When People Notice You: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So, you picked up a couple of sponsors, somebody gave you a jersey and all of a sudden you find people notice you. It sounds great but there are a few things you should know. I pride myself on being very honest, so here are my observations, I hope they help you.

Diana_Hufstedler Bianchi 2014 Mover

Me at the Mover, 2014 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup. Photo credit: Ralph Horne – notice the bullet in flight!

The Good

  1. You make a lot of new friends: Connecting with like-minded people is always a plus in my book. You make new friendships, connect with shooters from all over the world, and share information and common interests. I love my shooting friends!
  2. You learn a lot: Truth is, I have picked up a lot of tips and shooting advice along the way. I am notoriously bad about practicing – I just don’t do it because I prefer to save my ammo for matches (it’s an expensive hobby, you know). But, I am making an attempt to implement advice I have received from other shooters and just try out new things during our local matches.
  3. You inspire people: This is one of my primary reasons for sharing my journey into this amazing hobby – attracting “regular people” to the practical shooting sports. It has been such a joy for me and has enriched my life in so many ways that I am humbled I get to inspire others to try it. Here are my Top 10 Reasons to Try Competition Shooting.
  4. You make a difference. We all know how heated the political debate over the 2nd Amendment is. While this blog is intended as a fun resource, I really believe that it fosters understanding and educates the general population on the safe practice of recreational & competitive shooting. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education it the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Now, I’m far from changing the world, but to an extent we all try…
  5. People encourage you: Lots of people will appreciate your efforts and inspire you to keep doing what you enjoy. I have received so many positive messages & emails and I cannot express how grateful I am because it is not easy to put yourself out there. Everyone needs a pat on the back, a friendly smile or some help.
  6. You become stronger: When you expose yourself to public opinions, you learn to develop a thicker skin and concentrate on what’s really important in life. Criticism is part of our daily experiences and unless you learn to deal with it, you’ll go crazy! I take constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve myself but don’t let it get to me. This helps “toughen you up.”
  7. Men respect you more: If you are a lady shooter, you will notice that men (on the range and off) respect you more if they know you’re good with your weapons. All I have to say is: Amen, sisters!
  8. You get opportunities. One of the advantages of people noticing you is that you get invited to do things you otherwise wouldn’t consider. Here lately I have been invited to so many fun shooting events, participated in shooter support groups, and have been featured in a few publications. While this has never been a goal, it makes my mom proud so I try to do all I can. :)

The Bad

  1. Expectations rise: Just because you are learning in a public way, people expect you to get better faster. That is not the case, folks! You have to put your time in to become a good shooter –ask anybody! I have improved tremendously since I started but I am not “great”, nor do I claim to be. I am really trying as much as my schedule permits but people can be very critical. Now, this could be a good thing because it pushes you but I also try to remember that this is just a hobby and above all it is about having fun.
  2. It takes a lot of your time: I have the tendency to pile up a lot on my plate. I work full time as a business analyst, my career is very important to me. I am also a wife & a mother so in between business meetings, Girl Scout outings, household chores, and my hobby – there is not much time left. If you start getting noticed, be prepared to dedicate some time to being responsive to the kind people who contact you. Unfortunately, that takes time away from other recreational activities such as sipping a martini by the pool…
  3. You will face jealousy: Now, I’m not really sure if some people think there are that many perks about being “sponsored” or they just feel they are better/more deserving than you, but you may face that uneasy feeling that all of a sudden some of them just hate your guts. First of all – let me clarify – unless you are doing this professionally and get paid, being “sponsored” simply means you may receive products from your supporters. I personally have very specific tastes so I only support products that are absolutely A-mazing! I am extremely grateful for the help I receive but honestly don’t understand how a couple of guns and some free gear can alienate certain “friends”. But it does so be prepared!

The Ugly

  1. You may get stalkers: It really blows my mind that anyone has interest in being my “fan”. While it will definitely boost your confidence and make you feel incredible, be prepared to receive interesting propositions. Some are just funny & kind, while others may be inappropriate or plain old creepy. I guess it’s part of it so my advice is – be gracious and polite but firm. Trust me, you don’t want to recreate a scene from “The Fan”, lol.
  2. You may get threats: It really happens rarely to me but I have received a couple of very disturbing messages from radical gun control proponents. I was shocked because I am a very empathetic person and really try to understand everyone’s point of view. But some people are just violent, ignorant or both. I received some great advice from Janna Reeves – report creepers, block them & move on. You should too!

