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February 2011

Upcoming Classes

Airsoft (BTB-2) is coming up again in March, and a Defensive Shotgun for women is coming up in April. Both of these classes are limited to 12 students so once I receive registrations from 12, I'll close the classes. I already have people signed up for both classes so don't wait too long if you want to attend. See below for more details. Also, be aware some classes (such as these two) have prerequisites in order to attend. See the Classes page for those requirements.

SDA Class Update

I have had to reschedule this Saturday's (Feb. 5th) all women SDA class because of the deep snow. The class is now set for Sunday, Feb. 20th. Registration has already been closed for this class so I won't re-open it, but I could fit a couple more in so if anyone wants in on this class, Email me ASAP.

Speaking to Teen Girls

I am very excited that I've been asked to speak to about 400 middle school girls at a public school in Oklahoma City.
One of my students, whose daughter attends this school, told the school counselor she really believes young girls need training in how to defend themselves....the school counselor talked to the principal and both women agreed. Obviously I won't talk to them about firearms (that would be inappropriate in a school setting) but I can talk to them about how to be aware, make themselves a difficult target, and use their body to escape if grabbed. You may remember last November several teen girls were abducted while walking to school, taken off to an isolated location and raped (OKC PD update). There was also an attempted abduction of a 16 year old in Enid and she put up such a fight the abductor was unable to get her in his vehicle. I remember seeing that girl interviewed and she had a fighter's attitude, which is what it takes! What an opportunity to plant the seed of personal defense mindset in young girls!

Newsletter Archive

In the top right of every page of the OPD website (including the newsletter) you'll see the word "Newsletters"
– this is linked to an archive of past newsletters. So if you're new to OPD, or just want to go back and re-read newsletters, check out the archive to see past articles, gear reviews, student stories, and other helpful information.

Website Updates

There are new pics on the Photos page, new info on the About page (and inside pages from there)
, new comments from students on the More page, and a new Class Finder at the top of the Classes page. In addition to teaching I am also a web designer (I designed the OPD website) so I keep the website very current and there's always fresh info, so be sure to check the website often.

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 by its founder and lead instructor, Tammy Pinkston, 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.

Hi Tammy,

Can you tell me when the Airsoft Class will be in March? Also, I noticed the requirements state Girls Day Out and Between the Threat and the Bang. I've only taken the one class, will that be a problem?

Thanks, Donna

A: Hi Donna,

The Airsoft class will be March 26th in Shawnee.

The requirements are for advanced classes where prior skill sets are needed to keep up with what's going on in that particular class. I've seen too many instructors basically do a private lesson for one or two students who could not keep up while those who were prepared for the class stood by.  That’s not fair to the students who are prepared so I will not do that, and I prefer to save the unprepared student the frustration if they can’t keep up, or the embarrassment of asking them to leave the class if they violate safety protocol.  So that's why I have prerequisites (requirements) for the advanced level classes.  

The reason those two classes are required to attend Airsoft is because GDO makes sure students understand safety protocol and basic handling, BTB makes sure students have seen and practiced the technique to safely and appropriately draw from a holster.  Airsoft is a whole lot of fun, but it’s an advanced level class and the drills go pretty fast.  Basic handling (grip/stance/trigger control/sight alignment) that women learn in GDO is essential because it will make a big difference in your ability to hit your target during the drills – you’ll find that it takes more skill to do that with a gun that has no recoil because it becomes very obvious to you if you don’t have good basic handling skills. Also, I call this class BTB-2 because it continues with the methods students learn in BTB of aggressive posturing, the "STOP!" command, and drawing from a holster, only in BTB-2 students are able to press the trigger.


Send me your questions.

Scenario Based Training (BTB-2)
March 26th from 1 pm to 6 pm

This class is the 2nd level of Between the Threat and the Bang, working through similar drills only this time students get to press the trigger. You must have attended both Girls Day Out and Between the Threat and the Bang in order to enroll in this class. BTB-2 moves pretty fast with more advanced skill sets and adrenalized drills that help prepare you for a real life situation.

Comments from stud
ents who attended the first BTB-2 are in the December newsletter.

Prerequisites apply, see Classes page to make sure you meet the requirements to attend this class before registering. If you have any questions, contact me. Register

Defensive Shotgun
April 16 from 10 am to 4 pm

This class teaches women how to use a shotgun for home defense. We will spend plenty of time in the classroom learning how to operate a shotgun before going onto the range. Once on the range, students will learn a woman specific technique for shooting a shotgun that not only will not hurt but all women can manage...after this class students will actually enjoy shooting a shotgun!

