Friday, April 28, 2017

Kids & Firearm Safety

While we all know that firearms can be a divisive issue, everyone agrees that we want to keep kids safe.

Kids by their nature are interest and curious.  That said, why would it be any different when it comes to their curiosity about firearms? We all know that kids see guns on TV, movies, and maybe even at their friend’s house and other situations that you are not aware of. It is vital that YOU discuss firearm safety with your kids.  Discussing firearms and their use on TV and video games with children is important as well. Guns are often improperly handled, and most children are not able to tell the difference between being killed on TV and being killed in real life.

If they don't learn about gun safety from you, they will learn it from someone else. Likely other kids, TV and video games. Having this conversation with your kids about gun safety will make your kids, your family, and our community a lot safer.   

I get asked all the time what the appropriate age to start teaching children about gun safety is.  It is my belief that the earlier the better - however it is not about the age as much as it is about YOUR child’s maturity level. I also believe that when discussed, taught, and even handled at an early age, the child is more likely to follow the safety rules you have taught them when you are not around.

The conversation of course needs to be age appropriate, your description about firearm safety will be different for preschool children than it will be for teenagers. For all kids, no matter what age, there are a few things you can do to make this a significant talk for you and your family

Getting Ready:

        This does not need to be a lecture, but kids need to know that it is a serious topic.

        If you have other adults in the home, get everyone on the same page. This will ensure that your children are learning the proper lessons from both parents.

        Find a good time and place where you and your kids won't be distracted. Remember that this is a conversation, not a lecture.

        Ask questions. Most likely they already have questions, so invite them to ask questions, and have questions to ask them as well.
        Find out what they already know or have heard, clarify the situation, then use example of real life that will help them understand why we have rules about firearm safety.

        Help them to understand what to do in situations where you will not be there. Have a plan of action. Your discussions on gun safety may be ALL they have to help guide them in those situations.

        WALK the talk, set an example of proper and safe gun handling of firearms.

        Reinforce your conversation regularly, adding details and more mature conversation as your kids get older.

        Repetition is the key, every month or so is not too often.

Preschool Kids:

The NRA has an excellent children's gun safety program for Pre-K through third grade, The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program.

The purpose for this gun safety program is to provide the protection and safety of our children, our family and our communities

You do not need to be a NRA member and any one can obtain all the material to teach this program.

The program includes:
        A parent/instructor guide book
        Activity books
        A Poster
        Animated video to explain its four-step safety message.

For more information about the program, visit
Or call (800) 231-0752

I suggest starting by watching one of the videos posted below. 
That gets the conversation going.

After watching it together open up with questions to chat about.
        What did the team find?
        What was in the backpack?
        What did they do after they found the backpack.
        Who was your favorite character and why?
        What is the song they sing? Can you sing it?

Help them understand a few fundamental rules:
When you see a gun:
        DON’T Touch it
        Leave the area
        Go tell an adult.

Learn about gun safety with Eddie Eagle and the Wind Team

Another animated Gun Safety video
National Shooting Sports Foundation video on gun safety

Remember REPETITION is key.

Many kids at this age may want to start by going to the gun range. That is why education and plan of action is so important before they ever encounter a gun.

Even if you don't have a gun at home, they may see them at friend's house.  YOUR instructions on gun safety may be ALL they have to call on in those situations.

For teens, these lessons are very clear:
        Don’t Touch, pick up or use a gun without an adult's permission/supervision
        Never ever point a gun a anyone
        Always assume a gun is loaded and can fire

Watch the video “It’s You Call” (link below) together.

Talk with your teens about situations that could arise, and walk through options of what they would do in different scenarios.

National Shooting Sports Foundations:
It's Your Call: Playing It Safe Around Guns (grades 6-9)


Think your kids are prepared for situation about gun safety when you are not around?  THIS IS A MUST WATCH for ALL parents.

ABC 20/20 Program

Whether you and your family want to be involved with shooting sports, or simply want to do all that you can to prevent accidents and unsupervised access to firearms, having a plan in place is necessary.

