Thursday, October 29, 2015

Definitions: Mindset & Levels of Awareness

Mindset (Oxford Dictionary) is the established set of attitudes held by someone: "the region seems stuck in a medieval mindset", a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations, the thought processes characteristic of an individual or group.

Unaware – These are times when you are asleep, watching TV, occupied with a specific task (for example when I’m writing this) and daydreaming.

Aware – You are conscious of your surroundings, cognizant of those around you, have mentally identified potential threats and where they may emanate from.

Alert – A specific potential threat or threats have been identified; this is a heightened state of awareness.

Alarm – Whatever action was planned in the alert level is now implemented.  Again, taking action does not necessarily mean using force.

Maintaining Awareness – It is difficult to maintain a heightened level of awareness for great length of time, particularly in your own home, which is considered a sanctuary from the outside world.  Make a conscious effort to remain alert to your environment, whatever it is.

Below is a link for a watered down (practical everyday person) OODA loop.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Photo shoot 2015

We have finished our latest photo shoot for the year.  The pictures are posted on our Facebook page.  Here is a preview of what you'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Natural Aiming Area and Flash Sight Picture

“You can’t miss a shot fast enough.”

A shooters natural aiming area (or NAA) is the instinctive alignment of the shooter, gun and target in a specific stance.  A good defensive shooter is one where their natural aiming area can be achieved in a variety of positions.  Practicing good fundamentals will strengthen your natural aiming area, so that you will stop thinking about the fundamentals and instead naturally assume a good shooting position.

In a close range encounter, you will not be able to achieve a perfect sight picture.  The additional skill to your NAA is flash sight picture.  Flash sight picture is an imperfect alignment of your target as you recover from your firearm’s recoil.  Specifically, it is used to quickly acquire your target during a rapid, close range engagement.  Think of the last time you were shooting at the range.  With your eyes focused on the front sight you should be able to see the recoil of your pistol go up then down onto your target.  As soon as the front post is coming into the target, you will get an instantaneous sight picture of your target.  This is your flash sight picture.

You need to develop your skills in both your natural aiming area and flash sight picture to shoot fast and accurately in a defensive situation.  One more thing to think of, the farther the target is away from you’re the more time you have to acquire your sight picture.  Conversely the closer the target, the less time you have to acquire proper sight picture.

Next time we will return to preparing yourself mentally in a defensive shooting situation.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Defense

Today, I am opting to share a link to Personal Defense Network's article, the Five Fundamentals of Home Defense.  A couple years ago I was beefing up on my knowledge of what to do if my home was invaded and came across a similar article from PDN.  I thought it was very informative and helpful to know what to do in case of an emergency.  What it also gave me was a baseline for all the other information I wanted to learn and a premise of how to view my own personal safety.

Five Fundamentals for Home Defense

Friday, October 9, 2015

Defensive Accuracy versus Target Shooting

“A slow hit beats a fast miss, but there is such a thing as taking too much time.”

What is defensive accuracy?  Defensive accuracy is the ability to shoot the center of mass as fast and accurately as you can, the resulting shots should be covered by the spread of your hand.  As we progress from novice to intermediate shooters, I would hope that shooters’ goals will also change.

Many beginners learn the fundamentals and focus on target shooting.  To review the six fundamentals – stance, grip, trigger control, sight picture/sight alignment, breath and follow through.  All of these fundamentals should be performed perfectly in order to hit a bullseye.  In contrast to defensive accuracy where your fundamentals may not be perfect, your ability to stop the threat will be.

Take sight alignment.  There is a degree of deviation from perfect sight alignment when shooting for defensive accuracy.  Aim at the center of mass of the exposed target area, when aligning your sights and acquiring sight picture, your shots will be spread across your target.   To determine your accuracy, your shots should be about the size of a sheet of copy paper.  You are looking at a larger area and at a closer range as your target. A defensive encounter will not afford you the time to gain a perfect sight picture as it does in the range.  Therefore you will need to practice a new set of skills.

Do not think of defensive accuracy and target shooting as opposites.  They are stages in the progression from being a beginner to becoming a marksman.  As first you are only concentrating on the basics.  You want to perfect these before moving on.  This may mean that you skills will allow you to shoot a small 3-4 inch grouping on your target.  Once you are satisfied with your progress, try shooting a piece of paper as your target.  First shoot slowly and keep in mind your fundamentals.  Then change to a clean target and shoot faster.  Aim for one shot every two seconds.  Assess your progress and continue until all your shots are on the sheet of paper.

