A Simple Guide to safe firearms class

Straight Shooters - So a few weeks ago I received an invite from Mike Duffy to try out an SGI - Defensive Pistol Craft I course. Mike is the founder and Chief Operations Officer of Solutions Group International (SGI).

Here's an excerpt taken from their website to help give an idea of who they are..."Solutions Group International (SGI) was created to provide Specialized Security Services, Law Enforcement & Military Tactical Training, Threat Matrix & Vulnerability Assessments, Leading-edge Anti-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Applications, and Investigations to the Law Enforcement, Military, Entertainment & Film Industry, Security, Government, and Corporate Sectors worldwide."

Their website also gives you a list of their instructors and their qualifications. Reading through their bios, it's quick to see that they are simply the best-of-the-best. I was personally sold knowing that they primarily train Military and Law Enforcement agencies. The eight hour course was held at Prado Shooting Park in Chino on a private portion of the range known as Condor 2. The day started with introductions from the three man training team and an overview of what we were in store for. The instructor cadre consisted of George Holt (SGI President), Grant Reynolds, and Marty Higuera. Being an introductory class into Defensive Pistol shooting, we started with the basics. Even after all the shooting I've done, there's still something to learn and get refreshed on after all my time on the range. We started by reviewing the 4 rules of firearms safety, core marksmanship skills and techniques, proper reloading, stance, and a few other topics to ensure even a true beginner was up to speed with the basic knowledge needed for the day.

Now you may be thinking that you are an above average pistol shooter and this introductory class is below you; well think again. The SGI crew did a great job of tailoring their instruction to each student as the day progressed. They moved down the line during live fire drills giving each student tips based on their individual needs and skills. At no point did I feel like I was being held back by the other students who may have had a slower learning curve. I was being pushed to draw quicker and shoot faster. Grant said something like, "Push yourself to the breaking point where you fail to produce the results you're looking for." He's basically saying that if you only do what you're comfortable with, you will never get any better. Because of this, we constantly tried to shoot quicker and faster.

The live-fire portion of the day had many different drills incorporated into it. This included shooting from 3 yards from the hip when you don't have time for proper sight alignment, drawing and placing two center mass, failure to stop drills consisting of two center mass and one to the head, target transition drills, shooting from farther distances, shooting on the move and proper foot placement while moving, and multiple engagement drills. There was always something to keep you on your toes. The intensity the instructors brought kept a high level of motivation to the line and a feeling of not wanting to let them down. I had a great time and am looking forward to their next class in the series of the 6 Defensive Crafts courses they offer.

Mike and his crew run a top-of-the-line company and offer some amazing courses. I will definitely be coming back for a future pistol course and probably take some of their others as well. I encourage you to pull up their website and take a look at their list of courses and instructors.


The $225 course includes 300 rounds of ammo and a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card. This is a really good price for the 8-hour course that includes 300 rounds of whatever ammo you want to shoot.




BOSL and Other Gun Deer Season Reminders

Rod Slings, is Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor. As a hunting incident investigator, interviewing the victims, their families and evaluating the scenes, he has seen firsthand the sometimes tragic results of carelessness in the field. So, as we get ready to open Iowa Gun Deer Season, take a moment to review his reminders before heading out and lessen the chance of injury to yourself, others, and wildlife.


The annual trek to the Iowa woods is about to begin. Yes, it’s gun deer season!  This is a time when family and friends, year after year, gather to help manage Iowa’s deer population and fill their freezers.  Due to a greater number of tags being issued the last few year's hunters, may find the population down somewhat. In fact the January antlerless season has been eliminated and antlerless tags reduced. (Please check the Iowa DNR website for all the details.)

No matter what, don’t let emotion or peer pressure cause you to enter the zone of, “I must harvest a deer,” to have a good hunt.  Remember, hunting is NOT a competition!  You need to plan your hunt and hunt your plan. What that means is whether you're hunting alone or in a large group, you need to have a plan and stick to it. Safety is number one! 

Did you know shooting at running deer is the number one risk of causing a firearm-related incident?

Here are a few additional things to think about before opening day:

  • When hunting deer from a blind during the regular shotgun deer season, the blind must exhibit a solid blaze orange marking with a minimum of 144 square inches visible in all directions. A blind is defined as a place of concealment constructed, either wholly or partially, from man made materials, which is used for the purpose of hiding a person who is hunting from sight. A blind is not a naturally occurring landscape feature or an arrangement of natural or agricultural plant material that a hunter uses for concealment. In addition to the requirements above, hunters using blinds must also satisfy the requirements of wearing blaze orange.
  • If you're going to hunt from a treestand, always wear your Fall Arrest System to make sure you remain secured from the time you leave the ground to your safe descent. There are a number of different types of safety harnesses available that will save you from severe injury or even death. It’s important to stay connected! Always use a haul line to pull up and lower your unloaded firearm. Falling from a treestand is the number one way hunters are injured. So many times we have heard, “I didn’t think it would ever happen to me!”  Don’t let this happen to you! 
  • Hunting on private land requires permission. Know where the property boundaries and buildings are, and where livestock may be located.
  • Report any observed violations to a conservation officer or local sheriff as soon as possible. The Iowa DNR Turn In Poachers (TIP) telephone number is 1-800-532-2020. Program it into your cell phone for access to an officer; help protect Iowa’s Wildlife.
  • Always respect both public and private property, the non-hunting public and wildlife. Be sensitive to everyone when displaying harvested game. You represent all of us when you’re a hunter! 


  • Follow all firearms safety rules.
  • Be sure of your target and what’s beyond.
  • Blaze Orange Saves Lives!
  • If you hunt from a treestand, make sure you wear a fall arrest system.
  • Know and obey all hunting regulations; they are there to protect you, others and wildlife.

Hunt SAFE and have a GREAT Iowa Hunting Season!


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Protection for your Gun

It's Hunting season and your gun takes a beating.  Always take the time to clean and keep your gun protected.  We have a large variety of gun cases at many different price ranges.  Here are a few that handle extreme conditions.

The Boyt Tactical H Series Double Handgun Case is tough and durable.  This case is designed to meet or exceed law enforcement, military and airline standards.  The case is waterproof and dustproof.  Boyt considers this case so durable it has a lifetime warranty.  High density foam will keep your handguns in place and protected.




























Plano makes gun cases at all different prices.  The Plano All Weather Tactical Gun Case is built for extreme conditions.  With a dri -loc seal for weathertight protection and thick wall construction, this is the ultimate protection for your gun.  The case has heavy duty dual stage lockable latches that hold tight then it has padlock tabs for reinforced security.  The pluckfoam allows you to shape the padding in the case to match your gun.





















