A Woman and Her Gun
The Japanese magazine article
for which I was interviewed back in Nov '15 finally came out on the shelves in Japan for their Feb 2016 edition. The journalist thought it was curious that a woman would take up shooting on her own, buy her own Glock and get after-market work done on it. He decided his 30,000 readers back in Japan would also find it an interesting read. He photographed me getting pointers from a police sergeant on how to shoot AR's and shotguns. The English translation will be posted soon. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!
The caption translations are on the gallery itself. Excerpts from the article translation are below, along with a list of the captions in case you can't make them out on the photos:
As you read, just keep in mind it's a translation from a culture very different from our politically correct one here in the U.S....
Training for Beginner
At first, everyone is a beginner. I encountered a beautiful woman who, although she started shooting only 3 months ago, goes to practice every week. Training with a police instructor, I would like to introduce this as a training for beginners.
“Hey, Hiro! A former public prosecutor is coming tomorrow for private training. Would you like to come and see?”
I received an interesting invitation from Jason, a SWAT leader for the Arcadia Police Department. Whenever he says “come and see,” I automatically say, “Yes!” New gear, prototypes, extremely interesting people, they all come to Jason who has organized the SWAT team for many years. I am simply a rubbernecker, but I can at least record what I see and entrust myself to them. When I show up at the range with my equipment, I see Jason speaking to a beauty.
“Hiro! This is today’s student and former D.A., Mia. She got a new gun so she is coming to try it out. She has an aptitude for shooting, so it’s a pleasure teaching her.”
“Hi! I’m a former D.A….”
D.A. is the abbreviation of District Attorney and refers to the prosecutor for the district. I was aware that there were quite a few females, but I arbitrarily imagined a male so I was surprised.
“Hi, Hiro. I heard you would be taking pictures? I’m looking forward to it. Take some cool ones of me.”
She’s an amiable and friendly person. But speaking of prosecutors, it brings to mind a cool and collected figure charging a plaintiff in the courtroom. In fact, I was selected to serve jury duty last year and have the unhappy experience of commuting to the courthouse for more than a week. The D.A. at that time was also a female, but, anyway, I will refrain from commenting further.
In any case, there is no mistaking that she is an intellectual and a fascinating woman. Also, her zeal for shooting is enormous.
“I had some time after I quit the D.A.’s office so I went to check out a sort of club for women who get together to try out new things and there was a shooting class... So, I went to the class and got hooked. Everything from gun selection, essential customizations, and training I got from Jason whom I met at the courthouse.
Everything became clear.
Her handgun, a Glock G19, was customized by the spirited gunsmith, Logan Fowler: switching of the front and rear sights, tuning of the trigger action, grip stippling—all indispensable for a Glock.
This time, with Mia’s request, we will be training not only with a handgun, but with a rifle (AR-15) and a shotgun. For starters, I will observe and try to follow the training details.
First of all, as a matter of course, we review the safety rules.
Rule 1: All guns will be handled as if they were loaded with bullets. No exceptions. If someone says, “This gun is unloaded,” and hands it to you, you will absolutely verify.
Rule 2: You will not point the muzzle at anything except what you think with certainty is acceptable to be destroyed. This applies to any situation when you are handling a gun, not just at the range. Needless to say, you do not point the muzzle at another person. You do not point it at any of your own body parts. It is the same when you are cleaning the gun.
Rule 3: Never put your finger inside the trigger guard until you have the target lined up in your sites. This is one of least followed rules. Once the target is on your sights, then insert your trigger finger. After you have aimed, remove your finger. If your finger is not on the trigger, the possibility of discharge approaches 0 eternally. Accidental gun discharges occur almost invariably in violation of this rule.
Rule 4: When shooting, in addition to the target, you will fire only after ascertaining the surrounding and the back of the target. Bullets can penetrate, break up and scatter. Fire only after taking into account the vicinity of the target and behind the target in case the bullet penetrates the target.
“Listen up. There are no exceptions to these rules. These are basic rules that are to be constantly followed whenever, wherever and under whatever circumstance. Those who cannot follow these rules are not qualified to handle a gun. Got it?”
Accidents happen. It is too late after the fact. A frank Jason explains passionately. I would like everyone in Japan to also understand the importance of these 4 rules.
