Friday, July 29, 2016

Overcoming fear and learning to defend yourself. Find your inner warrior!

One of the most common phrases I hear from women who are picking up a firearm for the first time, or discussing their first gun purchase is, "I'm scared."

The power, the noise, and the finality of a firearm can be intimidating your first time at the range, and that's perfectly normal.  When I was first learning how to drive, my dad told me it was better to be a little afraid than a little cocky.  Having a healthy fear for a thing tends to make you use it cautiously, where being a bit overconfident can lead to carelessness (and the range is a place where carelessness is never welcome!)

Confidence comes with practice; and overcoming your fear of learning to use a firearm usually requires three things:

A trusted educator

Not everyone knows someone who is willing or able to share their knowledge and experience of firearms with a beginner.  If you have access to a firearm, and know someone who you can trust to show you the ropes, you're already one step ahead!  Sit down and discuss firearm handling and basic gun safety.  Starting with a gun that you know is unloaded in an environment where you know you won't have to fire it before ever stepping into a range takes off a load of pressure.  Most beginners feel that they need to know everything on range day, and feel ashamed to ask questions.   If the person you've entrusted with your education is impatient with you, or treats you badly for not knowing as much as they do, it's time to find a new instructor!

It also never hurts to try and educate yourself.  The internet is a treasure trove of information, and while not every firearm functions the same, you can still develop a basic understanding through internet resources.  Showing up on range day already knowing where the mag release is, how to rack a slide, and where to position your thumbs?  How awesome are you?!

Your first time at the range, I always recommend starting off on the small end of the caliber scale.  A 22lr in a large frame firearm makes for a pleasant start.  The recoil is mild, allowing you to focus on things like firearm handling and accuracy.  Don't let anyone tell you that a 22lr isn't a good place to start because it isn't a "Good self defense round."
We aren't trying to take down a moose.  We're just putting some holes in paper, and the 22lr is still plenty lethal.

A new trend that is popping up all over the US is female-friendly range groups.  According to the NSSF's yearly study on woman and firearms, almost 50% of the women polled don't feel welcome at male-oriented shooting ranges.  As an answer to this, a good deal of ranges are offering ladies-only classes.  You can learn to use a firearm surrounded by women just like you, often times being taught by a woman who understands your fears and concerns. There are even groups by experience level- which means you won't be the only one with questions, and your instructor will be more than happy to guide you from step 1.  If you decide to join a range group, do your research.  Find a group that promises to support its members.  You deserve to be with people who want to take this journey with you- who want to see you succeed.  Find a range that suits your needs and go for it!

All of these things are useless, however, without your own determination.  YOU have to decide that you're worth your own protection.  You can't do this because your husband, your dad, or your brother wants you to.  You have to do this for you.

So get out there.  Learn how to defend yourself, and find your inner warrior.  You're worth it, girl.

Monday, July 18, 2016

ShePax Purse Giveaway!!

From now until August 31st we are playing an internet-wide game of tag!  One lucky winner will receive an Original ShePax concealed carry purse.  The ShePax design features a removable Velcro holster, a locking concealed carry zippered compartment with two keys, retractable handles, and TONS of storage space!  How do you win?  With a simple game of TAG!

Upload your favorite photo of yourself at the range, or showing off your favorite method of carry with a short description of why YOU chose to carry and include the hashtags #Guns4Gals and #WhyShePax

Post your pics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pintrest to win!  Don't forget to include the hashtags #Guns4Gals and #WhyShePax and tell us why you chose to carry- it could be inspirational, powerful and uplifting, or even just "Because I can"  One lucky winner will be chosen to receive this fabulous bag by ShePax! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

When It's Too Flippin' Hot to Carry

Now let me preface this by saying, I live in Texas.  Maybe it's age, or maybe Al Gore was right after all, but it seems to get hotter and hotter here every year.  I remember playing outside as a kid, but now I can't even walk to my mailbox without getting sunburned.  (I wish that was a joke...)

Along with the million and a half degree heat comes sweat.  I know it's supposed to be some big secret, but I'll admit to it.  Summer time is absolutely infamous for less fabric, more time dodging from building to car (and back again) and hot, stinky, sweat. Now let's factor in a firearm.  How exactly are we supposed to carry a big honking piece of metal all day in the heat without rusting our favorite piece?