The Redhead 2-Rifle Aluminum Gun Case is durable and fortified with heavy duty corner protectors.  There is a full length hidden hinge and heavy duty key latches for security.  Wheels on the bottom allows you to roll with ease.










How about something that is watertight, crushproof and dustproof?  Check out the Redhead Double Rifle CaseThis case has a o- ring seal, automatic pressure equalization valve and wheels for easy transport.



















Anyone who owns a gun knows how important it is to keep your gun clean.  The Remington Squeeg-E Universal Gun Cleaning System, can be used on multiple firearms.  This has everthing you need to keep your guns in tip top shape.  Check out the reviews on line.


















Once your guns are cleaned, your are ready to put them away.  Gun socks are a great item to pick up and very inexpensive.  The Allen Company Tactical Gun Sock,  protects firearms from humidity and fits most tactical guns with or without scopes.  There is a drawstring closure, and it is 47 inches long.  The Allen Company Knit Gun Sock - 3 Pack, has drawstring closures. They will fit most guns with or without scopes, and the silicone treated knit fabric does not promote corrosion.






































Last but not least, when the guns are ready for the safe, a dehumidifier system is perfect to remove moisture.  The Stack-On Rechargeable Cordless Dehumidifier absorbs excess moisture with no holes, cords or batteries.  There is a moisture gauge that tells when it needs to be recharged.  This can be used in a standard electrical outlet, charge it overnight and put it back in your safe.  This will last for years.















Another idea to remove humidity is the Browning Ever-Dry Dehumidifier.    This system is easy to install and will protect your items against rust.  Use on a safe 30"W or larger.











So protect your gun investment.  Stop on in and take a look at the large variety of gun cases we have in stock.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator



Good Broadheads Equal Short Blood Trails

During the first week of November I was thankful to tag a buck with my reliable BlackOut Bow. I was hunting in northern Missouri, and I chose to hang my stand in an area that the deer moved through like clockwork. As shooting light faded, a yearling doe appeared in the dried soybean plot in front of me. She spent many long minutes feeding in solitude, and shooting light was fading quickly. When I had just about decided to hang my bow up and call it a night, I heard the unmistakable sound of a deer approaching me from behind. I froze, and my eyes couldn’t begin tracking the eight-pointer until he was 10 yards to my right. He was headed straight to the soybeans.

When he passed behind some trees, I drew. Even in the low light, the site pins on my Redhead Kryptik Bow Sight glowed perfectly as I moved my 25-yard pin behind the animal’s shoulder. He was quickly putting distance between my arrow and his vitals, but he stopped for a moment before entering the edge of the food plot. I gently squeezed my release and sent my BlackOut X1 Pro Carbon Arrow toward my prey. I heard the satisfying “thwack” as the arrow entered and exited the deer. After an exaggerated donkey kick, the buck busted his way through the soybeans before coming to a stop only 20 yards from where the arrow met him. After pausing a few seconds, he tried to run again. But he ended up on the ground.

As I climbed down from the tree and moved toward the buck, I stopped and picked up my blood-stained arrow. It was tipped with a 100-grain BlackOut Fixed Blade Broadhead that had done its job, and done it well. After spending more than four hours in the tree that afternoon, the hunt ended suddenly and dramatically. It was an experience I’ll always be thankful for. As we move from the early archery season and into firearms season, I hope that you have the chance to harvest some venison as well. Good luck!

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro


Take Someone: Skeet Shooting

Raise your hand if you have ever asked someone if they have shot guns before and they answer no but have shot shotguns. Now put your hand down, because the people  around you are puzzled at your actions. This brings a couple things up to ponder. One, why does shooting shotguns not constitute shooting guns? And that shooting shotguns seems to be the most common way to introduce someone to shooting.

Back in July of 2013 I wrote about shotguns. It was inspired because I took a poll on our Facebook of the favorite firearms for one to shoot. Shotguns did not make the list, but they took center stage in my blog.

Now mind you, this blog is about taking someone skeet shooting, but I am just using that as an overall term. I am including shooting trap and skeet, blasting clays on your own and shooting action targets with this. Shooting shotguns in this way still covers all the essentials for safety when handling firearms. It also throws in a bit of more fun as the targets are typically moving.

As Wikipedia would explain, shooting skeet is where the shooter “attempt(s) to break clay disks mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.” This means there are two places for the clay birds to fly from and is usually going across from the shooter. Trap shooting is a little simpler as it utilizes only one station that throws the targets. These targets also are typically flung so they fly away from the shooter. Action targets (also known as sporting clays) come in a variety of different patterns. They typically mimic the natural patterns that game would travel in. So that could range from how dove, quail, duck, geese or even rabbits would enter and exit a hunter’s zone of fire. These are my favorite.

Shooting clays is also more exciting as it can be a group event and tallied up for scoring (and bragging rights). Also when you hit your target you can see a reaction, whereas paper targets tend to just stay there. It is always impressive to watch someone “dust” a clay, where the whole thing pretty much just dissolves right there in the air. Being able to smoke two targets in one shot always puts a certain kind of grin on one’s face.

Skeet is also a recognized Olympic sport. Currently the greatest nation in the world (us… the U.S.) holds the record for number of medals won at the sport.

But so to take someone you will want to cover the basics. Have eye and ear protection, a proper firearm and plenty of ammunition. Luckily shells are a little bit more economical than shooting other kinds of firearms. Once a new shooter gets the hang of things, you will be impressed with how many shells they will go through. Always emphasize safety and proper shooting though. If you do not hold the shotgun in the proper posture it can have quite painful consequences. The worst thing you can do to a new shooter is let them hurt themselves and be turned away from it forever. Using a 20 gauge can be a great starting place for new shooters. Personally I love shooting 20 gauge. It makes one take better aim and can damage less meat on game taken. Of course there is always something to be said about the effectiveness of a good 12 gauge.

Make sure you go over cleaning the shotgun at the end of the trip. This will instill a good mentality into new shooters that they need to care for their firearms. Plus usually all you need to do is run a pull-through down the barrels and pay a little attention to the mechanical parts.

Oh and did you know that there are scholarships available for skeet shooting and other shooting sports? Look into it!


Previous Trips





A Fine Nine: FNX 9

So here is a throwback! Who remembers the Fine Nine blogs? Anyone? Well the last one was from back in March of this year, so let’s get this series off again with a bang! That shouldn’t be too hard, considering we are talking about handguns that shoot 9MM. And to kick off the revamp of this series is a gun that is just awesome, the FNX-9.

This firearm is produced by gun manufacturing legend, FN Herstal. This company was founded in 1889 and is still based out of its homeland of Belgium. The FN stands for Fabrique Nationale and Herstal comes from the town in Belgium they hail from. It is a subsidiary of the same company that also owns Browning and Winchester. Currently FN Herstal is the largest exporter of small military arms in Europe.

