Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Candy & Michael Petticord
FASTER Saves Lives

In Detroit in the summer of 2022, I was giving time, energy, and effort to Rick Ector (RSWC #032) of LAID, Legally Armed In Detroit. Rick has instructors from around the country help at this event. Two of the people I got to meet were Candy & Michael Petticord. They’re both from FASTER Saves Lives in Ohio. Candy is also with Women For Gun Rights and A Girl & A Gun. She’s a busy woman!

As the mother of several kids, it was only about 6 years ago when she got into firearms. It was something her husband suggested she do.  She was hooked from the beginning. In the evening, she would sneak out of the house and not tell anyone she was going to the range. This spilled over into long weekends when she would take some advanced classes and be away for a few days. 

At more than a few of the classes she took, she ran into issues. The issues, she found out, weren’t really issues with her; it was the instructors. I’m not sure how to say this but Candy is a minority. She’s left handed. The instructors she took classes with weren’t really prepared to deal with left handed shooters.  Yes, we often call these folks “Fudds”. It would have been much more professional for them to turn this into a learning moment for themselves and figure out a way that she could do things left-handed. Here’s what makes it worse. This happened a few times. Each time, the instructor made it seem like it was Candy who was ruining his day. 

She also shares that she went to a course for advanced shooters. But she was a little over her head. At one point, she thought of leaving the class at a break. But another student picked up on this and reminded her that everyone was a beginner once. She toughed it out and made it through the class. 

At one of the advanced classes, she met Jim Irvine (RSWC #0186) and Joe Eaton, from FASTER Saves Lives. They noticed that she was doing wonderfully and they were able to connect, which led to Candy being on the Board for FASTER. 

Michael started going to some of the courses she was taking, as was one of her daughters. Both of the kids really took to shooting and were doing a great job. Her daughter went through an instructor level course, but wasn’t old enough to get certified. She did pass the course and when she’s old enough, she will get that certification. 

FASTER Saves Lives teaches school staff how to respond to active shooter situations. It’s not just firearm training. There’s a Foundations course teaching those new to firearms about safety. Day One is lots of range time, shooting various distances and positions. Day Two is more basics then a qualification. A perfect score is needed to pass the FASTER qual. They also teach some medical which is very important for the immediate responders. Many students are lost due to needing some non-life threatening medical help, but do not get it in time. DayThree is working in a school and doing scenario based training. This is world class training.Often Michael ends up being the “bad guy” and wears chest and face protection. He’s been shot at several times. And yes, it does hurt to get hit!

You’ll get a lot out of this episode. Candy has some good stories you’ll enjoy. She’s funny to hand around with. And Michael needs to keep it down while in the back seat. 

Favorite quotes: 
“As my kids started growing up, I started noticing that we didn’t live in Mayberry anymore and Mayberry is never coming back.”
“This is the beginning. Please don’t leave this class thinking that this is all that you need or you’re ready to gear up and go. This is your starting point.”
“I know what you’re thinking. Don’t. All of us started somewhere.”
“I learned to shoot right handed because I was humiliated by those instructors.”
“Once I got involved in FASTER and these horrible school shootings started happening, then the pieces started coming together as to how important and how amazing what we do really is.”

FASTER Saves Lives

Women For Gun Rights-The DC Project

A Girl & A Gun Shooting League

Second Amendment Foundation


Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms


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Dennis McCurdy

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