GRIP (Right-Handed Case)
It is difficult to explain unless you actually hold one, but a handgun must be gripped stronger than you might expect. The right hand grips as high as possible, with the trigger finger extended, bring the right and left arms together so that the barrel lines up with the extension line of your arms. Arrange the 4 fingers of your left hand and touch the trigger guard with the second joint of your index finger. Grip harder with your left hand than your right hand.
Your two feet are a little wider than shoulder width apart, your right foot is half a step behind, your torso is roughly square with the target. Extend both arms naturally to the front. Lock your elbows in a slightly bent state. At the present, this is the most effective and theoretically correct stance; efficient for the swing from the second shot on and the recovery shot. There are people who are particular about the Weaver (old FBI style) often seen in movies with the left arm pulled in and the body at a diagonal, but Jason says that its recoil management and swing speed are already relics of the past.
With this grip and stance, he wants us to practice shooting at a minimum 15-yard target so that all the bullets are collected in the center.
From here, we finally start training with fighting in our field of vision. First, from the gun lowered (muzzle pointed at the target’s feet), match sites as quickly as possible and fire. One shot each, we shoot at the spot our instructor tells us to.
After this it’s a combination.
“Center 2 shots! Head 1 shot!”
“Abdomen 2 shots! Head 1 shot! Center 2 shots!”
Then, we learn standing, kneeling and sitting postures. Having determined your shape, we shoot a combination of these.
“Two standing! Two kneeling!”
“Two kneeling! One standing! Two sitting!”
After about 5 rounds of this, your pulse rate shoots up immediately. Although Mia is slender, she keeps up eagerly. Here, the points of impact start spreading slightly. Even so, it is impressive that they remain within the target. It is hard to believe that she only started shooting 3 months ago.
Next, we learn to shoot with a barricade. Do not get too close to the barricade. Always reload in the shadow of the barricade. They seem obvious, but effective advice is given.
The morning flies by.
The afternoon is expert training in rifle and shotgun. Mia has experience firing both and you can clearly see her steadily improve as she instantly absorbs Jason’s pertinent advice. Only, it appears difficult to support a rifle for a long period and her right elbow gradually opens up. “Close your armpit!” The command seems a little harsh.
I had Mia self-analyze why she became attracted to shooting.
“Well, I think it’s interesting to see how much I can mentally control an absolute power. How tight can I hit the target depending on where and how focused I am when I pull the trigger? Of course it’s important to have a fundamental physical strength. But there are results from having a precise mindset.”
For women like her, there is a major premise of self-defense and they must decide the time, the location, the circumstances, and the method of shooting. For that, it becomes necessary to have an unchanging reliable technique and calm judgment.
1. “I like this AR. It’s light and there isn’t much recoil.”
2. The instant of discharge, but she does not close her eyes at all. Impressive!
3. No matter what you have her do, she is a natural.
4. AR and Glock. Under the jacket is a spare magazine.
5. Hard to believe this is a beginner with this hold.
7. Also practiced single-handed shooting. She is going to train her left arm for next time.
8. Glock 19. This is not Mia’s gun, but similar customization was applied. The grip was cut short. Can you see the better portability?
9. Shortened grip with stippling. Rear sight with tritium.
10. Glock 17. The grip of this Glock 17 was cut short and can use a 19 magazine.
11. Rest Positioin
The head position has not moved at all.
12. “Lean your upper body slightly forward. Right, like that.”
13. “Push your left hand forward.”
14. “Good. That’s smooth.”
15. Head shot
16. Low Ready
17. SpetzGear’s drop-leg holster. Not too low, not too high, it holds the gun at just the right spot. This black Kydex model with retention (locks the sliding portion cover) has been adopted as the official style for the LAPD’s SWAT team.
18. Able to draw without stress.
19. Tension is adjustable with urethane in the bolt.
20. “Fire!” Ejected approximately simultaneously with discharge. Perfectly executed.
22. Jason holds it easily. But loaded with 6 shot shells, it’s pretty heavy.
23. OK? This is the lock lever.
24. The .223 has hardly any recoil even though it’s really loud.
25. She met her instructor Jason at a courtroom trial. With his help, she acquired a gun and started training. Now, she goes shooting almost every week.
26. “Kneel as you step forward with your front foot.”
27. “Make your front-facing silhouette as small as possible.”
28. “This kneeling position is the most stable.”