Archive for the ‘Women and Guns’ Category


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!


Way to go Blaze for encouraging more women to shoot….


Hey Women, if You’ve Ever Been Intimidated by the Thought of Going to the Gun Range, There’s Now a Show for You

“For many women, a public range can actually be the first barrier to picking up a gun, simply because they don’t know what to expect.”

That’s how the introduction to the new NRA show, “Love at First Shot,” begins. And if you’re a women who’s ever been intimidated by the thought of going to the gun range, it’s entirely dedicated to you.

“If you’re afraid of anything, it has power over you. So let’s take that fear factor away.”


“It’s a show for the female shooter, and really for the beginning female shooter, although it’s great for anybody,” Natalie Foster, an NRA commentator, new wife, gun enthusiast and blogger told TheBlaze.

Foster hosts the show, which just launched on the NRA Women website. “There’s no content out there to help navigate the world of firearms, and it can get so overwhelming.”

So the NRA and Foster set out to change that.

“We wanted to give women a starting point, a friendly face, a friendly format to where they can just click on it and say, ‘OK, this is what I should expect going to the range for the first time,’” she said, speaking at the NRA convention in Indianapolis earlier this month, her blond hair hanging loosely over a flowery dress.

(Source: NRA video screen shot)

The show will follow Foster as she interviews industry experts and new gun users about what it means to take up shooting as a hobby as well as a means for protection. And it will walk them through how to do it.

“The point is to make all women feel welcome,” she explained. With more women than ever joining shooting in the last five years, “the industry is finally catching up to the enthusiasm of the female shooter.”

Viewers can expect everything from talk about shotguns to discussing shooting stances to understanding what to expect on a first hunt. (Foster was jetting off to the Midwest to film a turkey hunt the day after our interview). There’s even an episode guiding you through how to cook your first kill.

And it’s not like Foster — who is proficient in firearms — is standing idly by as a stoic and condescending expert. There are some things she’ll be learning along the way.

“I’ve grown to appreciate all this so much more,” she says of the experience of shooting the show.

Reducing the ‘Fear Factor’

Some may be wondering if a show about new women shooters is geared only toward younger women. “No at all,” Foster said emphatically. “It’s ageless.”

In fact, the first episode features a mother of three taking up shooting to protect herself and her children while her husband travels for work.

But besides teaching beginners the basics, Foster sees the show as fulfilling a larger purpose.

“People are so afraid of firearms,” she said. ”And it’s because they’ve been conditioned to be so fearful, and the reality is they don’t need to be.”

“It’s really about reducing the fear factor — it’s a nasty thing. If you’re afraid of anything, it has power over you. So let’s take that fear factor away.”

The show’s first episode, then, offers new shooters the “do’s and don’ts for your first trip to the range.” It also offers advice about what to wear: Cover up your legs, wear a hat if possible, and stay away from low-cut shirts. Why? Because hot shell casings can find their way into every nook and cranny:


As Foster’s name has started to grace the lips of the gun community, she’s dealt with a variety of backlash. The “most frustrating,” she said, has been charges of being anti-male.

“I got into guns because I love guys, I love my dad, my brothers and my husband. The whole reason I got into shooting was to build a relationship with the guys in my life,” she said, echoing comments she made to TheBlaze last year.

“We all come from different backgrounds with guns. Everyone has a firearms history whether they realize it or not, from watching it on TV or being exposed to it on TV,” she said.

“Make guns your own. This [the gun community] is a place where we can all feel confident.”


Here lately, I have found myself repeatedly asked for recommendations on a “good purse gun.” If, after much encouragement she still won’t consider on-body carry, I whole-heartedly urge her to go with a revolver. Why? Because at some point in the not too distant past I read an article about semiautomatics jamming when shot through a purse. The article I read, which I could not rediscover tonight, indicated the fabrics of the purse entered into the slide and caused the firearm to not only jam but get stuck in the purse. Effectively this converted a 15 round 9mm to a 1 or 2 shot brick in your purse.


As I went back and researched this topic further, I realized the previous issue must be a worst case scenario and the most frequent malfunction with semiautomatics was actually the stove-pipe (a round not fully ejected) caused by the confined space in the purse. On a good day, a stove-pipe can be cleared very easily. On a bad day, with training, a stove-pipe can still be cleared, but it will use precious time. Of course, both problems are resolved if you simply pull the gun out of the purse before firing. However, that counts on you having ample warning and time enough to draw your gun. Time is a luxury we are not always afforded.

