Thursday, March 26, 2015


Anyone who has been in the firearms industry for any length of time, or anyone who has been shooting awhile, can tell you ear protection is a very real concern. So many older gentlemen come into our range with a "gift" that never stops giving - ear ringing. Not so long ago, one was considered weak if they needed ear protection. Because of this, many people wouldn't wear it. Now, they have the "gift". These poor men hear ringing all day, every day. Even when they sleep, the ringing continues. It permeates their dreams and every interaction they have with others. It is a constant companion that feels like anything BUT a "gift". Knowing this, Travis (the hot hubby) and I have been growing more concerned about our own hearing now that we are so regularly exposed to loud gunfire.

Currently, the house and senate are reviewing bills that would allow suppressors to be legalized (HB 433 & SB 803). We are among only 11 states that have not yet made suppressors legal. I think this is because people believe too much of what they see in movies. James Bond can use a suppressor to shoot and kill an individual while the people in the very next room are none the wiser. That isn't reality though. Guns are loud. Suppressors can't hide that. They do, however, lower the outgoing decibel level to one that, while still loud, won't impair your future ability to hear. Even if suppressors do become legal and many Illinoisans exercise their new-found right to utilize them, many people won't because they won't want to spend the extra money for one. For Trav and I, this is an issue. Regardless what happens with the aforementioned bills, we will still be regularly exposed to unsuppressed firearms.

The two most popular forms of ear protection on the market now are muffs and plugs. Plugs are tiny pieces of foam that are inserted into the ear and expand upon insertion. Muffs cover your ears just like earmuffs and block out a designation level of sound. Each of these options can be worn alone or they can be paired up for further protection.

The level of sound muffs block out is rated in NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). Essentially the higher the NRR rating, the more sound will be blocked by the muffs. Therefore, the higher the NRR rating on your ear protection, the safer your ears are. These options, particularly when used together, are perfectly safe for indoor & outdoor shooting range use.
The problem Trav and I run into is we are often exposed to these high levels of noise in the lobby as well. As customers pass from one door of our vestibule through the other, it sometimes happens that both doors may come open at the same time. This isn't a big deal once or twice. However, Trav and I sit by those doors everyday all day as we wait on customers behind the counter and I am beginning to think we need some sort of protection there as well.
Obviously, the traditional shooter methods of ear protection aren't going to work when we are waiting on customers because we need to be able to hear them. Fortunately, a local audiologist (Kendra Watts, AuD) and her husband are regulars here at MTM Arms. After talking to her about our issue, she brought in this pamphlet...


...where I found this

The DefendEar Hunter Passive is an ear piece that is inserted into the ear and will allow me to hear customers in person and on the phone while also blocking the higher decibel noise of gun fire if someone opens too many doors at once! It obviously doesn't take much to excite me because the idea of this was so perfect I couldn't even handle it!

In true Adrienne form, I didn't waste any time getting hold of this. Trav and I went in to get impressions made a few days ago.

If these babies work as well as the silicone putty in my ear did, I won't have to worry about hearing loss anymore! We should receive them soon and when we do, I'll be sure to provide you all with an honest review. If they deliver what they promise, I'll have one less thing to worry about and that always makes me a happy lady!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Introducing LADIES & LEAD...

Welcome, gun-toting ladies (and ladies who want to be)! There are SO MANY things I can't wait to share with you! We are going to go in-depth about guns, accessories, personalization, training, and SO MUCH MORE! But, before we do all of that business, I'd like to start with a confession...

I used to hate guns.

Yes, I just typed that. It is now forever in print. I wish I could tell you I was the local neighborhood Annie Oakley growing up, but I wasn't. The only contact I had with a gun was my brother's toy bazooka. Even the sound of that was annoying to me. I was scared of guns. They seemed to hold so much power - the power of life and death. I didn't want any part of that kind of power.

I had this same feeling, the feeling of having far too much power, the first time I got behind the wheel of a car. I was certain I would eventually murder a family of five because I couldn't be trusted to hold a steering wheel. Just as that fear dissipated the more I drove, so did my fear of firearms.

Over a decade ago, my husband took me shooting for the first time. We walked into a dingy, dirty hole-in-the-wall joint that smelled like stale coffee and cigarettes. There were pictures of decaying, bloody zombies and various middle-eastern "terrorists" on the walls. Everything in there had a layer of dust so thick it gave the whole space a grayish hue. I felt filthy just being there. That was just the lobby!!!!

The shooting range area was far worse. Nasty, lead-filled carpet lined the miniscule stalls, which were the only thing separating me from the creepy, gangster-wannabe in the stall next to mine. As someone who is sensitive to loud noise, my cute, pink 23 decibel covering muffs didn't in any way protect me from the assault my ears were about to experience. As my husband yelled instructions at me, that seemed to be in a foreign tongue, I quickly popped off a round (or five, it all happened very fast). I'm pretty sure my hands shook the rest of our visit to that creepy dungeon.

Walking out felt like a prison release. The bright sun attacked my eyes to remind me that there is still a happy world outside of that horrid establishment and I was free to carry on with my life as if I had never been there.

This disconcerting experience replayed several times over the next year. My love for my husband and our complete lack of having anything at all in common forced me to grit my teeth and bear it. Needless to say, shooting for me was not love at first shot.

About the tenth time I went to that dungeon, it started to change form. The layer of dust made it feel more homey and lived in. The stale smell of cigarettes and coffee told me the old men that gathered there every morning were having another gab session. The man behind the counter, once seeming gruff and curt, now greeted me with a smile. The thing that had changed the most about my shooting experience was a sudden fondness I was growing for it!

Out of nowhere, I was loading mags like I knew what I was doing. I was still all over the target, but I wasn't petrified to pull the trigger. I was actually even able to start keeping my eyes open when I squeezed it, even though I knew a loud boom was coming. I started to feel something really cool... I kind of started to feel like Laura Croft, bad a** tomb raider! From that moment on, I was hooked!

Just like anything you do over time, the newness wears off and a deeper love and appreciation for it begins to grow. I don't feel like Laura Croft anymore, but I do feel competent, prepared, and skilled. Honestly, that feels better than feeling like Laura Croft.

What's my point? Why share this? I want you to remember we all start somewhere. I want to walk through these experiences with you. I want to be with you in the Laura Croft moment. I want to walk you through the process of becoming competent and skilled. I want you to have the opportunity to become a shooter. Why? WHY NOT?!?! It's practical, it's fun, it's competitive, it's interesting...(I could go on and on...) I want to see you face your fear of guns head on and overcome it. I genuinely believe guns are great and useful tools. Maybe the only stopping you from finding that out for yourself is fear of the unknown. This blog is going to get rid of that obstacle.