From The Editor

Women Who Made a Difference

I’ll let you in on a little secret about Women & Guns—things don’t always go according to plan.

It had been my original plan to supplement our Contributing Editors’ “Products That Made a Difference” on Page 31 with a feature about some of the women who also made a big difference to women gunowners in the last 25 years.

But I ran out of time to call a few of them up and I ran out of room to do the idea, and especially them, justice.

In the sports category I was going to track down Margaret Murdock, whose singular achievement in then-open rifle took place at the 1976 Olympics, well before the magazine was conceived of. It was my great honor to meet her many years ago, introduced by her sister at either a SHOT or NRA Show. You should, as they say, look her up. Even so, I’m not sure a Wikipedia entry would do her justice.

I was going to try to check in with Kim Rhode, one of America’s greatest Olympians, who sadly, is not very well known outside of the gun fraternity (or is that sorority?). I met Kim first when she was a young teenager on her way to her first Olympics. She’s been to five now and medaled in them all—the only American to ever do so, and one of only a handful of athletes worldwide who can make that claim.

If there was time, I’d contact some of the people who have had an impact on women in the shooting sports at a less exalted level—but who helped bring a new generation of women to the sport. People like Sue King, who innovated the Women’s Charity Classic series. People like Katie Ferraro Creigh (aka Justice Lily Kate) who brought women into the Cowboy Action (CAS) fold.

In politics, I’d check in with Marion Hammer, Sandy Froman and Tanya Metaksa, all movers and shakers in the National Rifle Association. Hammer and Froman have served two terms each as president of that organization. Metaksa led its Institute for Legislative Action.

I also wanted to talk to Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who, a few years back at a gunowner rally in Harrisburg, PA, I called the Rosa Parks of the gun movement. Without Hupp, not just Texas, but a host of other states would have been further delayed in getting Shall Issue handgun licensing.

In the business category, there were people like Donna Bianchi, Margaret Hornady and Barbara Skinner to talk to—women in the gun business before there were so many women in the gun business. Maybe I could have connected with a few women dealers, like Robin Ball, who have sat behind gun counters, attended gun shows, balanced the family’s business books and more.

Having done all that, I was going to reserve some space back here in my own column for some personal heroines.

So I’m going to have to be quite a bit briefer than I’d like.

My mom’s not a gun person in any traditional sense. But she’s probably attended more gun functions and cooked dinner for more gun rights activists than most. She’s led by examples that included stories of reading “Knights of the Round Table” (with the Wyatt illustrations) under the covers because she was told girls didn’t read those kinds of books. My sister and I never thought anything from Barbies to bazookas were off limits.

I was going to personally thank two women who used to hang out in our pages—Sheila Link and Gila Hayes. I even saved one of Diane Walls pictures of Gila from her Farnam story to use. Sadly, there’s no room for that either. But both women, in different ways, guided me and this magazine for many years.

I was going to mention a couple of really good friends who I met because of Women & Guns and who I communicate with weekly and sometimes daily—and with whom I almost never discuss guns any more.

Stacey Knox’s last name is probably more infamous than my own in certain circles, and maybe that’s why, despite a lot of other differences, we’ve always gotten on.

Susan Laws has moved on from being active in the CAS world, but there’s not usually a day we don’t touch bases on weighty matters like who’s the best on-screen Sherlock Holmes.

I was also going to talk about my good friend Sherry Collins, who I first met on the telephone when she called me up to ask me what to wear to a machinegun shoot to be held in conjunction with the 1988 Gun Rights Policy Conference. At the time she was working for S&W, and she later moved on to a couple of other gun companies.

We talked almost weekly, even though she was retired. We hardly ever talked “business,” but we shared a common language about so many things.

Sadly, the day before I sat down to write this I got the very bad news from her husband, Tom that Sherry had died on Dec. 8, after a lengthy illness.

I’ll miss her.

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Peggy Tartaro,
Executive Editor

Shady Lady Shooting Accessories

By Carolee Anita Boyles,
Contributing Editor

Many companies get their start when someone says, “I can do that!” That’s just how Shady Lady Shooting got started. Owner Dottie Nobles saw a need and knew she could meet it, and in that moment Shady Lady was born.

Nobles grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch near Kaycee, WY, where shooting and hunting were just a part of life. She had to use a lot of “men’s things” because she couldn’t find clothing and other products to fit her.

