Queens Shoot Too: Featuring Taj from ATL, a Shotgun and a Frost White Caddy

Taj Anwar of Atlanta, was introduced to firearms early in life. Since then she's done almost everything right; she is licensed to carry, she knows her weapons and she regularly practices.
Taj Anwar of Atlanta, was introduced to firearms early in life. Since then she’s done almost everything right; she is licensed to carry, she knows her weapons and she regularly practices.

Q: What is your earliest memory of firearms?

A: My father put a gun in my hand when I was 10. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t afraid of weapons.

Q: Where there guns in your home when you grew up?

A: Yes. Both of my parents and step parents are licensed to carry.

Q: What was your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

A: That they’re tools to be used only when necessary to protect you and yours.

Q: What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

A: I was never afraid of guns. The only fear I had was having a gun in my reach and not knowing how to use it. All the reason why I’ve trained on different pieces over the years.

Q: Briefly describe your first time shooting a gun.
A: I was 10. It was a revolver.

Q: Do you currently own a firearm? Why?
A: I own several. Like I explained earlier, they’re for protection only. I do like to train as a hobby, though.

Q: How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?
A: I go to the range at least once a month. Training is essential to know how to use what you have. I also think training on how to disarm someone is key too.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who had expressed interest in firearms.
A: Do the research, get licensed and get trained.

Q: What aspects of the shooting lifestyle do you have questions about, if an?
A: None

Q: What skills do you think each gun owner should know.
A: How to break down your gun and clean it, and put it back together. You should know your gun inside and out, up and down.

Get a Gun. Learn How to Use it.

FYI. This is NOT a valid strategy for dealing with potential assault.
FYI. This is NOT a valid strategy for dealing with potential assault.

My wife has a friend who used to enjoy walking alone around Stone Mountain Park, back in her single days. She would take her little dog out and walk for hours, simply because she didn’t like being home alone.

“What if something happened?”

“I wasn’t worried about it,” she said. “There was a phone box.”

In other words, she was confident that if something happened along a deserted stretch of the trail, she would be able to make it to one of the phone boxes that they station every hundred feet or so, and activate it, before things got ugly.

In other words, she didn’t have a plan. Just a vague sense of security.

Nothing happened to her, by the way. Most of the times nothing does.

I have another friend who recounted how she was followed around Decatur during her nightly jog by two creepy guys in a car. They did a couple of slow passes, and then, at one point, they crept behind her for a long time. Eventually she found a well-lit, crowded place and called a friend to pick her up. The two creeps stayed out there, almost until her friend arrived.

These are two intelligent, capable women, but they hadn’t really thought about it. IT. The great, unforeseen Oh Shit moment. And they weren’t prepared.

Get a gun. Get a license to carry it. Learn how to use it.

It’s funny how that little bit of advise can be so controversial. The following is based on a conversation on Facebook.

Someone asks, “How can you carry it while you’re jogging?”

I can’t answer that. I don’t know what she wears when she jogs. I also don’t know what kind of gun this hypothetical firearm is. Finally, I am not a professional trainer or firearms salesman or bra holster maker guy.

I can’t answer that, but there is an answer.

But maybe I should have said, “Get a gun. Get the right method of carry. Learn to use it. Get a license to carry.”

“But someone will take it from her! If she has a gun, they’ll use it against her.”

Maybe…  Below is a list of other suggestions for the jogger, should the creeps resurface.

  • Nunchuckas (really)
  • Perfume, to spray in the eyes. (They could track the guys down from the sweet smell trailing behind them)
  • Pepper spray
  • A long knife
  • A big flashlight
  • Rape whistle
  • Rip cord activated alarm
  • Jogging partner (good idea)
  • Borrow a friend’s dog
  • Self defense classes

The only items on that list that can’t be used against her by an attacker are the borrowed dog, the self-defense classes and the jogging buddy. In fact, so many weapons can be taken and used against you that maybe we should be thankful that bad guys are considerate enough to bring their own weapons.

You can either give up and cloak yourself in prayer and positive thinking, or arm yourself and then prepare yourself as thoroughly as possible. Which still isn’t a guarantee.

Should I have said, “Get a gun, get a license to carry it, get a proper method of carry that fits your lifestyle and activities, and get professional training that will give you a tools and tactics for a variety of different scenarios while building on your situational awareness. Also, get a variety of training in both lethal and non lethal options so that the firearm is part of broad but pragmatic matrix of tactical possibilities.”

I thought that was implied. Evidently it wasn’t.

Get a gun. Get training. Get legal.  Photo from Fort Apache: The Bronx
Get a gun. Get training. Get legal.
Photo from Fort Apache: The Bronx

She could do all of the above. Krav Maga, a borrowed Doberman and a guitar case full of weapons.

But do something. Preferably something that won’t get you put into prison. Walking out of the house with a dagger strapped to her ankle would be wrong. And illegal. Nunchuckas? Very wrong. You might as well carry a broadsword. Perfume? Legal but wrong, on a whole lot of levels.