This company may be a European classic, but it is gaining a following here in America along with a presence. They have two entities here in the U.S.A., FNH USA and FN Manufacturing. The latter company is based out of South Carolina, where they produce many of our military’s most prolific firearms. (The M16, M249 and M240 to name a few.) The firearms of FN are used by over a hundred countries’ military.

One could go on and on about all the different models of firearms this company makes, but we are going to focus on their FNX-9. The FNX-9 is an updated version of their FNP line of handguns. It is a semi-automatic, polymer framed, hammer fired pistol. (This is opposed to their FNS line that is striker-fired.)

What is very nice about the FNX is its versatility. Both in the roles it can play as a firearm and its ambidextrous features. They have magazine releases, safety/decocking levers and slide release levers on both sides of the firearm. As this company usually seeks military contracts, these features lend itself very well for right and left handed users.

Beyond those features, the FNX-9 does have a Picatinny rail (for accessories), fixed three-dot combat sites, and a loaded chamber indicator. I like the little features of a loaded chamber indicator, but also know not to completely rely on it (along with external safeties) as they can malfunction. These firearms also come with three magazines, a hard plastic case and interchangeable back straps.

Compared to the FNS models, the FNX has a much larger external safety. This is nice, as one can easily flip the safety off while drawing the firearm. It also can be shot in both single action and double action. This gun is a full size as it was designed to be a military sidearm. This means it would be more difficult to carry concealed, but because of its size the recoil is minimal. Also to help with the recoil, the barrel and slide travel up to twice the distance of some other semiautomatic pistols, before separating. The spring absorbs more momentum from both the barrel and the slide.

Two issues that one could encounter are the grip and the aftermarket item supply for this firearm. The grip has a rather “aggressive” checkering to it. It is made so to have a more secure grip no matter what conditions you may be in. (The firearm could be dusty, your hands could be cold and so on.) So while those who understand the purpose of the grip can appreciate, others might be left with their hands hurting. An easy way to get around that is to shoot with tactical gloves. There also is not a lot of aftermarket items for the firearm itself as well. It will be a little bit more work finding holsters and other accessories/add-ons. Not necessarily a deal breaker by any means, but still something to be considered.

Also last but not least, field stripping this firearm is quite easy. As having just taught my wife about field stripping handguns, those that are broken up into just several main pieces is something to be appreciated and considered.

So next time you are looking at a full-size 9mm handgun, be sure to check out an FNX-9 as it might just become a member of the household!


Previous Nines:


Glock 19


Beretta 92


Five Quick Tips For Your Next New Hampshire Hunting Adventure

Hunting is in full swing in New Hampshire! There are some quick tips that will help you succeed on your next hunting trip.


1. Scent elimination is key! Make sure to remove as much human scent as possible before heading out into the field.


Consider buying product specifically for scent control. There is a wide selection of soaps, antiperspirant, laundry detergent, and tooth paste to help you stay unnoticed in the field.


2. Remain quiet and listen carefully


 Walk softly by taking short, balanced steps to reduce noise while walking in the woods. If using a tree stand, practice setting up and getting into to. Using a tree stand with minimal sound requires practice. 


3. Concealment: Blind, tree stand, camouflage.

Not sure what is the best type of camouflage to use? Come down to our store. We have experienced staff that will help you make the perfect purchase for your needs.




4. Wear hunter orange during firearm season.


Remember safety first, day or night! In New Hampshire it is not required by law to wear but it is highly recommended.


5. Make memories and share your passion with our next generation of hunters.

Mark your calendar! Youth deer hunt weekend in New Hampshire is October 25th & 26th.


Happy Hunting!


Monica - Events & Promotions Coordinator

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Newest RedHead BlackOut Blinds

Over the past couple of years, hunting has reached a new peak in our society. The origins of such a movement can be argued, be it a case of eating organic/healthily, a particular nationally famous family known for their facial hair, or just a new trend taking on a different form. Regardless of the cause, hunting is the new in thing. From little kids to adults who have never owned, much less touched a firearm in their lives, the hunting bug is being spread around like a new epidemic. There are those in the hunting community that do not appreciate this, and enjoy the exclusiveness of it. However, most of us are either neutral or excited at the prospect of having another set of ears to talk off, and swap stories with.

          I, for one, am excited at the new allure hunting has taken on to those who have not been exposed to it. It’s one thing to experience buck fever, but just like a knee ache or an old itch, you get used to it. It’s invigorating to see someone new being introduced into the community we call the outdoors as they encounter new feelings and experiences at every corner and turn. That feeling is amplified when you’re the direct cause of it! Any father who has taken his son or daughter hunting can relate to this. At the risk of sounding pompous, I enjoy taking on that pseudo-fatherly role when introducing someone to the outdoor life. I feel responsible for their experience as I guide them along their new chosen path. So when I take someone new to the outdoors on one of these little excursions I try to make things as comfortable as possible for them.

          Anyone who has tried to squeeze two butts into a one butt ground blind knows that it isn’t easy. It’s often cramped, uncomfortable, and difficult to maneuver when you finally get a good shot in. Some hunters who have their own land have circumnavigated this problem by building their own custom blinds, but the rest who hunt on leases and/or public land, that isn’t exactly an option. RedHead answered that call with their new line up of BlackOut blinds for the 2014-2015 hunting season, and boy did they answer.

          The X72, X83, and X300, the first two being respective to their HUB to HUB interior dimensions are the new pop up blinds BlackOut has introduced. Seventy-two inches of roomie space is more than enough for two adult hunters and a Mr. Buddy space heater. The X83 stands a whopping 73 inches tall, and has ample space for one hunter to set up a small camping cot, a space heater, and hunt comfortably. Or, if you aren’t into that yuppie style of hunting, and prefer to share the misery with your buddies, three grown men can fit into the spacious ground blind, and mumble and grumble like old times. And the “Big Kahuna” of them all is the X300. With enough room for three grown men to hunt comfortably (4 semi-comfortably) and a 300 degree view of your surroundings, it is by far the most bang for your buck.

 All BlackOut blinds are made of a durasheen material to prevent that new-out-of-box glare from giving away your position, and come with an external mat extending seven inches from all sides to help keep out critters, any environmental factors in the immediate vicinity, and retain your scent. All windows are made of shoot-thru mesh, and come with handy cargo pouches on the inside to store all your knick knacks. The entrances to all blinds also have been made larger to accommodate those handicapped or physically disabled hunters. They also come with the brush straps, to add any vegetation or foliage and better blend in with your surroundings. All they need are elevators and blind attendants to hand you your weapon and replace the propane canisters in your Mr. Buddy.

