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October 2011

Newsletter Highlights

In this newsletter there's
a great article written by MSgt. Gary Knight on the topic of OKC PD Citizen Alert program and why crimes aren't always reported to the public immediately after they occur. There's also some new gun names, the last OPD helper is featured, and there's an interesting Mom's Corner article on how to teach your kids to respond if they're asked about guns in your home. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter, you don't want to miss the student story!

Upcoming Classes

I have two all day classes scheduled in Shawnee – Pepper Spray plus Everything Else on October 22nd, and Between the Threat and the Bang plus Airsoft on November 5th. Lunch is catered in between classes, you can come for the day for a discount or take just one class. The two classes on each day build off one another, so if you come for the whole day it's a well rounded day of training. The Pepper Spray class is particularly good for young (middle school thru college) girls to learn how to use a valid self-defense tool....if you already have pepper spray I highly encourage you to come to this class as commercial pepper spray is inadequate for actual self-defense (I would NOT trust it myself!) – it's a terrible gimmick that's been perpetuated upon women who think they have a good tool when they really do not.

Pre-requisites apply for the Airsoft class. Classes have registration deadlines See below for more info.

Private Lessons and Personalized Training

I'm doing private lessons again at the range in Pink by appointment. Private lessons can be a one time thing, or on an ongoing basis. Over the years I've had students who had private lessons with me once a week, so I can quite literally work with you in advancing your skills level by level.

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. For example, one personalized training session I worked with a mom and her grown daughter (both have their license to carry) on the functions of their guns, how to draw and reholster, and the operation of their shotguns. Another training session I worked with a mom and her teen daughter on using pepper spray and kubotans. And this week I have a session scheduled with two sisters who inherited several rifles and shotguns from their father – it would be too cumbersome to carry all their guns to the range, so in going to them I can teach them about each of their guns and they can narrow it down to what they want to bring to the range and shoot. Contact me if you'd like to schedule a private lesson or personalized training session.

Saturday's SDA Class

We had a very good SDA class this past Saturday, and eight more women will be able to get their license to carry a gun! The new policy (below) definitely paid off, it was a much more relaxing experience. Congrats ladies on successfully completing your class!

Classes for Moms and Kids!

Last month I told you that OPD is officially launching a kid's academy under the umbrella of Oklahoma Personal Defense. We expect to schedule the first class after the first of the year, and launch the website soon. Meanwhile, be sure to read Mom's Corner, a new feature of the newsletter which will also be on the new website in which we address topics concerning moms & kids and guns.

Have a question or topic you want addressed? Contact me.

New 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

Here are a few pics from Saturday's SDA class
(Thanks to Dee Cope for the photos)

Well I decided on a name for my 9mm S&W compact M&P, it’s Buddy. I don’t really know why, but it just seemed to fit since HE will definitely be my buddy from now on. Hopefully if I pass my SDA CC class he’ll go everywhere with me, so Buddy it is.

Ann Archer

There's really no story behind why I named my guns. I just liked Ginny for my Millennium Pro, and Big Bertha for the 24/7.

Dee Cope

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,

I would like your opinion about a flashlight with a built in stun gun, my husband says this is a great self-defense tool and I should carry one. Thanks, Mary

A: Hi Mary,

Any kind of stun gun is a very bad idea and I would never recommend one, it's both false security and dangerous for a woman to consider this a valid self-defense tool.  You have to hold them against the person long enough for the charge to be of affect, and as students learn in Between the Threat and the Bang you need to deal with a threat before it's close enough that the person can grab you. Further, 100 percent of all my students in the Everything Else class find the drills hitting the mannequin extremely uncomfortable and I have to constantly remind them to get closer to him – though just a mannequin he's a lifelike facsimile of a grown man and they instinctively fight against getting too close. Now imagine having to be close enough to touch him with the stun gun, and then do you think he will just stand there and let you do it? No, he will take it away from you and probably beat you to death with the flashlight. As I teach in all classes, and stress in BTB, WE ARE NOT AND NEVER WILL BE STRONG ENOUGH TO OVERPOWER A MAN.  What I teach in Everything Else is how to get away from someone, not how to overpower a man.

A stun gun is not a taser like law enforcement uses, the latter shoots out barbs that stick in the perp with wires in them running back to an electricity source. I'm not sure these are even available to the public, but you have to remember law enforcement specifically trains to use tasers (like everything, there's a technique) and they have partners and backup. You the single woman in the parking lot do not have that luxury.

So a stun gun is dangerous because IF you are able to push the button to start the electricity once an attack begins, you still have to manage to hold it against him and bad guy isn't going to stand there and let you do that but will instead take it away from you and use it on you.  It is not a breakaway tool, it’s supposed to be a self- defense tool.  You’re wasting time trying to do that when you could be just getting away or using an actual self-defense tool.  I consider them extremely dangerous options for women because they present a false sense of security.

