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Ambassador

 
by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

You, my friend are an Ambassador. You may not realize it and you may not even wish to be, but you are. The dictionary lists the following definition of an ambassador:


“A person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” 

You have joined a very distinguished group of individuals who influence our society and our world. So, now that you know who you are, how well are you doing at your job? 
People are watching you and people are listening to you. They are making decisions and forming opinions based on what you do and say. 

To add even more pressure, do you realize that how well you do your job as Ambassador directly effects millions of gun owners and their ability to protect themselves and enjoy their firearms? This is a lot of pressure, and all you wanted to do was defend yourself and/or enjoy shooting targets or hunt, right?
The day you purchased your first firearm you took on a great responsibility. You knew owning a firearm was a serious decision and that there are laws you must abide by, but did you realize that how you handle and use your firearm, how you speak of it, and your attitude about firearms puts you in such an important position?
Society, the government, your family and your neighbors, who perhaps are not experienced or knowledgeable in firearms, will form their opinions and make voting decisions also based on what they learn from you. Those who currently want to remove our right to own firearms are foaming at the mouth for anything and anyone that can be used to accomplish that goal. We see gun owners who act inappropriately, carelessly and even violently used in this way almost nightly on the news.

So, how are you doing? Are you safe? Do people see you shooting with eye and ear protection and following firearm safety rules? Do they ever see you pointing your gun at anything other than a safe target? Do you tell “off color” jokes or make less-than-tolerant comments involving your gun? Do you store your gun properly? Do you know the laws in your State and know where you cannot legally use your gun? Do you leave your favorite shooting area in the desert or woods clean? Do you realize that anytime we breach any of the above we could, in a moment, become a tool used to further efforts to place all of our rights in jeopardy. 

As I become entrenched in social media with The Well Armed Woman and monitor many, many pages, I regularly see and read such poor representations of what responsible gun ownership is really about. I wonder to myself: “If this is what those outside the gun culture see, it’s no wonder they fight so hard to take this right away. What a bunch of angry lunatics”. I see it at the range, sometimes, too. 

You know, I’m really not a fuddy duddy. I love shooting my guns and nothing means more to me than being able to defend myself, if necessary, and to help women do the same.  I love a cool photo or a funny pro-gun sign or saying,  but I also cherish my right to own and carry my firearm, and am frustrated by those that are reckless and careless and risk becoming ambassadors for those who desire to take my right away or to limit it.

Of course, there are many, many responsible owners and fine reflections of responsible gun ownership, and most of us are pretty good Ambassadors, doing our best to be good examples of safe, responsible gun ownership and handling. I think we can do better though. I know I can do a better job and take my “appointment” as Ambassador more seriously. I need to have the courage to remind my brothers and sisters in arms of their great responsibility and need to be good representatives as well. I need to be more careful and mindful when I don’t even think anyone is watching. 

Safe, respectful, responsible and a gun owner with integrity... That is the Ambassador I want to be.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” 
― John Wooden

As the effort to limit our rights grows, our united work to represent our passion responsibly becomes that much more important.  What do you think we can do individually and collectively to be the best ambassadors possible?

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.

Things I've learned at the range

 

by Phil McNaughton- Guest Contributor
A few thoughts and theories from my time on the trigger, in no particular order...
  