          The best feature, which RedHead carried over from their blind model two years ago, is the HUB style set up. This ingenious bit of technology has brought the break-down and set-up time of pop up blinds in half. What used to take two people ten minutes to take down, now only takes one person half that time (5 minutes on average) to set-up and break down. With nifty folding rods, that when locked into place make the install a dream to those hunters who like to move spots, there isn’t much to complain about if you follow the instructions correctly (What are instructions?).

          All in all, RedHead has out done themselves this year. Their new BlackOut lineup is full of all new gadgets and toys for reasonable prices, from blinds to broadheads, bows and arrows. Shoot, even their chairs and stools are comfortable (I made one my home office chair.) One could easily argue that their products will be up there with Primos and Ameristep, but I don’t think either of those brands have breadth of variety that BlackOut has stamped their name on this year. And it’s all exclusively sold at Bass Pro Shops! I don’t always buy Blackout stuff from Bass Pro Shops, but when I do, it’s because that’s the only place I can get it .Head to your local (or closest) Bass Pro, or check out their ads in the mail and online. See for yourself all the cool new toys and gadgets. You’re going to like them. I guarantee it.



Look at That! SHE Outdoor

So most of the time when a couple goes around Bass Pro Shops together, it’s usually the husband who will just stop and look at something. I mean, just look at it! Sometimes I feel bad for our ladies but then again I’ve done my time in Macy’s. But lately women have been getting into the outdoors in a big way, and there is a product line that can stop a women dead in her tracks and just look at it!

SHE Outdoor has brought an amazing number of products to the market just for ladies. Hunting has been a “man’s game” for a long time so women’s products have been slow to come about. Now however, it’s time for the ladies to shine!

As their page says

“SHE Outdoor offers a full line of hunting clothing specifically tailored for the female body. In times past all women had to choose from was square and bulky men's clothing in smaller sizes that greatly impeded their movement when shouldering firearms, drawing bows, stalking game, climbing treestands, or while doing what hunters do most—walking. Wearing proper fitting clothing allows women to now concentrate solely on the hunt.

SHE Outdoor offers a complete line of hunting clothing ranging from noninsulated shirts and pants for safaris and early season hunts in North America, to insulated and waterproof outerwear for hunting waterfowl, or going after big game in Alaska. No matter where your adventure takes you, SHE Outdoor has you covered. “

Part of the fun of hunting is picking up new gear. We men salivate over reviews from Field & Stream and Outdoor Life and now women can do the same. It really opens it up for husbands to share with their wives, fathers with their daughters and women hunters to their friends a chance to share a passion.

SHE Outdoor also has its own line of professional women hunters that help give insight and a face to connect to for other female hunters. Just like how young athletes have their superstar idols that they aspire to be like, women hunters now have the same. Some of the biggest inspirations for women getting into the outdoors, especially archery, were the female characters from Brave and The Hunger Games.

SHE Outdoor comes in all the standard patterns that any hunter would need. What is nice is that they also didn’t go extremely effeminate with it. I mean there is nothing wrong with some pink and camo, but SHE Outdoor did not go overboard on it. They make good quality gear.

I mean would ya just look at it!


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo


Concealed in Camo: Carry Options

Camouflage is one of the greatest inventions in the world to me. It started off as a basic concept, use colors and fabrics to help hide a hunter and has evolved into a multi-million dollar industry. Companies have created a pattern for just about every circumstance one could find themselves in. One of my co-associates, Katie-Kins, wrote a great blog about a bunch of different patterns.

I found myself strolling my old stomping grounds, Gifts, and found some rather cool items that I have had a personal interest in. They were an assortment of concealed-carry bags, made by Emperia. These are purses, satchels or bags that are specifically designed for women who carry concealed firearms. They have a side pouch where the firearm is contained. All one must do is unzip the side pocket, reach in and are good to go.

Now one thing to understand about carry concealed purses is that you are intended to shoot straight through the bag. It takes precious seconds for one to remove the firearm and then utilize it. In dangerous situations, seconds are extremely important. There are incredible amounts of statistics that prove this but this one sticks out the most to me. It takes roughly an average of 3 seconds for someone to cover 21 feet while running. So if a threat is realized about 25 feet away, one only has a few seconds to be ready to respond with a firearm. The extra time one would spend removing the firearm from the bag could result in tragedy.

So you shoot through your purse and have to buy a new one? I am OK with that every and any day of the week as compared to what else could happen.

I have been working with my wife to get her to carry for a while now. A common question women have is “where am I going to put it?!” The carry-concealed bag is great because it allows one to carry something most do every day. Most of these bags have a built in holster, with Velcro attached inside the compartment, to hold the firearm. It is your basic holster so a wide variety of firearms can be utilized in it, or one can use their own.

Now as I mentioned way above, there is some camouflage involved. Many of these bags we sell come in a variety of patterns.

We also have a couple for the more Western-style inclined.

These options leave plenty of room in the main compartment for ladies to pack their usual daily necessities. There is also plenty of room for a spare magazine or speed-loader if needed/desired.

Now while we are talking about concealed-carry, let us discuss possible options as well. Please note, none of this is to be “sexist” or derogatory. These are generalizations and stuff I have personally experienced.

There is the phrase “the best caliber firearm to carry is the largest one you can comfortably shoot”. I agree mostly with this, but when it comes to concealed-carry one usually ends up with a smaller handgun. Typically the best firearms are those in the .380 Auto, .38 Special and 9mm Luger calibers. These work well enough in smaller frame handguns and can be quite effective. Now if one is comfortable shooting a .40S&W or .45ACP, then go for it. Just remember you may love shooting them in a full-size but not a compact or sub-compact.

I personally bought my wife the Smith & Wesson 642 in .38Special+P. It is a snub-nosed revolver that holds 5 rounds. The +P means it can hold more powder than regular, but she can still shoot the regular while practicing. And believe me; you can feel the difference between the two. It turns out that this handgun is a common choice for women. I chose it because it is something she could handle, easy to conceal and easy to operate.

Having to use a firearm can be a high-stress situation. And during it, one could forget a part of the process to getting the firearm to fire. This revolver is pretty much “point and pull”. There are no external safeties, and when my wife would pull the trigger it will go off. (Please don’t get on me about using the term “pull” when it comes to shooting etiquette.)

Now other good options are the compact or sub-compact semi-auto handguns. These firearms can hold more rounds than a snub-nosed revolver and reloading with a magazine can be easier than using a speed-loader for your revolver. They also tend to have external safeties which can help new carriers deal with having a firearm on their person. The personal protection handgun industry has flooded the market with all sorts of new options. Personally, the M&P Shield is not a bad option… If one wants to as well they could pick up the M&P Compact, which can utilize the full sized clips whereas the Shield cannot. (Can you tell I’m a fan of the M&P yet?)