It's one thing in the winter when we're covered in layers, but this time of the year doesn't easily lend itself to concealed carry.  There are a few ways that you can make it just a bit easier.

Go Smaller:

Yes, I know.  We all hate this one.  You've got your heart set on carrying that big ol' double stack .40 you've come to know and love; but unfortunately you will eventually have to choose between heat stroke and losing the layers it takes to hide that beast.  Sizing down to a smaller firearm not only gives you more options for carry, but also keeps you from looking like you're planning a robbery in a giant overcoat.   Find something slender and experiment with new holster options. Who doesn't love an excuse to shop for guns anyway?  Maybe you already have a smaller framed firearm that you've never given the chance to step up to the plate. It's time to take that bad boy to the range and familiarize yourself with it!  Smaller guns can be snappier than their heavier counterparts- that's why we call them "Carry a lot, Shoot a little" options.  Shoot it enough to know you can, but don't expect it to be your new favorite range queen.

Open Carry (Where Legal)

Most of us in the firearms industry open carry in our shops.  For one reason, it deters would-be tough guys from trying anything stupid; and for another, well.... it's way more comfortable.  You don't have to buy pants a size too big, or worry about your hammer digging into your ribs, or constantly check that your shirt is long enough to cover your tell-tale holster clips.  It's just *there*,  Right there when you need it.  Now some states don't allow for open carry, and some of us aren't comfortable with it.  That's ok.  Truth be told, the only place I open carry is when I'm working.  This doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the perks while still keeping your gun to yourself.  Summer bohemian styles are rampant, and oh so comfortable. Find tops in flowy fabrics that don't stick to your skin (trust me, the air flow keeps you cooler!) to cover your OWB holster of choice.  This accomplishes two things- keeping you cool, and keeping your sweat-loathing gun off your skin.

Keep it Holstered:

Newer, more innovative holster options are coming out everyday.  Truly.  The moleskin and leather-backed IWB holsters of winter are being replaced by rigs that actually wick moisture away from your skin.  Find a holster you're comfortable with that keeps your gun and your skin separate while preventing dreaded holster-slime and rock it all season.  Even the hard-backed Kydex jobs are starting to add a fabric layer that makes summer carry more bearable.  This will not only keep you more comfortable, but also make your gun last longer.  Metal and sweat do not mix well, and you may soon find that your favorite firearm has lost luster if you throw it into your bra along with your keys, cash, and chapstick everyday. Guns hate boob sweat.   My favorite alternative is the Sticky Holster.  The material won't make you sweat any more than you already will in the 100 degree heat, and it stays put all day without exposing your firearm to your salty skin.  Extra added bonus- it won't bulk you up with clips or straps.

Purse Carry:

If all else fails, there's always purse carry.  These is my least favorite carry method, ever.  However I feel strongly that the only gun that will protect you in a self-defense situation is the one you actually have on you. If the only good option for you is purse carry, then there are a few things you should keep in mind.  Make sure your firearm is well-holstered.  Whether this means purchasing a bag intended for concealed carry, or a holster that fits in a bag you already have, make sure that nothing in your purse has the opportunity to pull the trigger for you.  If you're one of those ladies (like myself) who can't keep up with a handbag, don't put your gun in it.   If there is even a remote chance that you might leave your bag behind at a restaurant or store, find another method of carry.  The worst possible outcome is someone using what you bought for protection to instead harm others (whether accidentally or maliciously.)  Last of all, don't use your purse as a safe if you live with others.  Throwing your handbag on a counter top doesn't keep your firearm out of the hands of your kids or your girlfriend's snooping husband. Secure your firearm when you aren't carrying your bag, by whichever means you are most comfortable.
If purse carry suits your needs, you do get the benefit of carrying any gun you'd like without having to worry about changing your fashion or layering up in the middle of July.  If purses aren't for you, there are a few fabulous options by Bulldog that double as waist packs or belt pouches.  This removes the concern with accidentally leaving your firearm behind at a gas station or playdate.  You can wear it, without actually *wearing it*  Win-win, right?

What are your favorite methods of summer carry? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Feel Like a Lady. Carry Like a Boss.

With female gun owners storming the market like never before, the firearm industry has been scrambling to provide carry options for our unique shape and style.  This ever-expanding selection of goodies has given us options we never could have imagined; and is opening the door for newer, more creative carry solutions for women.  

