Archive for June, 2014

shoe-shopping

Now, you may be thinking, “Shoe Shopping??? I thought this was a gun blog.” Don’t worry. It is. However, I discovered an amazing connection between these two apparent opposites. Shoes and guns are astoundingly similar in a one key area: it’s nearly impossible for somebody else to pick out the perfect one for you. 

A Woman’s Advice


shoe-shopping (1)As the only full-time lady working behind the counter at Autrey’s, I am asked all the time: “What’s a good gun for my wife?” Nearly everyday, I hear one of the many variations of this question. Sometimes, the question comes from another lady assuming that she’ll like whatever gun I like, simply because we are both female. The false premise behind these questions is this idea that there is a specific gun or a specific type of gun that is ideal for women. To refute this, I offer up the suggestion that there is one specific car that is ideal for every man. Silly, right? Same thing with guns. Each person, man or woman, must find which gun feels right to them, which gun they shoot well, and which gun they can afford. Individual preferences rule the day when it comes to gun-buying. While I can suggest general things to consider (weight, recoil, size, etc…), these generalities in no way assure success. I can no more tell a husband which gun his wife will like any more than I can tell him which shoe to buy her. And I pity the man who would ask me to pick out his wife’s shoes. 

gun-shopWhoever will be using the gun needs to hold it, feel it, make sure they can operate it, and, if possible, shoot it. From my experience, I say shooting the gun you are interested in buying, or a gun similar to it, is vital to long-term enjoyment of said firearm. For example, those little, light-weight guns everybody loves to market to women are some of the most uncomfortable guns I have ever shot. For the women out there: just because it is small, cute and you like the way it feels in your hand, does not mean you will like shooting it. Those little things pack quite a kick.

Whenever possible, shoot before buying. Going back to the shoe analogy, buying a gun without shooting it is like buying shoes without trying them on. The shoe may be the right size, style and color but still be completely miserable to wear. A gun may meet all your other criteria but still be a literal pain to shoot. (At which point, you have to decide if you will get it and put up with the pain or find something more comfortable.) 

 

Trying on a Gun:

Right grip1. Fit: For best results, the gun must fit the user. The trigger should be a comfortable reach for their finger, not too close and not too far. The operational buttons (slide lock, magazine release, safety, etc…) should be easily accessed and operated. For semi-automatic users, the user must be able to rack the slide. Some guns are harder to rack than others, so don’t give up on semiautomatics completely if you struggle with the first one you try.

2. Feel: This is the intangible aspect of gun-buying. There are some guns that just feel right in your hand. The contour of the grip, the weight, the texture, and the overall size of the gun greatly influence the feel of the gun but only you can determine what feels right.

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-13699884503. Fun: As a general guideline, I believe a gun should be enjoyable to shoot. I readily admit that concessions to comfort must be made when situations demand a small carry gun as the only option. However, people tend to do things that are fun and not do things that are not fun. With that principle in mind, I will sometimes suggest the buyer might also consider investing in a more enjoyable gun at some point in the future. This will encourage range time and practice. At a minimum, the user must be able to safely operate and control the firearm while shooting; enjoyment is an important, but secondary consideration.

 

Concluding Thoughts

969572_364713273655812_1015285563_nI do not want to discourage people from asking me, or other women, for recommendations on firearms, but I do want to expose the mythical “Good gun for a lady.”  There is no such thing. Some guns are preferred more by women than men, but your woman may not like any of them. Buying a gun, especially for the first time, is a very personal decision. Such a decision can, when encouraged, truly reveal a person’s individuality. So, I urge all you to never pick out another person’s gun (unless they gave you very clear and precise directions or it’s a collector’s piece), for they may end up not liking anything you thought they would like. I recently encouraged a friend to look at a couple of handguns I thought he would really like. He ended up putting his hand on a completely different one and that was it. That was the one he wanted and no other would do. It just felt right. He would have been very unhappy with my choices and I am just very glad I didn’t get him one of the ones I recommended. So live and learn… and Try on a Gun!

