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December 2011

Yes, I said it, Christmas (and yes I created the graphic).

I have no problem with those who don't believe, or who want to be politically correct and not offend those who don't believe.

But I do believe in the Christ of Christmas, and Christmas to me is about a living Being who came to earth so that we could have hope and joy and a wonderful destiny and future. Christmas joy is meant for now, and all year round, and for our daily lives from zero till the end of our life on earth and then beyond. Yes, everything around us seems to be falling apart, but the Christ of Christmas is in complete control of it all, and that's why we can have joy and hope year round. This is a time when we can remember that joy. A friend of mine told me about a free Christmas album download, I got it and it's very nice music...some traditional sounds and some cool new sounds, look for Download midway down here.

I'm not ashamed or embarrassed in any way about my relationship with the Christ of Christmas, and so I want to wish all my students and all those affiliated with OPD a very Merry Christmas! Tammy

Fun Shoot

On December 17th OPD is having an all day fun shoot where OPD students can come and try a bunch of different guns (20-30 guns) and spend time practicing...this is fun fellowship time that you don't want to miss! See below for details.

Upcoming Classes

I've scheduled several classes, including SDA (conceal carry), Pepper Spray, Defensive Awareness, and Defensive Shotgun. All live fire classes require Girls Day Out or a private lesson from an OPD instructor. So if you want to be in the SDA or Shotgun class and you haven't taken GDO there's one scheduled. See below for a complete list of classes scheduled.

Girls Day Out Special Speaker

The next GDO is January 7th, and you do not want to miss this special speaker! She is Officer Betsy Randolph from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. She's going to talk to the class about her experiences, and she'll show a clip from a dashcam video where a calm man turned violent and attacked her during a traffic stop. This is what I try to get across to women everywhere, that an attack may be completely unprovoked and unpredictable. See below for more details.

New Mom's Class Scheduled!

The long awaited Mom's class is now on the schedule. It's on February 19th, a Sunday afternoon, which we were hoping would be an easier time for mom's to come, especially since that Monday is President's Day so many of your kids will be off school. See below for more details.

Safe Kids U Youth Safety Academy

The new youth safety academy is up and running. Firearms and Your Young Child is the first scheduled class, but there will be other classes coming just for youth. Check out the new website for more info.

Oklahoman Article

My friend, Charlotte Lankard, wrote her weekly column about me the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was a very nice spot in the Oklahoman, read it here.

Policy for All Live Fire Classes

It is now a pre-requisite that in order to attend ANY OPD live fire class, including SDA (conceal carry), all students must take Girls Day Out or a private lesson from an OPD instructor. This is for the safety and comfort of students, range safety officers, and instructors. This policy is posted on the SDA page as well as the classes page of the website.

Financial Aid for Classes

No one will be turned away from Oklahoma Personal Defense training because they cannot afford a class. If you need assistance, please contact me.

If you'd like to help women who may not be able to afford a class, please go to the Payment page, look for the Donate button under Financial Aid near the bottom of the page. Click that button, simply input the amount of your choice and complete the transaction either through PayPal or with a credit card. Funds are kept in a separate account and used when help is needed. Contact me for more information.

Oklahoma Personal Defense (OPD) is a personal defense academy committed to the empowerment of women through their own personal defense education. OPD protects the dignity and comfort of women by providing a safe, secure environment in which they can learn without the stress of intimidation. Classes are developed specifically with the needs of average women in mind.  Focusing on firearms training, OPD tactics and techniques are practical and doable for all women. Class helpers are women who have been students of OPD, learned the techniques, and expressed a desire to help other women learn. OPD was formed in response to the tremendous volume of women seeking their own personal defense training.

Glossary of Acronyms

Below are a few terms you may encounter in these newsletters and other publications regarding self-defense

BOLO – Be On the Lookout
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
VCA – Violent Criminal Actor
BUG – Back Up Gun
FMJ – Full Metal Jacket (practice ammo)
JHP – Jacketed Hollow Point (defense ammo)
NQR – Not Quite Right
RSO – Range Safety Officer
SDA – Self-Defense Act
CCW – Conceal Carry Weapon
GDO – Girls Day Out (class)
EE – Everything Else (class)
BTB – Between the Threat and the Bang (class)
OPD – Oklahoma Personal Defense

Seen an abbreviation you don't know? Send it to me and I'll post it here.

Photos from Airsoft (BTB-2), November 2011.
More photos here.

Q: Hi Tammy,

My daughter and I want to come to the Fun Shoot and as you know, we've both attended Girls Day Out (and I've also had a private lesson with you). My daughter's friend plans to attend Girls Day Out and learn how to shoot, and my daughter wanted to know if she could invite her friend to the Fun Shoot.