Beware “combo” items that combine various self defense tools.  Flashlight + stun gun; baton + pepper spray; lipstick container disguised as pepper spray.  These are gimmicks, intended to sell women things that really don’t work.  They are a waste of money.  If you want a quality flashlight, get a quality flashlight (such as a SureFire), don’t get a combo item that’s a gimmick.
And please do not get a stun gun!


Send me your questions.

Pepper Spray for Self-Defense
Oct. 22nd from 9 am to 12 pm
$45.00, includes lunch

Registration Deadline Oct. 12

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 – first of all, it does not work! It'll tick somebody off, but it absolutely will not stop them! Secondly, it is a felony to use wasp spray on someone (says so on the can). 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 the first run of my own Pepper Spray was taught once for OPD by a male guest instructor, but I have rewritten it to be more practical and applicable for women and young girls. This is an excellent class for teen and college age girls who cannot carry a gun but need a valid self-defense tool. Register

And Everything Else
When You Can't Carry a Gun
Oct. 22nd from 1 pm to 5 pm
$45.00, includes lunch
Registration Deadline Oct. 12

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, sure to check out his story and see pics and a video from the first EE class when he got the last EE class SD got his hand knocked off (thanks Cherise!) me, it's way fun to beat up on SD!

And if you're thinking, "I don't need a cane, why would I carry one?" Well, are you going to the courthouse and don't want to be "defenseless" when you come out to the parking lot (since you have to disarm)? Are you going on a plane and you can't carry any weapon? You do not have to be defenseless!

There will be times you simply can not carry a gun – you do NOT need to feel defenseless during those times! This class will empower you to protect yourself with everyday items. Register

Between the Threat and the Bang
Nov. 5th from 9 am to 12 pm
$45.00, includes lunch

Registration Deadline Oct. 26

This class identifies and teaches several steps that can and should occur between the time a woman feels threatened and the time she may need to draw a gun in self-defense. Students practice situational awareness, aggressive posturing and commanding, and ultimately drawing from a holster and coming on target.

Training guns and holsters will be provided for drawing from concealment drills. Register

Airsoft (BTB-2)
Nov. 5th from 1 pm to 6 pm
Registration Deadline Oct. 26

This class is the sequel to BTB where students will incorporate the aggressive posturing and commands with drawing the Airsoft from a holster, coming on target, and firing. Airsoft is an excellent opportunity to hone your handgun skills as it is very obvious with Airsoft pistols (since there's no recoil) where the problem areas are. It's difficult to hit your target in Airsoft without good technique!

You must have attended both Girls Day Out
(or a private lesson at OPD) 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. Airsoft pistols are provided for students to use in class.

Pre-requisite: Girls Day Out or a private lesson with OPD and BTB


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

Double Class Discount – Anyone who wants to attend an all day class choose Double Class Discount on the Registration page for $10 off.

Class Comments – Read comments from students who attended the above classes.

“Do you have guns at your house?” How am I supposed to answer this question?  How are my children supposed to answer it? The keeping of firearms is a personal thing, and if you’re the one posing the question I want to know why you’re asking.  Are you merely curious, or do you have an agenda?  Are you pro-gun and looking for an ally, or are you anti-gun and looking for either an adversary or a debate?  Will my response influence your opinion, either positively or negatively, of me as a woman and a mother?

If you know me at all well, you probably have this information.  If not, you’re being awfully forward.  While there are times, places, and circumstances in which I might indulge your curiosity and tell you what you want to know, you shouldn’t expect that I’ll be forthcoming in providing that type of information any more than I’d be likely to tell you whether I have a safe for my valuables or what color my knickers are.

Pose the question and unless I’ve got a good reason for sharing the answer I’m likely to respond with a sincere, “Why do you ask?”  If I don’t like your reply or don’t care to discuss it further, I’ll ignore it, deflect it, or simply tell you that it’s none of your business.  I may have guns, or I may prefer that you not know that I don’t; read into it whatever you want, but I’m neither confirming nor denying. 

My children, on the other hand, aren’t going to get away with that.  They need a simple, easy reply that’s suitable for other children as well as adults, isn’t impertinent or rude, and doesn’t require them to assess the other person’s motives and opinions.  Ask my children if we have guns and they will respond (cross my fingers) with a surprised expression and an emphatic, “THAT’S not polite!”  If pressed, they are instructed to tell the inquirer that they do not talk about things that are not polite, then change the subject. 

[Note:  that which is “impolite” is a relative concept.  Sure, the topic of gun ownership is taboo, but amongst children the ages of mine, body and toilet humor are perfectly acceptable and fair game.  It’s all about perception.]