Now if one is seriously looking at getting into carrying-concealed, do not take it lightly. Get a permit (especially where mandatory), do some research and take classes. Everything will help you in the long run. If possible, find a shooting range where one can hopefully rent and test possible choices first before buying. Or join a discussion board or group in your area. Others will usually be more than likely to help out when it comes to this.



Fall weather means it's time to head outdoors!

It’s the time of the year again to “Head to the Outdoors” and what better way to do that than hunting. Deer hunting in the South East is at its prime in Georgia and South Carolina. Make sure you are equipped with the best and correct merchandise for a great outdoor experience. For camouflage clothing we carry various brands including our own RedHead brand. To keep warm and dry we also carry a variety of under garments. If you are a deer hunter we carry a variety of Firearms and Bows. We also carry a large assortment of treestands , tree climbers and ground blinds. Don’t forget deer attractant. One of our best sellers is the Wildgame “Acorn Rage”.

Acorn Rage

Along with this you need to get cover sent. Our cover sent smell ranges from pine scent to earth scent. We also carry a variety of deer feeders, some of our top brands are Moultrie and American Hunter. If you want to see what deer are roaming on your property look at the various manufacturers we have for game cameras; Moultrie, Primos, Bushnell, just to name a few. After you bag your game, we have a variety of cleaning supplies.  Last but not least, if you have a number predators on your property, we have electronic and decoy predator calls.


Check it Out List: Dove Hunting

I love bird hunting. Especially dove. Some of the best times I have had outdoors with a shotgun in hand, has been while dove hunting. Typically dove hunting is done in one spot. You know where the birds are going to be flying from and when. Some farmers even encourage hunters to come to their land to help reduce the number of birds affecting their operation.

Some areas though allow one to walk and hunt the birds. This method is quite enjoyable as well because its lets one be more active. But as always, safety should be the top concern so always be in eyesight and conscious of shooting areas.

Arizona has been doing a good job at improving dove hunting over the past couple of years. Our Game and Fish Department has opened up areas to dove hunting that have been closed for years now. They are trying to bring back dove hunting like it was in “the good old days”. This year they even opened up the bag limit to 15 birds a day! This means that Game and Fish is getting extra generous or we have a serious dove issue… or both. These steps along with the improved license structures are going to work wonders for Arizona’s outdoor enthusiasts.

But in order to have a successful hunt, one must have their trip planned out. And so here is this month’s check-list. Please note it will be for a stationary dove-hunter.

Dove Hunting

-Proper permission to hunt in a desired spot.


-Plenty of Shells

-Seat of some kind



-Proper Clothing

-Sun Protection

-Game Bag


-Bag for spent shells and trash


No matter where or what you are hunting, make sure it is OK to do so. If hunting on someone’s property, always be respectful of the land and anything on it. One farm we used to hunt had to close it off to hunters because they were being careless and leaving trash and spent shells.

The shotgun will depend on the hunter. Typically a semi-automatic is preferred as these birds fly fast and erratic. It’s usually not a question of if you will miss but how many times. Which is also why you want to bring plenty of shells.

Seats can be a variety of options and just depend on personal preference. 5 Gallon Buckets are a standard and great tool. This one in particular comes with a padded seat. You can throw in a few boxes of shells and your spent ones as well. This stool gives one a little extra back support, but is not too obstructive to stop one from rotating for a shot. It also has a small storage area below… to store stuff in.

But please always be safe when hunting or handling firearms for any reason. And don’t forget some Blaze Orange!!




Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid


Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking


Local Hero Discount Days Coming this October!



October in East Tennessee is one of my favorite times- Fall Fishing, hunting, camp fires, football- and the leaves change.

It is a busy time of the year gearing up for the upcoming holiday season but Bass Pro Shops doesn’t want to forget all of those who make it possible, the ones who protect us every day!

The entire month of October we would like to say THANK YOU to our Local Heroes!!!

Members of law enforcement, fire, and emergency response receive a 10% discount on regular priced merchandise purchased in the store. Some exclusions do apply. Must show ID to receive discount.


Terms & conditions: Offer valid October 1-31 on regular priced merchandise only. Must show valid ID to receive discount. Good for purchases at Bass Pro Shops retail store locations. Not valid with any other offer. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Discount not available on gift cards, all firearms and ammunition, safes, fishing and hunting licenses, golf clubs, ATVs taxidermy, optics, electronics, boats, motors, Mercury motors, any TRACKER boat product/services, store restaurant food or drinks, and vendor outlets within the store. Applicable taxes must be paid by bearer. Discount not available at basspro.com or catalog call center. See store for details.



This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Fall Fishing Event

The weather is changing and so is the fishing! Are you ready?  Join us for our Fall Fishing Event!

Fall Fishing Event

Plus celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day all weekend with a Beginning Fishing for Kids workshop and crafts!

National Hunting and Fishing Day


Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28:

Beginning Fishing for Kids Workshop Noon – 1pm

Kids learn the basics to get started fishing, including hands-on casting instruction! Kids who complete the class will receive a fishing certificate along with a folding fishing hat!

Free Craft - Color Your Own Mini Tackle Box 1-3pm

Then we have these great seminars for the big fishermen and women!

Saturday, Sept. 27

1pm- Where did the Fish Go? Expert advice on following fall fish movements.

2pm- Which Fishing Rod and Reel? Our fishing experts help you select the rod and reel that work best for various fishing situations.

3pm- Local Fishing Areas  Learn the hot spots for area fishing opportunities.


Sunday, Sept. 28

1pm- Fall Fishing Tackle Box  Learn the key baits and presentations for fall fishing.

2pm- Fall Weather Transition & How it Affects Fishing  Learn how the fall weather changes affect water and fishing conditions.

3pm- Preparing Your Boat  Our experts show you ways to be more productive on the water by setting up your boat correctly.

A free collapsible water bottle for the first 25 customers to attend the 2 p.m. seminars each day!


Also, in the store this weekend:

These Boy Scouts will be at the store selling popcorn!

Saturday, Sept. 27 - Pack 62 from Johnston
Sunday, Sept. 28 - Troop 182 from Ankeny

Legal Heat Concealed Carry Classes - Sunday, Sept. 28, 1 - 5 p.m. This one class qualifies you to obtain the Iowa, Utah and Arizona concealed firearm permits.This powerful combo of permits will allow you to carry in 36 different states. The course will emphasize state and federal laws. Students can expect to learn more about firearm laws and self-defense laws during this short 3.5 hour class than most will learn in a lifetime. Register online at www.mylegalheat.com.


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DEC Crossbow Hunting Regulations

Crossbows are flying off the shelf here at Bass Pro.  Make sure that you are aware of the regulations, so you can hunt safely and correctly. Straight from the NYS DEC regulation guide here is something you should read:


Age Requirement:  Crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age or older.