Thanks, Mary

A: Hi Mary,

I'm so glad you and your daughter can come to the Fun Shoot! It's a terrific opportunity to try different guns and see what you do and don't like, and also to get more hands on experience with firearms.

I'm sorry, but your daughter's friend cannot attend unless she schedules a private lesson with me prior to the Fun Shoot. I have a pre-requisite for all live fire classes, including the Fun Shoot, of either a private lesson with an OPD instructor or GDO. I put this pre-requisite in place to assure the safety and comfort of all my students and staff during any class involving real bullets.

Do you remember when you took your GDO class and you expressed concern to me about a woman in the class who was not following my directions and kept putting her finger on the trigger of the RGs? You had overheard her saying she was going to be in your SDA class and you were worried about your safety. When I told you I had taken care of it and she wouldn't be in the class, you told me you were relieved.

This is exactly why I have the pre-requisite. You see, if a person hasn't been taught appropriate safety protocol, they don't have a reason to understand it. And handling firearms does not come naturally to women, so all the more reason for me to make sure they have heard proper safety protocol which I teach in both Girls Day Out and private lessons.

Now age makes absolutely no difference (one of my Range Safety Officers is 72 and she's very safe and competent in handling firearms!), but unfortunately I've noticed a trend with older students to immediately put their finger on the trigger of a gun. I've been asked why do they do that and I really think it's because of television and movies
if you watch any of the old westerns or detective shows, you'll always see fingers on the triggers all the time! You still see that in some of today's movies and tv shows but at least now quite often they're at least making an effort to portray it correctly on the screen. Muscle memory really works whether you've learned something correctly or incorrectly, your muscles remember how you've learned it. And so I often have older students who have "shot for years" who immediately put their finger on the trigger. This is very difficult to unlearn, and it's very dangerous because modern semi-autos have a 6.5 pound trigger pull, some less than that....if it's a single action semi-auto (either a true 1911 model or one that has not been de-cocked) the trigger pull is more like 3 pounds...sneeze with your finger on the trigger and you just shot somebody!

I suspect muscle memory was the situation with this student, she had learned incorrectly, but the greater problem was she was unwilling to learn the correct way of handling a firearm. I will make every effort to work with someone who's willing to learn, but when they make it clear they're not interested, I will not allow them to endanger myself, my staff or my students.

You see, what your GDO class didn't catch was when I demonstrated the "hold/push" technique and I allowed students to come up and try it with my unloaded M&P with me standing right there, she did the drill and then started to turn the barrel towards the class with her finger on the trigger. I took it from her before she could complete this action, but this is why I addressed the situation with her privately after class. I told her she had safety issues and would need to take a private lesson with me to work on those before I'd permit her in my SDA class. She took offense and asked for her money back, saying she didn't need any more training. Evidently she thought I was trying to get more money from her by making her take another class, when in reality what I saw was a woman who didn't follow my directions and took offense when I corrected her. And she was consistently violating safety protocol!

This is a problem where safety is concerned because any time you violate one or more of the Four Cardinal Rules of Safety you risk an accident, and when an accident involves something that can kill you, you better believe I take that seriously and come down hard on the violator. I have a tremendous amount of patience teaching women to shoot because I understand you feel intimidated, and you're nervous, and you may have even had negative experiences with a spouse or another male trying to teach you and getting impatient with you, but I will not tolerate safety violations. Period. Over and out.

It does not matter that the violations in this situation were with the RGs I use in GDO, or my "unloaded" M&P (Rule #1, all guns are loaded even when they're not!). The whole point of me requiring students to attend either GDO or a private lesson is that I first work with them with GUNS WITH NO BULLETS THAT CAN NOT SHOOT SOMEONE to make sure they can understand and follow safety protocol. If they cannot do so with a gun that can't kill someone (i.e. a rubber gun), why on EARTH would I allow them in a class with real bullets? That would be most irresponsible of me, and yet instructors do it all the time.

And this is what sets me and OPD apart. To be sure, there are other places that legitimately and safety teach firearms classes, but there are also plenty of places people can take a firearms class and not be required to do one little thing regarding safety....I've heard horror stories, and I've also known of people who got shot at places that do not enforce safety...I can think of at least three in the last couple of years.

So there are places for those who have a problem following my directions, or those of my Range Safety Officers, but that place is not any OPD class. I have the pre-requisite in place to protect women like you and your daughter who have taken the time to learn proper safety and technique, in other words you take learning to use a firearm seriously. It's my responsibility to protect women like you who want to come to a class or a practice session and feel safe and comfortable so that you can not only learn but enjoy shooting!