And THAT’S what you get for asking.

Finishing up with introductions of the OPD helper pool (view all bios here)

Mary Milligan , OPD Helper

I grew up on a farm outside of Tonkawa, Oklahoma.  It was common for guns to be around our home, not so much for defense but to kill rabbits for food, raccoons & opossum that tried to eat our chickens, and a few ugly snakes here and there.  
I was informed never to touch the guns.  No excuses, just no touching. Having seen the impact a bullet could do to an animal, I had no desire to break this crucial rule.  The consequences would be severe and I knew what that meant.
We then moved to town and lived there for about two years. My father passed away during this time, my Mother re-married, and back to a farm we went.

By this time I was around 15 years old with new responsibilities.  Our farm was by a river.  We again had chickens.  I was taught by my step-father how to respect a weapon and how to kill with it. Chicken eating raccoons & opossum were our worst problem.  I also promoted myself to “The Can Killer!" I would stand on the bridge throwing cans into the river from one side and then running to the other side to shot it as they floated by.  Good practice.  (The gun I carry now is named – “Cane The Killer!”)
Years went by and I did not touch a weapon.  Then I noticed our world changing and I felt like I needed to protect myself and family.  That is when I went on a search for someone to help me and I found Tammy.
I took a few private lessons from Tammy and then took my conceal carry class and passed.  I really would not have made it without her.   
In my first class my hands were shaking so badly I could not load my magazine.  We both laughed about this and moved forward.  And from there to now!  
I am part of the Oklahoma Personal Defense team as a helper.  I am a certified NRA Range Safety Officer and have assisted in class room activities such as our Girls Day Out and I assisted (as an observer and target changer) a class on conceal carry.  I have also attended the classes of Between the Threat and the Bang, And Everything Else, and Airsoft. I am a strong believer in self defense and I believe in caring a gun after being properly trained.
My awareness to my surroundings is heightened.  I am careful where I park my car, what is going on around me and if anyone is approaching my safe zone.  Shortly after attending one of Tammy’s classes a stranger approached me.  All he wanted “Was to use my phone!"  My first reaction was timid, I looked down at his feet as he approached me, then I could hear Tammy repeating, “Do Not Be The Victim!"  My training from her classes kicked in!  Needless to say, he was as startled as I was when I shouted at him in a very low deep voice to step away from me.  Needless to say he did not use my phone.

I still have a lot that I want to learn.  OPD classes have helped my confidence in being able to protect myself and my family.  Even though I hope to never have to use these abilities, I know that if the circumstance ever comes up I can “Do It!"

Over the past year I have talked about the Oklahoma City Police Department's Citizen Alert program. I encourage everyone to sign up for this program, which alerts you via Email when a crime has been committed. From my perspective it gives us a heads up of what to watch out for...even if you don't live in the OKC PD district (I don't), you probably are there while out and about. I recently asked MSgt. Gary Knight about the Citizen Alert program from their perspective and he was kind enough to provide the below article. He is in the same office with Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow who has spoken for Girls Day Out. Both Sgt. Wardlow and MSgt. Knight are the ones you'll see talking about crimes on the news which occur in the Oklahoma City PD jurisdiction.

The Oklahoma City Police Department began developing the Citizen Alert Program in late 2003.  It took a couple of years to get the program online and available to the public.  The idea behind Citizen Alert was to give us – the police department – an avenue by which to get our message out to the public without going strictly through the media.  Don’t get me wrong; the media has its place and they have certainly helped us on many cases.  However, when we go through the media, our message tends to get filtered due to the stories being edited.  Citizen Alert allows us to communicate directly to the public any time of the day or night without that media filter in place.

One of the most popular things we do with Citizen Alert is post crime videos and suspect photographs.  Human beings are visual in nature and these types of postings tend to have a high number of views.

I am occasionally asked why it takes so long to get some videos and photos posted.  There are several answers to this.  Often an investigator will try to solve the case through other means before going to the public with the crime video.  There are certain advantages to this approach, one of which is the suspect(s) usually doesn’t realize that we have a video recording of their participation in a crime.  Once a suspect knows this, they will sometimes flee and/or destroy evidence.

There are also many businesses in our city – particularly convenience stores – that have policies against releasing crime videos to the police department.  The fear is that if the video is released, their business will be viewed as unsafe and customers will go elsewhere.  We are usually able to convince their corporate attorneys to release the video, but only after we have edited it to the point that the store cannot be identified.

With that being said, there are also times when we try to get information out on a crime immediately after it happens.  A crime of a sexual nature is a good example of this type of information release.  A sex crime detective will often try to have a composite sketch of a suspect made as soon as possible.  Once they have the sketch in hand, it is usually delivered to the Public Information Office the same day for release to the public. 