“I’m pretty tall, and a lot of girls’ things just didn’t work for me,” she said. As she matured, Nobles continued to hunt, and married a man who is as passionate about hunting as she is.

“My husband can run down an elk, and that’s pretty darned rare,” she said. “We hunt deer, antelope and elk. And I’ve gotten a buffalo. That was pretty cool. In my entire family, I’m the only one who’s ever done that.”


Jan/Feb14- Pg 29-1About five years ago, Nobles’ daughter won a rifle at a women-only sportsmen’s banquet. “My daughter said, ‘Mom, they don’t make any pretty girls’ gun cases or other girl stuff’,” Nobles said. “I looked at my guns, and I didn’t have any nice cases either, and I’d been looking. I hadn’t thought of creating anything like that until my daughter mentioned it. I’ve sewed all my life, and I said, ‘I can do that!’”

So, she did. She started making gun cases out of pretty pink and white camo patterns, and from there into a few other products with “girl appeal.” She also started making gun cases from rich brocades, fabrics that have a definite “boudoir” feel.

As demand for her products started to grow, orders outstripped her ability to sew them herself. Although Nobles has continued to do all the design work on her products, she soon turned to outsourcing to get the majority of them done.

“Most of them now are made in Maryland or in Spokane, WA,” she said. The choice of locations was partly an accident, Nobles said.

“I found the guy in Spokane by sending out letters saying I wanted to make these things,” she said. “I mentioned gaiters, and this guy wrote back and said, ‘What size and how many?’ I was really impressed because he was the only person who knew what they were.” That manufacturer is a small company who’s a good match for Shady Lady Shooting.
Jan/Feb14- Pg 29-2Then another opportunity crossed Nobles’ path. Because of an association with the Wyoming Business Council, she had the opportunity to attend last year’s Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show—the SHOT Show—in Las Vegas last January. While she was in the booth, the CEO of the company C. R. Daniels stopped by. C. R. Daniels is a major manufacturer of industrial fabric products from artist’s canvas to big fabric laundry carts on wheels.

“He looked at what we’re doing and said, ‘I can do that,’” Nobles said. “So we gave them a try. He was right, and they’re great!” With two good manufacturers producing Shady Lady Shooting products, Nobles is starting to move beyond the few basic gun cases she started out with.

“By the 2014 SHOT Show, I’m hoping to have our line of concealed carry purses out,” she said. “We have gaiters being made now, and we’re planning to make bow cases in the future; we’ve had lots of requests for those.”
Jan/Feb14- Pg 29-3Nobles also is working on some new fabric designs. “We have a zombie line coming out,” she said. “And next year we’ll have our own camouflage line also. I’m designing that now. It will be kind of girly, but we’re going to have a man’s dress camo also. I think we’re going to call it ‘Tux Camo.’” Nobles is considering starting to produce some clothing, although she said at this point any discussion of that is just speculation.

“If we do that we’ll have to start little, because we are little,” she said. “But I have high hopes for this company in the future.”

Although Nobles owns Shady Lady Shooting, her family helps her with it. “My husband is a wonderful help, and I have three grown kids and their spouses,” she said. “So we have the Shady Lady Girls, and now we have the Grand Girls. And the son-in-laws and the son. They’re all terrific. One of them does the website and my son and daughter-in-law just graduated with business degrees, so I’m going to put them to work. We’ll have Shady Lady North, Shady Lady South, and me in the middle.”
Jan/Feb14- Pg 30-1Right now, Shady Lady Shooting sells products from its website, and customers can find product in a few independent retail stores in Wyoming. Nobles’ high hopes for Shady Lady Shooting include running the company full time as it expands into a national market.

“I’d like to retire from my night job,” she said. “I’m a lab analyst at a soda ash mine in southwest Wyoming. And then we’d like to get Shady up and running. We might even like to have our own stores. My ultimate dream is to have a chain of Shady Lady stores that deal with just girls.” In this dream, Nobles sees Shady Lady as providing for the needs of all outdoors women, not just hunters and shooters.
Jan/Feb14- Pg 30-2“It would be just girl stuff that would be really girl stuff, not just guy stuff remade for women,” Nobles said.

Nobles hopes that early 2014 will be the beginning of Shady Lady Shooting products being available across the country. She is planning to attend the annual SHOT Show in January with products ready to roll.