And I know, as I've already received your response at the time of this writing, that you are relieved that I have this pre-requisite in place. It makes you, and other responsible women, feel safer.


Send me your questions.

Gift Certificates Available

Looking for a unique Christmas gift for the women in your life? Give her the gift of personal defense training. More info...

OPD Fun Shoot
Dec. 17th from 10 am to 4 pm

This is a terrific opportunity for you to try a bunch of different guns for only the range use fee ($10) and ammo (or donation toward ammo). Myself and three OPD helpers will be there all day and we'll have various handguns and long guns including several different brands and calibers. We'll have quite a large number of guns to try. Anyone who comes and wants to share their guns with others is welcome to do so.

I have reserved the range in Pink for the day for OPD use only. You may come & go if you've only got an hour or so, or pack a lunch and spend the day with us. Besides trying out a bunch of different guns, you may also want to spend some time practicing with your own gun.

There will be four OPD Range Safety Officers present all day long so safety will be enforced – this means you can come and practice free from worry of what the person next to you is doing! We'll be doing some basic coaching – not private lessons, just basic coaching such as how to properly shoot a rifle or shotgun.


The OPD live fire pre-requisite applies – this event is only open to students who have attended Girls Day Out, or taken SDA or a private lesson from me. Register

Girls Day Out
Jan. 7th, from 10 am to 4 pm
$45.00, includes lunch

This class helps you prepare for the conceal carry class and to become more comfortable with carrying your gun after you've taken the class. The class teaches you how to safely handle a gun, how to choose the right gun for you, and how to carry it once you have your gun.

Our special speaker is Officer Betsy Randolph. If you have already attended GDO you may come for just the special speaker portion. Email me for more info.

A lot of women come to Girls Day Out in groups because it's a whole lot of fun to do together! Register

Defensive Awareness
Jan. 12th from 6 pm to 9 pm

This class is more than situational awareness, it's tactics and techniques on how to keep yourself safe while out and about. The class focuses on things women may not have even thought of that will give them the upper hand in their surroundings. I teach from photos I took from all over the metro of places where every woman goes to show what the dangers are and how to avoid them.

This class is on a Thursday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm at Earl's. Dinner is not provided but I have the room reserved starting at 5 so that anyone who wants to come early and have dinner together, or just come shoot the breeze, can do so...this is a discussion based class (no drills) so students can eat while the class is going on if they don't get there early enough to eat between 5 and start of class at 6. Register

Pepper Spray for Self-Defense
Jan. 14th from 9 am to 12 pm
$45.00, includes lunch

This class teaches students the difference between pepper sprays, the best kind to use and why, and incorporates drills with inert spray. The class features adrenalized real life scenario drills.

This class will dispel once and for all the horrible myth that wasp spray is a self-defense tool – it does not work and it's illegal to use for self-defense (read an internationally published article I wrote on the topic here, look for Featured Article). Likewise, all pepper spray is not created equal, and unfortunately most of the commercially sold pepper spray will not provide adequate protection.

This is part of an all day class and qualifies for the Double Class Discount. Register

And Everything Else
When You Can't Carry a Gun
Jan. 14th from 1 pm to 5 pm
$45.00, includes lunch

This class that trains you to use kubotans (keychain mini-baton), hands, flashlights, pens, canes/walking sticks, and common everyday items for those times when you cannot carry a gun. Like everything else I teach, these are techniques that anybody and everybody can do. You'll learn how to use common items to legitimately defend yourself and break away from an attacker. This is the class where you get to beat up on the mannequin, SD.

This is part of an all day class and qualifies for the Double Class Discount. Register

Oklahoma SDA (conceal carry) Women Only
Jan. 21st from 9 am to 6 pm

This is the class to get the required certificate to apply for your Oklahoma conceal carry license. This is NOT a beginner level class, you MUST be able to handle your gun unassisted, and demonstrate 100% safety, in order to pass the class.


Girls Day Out or a private lesson from me is required to attend this class. I highly recommend Girls Day Out as it specifically helps prepare you for the SDA class.

Defensive Shotgun
Feb. 11th from 10 am to 4 pm

This class teaches women how to use a shotgun for home defense. We will spend the first two hours in the classroom learning how to load, unload, and operate a shotgun. I teach point shooting from the hip rather than from the shoulder – this works much better for women as the recoil goes out the back (rather than slamming her in the shoulder) and she can reach all the functions of the gun. The live fire portion will include movement drills.


