Tag Archives: Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson’s Tony Miele Hunts in Africa

Tony Miele of Smith & Wesson, August 2012

    Tony recently had a trip to Africa and shared this great picture!  He’s been telling me I need to use this gun, the S&W 460XVR on my elk hunt coming up next month.  I’m working my way up to that one….maybe.   Still a little intimidated by the caliber, but then I haven’t actually ever shot this either.  Smith does put our HIVIZ sight on the front, along with the hunting scope for this particular application.   I don’t know Tony….I’m sure you could talk me into it.   

Congratulations Tony!  I bet it was a fantastic experience!

This will be a good topic for discussion at our next “L.D.” meetings. 


This Isn’t Your Ma’s Dinner Party!

Ok, this might not be the image you conjure in your mind when the word “camp” is mentioned….

Babes With Bullets Camp, Steamboat Springs, CO June 2012

What happened to dinner?!

  Steamboat Springs was host to another Babes With Bullets Camp, www.babeswithbullets.com, last month.  Smith & Wesson, www.smith-wesson.com, is the primary sponsor of the camps as you can see by the camp loaner guns, which are M&P 9mms, provided by S&W, equipped with our HIVIZ sights. 


  The camp had 30 women in attendance, anywhere from 20 years old to their mid- 60s.  We had beginners who had never touched a gun just wanting to get started, to a few competitors wanting to hone their skills, and some with personal life experiences that brought them to camp wanting to learn more about safe gun handling.   As always, the “dream-team” of instructors were there!   IPSC style shooting was the focus, first day is simple gun handling, safety, holster use, etc. before the ladies are moved on to “Bill Drills”, transitioning between targets, and movement and timing on regular IPSC stages.

“Back to the line for you!”

  And no, this wasn’t a camper trying to sneak off the line.  Camp Director, Deb Ferns was getting a little encouragement /pat on the back for a job well done from Instructor Judy Wooley.  

Our “Princess” bullseye shooter for the day!

  Deb makes sure the ladies have fun during their instruction and of course there is a “Princess” Bullseye shooter title to be had for the lady with the tightest shot group.

With a view like this, who cares what the accommodations look like!

  Of course our accommodations were over the top here also, but with views like this who would have cared? 

  The camps are a great avenue for women wanting to get some intensive training from the elite shooters like Kay Miculek and Lisa Munson, and a host of other top shooting instructors on their team, with some quality equipment and accessories to learn on.

“Ma would be impressed!”

Respect the Competition

As a general rule when choosing your booth space at a trade show, you and your direct competitors don’t normally want to be in adjoining booths or directly across the aisle from one another.  Not that there are any big industrial secrets going down or spying across the dividing booth curtains.  It’s just not the optimal placement for you, period.

When arriving to set up my booth at a show last month while unpacking I chatted with the adjoining booth person setting his own.  I had all my work done in a few hours and had the product out etc.  No secret that HIVIZ was occupying the booth here.  The neighbor hadn’t had his product pulled out and I hadn’t really paid close attention while setting up if there were any company signs up.

Too close for comfort????

I’m off for a free afternoon of fly-fishing…that’s what is on my mind.  After a beautiful full and relaxing day, I’m ready to call it a night and get up early for the show opening the next morning.  I rise early and head down the elevators to grab a coffee and yogurt and head over to the show.  I get to my booth and darned if a direct competitor, although new to the market, isn’t the one that was setting up beside me the day before.  I looked at him and said, “how the heck did this happen?”  I joked a little and told him I had already picked my booth space for next year, so make sure he checks out where I’m at…and NOT go there for 2012.  In fact one of the owners was a former pro staff member for us …interesting.  I knew him when I first started with HIVIZ 12 years ago, although he probably didn’t know me then.  Well ….shoot….this is going to be interesting.  Like I said, no big industrial secret stuff going down but this is the show where I have all my distributor appointments set with buyers, laying out our 2012 programs and pricing.  Now I feel like I have big ears close by.  I’m sure the same thoughts may have crossed his mind too.  What the heck, we are all in the same business here trying to eek out a living.  Right?