Be sure you meet the prerequisites before you Register for this class.

Financial Aid for Classes

There is assistance available for anyone who has difficulty paying for a class. I understand that there will be times a person just can't afford a class, or perhaps wants to attend more than one and having the funds is a hardship. I charge minimal fees for classes to cover my own costs (facility, equipment, gas, food) but I don't ever want anyone to not be able to attend a class because of money. So if you need help with that, please let me know.

Gift Certificates Available

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

When I received yet another forward about using wasp spray for self-defense, I responded with the reasons why it is a very bad idea. The person I received the Email from is a professional writer and she posted my response on a writer's forum, after which I received a request from another writer to post my response in her publication, an internationally distributed print newsletter that goes out to about 1700 people. Since it was simply an Email reply rather than an actual article, I told her I would provide a formal article for her to post in her newsletter. The article is below. Tammy

Why You Should Not Use Wasp Spray for Self-Defense

As a professional personal defense instructor who has researched many self-defense products and legalities, I can tell you there are two things very wrong with using wasp spray for self-defense.  One, federal law prohibits the use of any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.  This means if you use it on someone they will sue you and win damages.  Two, and perhaps most importantly, it DOES NOT WORK.  

In all self-defense applications you must choose your tool wisely and you must train in its use.  I have a four-hour pepper spray class in which I teach my students the differences in pepper sprays, deployment distances, and put them through drills using inert spray on a mock attacker charging them.  During the drills, one hundred percent of them hit the mock attacker in the chest, not in the face.  

Now, if you have anything that’s sold on the commercial market, all of which are mixed with various chemicals and typically inadequate quantities, this will have very little, if any, effect.

And then there are the variables...

The wind can blow it away.  You may not have enough in the canister so you spray it all out without hitting him.  You might be too far away.  He might move and you miss all together.  The list could go on with any number of possibilities.  

But without a good tool, none of that matters.

Which is why I ONLY endorse Fox Labs 5.3 pepper spray.  Fox contains pure grade Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), which is the oil extricated from various hot chili peppers.  Scoville Heat Units is the rating used to measure the heat of peppers, and Fox contains 5.3 million SHUs whereas the highest available commercially is 2.5 million.  Pure grade OC has the instantaneous physiological effect of permeating the eyes, skin, mucous membranes and pores, which allows the active ingredient (OC) to work on contact.  A person sprayed with 5.3 million SHU will think they’re dying – they’ll choke, they’ll gasp for air, their eyes will slam shut – but in reality it causes no physical harm.  Your attacker can’t come back and sue you when you’ve caused him no harm!

But he will have a difficult time explaining why he is stained with the invisible UV dye found in Fox 5.3.  Only the person who attacked you whom you sprayed will glow purple when a black light is shined on him.  This helps law enforcement ID the perp.

One of the arguments against pepper spray is that it can blow back in your face. 

Well, yes, it can, and so can the ineffective toxic wasp spray. 

Which is why I train my students in my pepper spray class to spray and then move. Movement is CRUCIAL in any self-defense.  If you swipe someone in the face with the keys on the end of a kubotan, he’s going to involuntarily lurch forward – if you’re still standing there, guess who gets slammed in the face as his head comes down.  If you spray someone with pepper spray, they will very often run forward due to reflex, and if you’re still standing there, you’ll get run over.  

So it’s not the tool alone that protects you, it’s TRAINING PLUS the tool.  

Here are some of the things you need to know about pepper spray…

The little keychain pepper spray units don’t have enough spray in them to make a difference.  If you spray and miss, it’s all gone and that’s that.  The Fox 5.3 I recommend students carry is two ounces, small enough to carry in a hand or purse, but big enough to dose several people with it...if you miss and need to spray it again, you’ve got more!  For home use, I recommend the 4 ounce firemaster top – most of my students keep these by their entry doors.

Beware twist top lids – in the dark, which is when most attacks occur, it’s extremely easy to get a twist top can turned around and spray yourself in the face.  I recommend the Fox 5.3 flip top, which provides a safety (won’t go off in a purse or pocket), is very easy to deploy when needed, and impossible to spray yourself in the face.