Girls Day Out or a private lesson from me is required to attend this class. Register

Firearms and Your Young Child
Feb. 19th from 4 pm to 8 pm

This class teaches moms how to keep their children safe around firearms. Whether you have guns in your own home, or are a mother or grandmother who wants to be sure your children stay safe even at a friend's house, this class is a must! Cherise Barsiloux is the writer and instructor of this class – as the mother of three young children 8 and under, and a firearms owner, she has developed the techniques and principles she'll teach in class ito keep her own children safe.

Registration Deadline: All classes have registration deadlines (see Schedule page). If I do not receive enough registrations to hold a class by the deadline date I'll cancel the class.

Refresher Classes:
If you've already attended
a class, you may take the class again to
work on your skills for
a discounted rate.

Double Class Discount – When there are two classes on one day, anyone who wants to attend both will receive the Double Class Discount of $10 off.

This week I'm musing about responsibility.  A friend on a message board I've participated in for years posted a story from the Pacific Northwest about an eighth-grader who was given five days of out-of-school suspension for making an oblique threat of harm on Facebook against his teacher.  The number of women on the message board in support of the punishment doled out by the school administration was overwhelming and surprised me.  There's nothing in the news reports which indicate that the child who made the comment was a problem kid or that he'd ever acted violently in the past.  Why did the administration react as it did?
The punishment seemed to me like the human equivalent of throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.  "Oh, no, PLEASE don't make me stay home from school for a week!  I might have to play X-Box and World of Warcraft and watch television all day while I'm home unsupervised."  Seriously?  What about having the administrator, the child's parents, and the teacher in question confront the child together, showing that they were willing to work together as a team, and ask the child to explain the comments?  Why not provide an opportunity for the teacher to address the Facebook comments and suggest working together with the child to overcome frustration and make the school year a productive and cooperative one?  Why not assign a research paper to the child on the First Amendment and when the line is crossed between protected free speech and an actionable threat?  This was a teachable moment, as the school superintendent stated in interview, but the school botched it in my opinion.  Punishment, in case we have forgotten from our own experiences as youths, only makes children angry.  Discipline is another thing all together, and the school overlooked the latter in favor of the former, and it did so out of fear.  The only thing that child learned is that the school is afraid of the mere words he speaks.
We live in a society where we are allowing ourselves to be governed to such an extent that we can't think for ourselves, can't reason our way out of sticky situations, and are too fearful to confront challenges:  we want someone else to handle it for us so we don't have to get our hands dirty.  It's a dangerous way to live, handing control over to the authorities on any level and not taking responsibility for ourselves, nor using our own power to hold others accountable for their offenses against us.  We have to take our autonomy back.  We have to demonstrate to our children that we will not live in fear but will be proactive in confronting the things that threaten us.  Our country was founded on the principle of liberty, and we can't keep giving it away.

Click the photo to watch a great Christmas video

– of or pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage; showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action. From the Greek word taktikós.
Oklahoma City PD Citizen Alert

Date:     11/18/2011
Subject: Robbery of Individual 
Incident #11-091425

On 11/15/2011, police were called to a robbery of an individual in the 4400 block of SE 44th.  The victim told officers that she was outside of the Family Dollar Store when two males walked up to her and knocked her wallet to the ground, which she had been carrying tucked under her arm.  The suspects grabbed the wallet and fled on foot.

The two suspects had been inside of the Family Dollar store just minutes before and surveillance cameras inside the store captured video of the two walking in.  View the video.

Anyone with information as to the identity of the two suspects should call Crime Stoppers at 405.235.7300.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

MSgt. Gary Knight

If isn't crystal clear to you why this woman was attacked and the several things she could have done to not be attacked, if you don't have a plan, if you aren't certain you can carry out a plan to NOT be a victim, please take the classes! Defensive Awareness is a great place to start. This does NOT have to happen! Stop relying on assumption that it won't!


Contact me if there's a specific topic you'd like to see addressed in this section.

by Dee Cope, OPD Helper

I got Sheldon from the Heartland Mannequin Shop here in OKC.  I wanted to practice what I learned in Tammy’s classes, so I got him.  My husband, Allen, actually named him Sheldon (just need to find hair for him and he will be all set my husband says) and it just stuck, so that is what we call him.  My husband said that he can just see the neighbors calling the police when I take Sheldon outside and practice on him the verbal commands.  I told him I think the responding officers would get a kick out of it.

