It has been over 3 weeks since my wife and I attended the Babes With Bullets camp at the Big Springs Range near Montezuma, IA. The event was very ably hosted by Brownell’s. We had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, met some great people, and learned a lot about the sport.
This whole thing started last fall when I ran across an article describing a Babes with Bullets camp that was orchestrated by T.D. Roe, and held near Chicago last summer. At about the same time my wife was looking for some sort of firearms training so, we looked into BWB and sent her off to Tuscon last November for their end of year camp.
She had a great experience in Tucson, met some new friends, learned about handguns, learned about Feral Hogs, learned about soap allergies and lost wallets, and has some war stories to share. When she came back, having had such a positive experience she started looking for another BWB camp for her to go to. A few days later she says, “Let’s go to the BWB and friends 3 gun camp”. We got signed up relatively early after the event was announced and before you know it, August arrived and we are on our way to Iowa.
There are so many great things about BWB I won’t be able to cover them all here. I think the two single biggest things are the way the camps are constructed and the availability of sponsor’s equipment to help defray costs. What does that all mean?
The camps are constructed to be an all day – 3 day event, with everyone staying at common lodging and having a team room kind of atmosphere. Not only do strangers become friends very quickly but, the atmosphere becomes one of an extended family gathering. That atmosphere is fostered and encouraged by the BWB team, and extends beyond the days that you are gathered together. When Deb Ferns came into are little gathering of folks that were awkwardly hanging around on Thursday, she had a hug for everyone of her BWB alumni and a quick little story about each that just amazed people that she remembered them. From that standpoint alone, BWB is a special program.
The sponsors for BWB are incredible. BWB would not be possible without their sponsors but when you add in the fact that this was a 3 gun camp, just the weapons set alone will require a significant investment. Between Smith and Wesson and Mossberg weapons were available for every student that needed them. Bushnell brought belts, and shotgun caddies, and holsters to round out the equipment list. Between Brownells, and Atlanta Arms and Ammo discounted ammunition was readily available. Hi Viz provides sights for all the handguns, USPSA helps out, and so many others organizations as well.
JP Enterprises donated a rifle for sale with the proceeds benefiting the BWB scholarship funds. The rifle was sold before we even go to camp. We received an email from Kay Miculek that said it would be for sale did anyone want it. Then another that said she had interest from a couple of folks, the first one to call my cell phone gets it. Sadly, my wife and I were the second to call.
Instructors. The first thing that you should know about BWB is that the instructor staff is the most accomplished, and “decorated” staff that I have run across. When you start with Kay Miculek as your Head Instructor you might expect a drop off in quality from there. Well the instructors for this camp were: Kay Miculek, Maggie Reese, Lena Miculek, and Jerry Miculek. Other BWB instructors that did not participate this time through include Lisa Munson, Athena Lee, Sheila Hoekstra, and more. In other words, many of the top women shooters in the world.
I could go on and on about what we did each day and how the instruction worked, and how the campers were introduced to each of the individual weapons systems, and each of the stages that we worked through, and so forth. But you will need to be fortunate enough to qualify to attend one of these camps, and then attend one to find out. Let me give you my top 7 highlights of the camp.
Top 7 Highlights:
- Thursday afternoon we arrived to check in for the camp and find our bunking arrangements etc. MAGGIE REESE is running the check in. I didn’t even go all “fanboy” or anything. Very nice young lady, and one of the most accomplished woman 3 gun shooters in the world, and a TV star. Thursday night at dinner introductions, I would learn just how accomplished Maggie really is I only had a surface understanding at that point.
- Day 1. The instruction is focused on refreshing everyone on drawing from a holster. Jerry Miculek steps in for a couple of pointers with a Blue gun in his holster. While Jerry was focused on a couple of specific techniques during the draw stroke, and was working on reinforcing getting the gun up his hands were just kind of doing things at his side. I swear, I saw that blue gun jump from his holster to his hand. He twitched his wrist and the next thing I knew that gun was in his hand. Incredible speed, and he wasn’t consciously drawing the weapon.
- Mossberg 930 JM Pro Series. I liked it so much I bought one.
- Day 1. Jerry Miculek running a Bill Drill. I am in awe.
- Day 1. We ran a technique drill with Maggie Reese and Lena Miculek. Draw from holster, 2 shots each on 3 steel R to L, then L to R. Maggie told me “Wow, you have a really fast draw”. Then she and Lena proceed to help me get that first shot on target faster.
- Day 3: We are wrapping up some extra shooting time at the end of the day on Sunday and we are working a stage with 100 yd rifle targets, move and shoot handgun, then shooting shot gun (steel and clays) on the move. I wrap up the stage and Jerry walks up to me and asks “Can I shoot your rifle”? Of course I said yes.
- I got out of the office and outside for a few days. I got to spend that time with my wife and 30 new friends, and no kids.
What did I learn through the whole thing?
- I got to push myself to go faster, and I think I improved there.
- Semi-Auto shotgun beats pump action in this game.
- A front bead on your shotgun is good enough, it does not need to be aimed through two sites like a rifle.
- Grip changes to aid in faster transitions.
- How to shoot steel more consistently.
- My wife does a pretty good job wielding a firearm.
- Lena is fast, Kay is faster, and Jerry is Jerry. Just being around them, watching and listening, I learned so much.
- Shooting clay pigeons that are launched from a steel popper array is FUN.
If you are a woman shooter, or know a woman shooter who wants an introductory pistol or rifle class send them to BWB. The team at BWB runs an incredible program that is unlike any other training that I have had in my adult life. It is fun, it is useful, and they make it easy for everyone.
Take that last sentence for just a few minutes and put it in perspective. BWB just ran a 3+day event in Iowa where everyone, and most every primary (non-range) piece of equipment was brought on site. They orchestrated lodging, coordinated sponsors, coordinated travel and arranged meals. The hosted 24 (I think) individuals made up of couples (babes with friends), as well as the traditional “women only” campers. We had attendees from Texas, Colorado, The Midwest, Alaska, and Ontario. There were a total of seven BWB staff for the event. During the event there were video and still photographic efforts underway as well. And the whole thing went off with few if any glitches. If you have ever had to put on any kind of event you know the kind of effort that goes into what I just described. Deb Ferns leads the effort at BWB. If you ever get a chance to meet her at SHOT, at a Camp, at any other event that she is shooting take some time to say hello and thanks for promoting and growing our shooting sports. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, tenacity, and people skills to build what she has built with BWB and to maintain it.