Our friend Maggie is just awesome. She’s a full time mom who just happens to also be a firearms diva. Maggie has graced us, once again, with her guest-blogging prowess in this piece about her (occasional mis)adventures with holsters, her kiddos and her Urban Pistol class. I think you’ll enjoy this laugh-out-loud post as much as we do!

I have been taking a lot of instructor classes lately.  In fact it’s been over a year since I have taken any classes to work on my own shooting skills.   I used to go two or three times a month to the range to practice my shooting, but since I became a pistol instructor I have a new found interest in teaching people, especially women, to shoot.  So, although I have spent a lot of time at the range lately, I have probably fired less than 100 rounds in the last couple of months.  For this reason and so many other good ones, I was very excited about my upcoming Urban Pistol class.  I have wanted to take this class for more than a year but couldn’t find the time to drive to the outdoor range where it was given.  Recently, the Gun for Hire firearms school in NJ started offering this class close by and at an indoor police range, so I finally decided to sign up.

It was probably a good thing I waited, there was no way I was ready to take this class a year ago.  Urban Pistol is a class designed to introduce useful tactical shooting and reloading skills, and shooting on the move and at multiple targets.  To fully engage with your firearm is not the way people usually handle their guns when going target shooting.  Granted, I don’t think that I am ever going to need to reload one handed while lying on the ground behind a garbage can for cover, but hey, you never know.  Another plus to this class is that I get to actually use some of my gear that I bought just in case situations dictate my needing them.

For example, take my holster.  I do not live in a state that issues many CCW permits, so I don’t really need to spend too much time picking out a holster for everyday wear or concealment.  I did buy one though, a really nice leather Fist holster for my Glock and a Galco gun belt.  I have tried it out at the range a few times and I have drawn and re-holstered it in front of my mirror many times to break it in and get a feel for using it.  When I signed up for the class I ordered the required magazine holder and tried it on with my holster/gun and belt to see how it all would work out.  First off, I noticed that the gun belt is now way too big.

Maggie proudly dons her new leg holster for her class.

I bought it a year ago when I was, ehem, a bit heavier.  Not that I was ever very big but apparently all that exercising and eating right really paid off.  I needed to go down a few belt sizes.  So after a half hour playing with the gun and the magazines, I realized that my hips were totally killing me from all the holstering and re-holstering.  I figured I still had time to look into some other holster options.

A drop holster seemed to be the answer and after buying and nixing a few I decided to try a leg holster — police style.  Why I decided to do this, I don’t know, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.  The holster arrived on a Thursday afternoon before my Sunday class. I grabbed the instructions before running out the door to drive my carpool.  After scanning them in the carpool line I shoved them in my pocket before leaving the school parking lot.  When I got home much later that night after many errands, I decided to try the holster.

Hmm, I can’t find the instructions.  After some very brief searching I figure how hard can it be? and I strap it on.  It looks — well, weird.  But I holster the Glock and truth be told, it is kind of fun.  Then I realize that I am not really pushing the gun fully into the holster and when I do, well, it “locks” into place — and won’t come out.  Ok, don’t panic.  I pull and pull and, well, nothing.  So I take it off and text Jimmy, one of the firearms instructors.  He isn’t sure why it isn’t coming out of the holster because he has never used this model and he says don’t be afraid to pull hard.  So I do but still nothing.  My husband is out so I get my teenage boys to help me and while we pull in different directions the gun is still stuck.  Good retention I’m thinking.  But now I’m curious and decide to take the thing apart.  I find an allen wrench and a screw driver and take all the screws out and remove the straps, the back plate and Velcro strips.  Still, nothing doing.  Now my daughter comes in the room and says to my youngest son, “Hey what’s going on?” He is very busy watching TV but manages to tear his eyes away long enough to tell her, “Mommy got her gun stuck.”  So she says “Nice!” and hops up on the couch for a better view of the action.  Lots of support I’m getting here.

Well, I manage to get the gun out — pure luck I find out later.  And I contemplate putting it back in to the holster.  Throwing caution to the wind, I mean no one wants their gun stuck in a holster right?  I try again and you guessed it — stuck.  This time when I manage to free the gun I decide to put the holster back together and head down to the firearms school the next day for some help.  But I am still thinking, Where are those instructions? My husband thinks maybe I dropped them in the children’s department at Nordstrom earlier that evening.  So I call up and get Julie, a long time Children’s Wear employee who was actually helping me earlier.  She says she thinks she saw something like I was describing but she gave it to someone from receptacle removal or something like that (does that mean the garbage collector?) and she puts me on hold to chase him and his rolling cart down the aisle.  I just love the service at Nordstrom, you can’t beat it.  She comes back breathless and says, “I have it!  It reads, Uncle Mikes Law Enforcement Holster, does that sound like what you are looking for?” Um, yeah.  She asks my name and says she’ll hold it for me behind the counter.  After ten years of shopping there I have a feeling Julie will never look at me the same way again.

So the next day I go down to the school, with my son who is turning six that day, and I get some help from Rob fitting the holster. Since I am petite – OK short – I have so much excess strap material on the holster Rob helps me take off what isn’t necessary and remolds the straps to fit me better.  Later at home I secure everything with black electrical tape.  Then I learn how to remove the gun from the holster.

We're thinking Maggie and Sarah would probably be good friends. Minus that whole Skynet thing.

You just twist the butt of the gun towards your leg and bingo, it releases.  But after much practice I realize that doing that causes the grip on the Glock to rip up the skin on my hand.  No time to buy any kind of softer grip so I decide to go Michael Jackson style and wear my fingerless weight lifting glove on my right hand.  Yeah, it looks strange but I’m all about comfort, not style anyway.

The weekend goes well, until late Saturday.  I come down with some kind of miserable infection.  I manage to reach my doctor who prescribes me some antibiotics.  When I ask her if it will impair any of my faculties, she is lost.  So I say I’m taking an advanced shooting class tomorrow, will I be drowsy?  She says, “Can you repeat that?”  So I do.  Then, after a pause, she says I should be fine.  Now I’ll just check that doctor’s office off my list as another place that will never look at me the same way again.

Sunday morning I wake up early for one last dress rehearsal before I pack my range bags.  My youngest son is watching me from the bed, stopping me every now and again to remind me of how to twist the gun from the holster.  He is also very amused apparently by the “faces” I’m making when I draw the gun and aim.  He keeps saying, “Do it again mommy,” but I have no idea what he‘s talking about so he decides to jump down and join me — obviously using his “pretend” gun.  We stand in front of the mirror jumping around and drawing, aiming and re-holstering.  When I look at his face in the mirror I can’t help laughing.  If that’s what I look like, well, it is a good thing I found out about it now.  We play around a bit and then I ask him how he thinks I’m doing.  He says, “Very good, but with only one problem”.  What’s that, I ask.  “Well the straps on the leg holster make one half your butt look bigger than the other.”  Gee.  Thanks.  I’m so glad I asked.  And by the way, no more watching iCarly or Disney Channel for you.

On that note, I pack up my range bag and head out.  I get to the range early and as the students arrive I notice, not surprisingly, that I will be the only female in the class again today.  It doesn’t really factor in for me like it used to anymore.  I am here to have fun.  I can’t imagine many women take Urban Pistol anyway, but it does leave me wondering (although granted not too seriously) what that says about me.