And all of the right answers come with obligations and risks of their own. There is no scenario with a fool-proof answer. Sorry. Even armed people get robbed, and trained martial artists get trounced on the street with alarming regularity. That’s life.

Also, guns aren’t for everyone. Another friend of my wife’s was car-jacked for her Benz last year. I said, “Get a gun.” She said, “They scare me.”

“Have you gotten training?”

“Yes, and a piece of hot brass popped down my shirt. It hurt like hell.”

Case closed. She isn’t going back. I asked her. Until she gets past her fear, a gun would be a liability.

But someone might take it from her and use it against her... Maybe, but I doubt it. Hamer woman with HKS rifle. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.
But someone might take it from her and use it against her… Maybe, but I doubt it.
Hamer woman with HKS rifle. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

But I’m sticking to my original statement. Get a gun, get legal and get qualified training. (Not your uncle who was in the Army back in the 80’s.) And while you’re at it, take everything that you read on Facebook with a grain of salt. Including this.

 

 

 

Kelli on #Queensshoottoo. A New Shooter who Took On Her Fear

Kelli contributed her story to #Queensshoottoo. She is a beginning shooter who has decided to  cast her fears aside and see for herself.
Kelli contributed her story to #Queensshoottoo. She is a beginning shooter who has decided to cast her fears aside and see for herself.

This week on #Queensshoottoo we are going to be going to the other side of the threshold. Dasia trains five days a week and is building her own rifle. Akua has been making bullets with her step-dad since she was 14. They aren’t common.

For every Dasia or Akua, there are hundreds of women like Kelli. She grew up in an anti gun family but decided to find out on her own. Now she is taking control of her education and discovery, visiting ranges and renting firearms.

She’s the first to admit that she isn’t an expert, but she’s on the right path.

Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer.

What are your earliest memories of firearms?

My earliest memory of a firearm had to be in a movie because I honestly did not see a real gun until high school.

Were there guns in your home as you grew up?

My mom has never had a gun and chances are she won’t ever.

What were your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

My mom doesn’t like guns, she doesn’t like violence.

 What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

As a child I was afraid of guns. I’m still somewhat afraid of them because of the power behind them. I use to get so nervous when I would see a gun, my stomach would knot up. Once I used a gun my fear calmed down. I’m still not 100% cool with them because I don’t know about a lot of guns.

Describe your first time shooting a gun.

My first experience shooting a firearm, it was right after my 20th birthday and it was a revolver. I don’t know what model it was. It was my first time having a gun up and personal, I was very scared. I did not know how to hold it or anything. The guy that worked there showed me everything I needed to know. I thought when I shot it it was gonna kick back hard but it really didn’t kick back much. I was very shocked of how much easier it was. It was kind of addicting when I started shooting, thoughts of how I could protect myself where going through my head. It was such an amazing experience. When I ran out of ammo,  I was very sad.

 20150315_105419Do you currently own a gun?

I don’t currently own one because I want to do it the legal way with a license so I can carry it on me if needed but I will in the future.

How often do you go to the range? What is your attitude towards training?

I go to the range every once in a while, it’s not cheap and I love training. Practice makes perfect and a better chance of me defending myself if needed.

 What advice would you give to someone who was interested in owning a gun?

For anyone that’s interested in guns, educate yourself on them and always handle them legally.

 What skills do you think that every gun owner should know?

Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer. A lot of people don’t like guns but if they get educated maybe they won’t be so scared.

 

Akua Agusi, Author, Publisher and Shooter. #Queensshoottoo

Last week I posted a few questions with Dasia, AKA Tacticalcocoabunny. This week I reached out to Akua Agusi. Akua is an activist, children’s book writer and publisher. You can find her on Instagram  @akua_agusi.

This is Akua Agusi, activist, author and publisher. She is also an avid shooter and the latest contributor to #Queensshoottoo
This is Akua Agusi, activist, author and publisher. She is also an avid shooter and the latest contributor to #Queensshoottoo

Her imprint is called Seedsbookpublishing.com.

1. What was your earliest memory of guns?

My earliest memory was about 14 years old. My step father used to have me help him make bullets at home in a walk in closest that he converted into his little work area. I loved the idea of making the bullets ourselves. He would teach me about the guns as we worked. Eventually he allowed me to join him at the gun range.

2. Were there guns in your home as you were growing up?

Not until my mother remarried when I was close to nine.

3. What were your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

My mother was just barely comfortable. My step father of course was a collector and hunter.

4. What was your perspective as a child and how has it changed?

I thought firearms were amazing and powerful. They made me feel safe. I had seen a lot in my life before being in the same house with guns. But because my mother was not familiar she was a bit nervous. This is why its important that in relationships both people are at least familiar and trained to use them. That will usually remove that discomfort.

I later taught a gun class with  male & female friends in my local community. On several occasions. I’ve also spoken to youth whom I was sure was armed about gun safety and  decisions surrounding their use. It was a huge ice breaker that allowed me  to discuss other more community building content.

