Calendar of Events: A Girl and A Gun Temple

Follow our Google calendar and join our Facebook group to keep up-to-date on local women’s shooting events.

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The Temple Chapter of A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League has Girls’ Night Out on the 1st Tuesday of the month at Temple Gun Club in Temple, TX, at 6 p.m.. We also host a members-only 3rd Saturday event. We develop weekend events and special training sessions that are members-only events.

You do not have to be a member of AG&AG to participate in our GNO event, but we highly encourage signing up. You get great discounts with local firearms trainers, on AGAG events and merchandise, and with more than 100 national-level vendors. A Girl and A Gun members are invited to attend a yearly Training Conference and other members-only events and training opportunities at local, regional, and national levels.

Follow our Google Calendar and join our Facebook chapter page to see what we’re all about, and join our chapter to have access to weekly training e-mails, the exclusive Shooting Journal, and monthly training challenges led by Becky Dolgener, facilitator and instructor with Texas Personal Defense Training.

3 Cardinal Virtues of Good Firearms Instructors

Good firearms instructors aren’t all that hard to find if you know how to spot a good one.

Taking on the role of firearms student might be intimidating, but rest assured: it’s intimidating no matter what your level. That’s why it’s so important that Every. Single. Instructor. Continue to be a student on another instructor’s firing line. Here’s how you spot an instructor you want to train with.

Good instructors never stop training

Kathy Jackson of The Cornered Cat knows a thing or two about mindset. While investigating the perspective of a firearms student, she reveals that people often don’t know what they don’t know until they push themselves to learn more. And, there’s always more to learn. Sometimes, students become more advanced learners or even instructors and, at some point, they decide there is no more they can be taught. Those people are dangerous.

Shooting skills are corruptible and perishable. A slight wobble in a solid grip could, with enough “practice,” morph into a really ineffectual grip without a skilled eye applying his or her own best practices to correct it. An instructor’s sloppy re-holster when demonstrating on the line sends the wrong message to his students about re-holstering safely. Every instructor needs to continue to be a student under a variety of good teachers. Anyone who says otherwise has just decided to stop learning and growing as a shooter.

Good instructors understand that practice only reinforces training

Last weekend, I was a student in Karl Rehn’s “Beyond the Basics” class at KR Training. I am always humbled by the opportunity to learn from truly skilled instructors, and to gain a new perspective on training and new techniques that will benefit my students. This class provided ample opportunity for both (as well as helping me figure out that I had developed a bad grip habit that could have really derailed me if Karl hadn’t pointed it out). Karl compares skill development to digging a “hole” in the brain, a sort of a well where you put all the training and practice. These are the skills you’ll revert to when under stress, such as in a defensive situation. The more you practice, the deeper the hole becomes and the more ingrained your shooting skills. For better or worse, when you practice, you’re reinforcing whatever habits you already have. That doesn’t mean you’re improving as a shooter, and it’s disingenuous for an instructor to tell you to practice without telling you what to practice.

Hundreds of round downrange, plus range fees, can get pretty expensive. Spending that money on a couple of hours with a good instructor, however, can help you pinpoint exactly what you need to work on and how to practice most effectively. Sometimes, the exact right practice to reinforce good habits and skills doesn’t even involve range time.

Good instructors are safe instructors

If you don’t have the Four Rules of Gun Safety memorized, post them somewhere in your home so you see them enough that you do. But, that’s not enough. A good instructor spends a good deal of time ensuring that everyone follows the rules, all the time, and then they do the same ad nauseum. If you see an instructor not practicing really annoyingly exaggerated safety habits (H/T April Strong of Holding Strong in Cheyenne, WY), it’s time to find a different instructor. If the teacher doesn’t show respect for the deadly weapons in his or her charge, that’s a failure on the most basic level and points to an overall lack of respect for firearms.

If you’re ever uncomfortable or feel unsafe in a firearms class or on a firing line, don’t be afraid to address it right away, or just leave the area. Your safety trumps any social constraints about rudeness. Be sure you let the instructor or safety officer know why you left or what made you feel unsafe; it’s the only way they’ll have a chance to improve their safety practices for later classes. A good instructor will thank you for bringing it to their attention.

Women’s Shooting League Features Personalized Training Focus

A Girl and A Gun-Temple welcomes new shooters to the League’s signature event, Girls’ Night Out, at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at Temple Gun Club. Email agirlandaguntemple@gmail.com for more information, or join the group’s Facebook page, Temple TX A Girl and A Gun.

A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League’s new Temple chapter began hosting events in June 2015, with an influx of new members who just can’t wait to learn more about shooting sports and gun safety. Facilitator Becky Dolgener said the launch attracted ladies of all ages and backgrounds who all had very specific reasons for seeking out the group.

“I asked every woman there why she came, and most of them want to learn more about shooting in a safe and supportive environment,” she said. “Luckily, that’s just what A Girl and A Gun is all about.”

Founded in 2010 by Austin-area firearms instructor Julianna Crowder, A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League has grown to more than 85 chapters across the United States with more than 4,300 members. League events include educational clinics, one-on-one coaching from instructor-facilitators, and an emphasis on getting more women involved in shooting sports.

“Local women need a resource for personalized shooting instruction and safety education, both for themselves and for their families,” Dolgener said. “The Temple Chapter of A Girl and A Gun will meet our members where they are; we’re going to start by providing expert instruction in gun safety, safe and effective concealed carry methods, and proper handgun selection.”