Without landowner permission, crossbows may not be discharged within 250 feet of any home, school building or playground, public structure, farm structure in use, or occupied factory or church.

A crossbow may not be possessed in or on a motor vehicle unless it is un-cocked.

While on lands inhabited by deer or bear, and in or on a motor vehicle using artificial lights, a crossbow may not be possessed unless it is unstrung or taken down or securely fastened in a case or locked in the trunk of the vehicle.

Crossbows may not be used for hunting in Suffolk, Nassau, or Westchester counties.


There are 3 options to choose from in order to complete the required crossbow qualification & safety training.  All must accompany a NYS hunting license and in some cases a muzzleloading privilege.

Option 1:  Review the DEC online crossbow qualification training and complete the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification.*

Option 2:  Review the DEC crossbow qualification training and complete the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification* found in the 2014-2015 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide.

Option 3:  Complete a Hunter Education or Combination Education course to receive a Hunter Education Certificate of Qualification. * Certificates must be dated on or after April 1, 2014 to meet crossbow qualification and safety training.

*NOTE:  The Crossbow Certificate of Qualification from 2012-2013 is no longer valid.

CROSSBOW SPECIFICATIONSBarnett Quad 400 Crossbow Package

A legal crossbow consists of a bow and string, either compound or recurve, that launches a minimum 14 inch bolt or arrow, not including point, mounted upon a stock with a trigger that holds the string and limbs under tension until released.

The trigger unit of such crossbow must have a working safety.

Minimum limb width:  17 inches (outer tip of limbs, excluding wheels and cams, uncocked)

Minimum peak draw weight:  100 pounds

Maximum peak draw weight:  200 pounds

Minimum overall length:  24 inches from butt-stock to front of limbs


Big Game

License requirement:

The new law essentially treats crossbows as a muzzleloader. Hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting privilege to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season OR during open portions of the early bowhunting seasons.  Muzzleloader privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms seasons.

Bowhunting privilege is not required for use of a crossbow at any time.

Crossbows may be used during the following seasons:

Crossbows may be used to take bear during the early bear season, early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone, regular firearms seasons in the Northern and Southern Zones, and the late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone.

Cross bows may be used to take deer during:

Early and late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone and late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone using       Bow/Muzz tags, DMPs, DMAP tags, or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only);

Regular firearms seasons using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs, or DMAP tags.

Crossbows may also be used to take deer or bear during limited portions of bowhunting seasons as follows, provided that the hunter possesses the muzzleloading privilege:

During the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone (i.e., November 1-November 14, 2014);

During the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone (i.e.,October 15-October 24; this includes the 7-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone);

Only Bow/Muzz tags, DMP's or DMAPs may be used during these times.

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions:

To take deer or bear in the following areas of the state:

Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 4J in Albany County

WMU 8C in Monroe County

In the counties of Suffolk, Nassau or Westchester

Junior big game hunters (age 14-15) may not use a crossbow to take a deer during the Youth Deer Hunt weekend (October 11-13, 2014). Adult mentors who accompany a junior big game hunter on the Youth Deer Hunt weekend may not possess a crossbow (or firearm) while afield on those days.


License Requirements: A hunting license is needed to use a crossbow to hunt small game species.  A turkey permit is also required to hunt turkeys.  All crossbow specifications remain in effect.

Crossbows may be used to take the following small game species during their respective open seasons.

Wild Turkey

Any other small game or upland game birds.

Unprotected wildlife (e.g.red squirrels and woodchucks) at anytime.

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions.

To take waterfowl or other migratory game birds.

While hunting with a dog for any small game (except for coyotes in the Northern Zone).


Crossbows may not be used to take carp or any other fish species.

We hope this helps you plan your hunting in a safe correct matter.

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator




Why it Matters: Hunting

So this month we are running our huge Fall Hunting Classic event/sale at Bass Pro. It’s a great time to stock up on gear and information. It’s awesome having people come in to get outfitted for their big hunt this year. Out here in Arizona we have some of the best big game available and work on a lottery system for most tags. Getting drawn is a huge thing, and somehow a good number of our associates got tags. So now I get to watch my coworkers and customers get hooked up for their hunts.

There is always a certain sparkle to someone who is going on a hunt. Lord knows I had it a couple years back for my first big game hunt. Every lunch break was spent asking hundreds of questions to my buddies in the Hunting Department. And now I can even pass on my limited knowledge to people.

And you know what, that is something that matters. Hunting is an important tradition for many reasons. And for that I am making it the focus of this month’s Why It Matters blog.

Hunting has always been an important aspect of human life. Our ancestors needed to hunt in order to survive. Nowadays we have been able to ranch or raise livestock to fill dinner plates worldwide.  But still, every year people continue to go outside to harvest animals for food. Some would ask why? There are many ways to answer that.

One, because it’s in our nature. We would not have survived this world without hunting for previous generations. Just like they say there is a wolf inside all domestic dogs, there is a hunter in every human. No matter how far we are removed from the outdoors by cell phones or whatever, it is still instinctual. Just like we fear what is lurking in the dark.

 Two, because unlike buying meat in a grocery store that came from some commercial farm somewhere you are getting your meat from nature. Deer are not being pumped full of hormones to speed up their development. Elk are not on a conveyor belt never seeing the outdoors. Pheasants’ feet are allowed to touch the ground and roam freely. The health reasons for eating grass fed or cage free meats are even more indicators for why we should be eating game meats.

Three, it helps keep the balance of things. This is for nature itself and us humans. We can get back to our roots and take a break from the over-stimulation of everyday life when out in the field. We can actually focus on something that matters, like getting meat on the table for winter as opposed to “shooting off that really important email”! Humans have had a huge impact on nature, both good and bad, and our role in it is still being figured out. In areas where we have removed the natural apex predator we must hunt animals to prevent over population and diseases that are possible. In places where the predators outnumber the prey, we need to reestablish the healthy balance between the two. Arizona’s antelope population gets hit hard by coyotes and in these areas there is a concentration of predator hunting to help the antelope.

Four, it pays. Not only does a hunting trip pay off in a memory, a great time and hopefully food to consume but it helps fund outdoor conservation. It’s the money paid in fees, tags, licenses, firearms, ammunition and other hunting equipment that funds the federal and state agencies that handle our outdoors. If you think PETA is out there helping clean up the outdoors or watch over populations of animals, you are wrong. It is the kinds of people like volunteers of local hunting clubs that put forth the efforts that matter. And whether you are a meat hunter or are just looking for a trophy to hang, it’s the license they buy and the trips that they take that do the most for animal conservation. Without hunters, a huge income of the monetary needs that is required would be lost.

