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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I have a confession to make. Publicly before all of you.   

I name my guns... 
I KNOW I must be the only one who does this strange thing. To go through the process of naming my guns, similar to that of when naming my children is bazaar, and probably means I need to go see a mental heath counselor. Right? I mean, no one in their right mind would give a name to a firearm. Why do I do that you ask? I am not sure I have the answer. 
This strange urge overpowered me in the gun store purchasing my first gun. He was beautiful, as soon as I put on the special grips, he had a name. 

“Black Pearl” a Kimber Tactical Ultra Carry .45. He became in that moment. I knew I had an “issue” by the look on the salesman’s face. I figured this experience was just because it was my first gun, and that I would quickly return to normal. But then this same strange impulse came over me again as I purchased my second handgun, this time, a female a Kahr P.380 who is now affectionately known as “Black Rose”. 

I couldn’t help myself. I knew I had a serious problem when it happened yet again.  “The Empress” a stunning engraved Ruger SP101 .357 who certainly has all of the attributes of her name joined my collection. 

How did I know if they were male or female? After all, there are no “parts” that tell us which gender they are. Guns just have a way of being male or female as soon as they enter your hand for the first time and it happens with long guns too! My Beretta Urika 12 gauge shotgun is named Bear.


Yes there are more, many more but what is the point of airing all of my dirty laundry in front of you, you get the point. 
Can you help me? Is there a cure?  Perhaps I am not the only one who suffers with this urge. Have any of you suffered with this habit? Would you be so courageous to stand with me and confess?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


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.

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."

Beretta Bobcat
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.

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.
Beretta Tomcat

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.

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Monday, March 12, 2012


I was not prepared..... Not prepared to meet Ruth today.

The day started like most others; busy and my head flooded with the "To Do's" of the day for The Well Armed Woman. Sipping my coffee and cruising Facebook to see what was happening and who was doing what, I stumbled on a link- something about a retired police detective making the case for concealed carry. Interesting.... so I click the link. 

I was not prepared.... I met Ruth. 

Ruth, a middle-aged woman, living alone in an apartment -  is just like me. I listened to Ruth on the line with 911. I heard all of it. Tears they do now. All of a sudden she was a "sister", she was a "me" and she was a "you". 

We as women are so afraid to really believe the ugliness and brutality of those that DO lurk just outside our doors. We just somehow don't want to acknowledge our vulnerability and the very real violent possibilities.

Today, I had a glimpse of what really is possible. Not only for Ruth, but for me and for you as well my friend.
My head has been filled with thoughts of Ruth, with thoughts of you and with the millions of women who, for whatever reasons, have not considered armed self defense. I realize that not all women will choose to protect themselves with a firearm, but as women, we must face it as an option. Women should explore and educate themselves on owning a firearm for self defense, doing so does not mean she will necessarily make that choice, but it does mean she will make one based on complete information and not fear. She then will make choices and changes in her life in order to fully defend herself, her way. That is the message of Ruth. 

I don't know anything about Ruth, her life or even what she looks like. What I do know is that I will never forget her. I will do all I can to educate, equip and empower women so that there is never another Ruth. 

There is more on this video, a lot of thought provoking comments and information.  At the end, another horrifying situation but with a different ending. But what has resonated deeply in me and will forever profoundly influence my work, is the message of Ruth. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ladies Night!

"Oh yes it's ladies night
And the feeling's right

Oh yes it's ladies night         
Oh what a night (oh what a night) 
This is your night, tonight, everything going to be all right"

I know this Kool & The Gang song is now stuck in your head and you very well may be singing it for the rest of the day and you want to thank me. You are welcome! 

I went to Ladies Night at my local gun club last night and "Oh What a Night".....

I went with a young woman who I had taken to the range for the first time about a month ago. To my surprise, she called me yesterday afternoon and asked if we could go again.The first time we went she was eager for the experience, yet very anxious, well maybe more like scared! We went through the basics and after watching others for a while she hesitantly agreed to give it a try. Of course after the first shot, she had that mixed look of "oh my gosh, I can't believe I just did that"  blended with the wide eyed look of "wow, that was loud, powerful and scary" topped off with a touch of the "that was cool!" look.