These are just some of the things I have learned in my journey as a shooting hobbyist. I have received some great advice from other shooters and wanted to share an honest overview of what it’s like to make your experiences public. Obviously, the Good outweighs the Bad vastly so if you are in similar situation – keep doing what you’re doing, enjoy yourself, and concentrate on the positive!

XOXO

Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Posted in 3-Gun Fun, Gear, My Life, Tips for Success | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Dealing with Disappointment & Failure in Competition Shooting

It sounds pretty depressing but this is actually a funny article, I promise. I’m no pro so this is not meant as a serious advice. I am just a regular gal who “tells it as it is” and I hope that if my approach to failure doesn’t help you – at least it will make you laugh.

Diana_Hufstedler_Thumbs_Down

Me after my epic jam/fail at the 2014 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup. Photo credit: Raph Horne

Let’s Begin at the Beginning…

So, last year I decided I wanted to scratch off an item from my Bucket list & signed up for the MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup – one of the most prestigious shooting events in the US & the World. Wow – what a ride – read about it here! Despite how nerve-wracking & intense this championship is, it has its way of sucking you in, luring you, and making you believe you can do better “next year”.

Since I am a slow learner and the torture wasn’t enough, I just had to do it again this year. And I did. Once again I borrowed a gun, practiced for several days before the Cup and off I went to face my demons. They won.

Despite my short practice (believe me, it felt like a lot to me), I felt like I was doing really well. I was cleaning the plates in training, shot my best barricade ever (474, 26x) and thought I had this thing under control. Yeah, not so much. My first day I had a jam on the plates (clean your guns, people!), lost a ton of points, broke down mentally & never really recovered. The rest of my performance wasn’t as bad, yet it was quite underwhelming. I had hoped to shoot a score in the mid to high 1700’s and ended up with mid 1600’s – Ugh, the disappointment!

If you have participated in any competitive sport you know damn well how much it stings when you suck, especially in front of a crowd. You probably also know, however, that losing is a major & inevitable part of the game too. We all deal with disappointment differently. Here is how I do:

1. Cry or Cuss

I usually go for the latter, but hey – whatever works. Just let it out. Try to avoid affecting other shooters and do it in private, please.

2. Laugh it Off

Laughter really is the best medicine for everything. I goof off a lot & often poke fun at myself. Besides putting you in a better mood (hello endorphins), it reminds you to concentrate on what’s really important in shooting sports – having fun!

3. Get a Hug

Okay, okay – I know it’s not very manly, so if you’re a guy – go for the shoulder tap. For us ladies – there is not much a good ole hug can’t cure.

4. Lean on your friends

Shooting buddies are like family. So when you tell them how you felt – they’ll understand. They’ll empathize, make you laugh, give you a hug, and possibly give you a kick in the butt. Which leads us to the next point…

5. Suck it Up, Buttercup

I used to do Crossfit with a guy in his 60’s who often wore a shirt with this slogan. I would be panting profusely, trying to catch my breath & suppress vomit urges while he just pushed through…..

Ok, so you sucked. It happens. Don’t just give up, try again. Chances are, this is not the first time you failed and inevitably it won’t be the last. So dust off you ruffled feathers, throw away your cry towel, lift your chin up & move on.

6. Learn, Don’t Burn

Aside from equipment malfunctions, failure is usually your fault. Don’t dwell on it, but figure out what your mistake was, correct it, and practice not omitting it again. No worries, there are plenty of other mistakes you’ll make but you can reduce their likelihood of happening if you address them one by one. In my little Bianchi example: while it was not my fault I had a jam, it was my mistake that I let it impair me for the rest of the event. So, from now on I’ll facilitate malfunctions in practice (use my “bad mag”, not gauge my ammo, etc.) just so I can learn to move on calmly after an equipment problem.

7. Fear of Fear Itself

This is a tough one. I am convinced there is something in the frequency of the competition timer that makes your knees shake, your palms sweat and your vision blur. I will name it Buzzerphobia. Fear of failure is my biggest enemy and if anyone has figured out how to overcome it – please let me know!

8. No Public Opinion Tax

Another tough one is the anxiety that comes with performing in public, the fear of being judged and the predictions of what others may think about you if you fail. Get over it. Chances are – nobody really cares about you because they are too worried about themselves. Besides, their opinion shouldn’t really matter because those that count will love & respect you just for trying. You don’t have to pay $$ every time someone judges you now, do you?