“I wasn’t quite ready at the 2013 SHOT Show,” she said. “This year I will have plenty of product and I’m ready to jump on it.”
Jan/Feb14- Pg 30-3Shady Lady Shooting products can be found online at shadyladyshooting.com and on Facebook as Shady Lady Shooting. A few of her products are for sale through the website now, with more to follow in early 2014.

 

Chosing The Right Shooting Instructor

By Carolee Anita Boyles,
Contributing Editor

The relationship you have with your defensive shooting instructor makes all the difference in what you’re able to learn. Under the right instructor, you should come away with an understanding of your firearm and the ability to use it. Take a class under an instructor with whom you have poor rapport, and you’ll be frustrated and will have wasted time and hard-earned money.

Experienced shooting instructors say there are several easily identified criteria you can use to select an instructor who will help you learn the most you can.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 13-11. Look for an instructor who is patient and thorough.
“I start from the ground up and I take my time,” said Gerard Tramontano, an NRA instructor at The Gun Place in Pompano Beach, FL. “We do everything from deciding on a gun to buying the gun to taking it apart to clean it. We look at how it works, and we choose the right ammo for the gun. No matter how many times it takes, I go over one thing until the student understands how the firearm works. When someone walks out of here, she is an expert on that particular firearm.”

2. Look for an instructor who understands the differences between how men and women learn.

“Women need to understand why they’re doing something, instead of just being told to do something a certain way,” said Michelle Ressell, an NRA instructor from Glenwood, IL. “Women learn a skill by first understanding it completely and then by being able to practice it.”

In order to go through that process, she said, women need a little more time than men do to digest all the information and then apply it.

“When a woman has the time to do that, she’s very good at applying what she’s learned,” Ressell said. “As a result, a woman’s learning curve is very quick.”

Jan/Feb14- Pg 13-23. Look for an instructor who understands the different physiological makeup of women.
“Many women have trouble cycling the action of a semi-auto handgun,” Ressell said. “I show women ways to manage some of those more difficult weapon manipulation skills. For example, if you bring the firearm in close to your body, it’s easier to manipulate. But when you do bring a firearm close to your body, you tend to drift away from pointing the firearm downrange in a safe direction to pointing it sideways. So when I’m working with a woman on that skill, I have her turn her body so she can keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.”

4. Having a female instructor isn’t necessary, but it’s nice.

“I’m comfortable with either a male or a female instructor, but a lot of women really want to connect with another women because they feel they’re understood better and that their needs are taken care of better,” Ressell said. “Whether you prefer a male or a female instructor depends on you. Some men really understand how to teach women, so I would not say only look for a female instructor. However, there are some benefits to having a female instructor because some female students feel that a female instructor can readily identify with some of the concerns that the student has.”

Sylvia Hall, an NRA instructor in Crestwood, KY, agreed.

“There are good male instructors out there, and when you talk to them, you’ll know,” she said. “However, women tend to do better with women because of silly little things. For instance, if you’re going to carry your handgun inside your waistband, when you go to the restroom, be very careful because you’re not used to that weight. The first time I went to the restroom with my handgun in my waistband, it went ‘plunk’ on the floor and like to have scared me to death. Men don’t think about those things.” Women know a lot of little things like that, that men don’t know, Hall said.

“We have ‘special circumstances’ sometimes that women need to tell other women,” she said.

5. Ask around and see what other people think about the instructor you’re considering.

“Check with the local gun store and get a recommendation from the store as to who gets rave reviews on their instruction,” Ressell said. “Ask how they get along with their students, and how successful the students are at the end of the class.”

Jan/Feb14- Pg 13-36. Ask the instructor why he or she wants to be or is an instructor.
“I wanted to be an instructor because someone came to my back door and tried to force their way in,” Hall said. “I had my gun behind my back, and I got it out and told them they couldn’t come in. Later the same people broke in to two other women’s houses and hurt them.” After that experience, Hall wanted to empower other women to protect themselves as she did.

When an instructor is teaching for a reason like that, you know you are learning from someone who is teaching for the right reason. If someone says, “It’s just a job,” or “It pays well,” back off and take another look at things.

“A good instructor needs to care about people,” Hall said. “You don’t want to take a class from someone who is just in it for the money. A good instructor is teaching for more than just personal benefit. If I found someone who was just in it for the money, I’d run.”