While not much has been written about this topic, to me, this factor is critical in deciding which gun to purchase. I would love to see more tests done. As shown in the videos below, if the purse is large enough, the semi-automatic may not jam at all. However, I would need to see some very definitive data before I would ever feel comfortable recommending a semiautomatic as a purse gun.


How about you? Have you ever shot a gun through a purse or some other similar material? What happened?

*Disclaimer: I am not recommending or advocating for any of the products displayed in the pictures. My use of pictures is simply to illustrate a point.


Here are the only videos I could find of people actually shooting through purses.

And the only article I could find about it:

Other resources worth your read/watch:

guns sign int

 I would like to take this opportunity to request a small token of consideration. Before you enter our store please ask yourself this question: will I need to handle my currently loaded firearm at any point during the course of business in the store? If the answer is yes, for the love of humanity, please unload your firearm before you enter the building. Those of us behind the counter and your fellow customers are loved by friends and family alike. Out of respect for them and us, please do not handle a loaded firearm while surrounded by so many lives. Life is a precious gift, highly valued by most of us. Please do not treat the value of all the lives around you so lightly as to draw a loaded firearm in a store. While you may feel completely confident in your capabilities of handling a firearm, please understand we have guns pointed and waved in our direction all the time (1st NRA Safety Rule broken). Frequently, those guns are loaded and the finger is on the trigger (2nd and 3rd Safety rule broken). Forgive us for reacting strongly but we have numerous examples of negligent discharges permanently embedded in our range and therefore do not trust anyone with a loaded gun in their hand. Even employees do not handle a loaded firearm in the storeroom. To do so violates all safety rules. We understand it is your Constitutional right to carry. Truly, we do. Rare is the gun store employee that does not support the 2nd Amendment. However, please realize by handling a firearm in an unsafe manner you are providing fodder to the anti-gun crowd and thus damaging the pro-2nd Amendment efforts.


Gun Store Employee



Some stores post up this sign whereas we choose to ask nicely.


While there are many talking heads blathering on about who “should” or “should not” be allowed to own a gun, this article isn’t about government regulations. This article is designed to help a mature, responsible adult decide if gun-ownership is right for him or her. Many people across this nation are growing ever more concerned about the direction this country is going. This concern is part of the dramatic rise in gun sales over the last few years. However, instead of a knee-jerk, gun-buying reaction, potential gun-owners need to ask themselves some hard questions (Main questions borrowed from Kathy Jackson at before purchasing a firearm for self-defense.

1. Is it Ever Permissible to Kill a Human Being?


Is there any situation in life that makes it OK to kill a person? If you answered Yes, please proceed to Question 2. If you answered No, carrying a lethal weapon of any sort is probably not a good idea for you. Mace is probably a better idea.

2. Are You Willing to Take a Life to Save Your’s or Your Loved One’s?

self-defenseWill you do whatever it takes to live? Are you willing to fight with everything in you to protect yourself or your loved one’s? Are you mentally prepared to pull the trigger and take the life of another? That attacker is somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s loved one. And the family will grieve upon his death. You must know down deep in yourself that the as soon as an attacker produces a lethal weapon (a gun, knife, bat or fist) he has decided that somebody is going to die. The only variable is the identity of the body. Will your family be grieving a lost brother, sister, wife, mother, father, or grandfather or will his? The attacker decided the possible reward was worth a human life and by that decision he forfeited the value of his life. “Not Me. Not Mine. Not Today.”


Part of the decision to fight back stems from realizing what you would lose if you do not. You might lose: your life, family, health; a fighting spirit; getting married; having children; your family might lose a sister/brother, father/mother, or husband/wife; seeing your child’s first steps; all your dreams and callings; and so much more. What are you willing to fight for?

3. Under What Circumstances is it Permissible to Kill a Human Being?

Rape prevention tipsOnce you have wrestled Questions 1 and 2 to the ground, it’s time for the next soul-piercing question. When do you shoot or not-shoot? When does the situation justify lethal force? The standard answer in Georgia is: if you are in imminent threat of great bodily harm or death you can shoot. But what does that really look like? The situation you face could be one of a myriad of scenarios: it could be a forceful entry in the middle of the night, it could be a group of attackers on the street, or it could a mugger in the parking lot. For other possible scenarios, simply pull up the local news of a major metropolitan area. There is an abundance of examples we can learn from. Due to the inexhaustible list of possible scenarios that evil men create, it is impossible to mentally run through and train for each one. What we can do is pick out some key principles from the crimes and develop a list of personal boundaries that we will not allow the criminal to cross. For example: I will not go with anyone to a second location. The second crime scene is nearly always more gruesome and heinous. Right then, right there is all I’ve got. Better to be shot down in the parking lot than tortured for days in a hidden location. Fight, and fight hard! My second rule is: I will not be tied up. The only reason to tie me up is to make me more vulnerable. My best chances are right then, right there. Odds of getting untied and escaping are slim to none. Criminals want easy victims. Make it as hard as possible on them. Fight back with everything that is in you.


