Tag Archives: Babes With Bullets

In a land where gun ownership and hunting is forbidden…..women shooting is really “out there”!

Such a serene and beautiful place…. 

   A recent business trip took me to Shanghai and Nantong for a brief tour.  The visit was all too short, as this was my first visit to China….and such a culture I had not previously experienced.   Gun ownership and hunting is strictly forbidden-everywhere.   Our hosts were intrigued with the shooting pictures on my cell phone.  I showed them one and they took over the phone and just browsed my entire photo collection on the cell phone!  Shooting was one thing, but women shooting was even more amazing to them!

  The journey started out from Denver with about 2.5 hr. flight to San Fransisco, from de-planing there, it was a mad dash through endless terminals to reach the gate for Air China flight already boarding!  Let the games begin!  …And no disrespect, but the Asian’s culture has a different view of waiting in lines than what the American’s do.   Luckily I’m bigger than most of the Asian women…and some of the men.  I’m not that big by our standards…but I am suddenly feeling a bit “Amazonish”.  Well it wasn’t too bad getting on, they check and recheck your US passport for the current VISA.  Getting off the plane was different.  Wow, some of them kind of stepped right over you to get out.  They weren’t being intentionally rude, just the way things are done over there…  I wasn’t in much of a hurry yet, so I went with the flow.  At the end of the trip returning to the US was a different story.  I was more than tired and had transformed into a linebacker-no one is getting past me!  Bring it on!

360 degrees of 23 million+ people!

  About 12-13 hours later we arrived in Shanghai.  Getting our luggage and through Customs was a breeze.  Very nice airport, thank goodness they also had some signs in English. Yea!  A driver was there to meet us on the other side of Customs.  I decided I could maneuver the airport if I ever returned solo.  Beyond that, I wouldn’t go further without a prearranged driver or interpreter to meet me.  Our host and his driver met us there to take us to our first night in Shanghai, a city of approximately 23 million.  You put several New York Cities back to back and maybe you are close! 

     The hotel was beautiful.  We’ve been up straight now for about 30 hours and our host insisted on taking us to dinner.  No rest for the weary!  Drop the bags in the room and meet back in the lobby.  From the open lounge area there were four floors we could see with various restaurants, piano bars, etc.  We headed up to the third floor.   We allowed the host to order for us-I’m game…I guess.  Wine for me (don’t drink the water there-and forget ice in your drinks!).   I inquired as if they produce any wine in China…as we had a French wine that evening.  Apparently they do, but our hosts said it is “no good”.   I’m staying with their recommendations!  I had a crash course on the correct usage of chopsticks.   They brought out many dishes – all delicious!  They were very curious about our culture also.  But the one of the first things he asked is why are so many Americans so fat!  Ha!  I’m betting if we forced to use chopsticks, we’d be thinner!

Downtown shopping/tourist area.

      The next morning was a leisure day of touring.  Our host took us to the downtown tourist area of Shanghai.  Electric scooters everywhere, lines on the road are merely suggestions, and they are constantly honking horns….constantly!  But there seems to be no road rage and we didn’t see any accidents.  Minus the “horn honking” I think we Americans could take a lesson on going with the flow, so to speak, while driving.      After parking we headed towards the Yuyuan Gardens.  To reach this you had to cross over a long zigzag foot bridge.  The waters below were full of koi and turtles.  The reason the bridge was zigzagged is to keep the evil spirits from following and crossing over.  Spirits can only walk in a straight line.  So once you cross over the bridge, you are considered safe and will enjoy a long life!  

Inside the Yuyaun Gardens

 Such history there was.  I am anxious to return sometime and visit more areas!  I only wish I could upload all of my pictures here, but it would go on forever.  The next two days we traveled to Nantong and visited the factory of our hosts.  Here we met with the partners in the business and they too were very interested in learning about our shooting experiences, etc.  We haven’t actually done any business in China as of yet, but were approached at SHOT Show by these gentleman and invited to visit their factory for a tour in hopes of future business ventures.  This company mainly builds scopes, which we do not carry, but that was one thing they wanted to impress upon us was their assembly and quality control abilities.  While walking their lines and seeing the entire process to the end I asked them how they tested for “shock proof” ability on the scopes….since they can’t test them on actual guns over there.  They had a simulator set up for firing which we checked out.  Interesting.  Personally I prefer to test mine on real guns….a priveledge we have here! …and not to be taken for granted!   Long story short, they were very gracious hosts.  Their government and culture was very interesting to learn more of.  They asked many personal questions about family, living spaces etc. but were very curious to see all the shooting sports we do.  I shared my hunting pictures with them and they were in awe.  

