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DTI Women-Historic Elk Mountain Hotel Women’s Defensive Handgun Retreat

The DTI Women Defensive Handgun Retreat at @The Historic Elk Mountain Hotel in WY this past weekend was a memorable event. To quote one attendee, spending the weekend with " amazing, fabulous, gritty and grand women" was the place to be. There were real ranchwife-cowgirls at the Range on the range, medical professionals, an anthropologist, a gun range/store owner, a stay at home mom and moms and grown daughters and mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. They were from Wyoming, Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma. What they had in common though was the determination to pertect their defensive skills and learn more about competent gun handling. They struggled with heavy triggers and carry pistols that were small for their hands and holsters that were less than ideas. This is not an easy class and they are told it would not be fun, but would be a lot of work! They found that out and relished the challenges, including the WY wind! And the moose in the parking lot on Sunday morning! Each night they returned to the hotel for wonderful dinners placed graciously in front of them by Chef Susan with desserts beyond description! And they went home on Monday, tired but confident. What a weekend!

Benita and Father’s Day!

It was Father’s Day, and Benita came to class "for the team". It was her husband’s wish that she and their three young adult children (two sons and a daughter) attend a DTI Defensive Handgun class. It was undoubtedly the least enjoyable way Benita could imagine to spend the weekend. Saturday was so hot and miserable that it was surprising anyone could speak, listen or learn anything. We all struggled on through however and amazingly everyone did learn. The heat was not the only frustration. Both Benita and her daughter Rachel had brand new, right-out-of-the box Glock 42s. And, as sometimes happens with new 42s, usually as a result of the low power practice 380 ammunition, the guns were consistently one shooters. Benita and Rachel were listening, in spite of the heat, and quickly mastered clearing stoppages and they were speedy at it in no time! But frustrated beyond, beyond! Eventually the temperature went down, along with the sun and class ended in the cool of the Hoosier twilight. Morning brought cooler, fresher air! And, a switch to a S&W M&P Shield 380 EZ sparked the beginning of accuracy and solid gun handling skills other than clearing stoppages for both of them! Now it was possible to fire more than one round. Now it was possible to see multiple hits on the target which were is the desired location. Now it was possible to see how resetting the trigger works. Now it was possible to imagine using a handgun for self protection. Now it was possible for Benita to imagine…..oh wait. When did that moment happen? Was it because she struggled and struggled and master accuracy and the trigger in spite of the frustration? Was she learning inspite of the miserable circumstances? Oh yes she was! And when she realized what she had mastered, you could see the confidence in the set of her shoulders and the tilt of her head. Yes, she could do this! And Rachel too, but she had been more positive from the beginning and saw the benefit immediately for herself. But the best was yet to come. Benita proudly passed the final drill confirming that she could handle a gun competently. And then, (I could hardly suppress a grin), when Benita went to her husband and said that if she just had a Shield EZ she would be so happy. And she made that Father’s Day one of the happiest her husband could have imagined! Way to go Benita! And Rachel too!


Trigger finger blister and misses on paper target!

Sophie asked, "Is there a connection between the blister I get on the pad of my trigger finger and the fact that so many of my hits are on the left edge of the center of my paper target? My finger gets really sore. And I get really tired of seeing how many misses I have! Oh, and I use a Glock."

Mabel says, "Yes, there could well be! If the middle of the pad of your finger isn’t squarely on the trigger, actually on top of the tab in the middle of the Glock trigger, you may well be pushing your shots to the left! And doing this repeatedly could easily cause a blister. The trigger tab on the Glock trigger must be depressed and this happens as you press the trigger straight, flat back. If your finger is not squarely on top of the tab, but on the side, it will still eventually depress, but your finger is sliding across the edge of the tab and this makes the blister and causes you to push the muzzle to the left during the shot!

