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An Honest Look At The Concealed Carry Purse

 

by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

The Concealed Carry Purse, people either love them or they hate them. To carry your firearm in a concealed carry purse is your decision to make and there is no right or wrong answer. What there is though, is what is recommended. You are an intelligent woman who can consider all of the information, the risks and the pro's and con's and make an intelligent decision for yourself if a concealed carry purse is right for you. Why do so many fiercely counsel against this popular mode of carry? Likely for two reasons. One, there is serious risk anytime our guns are not on our bodies and two, it limits our ability to respond as quickly as possible and those seconds could count! These are very real issues that must be considered and consciously accepted by you when making the decision to holster your gun in a concealed carry purse. I trust you will do this.



What do I think about concealed carry purses? First, I must tell you that I believe my role is to provide information and resources and let you make your own decisions. My opinion is just that, my opinion and really only matters to me in making the decision for myself. What do I know? I know that awareness and practice are key. Do I carry in a concealed carry purse? Yes, sometimes I do. Why? Because there are times that if I didn't, I wouldn't have my gun with me, and that is not an option for me. (As long as it is legal) 
I know myself - I know my capabilities - and I practice. Having your gun holstered somewhere ON your middle is BEST. It is close, it is safe and it easy to get to. You really can't argue with that. On The Body is the safest and best way to carry your gun, Period! Can you carry safely in a concealed carry purse, yes you can. The proper purse, meticulous awareness, and practice drawing/shooting from one is the key. 


When choosing to carry in a concealed carry purse, here are some questions you might ask yourself in making this decision:



  • Am I forgetful?
  • Have I left my purse behind in the last 6 months, in the restroom, a restaurant or store?
  • Am I around small children regularly who might have access to my purse?
  • Am I willing to carry my purse cross-body to minimize risk of someone taking my purse?
  • Can I keep it on me and store it properly when it must be off my body?
  • Will I vow to always have my gun in a holster in a designated compartment of the purse?
  • Am I disciplined enough to practice the awkward draw and use of my gun from the concealed carry purse? (yes, you may very likely need to shoot through the purse to not loose the precious seconds)

These are just a handful of important questions to ask yourself. It is your decision, one that it is important you make honestly and thoughtfully. If you can't answer these questions with confidence, than even if you think this is the best option for you because of the convenience, it likely is not a good choice for 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
Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube
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.

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

Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

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.

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


Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

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.

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.

Firearms Accessories: Today's Choices

 

By Keith Hollar – Guest Contributor

As I was thinking about the state of the accessory market I realized how good we have it at the moment.  There is almost an overwhelming amount of options out there for almost any firearm you have.  You can get different stocks, sights, barrels, triggers, scopes, electronic sights, compensators, flash hiders, magazines, flashlights, lasers, or mounting rails for almost any weapon out there.  Don’t like the finish on your firearm?  There are companies out there today that can create almost any design you can dream up on your firearms.  There are also finishes that you can buy and do yourself.

Usually I don’t make too many changes to my firearms after I purchase them.  Most of my rifles have scopes on them and all but one or two of my handguns have at least aftermarket stocks on them.  On handguns I feel that a nice pair of stocks is an easy way to dress up and personalize a firearm.  One of the latest handguns I’ve done this to is my Beretta Stampede.



It is a standard model so it came with the black plastic checkered stocks.  I never really cared for them, however it took me a while to figure out and find the ones I wanted.  I settled on ivory colored polymer ones because I really liked the way it dressed up this revolver with its case hardened frame.  I also felt it added a classic look to it.  I purchased another pair from a small company that I found on the internet.  When I received them they were not like the picture, but because of the cost I tried to see if they’d work.  I don’t know which revolver they were made for but it sure wasn’t the Stampede.  The shape was all wrong and they were way too big.  Luckily I was able to find a pair of the Beretta branded ones on the accessories website and ordered them.  These, no surprise, fit it just right.  They also make it feel a lot better in the hand.  Even though they are smooth they don’t slip around in my hand during shooting.  Now that is with some light .45 Colt loads and I wasn’t sweating so I’ll have to see how they perform long term.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  What do you like to do to your firearms to individualize them?

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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.

