Woman Shooting Gun

How to shoot with both eyes open

One of the more challenging things about learning to shoot for me was learning to shoot with both eyes open. This is a skill that you can learn, and one that is important if you carry a firearm for self-protection. Just like training to shoot one handed, learning to shoot with both eyes open will serve you well in the event you ever need to use your firearm while under duress.

Learning to shoot with both eyes open takes some time, patience and practice. Here is the approach I used:

  1. Bring your attention to an object 15-20 feet away from you – your “target” or sight picture.
  2. Hold a pen or pencil out at arms length, then focus on the tip. This is the “stand in” for your front sight.
  3. Start first by focusing on the pen tip with one eye, then the other – notice how your sight picture changes based on your dominant or non-dominant eye.
  4. Now open both eyes, still focusing on that pen tip. Note your sight picture.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

You’ll find that after some time, you’re able to quickly acquire the sight picture. Every time you go to the range, take your time and practice shooting with both eyes open. You may need to first focus with one eye, then open both eyes, focus and take the shot. In my experience, my accuracy improved greatly with my “both eyes open” shots than my one-eye open shots, and I found that the more I shot with both eyes open the easier it became.

More from the experts

One of the best people in this field is former Navy Seal Chris Sajnog. He has lots of great videos and books to help you improve your shooting skills. His video below, Eye Dominance and How to Shoot with Both Eyes Open, shows exactly what you should expect to see as you learn to shoot this way:

If you are training primarily for self-defense, learning to shoot with both eyes open is just one more skill you should learn. Do you shoot with both eyes open? Why or why not? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Real Avid Gun Tool

Gift ideas for your gun lovin’ guy

After our post on Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Gun Lovin’ Gal, our always-generous readers asked for some gift suggestions for the men in their lives too. They’re always thinking of others, aren’t they? So with the help of my own gun lovin’ guy, here are a few suggestions that we think the man in your life may not actually have bought for himself yet that he would be very thankful for.

Coolest Guy at the Range
Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X
Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X

Your guy will be the coolest guy at the range if someone has an issue with a malfunction and he’s able to whip one of these babies out of his pocket or range bag. The Real Avid Gun Tool Pro-X ($41) has literally any tool you would need to fix a malfunction on the fly, including an ingenious built-in (and removable!) LED light to allow you to see what you’re working on. The Pro-X version also includes a ballistic-nylon case that can clip onto a belt.

UpLULA Autoloader
UpLULA Autoloader

While not as visually impressive as the Real Avid Gun Tool, having one or two of these UpLULA Autoloaders ($23) in your range bag helps make the most of your range time by speeding the time to load magazines as well as save wear and tear on your hands. In addition to the black, these are also available in burnt orange and olive drab.

Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade
Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade

I can’t tell you how much I love the Friendly Swede Caribiner Grenade ($11).  I bought one for hubby, hubby’s cousin, several of my friends, myself. This is just one of those things that you hope you’ll never have to use but if you need it you’ll be glad you have it. I have it clipped onto the handle of my Get Home Bag in the trunk of my car. Hubby has his clipped onto the emergency first aid kit he keeps in his car. It’s essentially a mini survival kit, which includes a firestarter, tinder, aluminum foil, needle, fishing hook and line and a few other items, all wrapped up in 9 feet of paracord.

Training with the Big Boys
Navy Seal Shooting
Navy Seal Shooting

Former Navy Seal and firearms instructor Chris Sajnog really has the chops when it comes to teaching you marksmanship and how to improve speed and accuracy. His latest book, Navy Seal Shooting ($20) has simple-to-follow directions and illustrations that can really make a difference in improving your shooting skill.  Chris is the person who detailed out step-by-step how to shoot with both eyes open and that alone has greatly improved our marksmanship.

Seal Survival Guide
Seal Survival Guide

Having the right mindset in any kind of situation is critical, and former Navy Seal Cade Courtley, in his book Seal Survival Guide ($14) walks you through everyday potential disaster scenarios and how to handle them. Not a “fun” read (because I don’t know about you but I prefer not to think about all the bad things that can happen), but definitely a very informative and helpful book to have read.