Avoid stream spray as it requires precise aim, which is extremely difficult for someone in an attack situation.  Fox Labs makes a cone fog, which has particles so fine it hangs in the air, yet can deploy to a distance of fifteen feet.  If there are multiple attackers (more likely than not) and you spray a half moon arch above and in front of you, anyone who walks through that arch will suck in the OC hanging in the air.  Even hitting someone at chest level with inert spray is enough to choke the person (I know, I have been that person), so with actual 5.3 SHU of pure OC, they’ll be crying like a baby on the ground for at least thirty minutes even if you hit them in the belly button.  Midway down on this page you’ll see the heading, “Spring Loaded Flip Top,” and you can see a drawing of the pattern and distance of both cone fog and stream.  

The Fox 5.3 I recommend my students carry is the 2 oz flip top cone fog.  Fox 5.3 cone fog is affordable and available to the public, here’s where I buy it.  This is the firemaster top that most of my students keep by their entry doors.

Another benefit of pepper spray is that it will have the same effect as a skunk does on a dog.  A direct hit will cause them to foam at the mouth, they’ll wipe their face on the ground, they’ll probably sneeze for awhile, but it will wear off and the dog will be fine. The dog won’t even cry out.  For animal lovers, this is a way to be safe while out walking and not cause permanent harm to a dog if it tries to attack you.  Not all dogs that attack are vicious – it’s not uncommon for an otherwise peaceful dog to attack someone who’s walking a dog (dog’s are notorious for getting in tiffs with one another).  

I mentioned using a kubotan – kubotans are miniature batons, about five inches long, with a key ring on the end.  It is a breakaway tool, used to get someone off of you if you’re grabbed or about to be grabbed.  If grabbed jab it into the back of a hand, or muscle on the top inside of the elbow and push down with both hands.  You can also twist it on top of the radial bone (wrist).  If about to be grabbed, a swipe with the keys on the end across the eyes or face can inflict enough pain to cause a person to back off.  Jabbing the blunt end of a kubotan into any soft area can result in enough pain that he’ll let go.  And once he lets go, GET AWAY!  Remember what I said about movement, don’t just stand there and give him time to compose himself and grab you again, get out of there!

It is important to understand that the kubotan is a close quarter self-defense tool.  When I put my students through close-up drills with a six foot three male mannequin who isn’t moving and trying to kill them, it’s very difficult for them to make contact in a way that effects enough of a result to accomplish anything.  Women simply do not have the strength to overpower a man, so women in particular need to choose their tools wisely and learn how to properly use them.  Training is crucial.  This is the kubotan I use.

Not all men are predators, but all women are prey.  Therefore, women must be well trained with effective tools whatever they may be.  A good pepper spray, such as Fox 5.3, is a highly effective tool, and with a distance of fifteen feet you can keep the bad guy far enough away.  Crucial to self-defense is not allowing an attacker to get close enough to lay hands on you, but if he does, a tool such as a kubotan could give you the chance to get away. 

Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, and I encourage my students to carry it IN their hand when walking out to the parking lot or anywhere there may be danger (which is everywhere).  I’ve received feedback from students who say women walk right by, but men always notice the can of pepper spray in her hand and make a wide berth around her.  This is very interesting...and very effective.  After all, if the man doesn’t get close enough, he can’t do anything to hurt you, can he?  

Tamara L. Pinkston, Founder and Instructor
Oklahoma Personal Defense Academy for Women

After shooting many different 9mm guns on numerous occasions and not "feeling it," I knew the instant I fired the Sig P228 for the first time that I'd found the right gun for me   The way she fit in my hand, the way the trigger worked, the gentle nudge of a "kick" when she fired... it was all perfect   I felt after that first shot as if I'd had her for years and the two of us were old shooting buddies.  I wanted a stately name for her because she's elegant and refined, but also a force to be reckoned with.  What could be more fitting than the name of a queen who courageously took her place in a man's world and stood her ground?  So, honoring her manufacture, my gun is Else, a two-syllable German take on "Elizabeth".

Cherise Barsaloux

We have named our new revolvers. Since we are almost always together, Janis named hers Pete and mine is named Re-Pete. Usually when we are walking into a business, I am several steps ahead of her, because of her bad knees, feet and ankles. When I am ahead of her I keep scanning the area around and behind. If anyone bothers either one of us they would hear from both of us, verbal and if we have to draw. Thus Pete and Re-Pete.

