If you’re going to lean in, you need support

Acquiring and learning to safely carry and use a firearm for self defense is a personal choice, and something we can help you with. http://www.womenandguns.co

Can You Relate?

baby-diapers-and-wipesJust as I was beginning my career, Lean In was becoming popular. In true lean in spirit, I was told to pursue my ambitions, ask for more, and change the conversation to what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t. I totally bought into the idea that if I put my mind to it I could (and should) do everything in full force.

Then I had a child.

Beyond the baby shoes, ducky washcloths, and teeny tiny onesies, it turns out taking care of an infant is a LOT of work. Even with my husband right by my side, the majority of the care landed on me after he returned to work.  Soon enough I found myself exhausted, overwhelmed, and disconnected. Even if I could do it all, maybe I didn’t want to?

There is no denying the level of pressure women feel on a daily basis to be…

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Three Things You aren’t Taught In Your Concealed Carry Course


ConcealedCarryClass OC 2

By Robert Farago via The Truth About Guns

I oppose mandatory firearms training. It violates our Second Amendment protection against government infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. That said, I’ve been impressed with the instruction rammed down my metaphorical throat. Tedious yes, but comprehensive; instructors cover everything from how a gun works to the legal use of deadly force to anger management and firearms retention (added in Texas for licensed open carry). Plus live fire! But the classes don’t cover everything. Here are three things they don’t teach you in a concealed carry class . . .

Carrying a Gun Makes You Paranoid – At Least at First

The first time you strap on a concealed firearm, it feels like you’re carrying a Howitzer. Like you’re wearing a T-shirt that says “I’VE GOT A GUN!” Even in states with a gun-friendly culture (e.g., Arizona), first-time concealed carriers worry that a stranger is going to see their gun and confront them.

Pistol-packing paranoia makes perfect sense. Public speaking is Americans’ greatest fear; we’re hard-wired to be afraid of public embarrassment. (Loss of social status is a thing.) Being “outed” while carrying a gun – especially by someone who’s rabidly anti-gun and/or terrified of guns – is public speaking on steroids. “Oh my God. He’s got a gun! What do you need that for?”

Even if you live in a gun friendly culture, this fear isn’t completely unrealistic. No matter how much you mentally rehearse a reply to gun shamers or prepare for a police response (the police!), the prospect of “armed confrontation” still creates low-level paranoia (and constant checking of cover garments). It’s not comfortable.

Exposure therapy is the only “cure” for this paranoia. More precisely, lack of exposure therapy. The more you carry a concealed firearm without being “outed,” the less paranoia or anxiety you feel. It’s simply something you have to go through; a condition that lasts between a week and a month. The trick: go through it. If you find excuses not to carry daily, the paranoia will never disappear entirely. Or you might eventually abandon the whole idea of concealed carry.

Carrying a gun changes your personality – for the better

Gun control advocates have this strange idea: they believe that carrying a gun makes a person into amucho macho trigger-happy Clint Eastwood wanna-be.

Like so many of the antis’ “arguments,” they’ve got it exactly backwards. Carrying a gun make you lessconfrontational. D’uh. Why would you want to engage in any confrontation when any confrontation could lead to escalation which could lead to a gunfight which is something you don’t want to have? Which you could have, now, because you have a gun.

This confrontation avoidance thought process becomes second nature. You become far less likely – if not completely unlikely – to engage in road rage or any sort of argy-bargy with a stranger. Sure there are concealed carriers with anger issues – which don’t disappear when they receive the state’s blessing to bear arms. But that’s not you, a person who took the time to read an article entitled Three Things They Don’t Teach You In Your Concealed Carry Class.

Another psychological aspect instructors don’t mention: concealed carry makes you more independent. By assuming direct responsibility for your own safety, the safety of your loved ones, and the safety of other innocent life (optional), you lose your inherent perhaps subconscious dependency on the state’s protection. You realize that you are a sovereign citizen.

I don’t mean that in the terrorist sense of the term (obviously). It’s an understanding that you’re in control of your own destiny in the worst case scenario: when controlling your destiny is a matter of life and death. Which makes you feel more in control of your own destiny at other, less dramatic times.

Don’t get me wrong: firearms instructors talk (and talk and talk) about the enormous responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon. Fair enough. What they don’t tell you is how good, how right that feels. How it makes you a better person.

Carrying a gun is addictive

The only way to tell if you’re addicted to something: remove it and see if you suffer withdrawal. At the risk of giving the antis [additional] ammo to deride Americans exercising their gun rights, I’m going to say it. Concealed carry is addictive.

