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January 2012

Shooting While Pregnant

Over the years I've encountered a few women who wanted to know if it was okay to shoot while pregnant. I always told them no because there's no way to protect the baby's hearing. A University of Illinois study states that sounds starting at 70 decibels can cause damage to the human ear. According to the Gunfire Sound Levels chart, a 9 mm puts out 159.8 decibels of noise. That's more than twice the dbs where damage can begin! This is a problem for unprotected ears, especially since decibel intensity increases by units of 10, and each increase is 10 times the lower figure (20 dbs is 10 times the intensity of 10 dbs, and 30 dbs is 100 times as intense as 10 dbs). When a friend wanted to get his pregnant wife a gift certificate to attend my Jan. 21st SDA class, I discouraged him from doing so because of this. Be sure to check out Mom's Corner (below) to read Cherise's article on the subject.

Limited Space in GDO and SDA

Registration for the January 7th Girls Day Out class has been closed but I still have a few more seats. I've got a couple spots still available in SDA as well. Contact me if you're interested.

Girls Day Out Special Speaker

If you've already attended GDO and want to hear the special speaker, you may come just for the speaker portion. This time it's 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. Attending just the speaker portion is open to previous GDO attendees only.
Contact me for details.

New Class for Moms - Firearms and Your Young Child

Any mother knows that curious children find ways, in spite of her best efforts, to get to the things they want.  If what the child wants is a gun, the consequences could be deadly.  Whether you own a firearm or just want to be sure your child is safe while she's out and about, this class will prepare you to safely keep firearms in a home where children are present as well as guide you in equipping your child to respond appropriately wherever she might encounter a firearm. See below for 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.

Fun Shoot

The Fun Shoot was fun! We were so busy enjoying shooting none of us took any pictures! The ladies who came got some great hands on experience, and some found out what gun they wanted to buy for themselves. It was clearly a benefit, plus tons of fun. We'll do it again in a few months.

Policy for All Live Fire Classes

It is 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 firearms self-defense

BOLO – Be On the Lookout
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
VCA – Violent Criminal Actor
DRT – Dead Right There
ND – Negligent Discharge
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
BUG – Back Up Gun
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.

I've had a Glock 19 9 mil for quite a while now. It's my first and so far only gun. My budget has been challenged lately, so I haven't really even been able to think about adding to my arsenal for a while... but I do intend to. As I was unloading hollow point and reloading FMJ practice rounds awhile back, I looked at him and thought. "You are the first, but you won't be the last." So, in anticipation, and promising myself to add more in the future, I simply named him "One."

Cyndi Beam

My favorite cowgirl growing up was Annie Oakley. My father used to call me Jannie. So my new M&P .40 is Annie.

Janet Denker

A few years ago I shot a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun with a Knoxx SpecOps stock - this is an adjustable stock with a pistol grip, and both grip and stock have a shock absorber built in which significantly reduces the recoil. Needless to say, I wanted one as soon as I shot it. In December Academy was having an excellent sale on Remington 870s with 18" barrels. These short defense barrels are hard to find, and the price was over $100 off the MSRP. So one came home with me, and then I set about fixing her up as my tactical shotgun. I ordered and installed a magazine tube extension, a two-point tactical sling which held a reload, and of course the Knoxx SpecOps stock. In the end when I looked her over I thought, "I've built the shotgun I've always dreamed of." And so I named her in "I Dream of Jeannie." If you're too young to know what that reference is, it was a 70s television show (boy do I feel old!).

Tammy Pinkston

Jeannie Boomer (before & after)

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

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. 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). 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

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.

“Don’t shoot while you’re pregnant.”  

Having done most of the things during three pregnancies that the old wives warn against and not only living to tell the tale but producing perfect children in spite of them, I take all unsolicited pregnancy “wisdom” with a hefty dose of skepticism.  But the question of whether women should engage in recreational shooting while pregnant intrigues me.  My first thought was that the growing fetus has the benefit of her mother’s skin, fat, muscle, uterus, and a load of amniotic fluid between herself and any noise made in the outside world.  Sounds pretty cushy.

My second thought was of a Fourth of July party in 2003.  I was due to deliver my first child before the end of the month.  My husband, a born pyromaniac, had helped friends rig up an elaborate amateur fireworks display and I couldn’t wait to see what they’d come up with.  It was impressive, with giant aerials and plenty of mortars, and I couldn’t have been more than 25 yards from where the pyrotechnics were being launched.  During the 20-minute show, the usually laid-back baby Missy Moo of mine was, as I commented to a friend at the time, kicking madly as if to say, “Get moving, Mommy!  Why are we not running from the gunfire?!?!?”  It seemed clear that my little one had heard what was going on and was reacting to it.

I wasn’t a shooter then nor through either subsequent pregnancy, so the question of whether to head to the range packing pistols, ammo, and the unborn fruit of my loins never came up while it was of immediate personal concern.  I wonder what my obstetricians back in the foothills of western North Carolina would have said about it.  You never know with those medical professional types, what with the official positions of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics being so firearms unfriendly, and most of the obstetricians in the small town where I lived having been imports from big cities where gun talk doesn’t make for polite conversation.  Since I don’t presently have need of an obstetrician and therefore don’t have one at my disposal for questions, I turned to the World Wide Web to see what I could find on the subject of mothers-to-be and gunfire.  It turned up plenty of talk, but it would seem that there aren’t any good studies available as to the effect of gunfire on a human embryo or fetus.  There was one involving sheep and Howitzers, as if the noise from a weapon like that compares to a 9mm or even a .40 handgun (it doesn’t, in case you weren’t sure).  There was talk of lead poisoning and concussion through amniotic fluid.  But there was no consensus.  The sheep reported ended up with an author’s note that shooting during pregnancy is fine if precautions are taken, while a different report said that there is “undeniable, conclusive evidence” that shooting during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn.  Hmmm.

Without conclusive scientific study, what’s needed is common sense.  This is a good time to remind readers that we’re talking only about recreational shooting.  I’m not going anywhere near what women who shoot as part of their professions ought to do when they’re pregnant… at least not in this article.

First, I know that little unborn Missy Moo heard those fireworks.  They weren’t as loud for the most part as gunfire from point blank range, but they were loud enough and they elicited a strong response from her.  There’s no question in my mind, or in those of the people writing the articles I read on both sides of the issue, that a fetus can hear gunfire from inside the uterus. 

Second, lead exposure in utero leads to all sorts of crippling conditions in children.  At any gun range one inhales lead powder, and according to one online article, the absorption rate from inhaled lead is almost 100%.  Lead dust also gets on your body and clothes at the firing range.  The extent to which this is passed to the embryo/fetus and how much exposure is needed to cause harm isn’t clear.

Third:  silencers, HEPA facial masks, heavy clothing, shooting outdoors and alone rather than with a group of other shooters, washing thoroughly after shooting and changes clothes, using nothing larger than .22 rim fire ammunition and firearms… these suggested precautions (among many others) for pregnant shooters in tandem with the two points above point in one direction as far as I am concerned, and that is toward limiting shooting during pregnancy to when it is absolutely necessary, which is to say not participating in recreational shooting at all.  It’s a safe bet that many of us gave up things we loved during our pregnancies in order to reduce the potential of harm to our developing offspring.  It’s what we do as mothers both before our little ones arrive and after:  we sacrifice things for the sake and safety of our children.  It’s no different with shooting.  Until a definitive report comes out after careful scientific study to the contrary, it is the position of this mother and of OPD that women should not engage in recreational shooting during pregnancy, and they should carefully consider whether to do so while breastfeeding.

The downside to this is that of all the times in my life when in hindsight I wish I’d been a shooter, it was during pregnancy.  I don’t know about you, but target shooting is a tremendous stress-reliever for me, and it’s hard to think of a time when a good outlet for built-up stress would have been more useful than during pregnancy.  Never mind that a woman who enjoys shooting doesn’t want her skills to atrophy for nine months (longer if she breastfeeds her baby).  So what’s a mother to do?

Pregnancy should come with certain perks.  Amateur foot rubs and professional massage therapy.  A personal chef to cook so you don’t have to while you’re battling morning sickness.  Chocolate.  Loads of down-time.  A comfortable chaise longue that takes the stress off your lower back and raises your feet.   Airsoft pistols.


Yup.  I can’t help you with any of the other pregnancy perk wish-list items, but that last one is a cinch.  An Airsoft pistol looks and acts just like your own handgun, but it doesn’t have the lead ammunition, the kick, or the BANG.  Get some Dirty Bird targets and a bunch of plastic pellets and you can console yourself over the temporary loss of your favorite real weapon by creating exciting Technicolor splatter patterns with your full-scale Airsoft replica piece in the comfort, safety, and convenience of your own backyard.  While you’re doing that, stockpile ammunition for your regular gun, because you’re gonna want to come back to the range in a big way after your precious little bundle of joy arrives.

– 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.
Blanchard Mother Shoots, Kills Suspect In Home Invasion

Posted: Dec 31, 2011 2:38 PM CST
Updated: Jan 1, 2012 8:41 AM CST
BLANCHARD, Oklahoma --  One man is dead and second suspect is in custody following a home invasion near Blanchard Saturday afternoon.

Police say two men attempted to break into a woman's home at 2227 County Road 1280.  The woman was able to barricade the door with a couch, but the suspects gained entry.  One of the suspects was armed with a knife.

Police say the woman, a mother with a three-month-old baby, shot the knife-wielding suspect dead with a shotgun.  The second suspect fled and called his parents who turned him over to police.

Blanchard police have asked the OSBI to assist with the investigation, but say it appears the woman was trying to protect her baby and herself.

Police have not yet released the identities of the suspects or the woman.

Home invasions have become commonplace right here in our communities. Search of any of the OKC news sites and you'll find an alarming number of them this past year. And this is not a crime reserved for the ghettos or "bad part of town. There was this one in NW OKC: "'It was a really scary experience for the kids. They were crying,' said the homeowner." Really? It upset the children when two armed men kicked in their door? Or the seven Midwest City residents who were attacked (including a small child) in this one. "Fortunately they were not hospitalized and no one was injured very seriously." said the police chief. Just reading that, to me, is insulting. Of course they were seriously injured! They will never be the same! And on Christmas Eve an 88 year old Stillwell woman was murdered in her home by a 20 year old woman in a home invasion. (store here).

It is my observation that way too many women assume this won't happen to them, and yet you hear about it in the news with growing frequency. Naively thinking, "it won't happen to me" may give you a false sense of security, but it won't keep you from getting your front door kicked in, and being tortured and murdered by the scum who do it. And if you have children for whom you're responsible, well, you simply can't afford to not be prepared to protect them.

It's not just home invasions, the news is full of women getting attacked while out and about. It's so frustrating to me to read over and over again about another woman getting attacked, and how surprised she is, and every time she has left herself wide open for the attack. Over Christmas I watched a surveillance video of an attacker who stood at the end of the check out counter watching the woman he would soon attack. She stated in this article that she felt uneasy about him, and yet you see her walk right by him in the video, her two-year old walking beside her, and he actually holds the door as she's walking out and you can see him putting his hand in his pocket to get out the gun that he holds her up with.

I never understand why people are so surprised when they get the exact results their actions call for. When your action is to assume you won't get attacked, and to put yourself directly in harms way, it is no surprise that you're attacked. When you opt not get training and therefore prepare yourself to deal with an attack, you're assuming that something which is not natural to women will just come to you when you need it. And if you don't know how to spot, and stop, a threat before it ever becomes an attack, well the result is utterly predictable!

Let me be clear, no one deserves to be attacked. My point is, no one NEEDS to be attacked and it's so simple to keep yourself from being attacked...I teach exactly how in classes! The training is right here in your back yard, and yet so few women take advantage of it.

What stops scumbag criminals from attacking women is not more laws, or more law enforcement, they stop attacking when the people they attack kill them. The true deterrent is when bad guy, before attacking someone, stops to ponder, "I wonder if this woman is armed and prepared to kill me?" That, my friends, is a deterrent!

And so while I was in no way happy on New Year's Eve to read about another woman who had her door kicked in, I am extremely happy to see the end result of the above posted story. A woman finally fought back and she didn't shoot him in the foot, or hold him for police, she killed the man who came into her home with a knife, she protected her child without hesitation...she was prepared! This story on KFOR states the woman was only 18 years old. That's still a teenager ya'll! I don't know this young woman, but I can tell from her actions described in the articles that she kept a cool enough head to do what she needed to defend herself and the life of her child. She first tried to barricade herself by pushing a couch in front of the door. When the knife-wielding scum busted his way through, she shot him dead with a shotgun. A shotgun is the very best home defense weapon there is, a center mass shot (which she obviously delivered) means suspect is DRT! (see acronyms above).

Thank God somebody taught her to defend herself
. Someone trained her how to use a shotgun. Someone trained her how to prepare herself mentally for an attack, and to defend her life with deadly force. She did not hesitate, else she and her baby would probably be dead. Yes, bad guys kill babies and attack children. This is all the more reason women in particular need to be prepared to defend themselves without hesitation.

This is one criminal that won't do it again to someone else. He won't do it again to her. She won't live in fear wondering if he'll come back with his gang buddies. And the one who got away and called mommy & daddy to come pick him up...well, all I can say about that is kudos to mom & dad for turning him in. Plenty of parents wouldn't have done that.

Students hear me say all the time that there's nothing like a shotgun for home defense, and women need not wonder if they can't handle one with the point shooting method I teach. Thank God this young woman had one and knew how to use it! I hope this story encourages some of you to sign up for the women's shotgun class in February.


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

I received these photos by Email, and could tell by studying them that this is actually a real mailbox...and I love it! My first thought was, "I want one." I forwarded it to the OPD team and so began a volley of ideas of what we could do with it...Dee thought her anti-gun neighbors across the street might not like it if she got one. I suggested she could put it in the back of her pickup truck and stand Sheldon next to it...we thought running a rope from Sheldon's hand to the trigger might be an added touch, and perhaps it would cut down on tailgating.

Supposedly this is a mailbox in Oklahoma but I was never able to track down the source. One person posted on a gun forum about it that they should turn it around and rig it to shoot the mail at the would save the owners a walk to the mailbox! I wonder if my dad had one of these if the punk that keeps bashing his mailbox would stop...

We may never know if this is an Oklahoma mailbox, but whoever created it is a true artist!

Happy New Year! And for those of you from other states who read this Email, I'll say it in Oklahoman: Happy New Year ya'll!


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