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November 2011

Newsletter Highlights

This newsletter focuses on students and features three different students
and their experiences with private lessons at OPD. I could tell as they went through their lessons they were having fun, so I asked them to share their photos and comments with you all. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom, you don't want to miss the Mom's Corner, The Fatherload of Guns, or Bowling With Birdshot!

Upcoming Fun Shoot

Coming up in December will be an all day fun shoot where OPD students can come and try a bunch of different guns and spend time practicing...this is fun fellowship time that you don't want to miss! See below for details.

Private Lessons and Personalized Training

I'm doing private lessons by appointment. Private lessons can be a one time thing, or on an ongoing basis. Another great option is a personalized training session, this is where I come to you. It does not involve live fire (unless you have an appropriate location for live fire), but there's a whole lot we can do without live fire. Contact me if you'd like to schedule a private lesson or personalized training session.

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

I have a gun, and he's already named! :) Here is his story.

The great search was on for a gun for me to carry and I had my sights set on a S&W MP 9c for my first one. Of course, I hope to get others down the road! But when a friend offered me his Bersa Thunder .380 I decided to give it a try. Four magazines later, I was in love. The gun just had to pass inspection from my husband, so I brought it home (totally unloaded, of course) for him to look at. He agreed that it was a great gun, so it was decided. My gun collection would start here.

That night, three convicts escaped from the Juvenile Detention center in my town. All night long sirens raced up and down our street, the police helicopter hovered overhead, and we wondered where these guys were and where they would show up! And I had an empty gun... No ammo, just a gun. A lot of good that would be! Of course, my husband's Glock would be handy for him to use, but I was stuck unarmed! But I was going to make the most of what training I had if it came to it! My gun slept by my side, empty magazine inserted, safety uncocked, "chamber loaded" with invisible bullets. I'd bluff my way through the night with an unloaded gun and super aggressive body language if I had to!

The night passed uneventfully, but I knew the story had to be a name story, so I went off my bluffing mindset and tried to think of a poker player... a card shark... or how about just a shark? Yeah! A shark, like a card shark, who plays poker, who can hold a poker face and bluff his way through a bad hand! Bruce... the great white from Nemo.

By the way, my little bluffer is now fully loaded and has no need to fake it.

Jessica Cockroft

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

Q: Hi Tammy,

We went today to purchase our birdshot for our class next Saturday.  We didn't which kind to get.  We know 12 gauge, 7 - 7.5 is what you said, but we did not know which to buy.  The guy helping us said "birdshot" usually refers to steel or brass ($15.00ish a box), but you had said least expensive which was (5.00 - 7.00 per box). That would be lead.  We were just too unsure to buy it.
Is lead OK?

A: Hi Cindy,

“Birdshot” refers to the size of the BB, indicating its purpose, i.e. small BBs to shoot birds, larger BBs (buckshot) to shoot a deer.  Sometimes “birdshot” is also referred to as “shot” but it still refers to the size of the BBs.  The bigger the diameter of the BB, the smaller the number (#4 is bigger than #7).  The smaller the shot size, the bigger the spread – so for example, 7 and 7.5 is pretty small so it’ll spread out quite a bit and therefore good for hitting a bird like a pheasant that flies up in front of a hunter.  A larger shot such as #4 or #6 is what they use for turkeys because they’re bigger birds and moving slower than a pheasant (tighter shot spread).  You’ve probably heard of double ought buckshot, that’s 00 buckshot which you can see in the chart looks pretty big.

Along these same lines, it’s important what you put in your shotgun for home defense – birdshot is too small, it doesn’t penetrate very deep and it’s a big spread so It may not actually deliver a lethal blow.  A lot of people use slugs (called rifled slug) or 00 buckshot but that can over penetrate and go through walls.  So if you use the latter for home defense it’s best to get a low recoil load which has less gun powder.  For home defense I use Winchester PDX ammo which has a rifled slug + 3 00
buckshot and it’s low recoil so it doesn’t over penetrate.  It has a very night tight pattern and will most certainly deliver a lethal blow.  Here’s info on it.  You don’t need to get this now since you don’t yet have a shotgun, but when you get one this is what I recommend you use for your defense load.

I’m attaching two pictures that will show you what I’m talking about.  The first shows the sizes of the BBs and you can see at the top what I’m calling birdshot is referred to as shot.  You can see in that diagram 7 and 7.5 shot, it’s difficult to tell any difference in the two in the picture but you can see the diameter differences in say #12 and #5.  

The second picture is hard to tell what the sizes are but the far left is 7.5 birdshot and the far right is a rifled slug.  Just next to the slug is probably 00 buckshot (it’s not my picture so I don’t know for sure).  I have various shotgun shells cut apart that I bring to my shotgun class, I’ll bring those just to show you so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about.  

Now as for what it’s made of, if you’re going to shoot a bird and plan to eat it afterwards, you may want to use brass shot. But if you’re going to practice with it, such as we are, lead is just fine.  Either the guy didn’t know what he was talking about, or assuming you didn’t know what he was talking about was trying to sell you more expensive ammo. But brass does not indicate that it’s birdshot, size of the shot shell does, so he was incorrect.

I’m glad you waited to buy it cause as I said, you can find 7 or 7.5 at Walmart or Academy or Bass Pro for around $5-$7 per box.  That’s what you need.  It can be any brand of 7 or 7.5, Remington and Federal and Winchester are all popular brands of shotshell. Often it’ll say game & target load on the box and sometimes have a picture of a bird (does that tell you it’s birdshot?)


Send me your questions.

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 open to students who have attended Girls Day Out, or taken SDA or a private lesson from me. Hundreds of women meet this pre-requisite and they deserve a safe and comfortable environment in which they can practice. The pre-requisite assures that safety protocol and basic handling will be understood and followed. Unsafe handling of any firearm will NOT be tolerated as this is meant to be a time of relaxation and fun.


What could be better than a day at the gun range?  Taking your first-time shooter offspring with you!

My eight-year-old daughter, “Missy Moo,” received a Henry Mini Bolt Youth .22 rifle for her birthday this year.  She’d never fired a gun before and was excited about learning to shoot, so naturally I turned to Tammy Pinkston to help my little girl get started off on the right foot.

We met Tammy at the range at 9:00 on a Friday morning for a formal lesson.  Missy Moo was in her somewhat silly mood, presumably because I was there observing, but Tammy did an excellent job of engaging and keeping her attention.  The lesson began in the classroom with a review of gun safety rules as do all OPD classes, and though my daughter had a good handle on the Four Cardinal Rules, Tammy expounded upon and helped her gain a more thorough understanding of them.  They reviewed terminology and had a hands-on lesson concerning the different parts of the rifle, directions on how to shoot, load, and unload, and we all got the giggles over the notion of putting “your butt (of the gun) on your shoulder.”   And then it was time to fire that first shot.

Missy Moo geared up in her shooting goggles, turquoise ball cap, and headphones, and we set up targets and a bag rest.  I think I was more nervous than my daughter was:  she seemed perfectly composed, while I had questions buzzing through my head.  Would the first shot frighten her?  Would she jump?  Would she hit the target and feel satisfied or miss and become frustrated?  She is, after all, the perfectionist eldest daughter of a perfectionist eldest daughter, and we both tend to want to be good at things right off the bat.  Would she love it? 

I needn’t have worried.  The Mini Bolt is a fantastic little gun with a very easy-to-operate bolt action.  We did struggle a bit with the cocking knob which must be pulled back after a round has been chambered in order for the gun to fire.  The knob pull is stiff and was awkward for my very tiny eight-year-old to manage with her little fingers, but she eventually found a technique that worked for her and still allowed her to maintain safe control of the rifle.  [This, by the way, is practically a Tammy Pinkston trademark:  helping women learn the means by which to operate their firearms safely and effectively, if a little unconventionally.]  With the rifle loaded and cocked, Missy Moo settled into shooting position and pulled off her first shot.  She didn’t even flinch, but keeping the rifle pointed down range turned her head to look up at me and smile. 

Her shot had hit the target, and subsequent shots only got closer and closer to the bullseye.  Since we were the only ones at the range, Missy Moo had ample opportunity to inspect her targets up close, which she loved doing, then go back and shoot some more.  When she got tired and wanted a rest, she asked if we had to leave.  Tammy and I informed her that she was the boss that day:  we would stay and shoot as long as she wanted to.  She plunked down into a chair and asked me to take a turn with the rifle while she took a break, giving me instruction about which target to hit and how many rounds to fire.  We took turns shooting, then inspected targets, then shot some more.  The next thing I knew, we’d spent six hours at the gun range firing her Mini Bolt and a CZ 452 Scout youth rifle with a five-round magazine that we’d borrowed from a friend.  As soon as we got in the car to head home, Missy Moo wanted to know when we could come back.

As a mom, it was thrilling to see my little girl take her first shot, gain confidence, and fall in love with shooting. She is, in my humble opinion, a natural:  composed and serene, thoughtful and careful, and unruffled.  Tammy had another private lesson come in later in the afternoon and when her student began shooting the 9mm pistol she’d brought, Missy Moo never even flinched at the shot from the other end of the range. 

As someone who is looking forward to teaching some day, my daughter’s lesson was a learning experience for me, too, both in observing my daughter and observing Tammy.  Guns are serious business, but shooting is fun, and Tammy did an excellent job of maintaining control over a sometimes silly little girl while keeping her interested and bringing the instruction down to a level that made sense to my child.  I became aware of just how much a new shooter must be watched – hovered over, even – in order to make sure she uses safe handling techniques and that little fingers don’t end up where they shouldn’t.  Tammy has a terrific system of walking a shooter step-by-step through the necessary motions as the student is preparing to take a shot, and I found both by watching her tutor my daughter and then taking a turn at it myself that vigilance is required in making sure fingers are kept off the trigger until it’s time to take the shot, that little hands are securely wrapped around the grip, that the muzzle clears the bag rest, and also that one must be very gentle in reminding a new shooter about a safety measure she overlooked or else she may look at you with tears in those gorgeous, giant brown eyes of hers and say quietly, “It’s only my first time, Mommy.”  But for all of that, my daughter did exceptionally well, was very pleased with herself, and she, Tammy and I all had a wonderful time.  Missy Moo and I finished up the day on another high note by heading to our favorite nail salon and pampering ourselves with matching pedicures and manicures, and while there she told anyone who would listen what she’d done all day.

My baby is an enthusiastic shooter.  It doesn’t get any better than that, ladies.

– 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.

Thieves steal car from daycare, raid family home

EDMOND, Okla. -- It's bad enough being a victim of crime, but imagine having your car stolen and your house burglarized within a few hours. That's exactly what happened to an Edmond family who began their terrible day at a daycare center Wednesday morning.

Jeff Taylor says as soon as he walked into The Goddard School For Early Childhood Development in north Edmond to drop off his young daughter, a criminal drove away in his car and headed toward his house.

"We walked in, it takes two minutes to walk her to her classroom, give her a kiss, turn around and walk out," he said. Since he wouldn't be long, Taylor left his car running in the parking lot. But when he walked out, he watched someone else drive away in his car. "Kind of disheartening," he said. "Disbelief that, really, this is happening to me now?"

To make matters worse, the crook found his address inside the car, drove to his home and used the front door key to get in. They locked the family dog in a room, then stole a laptop and a safe, which contained family medication and cash as well as their passports and social security cards.

So now Taylor is worried about being a victim of a third crime down the road, identity theft.

But he's remaining optimistic. "Times are hard and maybe it's a blessing for somebody else," Taylor said, "Or maybe God will use this experience to help them later on. I don't know."

The vehicle was abandoned a few miles away after they burglarized his home. They also took the keys. There is no suspect description.

The daycare owner told us they did not have security cameras pointing at the parking lot, but they will now.

Taylor had to spend about $1,000 on wrecker services and locksmiths.

Edmond Police say daycare centers are often targeted by crooks who know parents are going to leave their cars running or leave their purses in the car.

Call Edmond police if you have any information.

It seems common sense not to leave your keys in your car with it running, even for a few moments, and yet people still do it as demonstrated in this recent story. In Defensive Awareness class I tell students not to give mechanics their whole set of keys but instead take the ignition key off (or give them the key fob by itself) – example, you've taken your car to Wal-Mart for a quick oil change...well, there's a key maker right there on the counter, and your name and address is in the glovebox of your car on the registration. So all an unscrupulous individual (or outright criminal) has to do is make a copy of your house key, write down your address, and come whenever he chooses, whether you're there or not. Just exactly like the car thieves did in the story above.

It amazes me that this man seems surprised that his car was stolen, and even more surprised that the thieves then went and let themselves in the front door and robbed the house. His lack of alarm that the thieves still have his keys, and took his family's Social Security cards and passports, is nothing short of alarming to me. Now they have personal identity information, they've been in the house so they know who lives there (and apparently he has a wife and child)...I can't imagine not being terribly alarmed at that, and concerned about the safety of his wife and child.

It could be the way the story was written, or it could be he's still complacent. As with everything, please use this as an opportunity to make a note to yourself of what NOT to do!

Don't make it easy on criminals – this is one of the most difficult things about what I do, trying to convince women who don't think like bad guys to do just that.


