Today we have the distinct pleasure of interviewing a S&W 500 totin’, SWAT Team officiating, meth lab door busting, mother of two, Spanish speaking, Russian translating, Top Shot competing, Army veteran, knife throwing, and Women’s Outdoor News writing lady. If you haven’t guessed her identity by that job title, we’re talking to Top Shot Season 3 contestant, and all around swell lady, Sara Ahrens. Let’s get the scoop on Sara…
My Gun Culture: You’re an Army veteran right? Tell our readers how you got into the Army as a Russian and Spanish translator. And are we really headed for another two front war with Russia and Spain? The last Spano-Russian war was pretty rough as I recall. The market for hot and spicy pierogi’s completely tanked!
Sara Ahrens: I don’t know about the Spano-Russian war, but if it did occur, I would put my money on Russia. Historically speaking, that is one brutal culture! I was fluent in Spanish before I joined the Army, as I was an exchange student to Paraguay just prior to enlisting. When I got to Monterey, California in October 1992 just after graduating Basic Training, I was told I could test out of Spanish, get promoted to Sergeant and move on to my next duty station or select a second language. I chose Russian because it was a one year language program and I wasn’t smart enough to attend the 1.5 year Arabic program. Anyway, I really wasn’t interested in learning a language a culture where women have little value (I didn’t really think I could translate that into a successful post-military career due to my gender). So I passed up more money and more rank for a year in Monterey, California and I never regretted that decision. By the way, hot and spicy pierogi’s actually sound good!? Weird.
MGC: So you AND your husband are both Sergeants in the Rockford, IL police department. That must drive your kids absolutely nuts! Can they get away with anything?
Sara: We are both Sergeants, I was promoted first but he is in a position of authority as acting Senior Sergeant. He used to work Internal Affairs so answering the phone calls of unhappy people is something he is more equipped to handle. As far as our children, they are both pretty innocent still. They know they have to step up their game to get one over on us, or deprive us of sleep. I can say that the best class I ever took was called practical lie detection. I am pretty good at it. It works without fail and the only way my kids get away with lying, is if I choose not to address it.
MGC: A Practical Lie Detection Class? OK then. I can shoot the Triple Nickel drill in 4.8 seconds. True or false?
Sara: Ok I’m going to say false, but that’s just a guess. It doesn’t actually work with a statement and it doesn’t work in writing. I don’t want to give away my secret, which gives me an advantage over liars, but if I were interviewing you about an incident and you told me your version of events I can tell if you are lying. It’s fool proof if the person isn’t aware that I am using it. Does that make sense? There are certain things people say and do when they are lying to prevent detection. It comes in the form of how much or how little detail they give, body language and actual words they use. So I will test you and your truthfulness next time we are face to face. For it to work, you have to describe for me the time when you ‘claim’ to have shot the Triple Nickel drill in 4.8 seconds then I will know the truth.
MGC: Uh-oh… I better practice my story. I mean it’s true of course, but I would hate to give off false signals. Word on the street is that you have moved to a Smith and Wesson 500 for your personal carry gun. I don’t want to second guess your decision, but do you really want to rely on a mouse gun like that?
Sara: Yeah, I wanted to carry my Smith and Wesson 500 concealed, but I live in Illinois. I can carry concealed as a law enforcement officer, but my department policy forbids that caliber. I like that my whole pinky fits in the chamber, it is funny. Really, could you imagine a bad guy trying to hurt someone and they pull out that beast? Clean up on aisle four! It would be as effective as the Taser was for my officers (when we could still carry them), just the sight of that red dot generally gained instant compliance.
MGC: What type of concealed holster are you thinking for the S&W 500? If you’re still looking I need to introduce you to Lisa Looper, who has a whole new line of holsters made specifically for women. You might need to convince her to make a 500 compatible model though…
Sara: Obviously you have never met me in person or you wouldn’t even think about Lisa Looper and Sara Ahrens in the same thought! I doubt I could even effectively conceal my Ruger LCP in a Lisa Looper holster! I don’t have a ‘place’ where I could even come close to concealing the 500. If I did carry it concealed, I would have to strap it on (with the sling that is) and conceal it under a long and bulky coat. Then I would have to do 10,000 repetitions to even come close to being able to remove it in a time of need, under stress.
MGC: Do you hunt? Meaning wild game, not meth-heads…
Sara: I do hunt, but I have to say I am leaving Spring Turkey season a little disgruntled. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I think the turkeys are laughing at me. How is it possible to see them whenever I don’t have a tag? My hunting days are limited because of my work schedule and home responsibilities so I guess with only having 4 days to hunt I shouldn’t be upset about leaving the season empty-handed. Still, there is something about Turkeys and their attitudes that makes me mad. They come into my backyard (where I can’t hunt) and gobble. I speak Russian and Spanish so I feel uniquely qualified to translate turkey. I am pretty certain they are saying, “You’re not so tough now, huh?” Still, I can’t complain because I had a pretty successful deer season this past fall. I got a 10 pointer during shotgun season and a 9 pointer my first season bow hunting.
MGC: Well don’t feel too bad. I ran across three the other day while mountain biking and they were completely un-intimidated. In fact they taunted me with French accented insults. Mainly because they knew I had no shotgun rack on my bike. I heard that you went out and purchased a variety of weapons to prepare for Top Shot. What was the most unusual thing you bought?
Sara: I didn’t really purchase anything unusual, but my training methods almost got me a visit from the Department of Children and Family Services. Obviously I practiced as much as I could with all the weapons they featured in Seasons 1 and 2 (not firearms necessarily). One of my favorites are the blow darts. I am pretty decent with them and in order to challenge myself, I would stand on my elevated deck and make my 10 year old son run from tree to tree in our back yard. I would then attempt to strike him with the stun darts. He loved it! He would giggle and run while I hit my mark, soon my Fox Red Lab, Buddy, got into it too. (I think I hear Animal Control at my door now!) It was all fun and games until my dog started chewing up the stun darts, now I just tag my little guy with them. (For anyone offended I just want to say I made him wear safety glasses.)
MGC: Children absolutely need to learn evasion tactics at a young age. So the way I see it, you should be up for mother of the year! So if you and Dustin Ellerman had a head to head competition with blow darts, who would win?
Sara: Dustin is one of those guys that is good at everything he touches. I would probably be better if I lived in a town of 12 people and my ADHD was better controlled. I would be remiss not to mention that he has God on his side. So my vote is on Dustin…on anything and everything! He is my brother from another mother and a truly nice person. Although the drawback of Top Shot was being exposed to Jake and his shenanigans, meeting Dustin made up for it!
Thanks to Sara Ahren for sharing some time with us! You can keep up with Sara at The WON – Women’s Outdoor News!