I introduced myself and told him I knew of him from his HIVIZ affiliated days way back when.  Friendly enough…we chatted off and on through out the show over the next few days.  You have to keep in mind people move around in this industry.  Treat your competition with respect…you don’t have to divulge all your companies dealings of course.  But you just never know what company that person may turn up in down the road.  I’ve seen people be spiteful and cutthroat only to have it come back and bite them in the butt.  We’ve dealt with customers that have moved around in the industry, one that has gone from S&W to Remington, to Mossberg now.  Another that went from Smith to Ruger.  Anyway, you get the idea.  Respect….it’s a reflection not only on you but on your company.

I’m not naive in business, but you don’t necessarily have to be real cutthroat and nasty out there to be successful.  And word does travel if you deal dirty…I’ve had my own impressions of a few, well actually one that doesn’t deal so nicely, and I thought it was just my impression, but talk in the industry tells me I wasn’t far off the mark.  So, again, treat your competition with respect.

I’ll admit, the thoughts did cross my devious mind while the competitor next door had customers come by.  I thought of cranking the volume on my Fowl Life TV video to distract them!  Just picture it, he’s trying to show them sights and geese are honking, shots are ringing left an right….birds are dropping, people are stopping in the aisle to watch this video…”oh, I’m sorry were you trying to have a meeting over there?”  Ha!  My fleeting thoughts at some psychological warfare…

Honestly though, I really enjoyed getting to know this new competitor.  Yes…we are all here in the same business…let’s enjoy a little healthy competition..afterall, isn’t that what brings out the best in our market!?

On the Road with HIVIZ ……and the Stupid Stick!

Don’t get me wrong by the title here, this was a fantastic open house!  The hospitality of the owners was over the top!  The “stupid stick” comment you’ll see at the end of the blog.  Just thought I’d share a little of what women experience working in the male dominated gun industry.

Sports World Open House

I just spent five days in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Sports World, Inc.  They had a huge open house going on.  Gun manufacturer reps were there, Ruger, S&W, Sig, Mossberg, Remington, Springfield, Benelli along with other industry companies such as myself for HIVIZ.  The place was hopping!

I was the only female sales rep there in attendance.  Although they did have several women, including the owner of the store, working there.  It was a smothering 106 degrees one day with humidity off the charts…  The store was a cool welcome haven from the heat outside.   Entering the store you were on cozy wood floors with rows upon rows of long gun racks overflowing with “smokin’ deals”!  To your left was the handgun counters snaking their way around and filling most of the left side of the store.  Above and behind the counters yet more long guns!  Animal mounts adorned the walls with two towering bear mounts drawing your attention through to the back of the store.  To the right was anything from safes to clothing and knives.  The most interesting part was a little cafe tucked in the back corner with old bank teller windows separating it from the rest of the store.  You could sit and have coffee, soup or sandwiches during your visit here.  Very quaint! 

We had customers galore in and out all day long for four days straight.  Saturday was a killer!  The second evening they had a local live radio broadcast that I was volunteered to do an interview for!  Nervous, I quickly thought about disappearing to the restroom and locking the door for a few hours until they left.  But I put on my reading glasses (somehow that makes me feel more confident…gee, maybe because I can see!) sat down and did the little radio interview.  Turned out to be fairly painless.

Two days later and after a little personal shopping of my own in the gun department, I was ready for some R&R.  Kelly Bostian, an outdoor writer, who was also a part of the live radio broadcast, invited me out to the local gun range to try out the HIVIZ sights on the 5-Stand.


 We had a “blast” and returned to work the rest of Sunday at the store.  Here is where the “Stupid Stick” reared its ugly head.  It’s bustling in there.  I’m in my HIVIZ attire, standing in the midst of probably 500+ long guns with just as many handguns too, when a younger guy walks in and proceeds to explain to me that he is not from the Tulsa area, can he buy magazines.  I’m thinking why wouldn’t he be able to?… before I can answer, he says “….not the kind you read you know….”  Now I’m thinking, does it look like I’m standing in the middle of Barnes and Noble…does he not think I know what he’s talking about?  Ok…where is my “Stupid Stick” so I can tap him on the forehead?!

Ah, yes… occasionally, but repeatedly women get these few (and thank goodness it is just a few), men out there with these kind of remarks. 