Jayne and Janis Riddle (the twins)

If you have a story of how you named your gun, send to me and I'll post them in the next newsletter.

Jews for Guns

Yesterday I was searching the web – I don't even remember now what I was looking for – but I came across an article entitled, "A Dire Warning to American Jews Supporting Gun Control" by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, Rabbinic Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). In the article, Rabbi Bendory says, "Jews – and always remember, we are a tiny minority – live safely in America under the beneficent protection of Righteous Gentiles. If that protection evaporates, and especially if Jews purposefully and willfully keep ourselves disarmed, we are in grave danger." I had always had the sense that Jews were against firearms, yet clearly he was for our 2A rights and against gun control. I wanted to know more.

I had never heard of JPFO before so I looked them up. The first sentence on the About page states their twofold goals, "To destroy gun control and to encourage Americans to understand and defend all of the Bill of Rights for everyone."

I looked around the website and was very fascinated by what I read, these were not compliant Jews who would lay down and let a people annihilate them, they were Jews who support our Constitutional right in this country to KEEP AND BEAR arms. It reminded me of the Bielski Brothers who formed a Jewish resistance during World War II and saved some 1200 Jewish people who came with them into the forest near their home in Nazi occupied Poland. The 2009 movie, Defiance, is their story (I highly recommend this movie).

So I Emailed Rabbi Bendory to tell him I appreciated his article and support what he does. I received a very nice response back from him which in part said, "I had a look at your website and am very proud of what you are doing. In the US, the largest segment of the population that can benefit from firearms is women -- because you are 50% of our population and are targeted by the filth of society because you are (generally) smaller and weaker. But the handgun is the great equalizer, it makes you strong & powerful enough to defend against even a career criminal. So please, keep up your training, and may G-d bless you in your work. May none of the women or girls you teach ever need to use the skills you give them, though if they do, may they be blessed to successfully protect & defend."

I Emailed back and feel I have found a new friend and colleague. And then I joined JPFO (because, as Rabbi Dovid told me, it is not just for Jews!) and I ordered a copy of "The Ten Commandments of Self Defense" by Rabbi Dovid. The subtitle in the description says, "Would you be surprised by the Orthodox Rabbi who tells you G-d says, Buy a gun and defend yourself!"

Why yes, prior to yesterday I would have been surprised. I'm looking forward to hearing what Rabbi Dovid has to say in "The Ten Commandments."

Rabbi Dovid is an NRA Certified Instructor and NRA Range Safety Officer. Both NRA logos are on his website, The Gun Rabbi. I don't know why, but I love the fact that an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi is an NRA Certified Instructor and just makes me smile.

This afternoon I received a call from the Public Affairs Director for JPFO, Kirby Ferris, and had a very lovely conversation with him. It was clear we are on the same path. Kirby has a number of articles on the JPFO website that I look forward to reading over the next few days. I did take the time today to read his touching tribute to Aaron Zelman, the founder of JPFO.

I know at least a couple of my students are Jewish, and many others are Christian. I think sometimes we don't realize how much on the same path we really are. Often Christians have difficulty reconciling self-defense with the Bible. As I shared with Rabbi Dovid, I am not fluent in Hebrew but I have studied the Old Testament in transliterated Hebrew in order to understand it's original meaning. This gives me a very clear picture that self-defense is both taught and commanded in the Old Testament (what Jews refer to as the Torah). Some Christians would argue we are under the "new covenant" and very often take passages such as "turn the other cheek" out of context. In studying the transliterated Arabic and Greek of the New Testament, it is also very clear to me that self-defense is taught under the "new covenant" as well. In other words, both the Old and New Testament agree. The key, as always, is education and research...don't just take someone else's word that the Old and New Testament are against self-defense, read it for yourself in its original context.

And by the way, self-defense is NOT in conflict with the Sixth Commandment. The English word "kill" in "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) does not convey the original meaning found in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word is , transliterated it is ratsach. It means PREMEDITATED MURDER.

I'm looking forward to receiving the information coming to me from JPFO and I'll give a report in next month's newsletter on it.


Continued...from a publication that purports to teach women how to defend themselves. My comments are in blue.

The "instructions" for this "move" say to quickly jerk the open magazine across to cut skin.

So now it's a great big paper cut that's going to stop a man from attacking you.

Seriously? Does anyone really believe nail clippers will help you escape an attack? (Please say no!!)

– 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.