If you have a firearm in your home, the safety of your children and the children that visit your home is your responsibility. As the adult, it is your duty to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchases, ownership, storage, and transport. Contact your state police and/or local police for information regarding such laws. (Insert link to law)

It is up to you so get started today.


West Coast Armory North
Kid’s Safety Day

National Shooting Sport Foundation ( NSSF)
Project Child Safe
Own it, Respect It and Secure It

NRA:     Youth Programs  Young Kids

InSights Training Center;
Kids Safety School: 3 hr classes

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Obtain A Concealed Carry Permit

in Washington

By Jana Kurrle

Does Washington issue Concealed Carry Permits?
> Yes, Washington is a ‘shall issue’ state, meaning the state is required to furnish a permit if you can pass a background check.
> No Training is needed to apply for your permit, but as a responsible gun owner you will want to train as much as possible. Get more training information here.

Where do you apply for your CPL?
> In an unincorporated area of a county in WA, you will go to your County Sheriffs Office. In Snohomish County, WA, where West Coast Armory North is also located, the County Sheriff’s office is located in the County Court House in Everett, WA.
> In incorporated city limits, you will go to your local police department.

What days and times do they issue CPL?
> The time varies from police departments, so call ahead to make sure of the days and time.

WHAT do I need?
> They will fingerprint you and conduct a background check.
> Call your local LE department find out what you need to bring for documentation
> It generally takes 30 days to get your license and it is good for 5 years for WA residents.

Cost for WA Residents: $50.75
Renewal: $32.0
Late Renewal: $42.00
Replacing your Lost/Stolen Concealed Pistol License: $10
Alien Firearm License: $80.75 (with fingerprints submitted electronically)
                 $90.75 (with fingerprints submitted via mail)
From: Snohomish CO Sheriff's Office fee schedule

WA State Revised Code of Washington:
Obtaining your Concealed Pistol License/Frequently Asked Questions:
Concealed Carry Information: (may not be up to date for your state)
You need to know where you can lawfully carry your concealed
Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife “Firearms Safety, The Law and You” Handbook (also available in hard copy where firearms are sold):

Questions to Ask at the Gun Store

Gun Handling Etiquette and

Questions to Ask in a Gun Shop

By Ginger Hallberg

So it's your first time in a gun shop, or maybe you've visited once or twice; but you really aren’t sure about the etiquette of handling firearms. Remembering a few of these suggestions will put the staff at ease and help insure you have a positive and informative experience.

First thing is to always follow the Universal Firearm Safety Rules:

1. ALWAYS treat all guns as LOADED.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to shoot.
3. Keep your finger indexed above the trigger guard
     unless your sights are on target and you have decided to fire.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind and beyond it.

If you have your own firearm and have questions or even concerns about it, make sure it's in a case when you bring it into the shop. (Walking into any business with a gun in your hand is likely to cause unnecessary excitement and is just generally considered rude!) Leave the gun in the case while you talk to the staff and let them know why you brought it in. At that point you can just hand the case to the staff and let them take the gun out, check its status and help you with your inquiry.
When asking questions don't be shy, no matter if you feel like it's a silly question. We have all been newbies at one time and we are all still learning everyday. If you're not sure what you want out of a firearm, ask the staff for suggestions. (See article: “Most Popular Handguns For Women”). It helps to know, or have a good idea what you want to use the handgun for. Range practice only? Concealed carry? Have a budget in mind, which includes caliber choice and the price of ammo.    

If you're looking for a concealed carry option, make sure you ask about holsters and for ideas about how best to conceal your handgun. Ask the staff how they carry concealed. (Also see our concealed carry article "Choosing a Holster" - coming soon!)