Mabel Monday on Thursday

​Mabel Monday on Thursday

Sue asks: Dear Mabel, I love to wear skinny jeans but now that I want to learn to carry concealed and get my permit, I’m not sure it will work. When try to put my Ruger LCP in my inside the waistband holster, I think I end up pointing the muzzle at ME because the holster is held in so tightly and then if I can get it in the holster, there is a huge bulge in the waistband! I love my skinny jeans more than the idea of concealed carry! What can I do?!!
Mabel says: Sorry Sue. The answer is no skinny jeans! There just isn’t any extra room to accommodate inside the waistband carry without a being incredibly uncomfortable and creating a lump at the waistband and however far below the waistband that the holster and handgun extend. And, although you could cover that lump with a pullover concealment garment​, you would still be uncomfortable and it would not chance the fact that reholstering is now a very dangerous prospect. You need to be able to slide the muzzle of your handgun straight into the holster and NOT have to pry it in by first pointing it at yourself to facilitate getting the muzzle started into the top of the holster! Inside the waistband carry and skinny jeans are not a proper fit for each other!

DTIWomen at Elk Mountain, WY

Just an update on the DTI Women at the Elk Mountain Hotel for 2017! Two classes are again scheduled and Susan at the hotel is preparing the rooms and menus!
Level II class. Concealed Carry – Comfort and Action.

June 2 (beginning 3 pm) to June 5 (breakfast). Learn to be comfortable carrying your handgun concealed, and be capable of drawing it and handling it under stress. Learn about movement and use of cover. Bring the gear you regularly use or want to use. Confirm your accuracy.
Level I class. Basic Defensive Handgun Skills

Sept 8 (beginning 3 pm) to Sept 11(breakfast) . Learn to handle your handgun safely and competently. Learn to draw from the holster and be accurate. Learn also about avoidance and non-lethal skills and tools.
The weekend starts with lecture on Friday afternoon followed by one of Susan’s fabulous dinners with time for getting to know one another. She will send us on our way, on both Saturday and Sunday, with a wonderful breakfast and picnic lunch. Each night we will return once more to the relaxing atmosphere of Elk Mountain Hotel for another excellent dinner and time to talk about the day and what we learned. Monday will see us all on our way home with new friends and new skills following Susan’s farewell breakfast.

Which room will you get? The Ester Hobart Morris, the Lewis Armstrong, Eliza Swain, or the Jim Bridger?

You can check it all out on the Elk Mountain Hotel web page www.elkmountainhotel.com and see photos on DTIWomen Facebook page.

ALL RESERVATIONS made through Susan at the Elk Mountain Hotel at:

Come join us in wonderful Wyoming!

Robar PolymAR 15-VF

Hunting at Shawnee Ridge, OH with the Robar PolymAR 15-VF. A Painted Desert Sheep with two curls. Then measuring him for size. November, 2016.

Mabel Monday: High Grip Modification

Robin writes: Mabel, do you think the High Grip Modification from Robar Guns would help me? My Glock 19 rubs a raw spot on my middle finger every time go to the range to practice and fire more than about 20 rounds. It really is distracting not to mention painful!
Mabel says: "Absolutely yes! The High Grip Modification should take the pressure off of that spot on your finger. Your finger should wrap further around the grip and that already tender sport on you middle finger should be fine."

Robar PolyMAR-15 VF

Here is the direct link to the Robar Guns and the PolyMAR-15VF


Glock 42 with Features from Robar Guns

The compact, single column size of the Clock 42 in 380 offers several advantages. It works for people with average hands, great for smaller hands and is yet very usable for large hands, and concealable for most everyone. A great choice. Robar Guns, however, has come up with some customized features which enhance its usability. Here are photos of my G42 which just returned from Robar Guns with the custom features which work for me. First, the forward end of the trigger guard has been rounded while the High Grip Modification, done where the trigger guard and the grip meet, allows someone with very short fingers to snuggle up high behind the trigger guard and have a shorter reach to the trigger than the original design. Then both the grip and the trigger guard have been give a pebbly type texture, easy on the hands but allowing for a secure contact between hands and the grip. The Half Moon cuts at the base of the grip are great for actually being able to grasp the base of the magazine for efficient removal. A great solution for small hands and big hands. Additionally, the Vickers Slide Release has a slight roll at the top so that there is just enough contour to make it readily operable for all thumbs also as a slide lock. The Ameriglo Spartan Operator with Tritium can quickly draw the eye in for immediate sight alignment. And finally, between the Ghost Edge Connector and the N3 Metal Finish on all the internal parts, including the barrel, everything that moves does so with incredible smoothness. Freddie Blish and his crew of skilled and competent gunsmiths did a fantastic job! Thank you!