Overall the trip was a great experience including the chuckle I got from the magazine remark.  🙂

Anyone passing through the Tulsa area, I’d recommend stopping in!  You can visit their website at www.sportsworldtulsa.com.


A True Team Shoot: Sportsman’s Team Challenge, it Takes More Than Ringers!

  The Sportsman’s Team Challenge, www.sportsmansteamchallenge.com, event is a multi-gun competition consisting of six different events.  There are three shotgun events:  Flurry, Mixed Bag, and the Flush.  Each throws 50 birds for either a two or three person team.  The Flurry and Flush birds begin and are non-stop birds until all 50 are thrown.   You and your team mates  have to really work together to maximize your hits, whether it is shooting zones or in shooter order.  Heaven forbid one of the members has a malfunction and you go down.  Rhythm and timing can go out the window just like that! 
Ladies Raton Team: Lily Sieu, Kathy Sedlecky, and myself.
 The Mixed Bag is also 50 birds, but each team person takes turns calling for their two birds to be thrown.  You have no idea which of the traps they are coming from! 
  One of the ladies teams I was on at the regional match held at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM consisted of Lily Sieu, past National Ladies Sporting Clays Champion, and Kathy Sedlecky, Skeet Hall of Famer.  www.nssa-nsca.org/index.php/nssaskeet-shooting/recognition-programs/nssahall-of-fameRingers!  That’s what I needed….as I am NOT!  But seriously it takes more than ringers for a TEAM shoot.  If you don’t work out a team strategy to maximize your points, it doesn’t matter if one or two of your team members are top shots on their own!
"I said PULL!" - Ken Sedlecky coaching me on the Mixed Bag
  Ken Sedlecky with Smith & Wesson, www.smith-wesson.com, at the time, was my “Nudge” in getting me started shooting this match.  Also a Skeet Hall of Famer, what better coach could I have asked for!
   The rimfire rifle event consists of silouhuette target banks from 45 – 90 yards.  Each team member is limited to three loaded ten round magazines and the event is timed, two minutes or less depending on your team’s shooting class.
Rimfire Rifle Event

Next there is the Combo event.  Two rimfire pistols and one rimfire rifle shooting a different array of silhouette targets 35 – 75 yds.  Limited on loaded magazines and time.  Believe me that is the shortest two minutes in the world!

Scary Game Face: STC Nationals in San Antonio
  Lastly there is the Pistol event.  Two shooters have centerfire pistols and different targets and the third shoots a rimfire pistol at silohuette targets.  You are limited to six rounds per magazine, unlimted mags, and two minutes or less for your entire team to shoot this relay style.

Women at shoots will appreciate this parting shot!
 This is a fantastic sport for any skill level, whether beginner or pro shooter.  If you are a team player, this an event you will definitely enjoy!  “Ringers” are sweet, but true team players are the sweetest!
…..and for the ladies, I left this parting shot to the right. 
 Our own designated porta-potties on the range!

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?!

Rocky Mountain Regional ICORE Match

Tony Phan, Rich Wolfe, John Bagakis, and a few other sponsored shooters at the match.

Another of my enjoyable spin offs from my core job is participating in shooting events like the ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiats) www.icore.org  match just a few weeks ago at our local Weld County Fish & Wildlife Range www.wcfw.org

We shot eight stages and a minimum of 230 rounds for the match.  I shoot a Smith & Wesson www.smith-wesson.com, model 627, eight shot, common in competitions.  There were about 40 men and 4 women signed up to shoot.  I ran through the stages and then came back to my post as a Range Officer for one of the stages.  I don’t think I impressed anyone with my scores, but had a fantastic time and it was a great group of shooters!
After the dust had settled, and I mean that literally as it was a bit dry and dusty on the plains of Colorado that day, we set up for the awards and prizes.  Now usually I sit next to all the people who draw free firearms and other great prizes while I get a key chain.  Ahh…..after six plus years at competitions, it was my turn!  I won a C-MORE scope www.cmore.com, and a Cobra FS .380 pistol.  I mention this not to gloat, but to send out thanks to sponsors of these matches.  HIVIZ receives numerous requests throughout the year for sponsorships and, as empassioned as we are about the sport, try to contribute where we can.  Remember to send a short note of thanks to sponsors, it goes a long ways.