4. What Are the State and Local Laws Regarding Lethal Force?


Make yourself very familiar with your state and locals laws. After you are academically familiar, I recommend you find a local lawyer who deals with lethal force cases and talk with him or her. Should you be involved in a defensive gun use scenario, not knowing what you legally can and cannot do may cause you to freeze up at the most inopportune time. Confidently knowing what you are and are not allowed to do will also make the aftermath less stressful and intimidating.

 Concluding Thoughts

I write all of the above from the natural man’s perspective. However, there is more to life than this natural body and I must add a caveat. As a Christian, I must temper my innate desire and natural-born right to defend my life and liberty with total submission to the Holy Spirit. There are times to fight physically and there are times to fight spiritually. At times He asks us to lay down our lives and other times He asks us to stand right in the face of the enemy. I do not find self-defense to be contrary to the teachings of Jesus, after all He told His disciples to go buy a sword (an illegal weapon, at the time) and spoke of a strongman defending his house from a robber, yet I also see a Christian history full of martyrs. Men and women who did not fight back but laid down their life for Him, as He also did not fight back but laid down His life for us all. My only conclusion is that in this area too, I must be completely governed by His wisdom and love. Besides, He does a much better job protecting me than I ever could.


For More Information…


With this most recent Arctic Blast of frigid cold (at least by Georgia standards) I find myself facing new challenges. How do you conceal carry in winter? A heavy coat can obstruct a draw from the waistline and carrying in the coat pocket is great until you walk inside a warm building and need to take the coat off. I’m almost always cold and thus bundled up. All that bundling makes it quite difficult to access my carry gun at a leisurely pace, let alone in a hurry. As so many of us do today, I turned to the internet for answers. I discovered a well-informed and well-written article that addresses these issues and many others that I had not even thought of. While I found many other articles that addressed some of the issues, I found none addressed the winter carrying challenge as thoroughly and honestly as the US Concealed Carry article by John Perez. If your daily routine includes putting on a warm coat, I highly recommend you read his article.

Stay safe and think warm thoughts.



“I’m thinking of buying my wife a gun for Christmas.” is the opening statement I heard today and  expect to hear often over the next few weeks. Concerned husbands, anxious for their wife’s protection, are searching for that elusive “good gun for a lady” and see Christmas as the perfect opportunity to buy her something she may or may not be interested in. Before you lay down $400+ on her new gun, please take the following concerns under consideration. This is the mental questionnaire I run through when a customer asks for advice on choosing a firearm.


First and foremost, you must determine the intended purpose of the firearm. Will the gun be used for a self-defense carry gun, home protection, competitive shooting, hunting, just having fun on the range or as a collection piece? Certain features should be prioritized based on which purpose you intend to use the firearm for.


Carry Gun: Typically, light-weight is the priority for a daily carry firearm.

Home Protection: When buying for home protection, weight is less relevant as the gun will only be handled for short durations. The user’s comfort and confidence with the firearm take priority. Home protection guns tend to weigh more, to make the shooting experience more pleasant.

Competitive Shooting: Accuracy, and all that affects accuracy, are what matters most to a competitive shooter. Barrel length, quality, trigger weight, overall weight, etc… are all taken into consideration.

Hunting: Type of game and style of hunting affect your choice of hunting firearm.

Fun Range gun: A gun you are just going to take to the range to have fun is probably going to be something that fits the user’s hand well, has enough weight to balance out the recoil and the user is comfortable manipulating.

Collecting: Collectors typically know exactly what they are looking for. Good luck to you if you are trying to buy for one of these.


When buying a gun, the trick is to find the right compromise of features that works for you. For example, Smith & Wesson Airweights and Ruger LCPs are great for carrying all day, but are so light-weight the recoil is quite uncomfortable. Knowing this fact, I still decided the low-weight was a high enough priority for my carry weapon that I purchased the Smith & Wesson 442 revolver. Do I enjoy shooting it? No. But I can carry it all day with barely a second thought as to the weight, I can carry it in more locations on my body, and it is more reliable than my semi-automatic. Overall, I made an informed decision to put up with the kick in exchange for a comfortable carry gun.