Anyone who carries a gun on an everyday basis can tell you about those times when they suddenly realize they’re not carrying one. Like when they disarm to go into Whole Foods, forget to rearm and enter a non-gun-free zone. Crap! I don’t have my gun! They’re plagued by the niggling (at best) thought “what if this is the one time I need it?” Which, by the way, can happen.

The paranoia/anxiety of having a gun eventually becomes the paranoia/anxiety of nothaving a gun. Traveling to states that don’t recognize your concealed carry license/permit can be an ordeal for a habituated concealed carrier. There are gun owners who won’t go anywhere where their gun isn’t welcome: local businesses, entire states and foreign countries.

Normally, NGP (No-Gun Paranoia) manifests itself in increased situational awareness: scanning for bad people, checking exits, carrying or contemplating alternative weapons, etc. Gun control advocates believe this behavior indicates some kind of moral weakness or personality disorder. It is, in fact, a normal, natural survival instinct, amplified by carrying a concealed weapon on a regular basis.

I’m sure those of you who carry have other examples of what you didn’t learn in concealed carry class. Please share them below.

Indoor Range Practice Sessions

Great Drill from the Tactical Professor!


In response to queries and comments about the Pistol Practice Program, I have created a downloadable eBook called Indoor Range Practice Sessions. It is structured as a PDF eBook that you can download to your smartphone or tablet and take with you to the range. That way you always have your practice session with you. Most (99%) gunowners only have access to an indoor range, so the Sessions are designed with this limitation in mind.

The book contains 12 Practice Sessions and 12 Courses of Fire from various States for their weapons carry licensing process. The Sessions are designed to progressively increase in difficulty so when done in sequence they challenge shooters without overwhelming them. The Courses of Fire were chosen to be complementary to a respective Practice Session. Each Session or Course of Fire is 50 rounds or less. They are all structured to maximize the effectiveness of your range…

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EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege



Thank you, Lori, for sharing your personal experiences. People everywhere should read your post. Although your experiences center around race, I can’t help but relate to some of your feelings simply because I am a woman. A white woman. Being dismissed for race or gender by another human being is simply unacceptable. It holds us back as a society. At our training school, we teach women the skills to be safe and how to utilize guns if needed, and are often looked upon by our male counterparts and gun owners as being inferior or unqualified. It is exhausting at times.


by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chiefby Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism.  I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.

Here’s his post:

“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune…

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Wasp Spray vs. Pepper Spray


Many of my students come to class and share their idea that Wasp Spray is better than Pepper Spray.  It is not.  And I tell them so, and explain why.

Great Article from Guns.com

Wasp spray for self-defense?

Facebook posts usually don’t get me riled up, but as I perused my news feed the other day one in particular got my blood pressure up. It was one of those posts that read like an email chain and had been simply shared by one of my Facebook friends.

The post described how wasp spray is a better substitute for pepper spray. I won’t subject you to the pseudo-facts presented in this article, because frankly it was all misinformation that doesn’t need to be printed twice.

Wasp spray, for the record, should never be used in lieu of OC or pepper spray. Let’s put this myth to rest with some facts on why insect spray should stay in the cupboard.

Legal woes

“It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” That little nugget is the very first sentence written under directions of use. Before the company even delves into describing how to use the product, they want to ensure you know that it is illegal to use it for anything other than the killing of insects.

By knowingly carrying wasp spray as a self-defense tool, you not only are placing yourself in danger (which we’ll get to later) but you’re also opening yourself up to some legal repercussions. You will have quite the time trying to explain to the bad guy’s lawyer why you were using a product outside of its intended purposes when it clearly states not to do so.

Pepper spray labels will carry similar warnings only with the mention that they are intended for self defense.

Pepper, or OC, spray on the other hand carries a warning similar to this; “The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self defense is a crime under the law.” It’s important to note that pepper spray explicitly names self-defense as its intended purpose.

The moral of this story is if you want less legal headaches; choose the spray that explicitly touts itself as a self-defense product.


The Facebook post argues that wasp spray acts just as well as pepper spray at disabling an attacker. To better understand how wrong this information is, let’s talk about what each spray contains and how they work.  Capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper spray, is an inflammatory agent that incapacitates an attacker.

Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent. The active ingredient, capsaicin, affects the eyes, skin and respiratory system causing an involuntary, physiological reaction. Upon contact with the eyes, eyelids immediately shut and eyes water profusely. Contact with the nose and mouth results in contractions of the esophagus, trachea and respiratory tract ultimately restricting breathing. It also irritates skin, causing a burning sensation. Rubbing only makes the effects worsen. Water helps but it can take up to 45 minutes for symptoms to dissipate.

Wasp spray is a combination of chemicals but uses a pyrethroid compound as the active ingredient. This compound affects the nervous system of insects causing paralysis and ultimately death. Most vertebrates have sufficient enzymes to counteract pyrethroids, meaning they aren’t as effective on us as they are on insects.