As we left that night, I sensed she was glad she did it, but that she didn't have a great need to do much of it again. She thanked me and said she was grateful for the chance to try.So now we fast forward to yesterday. As I said, she called and asked to go shooting again. I was surprised and of course eager to go. What was fascinating about last night was her confidence and eagerness to shoot a variety of calibers and a genuine desire to learn more and get better. What had happened between the first time and this time? 
I could see the excitement in her eyes as the adjustments she was making resulted in some very nice shot patterns in the target. She was HOOKED! 

Meanwhile, in the lane next to us was a husband with his wife. It was obvious that this was her first time touching a gun. She was in agony. She was tense, uncomfortable and scared, After a short time, the husband asked if we would encourage his wife, because we were women and perhaps his wife would be more comfortable and encouraged by us.
All of a sudden, there was a "sisterhood". She began to relax and with that she became comfortable and was asking questions and began to hit the center of the target. Everything about her demeanor changed. She was really enjoying it! What did I learn at Ladies Night, I learned two key ingredients that can change everything for new women shooters. One is time. My friend needed a month to process the experience and get to the place where she had the chance really absorb it, and once she had, she wanted more. The wife next to us, needed was encouragement, and although her husband was very patient and doing a great job with her, it was the encouragement of other women that seemed to be the key. This is a very foreign experience for most women. Women need time to absorb this "new land", soak it in and relax enough to be open to explore it. The "sisterhood" that happens helps to make that happen. Once they do relax they then can begin to participate with confidence and eagerness. So, Ladies Night is an important opportunity to give women the opportunity to come together in a no pressure zone, access the landscape and find encouragement and comfort from other women.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Part Three - Being Mentally Prepared For A Home Invasion

OK, ladies - your home is like a fortress and you have a safe room stocked and ready. Are you ready? I mean really ready to handle a home invasion? This is Part 3 in a series on protecting yourself in your home and today the discussion will be on being mentally prepared. 
We can have everything "tangible" in place and ready, but if we are not mentally prepared and the unthinkable happens, we will be in such a high state of stress that if we are not emotionally and mentally prepared, we are not likely to be able to utilize all that we have physically put in place and protect ourselves.
Do you have a defensive mindset? We must live our lives with a defensive mindset which simply means always being aware of what and who is around us and what their proximity or actions means or may mean to our safety. It also means that you are prepared and willing to use force to protect yourself.

Owning a firearm for your protection symbolizes your willingness to take the life of another human being as a last resort to save your life. If you are not prepared to do so, you are not ready to own a firearm for self protection. Being "willing to" is not the same thing as "wanting to". Be clear on what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do and make clear choices based on these things.  

There is another powerful mental muscle that is key to your survival. That is your determination to never give up and your drive to survive. This is the single most important factor in surviving a life threatening situation. You must have this attitude if forced to fight for your life. We have all heard stories of the "underdog" coming from behind or the smaller weaker opponent finding some miraculous drive and power to overcome impossible odds. That MUST be you.

In the last two articles we developed plans, one to fortify and improve the security of our home to help to prevent an invasion, then a plan of what you will do in the event your home is invaded. We must also have a mental plan and be emotionally ready to act. Your mental plan begins with thinking through "what would I do if?" scenarios. This exercise works to formulate your mental plan. This requires you to visualize and go through possible attack scenarios. Be specific and run through multiple different possible attacks. Is there more than one assailant?, do they have guns or knives?, what if they grab one of the children? What if I come home and find my door unlocked or broken into? Such graphic visualizations are necessary. Creating your plan on what you will do to deal with them is critical to strengthening your mental preparedness and your ability to protect yourself and those you love. Finish all visualizations with your success in protecting yourself and prevailing over the assailant(s). This builds your confidence. If you are ever in such a life threatening situation, it will guide and enhance your effectiveness.

Just as practicing your gun handling and shooting skills are necessary to be prepared, you must also exercise your mental skills. These two well honed skills, working together is the means to protecting yourself in your home. You just can't have one without the other. Both must be equally prepared and trained.

Part Two - The Safe Room - Your Personal Protection In Your Home

Just hearing the words “Safe Room” elicits all sorts of images of war rooms with steel walls, men in military garb sweating and shouting panicked commands into a red telephone or even some multi-headed  alien trying to slip his tentacle under the window jam!  Ok, went a little far with the alien but the truth is, a Safe Room really is just a room in your home, yes fully decorated and lived in but where you can position yourself to best defend yourself and your family in the event of a home invasion. 
This is the second article in a series on the topic of personal protection in your home. My previous article dealt with what we can do to the exterior of our homes to minimize and make our homes undesirable to THE undesirable! 