Five years ago, I had one sad little box of holsters (most of them made with a gentleman's taste in mind) and an assortment of home-made rigs.  Now I have DRAWERS full.  The options are nearly limitless.  Shoulder rigs, thigh holsters, corsets and lace.  Every outfit, every situation has a holster to match.  Gone are the days of baggy shirts to cover bulky IWB holsters and clunky plastic jobs.  Women are taking back their sense of style, and protecting themselves and their families in the process.

What does this mean for you?

It means you can feel like a lady, and carry like an absolute boss.  It means you don't have to settle for the itty bitty plastic .380 that hurts like hell to fire.  You can carry what you want and still look good doing it.  

Here are our three favorite options newly available to female gun carriers.

3.  The UnderTech Concealment Leggings

Coming this April, Undertech has a new offering for women looking to uphold their safety during a workout.  Their new concealment leggings are durable, stretchy, and just as cozy as your favorite yoga pants.  However, these leggings pack a punch.  Each pair has two holster pockets sewn into the waistband, just like the wildly popular concealment shorts.  You can choose between front or back carry, as well as right or left-handed draw.  There are no do-dads or inserts to fiddle with, the pants ARE the holster.  These leggings promise the same concealment and support as the shorts, giving the wearer the ability to stay active while carrying their favorite protection piece.

2.  Sticky Holsters Ankle Biter and Guard-Her-Belt

Two affordable and attractive rigs that work with ANY Sticky holster, the Ankle Biter and Guard-Her-Belt are Sticky's newest creations for female gun owners.  Thigh holsters are great in theory, but finding one that actually STAYS where you put it without giving the wearer muffin-thigh is a large task to take on.  Sticky managed this perfectly with the fully adjustable Guard-Her-Belt.  Just like the original Sticky stays put in your waistband, this rig stays right where you want it.  You can decide exactly where  your firearm rides, the angle of draw, and how tightly you want the rig to hold on.  Their Ankle Biter is the smaller counterpart, made to adjust around ankles of all shapes and sizes while comfortably securing your favorite firearm. The comfort pads and soft stitching prevent the rig from painfully digging into your leg, while still holding on like every Sticky should. The size of your carry firearm is now limited only by the cut of your jeans. 

1. Miss Concealed Hidden Heat Lace
A holster that makes you thinner AND conceals your firearm, two magazines and your cell phone?? Yes please.  
The new Hidden Heat design features impossibly soft fabric with a beautiful lace exterior.  Each one stretches enough to cinch you in without making you feel like a stuffed sausage.  Essentially, the trimming effect is just enough to make the bulk of your firearm disappear.  Made to handle anything from a compact .380 to a full size .45; these lovely bands breathe and move with you during your everyday activities.  There is even a retention strap built into the fabric to keep your firearm in place (although you can tuck it into the firearm pouch if you don't care for it.)
 The Hidden Heat runs under $40 and is constructed from high quality material you'd expect from a much more expensive piece.  

Women have demanded better, safer, more comfortable holsters, and manufacturers are taking notice.  With so many up and coming options for women, it's no wonder more of us are entering the concealed carry world.  A trip to the grocery store or run in the park no longer requires dressing like a park ranger and giving up your femininity.  Ballgowns and 1911's can now go hand in hand.  Dress suits and Glocks.  Yoga pants and Berettas!  The options are limitless.

Do your thing, girls.  Wear what you want.  
Take your security into your own hands and grab life by the horns.  


Friday, January 22, 2016

Tag us on Twitter for a free SHOT Show gift!

Tag us on Twitter in a photo of you using one of our products for a chance to win a FREE Shot Show goodie box! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SHOT Show 2016, Vegas Here We Come!

For weeks my husband and I have stalked the SHOT Show app, tediously planning the days ahead.  We packed,  we updated our G4G shirts and spruced up the logo. We've researched, planned, and pondered; and now here we sit, on a plane to Vegas and the business woman in me has been replaced with the feelings of a child about to run wild and lose through a Toys R Us.

Oh there will be business.  But there will also be GUNS. Gobs of them.  New ones, old ones, modified and factory fresh.  We're on our way to the farmers market of firearms,  ready to pick the juiciest of the bunch for our G4G customers... and maybe just a few for ourselves.

