Posts Tagged With: CCW

NRA…”Shooter Self Care”

Part of the NRAAM that I’d been most looking forward to was Kelly Grayson’s “Shooter Self Care” class. He’d put a post up on his blog, A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver, one morning, saying that he’d be willing to teach a 4-hour class on shooter self-care and first aid. He wanted to limit it to 25 or so. Within 24 hours, he had an overflowing class at 32.

Kelly is a fantastic teacher, and I was delighted to finally be able to attend one of his classes. Although I may be an ER physician, when I’m dealing with gunshot wounds and other emergencies, I do it with the backing of a full trauma center surrounding me. It’s not often that I get a chance for an update on the newest theories and practices of how to handle pre-hospital emergencies.

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Medicine is an art as much as anything, so the practice changes over time.
— Tourniquets used to be last-ditch and a “never!” sort of implement; now they’re just about first-line, especially given the advances in vascular surgery and limb repair.
— Basic CPR has changed. There used to be all sorts of ratios between breaths and compressions for 1 and 2 rescuers. Now it’s all compressions, all the time. 100 beats per minute. Hard, fast, and deep. (And if you can’t figure out what 100 beats per minute is, sing “Staying Alive” in your head. Or “Another One Bites the Dust”. They both fit the rhythm.)
— Electricity is key. AEDs are cheap and plentiful and found in many (?most) public places now. And they’re easy to work. I’ve had to use one on a plane before, and THEY WORK.

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I think everyone (save one) really enjoyed the class and got a lot out of it. Kelly doesn’t drone on and on as so many lecturers can (and so often do). His slides are well-organized and neat. His pictures were well-chosen and very representative of the injuries that he needed for us to see in order to be able to recognize what may be there out in the real world, should someone be injured by a gunshot at a range. As someone who sees the gunshot wounds that come to the ER, his pictures were hardly over the top in terms of blood and guts, nor were they examples of the worst that can happen out there. He would have done us all a great disservice had he not had the pictures in his lecture, especially when he was trying to demonstrate the differences between “looks ugly but won’t kill you NOW” and “will kill you RIGHT NOW” injuries.

And to the person in the front row who kept interrupting the class by squealing every time a new picture came up on the screen… Erin, put on your big girl panties. You carry a Glock. You run a prepping blog. You own a rifle and write about knives. What good do you think squealing and hiding your face is going to do when that Glock goes off and someone gets hit? What did you think you were going to see in a class titled “Shooter Self Care and First Aid”? Flowers and ponies? Get real. Life is, and it’s not going to stop for you and your precious sensibilities.

P.S. A huge thank you to Larry Weeks and Brownell’s for the snacks and goodies that kept us going during class!

Categories: Firearms, Health, Vacation, Weapons | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

How Did I Get Here?

The past days have given me an embarrassment of time to think. How did I get where I am? What led me to this point? Why am I one of those who is willing to ferociously defend as sacred the text “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

I was in the military, but as a physician, you are not expected (nor allowed under most circumstances) to be one of those who actively participates in using guns of any sort. However, during the summer after my first year of medical school, the required 6 weeks of active duty time was spent with the military trying to show all of us just how much fun being a GMO (general medical officer) could be. We got wilderness survival training, aircraft safety training, and a training flight in a T-37. And we were taken to the range one time to fire M-9s. It was the first time most of us had ever even held a gun, much less fired one.

I found I was good at it. Really good. And I enjoyed it.

It was probably another 7 or 8 years before I fired a gun again. I was back on active duty and managed to talk my way into a range qualification day despite being a physician and theoretically not needing it. I enjoyed it just as much as I had the first time. And I was still good at it.

Then I found some friends who enjoyed shooting for fun. They owned guns, though none of them carried. They went to the range on a regular basis, and guns were not scary or frightening to them. They lived out of state, but we’d go shooting every time I visited, and they helped me to purchase my first gun, an H&K .40. That was about 13 years ago. I still have that gun, and I’m still far more accurate with that than I am with any other.

That was it for quite a few years. I had a gun. It came with 2 magazines. It had a box to keep it in. I knew how to clean it. Once in a while, I would go to the range and shoot. I didn’t know what to do other than just shoot at targets, so that’s what I did. I’d get one box of ammunition, maybe two, from the range when I got there, and I’d shoot it all. I didn’t keep any in the house other than the self-defense rounds that were kept loaded between range trips.

I didn’t know there was so much more out there.

After I moved into this house, I found a little neighborhood range up the street. I started shooting much more regularly, and I started looking at the guns that they had in their glass cases. I wasn’t planning on buying anything; after all, what would I do with TWO guns?

Then one day, they had a S&W 952. I’d been vaguely playing with the idea of “what if” and possibly getting into some sort of competitive shooting. I had no idea what was involved, but after looking into what the 952 was, it was definitely a gun that could get me started. So then I had two guns.

But surely, two was enough…right?

Well, no. Because the 952 showed me that there were more calibers out there than just .40. After all, it’s a 9mm. I also realized that there were more manufacturers out there than just the one or two that I had seen. Then I found 2 M&Ps, one in 9mm and one in .40. And a Beretta and a Sig, both in 9mm.

