(Scroll down for news report video)
Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to teach a firearm safety class for a local private school. I'm used to lugging around a bunch of guns from place to place but never to an actual school. I prepared an informative slideshow teaching proper unloading techniques and safety rules. There would be no live fire for this class- it was all about what to do if they came across a firearm and/or needed to make it safe.
I was joking with a friend that morning on what I would do on the way to the school if I was pulled over:
Officer: Where you headed?
Me: The Christian School
Officer: Any weapons in the vehicle?
Me: Three rifles and 5 handguns
THAT WOULD NOT GO WELL FOR ME!
I made it safely to the school without incident. It felt awkward bringing the firearms on the school property. Luckily my co-instructor (a friend since childhood) met me there and is close friends with the principal. They set this up knowing this was a great opportunity for the students to learn a valuable life lesson. Parents signed permission slips to have their children participate. We carried the firearms in together and set up the classroom. Soon I began to see eager students peeking in during their break. As they began to file in there were questions about the makes and models. A lot of the students recognized some of the firearms from movies and video games, others were new to them and there were questions like "What's that one?" "Do you have any full-auto?" And there were statements like: "I shot one of those once" or "My dad has that one" I joked that this was the most eager I've ever seen teenagers when it came to being in a classroom.
When class started we went over the NRA's 3 Rules of Safety: 1, Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, 2, Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot, 3, Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use it. We picked a designated "safe direction" for the firearms to be pointed in and maintained it throughout the class. We also went over the classroom rules which included no fooling around. Firearms are not playthings and the kids did a great job treating them with respect.
After patiently listening to all the safety talk and firearm terms we began showing the five boys and four girls how to safely unload each type of firearm. At first we had to remind a few of them to "Keep the muzzle in a safe direction" or "Finger off the trigger" but as they progressed they began to remind themselves and no longer needed the reminder. They unloaded and checked (and re-checked) the firearms and it was amazing to watch as some went from intimidated to confident in their ability to safely manipulate the firearms. Not one student acted out but smiles were all over their faces.
In a lot of high school classes, students want to sit in the back row and avoid being asked questions. These kids were racing to sit in the first row and fighting over who would answer the questions asked (the chocolate reward may have helped with that a little). This all reiterated what I tell people: Children have a natural curiosity when it comes to firearms. They need to be taught about them to quench this thirst for knowledge so they know to respect them and use them safely. We can't prevent children from coming into contact with firearms, but we can teach them what to do if and when they find one.
A local news reporter came in to take footage and interview a student and myself. So far the story has been shared all over Facebook and the vast majority of comments praise the idea of firearm education in schools. I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the kind comments and praise I have received for doing this. To me it's a no-brainer. I'm hoping many schools and groups will encourage this type of education, our country needs it.
I'd like to thank my friend Josh for setting up this opportunity and helping me teach it, the Principal Pastor Todd Bell for allowing and encouraging this class to be taught and all the students who participated and were respectful proving this can be done and taken seriously.
There's hope for the next generation, we can raise responsible gun owners and teach a better way.
My AR-15 build is almost done so I decided I wanted a custom sling to put on it. Paracord has gained popularity for its usefulness and has quickly become an essential EDC (Every Day Carry) item. When I announced I was going to make my sling a few people suggested I make a video, I didn't. There's plenty of good ones out there (link to the one I used below). But I did take pictures to give you an idea of how I did it.
I decided Paracord would be the perfect material because I could chose from many colors, it's very handy, and I already knew the knots from my years of hemp necklaces and macrame projects I did as a kid.
I did some studying (YouTube) and found one video particularly helpful. I don't think my finished product would look as nice if I hadn't seen his techniques. Another video gave me the idea to add the black second layer for extra padding (and paracord). Both video links will be at the bottom of the blog.
I decided to get Rothco paracord because I'm sales rep (Yes, you can buy all your paracord supplies through me!) and they have many colors to choose from (Also MADE IN THE USA!!!).
I wanted some color but mostly black so I bought 100" each of Hunter Green, Foliage Green and Black. I ended up using about 220' total. I could make another sling without the second layer with what I have left over.
I ordered 1" "Swivel rifle sling hooks" from EBay but when they came I checked them and they wouldn't open big enough to accommodate the sling ring on my rifle. (Boy am I glad I checked!) So I went all the way back to EBay and ordered 1.5" swivel hooks. I believe they were $2 each.
I measured and cut the paracord following the video's instructions- this is the most difficult part especially if you have kids talking to you while measuring. Next time I'll pay to order a bigger amount on a spool to make this step much quicker. Once you get everything all set up to start you'll progress quickly.
Once I got everything measured and cut I was ready to get weaving. I figured a slide show would be the easiest way to document the pictures so... here you go!
