“The Competitive Edge” by Monica Taliani

“Once Upon A Mag Release”

Once upon a time on a range far far away there was a damsel in distress… holding a custom built 2011? Wait! Stop! Cut! This can’t be right! Who wrote this?

Unfortunately the way this story is ramping up it is more reality television than fantasy. Scores of talented women shooters are out on ranges and are competing right alongside men. Some of them are well versed in the rounds that they are shooting, load their own ammunition, and can break down their gun with the best of them. But then there are some who might not be there just yet. If you are in the former category—Good for you! Let’s give these ladies a start on being able to “troubleshoot” their own gun and ammunition problems just as easily as they “target shoot!”

The best way to get to know your gun is to, well, play with it. I know when I first started shooting I was really intimidated by my gun. Then I started dry firing. The very act of getting your gun out and handling it is going to really boost up your gun skills even if you don’t actually practice. You will feel so much more comfortable if you are familiar with the feel and the weight of your gun. A key thing to focus on is any piece of the exterior that has a function (racking the slide, external hammers, safeties, magazine release buttons).

gun_cleaningThe next bit of advice is to clean it. You shouldn’t be ashamed if someone else is cleaning your gun. That is really sweet. I honestly wish someone cleaned mine for me. But by doing so they are taking away the opportunity for you to learn just how the components inside your gun fit together and work.  Being the one to take your gun apart and clean it is going to help you understand when something goes wrong what is actually happening. Make sure you learn the part names while you are at it.

reloading_ammoLoading my own ammo seemed like an impossible goal. It is so exact and the slightest variation can have detrimental effects. So take baby steps. First learn the process. Understand what happens chronologically. Then start out with small steps. At first I only felt comfortable loading the primer tubes. As time went on I started taking more and more responsibility. Pretty soon I was the one loading all the ammo. (A word of advice—Keep that bit to yourself!) You should know what kind of load you are shooting. Some of the things to remember are the ammunition’s length, bullet weight, powder type and amount, brass size and brand, and primer size and brand.

Once you understand everything that is at work you will have more confidence with your equipment,  have an understanding of common malfunctions, and will be able to provide valuable feedback on the parts of your gun and ammunition that you prefer or want to change. It is an easy way to improve your game without ever even setting foot on a range. Plus, who doesn’t want to tell the knight in shining armor that you’ve got this… it was just that you needed to change a recoil spring!

Until next time, be safe and shoot straight!


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