in 3 and 40 in 4 then I know my pattern is fairly lopped sided.

The next thing I will do is add up the 4 quadrants and divide that by the known number of pellets in the shell and multiply by 100 to get my percentage.  Shot in a shell is measured by weight and the number of pellets should be fairly consistent as long as the weight and shot size remain the same.  I personally will not settle for anything less than 80% in the circle.

Lastly I look for any “holes” in the pattern.  If I have 90% of the pellets in the circle, but there is an area of 5-10” in diameter that has nothing or 1-2 pellets then that isn’t such a great pattern.

I always run 2 or 3 patterns with the same loads on new sheets of paper for each shot to get a good representation of how that load will perform in the field.  You always need to back up your data with results that are fairly close to each other.

What we are ultimately trying to achieve is the maximum number of pellets in the circle spaced out uniformly throughout the circle.  As I said before in the last segment, this pattern is your key to success!

Now that you have a better understanding of how to figure out what shell works best for you next time we will talk about how we can change the outcome and what effects how the pellets act.

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.

Our Future Hunters and Fishers

 


By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor



Five years ago my wife and I were blessed with our first child and at that point and time we both realized what it really meant to be a parent.  I can't even begin to name the millions of things on my bucket list that I now wanted to include him on.  From waterfowl hunting in Canada to sail fishing in Costa Rica, my adventures would not be complete without him included.

One thing that I have learned over the years as a parent is that these kids that we are raising are the future of our outdoor passions.  It really all came into perspective for me when my oldest son asked me every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, for a week straight: "Daddy, when are we going fishing?"  At that point I realized that our children are what we mold them to be.  I realized quickly that both of my boys are as eaten up with hunting and fishing as I am (for which I have to give credit to my own dad).

The future of our passions and the future of our rights depend on what our children are taught, yet sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves that we tend to forget that.  I have learned over the years that I may not even pick my gun up the whole time on a hunt because I am more involved with teaching my sons about bird ID, flyways, or how wind plays into exactly where the birds will most likely decoy.

I am a firm believer in the saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life."


Have you taken a kid hunting or fishing lately?


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.

The 10 to 2 Rule

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest contributor

As an avid duck hunter I get to spend quite a bit of time in the blind with different people from all walks of life.  I have had the opportunity to hunt with professional sports stars as well as with average Joes that have never sat in a blind a day in their life.  One thing that I can not stress more is SAFETY!

When folks whom I've never been hunting with get in the blind with me, we always go over safety and shot selection, first and foremost.  The basic rule that I give is what I call the "10 to 2 Rule."  Basically what the hunter has to understand is that his window of opportunity will present itself between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position as he or she directly faces the front or rear of the blind.  If the bird happens to get outside of that range then that bird is off limits to the hunter and is in play for the person standing next to them.

If I have a hunter deviates from this rule, I will give a fair warning on the first instance.  I love this sport and I completely understand that we get caught up in the adrenaline rush sometimes, so if the infraction wasn't blatant or reckless I will give a little leeway.  My delivery will definitely make them think about the shot they took though.  If it happens again, the hunter will be asked to unload his weapon and set it down.  In all the years I have been hunting I have only had to go to this extreme one time.  After a few vollies, it was apparent that he understood where I was coming from and after a little pep talk we agreed that he would be WAY more careful.  I didn't have another problem all morning, and he learned a new respect for his weapon and the other hunters around him.

One exception to this rule is the hunter on the end of the blind.  I normally like to put more experienced hunters on the end because typically their shooting skills are far better than a novice's and thus they can "cover the end" of the blind.  I typically sit on the end where the door is, so I can work the dog on retrieves and cover that end of the blind.

One thing we all should remember: a hunt with no safety is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette with accidents waiting to happen.  Whether you are in the duck marsh, the deer woods, or just having fun at the local range, safety should be your first and foremost concern at all times.  Always understand that "you are your brother's keeper" and not speaking up about unsafe acts is just as bad as if not worse than committing the unsafe act yourself.

Happy hunting and stay safe!

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 and 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.

The “Conversion” Experience: Freedom to Fire (Part 1)

 

By Austin Selph –Guest Contributor

(Part 1 of 4)
Unfortunately, not everyone grows up with guns. It’s a sad truth that I’ve found myself pondering over the past few days. The truth of the matter is that some people will go their whole lives without pulling a trigger. The way I see it, this is some serious stuff!

It’s sometimes hard for me to imagine my life before guns, but there was a time when my concept of a gun was nothing more than a toy or movie prop. My parents didn’t keep guns in the house when I was growing up. I managed to get a couple of rounds off with my friends or on special occasions with my grandparents, but nothing on a regular basis.

I remember the first shot I ever took: I was six years old, wide-eyed with adrenaline pumping through my veins. Nothing too fancy, just an old Red Ryder BB gun. I used my puny muscles to pump three or four times, raised the gun to my shoulder, and pulled the trigger. I nailed an empty Dr. Pepper can I had propped up on a five-gallon bucket. The ding of a BB passing through an aluminum can still brings a smile to my face even today. From that moment on, I was hooked.

A few years later I took yet another monumental step- I bought my first gun. My grandpa sold me an old shotgun he’d kept in his gun safe for years. It had every kind of nick and scratch imaginable from over a decade of consistent use. It needed some serious maintenance and I tended to it in the same way a mother would her sick child. Needless to say, it wasn’t in great condition, but it was mine.

Photo courtesy of Zazzle.com
Like many Americans before me I had crossed in to the realm of gun ownership, a true convert of our second amendment right to bear arms. For many of us it’s a rite of passage, a freedom and right that we have the privilege to exercise in this great country.

While everyone’s story is different, we all have one thing in common: At some point we all took that first shot. My first experience with guns will always hold a special place in my heart. What’s your story?

This blog is the first of a four part series I’m calling “Freedom to Fire.” This series will take a look at the past, getting back to the basics of why we’re where we are today. Check back regularly for updates and new posts.   
Feel free to leave comments, questions, or suggestions! Let’s chat!

Austin Selph is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. He can be reached on Twitter or Facebook.

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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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