Ode to the Range Bag

 
by: Phil McNaughton, Guest Contributor
More thoughts and theories, this time regarding that most abused, underrated piece of gear: the range bag.
When I started shooting, I went to the range with a Beretta and a box of ammo.  Now I have a range bag that is bigger than my first car, and my ammo won’t even fit in it.
Before you leave for the range, make sure the magazines in your range bag fit the guns in your range bag.  Ditto for holsters.
Carry extra eye and ear protection in your bag.  Somebody will show up without them.
Multigun Match Math: 1 range bag + 2 arms + 3 guns + 4 types of ammo + 5 stages = GET A CART.
Yoda: “When using range bag for rifle rest, mindful of muzzle blast, you will be.”
Use black duct tape for patching your range bag.  It’s more tacticool than the gray stuff.
Spare gun:  if your race blaster goes down in the middle of a match, and you drove 4.5 hours to get there, are you going to just leave?  Of course not, that’s why you carry that huge bag!  Break out the backup and get back in the game.
Got fiber optic sights on your favorite blaster?  Got extra fiber optic rod in the bag?
A shooter should have a caddy, like a golfer.  I’ve tried offering the job to those girls in the lingerie catalog, but they don’t return my calls. L
Electronic optic?  Check.  Electronic hearing protection?  Check.  Batteries for both? 
At one time or another, there has been a holster, magazine, or part in your bag for a gun you don’t own.
I carry two towels in my range bag: one for my guns and one for me.  When I leave the range, my face is covered in gun oil and my guns are covered in sweat.
First Aid: small bandages, sunscreen, bug spray, and Skittles are necessities for every range bag.  
Whenever a “discussion” ensues about the rules of a specific shooting sport, someone pulls a rulebook out of their bag.  I’m that guy.
Ink pens are scarcer than humility at a match.  Carry a few, loan them out.  You will never see them again.
Squib rod: $10.  Small screwdrivers: $5.  Multi-tool: $30.  That funky doohickey that adjusts my front sight: free with purchase.  Having the right tool in your bag for quick repairs and adjustments at the range: PRICELESS.
Stapler & staples:  ever drive to range and realize you have nothing to put your targets up with?
Gloves:  if you’re an asset to our sport, you help with match setup and teardown.   So just remember, splinters in the trigger finger can ruin your day.
Guys, if you are carrying a range bag that is smaller than say, a child’s backpack, it is perfectly acceptable for your shooting pals to call it a “man purse.

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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.

Impressions From A Gun Show Virgin

 

by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Here are some simple impressions and a few questions from a gun show virgin:






There are not too many women at gun shows.... Yet!

I didn’t get strange looks for walking around with a gun on my hip.

I did get curious looks for being a woman cruising the aisles.

It is oddly comfortable and comforting being surrounded by guns, ammo and gun loving people!

I have no difficulty believing the recent Gallop Poll that said 47% of homes in the US have a firearm. They were all at the show!
You can wear ANYTHING you want to a gun show and I mean anything.  
Fully grown adult males actually will pin handwritten signs on scraps of paper on themselves! 
What are all those little parts filling the tiny bins on so many tables?
Gun lovers are really nice and patient people.
The people watching doesn’t get any better.
There are many “interesting characters” at gun shows.  
Bring a cart with wheels - everything is VERY heavy.
Buy your ammunition on your way out!
Going to a gun show is like going to the humane society. There are so many guns that need good homes. You MUST leave with one.
You see the wildest T-shirts for sale and on the visitors.
I didn’t expect to see machetes and Gothic swords - but they were fascinating.
The collector firearms are amazing.
The military historic paraphernalia is sobering.
I want one of those huge rounds in my home. I don’t know what they are - but they are really big, very heavy and very cool!
I like the sound of stun guns.
Nothing beats a hot dog, a Coke and a stadium full of firearms.

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
Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube
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.

The PSA Shootout

 
by Phil McNaughton- Guest Contributor

Springtime is wonderful in South Central PA.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and if you listen closely, the musical dings of lead pounding steel echo through the countryside.  That's right, it’s spring, and it’s time for the PSA Shootout.  Held annually at the Palmyra Sportsmen’s Association, the PSA Shootout is the largest knock-down steel match in the country, bringing in nearly 600 shooters for an all-steel speed shooting match. 
There are 6 stages, with 25-35 falling steel targets per stage.  With approximately 180 plates, at 600 shooters... Yeah, that's well over 100,000 rounds downrange over the course of the 4-day event.
The game is pretty simple: shoot all the plates until they are down, as fast as you can.  There are 4 handgun divisions:  Stock Auto (iron sights, no comps), Open Auto (optics, compensators, etc), Stock Revolver (iron sights, no comps), and Open Revolver (optics, comps, etc).  Shooters can enter multiple divisions with different guns. 
Automatics are downloaded to 10 rounds in a magazine, and revolvers are limited to 6 shots before a reload.  The start position is either holstered, or gun in hand with the muzzle touching the table, and reloads can be done off your belt, or the table.
The stages contained large plates, spaced closely together for those clutch-dumping speed runs, along with just enough small plates so you had to slam on the brakes and really see that front sight.  Someone in Texas must have read my post about the Star, and decided to teach me a lesson by stacking 2 stars on top of each other in Stage 1. 
Although my Beretta 92G Elite II ran flawlessly all day, the rest of my squad fought with an abundance of gun malfunctions.  Failures to feed, fire, eject, and who knows what else seemed to pop up on every other run.  At least one shooter had to break out the back up gun.  This is one of those events where folks like to see how light they can load their ammo, but I try to stay away from the sub-power factor bunny fart loads.  It might shoot soft, but it might also not cycle your gun reliably, or knock down the steel.
This was my first year at PSA, I managed to squeak by in 60th place, out of 271 shooters in Stock Auto.  I had solid runs all day, with only 1 stage that disappointed me... yeah, the one with the stars...
So next spring, if you’re looking to start your shooting season off with a bang, or a ding, try the PSA Shootout.  You'll see some old friends, meet some new ones, and have a blast.  Just bring your safe attitude, your favorite pistols, and ammo.  Lots of ammo.
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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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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Eat Your Vegetables