Jan/Feb14- Pg 147. Look for someone who runs small classes.
“If I have five people in a class, it’s a big class,” Hall said. “I want each person to have individual attention, and I want to make sure each person knows how to hold the gun, how to stand, and how to do everything they need to do with it. If you have a big crowd with ten or more people, it’s just a crowd. You don’t have time to do everything they need for you to do. I’ll even do a class for one or two women, because when they leave I want to be sure they know how to handle that handgun.”

 

Serious Training With John Farnam

By Diane Walls,
Contributing Editor

It was this writer’s privilege to partake of the opportunity to train with John Farnam of Defense Training International, Inc. (DTI) when a beginning/intermediate defensive handgun class was offered in Yakima, WA, last September. Farnam, and his wife Vicki, are both renowned instructors who travel all over the country and abroad offering training to law enforcement, security and civilian alike. Anyone that wants to take responsibility for their personal, professional and family safety by learning to use firearms is welcome. Farnam has more than 40 years of professional experience to impart.

“The techniques we teach were paid for in blood to be those most effective in preparing you for the fight of your life, which could take place tonight,” Farnam said in introductory comments. “I want to take you from amateur to operator so you can fight and survive with any gun.”

As to the topic of whether to carry a gun, Farnam says, “Either do or do not, it’s your choice. Don’t go halfway and only carry one when you feel you might need it. That’s ridiculous! You never know when you’ll need it so you have to be ready at all times. If you’re not willing to do that, fine. Don’t carry one at all.”
Farnam definitely walks his talk. Throughout his many years in law enforcement and expert witness work, he has become a student of real shooting situations and the lessons they have to impart. This is what he means when he says the techniques he teaches were “paid for in blood”.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 25-1Just when eyes were widening at Farnam’s frank and sometimes grim remarks, he turned it over to his assisting instructors for comments. They reassured us that it wouldn’t be scary and they would help us all along the way to be safe and learn what they had to impart. And a nicer, more supportive group of instructors couldn’t be found. Each was well qualified to teach the DTI curriculum and their enthusiasm for teaching and devotion to the art of gunfighting was obvious. And, lest I paint John Farnam with too stern a brush, it was obvious, in spite of his no-nonsense approach to the serious subject of fighting with a gun, he was a caring person with a passion for teaching people how to protect the most precious gift we are given, our lives.

Our class consisted of all skill levels from first-time gun handlers to repeat students and instructors of the gun from other schools. Farnam split the class into beginning and intermediate/advanced groups and let the students decide where they felt most comfortable starting out. He left it up to us, once we got started, to ask to change groups if we felt out of place for any reason. Farnam trusted instructors Joseph Bobovsky, Mike Clark and Mike Cole to work with the more experienced group while he worked with instructor Ted Sittner to introduce the newer shooters to his fighting skills. My husband, Tom, friends Gila Hayes and Melissa DeYoung and I went with the advanced group.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 25-2Farnam runs a hot range, which means that the students are responsible for keeping their guns loaded and ready to go at all times. We started with a slow concentration drill of placing 6 shots in as tight a group as possible in the small head box of our targets. This diagnostic of trigger control let them know how much work they would be in for. It was a test of our ability to follow directions as well. We were expected to step sideways and draw at the command of “Gun!” Next came the challenge to our targets. They gave us the “tape loops” of: “Police! Don’t move! Drop the weapon!”

Farnam had explained that, whether we were police or not didn’t matter. It was proven to get the attention of bad guys and witnesses alike and could be explained as calling for police as well as announcing you might be police. A challenge with presentation of a gun can often stop a confrontation before it becomes necessary to shoot, especially when delivered in a good commanding voice.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 25-3At the whistle, we stepped sideways again and engaged the targets. The side-stepping had been proven through bitter experience to be preferential to being a still target. Challenging and stepping would be expected with every drill throughout class.

Next, we were shown how to reload our guns with magazines retained instead of dropped. It didn’t matter to the instructors whether we stashed partial and empty magazines in our pockets before or after we got a full magazine to replace them. This was adult education and whatever felt most natural to us to get the job done was OK with them. It was brought up that keeping the partial magazine could be a lifesaver if the fight was long lasting and round intensive or if you don’t venture out with a stack of magazines on you as you go about your daily routine. Though more time consuming by a tiny increment, it was best to practice the harder way for the times it might make a serious difference.