The active pyrethroid compound in wasp spray attacks insects nervous systems but is not nearly as effective on other animals.

Individuals with very sensitive skin or an allergy to an ingredient in the wasp spray may experience greater side effects. It’s impossible, though, to know whether your attacker is one of those people. There’s no reason to risk wasp spray on the off chance your assailant is effected when there is an alternative that has been tested on humans and is known to cause involuntary physiological reactions.

If you prefer proof in the video form, wander over to SABRE’s Youtube page and watch astheir “assailant” faces a both wasp spray and pepper spray.

Distance and accuracy

Well what about accuracy and distance? Does wasp spray have an advantage? The answer is no. While a can of Raid may say that it can fire up to 27 feet, the reality is that the further the stream goes the wider it gets. Your only real shot is to get someone directly in the eyes with the wasp spray, but if the stream dissipates all over the place before it hits the target, you’re not going to accomplish that shot.

The only time to chose the wasp spray is when there is no other choice.

Distance on pepper spray depends on the style of canister. Foggers and spray guns can reach between 20 and 25 feet; while the handheld variety usually fall between 10 and 12 feet. I’d gladly trade a few feet of distance for a product that I know works on most assailants versus one that requires precise aim.

Final Thoughts

I always prefer a concealed handgun to pepper spray, but in some states that’s just not an option. If you’re suffering under a non-pistol friendly regime and spray is all you have make sure you’re choosing the right one. Leave the wasp spray for the wasps.

The Four Rules of Safe Gun Handling


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Claude Werner, The Tactical Professor has given permission to share this article.

“When talking about gun safety, we need to be careful about taking our subject matter knowledge for granted, especially nuance. Each of the Four Rules has a given amount of unstated subject matter knowledge inherent in them. I have had this discussion before and I continue to maintain the following: telling people with little experience four sentences and expecting 100 percent positive results is ridiculous.”

The Tactical Professor is Claude Werner. His background combines extensive work in the military, self defense training, and white collar financial services communities. This eclectic experience base gives him a view of self defense equipment and techniques that is more attuned to the needs of people with median lifestyles than some segments of the industry.

The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling
When practicing, always follow The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling. Gunhandling is just as important as marksmanship, but many people are careless about the way they handle firearms, which can result in death or serious injury.
While the following is NOT all inclusive of the implications of the Four Rules, it is a starting point to allow shooters to think about the proper way to handle guns safely.
The Four Rules of Safe Gunhandling
1) Treat all guns as if they are ALWAYS loaded.
a. If you treat all guns you see and handle as if they are loaded, you will never have occasion to say: “I didn’t know it was loaded” after the gun goes BANG! when you didn’t want it to.
b. Among knowledgeable gunhandlers, anytime a firearm discharges at anything other than an intended target, the incident is called a NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE (ND). This is because 99.9% of unintentional discharges are caused by NEGLIGENT gunhandling on the part of the shooter.
c. The term “accidental discharge” (AD) is only used for incidents that occur when an internal part of the gun breaks and allows the gun to discharge without the shooter causing the discharge. Accidental discharges are exceedingly rare; remember,
d. 99.9% of unintentional discharges are caused by NEGLIGENT gunhandling on the part of the shooter.
e. The good news in this is that almost all unintentional discharges are preventable by proper gunhandling.
f. The first thing you should do when picking up a gun that you THINK is unloaded is to CHECK to see if it is indeed unloaded. Doing this immediately displays to those around you that you understand the fundamentals of safe gun handling and are not ignorant of proper safety procedures. If you do not know how to properly check the status of a gun, DON”T TOUCH IT until someone knowledgeable demonstrates for you the way to check it. No properly trained person will be offended by your double check of the status of the gun. Anyone who would object is an ignoramus and dangerous, leave the area IMMEDIATELY; eventually that person will experience an ND and you don’t want to be there when it happens.