Robar PolymAR15VF

Lesson 3 from Robar Guns Writer’s Conference

I decided to wait for the return of my PolymAr15 VF before addressing the third day at Gunsite with Robar Guns. Nothing was done to change the performance, no need because it has never even had a hiccup, but now has a couple of updates. It now has a BCM Wolf Gray Stock (formerly black) and the same gray polymer keyed grip panels.
Although I have been using this rifle for classes for just shy of two years and am well familiar with its benefits, it was exciting to watch men who are used to the typical heavy AR use a variety of the PolymAR15s Robar offers! No one complains when the rifle is as light weight as some handguns! Approximately 5.5 lbs, +/_ hanging off your shoulders instead of 9 plus! Incredible! Quick to mount to the shoulder and just as quick to stabilize and find the sights, wether Aimpoint Red Dot or iron sights. A smooth crisp trigger, and just as crisp trigger reset enhances your ability to get right back on the target for efficient accuracy. So, no matter if you are 5 ft tall or over 6 ft tall, this rifle has its place when efficiency is paramount. Or, when wearing a rifle for assigned extended duty time is required. Or when someone is of smaller stature or has a bad back or has plenty of other gear to carry. During our drills, we used the PolymArs at distances from 3 yds to 25 yds with timed drills. Excellent results, even when we went to the 200 yard range!

And cleaning was a breeze with all the internal parts NP3ed!

Here is a group of women who have never fired an AR learning that it isn’t too complicate, too heavy or too much recoil for them! They were astounded!

A Most Unusual Happening

At the Women’s Defensive Handgun Class this past weekend, we saw a most unusual sight. When Mary went to reload her new Ruger LCR 9mm revolver after a drill in which she only fired four times, the cylinder would not open. It took a couple of moments for us to discover the reason. A bullet was sticking out of the front of the cylinder chamber to the right of the barrel! What! Another moment of thought and we slowly tilted the barrel upward and sure enough the bullet disappeared and we were able to open the cylinder! When we pulled the moon clip out, there was the case with powder spilling out and no bullet. A little more tilt of the barrel upward and out slide the bullet! This was ammunition from a reputable manufacturer of practice ammunition. The best guess is that it was a round which was not adequately crimped and the recoil energy from firing the other four rounds jarred the bullet loose. When Mary titled the barrel downward to open the cylinder to reload (with moon clips she had to reload all five rounds at once), the loose bullet slide forward and thus prevented the cylinder from opening. Just when you think you have seen most everything the most unusual pops up!

Mabel Monday, March 13, 2017

Mabel Monday!

Jack asked, "How do I even convince my wife to carry a flashlight? She doesn’t even think she needs to have one of those let alone thinking about protecting herself from bad guys!"

Mabel says, "Start by giving her a small flashlight. Anything from one that goes on her key ring to a small one to slip in her handbag. If you discover (by asking) that she hasn’t used it after having it for awhile, wait for that perfect time when you are out and about together when a flashlight would be useful and ask to borrow it. Tell her how glad you were that she had it for you to borrow! (Ignore the one in your pocket!) It is a start for her to learn about what is "useful" to her. You are not the only one Mabel has heard this from!

Lesson 2 from Robar Writer’s Conference

Spending the second day on the range at Gunsite with custom 1911s from Robar was an extraordinary experience! After using Glocks on the first day, trying to compare that with 1911’s on the second day is the well known apples to oranges comparison. With a history more than twice as long as Glocks, the 1911 is still an ever popular handgun.
All that said, here are some observations after working exclusively with 1911’s on the second day. There was little doubt that each of the participants scored higher on the same proficiency test with the 1911s than they did with Glocks! One comment was that 1911s are more forgiving, but that has to be defined as the result of a shorter and lighter trigger press. Either way, the results were fantastic! The fundamentals skills don’t change and still must be well practiced, but there is no doubt one can be very accurate and go very fast with 1911’s! Did you want that in 45 ACP or 9 mm?
But, on the other side of the coin, cleaning a Glock can be done quickly and there are fewer parts to keep track of! Why did that 1911 spring go flying trough the air as if jet propelled? Just be sure that internal parts from either 1911s, Glocks or any of your other handguns are coated with Robar’s NP3. That facilitates the quick, easy and thorough cleaning of all the parts and pieces of any handgun.
Below are pictures of the custom 1911s from Robar with a description.
Top pistol – RC-1911JCP in Black Satin Roguard and NP3
2rd Row from Top – (left) RC-1911CQB in PolyT2 Tan (right) Colt M45A1
3rd Row from Top – (left) RC-1911TSP in PolyT2 Gun Metal Grey (right) RC-1911 in PolyT2 Dark Green
Bottom Row – (left) Caspian 1911 in PolyT2 Black (right) RC-1911 in Black Satin Roguard and NP3
Also shown are Raven Concealment Holsters and the new SEAL1 cleaning kit.

