The Cornered Cat
The look

Everyone knows what a serious firearms instructor looks like: bald or shaven head, dark sunglasses, 5.11 pants, black or tan polo shirt. Pictures of these guys all look alike, with shadowy backgrounds and high-contrast mood lighting (yeah, so about those sunglasses, guys…). Almost a Men in Black look, only without the suit.

Well, I’m setting out to change that. I am a serious firearms instructor, but I can’t manage that look. Nor do I want to! For one thing, I have hair and really intend to keep it. For another, I specialize in realistic training for realistic people. It’s not about how badazz you look; it’s about being competent with a simple tool designed to help you save your life. It’s about being prepared to handle whatever life throws at you in a very practical way. It’s about keeping the life you already have, not about becoming someone else entirely.

So here’s the look I’m after: competent, realistic, practical, professional. If I can manage “feminine” while I’m at it, I’ll take that.

After the SHOT Show, my friend Oleg Volk took some of his friends and me out into the desert to shoot us. It’s okay, he’s a photographer. (And a darn fine shot, too.) I wasn’t wearing my teaching uniform, just a slightly casual “meeting other professionals” outfit I threw together for the range. Here’s the result:

I love Oleg’s work. But what do you think — did I meet my goal?


8 Responses to The look

  1. wkeller says:

    Great look Kathy!! Honestly, I think most folks that take training see through the “garb” in the first few minutes. They are looking for an instructor really willing to teach – not just talk. Nothing to do with the uniform.

    My personal bug-a-boo with trainers is that they don’t smile, don’t engage. I’ve taken more training from hardasses than I care to remember – and it’s no better than a truly engaged instructor.

    So, for me, I do the 5.11, black polo with short hair (of course, mother nature is really helping me on that one! 🙂 ) but I do my best to act like a real human in the classroom and on the range.

  2. Old NFO says:

    It’s not what you look like, it’s how well you TEACH! And your look is MUCH better than a lot I see!

    • Freedomisearned says:

      That is the truth. When I go to the range I dress comfortably. I try to wear something unexpected, like a pink hat or a colorful warm scarf. I am a female, I refuse looking like Rambo. I think you look like someone who knows what they are doing. Works for me.

  3. kalaryn says:

    I would take you seriously and listen but then again I figure you know more than me so I’m instantly going to be all ears.

    wkeller said something about trainers doing a lot of talking, so far other than my friend teaching me stuff I’ve had one class and I feel I paid the guy to tell me stories more than I did for information that would be helpful.

  4. kalaryn says:

    One other thing, your appearance is inviting, I would instantly feel comfortable and at ease to ask questions no matter what the questions would be.

  5. larryarnold says:

    I have way too much fun teaching to be “serious” enough for “that look.”

    Me? Gray hair medium length, too much around the belt, smile. (There’s a shot of our last Women on Target class at I’m the one on the left, that isn’t female.)

    I do use a vest with pockets big enough to hold my fake gun, a BandAid kit for thumb-behind-the-slide, target scoring pen, and a stapler.

  6. Female and Armed says:

    I like it! I admit, I wear the 5.11s and polo but I smile, I laugh with students and try to make the classes fun for all of us. I can’t wait to take one of your classes, I love your personality and humor and know it will be wonderful!

  7. GunDiva says:

    How on earth have I been around and yet have failed to register on this site?

    Depending on my mood, I teach in either 5.11s or jeans. Now that I have my fancy polos from SHOT, I’ll be wearing those when I teach.

    I try to have fun with my classes and keep them involved in a conversation rather than lecture during the classroom portion.

Post a Comment