I finally did it!! Took long enough gosh!! Oh my heck it was so fun!


This is my gun and I love it. It’s a Springfield Armory XDM full size 9mm. It’s technically a competition gun. I special ordered a stainless steel slide so it shines…mmmmm so pretty. But anyway moving on. Once I got my gun and ammo and other gear I was ready! Unfortunately, I had to wait almost a year before I could go.

It was hard because I didn’t shoot it that whole time (OK, once right after I bought it cause come on!) because I didn’t want to learn or make bad habits. Boy am I glad I did that. So many go with well ingrained habits and most bad.

Uncle Joe and I commiserated Thanksgiving 2014 to go and in the meantime we recruited and tried to recruit more people to go. In the end it was UJoe, my sister in law Mericar and UJoe’s friend Jim and I.


I tried to go without any expectations.  Was it going to be scary and hard? Were the instructors going to be militant? Were my arms, wrists and hands going to be able to keep up with the long days? I started to get really anxious as the time got closer.  I had no idea what to expect.

Our trip started out on a great foot. About 10 mins into our drive we heard a really loud sound and realized quickly that we had a flat tire. 🙁 So glad we were with two men that could change it in a flash!


We got to stop in St. George to see Grandpa Sharp and have dinner. Uncle Joe hit it off with our waiter but who doesn’t hit it off with Uncle Joe?!


Pahrump, NV. Never heard of it? THAT’S  A GOOD THING. Apparently it’s one of the only  spots in the country where prostitution is legal. Ya. Living, breathing brothels exist here. So wacko.

It’s about 45 mins outside Vegas. Middle of no where. Then go from Pahrump about another 25 mins in the middle of the desert and you are at Frontsight. Awesome.


We had to be there at 7 am Friday morning for registration and weapons check. We were given a range number (so we could drive to it later) and then we were shown to a friendly worker who took our weapon and ammo and ‘suited’ us up. I didn’t realize that my magazine pouch (the thing that holds my extra magazines (thing that holds the bullets)) needed my belt to go thru it so I had to take my belt off and put that on…embarrassing.


He checked my gun (‘nice gun’ he said..hehehe) and inserted it into my holster for me. Told me I wasn’t allowed to take it out or touch it while on the range unless told otherwise.  Ie: if we were loaded and needed to unload off the line then we had to have one of the instructors do it for us. We could never touch our gun unless on the firing line. Smart.

Meanwhile my Uncle Joe and his friend Jim were going thru the same process and my sister in law, Mericar was renting a pair of ear muffs.  You can rent basically anything from them if you didn’t bring your own gun, ammo etc.

Once we met up we drove down to our designated range. Range 7. It’s a HUGE place. Range 7 was close.  On day 3 we were moved down to range 15 and that wasn’t even the farthest.



We met our instructors and got a good look at the other 34 or so people in our group. Then we went back to the main hall where we would be given our first lecture. There were almost 800 people in that hall. Crazy! And this was just in our 4 day defensive handgun class…there were other classes going on at the same time!


I had no idea it would be so big.

I wish I could remember what they said. I don’t. Welcome. Be safe and have fun…something like that probably.

People of all shapes and sizes, age and ability…here to learn how to be safe and defend themselves with a gun. One of the best forms of self defense.

The first 2 days was lots of lecture, demonstration and learning. We practiced what we were taught in between but the majority of our time was in our chairs. The next 2 days it flipped. We spent most of our time shooting. FUN!

The lectures were really interesting. We learned about being in yellow awareness which means instead of being dazed, unaware and clueless, in our own world kind of thing we need to be keenly aware of our surroundings and what’s going on. Looking when we’re walking. Noticing the details and the changes around us.


Criminals target those in awareness white which is the dazed, own little world one I talked about. Talking on your cell phone, texting, daydreaming etc. You don’t want to be caught in awareness white. You are in trouble.

We learned about all the many true and made up scenarios that might happen when forced to defend yourself or your loved ones. The ethics behind your decision and the consequences.  Basically if you and anyone else around you, the jury for example would say, ‘who wouldn’t have done what you did?! Who wouldn’t?’ Then you know it was the right direction.

Very interesting and eye opening.


We also learned about approaching a house or building with a bad guy inside. How to clear a door, a room etc. The choices….does he have a hostage, is he harmful, should I shoot, where should I shoot?


We learned how and what to yell at someone who is challenging you. Stop right there!!! or Stop or I’ll shoot!!! Now there are witnesses.

We learned so much there is no way I could detail it all out here. The goal of the course was that we could pull the gun from our holster, take 2 controlled shots to the thoracic cavity and optionally the head in under 1.8 seconds. Ya. crazy huh?


Everything was very impressive and well worth every bit of money and time it took.

I can’t wait to go back in the spring.

It will be warmer then. Yes, it was cold. Very cold. Especially the last 2 days. It was windy too which made our skills test very interesting! But oh what good memories! I really cherish the time I got to spend with my sweet sister in law and get to know her better. I love you Mericar!


Some random fun things that happened, memories that I want to keep….

  • Mericar dropping her magazine in the latrine. Plop! Yuck! HAHAHA (don’t worry if you want to go they have flush bathrooms too)
  • Eating less than sub-par sushi at a CHINESE buffet in PAHRUMP, NV. What??
  • The old farts in our group swinging their guns around like bats and everyone taking cover behind Hilary the big guy or just dropping to the ground.
  • The annoyed but friendly instructors reprimanding them
  • Jim shooting off a negligent discharge during malfunctions and just continuing on like normal. Afterwards saying, “I was hoping no one would notice.’ HAHAHA
  • ‘What you missed in History class’ podcasts
  • Mericar’s victory dance
  • Mericar’s fast as lightning draw
  • Me losing against uncle Joe in the 3 target hostage competition and the audible ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhhh’ from the crowd when I shot the hostage.
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  • Uncle Joe winning the 3 target hostage competition.
  • Jim and his salt
  • Valley’s and peaks (something we all experience while learning)
  • Paris attacks happened…ironic as Paris is a gun free zone. Shooters acted at ease and took their time while taking peoples lives because they knew no one would be shooting back. Hello!!!!!
  • Jim asking us everyday as we entered FS if we were carrying clubs or guns.(loaded or unloaded)
  • Yoga in hotel room with Mericar the master.
  • Tape on fingers and wrists=hardcore 🙂
  • Nearly freezing temps and amazing wind speeds that kept us from using concealment on two occasions.
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  • Hearing my boys’ little voices on the phone and thinking how much cuter they sounded after being away for a few days.
  • 600 rounds of ammo from just my gun alone and wondering how much $$$$ was blown up each day on the ranges
  • Our amazing instructors. Dan, The Hulk from Germany (Hulger) and the others.
  • Waiting for the day when I could go back and do it all again!


Who wants to go with me?!!!

 I never expected to feel so confident with my gun and have all my fears about being helpless go away!

You can too!!! You have the right to defend you and those around you!!