I have been shooting since I was 12. BB guns before that sure, but the first time I went out with real guns with my dad was in the Arizona desert at 12. He started me off with a 22 rifle. After emptying it out twice I handed it back to him to load again. I was not paying attention behind me and didn't realize he switched guns on me. So the third round when I went to shoot my shoulder nearly knocked out of its socket. -or at least it felt that way- Good ol daddy dearest wanted to see how I handled a 30 odd 6. I handled it all right but a heads up would have been nice.

I have been shooting on and off ever since and have owned guns myself since I was about 21. Growing up with guns my dad was always very careful with teaching me and my 4 sisters about the safety of them. While I felt semi skilled and knowledgeable thanks to my dad, there is a whole lot more to learn.

I took the Idaho Enhanced Concealed Carry Weapon Class in late July and learned a lot about the legal side of carrying. It also earned me a card saying that I can legally carry in 39 states. We also had some time on the range and shot 100 rounds. That is all great and dandy and I am grateful that I took the class and for what I learned. That being said there is nothing like being practiced with your gun. Having regular practice at the range and on the course is imperative. Most of the time if you are in a real life and death situation the average time to react is 3 seconds or less.

I recently took an advanced course called Defensive Pistol Level 1 with Integrated Defensive (IDS)  at an outdoor range called Double Tapp Range.

Double Tapp Range, Photo By: Nikki West

The instructor is Ben Anguiano and he is fantastic. Excessively knowledgeable and knows how to teach and train like no one I have ever worked with before. While practicing our second amendment rights is important, it is imperative that you don't just own a gun, but know how to properly use it. By properly using it I don't just mean how to pew pew at a static range. I mean know how to move and run your gun. If you have someone advancing or if stress and pressure are high would you still know how to handle it?

Nikki West Gun Training

That is what Ben does, he puts you in mental situations to make sure you can handle the unimaginable. We did a ton of drills with fake guns and then moved on to the real ones. In total I shot about 200 rounds using multiple guns and in different scenarios. He engraves not only the fundamentals but the skills and knowhow so that I feel more confident in difficult situations. I also got to shoot an AR15 for the first time which was quite an experience in itself. For the record, he was also quite impressed with my target skills, even with moving drills. My dad would be proud.

Nikki and Ben, Nikki's First Target Success

I plan on going back out to train and practice with Ben along with my man Kris. Learning how to effectively work as a team if god forbid something did happen in our home or when we are together is another important and possibly life saving skillset. I would highly recommend talking with Ben about your experience and the type of training you are looking for. While yes the Idaho Enhanced Concealed Carry Weapon Class is important, the life saving portion is knowing how to quickly and effectively use your weapon. That is what Integrated Defensive is for.

Integrated Defensive, Nikki West Shooting
Integrated Defensive, Nikki West Shooting
Integrated Defensive, Nikki West Shooting

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