Gear for His Guns
Sticky Holster
Sticky Holster

I don’t know about your guy but my hubby likes to carry around the house and when working outside in the yard or garage. Having several of these Sticky Holsters (various sizes, $26-36) to fit each of his handguns make it easy for him to have his handgun safely with him no matter what he’s wearing, from jeans to shorts to sweatpants. These fit nicely in a pocket or tuck into the waistband of well-fitting pants. They really do work!

Sig Sauer Tactical Mini Light
Sig Sauer Tactical Mini Light

I LOVE this tactical light by Sig Sauer, and it’s on sale right now on the Sig Sauer Store (reg. $72, on sale for $50). Not only is it a standalone high-powered tactical light powered by a single AA battery (I personally prefer replaceable batteries over rechargeable, especially with something you want to have operational if the SHTF), but it has a mount and remote that can be used on a long gun.

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

all clean

Gun cleaning – without the fumes

The only other shooting related activity that is almost as relaxing as range time is gun cleaning time. It’s so satisfying to see the end result – a well-oiled, well-functioning machine ready for action.

Getting there though, can be uncomfortable and challenging if you don’t have the right products and gear to make gun cleaning time fast, easy and fume-free. It took a lot of experimentation for us to find these holy grail products, and now I’m sharing my secrets with you.

Gun cleaning in action
Cleaning my Sig Sauer P320 for range day.

So let’s gear up!

To start with, guns are dirty pieces of metal and you should plan to protect the surface you’ll be working on. I love my Sig P320 gun mat (hubby has the Sig P226 mat for his 226, natch!), but here are some non-logoed mats that also work really well:

Now that we’ve protected our work surface, we need to protect our hands. Cleaning solvents and the dirt and lead on our guns is very harsh on skin. So I like to use surgical gloves (size M for me, size XL for hubby):

Finally on to the actual cleaning part!

We are HUGE fans of Mil-Comm’s cleaning products. Their products were designed for and used by the military, and best of all – NO FUMES. We’ve tried all the commercially-available cleaning solvents that you can readily get at Cabela’s or Gander Mountain, and frankly were so uncomfortable both in terms of the harshness (even through gloves) and the fumes, it’s worth the price to get Mil-Comm.

We start first cleaning the bore by soaking a GunSponge with the Mil-Comm MC50 NRA Bore Cleaner ($15.50/4-ounce) and passing it through from breech to muzzle (always in the direction the bullet travels). We then let that sit while we detail the rest of the gun.

Next we break out the Mil-Comm MC25 Firearm Cleaner/Degreaser ($12/4-ounce) and spritz all over the handle, frame and slide, and start wiping down with GunSponges or lint-free gun cleaning patches. We also like to use gun cleaning swabs ($6-10/100) to get into all the nooks and crannies, giving everything a final swipe with a patch to remove any excess cleaning fluid.

After letting the bore “soak” for awhile with the bore cleaner, we then use a Hoppe Viper Bore Snake that we spritz with Mil-Comm MC25 Cleaner on the “clean” portion of the Snake and the Mil-Comm MC2500 Lubricant/Protectant ($13.20/2-ounce) on the “lubricant” portion of the Snake. Pull the Snake through the bore (remember, breech to muzzle), and voila, a cleaned and lubricated bore in one fell swoop.

Finally, a few spritzes of the lubricant on a patch or two to wipe down the rest of the gun, paying special attention to the metal parts. A tiny amount of the Mil-Comm TW25B Grease ($16.95/1.5-ounce) on a pad applicator on the slide and parts where metal rubs against metal, a final dry wipe with a patch or two to take off any excess lubricant, and we’re good to go.

gun all cleaned
All clean!

 

*Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

fort-knox-7241-black-cherry

Keeping your handguns safe – at home and on the go

The primary responsibility of any gun owner is the safe handling and storage of their guns. This is especially true in situations where the gun is not in your immediate possession (on your person) and doubly especially true if you have children or others in your house who should not be allowed to access a firearm without your supervision.

Not having a gun safe was not an option for us

I know for us that when we made the decision to purchase our first handguns, the very next decision was how we were going to properly and safely store those guns when not in use to keep them out of reach from our daughter but yet also readily accessible on a daily basis.