5. Briefly describe your first time shooting.

My first time shooting was very exciting . I made my own bullets of course and naturally I was very excited to use them. The fist gun I shot was a Colt 380 ML. semi automatic pistol. Later my step father gifted this piece to me when  I got my own apartment. It was special.

6. Do you currently own a gun? Why?

Yes, because I feel safest with a gun in my home. It makes me feel prepared in the event something threatening should surface.

7. How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?

Its been hard to develop a routine since I relocated but I suggest at least once a month if your extremely busy. Training is absolutely crucial . You must get to know your  weapon. You must learn how to become comfortable with the sounds and you must know how to move with it and confirm that you have no anxiety about being armed. It’s equally important to mentally train.

8. What advice would you give to someone who has expressed interest in firearms?

I would suggest doing your homework first. Have an idea of how you plan to carry it. What I mean is , are you planning to carry? ( Know the laws). Is this primarily for the home? Keep in mind recoil and manageability . Things like that.

9. What skills do you think each gun owner should know?

Know the parts ( in the light & the dark). How to do a proper upkeep and cleaning. Know gun upkeep based on the finish of the gun. (They should know…) the laws in their area. Shooting stances and drills. Caliber knowledge.

Queens Shoot Too Ep. 1: Dasia aka Tactical Cocoa Bunny

Highlighting the Fierceness of Black Women

A few weeks ago I began reaching out over Instagram in search of Black women shooters. I was looking for sisters who are so passionate about their right to live in peace that they are willing to take up arms to protect themselves. What I found was inspiring. All over the country, Black women are participating in the tradition of arms, from going to the range to  learn the fundamentals to making handloads or shooting everyday.

It’s called #QueensShootToo. Yeah, it’s a thing and it’s growing. Soon I will be connecting with Black men too. If you are a woman or a man and you want to be featured, email me. In the meantime…

This is Dasia. She lives in Vegas and goes by the Instagram handle of @Tacticalcocoabunny. Her story is kind of awesome. Enjoy

Dasia at a range in Las Vegas. This is part of her daily ritual, or as she says it, "drills on drills on drills.
Dasia at a range in Las Vegas. This is part of her daily ritual, or as she says it, “drills on drills on drills.

My parents attitudes towards firearms was negative to the nth degree. A gun took my fathers legs. He will never be able to run and jump and laugh with me.

 

 

 

1. . What is your earliest memory of firearms?

My mother and father had both been shot in a random act of gang violence  while she was pregnant with me. My father was paralyzed from the chest down and my mother was shot in her arm. Firearms affected me very early on.

2. Where there guns in your home when you grew up?

None. My mother despises firearms. We also lived in California.

3. What was your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

Negative to the nth degree. A gun took my fathers legs. He will never be able to run and jump and laugh with me.

4. What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

I shared my parents perspective. I felt that firearms were an unnecessary evil, and the people who carried them were extremists,  all the up until I was 21. When I turned 21, I moved to Las Vegas, about 6 months after I moved here a man I dated for about a month began stalking me. I did everything I could possibly do. I moved, changed my number, got two restraining orders, despite hundreds of pages of texts and letters of the harassment and threats, the police still couldn’t do anything. I lived in fear every day for six months. Once his threats stopped for about a week, I knew he was coming for me. Sure enough, he kicked my door in at 1am September 26th, 2014. I shot twice and hit him in the ear and chest. He survived and is awaiting sentencing. My perspective has changed tremendously, I know that man was going to murder me and probably get away with it too. My firearm saved my life.

PhotoGrid_1427918466782

I did everything I could possibly do. I moved, changed my number, got two restraining orders, despite hundreds of pages of texts and letters of the harassment and threats, the police still couldn’t do anything.

 

5. Briefly describe your first time shooting a gun.

My first time shooting a gun was out in the Nevada desert, no knowledge of ear or eye protection so my ears were left ringing for days.

6. Do you currently own a firearm? Why?

I currently own two and am in the process of building my rifle. It’s my second amendment right as an American. I have the right to defend myself and I will do so every time.

7. How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?

Five days a week. After my shooting, I wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible about firearms. A flame ignited inside of me and I not only wanted to be a better shooter but also assist in helping others become knowledgeable. So I began working in one of the largest ranges in Nevada and eventually became an NRA certified Range Safety Officer.

8. What advice would you give to someone who had expressed interest in firearms.

I would advise them to be 100% knowledgeable about safely handling and operating their firearms. I can’t stress enough the need for responsible gun ownership.

PhotoGrid_14279212482769. What skills do you think each gun owner should know.

Trigger discipline and safe handling. Respecting the firearm for the weapon that it is and the desire to want to a competent and accurate handler. Everything else is soup of the day.

10. What skills do you think each gun owner should know.

Trigger discipline and safe handling. Respecting the firearm for the weapon that it is and the desire to want to a competent and accurate handler. Everything else is soup of the day.