9. It’s the Task, Not the Person

Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure as an individual. Take a moment to look at the rest of your life – do you have a nice family? A great job? A bunch of friends that will give you crap for your performance? Then you are lucky and definitely not a failure. Plus, let’s face it – you can’t be good at everything.

10. ???

I couldn’t come up with one more but the natural order of things dictates that I have to have #10. :)

These are just some of the ways I deal with disappointment when I suck. What are yours?

XOXO

Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Posted in Bianchi Cup, Fabulous Females, My Life, NRA, Range Day, Tips for Success | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 10 Reasons to Consider Competition Shooting

Why competitive shooting sports? – This is probably the most common question I get from relatives, friends, coworkers, etc. Here are my top 10 reasons. What are yours?

Diana_Hufstedler_back

Me at our local USPSA match last weekend. Photo credit: Ralph Horne

  1. Adrenaline – Sorry folks, call me shallow but this is my number one reason. I have always been a thrill junkie – rock climbing, flying, hunting, fast cars, guns…. I like it all. Maybe less so after I had a child, but that mixed wave of fear, excitement & pleasure gets me going like nothing else. If an elevated heart-rate is your idea of nirvana – shooting sports are definitely for you!
  2. Fun – Have you ever watched a video on YouTube and thought “Jeez, that looks like fun”? Well, it’s because it is! Just think about it – you can shoot Zombies, sniper something 1000 yards away, practice self-defense, or pretend to be a navy seal. Whatever it is that gets your chest muscle pumping – there is a shooting discipline for it. (watch for my next article outlining some of the disciplines I’ve dabbled in)
  3. Friends – Really, I should call them a Shooting Family. Because that’s what it really is. Contrary to common (media) portrayal, “gun people” are usually the nicest, kindest, most helpful and caring individuals you’d ever meet. We are working professionals, parents, patriots, hobbyists, and generally have a very strong sense of community – one you’d really want to be a part of when the Zombies come. ;)
  4. Skills – This is one of the original reasons I first started competing. As a woman I sometimes feel particularly vulnerable to an attack (and I have been attacked & robbed as a teenager). Yes, target practice and maybe a Conceal & Carry class are (marginally) better than nothing but I firmly believe consistent muscle-memory learning under stress (this is really important) is the best way to train your body to react to a threat. I hope I never need to use these skills but I’d rather be prepared.
  5. Travel – Based on budget & time constrains, you might choose to travel for some bigger matches. My husband & I are hobbyists so we selectively pick which matches to attend based on cost, location, and level of fun. It is an added bonus that we get to see new places, meet new people and make a mini family vacation out of each trip.
  6. Gun Collection – Let’s face it, if you are into guns you are probably constantly looking for a reason to buy new weaponry & gear. Shooting sports are a perfect excuse as to why you NEED that customized rifle, a high-powered scope or a red ELS rig. I don’t have that particular problem but the vast majority of my friends need to report to their significant other with regard to gear spendings. What better way to justify your obscene overspending with “But honey, I could win…”?
  7. Trophies – Since we are one the subject of winning: some people really do! It has happened to me (on occasion) but mostly I am satisfied with just improving myself. While most smaller matches distribute trophies only (if that), many of the larger regional & national championships also have a significant prize tables primarily due to sponsors. Contrary to popular belief, a vast majority of the goods are distributed not only to division winners, but also to any competitor through a raffle or drawing. Prizes or no prizes – it is very rewarding to bring a trophy home!
  8. Politics – If this is not something you consider important but you enjoy competitive or even recreational shooting, maybe you need to reconsider. Protecting our Second Amendment rights is a big issue for the Shooting Community. While I have no polar political preference, I believe that participating in competitive shooting sports supports the cause through both publicity and economic growth. Because let’s face it – it is a lot harder to outlaw an industry that generates billions in revenue!
  9. Street Cred – I don’t care if you’re 110 lbs. or 300 – knowing how to shoot a gun well qualifies you as an instant badass. Period.
  10. Parties – People that shoot are fun. Whether you are drinking beer around the bonfire after your local shoot, gathering for the margarita ritual after a match, or dressing in your fancy digs for a formal awards banquet – shooting parties are always a blast (no pun intended). Why? Well, for one there’s always someone you know who won & needs help celebrating. Two – you deserve a reward for your hard work. And three – shooting folks are just a blast to be around and you really don’t need a specific reason to hang out with them!