So there's my sling. I'm pretty happy with it. In an emergency I will have plenty of paracord to use as well as a compass to help navigate. If I never end up needing it, it's still comfortable and looks nice. :)
Videos I used for inspiration:
This video shows the Double Cobra weave and how to finish the ends so they look really nice. https://youtu.be/0mJZXJftrCo
This video shows the second weave (Triple Cobra) though I did mine a little differently and added a compass. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D_ekwbvQmIs
A couple weekends ago I was at a gun show and was asked to help a woman look at pistols. My experience with one gun dealer made me so upset I ended up going home that night and posted a rant on one of my local FB gun groups. American Women Who Bear Arms saw it and asked if they could publish it. I hope many gun dealers read it. Women are the fastest growing group of shooters and dealers should take note. I'm very fortunate to have a few gun dealers I know personally and trust.
You can read the article (and my rant) here: http://www.awwba.com/badgundealer/
If you're new to firearms and want to make a purchase, the best advice I can give is to shoot as many different types of pistols you can get your hands on before you buy. No one but you can know what fits you the best. Some women love big full sized pistols, some like little pocket pistols. I know many women who carry a .40 cal and handle it just fine, other women are more comfortable with a smaller round. That's ok! Figure out what you like and dislike about each firearm you shoot and then go to a dealer. Bring a knowledgeable friend with you. If the dealer makes you feel uncomfortable or treats you disrespectfully, take your business elsewhere. The more we do this the faster dealers will learn (or you'll at least learn who the good ones are).
My advice to husbands asking what to buy their wife? Nothing. Don't buy your wife a carry pistol. Why? I'll tell you what I tell them. "Buying your wife her carry pistol is like buying her a bra. It won't fit her, it will be the wrong style and she'll never wear it".
If you want your wife to carry, here's what you do: Make a day out of getting her her pistol. Take her somewhere she can shoot many pistols (or take a class with her!) and listen to what she likes and dislikes about each one. After, go out and have lunch. Then take her shopping for her pistol. You still look like the hero (your spending a whole day with her and taking her shopping, trust me, she'll be more receptive) and she gets to chose the gun of her choice which means she will want to carry it. I haven't had this fail yet.
Oh, and guys, make sure the dealer is talking to your girl, not you. Be her advocate and let him know this is about what she wants, not you or him. Women want to control their choices not have them made for them. If you educate her first, you can trust she will make the right choice for her every day carry.
If you're a woman local to my area I would be happy to work with you and help you figure out the right pistol for you. I understand what an overwhelming task it can be but with some education and experience women quickly figure out what they want in a firearm. Once you have that figured out, then there's the whole process of figuring out what holster to buy!! But one step at a time... And I'm here for that too. :)
Personal Protection Products (Non-lethal)
People have been carrying personal protection for about as long as there have been people. Knives and daggers have been worn for centuries to be used in an emergency. Though knives and daggers may still be used, personal protection products have come a long way. With stun guns, pepper sprays, tactical pens and self defense key chains, the possibilities are endless. If you choose not to carry a firearm or if you're looking to layer your protection with non-lethal weapons, you may choose to add one of some of these devices to your protection strategy. Here's a list of some of the most commonly used protection devices.
Tear Gas and Mace:
Tear Gas is a combination of chemicals used as a spray to irritate the eyes and cause blinding tears. Mace is a trademarked brand of tear gas. Though tear gas can cause up to 30 minutes of blinding pain, I do NOT recommend it because it may not work.
Tear gas can take time to reach full effect, does not work on some animals or intoxicated people (two good reasons to carry defensive spray) which is why I recommend Pepper Spray.
Pepper spray is a highly concentrated formula of oleoresin capsicum made from the oils of the hottest peppers.
When sprayed in the face of an attacker, pepper spray causes irritation to nerve endings on contact. The nasal passages and throat immediately begin to constrict shutting down all but subsistence breathing. Depending on concentration, effects could last 20-45 min. Some Pepper Spray formulas have a UV dye to help law enforcement identify the attacker. Pepper Spray will work on someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Various concentrations are available, if legal in your state I recommend getting something with 18% OC (highest available on the market). Most pepper sprays have a range of 8-16 feet, bigger cans may have a longer range. Pepper Spray does have a shelf life and should be replaced by the expiration date or two years from manufacture date.
I do not recommend foam pepper spray because I have been told by law enforcement that criminals have learned to scoop the foam up and throw it back at the sprayer.
Batons and Kubatons
A Baton is a rod made of wood, plastic or metal and is sometimes attached to a key chain. These devices are used by striking or pressing against parts of the body to inflict pain. A kubaton is a baton with a pointed end made to strike sensitive points of the body (as seen in picture below).
Both batons and kubatons require close contact, making them a good layered weapon but not the greatest for primary protection. I do walk with my kubaton in hand attached to my keys while walking to and from my car. To use, hold a kubaton firmly with your thumb over the blunt end, strike delicate areas and nerves (pictured above).
Stun Guns are an electronic self defense device that uses high voltage to stop an attacker. Touching someone with the prongs of the stun gun quickly immobilizes the attacker. However, because the amperage is very low, no serious or permanent injury is inflicted.
The stun gun confuses and overstimulates the nervous system, pushing a high pulse energy through the muscles causing them to contract and work rapidly but not effectively. This causes the body to deplete blood sugar, converting it to lactic acid.
Using a stun gun on an attacker will cause him loss of balance, disorientation and some pain. The extreme shock will not pass between people. Even if the attacker is touching you, only he will feel the shock.
