Last week I went to a women's self defense course held at the Middle of Nowhere Ranch near Harris MO.
To begin with, it is indeed in the middle of nowhere, among the rolling hills of northern MO and situated on a dead end road. If you are from the country, you immediately get a comforting feeling. I have known city people to get scared so far from what they see as "everything", poor souls. Fortunately, we were all country girls. In fact, I was a little late because there was a cow out on my way there and I stopped to tell a farmer, who knew exactly whose cow it was, and this is why you should want to live in the country, my friends. You may not have a lot of privacy but that's only because everybody knows you and your habits, and that, more often than not, will help save your property and maybe your life. Even if you are not a cow.
We spent the morning going over how to be aware of our surroundings, how to protect yourself and hearing stories from the instructors on actual situations they had been in, what they did and what they could have done differently. In the afternoon, we got to shoot.
We shot all manner of guns, from hand guns to shotguns to a sniper rifle and an AK-47. It was a very good course to get familiar with different kinds of guns and to see what it was like to actually shoot them. Going in I was certain I would do better with the smaller handguns, but was surprised to see how well I did with a 44 caliber. For those of you unfamiliar with what that is, it would be the gun that Clint Eastwood carried in his role as Dirty Harry. They are long guns, and heavy. I was afraid I would get knocked back from the kick, but I did not. Well, I should probably mention that there was an instructor bracing my back with his hand between my shoulder blades so that I did NOT, in fact, get knocked down from the kick. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared, and I was thrilled to death to see that I hit the target in the range that would kill a man every single time. He still would have died. Eight times. I didn't waste time feeling inadequate because I tended to hit a little to the right every single time. I was thrilled to know that I could shoot a gun at a man coming at me and not have to worry about missing! With the smaller guns, even the 357 caliber, my arm moved and I missed a lot more.
I was very disappointed with this information for the simple fact that I want to get a conceal and carry permit and the 44's are simply too big to put in a purse, let alone to wear on your person. The smaller guns would have fit perfectly. Who knew ? This is precisely why you want to shoot different kinds of guns before you spend the money to buy one.
I passed on the AK-47, believing that if things ever get THAT bad, I might as well just give up. The shotgun was a little disappointing, only because I have shot a LOT of blue rock (clay pigeons), and this was very much a course for beginners. It was perfect for beginners, though, because there was an instructor there who loaded the shell (and only one at a time), told you where to point the gun and then follow it and shoot. For those of you unfamiliar with shotguns, instead of a bullet, they spray little lead balls all over the place in the general direction that you shoot. Most children shoot a shotgun first, for the simple fact that if you get even the least bit close you will hit what you are aiming at. It is pretty hard to miss with a shotgun, but it can be done, which is why, if you are not concerned with the "rules", you always load two shells so you can shoot again if you miss the first time. The third time I told somebody to shoot again, somebody finally told me that they couldn't, because it was against the rules to load more than one shell. Like I said, it was perfect for beginners. And I must say I had really enjoyed seeing some of the younger girls shoot. It was really fun for everybody.
The best thing for me was the sniper's rifle. I forget what he even called it, but this baby was SSSCCHHWWEEEETTTT. It barely moved when you shot it, and honey, I hit every single thing. It had a beautiful scope, which always helps, and a little tripod thing on the front so you didn't have to actually steady it yourself. Should the occasion ever arise, I could shoot one of those ALL DAY LONG. Accurately. God only knows what one of those would cost and they certainly are not easily to conceal, but I could make exceptions for one of those. It wouldn't surprise me if the scope cost almost as much as the gun. Totally worth it, too.
They happened to have some guns for sale at the Middle of Nowhere Ranch, and I was just elated to find a little 22 pistol with pearl handles!! This was exactly what I had wanted, due to how cute it was and how small it was. It was also very reasonable priced. But that was before I shot the other guns, and after that I realized that not only did that cutest of all little pistol only hold two shots, but it was way too small for my hand and I would probably not be very accurate.
Did you know that 85% of people shot with handguns survive? Yeah. I decided that this information would probably only add to my confidence if, God forbid, I should ever be in the position to have to actually shoot anyone. It also would be quite a comfort if I was ever in the position of being shot back at, for that matter. Who knows what could happen, but with those kind of odds, I say let the chips fall where they may.
I highly recommend taking a course like this. This one was called Refuse to Be a Victim, was only for women "because if we let you bring your men, they would tell you how to shoot and you might get mad, and this way you can learn a little on your own, and then when you get home you can do it however you want". In other words, they thought of everything. I found it very empowering. Some of the women said their husbands told them that they could teach them to shoot, and were surprised that the Cyclist was so supportive. I put this down to the fact that the Cyclist and I have never so much as asked each other anything about our respective bank accounts. But it was very reasonably priced at $35 for the entire day, and that included lunch and all the ammo. Very reasonable. If only I could have gotten a conceal and carry permit for that same money it would have been perfect. It was perfect for what it was.
The Cyclist was thrilled to death, if a little jealous of the sniper rifle action I saw. He can't wait to go shoot guns and then once I know what I want for sure we are going to go shopping for it. I plan to call her Lady Madonna, which fits in with the whole protection theme, and I am SO hoping that she will have pearl handles. Wish me luck.