I started trying to figure out why I liked shooting some of my acquisitions better than others. The 952 was easily my favorite, for a lot of reasons. As I shot more, sometimes with range guns, sometimes with guns that were loaned to me by others who were shooting on any given day, I came to realize that it was the 1911 platform that was my favorite. Of course, that meant moving up to .45s. I did a lot of research before I bought my first, but my second was a gun show find, one that literally caught my eye from several aisles away.

Somewhere in there, I also realized how absolutely FUN .22s are to shoot. Fun, and cheap! Once I picked up one, it was almost like potato chips…I couldn’t get just one. Of course, I tried to “justify” two of them by telling myself that they are .22 trainers for full-size handguns that I already had. (But they’re just plain FUN.)

But still, in 20+ years of shooting, I’d only ever fired handguns. No revolvers, even.

Then this spring, I met THOT. He taught me how to shoot a rifle, first with his 10/22 and then with his .308 Enfield. He also likes revolvers, so I’ve now shot a few of those (not just his, but he’s also introduced me to so many other gunnies…and gunnies SHARE). I’ve even shot the shotgun that my dad used to hunt with as a kid.

I’ve discovered that I like shooting rifles at least as much as I do handguns. And if I like shooting something, it’s not fair if I have to keep borrowing that something to shoot it, so I had to get one of my own. I started with an M&P 15-22 (yes, the first rifle I bought -was- an Evil Black Rifle of sorts). My first centerfire rifle was a left-handed bolt-action Savage in .308. I picked up my first AR last month (a -real- Evil Black Rifle). I even have an antique Lebel that fits the bayonet passed down from my dad.

So I’ve come to this slowly and mostly along a solo path, but now I’ve found friends who share similar interests. I’ve spent time talking with them and listening to them. We don’t always agree about everything, but at the core, we do hold some things sacred.

I know that guns can kill; given my background and the work I do, there is no way I could avoid knowing that.

I also know that guns can protect and save. I’m not small, and I’ve had some training in martial arts, but if someone wants to rape me or kill me, my ability to carry and use a gun may be all that stands between me and him. Or them. I’m also not as young as I used to be; I can’t run as fast or hit as hard, and I have one bad knee. Plus right now, I’ve got one shoulder that is just a couple of weeks post-repair. If I am not allowed the ability to defend myself with a gun, I’m incredibly vulnerable should someone desire to take what is mine. Or to take me.

Why should someone have the right to take what is mine or to hurt me because he is bigger than I am, younger than I am, or faster than I am? If guns are made illegal, then only criminals will have guns. Will that make it any more right for him to take what is mine because he then has a gun and I no longer do?

My parents are also getting older. Why should they not have the choice to defend themselves should someone look at them as easy prey? Why should I not have the right and ability to defend them as I would myself?

While I might carry a handgun when outside the house, I am at least as accurate with a rifle as I am with a handgun. Many people like a shotgun for home defense; I think a rifle can serve that purpose very well. If what mine looks like adds to the scare factor, so much the better, but honestly, if I have it out and pointed at someone, it’s not going to be for the scare factor. My home is my castle; I have worked long and hard to get to the point where I could build exactly what I wanted, where I wanted, when I wanted to. I will not give it up to any person who tries to take it from me. I am willing to defend my position in it as I am my life, because to me, that which I have earned is part and parcel of me.

I believe in the ideals this country was founded on. And that includes the Second Amendment.

Categories: Firearms, Wonderings | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Very Long Day

Yesterday ended up being a very long day, but it was worth it! I had to get myself awake and moving and out of the house about the time of day that I am often heading to bed because I had my NRA Basic Pistol (CCW) class set up. I am not used to sitting in a classroom for hours on end anymore; it’s been years since I did that on a regular basis (other than at conferences, and that’s a little different). I did learn a fair amount, though. It definitely got some thoughts chasing around in my head.

The range time towards the end of the day was like a reward for having been good all day long. Each person in the class got one-on-one time with one of the instructors, not only to “ensure competence” but also for them to work with each of us on the mechanics of how we shoot. I used my Kimber .45; the instructors didn’t seem at all surprised to see me (the only girl in the class) with a .45, but some of the guys in the class were a bit shocked. I had no trouble showing “competence” with my firearm, so I was off the range fairly quickly.

One interesting thing that they had each of us do, though, was to fire a few shots at the end with the gun held in tight, pretty much right at my chest. Admittedly, if I ever have to use it, it may well be at exactly that short range, so it is good to know how it feels…it’s rough and loud and hot, and I could taste it. But if I ever have to, the shot itself won’t startle me now, and it won’t scare me into dropping the gun.

After class was done, I got a treat! I went to another local range where I met THOT. He had invited me to come and see (and shoot at) a low-light/flashlight event. I was so unprepared…I don’t (yet) own a holster, and I only (so far) have a single magazine for the Kimber. THOT loaned me a holster and extra magazines so I could participate, and when they realized that I’ve never participated in any sort of shooting match before, the people running it didn’t turn the lights out on me, so I didn’t have to juggle a flashlight my first time through.

It was an awesome day.

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