Tammy, I just saw an article online about a woman being attacked/raped in a restroom in a hotel in downtown OKC.  Most of us would not walk out of a bathroom stall with our pepper spray and/or gun ready, and this woman scratched and screamed as he grabbed her and pulled her down.  What, if anything, could she have done differently? Thanks, Janet

Hi Janet,

No, none of us would walk out of the bathroom stall with gun or pepper spray in hand.  But as soon as I read the initial story I thought of several different methods of self-defense in this situation and yes, absolutely this rape could have been prevented.  
The victim told police when she finished using the bathroom and opened the door to the stall, she saw a man standing in the bathroom. She confronted him and told him to leave the women's restroom.
Let’s break this down in the sequence one should be thinking...

First of all, anytime I’m in a public place, in general I’m on a higher alert than if I’m at home or say the home of a personal friend.  I’m on an even higher level of alert in an isolated place, such as walking to my car. Recently a friend and I had dinner in Shawnee and it was dark when we came out – we parked on opposite sides of the restaurant so I walked her to her car and when I knew she was safely in, I walked to my own car.  Very small parking lot, I was walking by the main entrance to get to my car so I wasn’t isolated, and yet I was on high alert walking to my car.  Same as the other day during the afternoon when I walked out of the Health Food Center at 240 & Penn, I was on high alert until locked inside my car.

Following this line of thinking, I am on higher alert in a public restroom than I would be in the middle of a busy restaurant.  So when I am in a public restroom, I’m listening for people coming in.  I’m listening for the door and if I hear the door, I’m glancing under the stall to see the feet.  Certainly you can tell a man's feet from a woman’s.  So the first line of defense here is know what’s going on. If you’re in an isolated place like a public restroom and you hear the door open, look under the stall to see the feet.  Grant it, I don’t do this when I go to the symphony, but that's not an isolated public restroom, there are 20 other women in the restroom at the same time so it's not a place a predator will be lurking.  

So your first line of defense, always, is knowing he’s there.

When a man is in a place he should not be (your home, women’s restroom, private building, your personal space, ________ fill in the blank) you must immediately go on highest alert and take immediate action.  Something is very wrong and this is not a time for discussion, this is a time for either a short command such as we practice in Between the Threat and the Bang (if there’s time) or immediate action (if there’s not).  The scenarios in that class assume you have enough distance to command, "STOP!!” and if the person does not stop, you follow through with an action.  However, if you are virtually trapped in a space (your home, your car, public restroom) this calls for immediate defensive or offensive ACTION, not words.

In both Between the Threat and the Bang and the Everything Else class I stress be unpredictable. What would have been more surprising to this man than the woman going back into the stall and locking the door?  Why does surprise matter?  Because he’s not expecting it – it’s like if you zig when someone else zags, even if he had responded and tried to yank the door open she would have had plenty of time to lock it before he did that.  

In BTB I introduce students to Krav Maga, which is the contact combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces. One of the tactics of Krav Maga is to throw your opponent off by continual movement. Going back into the stall when you see a potential threat is movement that throws your attacker off.

Again, the very best thing is to know he’s out there before you even open the door, but I’m addressing the what if you open the door and he’s standing there.

Now going back into the stall and locking the door would not make him go away, but that’s not the point, the point is it would have made a barrier between she and he that he would have had to come through to get her.  This is when you draw your pepper spray or your gun in one hand while you take out your cell phone with the other and call 911.  When the dispatcher answers you say, “I’m in the downtown Renaissance bathroom and there’s a man in here, I’m locked in a stall and I’m armed, send the police.”  

It is a tactical advantage to buy yourself time, to make yourself a difficult target...he’s either going to get tired of it and leave or you’ll buy yourself enough time for the cops to get there.

If he doesn’t leave and he decides to yank the door open, or crawl underneath the stall, well, if it’s me he’s getting a 9mm or .40 caliber bullet to the face or chest (depending on what comes in the stall first). If it’s someone with pepper spray then you hose him down when he gets past the barrier. Yes, you’re going to be in there with it so you need to do the other thing I stress (and we work on) in both of those classes and MOVE quickly, walk right over top the guy laying on the floor and get out of there.  But what's the worst case scenario in that situation?  You are also gasping for air because you breathed in some of the pepper spray. It’s gonna hurt but it’ll wear off, and in the meantime he’s not in a position to do anything to you.

