Today we talk with Kim Priestap – @kimpriestap on Twitter. She’s also on Facebook and on Gab.
Why are you a gun owner?
I’ve always been a big supporter of the Second Amendment and found guns to be fascinating, but I’ve not owned any guns myself or even shot a gun until about three years ago. Well, I once shot my husband’s 12 gauge years and years ago but that one doesn’t count since I had no idea what I was doing and bashed my shoulder. I’ve since learned how to shoot one correctly and accurately. Anyway, I decided three years ago to buy a gun and get trained because it had occurred to me (why it didn’t occur to me sooner, I don’t know) that I had been living my life under the assumption that if something terrible happened, someone would be there to protect me and my family. Unfortunately, that’s almost never the case. I think we’ve all heard the saying, “when seconds count, help is minutes away.” That was when I decided it was time I got a gun and got trained. From there, I found a local NRA certified instructor to teach me gun safety, the fundamentals of shooting, as well as defensive shooting. After just a few lessons, I took a CPL (Concealed Pistol License here in Michigan) class. It’s been three years, and I still shoot with him on a regular basis, about once a week.
That’s great that you maintain a regular training schedule. So few everyday carriers do. Can you share what sorts of things you work on in practice?
When I got my first gun and knew I wanted to get my CPL, I talked to one of my husband’s friends who is the Security Forces Manager with the Air National Guard out of Toledo. He made it very clear that if I’m going to carry regularly, I had better be proficient or I could be more of a danger than a help. So I took his comments to heart and train regularly. Shooting is a perishable skill. If you go too long in between training sessions, you can lose accuracy.
I always begin each session with some sort of accuracy drill. One of my favorites is from Guerrilla Approach. It’s an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with 24 small and large circles. From 3 yards, shoot one bullet in each small hole, two in each large. The goal is to complete it with full accuracy in 25 seconds. I’m not at 100% accuracy in that time yet, but I’m working on getting there.
Then I drill on drawing from my holster, both my carry and duty retention holsters, and getting off several shots, both one handed and two handed, in a just a few seconds. I also work on shooting left handed, which interestingly enough I’m very accurate doing. My instructor told me most people have to work to get accurate shooting with their non-dominant hand. I seem to be quite good at it. I also work on shooting from behind barriers, turning and shooting, shooting while moving, dropping the used mag and reloading, both behind a barrier and while moving. I do all this within 5-10 yards, as that is where most shootings take place. Then I’ll practice distance shooting from 15 yards or so. When I’m not shooting I dry fire, practice drawing from the holster, and dropping and replacing mags at home. My ultimate goal is for my gun to feel as if it’s an extension of my body.
Kim doing some odd-position training.
That’s great. Do you carry daily?
Yes. I holster up when I get dressed every morning and carry everywhere I legally can. Our business is located at our home, so I get to carry at work. 🙂 Since I carry every day, I make sure to stay proficient by shooting weekly, twice a week if I can fit it in, primarily outside where I can move around and practice defensive shooting. My instructor told me once that he wants me carrying so often that when I don’t have my gun on me I feel naked without it. I’m there. I definitely don’t feel right without it on me.
What got you into expanding your collection beyond one firearm?
I’ve got three pistols, a Kahr CM9, which was my first, a Glock 43, which is my everyday carry, and a Glock 23, which is my duty weapon (I’m a volunteer special deputy with my local sheriff’s office). I’m hoping to add a rifle to my collection this summer.
How do you get to be a volunteer special sheriff’s deputy and what do you do in that capacity?
My instructor is the president of my county’s sheriff’s auxiliary and he asked if I’d be interested in applying. Since we are armed while in uniform, just as the certified deputies are, we must go through qualified with our duty weapons, just as the other officers are. I like participating in and around my community and helping to keep it safe. Special Deputies support the certified deputies by riding on patrol with them periodically and assisting in traffic stops or other incidents, helping with traffic control in case of accidents, providing security at parades, festivals, and other community events. We also help with school lock down drills. Nearly every community across the country has auxiliary officers who help support the certified law enforcement officers. It’s a great way to get involved and to let people know you care about your community’s safety.
What’s your favorite gun?
I like my Kahr but nothing beats a Glock if you ask me. My G43 is my everyday carry, especially in the summer and when I run, but I really love my Glock 23 and am planning to make that one my everyday winter carry. I don’t own a rifle yet (my husband has a .410 bolt action shotgun and a Mossberg 12 gauge) but I’m planning on correcting that this summer when I buy my first AR-15. I want an AR as opposed to any other rifle because they are lighter, can shoot more than five rounds at a time, and are great for home defense. And they look badass.
What worries you most about American culture today?
So much worries me about American culture today but probably my biggest concern, at least when it comes to guns, is the irrational fear more and more people have of them. Some seem to think a gun is going to jump out of its holster and start shooting people on its own. A gun is nothing more than a tool, like a hammer or shovel, but if you tell these fear mongers that, they lose their minds. What makes it worse is that many people who have these irrational fears have huge platforms from which to rant about their fears, stoking even more fear among those who might not have been afraid to begin with or who don’t know anything about guns and are now unwilling to learn. This irrational fear of guns is a small part of a larger issue, which is more and more Americans want to be coddled from cradle to grave, so they refuse to take on the responsibility of their own safety and self-defense. Instead, they want to outsource their self-defense to the government, assuming that if we take guns away from private citizens, leaving only the government with them, they’ll be safer. As history has proven over and over again, this most certainly is not the case.
I agree and can’t imagine the issue being stated better. Do you have any thoughts on how ordinary Americans can help address that irrational fear and pervasive demagoguery?
This is a big question, so I’m going answer it in two parts. The first is big picture. Ordinary Americans can teach their children about the significance of our country in contrast to other countries in the world today and in history. Make sure they understand the significant role guns played in the formation of our country. It wasn’t just about protesting taxation without representation or religious liberty. Our founders understood that for man to truly be free, he had to have the means to defend himself. However, today we take our freedoms for granted, so much so that most Americans don’t even know that our country with our Constitution is unlike any other country that has ever existed in the history of mankind. For many people, history began when they were born. They may not realize that so much of humanity that existed over the centuries and millennia didn’t live but, rather, suffered under the thumbs of tyrannical dictators and monarchs who saw their subjects as nothing more than ants or bugs that could be crushed at their whim. Never before had people been told that not only did they have the God-given right to their own lives but that they also had the God-given right to protect their own lives, and not just from the bad guys who lived among them, but from their own government as well. Such a concept has never existed before The United States of America. Ever. Our children must understand the significant role the Second Amendment and guns play in preserving our freedoms, so guns should never be feared, but appreciated and valued.
Second is much more practical. Introduce your kids, family, and friends to guns, if they aren’t already familiar and comfortable with them. I clean my pistols in the dining room in front of my kids. I wear my gun around them. I start out letting them hold it, correctly and unloaded, so they get a feel for it. I have them dry fire it so they get a sense of how it works.Then we move to shooting live rounds. I talk about guns to my kids, family, and friends. Why I carry, why I train regularly, why I joined the auxiliary. Take your friends or family members to the gun range. It is especially important for women gun owners to talk to other women, since women can be more fearful. Find an NRA certified instructor and take lessons with a friend or family member. All this can help remove the strange or scary mystique about guns and show reveal what they actually are: tools. And just like other tools, they have a specific purpose as well as a correct way and an incorrect way to use them.
Well said, Kim. Thanks.