CROSSING THE RED LINE: Women Train To Fight Back

Stacey with carbine and pistol at the range.

Stacey with carbine and pistol at the range.

Stacey Adams is a pretty typical American woman, a 40-something self-described liberal, raised in Northern California and now living in Colorado. She shops at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s when she gets into the city. She has a soft spot for all animals, even rescuing an injured field mouse she found in a grain bin.

Smile is because of how well she shot—head shots were done in failure-to-stop drills.

Smile is because of how well she shot—head shots were done in failure-to-stop drills.

Stacey is married to my friend and fellow martialist Kyoshi Eric Adams. They met on a date to the rodeo. Eric is a long-time Alaskan who moved to Colorado to be close to family. He runs a large ranch in the Rockies. He owns guns, carries a gun most days on the ranch, and hunts. Eric shoots the coyotes that chase calves and shoots weasels and skunks that raid the chicken coop.

Eric is happy, talented, and pragmatic about guns, wild animals, and wild people. Eric also teaches Hojutsu-Ryu, the martial art of shooting.

Stacey was a little put out about Eric training with defensive firearms. He teaches Karate, Aikido, Iaido, and Kobudo, but these looked to Stacey more like formal exercise than potentially lethal skills.

She reluctantly started training with a Browning Black Label .22 and learned to run it, draw from a holster, and shoot well. She doubted that she’d ever shoot an animal, even one carrying off a chicken—coyotes have rights, too. The idea of shooting a person was as remote as Mars.

Most women I train need to have a true red line of some kind before they’d consider hurting someone—for most, that means do not threaten a child. When I put it in graphic terms, most women say they’d tune a guy up in a heartbeat if he threatened one of her kids. In the next breath, though, the idea of jamming a thumb into an eye is “gross.”

THE INCIDENT

Wiley Clapp 9mm ran and shot very well for Stacey. She hit center from two to 50 yards.

Wiley Clapp 9mm ran and shot very well for Stacey. She hit center from two to 50 yards.

Eric was training with me in Spokane when “it” happened. The local PD had a troll who’d been living on the streets of this bucolic resort town. He’d been panhandling, maybe shoplifting a little, but nothing they could put him away on. The field-expedient answer, which most of us have done (in Alaska it’s called a “blue ticket”), is to give him a ride out of town. They did so, dumping the troll at the eastern city limits—right at the end of the driveway of Eric’s ranch.

The dogs woke Stacey up at 2AM—not unusual where deer, elk, bear, coyotes, and mountain lion walk past the house. This time, the barks were different.

Make my day!

Make my day!

Stacey, naked, walked toward the living room and front door. She thought she heard a voice, so she stopped at the edge of the stone fireplace, looking and listening. When the beam from a flashlight swept across the room, she dropped to the floor. She could hear the guy rattling the door, trying to get in.

She crawled back a few feet, then ran into her bedroom, grabbed the cell phone (the troll had cut the phone lines), and called Eric—1,200 miles away. She told the story, Eric told her to call 911, see if their son was OK, and get her pistol. Stacey did as directed, threw on some clothes, and ventured forth with phone and pistol in hand.

Stacey really liked weight and lack of recoil of both weapons. Proof is in the hits.

Stacey really liked weight and lack of recoil of both weapons. Proof is in the hits.

Having failed to get in the front door, the goblin, armed with a six-inch knife, tried doors and windows around the house. 911 dispatchers told Stacey it would be at least 20 minutes before deputies arrived. Stacey calmly told the dispatcher she was armed and that “if the son-of-a-bitch comes through the door, I’ll shoot him.” The response? “You do what you have to do, ma’am.” Only in the West….

Deputies arrived, contacted Stacey for a welfare check, and started the search. They found the guy in a barn, arrested him, and hauled him off to jail. En route, the deputy asked what the guy intended to do. He answered, “I was gonna terrorize them for the rest of the night. When I was done with them, I was gonna eat some food and watch TV.” He later pleaded guilty to trespassing and was put on probation.

Shooting from sitting and supported at 50 yards, every hit was in the upper chest.

Shooting from sitting and supported at 50 yards, every hit was in the upper chest.

Eric got home the next day and started a search. He found where the guy had lain up in the brush above the house, watching it for quite some time. He’d left empty water bottles and a hatchet in this nest. He had seen that a lone woman and a six-year old boy were the only people in the house, so he could do as he pleased.

GUNNING UP

When Eric gave this report to Stacey, she didn’t demand that they move to town. “I need a bigger gun” was her first thought. Eric had just gotten a Colt Gunsite 1911 in .45 ACP, and she commandeered it.

She found it a little big for her, but she liked the Springfield Armory EMP 9mm that a friend had. She got her CCW permit and now carries the EMP every day, even shocking a friend on a “girls’ trip” when she laid the 9mm on the nightstand in the hotel room.

But Stacey wanted a home gun too. After a year of discussions, she decided a custom-made $4,000 1911 was a little crazy. I had just evaluated a Colt Wiley Clapp 9mm Commander, so I took it along when I taught a seminar near Eric and Stacey.

The WC came with a 3.8-pound series 70 trigger, Novak Lo-Mount sights (the front sight has the McGivern gold bead), great reliability, and decent accuracy.

Stacey ran a couple hundred rounds through it and calmly said, “I want one.” She was also looking for a carbine, maybe 9mm, maybe .223, so she can reach out a little farther if she needs to—remarkable for a liberal woman who generally thought guns were bad.

I was able to find a 9mm mostly Colt carbine (the lower is CMMG) with a 10.5-inch barrel and Primary Arms red dot sight, with several Colt factory mags. When I taught a seminar in Nevada, Stacey and Eric attended. Stacey liked the weight, the dual capability of pistols and carbine in the same caliber, and the accuracy. She was a little miffed that she has to wait months for the SBR transfer to come through. Both guns will be loaded with Black Hills 124-grain JHP loads, which should do the job nicely.

INTRUDERS BEWARE

The next intruder who decides an isolated ranch house is a good target will be in for a rude awakening. Instead of a cowering, crying girl, he’ll find a calm, well-trained (she’s a brown belt in Hojutsu-Ryu) woman with a great pistol and carbine, the will and the skill to use them, and fire in her eyes.

She won’t wonder what her friends will think, will God still love her, and should she try to talk to the home invader—she’ll just light him up like a Christmas tree, solving the problem permanently.

The moral of the story (to paraphrase Clint Smith): “Find a liberal, beat the snot out of them, and they’ll go buy a gun.” It’s a tough way to learn that unicorns and fairies don’t exist, but a serious dose of reality cures most delusions.

SOURCES

COLT’S MANUFACTURING COMPANY LLC
(800) 962-2658
www.coltsmfg.com

BLACK HILLS AMMUNITION
(605) 348-5150
www.black-hills.com
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