If you are only going to own a handgun (or two) for self protection and home defense, there are plenty of small, reliable handgun safes on the market that are designed for quick access at home.

In our bedroom we have the Fort Knox Pistol Case. It’s amazingly heavy, sturdy, and I love the fact that it uses a push-button, mechanical lock.  You don’t want to have a failure in accessing your handgun if you need it in the middle of the night under stress, and unlike this safe’s push button lock, digital and biometric locks can fail, batteries can die, keys can get misplaced or lost and you can’t dial a combo lock in the dark.

This case is big enough for 2 handguns and has drill holes to bolt it to the floor or drawer for extra security. And even though it’s very heavy steel, the lid has a pneumatic hinge that allows for one-handed access.

In my car I have a portable gun vault by Nanovault, that I tether to the frame of my car and tuck out of view.  In my state, Wisconsin, as in most states, there are areas in which you’re not allowed to carry a firearm, such as governmental buildings, school zones and college campuses.

In addition, firearms are not allowed at my office so I need to have a safe place to store my gun when I head into work. As I’ve noted before, these small safes are inexpensive, and are a bare minimum for safe storage of and quick access to your handgun, particularly in your car. I’ve also used this small portable safe when carrying while traveling and want to be sure I will always have a secure place to store my gun if I need to.

What to consider when choosing a pistol safe

It’s important to think through not only the safety features but also how accessible you want your handgun to be as you think through your gun safe options.

If you’re not going to on-body carry at home, which many people do, you need to think through where you want to keep your handgun while not on body. You don’t want a situation where you can’t get to your gun if you need it, but you also want to be sure that it’s secure from unauthorized people such as children or guests when you’re not able to carry it.

Think through in what situations you will be using the safe and where you will be keeping it – in the bedroom at night, during the day while at work, or in the car or while traveling – to determine not only the kind of safe but what features you want – in particular the kind of lock (biometric, digital, push button, combination, key) and the size and layout (open from the top, open from the side).

Once you have your gun safe, it’s important to practice accessing it regularly. This is particularly true for a bedroom safe where you may keep a home defense handgun that you’re not carrying every day. Practice opening in the dark. Practice opening from on the bed or on the floor.  Practice so it becomes second nature and you can have your gun both secure and accessible when you need it.

*The products listed here I have purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

handgun_collection

4 Things to Think About Before You Buy Your First Gun

You’ve thought about buying your first gun for protection, and maybe even considered going to a concealed carry class too. Before you take that step, here are 4 things you should think about:

  1. It’s a significant monetary commitment. Buying a gun is not like buying a new sofa or new computer. When you commit to owning a gun you also commit to keeping it safe at home or in your car, carrying it safely, and training, training, training. That means beyond the cost of the gun you need to think about a gun safe, holster, lots of ammo, range fees, training costs and possibly a second gun (more on that in future posts).
  2. It’s a significant time commitment. Training and owning a gun go hand in hand. You don’t just buy a gun and then stick it in a drawer – that’s just asking to become a bad statistic. In addition, gun handling skills are perishable, meaning that you need to practice regularly (live fire at least once a month, and dry fire at least once a week) to build up the confidence and muscle memory to safely and effectively handle your gun when you need it most.
  3. It’s a significant responsibility. Much like owning a car, owning a gun means you are responsible for a tool that could kill or injure someone or cause serious damage. That means you know like your own children’s names the 4 rules of Firearms Safety and you have committed to both safe storage, safe handling and training with your guns.
  4. It’s a significant amount of fun! You may initially start to think about a gun for self protection, but when you realize the amount of practice and training you need to get really comfortable and proficient with your gun, you hopefully will learn to enjoy it as a sport or hobby. Shooting can be really fun! I actually call it a form of “range yoga” because to challenge yourself to shoot well you really need to focus, which can in its own way be quite relaxing. There is so much to learn and the community is so diverse, it’s really a life-long adventure.

We’ll be here with you all the way.

nano_vault

1 Simple Solution to the “Problem with Leaving a Gun in Your Car”

I’d file this under the realm of the obvious, but the Atlantic recently published a story titled, “The Problem with Leaving a Gun in Your Car,” that surprisingly enough, was about the problem that guns are often stolen out of cars.