But, the group’s offerings don’t stop there. AG&AG members are encouraged to participate in the shooting sports, and Dolgener says the group seeks out learning opportunities for local ladies to learn about sports such as 3-Gun, International Defensive Pistol Association-style shooting matches, steel shooting, skeet, and sporting clays. As the group gears up for the AGAG National Conference in April, the group will focus on foundational clinics such as gun cleaning and maintenance, gear and gun selection, and drawing from holster, maintaining the group’s dedication to safety and education.

A Girl and A Gun-Temple welcomes new shooters to the League’s signature event, Girls’ Night Out, at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at Temple Gun Club. Email agirlandaguntemple@gmail.com for more information, or join the group’s Facebook page, Temple TX A Girl and A Gun.

SMART Steps to Getting More Out of Training

What’s your reason for training with firearms?

Here’s how you can apply SMART goal-setting to your pistol training and actually become a better shooter.

What’s your reason for training with firearms?

Maybe you’re a target shooter who wants to improve accuracy or speed. Maybe you’re a competitor looking win competitions. Maybe you’re someone who carries a gun for self-defense, and you’ve realized that hefty responsibility requires training. Maybe you’re an instructor who realizes that training is never finished, and you actively seek to learn more in all disciplines.

Whatever your reason for wanting to improve as a shooter, you had better have one. Not many successful people have gotten there by accident; successful people have a plan of action, and they work to make it happen. Stop waiting for your skills to magically materialize, and instead do the work to improve. Here’s how you can apply SMART goal-setting to your pistol training and actually become a better shooter.

Specific

“Become a better shot” is not a specific training goal. Let’s say you’ve decided that you’re focused on pistol shooting for self-defense purposes. Your goal might be, “shoot 90 percent or better on the Texas LTC qualification test.” Once you’ve determined what your focus is, and you know what it takes to get there, you can more easily set specific, step-wise goals.

Measurable

Obviously, calculating a percentage of your total rounds which hit their mark is a measurable goal. But, what if you “just want to get faster” at drawing from concealment and accurately hitting your mark? That requires a shot timer, and it wouldn’t hurt to take video so you can critique technique and make sure you’re not sacrificing technique and safety as you work to increase speed.

Attainable

It’s unlikely that a new shooter will qualify for an Olympic rifle team in their first year, but placing in the top 20 in a local Steel Challenge match might be realistic with adequate training and practice. For the defense-minded, if you’ve already earned your LTC (License to Carry) in Texas, you should have been required to shoot with 70 percent accuracy in the qualification portion of the class. Improving that score to 90 percent could be realistic with a specific plan of action.

Relevant

Set a goal that’s important to you. Why is improving a qualification score by 20 percent important? Why do you want to increase your target presentation speed from concealment? Both speed and accuracy will benefit anyone interested in carrying a firearm for self-defense. You may (hopefully) never have to employ those skills in real life, but you’ll be more confident and better trained having developed them.

Time-Limited

“Someday” isn’t on any calendar I’ve ever seen. Give yourself a hard deadline for meeting your training goals, and stick with it. Write it on the calendar, and then figure out what halfway to your goal looks like. Write that on the calendar halfway to your deadline. We know through research that practicing skills the right way more frequently works better than infrequent marathon practice sessions, so schedule daily or three-times-weekly practice sessions once you’ve trained and learned those skills.

Set a goal today, and if you need training, set it up now. There are ample opportunities to train with firearms in Central Texas, and we’re working every day to bring you more. Whatever your goal, train SMART, and train for real life.

2 Ways Your Smartphone Can Improve Your Shooting Performance

Use your smartphone to help you improve shooting fundamentals and spot problems before they become bad habits, and you’ll never be without a training partner on the range.

Success in shooting isn’t measured by how many rounds you put downrange. It is measured by accuracy and, in the case of competitive and defensive shooting skills, by the speed at which you do it. If your practice isn’t perfect, though, all you’re doing is reinforcing bad habits that you’ll have to overcome through training—and even more rounds downrange. Use your smartphone to help you improve shooting fundamentals and spot problems before they become bad habits, and you’ll never be without a training partner on the range.

Take Videos

Once you know what proper stance and grip feel like, and what a smooth trigger press feels like, you can generally call your shots when you flinch or slap the trigger. But, what if there’s something else going on with your grip that you simply aren’t noticing? What if you’re sweeping the muzzle with your weak hand, or sweeping your own body when you re-holster? Set up your smartphone to take video while you’re shooting drills; it takes seconds to review the videos and perfect your form and safety for the next range (or dry-fire) practice session.

Time Your Shots

Shot timers are gadgets that sound a super-annoying “beep” signaling that it’s time to start your drill (or stage, for competitive shooters). They usually cost over $100, but your smartphone is a great stand-in with the right app. Surefire and Taurus both make iPhone shot timer apps that even show you how long you take between shots (splits), and can store several practice sessions in your phone memory for comparison. There look to be quite a few more free shot timer options for Android phones, but keep in mind that apps aren’t competition-level timers. You could even pay for timer apps with a range officer telling you to “Make Ready” before the buzzer, but you won’t get the most accurate shot timer of all time in a free (or even $10) smartphone app. We think having the app is better than no shot timer at all.

Next time you go to the range, set up your phone to be just the training aid you need to give you unbiased feedback on how you’re training. Use a journal to record what your app and video tell you, and then find out more about tuning up your gunhandling so you’ll continue to see improvement in both accuracy and speed.