Intended frequency of use:

I ask our customers how often they intend to practice with their firearm in order to narrow the choices down. A revolver is renowned for its ability to sit in a drawer for years and still function flawlessly when called upon. In the same scenario, I’ve seen a semi-auto jam after the first shot. Springs can lose their tension over years of inactivity and the semi-auto design relies heavily on springs. For this reason, whenever a customer says they want a gun for “just in case” and they don’t really want to come shoot it much, I unilaterally direct them towards a revolver. Revolvers are mechanically simpler and more reliable. Buying a small semi-automatic for your wife to stick in her purse but never practice with is asking for trouble.




The way the gun feels in the hand and how it feels when shooting are key components in a user’s overall satisfaction with a firearm. This is where the gun buying process becomes quite subjective. The only person who can determine if the gun fits right is the user. There are some guns that just feel good to hold and there are others that are less comfortable to hold. Determining the right fit requires the user to come in and pick up lots of different guns to get a feel for what feels good and what doesn’t feel good to them.


Small guns = tight springs = hard to rack the slide.

In terms of recoil, weight is your friend. The heavier the gun is, the less recoil your hands have to absorb and the more fun the gun is to shoot. Guys, do me a favor, please do NOT buy your wife that “cute, little .380 ACP.” Those little things have much more recoil than you think. I, personally, would rather shoot a .45 ACP 1911 any day over one of them. Just because they are small does not mean they are good for your wife to start with. Just the opposite in fact. I find beginners do much better starting with heavy firearms and progressing down to light-weight carry guns.

Previous Knowledge/Experience:

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-1369988450Has the potential user ever received any formal instruction in firearms? I ask this question mostly to determine the user’s level of safety awareness. Formal firearm classes are great for drilling the gun safety rules into heads and habits. In general, I recommend taking classes before the firearm purchase; not only to make sure our customers and everybody around them stays safe with the new gun but classes also makes the user a much more informed consumer. For the gift-buyer, previous experience with firearms can also give you clues as to which type of firearm the person is comfortable with and enjoys shooting.


“You get what you pay for.” This is true for most things in life and especially firearms. That cheap pawn shop gun was cheap for a reason. I have seen such guns literally fall apart on the range. You really do get what you pay for. I understand money being tight, and seeking to find the best bang for your buck, but please save up a little longer or do something to get a little extra money to go towards the firearm purchase. It is much better to have a reliable firearm that your life can depend on than a few extra dollars in the bank.

Physical Limitations:

How_to_Rack_the_slide_03Firearms are mechanical devices and each has a series of manipulations that must be accomplished in order for the device to function properly. Hand, wrist and arm strength are vital. The user must be able to rack the slide on a semi-automatic or pull the heavy trigger of a revolver. Frequently, when a person is not able to do one they can do the other. Occasionally, they struggle with both. At that point, I may suggest, using two fingers to pull the revolver trigger, trying out a .22 caliber firearm or a semi-automatic with an easier slide. If they are still incapable of operating the firearm, I typically suggest they get OC Spray instead of a firearm.

Stopping Power:

woman_with_gunMuch is said about the acclaimed stopping power of this round or that round. As I’ve researched it and looked at the statistics, I’ve come to realize what you are carrying is less important than that you are carrying. Many, many bad guys are stopped by .22s. There is something called a psychological stop. Basically, it boils down to the fact that people don’t want to get shot.  Typically, bad guys are looking for an easy victim and shooting them suddenly converts you from “easy victim” to “more trouble than it’s worth.” Yes, there are those times when the bad guy is shot multiple times with .45 ACP rounds and keeps coming, however, the large majority of bad guys are cowards looking for easy prey. Odds are in your favor that you will not encounter that zombie-bad guy that just keeps coming, and if you do, good shot placement will help you more than missing with a larger caliber. My conclusion: carry what you can shoot well. If you can shoot a .45 ACP well, carry a .45. If you can only shoot a .22 LR well, then carry a .22.

Concluding Thoughts

Before you buy that gun you think will be perfect for your loved one, make sure its designed purpose lines up with its intended use. Do your best to accurately estimate how often they will be using the gun. Try to avoid buying a complicated gun for a novice. Keep it Simple. Be sure to consider any physical limitations they may have. Balance the pro’s and con’s of each firearm to ensure a good match of user and firearm is made. A mismatch may make the user uncomfortable, insecure, and mistrustful of guns in general.

A little tip for all you gift-buyers out there, we see a much higher rate of success when the intended user is involved in the decision-making process. If you can successfully buy her a pair of shoes then you stand a pretty good chance with buying her a gun. If not, please bring the intended user in with you. Only she will know what feels right to her.