April 26, 2024

Boondocks FTA “Pow Wow” is always unforgettable, invaluable

Therese Apel

The attendees of the 2024 Midsouth Pow Wow at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy

On the weekend of April 12-14, I got to do something only about 60 other women got to do when I went to the 2024 Midsouth Pow Wow at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy.

The things we learned were absolutely invaluable, as they are every year when Boondocks brings in some of the best instructors in the country to teach and direct us on how to better know and use our firearms for self defense, practice, and sport.

Be sure and watch the video attached to this story for the full effect, and gun folks, forgive me when I use basic terms. There was a time that I was intimidated to talk about guns because I didn’t know what all the words meant, so we’re going to keep this basic for anyone new who might be interested in joining Boondocks or coming to the Pow Wow next year.

One of the stations was about concealed carry purses. We got to shoot through a purse to see how it felt.

There were four stations that we rotated through as groups, each as important as the last.

In a time when the feds are making task forces to stop carjackings in Jackson, Boondocks was teaching us how to defend ourselves in the event of a carjacking. We learned exactly what it’s like to fire your gun through a windshield, and how to do it most effectively. That’s something you don’t really have a chance to practice very often, and the element of surprise in any critical incident can dictate life or death.

The thing is, this is a very real situation we could find ourselves in at any time, and now we have actually practiced what to do with live fire, so we can go home and practice with dry fire. Body memory is everything.

Learning how to defend against a carjacking was a very important part of the Pow Wow this year.

I think my next favorite station was the competition shooting. We went through a course and then shot steel targets, both for a time. It’s not only fun for the competition part, but it’s fun to see how comfortable you are shooting a little faster than normal, and not taking a few seconds to line up your sights every time you pull the trigger. And you know what’s the greatest feeling? When your instructor tells you you’re actually good enough to compete already, and a little practice could make you a contender.

Sometimes you don’t know those things because you’re using the wrong gun. I’m the queen of smaller weapons that don’t print under my clothes, but what that means is that when I target practice with them, I suck. Sorry, that’s just the truth. I’m decent with a heavier weapon, but the ones I have carried most of my life are smaller so I can carry in a purse, or with a dress, or under “TV reporter clothes” as I call them.

Boondocks had a station where Glock had set up targets and had several different models out on the table so we could shoot the ones we wanted to try and see what fit us best. I tried the Glock 43X, which is still small but has a thicker grip. Nope. I don’t think I even hit the steel target on the front row.

So I asked him for a bigger one, and he put a Glock 19 in my hand. I held it up and sighted it and pulled the trigger. *Ping.* It was weird, because the absolute confidence that came from that little ding really inspired me, and I shot three more times in rapid succession. *Ping, ping, ping* the steel target went.

“That’s your gun,” the instructor said to me. I grinned and replied, “THAT’S my gun.”

There was a station in which we learned about different concealed carry purses and how to best position your gun in the purse. We were shown the fastest way to draw from the purse, and we also had the chance to shoot through one, because it’s really not quite like you think it would be. It’s hard to aim, and it’s not intuitive when it’s in your purse. It was a great opportunity to be able to learn that before zero hour.

The next station was a non-lethal force and stop the bleed class. Has anyone ever taught you how to use pepper spray? Did you know there are different kinds and that you might want one kind over the other? Not only that, you really do need to know the right way to use it to make sure you get the outcome you want.

Tourniquet training was part of this year’s Pow Wow.

The “Stop The Bleed” part was about tourniquets and packing wounds, and I’ve taken several variations of it through my career as a first responder. The best thing about it is that you always learn something new or reinforce something you know but that you always forget. This was no exception, and to me the important part was the application of the different kinds of tourniquets because I’ve only ever used the Combat Application Tourniquet (or CAT), and I was presented with a different kind and I HATED it. What that reinforced to me is to ALWAYS have a CAT in my bag, even when I’m working with my fellow first responders because I’m most comfortable with it and it cuts down my reaction time as opposed to trying to figure out how to make the buckle on the other one do what I wanted it to.

On top of that, the fellowship was great. We were all laid back, nobody was worried about impressing each other. We were there to learn, and there’s nothing cooler than just being able to learn from really good teachers with no distractions. The food was great, the party was fun, the facility is INCREDIBLE, and the conference itself is affordable.

Boondocks has a membership that definitely won’t break your bank, and it gives you access to the ranges whenever you want to go, as well as some discount toward the classes they have throughout the year. They’ve got everything from basic concealed carry to a Room-Clearing class, force-on-force training, a shoot or don’t shoot simulator, and that’s just the beginning.

This place has become one of my favorite places in the world. Go check it out in Raymond if you’re a gun person. I know you probably don’t think you need the practice or instruction, but who doesn’t want to get exponentially better at something that could save their lives? That’s not something I’d want to gamble on.

Boondocks is located at 11771 Highway 18 in Raymond, and they’ve got a great pro shop too. Give them a call at (769) 972-2382. They’ll fix you up.

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