Did you catch the point that even if I'm armed with a gun I would go back into the stall? Having a gun doesn't make me invincible, nor does it mean I can turn off my brain, I'm still going to take defensive measures to put myself in the best offensive position with whatever tool I have!

But what about a completely unarmed woman?  Many public restrooms have a toilet tank on the back of the toilet – the ones with automatic flushers don't, but a place like a hotel probably would.  If I don't have a typical weapon and there’s a toilet tank, I’m taking that lid off and preparing to bash any part of him that comes into my stall.  This is AFTER I’ve called 911 as stated above. How do you do that while getting your tank lid weapon? Easy, you put the phone on speaker, dial 911 and lay it on the floor behind you, then you get your "weapon" and when the dispatcher comes on she can hear everything that's going on.

All of this has to be thought through ahead of time because you will not be able to come up with a plan while in the midst of a crisis. This is why I encourage students in BTB to start thinking through, "If this happened I would...." And then practice the things you need to, like taking out your pepper spray with one hand while getting your phone out with the other...and be sure you know HOW to put your phone on speaker!

If there’s no tank lid on the toilet, I’m getting whatever I can find in my purse that I can use as a weapon. Most of the time I don’t have pepper spray because I always end up giving away my personal supply, but I always have a tactical pen in my purse – if I had no other weapon, I’d get tactical pen in hand and have it ready to stab him in the face with it.  Again, this is after I’ve called 911 as stated above.  
The woman said the man walked around the corner and she heard the door open and close, but she could see in the bathroom mirror that he hadn't left the room. She started screaming and tried to run past the suspect, but he caught her. The victim said the man then forced her into a stall and raped her on the floor.
Here she’s given a second chance, the man moves farther away from her.  But instead of using this to her advantage, she puts herself within his grasp!

She actually had several opportunities to stop this attack...from another more detailed account:

It all started when the victim says she saw the suspect wandering around the hotel earlier that day.

In all my classes I stress being aware of your surroundings and taking action to protect yourself. If you see someone who is out of place, take notice and avoid being around that person. What I know from reading this is that her attacker "marked" her earlier in the day. He realized she was an easy target. He might have even "interviewed" her by asking her what time it is, or simply by following her around to see if she'd do anything about it. Do you think it was random that he went into the public restroom while she was in there alone? No, he did it intentionally because he had picked his prey and waited until the best moment to attack. All of this could have been prevented by thinking and acting accordingly. But if you have no point of reference, if you've had no training, if you've made no plan, you won't know how to think in a situation like this.

A valiant effort which is useless has absolutely no effect...think about the woman in the Florida school board meeting that hit the gunman with her purse.  Valiant effort, completely useless, almost got her killed.  In this situation the woman tried to run past him.  Now he’s already demonstrated he’s not confused, he’s there intentionally, and furthermore she saw him earlier in the day, so it should have registered when she saw him outside the bathroom stall that something was very wrong and it was time to act. The problem is, she had no plan so her action was wrong. A woman can never overpower a man so if we get within reach of him, he WILL be able to overpower us. Therefore, do NOT get within reach of him!  

So let’s put one of us in this same situation up to the point we aggressively yell, “GET OUT!” to him, we hear the door open but see in the mirror he does not leave.  

Well, if that’s one of my armed students who has their gun on their person, there's plenty of time at this point to draw the gun.  If you have pepper spray in your purse, you have plenty of time to get the pepper spray out.  My first thought as I read this and pictured myself at that moment was I would have drawn my gun at this point and brought it up to center mass position.  By now he’s made it clear he has ill intentions, there’s no more discussion, it’s time to act.  I would probably just hold my position with the gun at center mass and if he came around the corner, I would shoot him.  If you had pepper spray and he came around the corner, hose him down. Again, I'm calling 911 while I'm doing this – this is a valid reason for practicing acquiring your gun, and shooting it, one handed.

Again, if this was an unarmed woman, it would have been MUCH better to go back into a stall and lock herself in and call 911.  Again, yes, he can yank the door open, yes he can crawl underneath, but you’ve got the advantage being locked inside and he’s got to either get in a very vulnerable position on the floor to crawl under – if nothing else start stomping on his head when it comes under the door – or he’s got his hands on the top or bottom of the door trying to yank it open.  Do you have a pen in your purse?  Stab him in the hand with it when he grabs the door.  Is it lethal?  No, but he’s not gonna keep his hand there while you’re stabbing him with a pen, especially if it's a tactical pen (they do not break).