Lesson 1 from @Robar Guns Writer’s Conference

Robar Guns has long been the leader in grip reductions for Glocks, but they have now come up with the second modification which cinches the deal for making Glocks or Springfield XDs useable for people with smaller hands and shorter fingers than the average person. By carving away material from under the trigger guard right where the trigger guard and the frame meet, they have created an perfect indentation for the middle finger of the strong hand to snuggle up into tightly. It’s called the High Grip Modification and that is exactly what it does. Combined with a standard grip reduction, it allows the smaller than average strong/master hand to engage the entire grip at a higher position than the original design. The result is the trigger finger then has a shorter reach to the trigger. The small hand can now achieve a grip which is closer to the ideal of having the barrel and forearm in a straight line. The need to compromise and therefore reduce the effectiveness of the grip by turning the strong hand around to the side of the grip to reach the trigger is no longer necessary. After years of frustration with pairing a smaller than average hand with the grip of a Glock 19, last week at the Writer’s Conference at Gunsite, I was able to shoot over a hundred rounds without any the usual malfunctions caused by a less than adequate grip. The same modifications but on a Glock 43 were excellent as well.

Now add a FALX trigger by Overwatch Precision which will sit further back within the trigger guard than the original trigger thus enhancing the shorter reach to the trigger. This all for the completes the perfect package of modifications for small hands.

And two other modifications are icing on the cake. One is having material scalloped out from around the magazine release button and replacing that button with one from Vickers. This allows easy access to a user friendly button. The Vickers slide stop lever is also user friendly. There is a small rolled edge at the top which helps the thumb stay in place when applying upward pressure to the lever.

All of these modifications can be excellent changes for anyone, but perhaps they will be most particularly useful for women who have struggled to use a Glock or Springfield XD, which is a little bit or a lot too big for their hand. Here are true solutions they never knew were possible. Thank you Robar Guns!

Robar Guns Writer’s Conference

What an awesome three days we had last week at the Robar Writer’s Conference. Each day was filled to the brim with information supplied by our wonderful host, Freddie Blish, owner of @Robar Guns, along with two (out of 7) of his knowledgeable and competent gunsmiths, Jesse and Jim. And, to top it all off, the weather was perfect and what better range location could there have been than at @Gunsite.

Day One was a chance to try all the difference customizations offered by Robar for Glocks and Springfield XDs. Sounds easy enough until we realized we would be trying out these features while working on the challenges presented to us by instructor Jeff Gonzales! No slacking allowed! What a grand opportunity to fail! That of course, is another way of saying that a lot of learning was taking place!

Day Two we learned about, and experienced, the variety of options available for 1911’s from Robar in both 9mm and 45 ACP. Exciting, demanding and challenging. Freddie put us through all the same drills as the first day. The differences in performance from the day before were very interesting!

Day Three was for the Robar PolymAR rifles. Short distances, long distances, slow shots and timed shots, standing or prone our skills were challenged again while the rifles performed flawlessly. Freddie presented some "eye opening" experiences for us with optics as well.

And, each day we had to clean the guns we had used! Actually, that was the easy part as will be explained.

More details to follow!

Mabel Monday – Carrying on Duty in Plain Clothes

Mabel Mondays!

Jim asked, "How do I convince the female agents in our "plain clothes" agency how important it is to carry their issued weapon consistently? They have no problem giving me a list of reasons of why not to carry!"

Mabel says, "Jim. I asked a woman who is recently retired from an agency which also worked "plain clothes" and "undercover" to tell us her thoughts on this critical subject because as a supervisor she too heard the "list" of reasons why not to carry from her agents. Here is her comment.