Next time we will cover natural point of aim and flash sight picture.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Natural Response to Fear

There are five psychological responses to a threatening encounter – fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit.  Every encounter is different and there is no way that you will be able to predict your response regardless of your previous experiences.  This is where your versatile training and becoming flexible in your response comes into play.

Fight – the fight response is using whatever force is reasonable to prevent harm.  Deadly force may only be used in the event of an imminent threat of severe harm or death.  You must become familiar with your local laws and what is to be expected from the legal process if your plan includes deadly force.

Flight – also known as retreat.  Fleeing is not always possible without incurring injury to yourself.

Freeze – in the event of a life threatening encounter you may be taken by surprise and incapable of any action.  Be aware that this is a possible reaction and train to reduce its effects.

Posture – is combat without contact.  In the animal kingdom, this is usually seen as puffing up, growling, baring teeth, but not actually fighting.  The end result sought is for one side to back down or retreat.

Submit – is completely giving in to the adversary. 

In some cases, these responses may lead to another response and escalate the situation.  Know what you will do in any of these cases, role play and discuss your plan with others who may be available during an emergency.

In addition to the mental state, you should also be aware of your physical responses to a stressful life threatening encounter.  These include loss of fine motor skills, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (unable to hear/speak), time dilation (time slows down) and adrenaline rush.

Both psychological and physical responses can be a battle to overcome in your practice.  Training for stress is crucial to prevail in an encounter.  Your goal is to acclimate yourself to performing under stress.  This can be done through timing yourself while you shoot, raising your heart rate through exercise prior to shooting or entering a competitive match.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Preparing You for Your Personal Protection, Part 2

Whenever you start a new project, whether it is a new home project or training in first aid, you want to be sure you have the proper tools at your disposal.  Aside from learning the basic safety rules of handling a firearm, you will also want to learn how to respond to an emergency where a firearm will be used.  In short, just because you know how to shoot a bullseye doesn’t guarantee that you will know what to do when defending yourself with a firearm.

Mindset.  This is one of the first and most important tools at your disposal.  Arming yourself with the correct mindset will be your best defense against an assailant.   Mindset is your ability to never give up, to be on your guard at all times and respond accordingly.  Responding under stress should be a part of your training at the range and practiced at home.  Training your mind how to respond in an emergency is the same as preparing how to take the final exam in the field of your choice.

There are several steps after equipping yourself with a mindset to win and fight.  First, develop a personal protection plan.  This plan should be what you will do in a confrontation as well as what to do to avoid a confrontation.  Avoiding a situation is equally, if not more important than planning what to do in the event of one.  Don’t think of it as “running away”, but rather adopting a lifestyle where you are choosing to avoid the situation before you are forced to deal with a situation.

Visualize and practice the plan, while you are at the range and at home.  When you are shooting paper targets, imagine the target running towards you.  When you are dry firing at home, imagine there is a threat entering your home.  What would you do?  How would you handle yourself?  Continue this practice and seek additional training.  Your end goal is to be confident in your skills to defend yourself.  Mindset is crucial to your success and your ability to perform under pressure.

Finally, learn to control the encounter.  In the event of a home invasion and you find yourself face to face with an intruder, stay as far away as possible (avoid the threat).  If you surprise the intruder, and are able to hold them at gun point, do not approach them.  Once you have taken command of the situation, the intruder has three choices; they can flee, comply or challenge you.

-          If they have chosen to run away, let them run away.  Call the police and report the situation.
-          If they comply have him/her lie face down, away from you, with arms spread wide, and palms up.  Shout your commands and do not reason with them.  Call the police and report the situation.
-          If they decide to confront you, this is where the final steps of your personal protection come into play.

Once the encounter is over, there are five common responses that we will discuss next time.

In the meantime, take a look at this link -

Monday, September 21, 2015

Preparing You for Your Personal Protection, Part 1

A Gun Owner’s Responsibilities
American’s enjoy a right that citizens of many other countries do not – the right to own firearms.  But with this right comes a responsibility.  It is the gun owner’s responsibility to store, operate and maintain his or her firearms safety.  It is the gun owner’s responsibility to ensure that unauthorized or untrained individuals cannot gain access to his or her firearms.  And it is the gun owner’s responsibility to learn and obey all applicable laws that pertain to the purchase, possession and use of a firearm in his or her locale.  Guns are neither safe nor unsafe by themselves.  When people learn and practice responsible gun ownership, firearms are safe. – NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home

One of the most important factors for gun safety is to understand the NRA’s three safety rules of gun handling.