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* June 2014 Update: I still this question every so often, so I figured a repost of last year’s post was in order. Enjoy and please share.

This question was put before me multiple times Friday. As the only lady on staff, full-time, at Autrey’s, I get a lot of questions from men about the right gun for their wife/girlfriend/mom/etc… “How to get my wife to carry ?”was a new question for me. The best I could tell them was to have their wife explore websites dedicated to women and self-defense; such as The Well Armed Woman, Mothers Arms or Cornered Cat. As I am able to easily open carry nearly everyday, the question made me curious. What are the reasons women do not carry as often as the men would like? As most of us do today, I took to the internet to find my answers. I explored the previously mentioned websites, forums on carrying and various articles. I concluded that woman do not carry for a number of reasons.

1. Inconvenience

2. Discomfort

3. Insecurity with the firearm

4. False security in the environment

5. Perceived inability to take a life

(If you know of other reasons, please let me know in the comments below.)

Inconvenience

From what I’ve read, this seems to be the main reason women do not carry more. With women’s fashion being what it is, it is a challenge to daily wear a gun. Women have to get creative in order to wear a gun daily. It is difficult but not impossible to dress fashionably and carry. Take a look at TheWellArmedWoman  and TheCorneredCat  for some good tips in overcoming this obstacle.

Discomfort

Highly related to the earlier issue, many women find daily carry uncomfortable.  Clint Smith said, “Carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it is supposed to be a comfort.” This is true, however, I do believe it is possible to find ways to carry that is comfortable. Many manufacturers have developed carry options designed specifically for women’s bodies. TheWellArmedWoman is one website that sells many of these carry options and has video reviews of a number of them.

A woman may also dislike the gun she has. For example many women will buy, or have bought for them, subcompact .380’s due to their minute size and concealability. However, as most have then discovered, they are not easy nor fun to shoot. This discourages many new shooters from practicing with their firearm. Not practicing with their firearm will lead to feeling insecure about their competency with the gun.

Insecurity with the Firearm

Frequently, a woman will not carry a gun because she is not confident she can handle it if the need arises. This is a legitimate concern that we should not take lightly. A great solution to these concerns is to take advantage of one of many gun courses available. If you prefer a local class we offer Ladies Only Classes at our store or there are national organizations that offer training courses throughout the country. The NRA Women’s Programs and Babes with Bullets are two examples. Another possible solution is to find a gun that works better for you. Go to a range that has a large selection of rental guns and try as many as you can. With time and experience you will find a gun that works for you.

False Security in the Environment

Perhaps many women who don’t carry are unaware of the crime in their area or they may naïvely believe crime will never impact them personally. Historically, many of us have grown up in relative safety and security. Society has changed. We no longer live in such a safe and secure world. I will not go into the data and statistics here, since they are readily available on the web. Women are frequently picked as easy targets and guns are the great equalizer.

Perceived Inability to Take a Life

To carry a gun means you must be willing to take a life to save your life or the life of a loved one. We women must overcome any false compassion we may have toward the person threatening us and defend ourselves and our loved ones. I say false, because he/she surrendered any right to compassion when he/she decided to endanger me or my loved ones. Many women do not see themselves as capable of taking a life but I do believe more women would pull the trigger than they give themselves credit for. Massad Ayoob wrote a great article on this topic. My favorite quote is: “The lioness is often more formidable than the lion. No instinct is stronger than that of mother protecting child. There is nothing unfeminine about strength and empowerment.” I would recommend exploring his other articles on that site, especially Armed and Female and Against a Rapist.

While there are definite obstacles women must overcome to daily carry a firearm, I believe with the right equipment, training, support and encouragement women can daily protect themselves, their children and other loved ones.

~Ruth

Some other valuable online resources are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogGBPVk5GQk

http://www.armedinheels.com/concealed-carry-females-tips-considerations-pg-10.html?CDpath=3

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/concealed-carry-for-the-petite-woman/

http://packingpretty.com/tag/womens-concealed-carry/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/for-the-men/how-to-make-your-wife-hate-guns/

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=564531