The pacing was well matched to the skill level of the students and the guns we had brought. We moved to multiple shots, loading from empty, malfunction clearing and shooting at swinging steel targets, all while keeping to protocols. Before we knew it, we were running on a timer and had passed DTI’s basic test.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 26-1We stayed on the range throughout the day and into the night for some low light and flashlight work. Meals were taken together. Our hosts, Mike and Caroline Clark, treated us as honored guests to the wonderful private range they had built on their own property and had arranged for burgers grilled at lunch and pizza for dinner. We were all bonding into new friends. Mike Clark is a capable instructor and his wife, Caroline, was happy to have three more ladies to share her advanced class experience with as well as male friends old and new. Well after dark, we straggled back to our motel rooms to clean up and rest for the second day, to begin at 9am Sunday morning.

Sunday began with Farnam showing how to put together a trauma kit for treatment of gunshot wounds, should it become necessary. DTI teaches a class on treatment of gunshot trauma. Farnam feels that serious shooters should all have this type of training as part of the whole concept of fighting with guns and should always be ready with a trauma kit at all times. Instructors, especially, need to know how to take care of injuries as accidents happen when handling dangerous implements like guns and it would be irresponsible not to be ready. I couldn’t agree more!

Jan/Feb14- Pg 26-2We began our shooting with the slow fire concentration drill again. Our instructors were pleased with the improvement we had all shown the day before and were happy to see that we hadn’t lost too much overnight.

Next up, the instructors got to exhibit their artistic abilities as they drew hostage pictures on our targets in front and just slightly to the right of the target head. The scenario would be coming around a corner during a situation in our homes to find an armed suspect with a loved one of ours as hostage. Rather than blast away frantically, we were to distract the bad guy with a new “tape loop”: “What do you want?”

This gives us a moment to assess while the bad guy either comes up with a request or continues to threaten harm. At the whistle, we were to shut the threat down with well-placed shots that would stop them without causing muscle spasms that would endanger the hostage. Accuracy would be crucial to our loved ones at this point. This understood, we all did very well.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 27-1We moved on to very close range firing from retention position. This was performed dominant hand only while the support arm wrapped our heads to deflect any incoming blows to some degree and keep that arm out of harms way from our own firearms.

One-handed shooting with both dominant and non-dominant hands followed. The instructors demonstrated effective use of cover from kneeling, standing and prone, keeping back far enough from the cover to protect from ricochet and slowly working out to where they could see the target while most of their bodies remained obscured. Then, it was our turn to try shooting. We were encouraged to use the cover advantage to the best of our ability in the manner we might actually do so in real life.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 27-2We worked on one-handed manipulations of our unloaded guns that would become important if we lost the use of a hand in a fight. We tried the tricky task of locking our slides back with both only-right and only-left hands. They gave us some tips on how this might be accomplished and let us work it out for ourselves with our guns under their watchful eyes.

This administrative task is the most difficult to accomplish with one hand and, if we could do it, any other manipulations would be easy by comparison.It was time for the testing to begin.

To earn an advanced DTI pin, we had to shoot one of the heavy steel double-headed swing-arm targets in such a way as to get it to flip completely over, while following all the procedures we’d been taught, moving after every four shots, reloading and fixing malfunctions as required, all within 20 seconds. We could try as many times as we needed to get it done. Needless to say it wasn’t as simple as it might sound. Accuracy and catching the timing of that swinging bar just so while not forgetting to follow the rules was a serious challenge! One by one, we got it while we fought frustration to stay calm.

Jan/Feb14- Pg 45To make up for the hard work of testing, our final drill was “battlefield pick-up.” Students set out their guns and ammo sources and let their classmates try them, with their different action types, sights and controls on the steel swingers. It was a fun way to end the shooting day.

Farnam concluded with encouragement and praise. He urged us to work to keep fresh the skills we had learned. Each of his instructors was given the chance to give us some final words as well. It was on each of their faces that they were doing what they loved by sharing what they knew with us and that the best part to them was seeing the progress we had all made.

Tom, Gila, Melissa and I returned to the rainy side of the mountains feeling that we had made some wonderful new friends on the East side of the state. We had enjoyed shooting together and learning new skills to integrate into our self defense toolboxes.
Special thanks to Dr. Joseph Bobovsky, who coordinated the class and came to help instruct on crutches post surgery on his lower leg. Also to Mike and Caroline Clark for sharing your home range, time and knowledge.