I shoot faster when I slow down. 
Brussels sprouts make great targets.
Your worst day at the range is still better than your best day at the office.  Unless you work at the range.  Then you are just lucky, and I hate you. 
When you leave the range, nobody will remember how accurate you were, or how fast you were.  Everyone will remember how safe you were. 
Shooting is universal.  Lots of folks do it; lots of folks want to do it.  You may be surprised at who you meet at the range.  You may be surprised at who is waiting for you to take them to the range.
Real shooters know guns.  Hollywood doesn’t.  Learn from the former.
Don’t leave the gun shop empty handed.
Safety doesn’t take a backseat to experience. 
My Beretta will function in rain, snow, sub zero, or triple digit temperatures.  I may not.
They are called “sights” for a reason. See them.
Empty brass is more valuable than gold.
You can never have enough magazines.
Sooner or later you will have a box full of holsters that you don’t wear, or don’t have guns for anymore. 
People will buy a gun simply because it looks cool.
The gun you bought today will be on sale next weekend.  
The only thing you should take seriously at the range is safety.  Everything else is just fun.
The day I stopped worrying about scores is the day I became a better shooter. 
There is no such thing as a “double tap.”  Pay attention to the sights with every shot.
Dry fire until your fingers bleed.  Get bandages and start again.
Someday when you are working on your favorite gun, that little spring will fly across the room into oblivion.
You will buy parts for guns that you don’t own. 
Sometimes steel plates will stay standing after a hit.  Just because they hate you.
My shooting buddies are not really friends.  They are family.

Shooting soda cans is more fun when they are full.  And shaken.
There will always be one clay bird that refuses to break.  Don’t let it win.  Go find it.  Then step on it.
Practice the things that you don’t like to do.  Chances are you need it.
Introduce someone new to the firearms hobby.  Every chance you get.
If you wear a tank top at the range, you will inevitably get burned.  In places you don't want to be burned.
It doesn’t matter what gun you shoot, somebody will make fun it. 
Practice.  Do it a lot.  Do it often.  Do it safely.
A guy loves to watch a girl shoot.  Unless the girl is a better shooter than he is.
Spend less time talking about shooting, and more time doing it.
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 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 trouble with hands...

 
By Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

Each of our hands consists of 27 bones, 29 major joints, 34 muscles, 123 ligaments, 30 arteries, and the zillions of nerve and blood vessel branches.  These all work together in such amazing ways, you have to marvel at how they all collaborate to do the most intricate of tasks.

Our ability to handle and shoot our firearms is dependent on all of these parts working together perfectly. How well we can manipulate the controls of the firearm and handle the recoil depends entirely on the strength and coordination of our hands.

Beretta Mod. 3032 Tomcat
I think we take our hands for granted.  They are just there and they do what we tell them to do - effortlessly. But many shooters, whether due to aging, disease or injury, struggle with hands that are not functioning properly, leaving them in pain, frustrated and in some cases, unable to operate their firearms.  On The Well Armed Woman Facebook page, this issue comes up repeatedly. Women struggling with arthritis, carpal tunnel and others, share their frustration with the inability and the discomfort of working the action of their firearm.  Lauri shares “carpal tunnel has taken a lot of strength out of my hands.” Tena writes “when I went to rack the slide... I couldn't do it! I have arthritis in my hands and I just could not muster the force to slide it.”  Jay says “I have had to back down the caliber because my hands just couldn’t take the beating of my .40 and .45 anymore.”

There is no doubt that some adjustments need to be made when dealing with these types of  issues, so shooters can continue to shoot effectively, protect themselves and safely continue to fully enjoy shooting.

Beretta Bobcat
Along with medical attention, there are some things that can perhaps minimize some of these difficulties, including: gel shooting gloves, wrist braces, and the changing of caliber. One of the solutions that have proven quite successful for these ladies is a semi-automatic with a tilt-up barrel.  Both the Beretta Bobcat (.25 auto, .22 LR) and the Beretta Tomcat (.32 ACP) have this Tip-up barrel feature which thankfully allows rounds to be loaded directly into the chamber without slide retraction. (Racking).  The .32 Tomcat, when using 60-grain .32 ACP (7.65 mm) hollow-point ammunition, provides firepower equaling the punch of a .380 (9mm Short). Other great benefits are that it also assists in the safe clearing of the pistol, by allowing a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stove-piping problems are virtually eliminated as well, by the open slide design. Nice benefits in addition to being well priced.

Perhaps you have some experience with this issue and have found ways to alleviate some of the difficulties. Please comment and share what has been helpful to you or your thoughts, as this is an issue with many shooters, both male and female of all ages.

