training

Female Participation in Shooting Sports Higher than Ever

GirlPower

Female participation in the shooting sports is on the rise and that is a good thing!  Having a bigger tent with more people involved and enjoying firearms can open eyes (and minds) to the reality of how safe, practical, and fun firearm ownership can be.

According to both the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA), women are one of the fastest growing demographics in the shooting sports.  From 2001 to 2013, the number of female hunters increased 85% to 3.3 million and the number of target shooters increased 60% to 5.4 million.  When polled on why they wanted to own a firearm, the top three answers were: self-defense, learning to hunt, and to enjoy shooting with friends and family.  Another point from the NSSF study that I found interesting is that nearly 75% of all women gun owners have attended at least one training class with either a professional or a family/friend.

Roughly half of all women gun owners will visit a shooting range an average of one or more times each month for practice or training.  You may have noticed an increase in the number of first time women shooters at your local range; I know that I have.  Unfortunately, not all of that range time is necessarily productive.  During my range visits, I have seen some really terrible “training” sessions at nearby shooting tables.  I watched one guy hand his girlfriend a .410 revolver, show her how to hold it, and then – with his hand over top of hers, reach in and pull the trigger for her from across the bench.  He seemed to find it amusing that she was frightened of the large, heavy recoiling handgun and did not want to keep shooting with it.  On a different trip, I saw someone hand another female shooter a semi-auto pistol to shoot before standing by to watch as she gripped it in her left hand and supported it with her right hand… directly on top of the slide.  Once was enough for that new shooter, who stopped shooting for the day and waited while her partner finished his range day.

Since many women receive training from someone close to them, and many women feel encouraged by family and friends to go shooting, it is a disservice to the new female shooter to not offer proper instruction, especially if it is their first time shooting.  As Olympic shooter Kim Rhode said in a recent interview, shooting is a family sport.  Everyone should actively participate in the entire shooting process for everyone else in the family to help build relationships based on this common interest and to ensure that everyone in the family is familiar with the firearms in the house.  This becomes even more important because a NSSF study showed that more than 40% of women prefer having male present when purchasing a firearm and a similar number feel that they need more training.  This is an enormous opportunity to promote the shooting sports and the Second Amendment within a family.

I am fortunate that my significant other has been my primary instructor and he takes it seriously.  It is one of our many hobbies that we both enjoy and enjoy together.  While the actual activity is an equal playing field between the genders, the firearms industry has been slow to catch up to the growing number of women shooters.  As a female shooter, I have had to learn to adapt to a sport that is largely designed by and for men.

Despite the push for a bizarre progressive agenda, men and women are different.  Let’s start with the obvious differences.  The average American man is ~5’10” and weighs 196 lbs whereas the average American woman is ~5’4” and weighs 166 lbs.  Men are typically taller, weigh more and have less body fat, larger hands, different muscle mass, different lung capacity, and so on.  Women are generally shaped differently than men, especially in the hips and chest – a product of being built to produce and care for offspring.  All of this should sound like common sense right now, but what does it mean?

Women, on average, are smaller in every aspect of the body.  Many full-sized pistols are too large (sometimes too heavy) to hold comfortably and consistently for extended shooting periods.  However, smaller compact and sub-compact handguns – which may fit better in the hands – tend to have stiffer springs to counter the low mass of the slide, which can prove problematic when manipulating the slide.  Fortunately, many manufacturers are designing both new firearms and ammunition offerings that address this recoil issue.  Some manufacturers have designed pistols that are balanced differently to help women manage the recoil.

Staying with the smaller theme, women have shorter arms and proportionally longer necks than men, placing the shoulder-pocket slightly higher than the average man.  This means many rifles and shotguns are uncomfortable to handle and could explain why your lady may bruise more easily and have problems getting a consistent cheek weld (the answer is not a youth stock).  While a child-sized stock may work for some women, the fact remains that most women are larger than children and the smaller, shorter stock will make a weapon front-heavy which could prove burdensome, especially when walking in the field (speaking from experience).  Being smaller also means being shorter.  This can make shooting from a kneeling/sitting position feel like a battle to find the happy medium between comfort, stability and getting the appropriate elevation to hit the target.  As I have consistently found at SHOT Show Range Day and various shooting ranges, many shooting benches are not designed for a short person.  A few companies have been tackling the issue of women shooters in rifles and shotguns with success.  At least two companies have rifles designed by women, for women and two more companies make pricey shotguns that are balanced and proportioned with a woman in mind.   Continue reading

Airguns Make Big Noise at SHOT Show

Wind-Powered Projectiles Garnering Much Attention in Shooting Industry

Airguns_1477With the hustle and bustle of racing around four days of SHOT Show 2017 and an extra day of range time behind us the GunLink team is now working to organize it all and bring our readers info on the latest developments from the shooting industry.  While it seems like many companies were conservative with their R&D last year, likely due to the unknown outcome of the election, there were a few themes that I noticed; one of which was air guns.