Mike Cole and Ted Sittner, your love for the art of handgunning came across loud and proud. Your kindness and encouragement matched your enthusiasm. I enjoyed spending range time with you.
Most of all, thank you John Farnam for sharing your vast knowledge in practical, down-to-earth techniques. You are the real deal, no pretensions no compromises.

Defensive Strategies- Lyn Bates

Self-defense is a broad enough concept to include assessing your cyber security.

Making A Difference- Genie Jennings

To Join…or Not To Join: Do you need a national organization to form a shooting club?

Redesigned Ruger LC9 is Self-Defense Gem

By Bob Campbell,
Contributing Editor

Ruger’s new LC9S compact handgun has given me pause for thought. The handgun is more capable than I would have thought, and frankly, perhaps Ruger should have re-designated the handgun altogether. It is that different from the original LC9. The outline, grip and magazine are the same but the new LC9 is a striker-fired handgun. This is a handgun that gets your attention. There isn’t anything wrong with the original LC9, but the operating mechanism is more difficult to master in a compact handgun. The LC9 is a double-action-only handgun. The trigger is pressed and the trigger action both cocks and drops the hammer. This long press is heavier than a singleaction design. While the system is reliable, the long trigger pull against a light handgun doesn’t make for the best accuracy potential in most hands.

Pg 27,1My experience with the doubleaction revolver in the .38 snubnose version has given me much experience in controlling short and light handguns. I have to admit that, just the same, such trigger work is often a chore and Redesigned Ruger LC9 Is Self-Defense Gem The Ruger LC9 and Black Hills Ammunition make a good match. January-February 2015 27 concentrating on the sights and grip while pressing a long trigger can be difficult. The trigger is operated by finger pressure and the muscles do all of the work. With striker-fired handguns the recoiling slide partially cocks the striker, what some call prepping the striker. This system results in a more controllable, lighter trigger action.

In order to manufacture a striker-fired LCP, Ruger could not simply change a few parts. A complete redesign of the firing mechanism was needed. A hammer is contained in the receiver, while the striker is located in the slide. With the striker fired action the mechanism is in the slide. The slide received a complete redesign for the striker-fired version. A dust cover is added at the rear of the slide and a positive firing pin block that works with the striker was designed. The trigger action has been extensively modified. The result is a significantly different handgun. Yet the LC9S retains much of the appearance of the original LC9 handgun. The trigger is much shorter and more controllable in this version. The LC9 was already light and concealable. Now, the LC9S has a slide that is even less likely to snag on clothing. The LC9S is delivered in a cardboard box with a nice zipper pouch and a gun lock. One magazine is supplied with the handgun.

Pg 27,2Manipulating and loading the pistol is the same as the LC9. For best reliability, the drill is: lock the slide to the rear. Insert a loaded magazine. Grasp the rear of the slide and let it run forward to load the pistol. Racking the slide over a loaded magazine sometimes doesn’t completely seat the cartridge. There is a manual safety that may be engaged. Practice manipulation of this safety—it can be a lifesaver. The pistol is slim and trim and offers a good option for personal defense. The proof is in the firing. To evaluate the LC9S I chose a number of practice and personal defense loads. I have fired this handgun extensively with a number of quality loads. At this point, with several hundred rounds fired, there have been no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject. It would be wise to proof the pistol extensively with whichever load you choose for personal defense.

A short-barrel handgun in 9mm Luger doesn’t develop the velocity a five-inch barrel handgun will. It would be wise to choose a 115-grain JHP for personal defense use in this handgun. The heavier 124-grain loads and particularly the 135- to 147-grain loads probably will not exhibit significant expansion in this handgun. The Black Hills 115-grain FMJ loading is a good training resource that always gives good accuracy, and this was not a different case. The Ruger stayed on the target and fired to the point of aim at 10 yards with this loading. Switching to the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain EXP loading I also enjoyed good accuracy. While this handgun is designed for short range combat use, absolute accuracy is always interesting. The Ruger LC9S demonstrated a 3-inch group for 5 shots from a solid bench rest at the 15-yard line. Some groups were larger and some smaller, the pistol is obviously accurate enough for personal defense. The EXP loading is driven to the highest pressure possible without resorting to +P pressure, and that works for me. Black Hills Ammunition also offers a 115-grain +P, a 124-grain JHP and a 124-grain JHP +P, but I reserve these for use in large frame handguns.