Girls and guns….hello China!

The one picture on my phone that made the biggest impression was the Babes With Bullets Camp, www.babeswithbullets.com , photos!  This just seemed to amaze them!

…Words of wisdom: Don’t ask what the food is until after you’ve eaten it or you may never try it….and for the ladies: Keep an open mind when visiting some of their restrooms…and for gosh sakes, pack your own TP!  🙂

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Steel Challenge Match

This May, I was finally able to take a breather from work travel and get on to shooting a few matches.  However out of practice I am, I still had a great time shooting.   Besides if I was afraid of how well I’d do, I’d never shoot and what fun is that?!  Pueblo West held a Steel Challenge match Memorial Day weekend. 

I entered to shoot two different guns.  Friday I shot .22 Open Rimfire Rifle class and Saturday I shot Limited class with my M&P 9mm with the HIVIZ sights.  Neither day did I threaten to knock anyone out of the top scoring spots!  The Steel Challenge, a speed steel shooting competition is governed by USPSA/SCSA, www.steelchallenge.com.  The match consists of eight stages.  Each stage consists of five steel plates in different arrays, one of those being your stop plate.  Seven of the eight stages you shoot 5 strings and throw out your worst time.  The other four times are added for total time on that stage.  

Open Rimfire Rifle Class

With some good trigger control and practice I can get some pretty decent times.  Yes, I have my moments!  But…the key here is practice, practice, and more practice to be consistently good!  I’m working on that practice and consistency part….

I’ve been shooting this match off and on for the past five years and this year I was finally able to talk my shooting friend’s wife into joining us.  Deb’s husband fixed her up with an STI Steel Master, trigger job and finely tuned by our local STI guru.   She was a little aprehensive about competing, but we were all there to help, give advice and above all else, make sure she was safe.  Prior to competing we did have her out off and on the past 6 months or more for local shoots, so she wasn’t completely with out experience.  The format and rules she was unfamiliar with. 

Shooting like a pro!

 Deb did very well and is now more comfortable coming to the matches.  She has also signed up for the next Babes with Bullets camp in Steamboat Springs the end of June!  She’s hooked!  Like I said, don’t let your fear of failure or just the unfamiliar keep you from participating in the sport.  And for those that do already, get that woman who may be a little leery about the idea and encourage her!!!

Be safe, shoot straight, and have FUN!!!

Oh the Stories at Babes With Bullets Camps…

Danielle of Smith & Wesson and Maggie Reese Instructing

The third week of April I attended another Babe’s With Bullets Camp in Shreveport, LA at Kay and Jerry Miculek‘s range.  This camp was a rifle/pistol combo instruction.  Of course the M&P pistols that S&W provides for the camps all have the HIVIZ sights installed on them. 
We had about 30 women, some of us sponsors of the camps and/or women of the industry attending, S&W, HIVIZ, Atlanta Ammo, Ducks Unlimited, etc.  One younger girl that came on at the last minute had been quite competitive and played international soccer a few years back.  Long story short, she had been in a bad car accident which ended her budding soccer career.  She is one of those natural athletes and her dad wanted to see her get back into a sport that would drive her competive nature once again.  Well, some of us stayed in the bunk house on the range, there being several bunks in our room.  I was the oldest of the women in there.  I was elected for the top bunk, the very TALL top bunk.  We let the young 20 year old girl, having permanent rods in her legs from the accident and Maggie Reese, one of the instructors and former Top Shots alum coming off knee surgery, have the two bottom bunks.  I’m the early riser in the bunk house…so I’m slowly trying to climb down in the dark.  I must have been making some creaking and groaning, old-lady-struggling-sounds, when the 20 year old on the bottom calls up “can you get down alright?!”  Bless her heart, rods in both her legs and all…but boy did that make me feel old and darned it made me want to beat her time on the stage when we got out there!  I may be “older” but certainly not “OLD”!  The other “older” ladies there got a kick out of that story though. 