In the Everything Else class all of the students were very uncomfortable being close enough to the mannequin to inflict damage, but the drills were specifically intended to let students experience what that felt like and teach methods to use to defend yourself if you’re that close.

Screaming at this point is of no effect – you’re isolated, no one will hear you and even if they do chances are they will ignore it (because people don’t want to get involved). Screaming also tells your attacker that you're frightened. Would I be frightened? Well yes, any sane person would be, but it is more effective to scare the crap out of him by yelling an aggressive "NO!" or "GET BACK!" than yelling for help. Anyone who has practiced this in BTB (and heard me demonstrate it) knows the kind of effect it has. I tell the story about how a man came up to me in one of my advanced classes in which I was the only woman and said that I was scaring all the men. Stifling a giggle I replied, "Good!"

Running past him at this point is of no effect – he’s stronger than you, when you get within reach he will grab you and do what he wants with you.  Here is the entire purpose of training – if you train, your action will have effect, if you do not you will waste your energy on futile activity. Futile activity will get you raped and/or killed. Everything I mention above are things I’ve trained to do and/or thought through...what would I do if? This is what I stress in the Everything Else class, start thinking these things through, what would I do if?  I always ask myself that question when I read these stories. It’s not so I can feel superior, it’s so that if it ever happens to me, I will have thought through what to do if it happens.

So you see, I’ve already thought through what to do if I’m in a public restroom and someone tries to attack me.  In the Girls Day Out class when I talk about “how do you go to the bathroom while wearing a gun?” I specifically say that I do not take my gun off and lay it on the toilet tank lid, nor do I hang my gun on the back of the bathroom door, and the reason is because if I’m sitting on the toilet and I hear gunfire, or something happens in the restroom, I want my gun right there where I can reach it.

Not that I want to be sitting on the toilet when I shoot somebody, but I tell you what, if I’m attacked and that’s the position I’m in, I will without hesitation shoot someone while I’ve got my pants around my knees.  Not a glamorous story, but I’ll still be alive...and I bet the bad guy will be very surprised right before he dies that a woman sitting on a toilet killed him.  Wow, what a way to go! (pun intended!)


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Real life stories in their own words from students
of how they used
something they learned in class
(used by permission)
me your story.

Our First Handgun Purchase



Janis and I decided that we needed smaller revolvers to carry instead of our old Rossi revolvers.

We looked at a retail gun store Friday and waited for one of the salesmen to become free. When an older salesmen became free, they just ignored us and walked off. Then a young salesman saw us and asked us if we needed help. He was very helpful and showed us the revolvers we were interested in, answered our questions and gave us some recommendations on what to look for etc.

Saturday, we checked out three other stores and Kings pawn. Kings had a Ruger M-LCR 357 revolver that we both liked. We rented similar revolvers and tried them out. We went back to Kings and I purchased the Ruger that he had. The Ruger uses either .38 or 357 magnum ammo. I shot my Ruger (I cleaned it before I shot it) last night 01/18/11 and was very pleased with the handling. I used the .38 special target rounds. I found that I seemed to be more accurate with the Ruger than with my Rossi. The Ruger seems to fit my hand better and I had no problem with the recoil of the Ruger. Janis was able to fire my Ruger last night and she also liked the way it handled.

We could not find another Ruger for Janis, everyone else had them on order but hadn't received any in. We looked Saturday and were still looking for one for her.  As we were leaving one of the stores yesterday, I had Janis check there again and lo and behold they had gotten one in since Saturday, so she was able to purchase hers last night.

I am enclosing a picture of the revolver below. This was the first time that Janis and I have ever purchased a hand gun on our own.

Jayne and Janis Riddle (the twins)


Jayne and Janis used the information they learned in Girls Day Out to choose the right handgun for them. Empowered with their own knowledge, they were neither intimidated nor thwarted from their quest when they were ignored at the gun store. They also followed through with "try before you buy" and made sure the guns they felt good about really did work for them.

And I'm really proud of the fact they knew to clean their new guns after they got them...they learned this in Gun Cleaning 101!

Congratulations Jayne and Janis, I have shot the Ruger LCR and I know you chose a very fine firearm! And good for you for persevering and putting to good use what you learned in classes to find just the right gun for you. Thanks for sharing your story, may it inspire lots of other women to know that they too can empower themselves for good choices, just like you two did!


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