1 Always keep you gun pointed in a safe direction. This means any direction where if an accidental discharge were to occur you would not harm someone.  This also means you do not point your gun at anything you do not want to destroy.

2 Keep you finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.  Finger simply off the trigger but alongside the trigger guard, in my opinion is not an option.  The safer choice is indexed alongside the frame of the gun.  This habit will also prevent accidental discharge while drawing from a holster.

3 Keep your firearm unloaded until ready to use.   Ready to use is the key phrase here.  Ready to use will depend on your situation and your surroundings.  In your holster as every day carry = ready to use.

Understanding the responsibilities of gun ownership widens the gap between those casual users who shoot for fun and those who want to expand their skill set into personal defense.  Using a firearm as self-defense is a tool of last resort, once the round has left the barrel there is no taking it back.  So you must be sure that you are prepared and adopted the mindset to end another’s life if the situation calls for it.

Deciding to use a firearm in self-defense, users need to evaluate their personal ethics, morals and beliefs as they pertain to taking a life.  If you have an objection to using deadly force, firearms should be omitted from your personal defensive plan.  Only you can decide if using deadly force is right for you.  Remember, there are other options for personal defense and all of your options should be evaluated before deciding on what to include in your plan.

Before you decide to train with any weapon, the first tool in your kit should be the proper mindset.   I will dive further into this topic next time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rifles are Amazing - Especially for New Shooters

This week at CCLSC, new shooter Nova tried out three rifles.  The IWI Tavor, the AR-15 and the AK47.  Of the three she enjoyed shooting the AK which was scored high on fun and was the most accurate with the Tavor.

You can check out all of our shooters and practice updates on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Boom Wow and Bang Bang

We just had our first practice of July and our new shooters are having a blast.  They had their first opportunity to work the guns of their choice without help unless asked.  After watching them, their experiences went from uneasy to confident and independent.  Two shooters even tried a .45 caliber!  That's a jump up from the .22 they shot a month ago and the 9mm they have been shooting two weeks ago.  Great job ladies!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Training

CCLSC has been working hard to complete the Winchester Marksmanship Program.  Ladies have already completed several levels of the program. There has been great improvement with everyone's shooting!  If you would like more information about CCLSC progress, check out our Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February Practice

We have started February with a bang.  We had eleven ladies attend Monday and half were new shooters from our 101 class. Take a look at the pictures on our Facebook page.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joining CCLSC

I have been getting some scattered emails and comments over at our Facebook page lately about joining CCLSC.  I thought I would address the general information in a quick post.

First, you need to live nearby where we are headquartered on the Central Coast of California.
The internet is an amazing way to connect with people all over the world.  In fact, I have met several other shooters through Facebook and different webpages who have many of the same goals for their shooting clubs as we do here at CCLSC.  However, in order to shoot with us on Mondays, you do need to live in our area or at least with in driving distance.  Being involved isn't just about physically attending practice though.  We provide information about women and guns right here on the blog and information can be one of our biggest weapons.  Dispelling myths, answering questions and sharing our shooting ideas are all ways that you can connect with CCLSC without having to live nearby.

Second, you need to have taken or be enrolled in one of the basic pistol courses at our home range.
If you do live in our area, you will need to take the Women's 101 class.  We just started a class last week and it runs for 4 sessions (over the course of four months) for a few hours each session.  You can visit our the website of our home range for more information.

Finally, get involved.
It doesn't just have to be joining the club that means you're involved.  You can get involved in a lot of different ways.  From contributing to those who fight for our right to bear arms, get training, joining the NRA, speak to your friends and family about what you believe in to reading about the issues in today's news.  All of these are great ways to get involved.

If you have questions about CCLSC or what you can do to be involved, please leave a comment below!  Thank you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A New Year With CCLSC

Our first practice of the year pictures are up on our facebook page.  You can check out our photos at the link below.  We had a small group this week. Women's 101 will be starting soon and hope ladies will take advantage of CCLSC practices. Over the next few months we will be working on our marksmanship.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

CCLSC Turns 1!

One year ago on January 5, 2014 I started the Central Coast Ladies Shooting Club. It has been a fantastic year, with lots of ladies learning to shoot and attending Monday practices.  There have also been several new additions to our firearms family and I hope many more in the coming year.

Thank you Ladies for making CCLSC successful!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!