Instructors, I don’t think you could ask to be in the company of any better!  Kay Miculek I believe holds the most National and World titles of any woman shooter!  Maggie Reese and Athena Lee, both top competitors and Top Shot alums.  Annette Aysen, Master Class revolver shooter and Lisa Munson another National and World title holder and Shiela Brey.  All amazing from different walks of life but with this one common thread, shooting sports.  Athena is originally from the Phillipines and one late evening a small group of us was sitting around relaying stories and using an old adage to describe someone we all new.  We laughed and laughed…Athena laughed…and after awhile stops dead face serious and says, “what does that mean anyway?”  Too funny.  What an incredible group of ladies. 

USA Shooting came out the last two days to film us running the stages.  Of course those camera guys have a way of sneaking up on you when one lady finished her stage and was relaying her feelings about a little blip she had on a few of the targets…..well, lets just say those little “blips” are now going to be “bleeped” from any airing!  Ooops!  She will now be forever known to me as ______ “FREAKIN” ______ , (who shall remain anonymous in my blog).

Between stages and waiting your turn to shoot one lady, Jennifer was teaching some of us her belly dancing moves.  I don’t know how she moved like that…apparently not to be on my lists of talents!  After awhile another lady is joining in….gee I never had the guys I shoot with be this entertaining! In fact, I really don’t want to see any of the guys at my range belly dancing!

Oh…the stories we could tell!

Evolution of my “princess” …..

My "Girlie-Girl"

My daughter at 22 years old, came with me to her first Babes with Bullets Camp, www.babeswithbullets.com. We hopped in the truck with all my gear loaded and began our road trip north from Colorado through Wyoming and Montana, ending in Plains, MT, north western side of Montana and 14 hours drive for us from Fort Collins, CO.  I have my concealed carry permit and two ladies driving alone in no-mans land that far, I had the seat holster and my M&P 9mm between my knees.  I can only imagine my daughter thinking what did her mom get her into here!

My daughter has never shot nor really had much interest in going to the range to watch me shoot any of my competitions as of yet.  Somehow I talked her into signing up for the camp.  She was the “girlie-girl”in camp when we got there.

She had no idea before hand what to actually expect.  Keep in mind you have Kay Miculek and other top competitors teaching the camps.  We shoot 600+ rounds in two and a half days.  The first day about noon, my daughter tells me she is tired and thinks she’s had enough shooting for one day.  Oh no…dear, you aren’t close to being done with these ladies!

I see a little lip quivering and I’m thinking, please don’t cry in front of these women… Had it not been my daughter I would’ve been thinking, get your big girl panties on and get with the program already!  But this is my baby, and somehow she sucked it up and when it was all over, had a great time and has shot more since attending her first camp. It was a fantastic mother/daughter trip that neither one of us will ever forget.

This past year I went with her when she purchased her first firearm!  My princess has evolved!  From “girlie-girl”, which she still is….to purchasing her first firearm. What a journey for her, and it’s only beginning! 

Montana Babes With Bullets Camp

I am so proud of her and excited for her journey that lies ahead, not just in shooting sports, but all the opportunities for her to experience new adventures in life.  Don’t be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone!

My Inaugural Hunt…. Nothing Like Getting a Huge Target to Build Your Self Confidence!

Buffalo near Durango, Colorado

  In 2010 I met up with some very high energy women at the Women’s Outdoor Media Association (WOMA), www.thewoma.com, and ended up joining the organization as an Industry member.  In October of that year WOMA held their annual retreat near Gunnison, Colorado where we went fly-fishing, falconry hunting, skeet shooting, and some grouse hunting.  A very exciting and educational experience with a great group of women! 

  One of the ladies there, Deb Ferns, was talking about coming back to Colorado in December to harvest a buffalo on a ranch and asked if I was interested.  The rancher had three bulls he wanted harvested.  Now I had done plenty of target shooting up to this point but have never hunted.  I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch of the definition, but an entire buffalo was more meat than my household would ever consume in a year’s time!  So even though it sounded exciting I declined.  Deb made a few calls and came back informing me another lady from the Babes with Bullets Camps would take the second bull.  The third the rancher wanted to keep the meat but I could just come down and take the shot if I wanted.  Hmmmm…. perfect, I was game!
  December rolls around.  I borrowed a 30-06 rifle and sighted it in at 200 yards.  We arrive on the ranch and they have “back-up” shooters for each of us women.  The told us later they had never had women shooters on the ranch before and were quite concerned imagining all kinds of fiascos about to unfold I’m sure! 
 