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

Make sure you follow Beretta on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

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 is a well-armed woman?

 
By Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor
At The Well Armed Woman, it's all about accomplishing the "Three Es:" To Educate, to Equip and to Empower women. Anything that falls into these Es is why it exists and what it's about. I started TheWellArmedWoman.com because there was nothing like it when I was considering a gun.

No single resource that had everything I needed to explore firearms, make an intelligent decision, grow in my skills and find products that fit a my body and lifestyle and, more importantly, spoke to me as a woman. In such a short time, I can say with confidence, women are hungry for these Es!

I am thrilled to be invited to share and connect with you to not only grow in our own skills and knowledge but to inform and expand the world of firearms to all women.

OK, so back to the question. You either are a woman or know a woman; right? So what IS a well-armed woman? Is it a woman in full tactical gear with an AR15 on her shoulder? Is it a gal in jeans and a cowboy hat with a .45 strapped to her belt and a .380 holstered in her boot? Is it the "Mature woman" with her 12 gauge shotgun under her bed? Or is it the business woman with her compact 9mm tucked discretely in her bra holster? All of these are armed women, but what makes a woman well-armed is not just the firearm she owns or how well she is equipped, it is the two other Es that define her. A woman who is well-informed (Educated), well-trained and encouraged to grow and improve further (Empowered) is what makes one well armed.

Let’s hear what you think. Please comment and share about what makes you, or the woman in your life, a Well-Armed Woman. Or share your thoughts on what makes a Well-Armed Woman and what kinds of topics you would like me to discuss in future articles.

Let’s hear what you think. Please comment and share about what makes you, or the woman in your life, a Well Armed Woman. Or share your thoughts on what you think makes a Well Armed Woman and what kinds of topics you would like me to discuss in future articles.

One thing I know, is that each woman has her totally unique reason or combination of reasons as to why she owns a firearm, she has a unique life and lifestyle that it must fit within safely, and a unique body to not only handle her gun, but to carry it as well. There is nothing more beautiful than a Well-Armed Woman!

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and guest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook or Twitter 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 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.

Practical Shooting 101

 
by Phil McNaughton-Guest Contributor

Welcome to Practical Shooting 101.  There are no textbooks in this class.  All you need is your favorite firearm, a safe attitude, and the desire to have fun! 

What did you do during your last range trip?  Did you stand on a firing line and shoot a static paper target?  If you said yes, that’s okay.  The fundamentals of basic marksmanship should be practiced early and often in one’s shooting career.  Nevertheless, consider your shooting abilities beyond static target shooting.  Have you ever shot at a moving target?  Have you ever shot at a target while you were moving?   What if you have to engage a target from an unusual position, like under a table or over a barrel?  These are the sorts of things you encounter in practical shooting competition. 

The textbook definition of practical shooting would be using a firearm to engage targets in a dynamic scenario.  Practical shooting finds its roots in law enforcement and military training.  The people who protect us don’t know what they will encounter in the real world, so they need to know how to run their gun in any situation.  Practical shooting gives everyone a chance to learn these same skills.

What do you actually do in practical shooting?  The courses, targets, and procedures vary between the disciplines, but the fundamentals are the same.  Get the gun in your hand and engage the targets, avoid the no-shoot targets, move as necessary, and manage your ammo.  The timer is running, and accuracy is a big part of the score.  The goal is be fast and accurate.

In addition to improving our gun handling skills, practical shooting has a lot to offer the competitor in all of us.  The various sanctioning bodies have local, regional, national, and international matches, which draw major sponsors.  There are divisions for almost any firearm and classification systems that allow shooters of similar abilities to compete against each other.  No matter your skill level, your equipment, or where you live, there is a place for you. 

Gun owners have the ultimate responsibility of safety, and practical shooting will reinforce the safe mindset.  Thousands of competitive shooters prove every year that you can draw, move, and shoot your firearm quickly, and accurately, all while not hurting anyone and having a lot of fun. 

