Yes, you can change your opinion about guns, even if you have spent much of your life fearing or detesting them. Indeed, if you study the facts and take a few classes instead of believing the hysterical hype pouring out of many media outlets, you will, at a minimum, begin to see firearms as they have always been—useful tools with no conscience or intent. You might even discover that you actually enjoy shooting sports. And even if you don’t, at least you can speak from experience and not from a tired old litany of anti-gun talking points.
Being female, carrying a firearm and passionately supporting the Second Amendment do not require turning in your “woman card” and, in fact, represent a pretty nurturing and enlightened stance. The ability to defend yourself and your family in the event of a threat is, to my mind, the ultimate definition of that silly term “girl power.”
All guns are not created equal. If you’ve tried one or two and you don’t like them, fear not. There is almost certainly a gun out there for you. Just bear several things in mind: </br> All guns have recoil, or the “kick” you feel when the gun fires. How you respond to the recoil depends on factors such as the weight and size of the gun (bigger is better when it comes to diminishing recoil), the weight and energy of the ammunition, and, oh yes, whether you are holding the darned thing properly.</br> All triggers are also not created equal. If it’s hard to pull the trigger on one model, try a different one. And make sure you try that trigger pull before you plunk down a chunk of change. A gun with a trigger too heavy for your female fingers to actuate is a useless pile of metal and/or polymer.</br> If you have your heart set on a semi-automatic but you can’t master racking (pulling back on) the slide, try a different model or manufacturer. I often hand frustrated buyers a Walther PK380, a Sig Sauer P238 or a P938 and watch as they gleefully snap the slide back and forth with ease.
Safety should be a lifelong friend. The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to observe the rules of safe gun handling, forever. The majority of shooting deaths (not related to commission of a crime) are due to carelessness, pure and simple. Modern guns with intricate repetitive internal safety systems just don’t spontaneously discharge; they require assistance from a disengaged or distracted user. Pay attention to the safety guidelines offered by the manufacturer, the NRA and other shooting organizations. And remember: the more comfortable you become with your gun, the more safety conscious you will need to be (familiarity breeds negligence).
Learn the basics. This includes the individual parts of your gun (and what they do) to the fundamentals of proper grip and stance. And learn them from a certified trainer, not old Uncle Joe who learned to shoot during the Korean conflict. Guns and techniques have changed. The “teacup grip” may have once been a staple of military and law enforcement training, but it forces you to give up substantial control of your firearm and diminishes your accuracy.
A gun choice is very personal. Make sure the gun you choose is what you want—not what the salesman wants to sell you or what your hubby thinks you (or he) should have. Factors you must consider include the size of your hands relative to the gun, the strength of your hands, fingers and shoulders, your overall frame, how you intend to use the gun (personal carry or home defense), how much you want to spend, and the desired ease of loading and unloading (which may help you decide between a revolver and a semi-automatic.)
Understand ammo, at least as well as it can be understood. We Americans don’t make it easy. We hop-scotch between metrics and decimal inches; we name any given round after the designer, the manufacturer, the end user, the year conceived, the desired results or (I wouldn’t be surprised) the CEO’s favorite childhood cat. But you must learn the basics and understand why a 9mm Short or a 9mm Largo won’t work in your 9mm Springfield XD pistol or why a .45 Long Colt cartridge doesn’t fit in a magazine built for .45 ACP ammunition.
Expect to be taken seriously when you shop for a gun. Firearms retailers remain a predominantly male environment, but that is changing. Still, I have been ignored or dismissed as I waited at a gun counter (while the men waiting behind me were quickly served). I decided long ago that it’s not worth getting upset over. Engage your feet and move on down the street. Find a place that understands customer service and is willing to walk you through your purchase and answer your questions. There you will find a resource for life (and the shop gains a grateful customer for life). Everyone wins.
Know the gun laws of your state. Different states have different requirements. My book features an appendix with links to gun law information in all 50 states. If you travel regularly and you also carry, then you definitely need to know which states offer reciprocity (i.e., they recognize your state’s concealed handgun permit) and which ones will frown on you passing through with a firearm in your pocket.
Find dependable resources. Take classes from reputable teachers, shoot with competent friends, read a lot and ask a lot of questions (yes, even the ones you think are stupid). Subscribe to a good gun magazine and actually read the articles. Get involved in a shooting club, preferably one that welcomes women (sadly, some don’t). Bottom line: never pass up a chance to learn more, and always remember that the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
Too many times on my journey from novice shooter to “gun girl” (my whimsical term for competent female shooters), I searched for practical yet enjoyable reference material that would answer all my “dumb” questions (which really weren’t so dumb).
Later on, as I worked behind a gun counter, often waiting on women who had never even touched a firearm (let alone fired one), I was reminded that too few gun books really offered total novices a step-by-step method for getting to know their gun. When my beginner students, male and female alike, complained about the avalanche of information unleashed on them in the 12-hour concealed-carry class once mandated by the state of Ohio, I developed an Introduction to Handguns class, along with copious pages of handouts, charts and guidelines. I wanted to make the education process less overwhelming, yet thorough and enjoyable.
Then suddenly, as a previously published author, it occurred to me. “You dummy. You keep looking for a book that gives your students exactly what you once needed. Why not write it yourself?” And so The Handgun Guide for Women was born. Packed with step-by-step guidance, detailed basics and my own peculiar sense of humor, the book struck a chord and sold out shortly after its November 2015 release. The typical comment I hear from readers is, “You answered the questions I thought were too stupid to ask.”
So I’ve outlined a few key points from the book with the hope that you may find answers to some of your questions, as well. Scroll through the gallery above to learn more.
The tough, durable Model 114B Butterfly from Bear & Son is an ideal folding...
by Personal Defense World / Apr 25, 2016