More Questions to ask:

  • What are the differences in firing actions and what does that mean for shooting?
  • Can I easily change the sights on the gun if I don't like them?  
  • Is it okay for me to dry fire and if so, where? 
  • How do I properly grip the firearm?
  • Are accessories easy to find for this particular firearm (such as magazines)? 
  • How can I secure this gun when I’m not carrying it?
  • How do I clean my gun and what should I use to clean it? 
  • What kind of options do I have for range bags? 
  • What's the best recommendation for good ear-pro? What else do I need?
  • Can I try out this gun before I purchase it? 
  • Do you offer classes, or can you recommend where to take safety and defensive classes? 

There are many firearms to choose from. Your visit to a gun shop will have best results if you come prepared with your questions and a plan for what you want to look for. The staff may ask you questions to help you in the process; but when you have some general ideas in advance, the staff can help you find what best suits you and your shooting interests.

How Much Practice is Enough?

How Much Practice is Enough?

By Martha Holschen

You may have heard it said many times, in many contexts that the path to mastery of anything takes 10,000 hours of practice. What defines practice? If you practice a technique wrong a thousand times, that technique will not magically become right. Then, to change that wrong technique to something more efficient, another two thousand hours. To cut to the chase from the philosophical generalizations, I hope to give you some practical information about developing proficiency with your handgun.

Can your practice prepare you for a life-threatening situation? Imagine yourself a mother of three, at home alone with the children. You hear someone breaking in downstairs. You gather the children as you have practiced and retreat to the safe/bed-room. You have your handgun in your hands. The intruder has come up the stairs and against your warnings, broken into the room through the locked door. Are you prepared for what needs to happen next?

In addition to basic drills for shooting, there are other skills to put on the agenda for making you a functional defensive shooter. A philosophy I have adopted is: Mental Conditioning is the most important skill you can cultivate. Mental conditioning consists of efforts to train and improve your: mindset, awareness, and decision making (specifically decision making relevant to the use of force). Next most important is to learn about the tactics which give you a greater chance of success in any use of force encounter. This includes topics such as; optimized use of cover, pieing to move through buildings, and how to minimize your exposure when entering or leaving your car. Third is to develop the skill-set needed to use the equipment you have at hand (i.e., your handgun) to the full extent of its capabilities. Fourth is to select and purchase good quality equipment. Your equipment does not have to be the most expensive available. It does have to meet your personal needs and criteria. What counts most is that you know where it is, how to use it best and can access it quickly at any given time.

First, have you had any formal training? That would be a course you paid money for (or given as a gift). Uncle Seth taking you out to the dump to shoot at some tin cans doesn’t count. You may have learned from him. You may have learned some good skills from him. But is he really an expert on defensive use of a firearm? What I want to propose here is, that the training that qualifies has at least these seven criteria:

1) The Instructor(s) have life and occupational experience from which they gained their expertise and passion (passion alone can be an illusion of wisdom) for what they teach. There is no more effective instruction out there, than what you can learn from someone of this description. They also need to have personal skills well above the level they teach. Also, how long have they been teaching? Teaching skills grow over time too.

2) The teaching/learning environment was conducive to your learning new skills. When you feel safe in class and get help when needed, the learning experience stays with you. You also don’t have to worry about someone else there being unsafe.

3) You can recall the skills taught with enough accuracy and be able to at least describe them to someone else. This is a great way to test what you actually learned. Ideally you will end the class with some confidence that you can continue to practice and improve on your own.

4) Do they cover skill sets that address your personal limitations? Do they help you discern what they are?

5) Do they cover legalities for the civilian concealed carry public?

6) Do they teach defensive tactics for civilians? There are instructors with police and military backgrounds who do not teach this. They cannot translate military or SWAT assault techniques into skills that you might find helpful in protecting your home, for instance.

7) Do they have a cohesive doctrine that puts all the pieces together to make everything fit hand in glove? For example, does moving the gun from the ready position to the target reinforce the path of moving the gun from the holstered position to the target, and vice versa.