Now one could keep on going with this list, but that’s enough for one blog. I’ll let it all simmer for you, and maybe share it with someone. If you have a strong opinion on why it matters, comment below! We’d love to hear from ya. Remember, United We Stand!



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up


Ten Quotes to Ignore About Tree Stands

Rod SlingsRod Slings, is Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor.

Over the years of investigating tree stand falls and interviewing the victims, their families and evaluating the scenes, a number of quotes come to mind. These are quotes to remember, but never follow. Please learn from these with the “Note” of explanation:


  1. He always said, “Those safety harnesses are way too restrictive. I like my freedom to move around.”

Note: Over one million tree stands are sold each year. Each stand includes a safety harness; look for only stands that are Tree Stand Manufacturer's Association approved, with the logo on it. Do not alter the harness. The harness provided or purchased separately is designed to save you from falling to the ground. Read all manufacturer's instructions before use. Your goal is to get back on to your stand as quickly as possible if you fall.  See: Dr. Norman Woods’s study on suspension trauma:


  1. “I looked at the tree stands in the store and I knew I could build one almost as good.”

Note:  Homemade stands come in all shapes and sizes, everything from old shipping pallets to untreated plywood that are nailed into the tree to hold it up. Your best safety investment is a manufactured stand that will provide you with a safe and secure platform when manufacturer's guidelines are followed. Don’t take a chance with your safety! Your life is worth more than a pile a lumber.Treestand safety

  1. “I don't know who put this stand here or when; I was just checking it out to see if it was still safe.”

Note:  Never trust a stand that you have not helped hang or made yourself familiar with each detail of how it has been secured. The longer a stand is exposed to the elements, the more risks you are taking. The worst thing you could do is climb into an unknown stand in the predawn hours and put yourself at risk, based on someone else’s carelessness.

  1. “I didn't unload my gun before I pulled it up to my tree stand because the noise might have spooked a deer.”

Note: Never hoist or lower a loaded firearm from your tree stand. Always check and double check your firearm to make sure it’s unloaded. When using a muzzleloader, make sure the cap or ignition system is removed. Use a haul line to raise and lower your hunting implement, including bows, crossbows and all firearms and equipment. Never allow the muzzle of a firearm to be lowered into the dirt, snow or mud.  Remember, attempting to raise or lower any type of equipment in hand or attached to your body may cause risk, which may result in injury or worse.

  1. “I was wearing my harness, but I guess I had a little too much slack in my tether.”

Note:  Make sure you always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when ascending, perched in your stand or descending. When you allow too much slack in your tether, you risk not being able to self-rescue yourself back into your tree stand. Your primary focus must be to get back onto your stand as quickly as possible. Your anchor point that you attach your tether to must be above your head when sitting in your stand.

  1. “It just takes too much time to use all that safety stuff; I just wanted to get in my tree quick I as I can.”

Note: If you plan to hunt again, and return home safely after each and every hunt, you will follow all of the safety guidelines and utilize the equipment needed to stay safe in the woods. Planning your hunt means allowing enough time to not only get to your stand, but also secure yourself safely. Use three points of contact when using a ladder. Use a lineman’s belt, a line that you hook your harness into when ascending and descending. Always stay connected to a safety anchor. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.  One slip and you will change not only your life, but put a great amount of stress and burden on those around you.

  1. “I can’t believe I fell asleep and fell out of my stand.”

Note: It has been said that a hunter in a stand becomes “one” with the woods when hunting from a tree stand. There is an almost a hypnotic state of mind that takes place when surrounded by the natural beauty hovering above the forest floor. As this relaxed transition takes place, it is imperative that all safety equipment is in use. Don’t become a statistic!  

  1. “I laid on the ground all night after I fell out of my stand. My legs wouldn’t work, my phone was in my backpack up in the tree, so I couldn’t call for help.”

Note: Always carry a communications device on your person. Make sure you always have service from the location you are hunting. Carry it in a chest pocket, so you can get to it when you need it. File a “hunt plan” with your family or friends, so they know exactly where you are hunting and when you expect to get home.  That way, rescue and law enforcement have a much better chance to find you, if you need help.

  1. “I unhooked for just a second, lost my balance and fell.”

Note:  Always stay connected. Maintaining the same sequence of events each time creates a routine.
“I always do it this way” is a very good method to maintain good safety practices. That one second of disconnect could cost you a lifetime of suffering. Always staying connected to an anchor point protects and insures you and will help you defy a thing called gravity.       

  1.  “I heard there were two kinds of tree stand hunters, those that have and those that will.”

Note: Falls from elevated devices result in significantly more injuries than hunting-related shootings. The safety equipment available to keep hunters that hunt from elevated devices safe has increased greatly over the past years. If you talk to those who “have” fallen, you will hear them say, “I didn’t think it would happen to me!”  Learn from the tragedies of others, don’t become a statistic!

Please hunt safe this fall. Remember to acquire the necessary equipment to keep your hunt safe.

You owe it to yourself and your family.


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Hunting Story Told Right: Mike’s Safari

So what is cool about this story is that it combines a lot of things I have talked about before and rolls it into one big awesome adventure. This is the story of our very own Mike’s hunting trip to Africa. And he knows how to tell it right!

Mike has been with us for a while now and it seems like he has been talking about this trip ever since he joined us. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with him about where he is going, what he is taking and so on. Well he took that trip, not too long ago, and came back with some awesome trophies!

So let’s go over the basics of his gear. Mike only wanted to take one rifle with him, so the caliber he chose needed to be able to cover all of his bases. And his choices of animals ranged from kudu to warthog and a bunch in between! He went with the .300 Win Mag! (Hey didn’t I write a blog about that caliber? Or two?!) Mike picked out the Winchester Model 70 (a classic) and it served him well! It was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation anniversary edition. On top of that bad boy, he threw on a Vortex scope. I have spoken before about how awesome these products are and Mike backed that up. His scope only needed three clicks to be dialed back in after all that travel. His Professional Hunter (PH) also said how impressed he is with their scopes are… and that he personally owns four.

Also, get the luck of this guy! He entered in for a chance to receive a case of ammo (your choice of caliber) and WON!!! Seriously!? My best friend and his dad took a trip to Africa and a huge expense was the rounds they needed to practice with before their hunt! Mike used Barnes Triple Shock in 180 grain and they worked like magic. They dropped every animal taken, except one, in one shot where they stood. This is great for the animals because it is humane and it is good for the PH so they don’t have to chase after a wounded animal.