After test firing the LC9S and putting it through the paces in both combat firing and bench rest firing for accuracy, I find a credible handgun with much to recommend. The pistol is reliable with modern JHP loads, it fits most hands well, the new trigger action is smooth, crisp and reliable. Overall the Ruger LC9S cannot be faulted. It is a good defensive handgun well worth its price. W&G

‘Shop Where You Shoot’ A New Business Concept

By Joseph P. Tartaro
President SAF

The firearms industry seems to be a good breeding ground for entrepreneurship. New products and services are always popping up, usually to fill some perceived need, whether for self-and-home defense, competition, hunting or just plinking. And it’s not always new guns or ammunition. Not surprisingly many of these gun business trailblazers are men and women who have served in the military or law enforcement, or were previously avid competitors or trainers. And these pioneers are not just developing new products; often they are creating new ways of delivering the needed products to other gun enthusiasts.

One of the more unique new businesses is Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply, where shooters can shop at the range. Started in 2013, it’s run by a woman gun enthusiast, Micki Leopard, and brings needed firearms-related products—mostly gun care products—right to busy ranges in its home state of Arizona, as well as ranges in neighboring California, Nevada and New Mexico. “Some people would simply call me a Wagon Jobber, but I am innovative, have created a niche in the marketplace and I have the true American entrepreneurial spirit in developing my new Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van,” Leopard says.

“I want to better service my customers at the shooting range with products for gun cleaning, care and maintenance along with other shooting accessories. I have taken the typical bricks and mortar retail gun store and made it a ‘mobile’ store where ‘The point of purchase will often be the point of usage’.” Micki’s doesn’t sell guns or ammunition like a regular gun store, so she doesn’t need a federal firearms license. However, in addition to gun care products, shooting vests and other supplies, she also can rent you a GoPro®, or ShotKam camera or even chronograph equipment to test and evaluate a shooter’s skills and/ or performance.

“I want to be known for my ‘Shop Where You Shoot’ A New Business Concept A familiar shooters’ convenience store at many ranges in southwestern states is the unique store in this converted Mercedes truck. January-February 2015 29 outstanding selection of gun cleaning and care products while exceeding my customers’ expectations in service; even on the simple items,” she says. “I want to fill that void of ‘time’ between rounds in shooting competitions with the opportunity for the shooter to clean his gun, learn about new products and all the different products available for gun cleaning, care and maintenance.” Her business philosophies are very basic and pretty simple!

“I do not believe in some PR firm developing fancy phrases for promotional activities for my business,” Micki says. “What I do believe in is using my past business experiences and what I have learned about business from ‘talks’ around the kitchen table. My Southern upbringing is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable with my Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply van where telling it like it is and trying my hardest to do the best I can is the only way I know how to take care of my growing family of shooting customers.” Whenever possible, the products she features are “Made in USA,” and she favors disabled veteranowned businesses wherever possible. She does have some products that are manufactured overseas, but normally when there is no other product similar to it. Clean guns improve accuracy and prolong the life of firearms. Micki’s products go with Modern Sporting Rifles and other types of current rifles, handguns, shotguns, blackpowder guns and airguns.

Among other advantages Micki’s mobile store offers is that shooters can clean their guns twice a day for just $15 and she supplies all-of-the gun cleaning and care products. The shooter gets to sample and try and learn about a whole lot of different products (many new to them) while cleaning and maintaining their guns. This popular service helps fill what can be a time void between rounds at a competition. Besides all the cleaning and gun care products, Micki offers shooting vests, shooting glasses, custom molded ear protection, choke wrenches and many other popular shooting accessories. Micki doesn’t just offer supplies for the pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters, but for air guns and black powder. She promotes safety and offers a weather forecast that many competitors find invaluable. It’s the “Shooters Weather Bar™” on the front of the hood of the cargo van that was converted into this traveling shop. Every hour or two Micki updates the weather conditions on the hood of the van to give shooters more exact information. Included are wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, visibility, elevation, latitude/ longitude and overall general weather conditions. This feature for the van was developed in co-operation with the National Weather Service and they help in long-range weather forecasts for Micki.

Bottom line, Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van is different for many reasons, but the most important reason is that she wants to add some fun and increase your enjoyment of your shooting sports experience. So the next time you are between rounds in a shooting competition or maybe just finished practicing for the day look for Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van. Stop by, say hello, clean your gun, learn about and try out some new products and then replenish your gun cleaning supplies. You can also find out scheduled stops for the van or place orders at the company’s website, mickismobileshooterssupply.com. W&G