What does this have to do with Beretta, you ask?   There are many national and international wins for the Beretta pistol in the practical shooting scene.  I have competed with the 92FS, the PX4 Storm, and the M9A1.  Although I have tried other guns, I keep coming back to Beretta, simply because they always work.  When the pressure is on at a match, I only have to worry about how I will perform, not how the gun will perform. 

Your homework for next time:  check out some of the info on the web about practical shooting.  It’s one of the most challenging and exciting shooting sports, and we always need new folks. 
  
Next time we’ll talk about the gear you need and how to get started.  Class dismissed. 

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

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.

Feminine instinct...

 

Erica Rodriguez from
Washington State,
and her Px4
 As you may have noticed, we have been talking more and more about female gun ownership, lately.

Beyond the trends, the statistics and the news, it is important to recognize that, overall, our industry does not make it easy for a woman to enter the sacred halls of firearms ownership.

Heck: I would go as far as saying that, in some cases, it is even hard for a woman to cross the threshold of a gun store. It can be intimidating for any newbie to approach what is seemingly a male-only environment as it is. Add to it the fact that we're talking about firearms, with all the reverential fear that society associates with it, and you have a recipe for detachment.
And, yet, women have been joining this incredibly fun world of firearms in drones, lately.
Some say it is a result of the increasingly-high divorce rate, which creates a growing number of single women living with kids, while others say that it simply the fun of going to the range and the consequent word-of-mouth activity that does the trick; whatever the reason, recent studies prove that more and more women own guns.

I feel, sadly, that the market has not kept up with this trend, and for two reason: on one side, it is still hard to find classes where women can feel free to ask questions and learn, with the exception of some great NRA programs and what I recently learn are events and seminars dedicated to women at Sportsman's Warehouse. I meet some women who have grown up using guns. Safety procedures, loading and unloading a gun, posture and recoil control are second nature to them. To Jenn, who lives in a large city in the Northeast, that was not the case. "Simply put," she told me recently, "I don't want to make a fool of myself. So I just postpone learning."

When it comes to product availability, too, our industry makes women face an unfair entry barrier, especially when it comes to shotguns, with length of pull offerings that sometime make shotgun shooting a less-than-enjoyable experience.

The greatest obstacle, however, is visible only when you scratch below the surface. It isn't as prominent and widespread as the other two, but it is a barrier nonetheless. When I ask people "what can this industry do to attract more women?" the answer can lean toward cliches like "pink guns" and "hot men selling guns." This tells me that - in the eyes of some - female gun ownership is still not a legitimate activity.
But do not fear: not all is lost. There are examples like the NRA programs I mentioned above, to help. But help also comes in an easy-to-consume online format. One of my favorite is a website called "Girl's guide to guns." I spoke to Natalie, one of the creators of the website, recently. Natalie wants women to know that there is a serious side, a life-saving one, to gun ownership, but there's a more complex and savory side to it, that is made of social interaction, of meaningful relationships, of team-play, and of the satisfaction of "smoking" a clay or hitting that elusive bullseye at the pistol range. Memories are made, and that is worth all the gunpowder in the world.


Women and guns also
means endless memories
in the field.
 Do you want an example of empowered, cool, gun-toting woman? Look no further than Destinee and her videos. Watch her handle a gun safely and with impressive familiarity and you can see why I think that firearms activities are "the great equalizer." Then, if you're a guy, get in line: you're not the only one who wants to date her!

The truth, if you talk to some neurologists, is that women's brains are better equipped to be good shots: a woman's brain is more able to focus on what's directly in front of them, and can better withstand the repetitive and sometime monotonous patterns of clay shooting without wandering off.

Now: on to you. Are you a woman who shoots? What has been your experience, when you started shooting? Are you a woman who isn't shooting yet? What's holding you back? Are you someone with an opinion on the subject, regardless of your gender? Help us get better at providing the right solution to current and prospective women shooter, and let's make 2012 the year of the gentler, armed sex.

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

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