These are just some of my top reasons for shooting competition. What are yours?

XOXO

Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Posted in 3-Gun Fun, Bianchi Cup, Fabulous Females, Firepower, Fun & Games, My Life, Personal Defense, Politics, Range Day, Tips for Success | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Get Started in 3 Gun Competition – 10 Non-obvious Things to Know

So, at the end of last year I decided I wanted to try 3 Gun Competition. I borrowed some equipment and a shotgun and off I went to the Midwest 3 Gun Amateur Nationals. Practice? Nah – so not me. :)

As expected, it was a complete disaster! The first day it rained buckets and since I was also a volunteer scorekeeper – I got soaked. To add insult to injury, my pistol’s extractor broke and my borrowed shotgun started jamming. Nevertheless, I had the best time ever and was completely hooked.

This year, I’m starting fresh – this time with all my own equipment and ready to have so much fun it would make Keith Richards blush. I just shot my second ever (first with my own stuff in open division) 3 gun match and while I still did shitty (too much new gear to learn to operate in one day) – I had a blast and learned a few things. Here is a video of my “good” stage that day:

There are many blog posts out there  – I will list a few at the bottom – that tell you what guns you may need for the different divisions. I want to share with you some of the not-so-obvious things you’ll be happy you prepared for:

1. Bring extra ammo. Just because you were told the minimum round count is XXX, that doesn’t mean that’s how many YOU will need. Trust me, you will miss a lot so bring about 100 rounds more than the minimum for each gun (for good measure).

2. Get a cart/stroller/four wheeler. I know they look silly but you’ll be glad you have one. I have a great shooting bag – Safariland Model 4556 3 Gun Case – which fits all my guns and can be carried as a backpack. Still – that sucked! Whether you weigh 115 lbs like me or 250 – you don’t want to be carrying that sh** from stage to stage.

3. Double up on ear protection. I love my custom molded earplugs, I just love them. I think earmuffs are ugly, get in your way, and altogether make you look like a dork. But I am looking at getting some because 3 Gun is way louder than any other discipline I’ve shot and I’m already deaf in my left ear (don’t ask)…

4. If you are a lady shooter: Bring toilet paper/paper towel. Not all shooting ranges have a bathroom or porta potty. Also, look out for the random guy that comes over just “to make sure you’re all right.” Ok, that last one was a joke. No really, keep an eye out while you tinkle over some fresh spring grass!

5. Practice your shotgun reloads. Yeah, I know I should listen to my own advise but just because I lack motivation doesn’t mean you should too. People kept telling me shotgun reloads eat up a lot of your time and they were right. Even with my speed-loaders (which I really need to learn to use better), messing with equipment took me much more time than the actual shooting!

6. For God’s sake, move faster in between shooting positions so you have more time for the actual shooting. I just about cried when I saw my brisk walk in my videos – what was I thinking!? Why am I strolling by like a confused hippie and then rushing through my shots?

7. Breathe. I have a major problem with breathing on the long rifle shots and not just because I’m a smoker (boo, I know). My scope only magnifies 1-4 so for anything past 200-250 yards I have to really watch my breathing. What happens to me, though, is that I keep holding my breath after the first shot for “just one more”. Next thing you know, I’m seconds from being blue in the face and dizzy as hell. Yep, don’t do what I do!

8. Don’t forget to turn off your scope(s). Unless you’re in Tac Iron or Heavy Metal Divisions. I’m in Open so I have 4 scopes to worry about – my pistol, shotgun & 2 on my AR-15. It’s a mess but I try to remember. Also – always have extra batteries & a screwdriver.

9. Always have a few tools handy. Some lube, allen wrenches, screwdrivers, extra bolts & screws… Stuff always seems to break at the wrong time and it can completely ruin your experience. This last time I had my scope mount on my gun get loose (LockTight didn’t hold) and it stinks shooting at something 10 yards away and not hitting it! Second to having a backup gun, some tools may save the day.

10. Remember to have fun! I personally have no problem with that as my give-a-damn is broke. Has been for years. But many shooters get so wrapped up in performance and winning that they forget the reason they joined this sport to begin with – to have fun. So, take a breath, smile and ride the wave – what a great way to spend your weekend!