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

The Fatherload of Guns!
by Janis & Jayne Riddle, The twins

Janis and I inherited several shotguns, rifles, revolvers and a semi-automatic pistol from our father.  We decided, that if we were keeping them, we needed to learn how to properly handle them safely and to fire them correctly.

We contacted Tammy and had her come to our home for a personalized lesson.  She inspected all of the guns and gave us her recommendations of which of them would be the best to learn to use.  She showed us the proper way to hold and load the guns and answered any questions we had regarding them. In regards to the older guns, she helped us to find the age and history on them and advised if they would be safe to fire or not.

We then met with her at a range in Pink the following Saturday, where she taught us to load and fire the weapons. We really enjoyed firing the different guns, rifles and shot guns.  We found, that one of the shotguns would be the perfect home defense weapon and really enjoyed firing this weapon.  We learned to fire the rifles using a rest and targeting with a scope on one of the rifles.

The three of us spent several hours there and had loads of fun, even though Jayne was klutzy and fell in the parking lot when she went to the car.  Jayne went ahead and continued on for a couple more hours, not knowing that she had broken a bone in her foot.

We plan on returning to the range in Pink again.

We are planning more trips to the indoor range, where we are members, and fire the rifle with the scope so that we can line up the scope on the target better and to practice more with the semi-automatic.  We currently do pretty well with our LCR revolvers which we use as concealed carry.

Tammy's Comments:

My job is one where I constantly think, "I'm having too much fun to get paid for this!" What fun it was to see the Riddle sister's various unique and unusual, and some very old guns! Looking up the history on the guns was almost as interesting as seeing the guns. For example, a little Rohm .22 revolver which turns out to be the same model as John Hinckley, Jr. used to shoot President Reagan. I also learned Hinckley was born in Ardmore, OK (I didn’t know either of those things).  What I DO know is this incident is where the Brady Bill came from, which is an attempt to ban all handguns cause as you know, the guns all by themselves shoot people (not the insane criminal who SHOT it!)

I found a message board of people discussing this gun, evidently it’s the bottom of the barrel, they called it the Saturday night special of’s both amazing and seemingly random that Hinckley was even able to shoot anybody with it. Here’s one of the more colorful descriptions of it “The history of Rohm began in Bulgaria where goats were bred to have muscular intestines. These goats were fed ferrous and alloy scrap metal and kept in huge mountainous pastures. Each day afterwards, the peasant farmers would gather Rohm revolvers among the toadstools.”

Note in the pictures below that Jayne's fingernails match her ear protection....she told me she "toned it down" on the fingernail polish before coming to the range! I was also quite impressed with Janis' handling of one of their lovely cowboy style .357revolvers...she said it was quite a handful!

And oh yes, and I have redefined the word, "tough" – "tough" is when you break a bone in your foot but you keep shooting for a couple more hours!

Click Photos for Closeup

Bowling with Birdshot

by Cindy and Leon Gregston

We, initially, were interested in learning about shotguns, in general.  We also wanted to learn how to use them as a home defense weapon.  Then thirdly, we hoped to have some fun.  As it turned out, the "having fun" part turned out to be the biggest and best part!!  What a great way to learn.  We are pretty competitive with each other in our other shooting sports and it certainly was present on the range in this class.  What a fun way to spend my birthday!!

Click Photos for Closeup

Tammy's Comments:

I always figure when people are smiling the lesson is a success. Cindy and Leon are from Springfield, Missouri and since they traveled so far for a private lesson I wanted to make it worth their while.

Both do competitive shooting and are well versed in handling handguns, but Cindy had expressed her concern to me that she wasn't sure she'd be "man enough" to handle a 12 gauge shotgun...I assured her she would be with the method I teach of shooting from the hip.

It can be difficult setting up targets for shotgun shooting...I have system I've invented of hanging targets from wires, but we were using a rifle range that wouldn't accommodate such. I took Tactical Ivan
but I wasn't able to secure him on two sides as I do in the shotgun class so on the first shots he spun around and quickly fell down.

So I looked around for what else we could shoot at...I didn't think of this until we were already there, but being so close to Halloween I wish I'd brought a pumpkin! We found a box of bowling pins which we set up in a "course of fire." This upped the challenge as they were using natural point of aim shooting from the hip...but they'd gotten the hang of it by then and with each shot the bowling pins spun and flew and they knocked them all down!

From the first shots to the end of the ammo they were both literally giggling! I didn't know until later that it was Cindy's birthday that day...I'm glad she had so much fun on her birthday!

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