2) Never point a gun at something or someone you don’t want to be shot.
a. While this rule seems elementary, it is easily violated. This is the reason that the vast majority of gunshot wounds are self-inflicted.
b. Remember that when handling a gun, YOU, and only you, are TOTALLY responsible for where it is pointed. Be conscious of where the muzzle is pointed at all times when you are handling a gun. Think about how you are going to move a gun before moving it.
Copyright © 2015 by Firearms Safety Training LLC All rights reserved.
c. In many cases, you will have to choose between pointing the gun at an inanimate object, such as the floor, or pointing the gun at a person; always choose the inanimate object, never point the gun at a person.
d. Don’t point a gun at any part of yourself, either. Your extremities, particularly feet and hands, are easy to unintentionally point guns at. Handguns can point at the non-firing hand; rifles and shotguns are easily pointed at the feet.
e. Do not walk around any firing range with your gun in your hand. This is an obvious indication of someone who is unskilled in gunhandling and most likely an unsafe gunhandler. It is almost impossible to casually walk around with your gun in hand and not point it at your own feet or the feet of others. Own a holster for your pistol and use it on the range.
f. Skeet and trap shooters sometimes have small accessories that are made specifically for resting the muzzle of a shotgun on the toe of the shoe (“it’s not loaded” – see Rule #1). These devices are an abomination to gun safety and should be avoided at all costs.
g. When drawing a handgun from a holster or opening interior doors in the home while holding a handgun, it is very easy to sweep the muzzle over the non-firing hand. Watch the police reality shows on TV to see how often this happens even to trained police officers. A close range discharge to the hand will frequently result in the hand being permanently crippled, don’t let it happen to you.

3) Keep your finger above the trigger guard until you are ready for the gun to fire.
a. Due to mass media influences, most people will immediately place their finger on the trigger of a gun when picking it up. This is a terrible habit and immediately marks the person doing it as someone who is ignorant of how to properly handle firearms.
b. The proper place to put the trigger finger is on the frame or slide of the gun above the trigger guard as far up as you can move your finger. This place on the frame or slide is referred to as the “register position.” Placing your finger there is known as “being in register.” Handling a gun in this manner will display to those around you that you know how to safely handle a gun.
c. When the decision to fire a shot is made and the gun is indexed at the intended target, you may then place the finger in the trigger guard and on the trigger. This takes no more time than having the finger insider the trigger guard. Fire the shot and, unless you are going to immediately fire again, take the finger out of the trigger guard and consciously place it back in register.

4) Be sure of what you are shooting at and what is behind it.
a. If you own a gun for home defense, you should keep a flashlight right next to it. If you require corrective lenses to see, put your glasses on before getting your gun and flashlight. You must ALWAYS identify a target before shooting it. NEVER shoot through doors or at shadows or at anything that you have not POSITIVELY identified.
b. Keeping your gun in the nightstand next to you is frequently not a good idea. You need to be awake before handling a gun. Keeping a gun under your pillow, tucked between the mattress
Copyright © 2015 by Firearms Safety Training LLC All rights reserved.
and box spring, or ON the nightstand is almost certainly a BAD idea, for a number of reasons, both safety and tactically related. The best plan is to have the gun a few steps away from the bed so that you will be reasonably awake by the time you pick it up.
c. Bullets will frequently go through multiple layers of building materials. Do not consider any interior wall of your home as bulletproof; almost certainly, it is NOT. Many exterior walls are not either. Be aware of the location of all your family members in your home when handling a gun. Floors and ceilings are seldom even bullet resistant, much less bulletproof.
d. Do not shoot faster than you can get the sights on target, even at a formal shooting range. You are responsible for the impact of every single round you fire, no matter where you are. Missing the target and hitting target stands, target holders, lights, etc. will most likely cost you extra money to repair the damage, build bad habits, and mark you as a doofus who can’t even hit a target.

In addition to the Four Rules, always store firearms so that they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

DISCLAIMER: Firearms Safety Training LLC does NOT give legal advice. You should seek competent legal advice if you own a firearm for self-defense. Discuss the legal ramifications of firearms and self-defense with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in CRIMINAL LAW in your local jurisdiction. Law, both statutory and common, regarding self-defense varies widely from one area to the next, and is constantly changing. Only accept legal advice on firearms and/or self-defense from the POLICE or OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES OR OFFICIALS if it is in writing on official letterhead signed by a sworn senior supervisory official of that department in his or her official capacity or a current official document of that department bearing the department’s insignia and signed by the current head of the department (Chief of Police, Sheriff, or Special Agent In Charge). Verbal (not in writing) advice from law enforcement personnel may be in error and will have NO standing in a court of law.

Safe Gunhandling Rules


There are several sets of rules regarding safe gunhandling. All the sets of rules emphasize the concerns of their originators. However, many similar things are said but stated in different ways.

Which set of rules you choose to use is less important than picking a set and following it scrupulously. Firearms are instruments of ultimate personal responsibility and can be very unforgiving of even a moment of carelessness. Gunhandling is just as important as marksmanship, but many people are careless about the way they handle firearms, which can result in death or serious injury.

The National Rifle Association’s set. Link

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s set. Link

Glock has its own set. Link

Like most competitors in the Action Shooting Sports, I use The Four Rules originally developed by Jeff Cooper. Lists of more than three or four items are difficult to memorize, so I still prefer them. There are…

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