Citizen Alert is a quick and easy way to keep up with information from the police department.  Sign-up is easy.  Simply go to and follow the on-screen instructions.  The men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department strive to make our community as safe as humanly possible.  If you ever need us, please don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.

MSgt. Gary Knight

– 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.

Recently I was forwarded an article entitled "Top Eight American Terror Targets" purported to be written by an Israeli security agent about where the next attacks will occur in America. While the attack methods mentioned in this article may very well be legitimate, I verified through that this article is false. This means it’s one of the scare Emails commonly sent around – this one started circulating in 2007, four years later it's still circulating.  These are the Emails someone starts and usually they have in the body “Warn everyone” or “tell every woman you know” or something like that which sounds urgent and then there’s some terrible story about how a woman smelled perfume and passed out and woke up kidnapped, or if you hear a baby crying on the porch don’t go out because that's how gang members are initiating new members and they'll grab you when you go outside. Often there’s some grain of truth, or it’s something that could happen, but they are completely made up.  These type Emails are created for the sole purpose of spreading fear. It’s what is commonly referred to as an urban legend.  

Anyone who's followed OPD for any length of time has heard me say that I do not use fear tactics in OPD. Yes, there are very frightening things going on, and very sadly I'm having more and more crime victims come to me for I wish you all would get the training BEFORE YOU'RE ATTACKED!!! It just doesn't have to happen!

Nevertheless, I do not use fear tactics, and I don't judge someone for what happened to them. But I do speak the truth and teach realistic and practical techniques that women can actually use to save their lives. This is not, "I am woman hear me roar" ra, ra, ra, fake rally of womanhood and then we crawl back to our terrified little places, this is real training of actual women who just want to go about their daily lives without being attacked. I happen to think that's a very reasonable desire, and I happen to know it's doable.

So I encourage women to get real training that will actually save their lives, and everything I practice myself, and teach, and all tools I promote and use myself, are legitimate, legal self-defense tools any woman can use with the proper training to protect her freedom, her quality of life, and her very life.

Incidentally, the myth that wasp spray is just as good as pepper spray was started through this means in 2009 (Snopes found the Email to be a mixture of both true and false information). So those of you who think this is a terrific idea are basing your self-defense on an urban legend! Do you see why I encourage LEGITIMATE training!?! Don't just read something on the Internet, or in an Email, and assume it's true. Get hands on legitimate training and learn for yourself whether or not it works.

I encourage all women that when you receive such alarmist Emails, go to Snopes and find out if it's an urban legend before you forward it to a bunch of other women. If you're going to forward something to a bunch of women, let it be this newsletter with actual self-defense information they can use! And if you're going to do something for yourself regarding self-defense, get legitimate training, don't take the word of an urban legend! Now is that biased or what? Like I said, I speak the truth!


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

I am often asked in classes, "How many guns do you have?" My answer is usually something like "A few" or "Several" or my favorite, "I don't know." To be sure, I know exactly how many guns I have, exactly where each one is, exactly what brand and caliber and how many bullets each has loaded...but as Cherise pointed out above, there are reasons we don't want to make this information known. So I've been noticing a trend in classes in response to my vague answer, students have nicknamed my house, "Tammy's House of Guns."

Well, some of you know I have lots of dogs (I usually am more forth coming on that number which is six). So I rather enjoyed it when someone forwarded me an Email containing the below photos...this very well could have been taken at "Tammy's House of Guns."
(Note, there are no paws on triggers!)

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

A Hero in My Dreams

Jessica Cockroft

Thank you so much Tammy for the Girls Day Out class yesterday. It effected me so much that I went home last night and upon falling asleep began dreaming of grenade-tossing terrorist crashing a political rally. Thanks to my awareness of my surroundings and an incredible confidence in my abilities, I lived. And not only did I live, but, in spite of receiving a non-life-threatening wound at the hands of one of the scary dudes, I managed to take him out with my Smith & Wesson tactical pen. I was quite the hero last night! :-P lol

Thought you would find that amusing ;) Looking forward to my SDA class!

See you then,
Jessica <><

Jessica in her SDA class Saturday


I absolutely LOVE this! GDO is the first, foundational level class in OPD, and Jessica's first OPD class. It's wonderful to receive feedback that a young woman was so greatly affected by the first level...imagine what she'll gain as she moves on through additional levels of training with OPD classes! As you can see in the above pic, Jessica has very good technique. Her shots were tightly grouped on target, but she commented to me they were lower than where she wanted them and that she realized she was anticipating the recoil (I mention that in the two OPD classes she's taken). I asked her how long she's been shooting and she said that was her 3rd time. I assured her she'd work through the recoil anticipation!

Keep up the good work, Jessica!


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