Everyone will react differently to the shock, you must firmly push the stun gun into the attacker and hold it until you have disabled your attacker and can get away. This should take 2-5 seconds which can seem like a long time during an attack. The best places to target are large muscle groups and areas with lots of nerve endings (See photo below).
With stun guns it's important to remember to charge them when you've fired them off a few times or once a month.
Other Personal Safety Devices:
Many other devices are available; personal alarms, self defense key chains, whistles, flash lights, tactical pens, the list of possibilities is endless. Many items you carry on a daily basis could be used in an emergency. While all these things are good, I don't recommend relying on them to keep you safe. Layering your protection increases your odds against an attacker or attackers.
Layering Your Protection:
This is something I can't say enough. Even if you are carrying a firearm, you should always layer your protection. Every situation is different; being aware and able to adapt is key to survival. Part of adapting is having options to protect yourself. Pepper spray isn't the best option in an elevator or on a windy night, but may be in other situations. Having a plan A, B, and C could make a big difference! Even if I'm carrying a firearm I usually have pepper spray and a kubaton on me and a stun gun in the car. There's many reasons to do this, one being I can't walk around with my pistol in hand through a parking lot (unless I want to freak some people out and get the cops called on me) but I can hold a kubaton and small stun gun without anyone taking notice.
Practice Makes Perfect Protection:
"A bad guy isn't going to wait for you to find your pepper spray"
That's what I say when someone tells me they have pepper spray but when I ask to see it they don't know exactly where it is. You need to be able to get to your protection quickly and without fumbling. This takes practice. Breakaway key chains, holsters and items that clip to your belt help keep your protection within reach and easily accessible. With every item you include into your safety strategy, you also need a plan and some practice. How and when will you use it? When wouldn't you use it? How will you make it accessible?
If you need help deciding what would work best for you and how to make it part of your daily routine, message me for a consultation. To purchase personal safety products we discussed you can click the button on the home page or go to ReadyAndArmed.net/Andee
I hope this was helpful in helping you decide what types of protection would work best for you. Remember, awareness is key because without it none of these items will save you. I pray you'll never have to use them. Be safe!
What is a criminal? What does one look like? Why do they want to hurt you or take advantage of you?
We want to believe most people are basically good but for some individuals this is simply not true. You never know what someone's background was, how desperate they are or what battles they are mentally going through.
Criminals come in ALL shapes and sizes. They come from all walks of life and there is not a group of people without criminals among them. So how do you know one when you see one? Typically you can't know right away which is why it's so important to know how they think and operate.
Some criminals are out to take advantage of you, maybe con you, steal your debit info or hack into your credit card account. These are usually a "smarter" criminal who knows demanding money at knifepoint isn't the kind of occupation that promises a long healthy life. These criminals typically value their life and heavily consider the risk vs. the benifit of their crime. While we still need to be aware and protect ourselves from this type, they are not usually the kind that puts our lives in immediate danger.
The mugger, the rapist, the kidnapper, the robber and the violent attacker are a different type of criminal.
These criminals have a selfish child-like thought process, believing that getting what they want when they want it is a perfect reason to break the law... They are above the law in their eyes. Criminals don't think of consequences when planning to break the law, they are in the now. They are usually very good at convincing themselves that they are a victim and by taking/doing what they want they are somehow justified. They think they are smarter than you. They feel wronged by society and YOU are society. Showing someone mercy in their eyes makes you weak. There is no empathy in a criminal looking for prey.
A rapist doesn't think of a woman as a person, only an object to be used and controlled. They've been brainwashed from a young age to think this way and see women as sex-objects. Her pain and embarrassment gives him the ultimate sense of power.
A robber or mugger sees whatever you own as his already and he just needs to take it from you. He needs it, you don't. He will never consider your needs.
A trafficker looking for someone to kidnap sees his prey as a way to make money, an investment in his business and a leg up on competition. Something disposable when he isn't profiting enough.
What might make you a target to one type of criminal may not cause another type to pick you out. There is no one-size-fits-all way for crime prevention and self defense. This is why layering your protection is important.
While taking a self defense course my instructor asked us to give him examples of situations where we felt we were in danger. Every time someone shared their story, our instructor's first question would be "how did you come to put yourself into that position?" Almost always the answer was something along the lines of not paying attention or being in a place they didn't belong.
We need to train ourselves to be aware of what's going on around us (Stop looking down at your phones people!) and to think ahead for any problems and dangers that could come from our actions.
Learning more about criminals makes them a little less scary. Learning how to react in numerous situations makes them a lot less scary. I never want to use scare tactics to get people into my classes or buy self defense products. I want to encourage you to listen to reports of crime but instead of letting them instill a feeling of fear, use it as an opportunity for a lesson. See if you can figure out why he picked his target. Think about what you would do if you were faced with that situation. If you don't know, do some research, or email me for a free safety consult: EastCoastSchoolOfSafety@gmail.com
I want to believe everyone has good in them and everyone can change but the truth of the matter is a criminal when he/she has chosen a target is like a wild animal out for blood. There is no mercy. The only thing that's going to stop them is your brain and training.