You will need to shop around for those great instructors and training facilities. Do not rely upon what their devoted followers have to say. There are surprisingly, several cult-like groups around a few of these schools. It may involve a trip to that location. It’s a worthwhile investment! For those of you in the Seattle area, you have the good fortune to have one of the world-class training companies in the area (InSights Training Center.) Other local training companies invite guest trainers of the same caliber to teach in the area each year. If you do not want to fork out large sums of money for two-four day courses, some of the local ranges (like West Coast Armory North) offer classes in three to four hour sessions. We have a Handgun 101 class in which you can sample several different models of handguns and learn what to look for in a defensive handgun. If you already own a handgun and want to focus on fundamental handgun skills, we offer our Handgun 102 course.

Once you have a good quality skill set to build upon, then comes putting in the time for regular practice. The best practice time you can invest in is free! It requires just five to ten minute intervals dispersed over the course of your busy day. There are a few things necessary for this practice to happen. You need a place where you know you won’t be interrupted for those five to ten minutes, that also has a safe backstop to aim at (see Universal Firearms Handling Rules). What you will do for those minutes is the dry-fire practice drills covered in your excellent training. These drills can be found described in many places. I have read about, and heard others tell of how they did nothing but dry-fire practice for several critical weeks/months prior to some important competition and went on to win first place.

(Check out Olympic Gold Medalist Keith Sanderson discussing his dry fire practice here:

This is proof enough for me! But don’t take my word for it… go to the range and shoot a set sequence/drill that you can repeat later (save the target); then go home and do nothing but dry-fire practice for four weeks. Then go back to the range and shoot the sequence/drill you did before and compare your groups. I guarantee you will see an improvement. I can also guarantee that you will gain confidence in your gun handling skills. An additional benefit I have found is akin to taking time for meditation; no kidding. I take a break from whatever is keeping me busy, spend some time doing dry-fire drills; then I can get back to work refreshed and focused. Can’t beat that! OK, you could meditate. However, dry-fire practice accomplishes more.

Next comes actual time at the range doing live-fire practice. This is best done with reservation. This may seem counter-intuitive. The Dry-fire practice should be at least 70% of your total time spent training. Ammo costs also need to be figured into the budget. As you may have read elsewhere on our web site, there are options for getting in practice that you can do in the company of others with like-minded intent. This seems especially appealing for women new to the shooting world. You may find groups that just like to practice defensive shooting drills. Some may want to add some friendly competition to the mix. There are others that set up action shooting drills based on standards from various shooting associations. These drills are variations of what they use for matches, for those who may want to do the drills for fun, but may not necessarily compete. Competitors may even show up for practice. There is usually something for every level of skills. Check with your local range to see what is offered. We have folks willing to travel a bit further to come to events at our range. The point is to put in time effectively building your skills. Putting a target at ten yards and poking holes in it as fast as you can, may be fun, but it does not count as practicing defensive skills. Again, that excellent training will be the resource for those practice drills. There are also many resources online. Warning! Not everything you read is applicable to defensive shooting. Many shooting competitions use specialized guns and skill sets not appropriate for personal defensive tactics. There are also organizations with official sounding names that put out information one could most kindly deem skewed. I will list some reliable references at the end for you to investigate what works best for you.

All said and done, making this part of your lifestyle is the bottom line to being as prepared as you can for personal defense measures. Many women come to our classes because they have been the victim of an assault or were threatened. They refuse to be victims (again). My hat is off to them. I just recently saw a video through Facebook of a woman who survived two terrible assaults. She now carries with confidence. She was willing to share her story to the world to empower more women to make this choice. For every one of those kinds of stories, there are 100 or more of women who were not so fortunate. I hope what you have read here makes this process seem more doable for you. Yes, it involves a commitment. You will find more and more women willing to take those first steps. We can team together to keep the process going, so you too can carry with confidence. I pray every day to never have to draw my handgun in self-defense. My first choice is to not be where there is a problem. I can say with confidence that I can run if I need to; having recovered from serious leg injuries. Whatever your level of fitness now, can you include exercise to your skill-set acquisition? Not every woman has the option to run; all the more reason to have the best possible plan for your situation.


“In The Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection”
By Massad Ayoob

“The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence”
By Gavin de Becker

“Strong On Defense”
By Sanford Strong