It was a two week trip, four days of which were lost to travel. After landing in South Africa, they spent days at Kruger Park. Here they went over spotting and stalking basics. The PH wanted Mike to know what he was going to be looking for and how to get close to it. This is a simple concept but is something everyone should do! The things you learn at that time can make a huge difference later. Mike also insisted on doing all the hunting in a stalk. There was the option to shoot from the vehicle, but Mike abstained from this. Good for him! Mike also was able to see a lot of the wildlife he was not there to hunt and got a lot of awesome pictures. This is great so he can have something to show people who do not condone hunting. You always want to be mindful and respectful of people’s mindsets. Don’t go showing bloody pictures to anti-hunters because it only makes us more enemies!

From Kruger, Mike hunted in an area west of Kimberly. He took seven animals while there. Most of them were taken at least two hundred yards away. This speaks highly of Mike and his skill and the caliber, firearm and scope he had with him. Below will be pictures of Mike with his animals, the kind of animal, range it was taken (if he could remember) and what it would have scored. Over there, they have their own form of scoring. The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa  (PHASA) has guidelines for each different animal and what it would rank as. Hunting there is extremely different than here as Mike was able to take three animals in one day!

Mike noted that there was a lot of walking involved, and that they found a poacher. This individual was “looking for firewood” but just happened to be carrying around a bow and arrow… and didn’t have any wood… kind of illegal.

Anyways, enough words. Let’s bring on the pictures! Enjoy!

Red Hartebeest (200 yards) Bronze

Black Wildebeest (297 yards) Silver

Springbok (X) Silver

Warthog (500 yards, rested position) Not scored

Gemsbok (200 yards) Didn’t score

Blesbok (240 yards) Bronze

Kudu (200 yards) Didn’t score. It was missing three inches from one horn but would have been a Silver. This is Mike’s favorite trophy because just look how thick its horns are and how cool it looks.

Awesome job, Mike!


Enjoy these other pictures too!







Take Someone: Shooting

Everyone tends to have their own passions in life. Usually the best part of a passion, is sharing it with someone else. I mean that is usually how relationships are built. If you meet someone you intend to spend time with in any way, you usually see if your passions match up. And sometimes someone will have never taken part in what you love to do most at which point you offer to introduce them to it.

One of my passions is recreational shooting. I love it. I honestly consider it one of the best forms of stress management, ever. And I believe everyone (no matter how they feel about the subject) should know how to safely handle firearms. You can be the most anti-gun nut out there, but you should still know how to safely handle a firearm and if need be make sure the safety is on and it is unloaded.

One of my sisters was very anti-gun. She couldn’t stand the fact that I owned one. It was a sore subject between us, but I came to find out that she had never shot one before. So here was my chance to introduce one of my own family members to one of my passions. (If you have this similar situation, follow what I did and it should work for you too.) I reasoned with her that she can hate them all she wants, but should still know how to handle one safely. And I enticed with the reward of me taking her out for dinner if she were to come to the range with me and just shoot one bullet. Love it, hate it- didn’t matter- I would take her out to any restaurant she wanted.

So off we went to the club that I belonged to. There you must watch a safety video if it is your first time shooting (smart). This focus on safety above all else helps one get into a proper mindset. One of the most effective ways to teach firearm safety is called TAB+1. It stands for:

T-Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.

A-Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

B-Be aware of your target, what is in front of it and behind it.

+1-Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Also always have eye and ear protection available.

I gave the run down to her and loaded my pistol. The target was probably 10 feet away, and that doesn’t matter. I made sure she was set in every way possible and even put my hand on her back to know I was right there for her. She raised the firearm and fired. She immediately put it down and stepped back. (Looks like this was going to be a short trip to the gun range… Oh well, hope she doesn’t choose anything too expensive…)

She turned around and said “THAT WAS AWESOME!”

From then on we made dozens of trips to the range together. It was a great time for us. And each time we always focused on safety. It got to be where she would notice people being unsafe and could call it out.

Here was a passion shared with someone that took a real hold. And you too can do the same. Shooting can be “one of those topics” but as long as you follow a few, easy steps it can be a shared passion.

SAFETY- Always keep safety in mind. This will help keep you, your companion and everyone else in a good mind frame. Teach the TAB+1 or go over it before you shoot each time. Discuss how safeties and releases and the reloading process works. Keep the amount of different firearms and calibers out to a minimum.

THINK- If you are going to take a smaller framed person shooting, don’t hand them a .44 Magnum. Think about the person(s) you are going to take and what would be a good match for them. Personally I wish I had introduced my sister to shooting with a smaller caliber then .45ACP but it was the only firearm I had at that time.

WATCH- Shooting can cause fatigue. You’ll notice it yourself if you have been at the range for a while. Always watch and see if they show any signs of shooting fatigue. And just watch to be safe!

TALK- Talking going with the whole safety part but beyond that as well. You don’t have to get too technical with new shooters but discuss what is going on. Knowledge is power. Encourage who you are taking shooting in simple ways. They don’t have to hit the bull’s-eye, like many new shooters think they must. They are there and that is the most important thing.

On my last trip to the range, the lane next to us had a younger man introducing (I believe) his mother to shooting. I watched over him as he went through everything that I discussed above. He emphasized safety above all else and kept it as stress free as possible. I waited until she had shot a few times and introduced myself. I asked if it was her first time (it was) and how awesome I thought she was for being there. I am not sure if she has been back since, but I am going to bet that the little encouragement I gave and the training her “instructor” was giving her has made her more prone to the idea of going shooting again.


Check out my check list for going shooting for other helpful hints.


Firearm Ownership Heritage

During the last few decades the focus of firearm ownership has been surrounded mainly in the social political spectrum. Firearm rights and the right to protect oneself have taken center stage. However, there is an additional attribute that compliments the importance of firearm ownership- heritage. We have had a long history of sporting firearms which has been overshadowed by the modern media. However, it is still alive today and the staff at Bass Pro Shops in Portage, Indiana can help guide and teach you.


The following is a film titled “Making of a Shooter”. You must understand the significance of the film;

  1. the film is from 1946,
  2. it is sponsored by the top firearm and ammunition companies,
  3. it is color which is a big deal from a film from 1946,
  4. it is big on firearms safety,
  5. it is family orientated,
  6. overall for the time period the quality is superb


The video contains shooting sports and bird hunting. There is not any deer hunting due to the fact that in 1946 deer were not plentiful and very scarce.


In the firearms department at Bass Pro in Portage, Indiana, we strive to keep this heritage alive.  Our staff is made up of individuals of different backgrounds and knowledge. Some of our staff is from past generations when skeet and trap shooting was at its peak in popularity. Other members are more from current generations when deer hunting, modern sporting rifles, and duck hunting is the popular choice (thanks to the boys at Duck Commander).


We have a wide selection for firearms for all your sporting needs past and present. Come on in and bring the whole family.  Many are on sale now for the fall classic.