"Obligation – something (as a formal contract, a promise or the demands of conscience or custom) that obligates one to a course of action." In our roles as police officers, we swear an oath or obligation the first day on the job. That obligation speaks to our newfound responsibility to the community we serve as well as our fellow law enforcement officers.

In my particular discipline, we worked in a plainclothes/covert unit exclusively and carried the issued handgun in a concealed manner under ordinary street clothes or business attire. Considering the normal attire, it was easy for Agents to "get away with" not carrying the issued handgun while on duty, in violation of department policy. Some Agents were guilty of this, especially when in the office completing "administrative duties". They complained that the equipment wasn’t comfortable and they were in a "secure building" after all. Desk drawers were the holster of choice for some agents. Our female agents were more likely to not carry their weapon than our male agents. Why does a perfectly reasonable and conscientious agent in almost every aspect of their profession chooses to fail their obligation over this issue?

Consider the effects of that decision to not carry on your partners and their mindset. Do they ask you if you have your weapon before you leave the office to work in the street? Do you think they wonder if you’ll have their back if you can’t even carry your issued weapon? How many times have you gone home unarmed because you forgot it in your desk drawer? What example are you setting for the other officers in your agency? If you aren’t concerned about what others think about you and your conduct as a police officer, at least consider what your partner thinks. You know, the agent that you spend more time with than your own family some times. The one that you count on when it’s just the two of you in the mud and blood and the beer.

Trust is hard earned. Trust between partners is even more precious. Trust isn’t issued to you with your shield and equipment. Trust comes from doing the job everyday and being the officer that your partner counts on. Your partner deserve more from you than your desire to ease your discomfort. I have to believe that the officer standing beside me is just as committed to the obligation as I am. Just as committed to my safety as I am to theirs. I’m obligated to protect my community and my partner! I can only do that if my tools are at the ready – all of my tools!

It’s still a tough job for females. There is still an expectation that we will fail. I will always remember the first female agent on our job. She worked undercover investigations and kicked ass and took names in the early days of women in policing. What I remember most were the stories that some of the older male agents told about her and how well she did her job. Those agents that I had so much respect for, respected her for her abilities. We strive to be part of a team, to be a partner in this profession. She was the example that I followed.

There is never an excuse to be unarmed while on duty. Let us resolve to be worthy of their trust and uphold the obligation that we swore. After all, someone is watching you, trying to find an example to follow. Don’t let your guard down – ever. Always Victorious!

The “Sponge Drill”

These law enforcement firearms instructors at the Regional IALEFI Training Conference in Bend, OR are experiencing the challenges of learning to shoot a handgun with a grip too large to hold comfortably or efficiently. They are further burdened with extra weight hanging from their hands, much as a smaller-statured officer often experiences when using a handgun. Extra weight eventually takes it toll and changes body posture.


The Sponge Drill, Vicki Farnam, DTI, Defense Training International,  law enforcement training, LEO training, law enforcement instructors, LEO instructors, teaching women to shoot


The Sponge Drill, Vicki Farnam, DTI, Defense Training International,  law enforcement training, LEO training, law enforcement instructors, LEO instructors, teaching women to shoot, IALEFI


The Sponge Drill, Vicki Farnam, DTI, Defense Training International,  law enforcement training, LEO training, law enforcement instructors, LEO instructors, teaching women to shoot, IALEFI

It is essential for male instructors to experience these effects if they are to overcome the challenges of teaching women to shoot!

Learn more about these and other methods taught in DTI courses.



Vicki writes:

In April I had the privilege and honor to teach Handgun/Patrol Rifle at the first annual “Behind the Badge: Women in Law Enforcement Survival Training” held at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in Camden, AR. Schawntell Arberry was the courageous ALETA training instructor behind this incredible event. She was looking for a way to enhance and promote survival training for women officers and she accomplished it very well!

Schawntell had attended my class, “Challenges in Teaching Firearms to Female Officers” at the 1013 ALEETA conference in Wheeling, IL. When she returned to Arkansas, she was determined to create an all women’s training conference for women officers and taught by women. The attendees where highly motivated, worked with incredible effort, and their successful accomplishments were the best reward an instructor coulud ask for!

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