|The Importance of Practicing With Your Gun|
Spending some quality time and practicing with your gun is one of the most important things you can do, not only when you first purchase your gun, but on an ongoing basis. This "introduction" period with your new gun is extremely important, whether it is your first gun or a new addition to your collection. If you will be carrying your gun, (concealed carry) this piece of metal (or plastic in some cases) will become a part of your body. You need to know it, really know it.
It is natural, if this is your first gun to feel rather awkward, but trust me, this passes quickly with practice. Being a woman, I KNOW you have already thoroughly read the owners manual that came with your gun! If for any reason you did not receive one, get online and find it on the manufacturer's website or call the gun store or the manufacturer directly to get one.Before practicing with or handling ANY gun, you and only you are responsible to check and verify that it is not loaded and that it is empty of any ammunition. In the case of a semi-automatic pistol, verify that the magazine is removed. EVEN if someone you know and trust tells you or even shows you it is empty - check it YOURSELF! Once you are thoroughly convinced the gun is empty, just hold it. Hold it, look at it, open and close the cylinder, raise it, take it in and out of your holster, sight it (do not ever point a firearm at ANYTHING you are not willing to destroy) Yes, the firearm is empty - but part of your training MUST be to always handle your gun, empty or loaded following The Four Rules:
If you can't follow the Four Rules, take your gun back!Becoming familiar with its feel, its weight and how it works is a major step toward becoming a Well Armed Woman and having the confidence that comes with knowing that you can protect yourself, your home and your loved ones.
2. Dry-Fire Practice - Dry-fire is a generic term for practicing at home with an UNLOADED gun. It does not necessarily mean only pulling the trigger. It can refer to practicing reloads, drawing, or most any other skill you need to master with your gun. Click here for detailed dry-fire instructions and drills You may think that not much can be accomplished by practicing with an empty gun, but the fact is, improvement will be significant. Dry-fire is an essential component of learning to shoot well. There are two reasons for this: 1) developing proficiency with any motor skill requires a significant amount of repetitions, and 2) bad habits such as flinching, eye blinking, lack of follow through are difficult to detect during live-fire. All top shooters in the world incorporate a significant amount of dry-fire into their training regimens, some for hours each day. DRY-FIRE CAN BE DANGEROUS. Many accidental shootings are caused by people, even experienced shooters, dry-firing in a dangerous manner. NOTHING can distract you from following all the dry-fire safety rules!
RECOMMENDED AS A MINIMUM: Practice dry-firing your gun at home at least once a week.
3. Live Fire - Practicing with your gun at the Range - The range can mean a local indoor shooting range, an outdoor shooting facility or for those in more rural areas a simple area in the desert or outdoors. (Local and state laws regulate where it is legal to shoot a firearm. Check the laws in your state before you shoot anywhere other than at an official facility.) Nothing can build skill and confidence like shooting your gun with a real target, real ammunition, real recoil and real noise.
RECOMMENDED AS A MINIMUM: Practice live rounds at the range at least once a month with your defensive handgun, for a minimum of 50 rounds each time.
We already know this, but research supports the fact that women are excellent students. They are in fact, better students than men. Women not only seek instruction, they pay attention better, follow directions better, and apply learned principles and techniques better. But what really will make you the best Well Armed Woman you can be will be practice. Practice, practice, practice. As women, we juggle everything and everybody. We tend to make the needs of everyone we care for and work for a priority. In reality, our personal safety and protection should be a priority over all the rest. Why? Because if you are not here - you have nothing to juggle or schedule. Make time, schedule time and commit to taking the time to practice with your gun.
Shooting is fun. In fact it has become more fun the more I shoot and the better I get. Personally, as a control freak, I love the power. I love the bang! But I love getting better best. Shooting a very tight pattern is very satisfying and rewarding. My local shooting range now has a Ladies' Night one night every week where I have made new friends, introduced shooting to old ones and just have a great time. It has become a healthy and fun activity for me and my children to do together.Shooting practice is not just shooting at a single target in a single place, over and over again. Depending on where you are shooting, indoors or out, whether you are at an organized facility or out in the desert, there is an endless variety of drills and fun targets (some that even shoot sparks when you hit the target).
"Eye's and Ears" are available usually at no charge and are required. The noise level inside the range is something to experience!Ammunition For Practice
High quality self defense ammunition can be quite expensive and what you will carry in your gun. Some practice with these types of ammunition is a good idea so you know exactly how they "feel" and "shoot" when fired. It is more economical, however, to use a standard round for practice as you should be firing a substantial number of rounds each practice session. See the Ammunition Demystifier for more information on ammunition.Choosing Instruction
As we have discussed, formal training is highly recommended and well worth the invesment.
A course is required in many states to receive a Concealed Carry permit (CCW). The overall purpose of this class is to assure the state that people who obtain carry permits have been exposed to the state laws governing concealed carry and are minimally capable of using gun safely. There are basic gun handling classes, armed self defense classes, tactical training, and courses designed to train the competitive shooter.
Along with a CCW class, a basic gun handling class is recommended as the place to start.
You will have to check your area for your local options. Gun stores, gun shows, and shooting ranges are the place to start. Most have extensive websites so internet research will be helpful to you. Click here to see a national list of shooting ranges and schools. I do recommend that you visit in person to get a good sense of the professionalism and quality of the facility. Your local police department can offer you some direction as well.
Try to find one that offers a variety of courses, with well experienced instructors and perhaps one that offers classes for women only. Some skills to develop through instruction are:
Visit http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/index.asp for more information and to see if these classes are offered in your area.
© 2012 The Well Armed Woman, LLC
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for information purposes only and is provided solely as a guide to assist you in forming your own opinions. Although the information on the website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it is provided on an "as is" basis without a warranty of any kind. None of the information is legal advice or the opinion of any professional or expert. This website is not a substitute for formal, qualified instruction in the handling, use or storage of firearms. You alone are completely responsible for your use of a firearm.
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