If you carry your gun, you also realize that guns are a huge target for thieves. While the Atlantic focused on the fact that the reason guns are bad is because they get stolen out of cars, I prefer to figure out how I can still carry my gun to protect myself (the whole point of having a concealed carry license) and yet still safely deal with the issue that there are “gun free zones” or other restrictions on carrying that would require me to leave my gun in my car. The solution is simple – a portable gun safe.

One of the first things I bought after I decided to carry every day is a portable gun safe. I’m not able to carry into my office, so I have a NanoVault GunVault that I use in my car. It is reasonably priced (generally less than $25-30), has a tether I can attach securely to my car (I have it hooked onto to my passenger car seat frame), uses a combination lock (faster and more secure), is roomy enough to hold my Sig P320 9mm and tucks discretely under the seat.

My NanoVault on the passenger seat
Safe  holding my S&W .380 or my Sig 9mm

There are a number of other alternative small, portable safes that are reasonably priced available on Amazon.com, your local sporting good store or gun store.

The first obligation as a gun owner is ensuring the safety of your firearm. If you are going to carry your gun with you, you have to be prepared for situations where you have to leave it in a safe location on the go. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure you don’t become one of the statistics.

*The GunVault is a product I purchased and use. Note that some of the links in this post may generate a commission that will help support this site, although that in no way influences my opinion or review. Please see my full Disclosure Statement here.

cropped-Woman_with_Smoking_Gun_by_Clarence_F._Underwood_smallLogo.jpg

The family that trains together – mother daughter pistol training

My husband, daughter and I learned how to shoot together as a family.  When we made the decision to purchase our first gun (a beautiful vintage M1 carbine) we discussed how we wanted our then 12-year-old daughter to at a minimum understand firearm safety. What ended up happening, however, is she fell in love with shooting – both rifles and pistols – and in fact has become quite good at it.

In the first six months after hubs and I both got our concealed carry permits and purchased our first handguns, we realized we had outgrown the basic pistol training offered at the local range and went in search of something more. What we found was an amazing facility, the Site, run by an amazing guy, former Navy Seal Jim Kauber.

The Site was just starting to offer “civilian” training that season, rather than being exclusively focused on military or law enforcement. Jim was not only tolerant of us bringing our daughter, but was downright supportive of it.

We attended a 2-day basic pistol course that spring, with some of the best instructors I’ve ever met, learned a ton, and gained tremendous confidence in our skills. We went from being very new with handguns to SAFELY moving and turning to the target in just 2 days. At the end of the last day, there was a friendly “shoot off” competition. I ended up paired in the first round against my daughter, who despite shooting a .22 pistol that jammed twice, nearly bested me to the second round. Our bookish, studious, slightly geeky girl was a kick-butt shooter. She was so proud of herself, and we were too.

How about you? Any fun, interesting or memorable training experiences to share? I’d love to hear more.

NoPolitics

Some initial thoughts on safe gun handling

There are several sets of rules regarding safe gunhandling. All the sets of rules emphasize the concerns of their originators. However, many similar things are said but stated in different ways. Which set of rules you choose to use is less important than picking a set and following it scrupulously. Firearms are instruments of ultimate […]

via Safe Gunhandling Rules — tacticalprofessor

NoPolitics

New survey on gun ownership released

The Guardian has just published the results of a new study on gun ownership in the US, and it confirms what several other recent studies have shown which is while gun ownership among men in the US is decreasing substantially, it’s steady and growing among women – increasing from 9% of the female population in 1994 to 12% today.

More guns in fewer hands – The Guardian

I found the demographic details on income level and gun ownership very interesting – there is virtually no difference whether you make $25,000 a year or $100,000 a year as to whether or not you’re a gun owner.

Perhaps most interesting finding was the data on handgun-only ownership and women who by a large margin purchase their first handgun for protection:

“It was “kind of worrying” that women who had no previous experience with guns were buying handguns for self-defense, and that he was concerned “that puts them at greater risk” for gun accidents or thefts.”

It’s the responsibility of any gun owner, and any woman gun owner, to educate themselves about the safe and responsible handling of firearms and self-defense. That’s why we’re starting this conversation now. Join in and let us know your thoughts.