Here are some useful links for weapon requirements:

3 Gun Divisions

Common Equipment

Good Video Advise from our friend Mark at Hawkeye Ordnance

My Belt & Holster

Hope this helps you. If not, at least I hope it made you laugh!

XOXO
Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Posted in 3-Gun Fun, Gear, My Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Fools to me, 8 days late!

I’m never one to play the helpless girl card and expect to be treated differently, especially in the shooting sports industry. But over the past few months I’ve learned that one can easily be taken advantage of and not even realize it until it all comes crashing down on you.

Obviously the one that was taken advantage of was ME! I’m writing this as a warning to other shooters, especially new ones, male and female, because it can happen in the blink of an eye.

When a proposal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Rewind back to just after SHOT Show 2014. Here I was thinking I may acquire a new sponsor. I already own and like the product that they sell, so if it was something I could stand behind, why not? Weeks turned into months of ongoing talk with no outcome. Things just became fishy. Sponsorship turned into potential job, then potential job turned into another job I knew I didn’t have the qualifications for. RED FLAG! Thanks to a fellow lady shooter I was able to get to the bottom of it and find out that the talks going on were unknown to anyone else within the company except the one I was speaking to. The motive behind this is unclear and frankly I hope to never encounter the person to ask for myself.

My first emotion was uncontrollable rage, then total embarrassment! I should have known better, this is not my first time at the rodeo. Plus, I’m not really a gullible person!

Ask anyone who knows me. The logos that are on my shooting jersey are ones of my FRIENDS. Friends who I’ve known for a while. I use their gear and it is simply my way of showing my support for them. GOOD people who run GOOD companies deserve it and if wearing their name on my shirt helps in any manner, I’ll do it all day!
Yes, I sometimes receive things from them but I use them in competition! I do not get paid. I just do this for fun and it’s never been about making a living off of it, that’s impossible :)

Situations like this make me adore those that are on my jersey that much more. I know these folks more than just a chance meeting at an event and I know that they and all of their employees are in this for the right reasons and that’s why I am proud to be a part of their teams.

Please consider these amazing companies for all of your shooting needs.

Voodoo Tactical http://www.voodootactical.net/
XRAIL by RCI http://www.xrailbyrci.com/
FrogLube http://froglube.com/
Lantac USA http://www.lantac-usa.com/
Taccom Llc http://taccom3g.com/
Comp-Tac Victory Gear http://www.comp-tac.com/
AP Custom USA http://www.apcustomusa.com/
Animal Customs http://www.animalcustoms.com/
Benchmade Knife Company http://www.benchmade.com/
Rubber City Armory http://rubbercityarmory.com/
What Ya Say Hearing and Protection
Warren Tactical Sights http://warrentactical.com/
Sentinel Design Llc http://www.austereprovisions.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=SD-MF1722
Apex Tactical Specialties http://www.apextactical.com/

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Diana’s Grilled or Pan Seared Venison Tenderloin Steak Recipe

Ok, I don’t typically post recipes but I shared this one with my FB friends and it was such a hit that I decided to share it on SBB as well. It is seriously the best venison recipe ever – I just made it up one day and everyone who has tried it has asked me for the recipe. It is the easiest way to cook venison tenderloin and it tastes like a 5-star filet mignon! No kidding, give it a try:

Diana's Venison Tenderloin

Diana’s Venison Tenderloin

Diana's Venison Tenderloin Served

Diana’s Venison Tenderloin Served

 INGREDIENTS

2 venison tenderloins

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs vinegar

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs worcestershire sauce

2 tbs minced garlic

a few drops of liquid smoke

salt & pepper to taste

PREPARATION

Mix all marinate ingredients – I just eyeball it but you can double or triple depending on the size of your tenderloin. Marinate tenderloin for at least 4 hours – I usually leave mine in a zip lock baggie in the fridge overnight.

Typically I grill it but you can pan sear it on med-high for a few min on each side, then pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 min (if you like it med-rare like me). For extra flavor – add about 2 spoons of the marinate to the pan so it doesn’t stick while roasting and it will turn into a perfect sauce to top it with. ENJOY!

PS. Works best with fresh venison, preferably from a 3 year old or younger doe or fawn, harvest it yourself. It just tastes better that way! ;)

XOXO
Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,

Diana

Diana's Venison recipe

A pic from my friend Jeremy

Diana's Venison Recipe

Another pic from my friend Jeremy

Posted in Hunting, Wild Game Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment