Firearm safety a big part of protecting yourself

Last Thursday’s Altoona Mirror featured a “How To” section which covered helpful advice on how to do or find various things we all need at some point.

My eye was captured by – as you might guess — the one on “How to choose a firearm.”

It was succinct and valuable information if you are inclined to purchase a new firearm as I did just a few weeks ago. Especially if you are a woman entering this field of owning a firearm for safety and protection and wondering where to start.

I have had scores of conversations with women over the years who are fearful of even having a firearm in the house much less actually owning one. I have handled firearms most of my adult life, but what I needed was a handgun I could wear concealed as I go to church, grocery shopping or wherever. Yes, I have a permit.

I have protected myself from serious harm and mayhem at least four times in my life with my handgun. I have related those incidents in this column in times past so I won’t go into them today.

But what made the difference in every single incident is that yes, I had a handgun on me, but that I knew how to use it. That is the vital component of protection with a gun — any gun. Just having a gun in the house means nothing. A burglar or rapist is not going to be put on hold until you go upstairs, retrieve a gun from the top shelf of the clothes closet, and then run to another location to get the bullets and then try to figure out how to load it.

For protection, like the young woman from Iowa who was intercepted recently by a stranger as she jogged on a city street, needed a firearm that minute. That could have saved her had she had one on her and knew how to use it quickly.

Women are fond of telling me that keep a ball bat by their bed. That is a sure way to get yourself killed. You have to get out of bed to be able to swing a bat, pick it up and get it in position to swing and then wait until your intruder gets close enough to you that you could hit him with the bat. Of course, he will reach out, intercept your swing, grab the bat and then use it against you.

Neither is a knife, or anything else that you choose that means an attacker must get close to you before you can hope to use it on him. The minute he is that close to you, he has all the advantage.

A gun of any kind is of no use to you unless you really know how to handle it. I am so familiar with my firearms that I can pick them up and without looking, snap off the safety and be ready to shoot.

When an attacker is advancing toward you, there is no time to be fumbling with a firearm, trying to figure out how to load it, how to get the safety on or off, how to aim and how to pull the trigger. Those procedures must be second nature to you the instant the gun is in your hands.

My point today is that to be proficient and to be ready to act quickly when trouble unexpectedly lands in your lap, one needs proper training in the handling of firearms. We have in our area some very qualified firearms instructors. The foremost of these is Wayne Bush, owner of White Horse Nation and can be found on Facebook under this title.

I attended Bush’s seminars at the Jaffa Show, and I surely recommend you look for his seminar this coming spring at the show.

Bush offers classes to the public on the subject of handling and shooting handguns. Below here is his posted schedule for the rest of this year and into next year. These classes are well worth the fees, believe me.

A couple of the classes are especially geared toward women. They will be held on Sept. 8, Nov. 17, and in 2019, Jan. 1 9, Feb. 9, March 9, April 13 and May 18 all at the HSC Indoor Range in Blair County.

Officials also want you to know that original Ruger LCP handguns are no longer welcome in their clases. For more information, go to and click on event.