Mia Anstine, Deb Ferns and myself

The three of us set up on a huge old dead fall on the ranch.  The bulls were a bit nervous seeing more people out there than usual and were running back and forth along the tree line about 80 – 100 yards away.  We were instructed to take the largest bull first and the other two had to be taken quickly afterwards so they wouldn’t take off.  Before hand as we watched them, each of us had chosen which one we would be taking so as not to have two shooting at one and so on.

  The bulls are headed back towards us and the guides are telling us to get prepared.  The first lady takes aim on the largest bull.  Crack, one shot and he drops!  Deb fires quickly, one shot and her’s drops!  Pressure is on me now!  I aim for what I know is the “kill zone” and fire.  He did what Deb called a little crow hop, turned and looked at me…all I’m thinking is “Oh S—!”  I racked another bullet in and fired in the same spot.  Another little crow hop and he takes another step and looks at me again.   Oh my gosh, what am I doing here!?  What am I doing wrong!?.  I find out later they term this a “standing dead” animal.  I had a kill shot through the heart and lung…just takes them awhile to realize the fat lady has sung.  I quickly rack one more in and have my finger on the trigger when “crack”….Deb takes him in the spine and dropped him.  She meant business and did not want to chase this thing the whole way to Albuquerque!  
  This all seemed like minutes, but all three bulls dropped within seconds.  The guides, our backup shooters, were impressed!  They had never seen three bulls downed so quickly.  
  What an experience for my first animal!   When I tell people a buffalo was my first hunt…they remark, “You started with something that size!?”  I was a target shooter, seemed perfectly reasonable to me to start with a bigger target, easier to hit and build your confidence for the next hunt!  I tell them I’m working my way down the chain to squirrels!
 

Tough Enough to Wear Pink: Babes With Bullets Ladies Action Pistol Camps

Babes with Bullets Intermediate Camp:  I am a  four time returning alumnus to the BWB Camps www.babeswithbullets.com .  Smith & Wesson is their primary sponsor.  HIVIZ Shooting Systems provides the sights on the Smith & Wesson M&P9L pistols used for training.  In conjunction with the sights we also provide scholarship funds for ladies who may not otherwise be able to attend the camps on their own.  I have experienced the first time camper through the more experienced competitors attending camps. 

 
Babes with Bullets and other women who believe the Constitution
Chicago Tribune
Babes With Bullets

Enjoying my first experience, I was anxious to bring my then 22 year old daughter who is not a shooter, to the second camp.  My goal was not to turn her into a competitor but to thoroughly familiarize her with handgun operation and safety.  These basics are drilled into you at the beginner camps through close supervision and lots of hands on time with the pistols.  Secondly, and maybe most importantly, my goal for her was to build her self-confidence.  Myself I consider very fortunate to work in the gun industry and having had some excellent mentors along the way.  These facts along with some independent women in my life, have shaped who I am.  But I see many women that do not have this; would never attempt a camp like this; and just plain don’t think they can.  It means something to these women who may have a low self esteem to push the envelope in their lives.  There is a great sense of accomplishment, a renewed self-confidence for many of these women after attending the camp.  They realize they “can do” and I truly believe this spills over into all aspects of their personal lives.  I saw this change in my daughter and know this was one of those “life enriching” experiences not soon to be forgotten.

Daughter and Instructor Judy Wooley at the Montana camp May 2009

Besides the sport being totally enjoyable, at the intermediate camp where most of us had some level of experience in competitions, we focused more on honing our skills, reinforcing basics and control that will give you the means to advance in USPSA, www.uspsa.org.

For me it was stance, grip, trigger control to work on and then putting that together with stage analysis and movement for a smooth run.  It was learning to trust my skills and start pushing myself for speed and accuracy.  Yes, there is room for improvement!  Practice, practice, ….and more practice. 

The sport is exhilarating and I find such a sense of satisfaction when you know you ran a stage well and that adrenalin is still flowing!

Instructors: Kay Miculek, Judy Wooley, and Deb Keehart showing off their sponsor shirts at the Steamboat Springs Camp, May 2011.

Lastly, I can’t say enough about the top notch instructors; their collective experience and most impressive records in the sport!  Included among the instructors are two-time IPSC World Champion/nine-time USPSA National Open Champion, Kay Clark Miculek; and nine-time USPSA Limited Champion, Lisa Munson. How lucky are we to participate in a course like this?!