It may have just been me, but it seems like a lot more companies than usual were displaying air guns and it got me thinking about what could be driving all of the interest behind this segment of the shooting sports.  The answers to this question are likely as varied and diverse as they are to the question of why anyone is interested in any kind of shooting activities.  Airguns can be quieter, less expensive, and, in some regards, safer than shooting traditional firearms.  Another reason for their popularity is likely that there are fewer regulations on air guns since they are not considered firearms – making them more readily available to a wider audience.  It may also be the case that positive role models from last summer’s Olympic Games shooting sports events may have sparked more interest in air guns.   Continue reading

ReadyShot Lets you Train at Home with Your Own Carry Gun

Ready Shot Kit

ReadyShot kit. Glock Not Included.

To keep any skill sharp, it is important to practice that skill.  Shooting is no different.  If anything, practicing your firearms skills is more important than many other skills since your life may one day depend on it.  However, whether it is due to ammo costs, range restrictions, lack of time or some other reason, many of us might not get to train as often or in the manner that we would like to.  We recently had the chance to try out a new tool that can help keep shooting skills sharp – the ReadyShot system.

We met ReadyShot founder Brent Backhaus at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings where he introduced us to his creation- a laser training system that lets you train how you want, where you want, when you want, with your own firearm.

We have used laser training tools before and have done our fair share of dry fire/snap cap practice, and each of them have their own benefits and downfalls.  For instance, dry fire practice with snap caps is a great way to work on draw-and-fire drills, work on grip and trigger manipulation and other fundamentals but, without feedback on where your “shots” hit, it is of limited use.  Some laser training tools give you various degrees of feedback but, with simple bullseye-style targets or cans, they more closely mimic plinking practice rather than practical firearms use.  Further, many of them may be difficult or tedious to use, requiring the user to cycle the slide or hammer to reset the trigger to allow for follow up shots.

The ReadyShot overcomes many of those issues through its innovative target system and gun insert for single action striker fired pistols like the Glock and XD.  Additionally, each component of the ReadyShot system is available a la carte and is, for the most part, compatible with other laser training systems.  We had a chance to try out the ReadyShot Glock Kit both as a standalone unit and with other training system components. Continue reading

Shooting for Survival – An FBI Training Film From the 1970s

“Shooting For Survival” is an FBI training film produced by the US Department of Justice circa mid-1970s.  This short film presents basic rules for survival against hostile fire including taking cover, shooting from cover and several defensive firearms techniques as they were taught to law enforcement personnel 40 years ago.

Talk Training, Survival and Prepping on the GunLink Forums

The scout motto is “Be Prepared.”  From Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys:

[Being prepared] means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY.

– Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

– Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

Scouting for Boys

Many GunLink readers have undoubtedly outgrown their scouting years, but that is no reason not to abandon those principles.  Life comes with many uncertainties and the world around us is filled with the potential for unexpected situations which could turn out to be dangerous.  Spending one’s entire life in a secret underground bunker isn’t feasible (or, likely, healthy) so one must venture forth into the world and meet those dangers head-on.  The best way to do that is to be prepared for those situations ahead of time.

Don’t misunderstand – obviously not all of these situations are life-and-death scenarios.  Preppers are often derisively dismissed as end of the world whack jobs preparing for some just-over-the-horizon doomsday.  Those who choose to carry a concealed handgun are sometimes seen as paranoid.

The truth is, prepping can be as little as carrying a multi-tool or learning a useful skill or as much as stocking your de-milled missile silo with a decade worth of food and water.  Training can be as little as hitting the range with your single-shot hunting rifle or practicing your family’s fire escape route or as much as taking a lengthy course from a professional.  Survival skills can mean as little as navigating back to town when your vehicle runs out of gas to staying alive when your three hour boat tour turns into an extended stay on a deserted island.

Whatever you’re training for, preparing for or planning on surviving, you can share your tips, ask your questions and join the discussion in the Training, Survival and Prepping board on the GunLink Forums.  See you there.

A CCW Permit Online? In Under an Hour?

Carry AcademyGet a carry permit online in under an hour?  Sound too good to be true?  Well, it is – but keep reading anyway because it is almost that easy.  There is an online resource called Carry Academy that, although it doesn’t get you your actual permit, could save you a lot of time and money on your path to concealed carry by taking care of training requirements online in about 45 minutes.  Then all that’s left is for you to apply for your permit.

Expedite Your Permit Process

A common course of action for many, if not most, applicants goes something like this…  You decide you want to carry a concealed weapon so you start hunting around for information about how to get a license and (usually) find that the process involves some sort of training.  So then you look for instructors in your area who teach the required class and hope that you can find one that fits into your schedule.  If you get lucky and find one that fits, you wait for training day to roll around, pay the course fee, spend the whole day in class and wait for your certificate of completion to show up so that you can submit it with your permit application and start the real wait.

The Carry Academy fast forwards the process for many by providing an on-demand firearms safety course online any time you want and costing only $50.  The online course condenses much of the material that you would otherwise get in the classroom into  Continue reading

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