When I got notification that Sheldon was ready for pick up, I asked my husband to go get him.  I gave him the address & told him all he had to do was pick it up.  He asked me (jokingly) if he could pick Sheldon up on the scooter.  I could just see him coming home with Sheldon on the back of the scooter, what a sight that would have been. Then asked if he could stuff him in the trunk with parts hanging out of the trunk.

When he got Sheldon home, I put him together and went through my husband’s closet for clothes he no longer wears.  Sheldon’s now dressed & upright on his stand, I put him in the dining room. 

Then we left on a three day scooter ride.  I called my son to stop by the house to pick up the mail and put it in the garage.  I told him not to go into the house.  Well, needless to say, he did not listen to me.  I know all the mom’s out there are going, he should’ve listened to her.  He gets off from work around 11:30 pm, comes to our house, goes inside the house.  He walks into the main part of the house & there is Sheldon standing there.  Let me tell you, when he texts me about what happens I am laughing out loud.  We have a motion sensor light that automatically comes on, all he see’s is a person standing there & it scares him to death.   He tells me he about kicked my mannequin’s butt, along with some other things.  I tell him that I told him not to come into the house.  He said that his heart was racing, again I tell him he was told not to go into the house.

Since the weather has gotten cold, we will use him in the garage so there is not any paint splatters on the walls & I don’t have to immediately pick up the plastic bb’s.

I have since moved Sheldon into an extra bedroom that we don’ t use.  When you come in and see a large figure standing there, you assume the position. We don’t want to get used to seeing him so we have him stashed away.  We have taken Sheldon outside and have used the airsoft pistol with the paint balls, as well as the plastic bb’s.  I think that my husband even likes the practice with Sheldon. 

My husband, Allen, after shooting Sheldon with the airsoft.

Right after I got Sheldon, the mask is from the packing. 

Tammy's Comments:

It was such a big ordeal when I got SD, OPD's first mannequin. I say "first" not because I've gotten another one, but because I can see I'm going to have to! SD was really showing some wear after the last Airsoft class....and then there was the last Everything Else class when Cherise broke his hand right off his body (ya'll don't mess with Cherise!). He's taken a beating in other Everything Else classes and his arms now have to be duct taped on, and after Cherise knocked his hand off I made him a prosthetic out of a hanger and a Jersey glove (not fancy but it worked). So one of these days SD will have to retire, but this time rather than going through hot_mannequins on eBay I will probably buy locally now that I know it's an option!

I first found out about Sheldon when Dee casually mentioned at an OPD staff get together that she had a mannequin. "Why do you have a mannequin?" I asked. "To practice on." she replied.

As I inquired further, I was impressed with the fact Dee took the initiative to seek out and find a mannequin and then, God bless her husband, he went and picked him up....I mean to tell you it's just a tad embarrassing to haul home a box that has a body in it (even if it is a fiberglass body) with words all over the outside indicating there's a body inside! When SD arrived, I felt so compelled to tell the Fed Ex guy when he drug the giant body sized box from the truck to my doorstep that it was for educational purposes only.

Now Dee, having a husband, immediately had clothes for her mannequin so unlike mine, he didn't have to stand neked at the end of the hallway until I could go buy him clothes from the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I finally just put a shirt on him but that didn't really help. (If you haven't read SD's story be sure to do so). But once you fully dress one of these things, they're pretty scary looking, thus the name SD which stands for "Scary Dude." Dee told me theirs reminded them of after Sheldon on Big Bang Theory and that's how he got his name.

Acquiring and setting up a mannequin is in deed quite humorous...just ask the students who help me carry out the body parts after a class as we stuff his lower half into my hatchback, or the workers in the Starbucks drive through when I go for my morning coffee on the way to class and SD is sitting in the back seat, ski mask and shades on (I've startled more than one drive through person). We've had some hilarious experiences in classes with SD, and as you've read in Dee's story she's already had some funny things happen with Sheldon.

But make no mistake, these are terrific training tools. Not everybody wants to (or can) spend over $100 for a mannequin to practice on (this is why I charge for classes, I"m paying for all this equipment!!) but if you can get one, it's a great training tool. You can practice your shooting skills with Airsoft pistols (those are red paintball BBs Dee used to shoot SD) as we do in Airsoft. You can practice your break away cane techniques, or "get back" kubotan techniques as we do in Everything Else. Or you can just come to the classes and not have to buy all these things!

I love the fact that Dee got a mannequin to practice on, she's not only to improving her personal skills but she's preparing herself as a part of the OPD Academy team. This should speak volumes to you as students about the quality of people who are your instructors and helpers in OPD classes.

Way to go Dee!


PS: I wonder if we should start an OPD Christmas tradition of decorating the mannequins rather than a Christmas tree.....

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