Taking the time to think the unthinkable and to prepare as best we can to deal with the possibility of our home being invaded is really the first step. The first step in taking personal responsibility for our safety in our homes. How do you prepare - well it's quite simple, you create a plan. What will you do in the event your home is invaded? Where will you go? Do family members know where to go and what to do? What kinds of things do you need ready?
Let's start with where will you go. Identify a room in your home that you and the rest of your family know is the place to get to immediately and from which you can position to defend yourselves. This is your Safe Room. This room should only have one doorway, one you can lock. It is highly recommended that you install a deadbolt on this door, and purchase a door brace or jam that can be inserted under the door knob and wedged against the floor, to add additional security. This room should also have a window, one with which you could communicate with police when they arrive. The decision to escape through a window is one only you can make depending on the situation. Obviously the location and level of the window are significant considerations. You could potentially be putting yourself at greater risk, so serious consideration should be made. Your Safe Room should also have items or furniture in it that can provide you cover. You want items that could potentially protect you from an intruder's bullets, if necessary.  Perhaps a steel filing cabinet, a bookcase filled with books or even a heavy dresser could provide possible cover. Determine a code word that is shouted when an invasion is suspected which instantly triggers everyone to get to this room immediately. Ok, so now you have a Safe Room, your family knows which room it is and the code word that signals action. Now what?
There are some important items that should be in stored in your safe room, items that are not removed but permanently in place and always available. When an invasion happens, there is no warning and no time to prepare and think "what do I need to get". There is just too much stress and adrenaline flowing. During a home invasion is not the time to prepare for one! Here is a list of items suggested to have ready. Of course you may have ideas of additional items, put in your Safe Room anything you feel you will need.
Your firearm(s) along with extra ammunition, and/or other self defense tools should be safely stored here and accessible.
A telephone and/or cell phone. Keep any other important emergency phone numbers taped to the phone. It is a good idea to also write down your address and phone number so you are prepared, when under great stress to give accurate information to the 911 operator.

When you upgrade your cell phone, keep your old one and keep it charged. Even if the cell phone does nothave service, it is capable of calling 911. It must however be charged and have a signal. The FCC states "If your wireless phone is not "initialized" (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you." 
So keep your old cell phone or someones hand-me-down charged and stored in your Safe Room.

A defensive flashlight is an important item. I am not talking about the red plastic one that is sitting in your junk drawer with dead batteries! I am talking about a defensive, high power flashlight. Many are now powered by Lithium batteries that have very long lives. Keep extra batteries here as well and check them frequently. If the power is cut off you will need it and it can also be momentarily blinding to the attacker should he gain access and perhaps create some time to distract him so you can further defend yourself or escape. There are some really powerful yet small defensive flash lights you might consider. 

Some other items to think about: An extra set of house keys that you could throw to police out the window to permit their easy entrance into your home. You may want to have a spare set of dark clothing in case you are awoken from sleep in your perhaps minimal night wear. This not only could help prevent an awkward moment with authorities, but also could help offer concealment as your skin is easier for the assailant to see in the dark.
When should you flee your Safe Room? Well, that depends. During an invasion or any real threat you will always want to be alert and aware of any opportunity to escape or evade the threat. It is generally recommended that you should only flee when and if you can do so safely. It is always better to leave your home and avoid the direct confrontation, but in many situations, this is not an option that will be available to you. You likely will not know "exactly" where the assailant is, how many of them there are. You may have children or other family members with you that perhaps can't move quickly or surely. Part of your planning should include walking through some scenarios and determine under which circumstances and how you would flee.
Lastly, if you have other family members in your home, take some time to decide who will be responsible to do what. Who will use the firearm or other defensive tools? Who will call the police, who will watch over the children. The better you plan now and cover these things ahead of time, will directly effect the outcome if such a terrible thing as a home invasion were to take place. I realize it is really difficult emotionally to not only acknowledge that something like that could happen, but to consider ourselves vulnerable are very difficult to stomach. We must arm ourselves with candid consideration and careful planning.
If you have a plan or develop one I would love for you to share it. We all can learn so much from one another and your ideas might be just the answer for another Armed Sister! Please email them to

Be Well and Be Safe!

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