 

by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor


“I don't want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.” Doug Coupland 




 

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."  Doug Larson




I have noticed something very interesting. I post a photo on Facebook of a cat wielding a machine gun or a Mae West quote about being a bad girl and within hours - over 500 shares, even more LIKEs and tons of great comments. I post a photo of an attractive woman brandishing a firearm and BINGO thousands of shares and likes and hundreds of comments. (Yes, there are tons of MALE Well Armed Women fans.)  I post a link to a phenomenal article loaded with potentially life saving tips and/or spot on marksmanship tips and..... Maybe 10 shares, 100 likes and only 5-10 comments. 
So what is that? 

That is human nature. We love something quick, fun and satisfying but don’t really like to take the time to take care of our “firearm health”. There are a few areas in our lives, where this probably really doesn’t matter much. Then there are the few that really do matter, like our health, our relationships, our careers and yes, our skills as an armed personal defense shooter. But of course as Booker T. Washington said “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” 

This is where the Broccoli comes in. 
It really is like eating vegetables. We know they are good for us, very good for us. We don’t even question it and yet some of us still avoid them like the plague. So What can we do to get over the barrier of “if it is good for me, than no thank you”? What can we do to make these “vegetables” taste better besides wrap them in bacon? 
We know that regarding one’s physical health, if they have an illness or are diagnosed with a serious medical issue, they will make the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary. They WILL begin to eat their vegetables. The fear becomes the motivator. 
Now, none of us should have to, or needs to go through the trauma of a close call or an attempted attack to create the fear to get us to change our ways, should we? Of course not.  It takes the mental commitment and belief that we each could REALLY be in this type of horrifying situation to create the fear that will cause us to change our ways and do the reading, training and practicing necessary.
So the moral of the story is: enjoy the simple things and the things that make you laugh, but also invest in your firearm health. Read, train, practice and grow in your knowledge of what just might keep you alive if the horrific and unexpected happens. Oh and yes, eat your vegetables, too!

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 or Twitter or on her website.
Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter 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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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Hello, Texas? You can have your star back…

 
by Phil Mcnaughton- Guest Contributor
This is a Texas Star target. 
It is a common array at practical and steel shooting events.  The 5 plates at the points of the star are the actual targets.  Shoot a plate, it falls to the ground. 
I know, it sounds pretty simple.  Until you factor in the axle.  Yes, an axle, in the center of the star.  With all the plates in place, the star is balanced.  Knock one plate off, the balance is gone, and the star spins, eventually swinging back and forth like a pendulum until all the plates are down.    
It’s typically shot with pistols or shotguns, the latter being a little easier on the nerves if you have the right shot pattern.  Although I have personally never seen it, I suppose you could use rifles on it, if the distance was far enough, and the steel was rated for rifle rounds, although the very thought of trying to clear this thing with a rifle, at distance, gives me nightmares.
There are some wicked variations of the star.  I’ve seen paper targets in place of the steel, with weights added to keep the star in constant motion.  Adding strategically-placed no-shoot targets (the ones you don’t want to put holes in), anywhere near the star tends to result in no-shoots with a lot of holes in them.  Even better: let’s put 2 stars together on the same axle.  We’ll put paper or steel targets on one star, and no-shoots on the other.  Then we’ll make them spin in opposite directions!
Good grief, who thinks of this stuff?
There are some “tricks” to clearing the star.  Start at the top, work your way down.  This keeps the center of gravity near the bottom, which limits the swinging.  It also helps to pick a spot and wait for the plate.  When it passes, hose it.  A good place to hold your sight is the point where the plates pause to change direction.  This works well, unless a devious match director has hidden that magical spot behind a steel wall, or a no-shoot.  Yes, it happens.
I don’t recommend chasing the moving plates with bullets.  That’s a surefire way to burn up rounds.  The crowd will get a good laugh, but in the end you may be left standing there with an empty gun, as those little plates mock you, merrily swinging along, untouched. 
“Ok, but bad guys don’t move like that.”  I’ve heard folks say that the star doesn’t represent any sort of “real world” target, whatever that is.  I view any challenge on the range as something that will make me a better shooter.  Hopefully none of us ever have to use our shooting skills off the range, but if we do, experience with targets like the star might just give us the edge we need to get home that day.
I really don’t know why it’s called a Texas Star.  It is a big star, after all, and Texas is big on stars.  Maybe its origins can be traced to the Lone Star State?  Sometimes I want to send it back to wherever it came from, but deep down I’m glad someone made this thing.  It’s made me a better shooter. 
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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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