Be prepared for an onslaught of information.  A fabulous wave of videos, articles, and reviews coupled with products you won't find anywhere else.

Ready to go shopping with us?  Let's go to Vegas!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Gun Saved my Life (And I didn't even have to use it)

Several days ago, I was leaving my local mall after dark.  It was just after the Christmas rush, and I lost track of time in the sea of sales signs.  By the time I made my way to the exit, the parking lot was dark and nearly empty.  My car was parked way at the back, as the parking lot had been jam packed when I began my shopping journey, and there were a few other vehicles scattered along the way. 

There was also a very small truck, not parked in a lane but up against the door as I made my exit.  The lights were on, and I gave the truck a glance and a large amount of space on my way past.  The lights on the truck shut off and I heard the sound of tires.  I knew the truck was behind me, and turned around to give the driver my meanest "I can SEE you" look with my hands on my hips.  The truck stopped, and I kept moving, only to hear the sound of tires again behind me.  This time the truck flashed his lights at me as he moved.  I turned around again with an even meaner look and scolded the truck like it was a puppy that had just chewed up my best heels.
"Back off!" I yelled while pointing with all the indignation I had in me.
(I like to imagine I'm much scarier than I probably am.)
After a few moments passed with the truck and I staring each other down, I turned and began to walk again.
This time, the truck screeched into motion, swerved around me and turned sideways, blocking the street with the drivers-side door facing me. 

I knew this had progressed from a possible prankster or bully to a really dangerous situation.  The whole event took place in less than 5 minutes, but it was an event I had mentally prepared myself for many times during my several years of night shift bartending.  I think that was the key to being able to keep my wits about me, I had seen this situation play itself out many times in my mind and thought hard about how I would handle it.

The door opened, and a man jumped out.  He rushed towards me, and for whatever reason I decided to give him one last chance to leave me alone.  I made an overly dramatic reach behind my back, clearing my jacket in a large sweeping motion as if I were reaching for a firearm.  I don't care for appendix carry, and that's not even where my firearm was concealed, but for some reason in my mind that was what I thought would be the most recognizable "I'm reaching for a gun" motion.  I knew if that didn't scare him, I still had time to draw my firearm and defend myself, but I was really hoping I wouldn't have to. 
Luckily for me (or really, for him) it worked.  He threw his hands up and backed away in what seemed like genuine terror, jumped back into his truck and burned rubber.

Let me just say, I'm not writing this article under the assumption that this would work every time against every would-be bad guy.  However, I was hoping that the kind of man who waits in dark parking lots for women was also the kind of coward who wouldn't stand up well to the threat of harm.  I carry a firearm to defend my life and the lives of my family fully prepared to use it if the need arose, but I also would prefer NOT to.  The moral to this story is preparation.  I was at the end of an exhaustive work week, fighting through shopping crowds on little sleep and at my wits end after dealing with the mayhem.  If I had not prepared myself for a situation like this, I'm not sure it would have ended as well as it did.  In this situation, I only had to INSINUATE that I had a gun, and this man turned and ran. 

When I made the decision to carry a gun, I also made the decision to learn how to do it right.  I make a point to take myself to the range, to train in different lighting and stress conditions, and to mentally prepare myself for whatever may present itself.  It may seem like a lot of work for anyone who doesn't do this, but I'll tell you honestly, it's not.  When you purchase a firearm, that shouldn't be the last step in learning how to defend your life.  The purchase is only the beginning.  Next comes learning and training.  Educate yourself on your purchase, and think about what you would do in a dangerous situation.

This doesn't mean fretting and worrying over things that haven't happened yet.  It means having a realistic grasp of your surroundings and a real plan for how to remove yourself from danger if you find yourself in harm's way.  Maybe that means fighting.  Maybe it doesn't.  Training yourself also doesn't need to be expensive or overly time consuming.  A trip the range a few times a month and asking for help from a knowledgeable friend can be fun and rewarding. Not to mention, it's a stress release in itself to burn a little lead and blow holes in a target. The training that comes with it is just icing. 

In the end, little ol' me scared off the boogie man with nothing more than a simple motion, and a little stubbornness.  I was tired, and this guy wasn't about to stand in the way of a good night's sleep.  He turned and ran from all 4 feet 11 inches of my big bad self, and all I had to do was stand my ground. 

If I can do it, believe me, so can you.