According to a study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number of women with firearms is growing by leaps and bounds with more than 74 percent of retailers reporting an increase in women customers in their stores in 2013 over 2012. The number one reason for this increase is protection. If you are one of these many women with guns, or if you’re considering purchasing a firearm, there are a few truths that you should know.
23 Tips for Women with Firearms
- You can never have too much ammo. It’s amazing how quickly one or two people can shoot through 100 rounds or more in a single target practice.
- If you’re smart, your firearms will be common calibers. It will be easier to find ammo and easier to get replacement parts.
- If you’re even smarter, you’ll own firearms that are of popular makes and models. It will be easier to find a gunsmith capable of making repairs and handling customized requests.
- Unless you’re at the range every day, it’s hard to get too much practice. If the range masters know you by name, that’s a good sign that you’re getting enough practice!
- It’s a mistake to limit your practice to shooting at a piece of paper under optimal conditions. Take classes that will challenge your shooting skills in high-pressure scenarios. Until the adrenaline is really pumping and your brain feels scrambled, you’ll never know how you’ll respond in a life or death situation. (Note: The first time I was firing a gun under pressure, I got so rattled that I was using my non-dominant eye. I was fortunate that any shots hit my target!)
- A shotgun should be at or near the top of your list when it comes to firearms for home defense. Your choices are the 12 gauge, 20 gauge and the 410. Once you’ve made your decision, get to the range and practice, practice, practice. When it comes to stopping power, a shotgun can’t be beat. According to the study, 50 percent of women with firearms have at least one shotgun and 56 percent have a semiautomatic pistol.
- Don’t fall into the trap of buying the smallest gun at the store. Believe it or not, a larger gun will be more comfortable and will shoot more accurately. Read my reviews of the Sig Sauer Mosquito, Walther P22 and Ruger Mark III.
- Learn how to clean your own gun. Learn how to completely dismantle it (field strip), clean each part, and put it back together.
- Your safety is your responsibility. Not your husband’s, nor the police, nor your kids.
- A gun isn’t the end-all when it comes to personal or home security. Think in terms of layers: Situational awareness, home security systems, a watchdog, cacti or rose bushes along the back fence. It all adds up to more peace of mind and less dependence on any one strategy.
- If a gun isn’t possible or desirable in your circumstances, come up with Plan B. One of my friends keeps a baseball bat near the front seat of her minivan. Another always has the most powerful pepper spray on the market in her purse, and yet another keeps an 18″ length of steel rebar wedged between the driver’s seat of her car and the middle console. Whatever your choice, always be aware of the location of your weapon, practice using it, and be comfortable with the thought that one day you may have to use it.
- Don’t listen to celebrities and politicians who go on hysterical anti-gun rants. Remember, they can afford armed bodyguards and state-of-the-art home security systems. (Interesting that it’s okay if their bodyguards are armed but they don’t think law-abiding citizens should be able to own and carry guns.) I am my kids’ armed bodyguard.
- Practice rapid firing when you’re at the range. If your life, or that of your children’s, is ever on the line, and your only choice is to draw your gun, your best tactic will be multiple, rapid shots at the bad guy(s).
- Don’t assume you will only ever have to deal with a single bad guy. Just like roaches, bad guys stick together. You may very well be confronted with several all at once. Keep that in mind.
- There’s a reason why experts prefer to keep their sidearms concealed. Open carry is okay if you’re trying to impress people, but it also makes you a target. According to the study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than 42 percent of women with guns have a concealed carry permit.
- Your life should never depend on a gun you’re afraid to shoot. If the recoil is too powerful, if the trigger pull is too heavy, if firing it hurts your hand, do not plan on using that gun as a defensive weapon. Sell it. Give it away, but whatever you do, have a gun you are comfortable with and actually enjoy shooting. If that life or death moment should ever come, there cannot be even a moment’s hesitation due to fear of using your gun.
- If you choose to carry your handgun concealed, practice drawing it from its holster or from its concealed location. And then practice another hundred times.
- It’s a really good idea to keep an extra loaded magazine in your purse, the glove compartment, wherever it will be safe and easily accessible.
- You just might be able to easily handle a larger caliber of handgun than you think at first. Don’t underestimate your ability.
- Nothing beats not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Be willing to back down in a confrontation or willing to run or call for help. Your goal is to survive, not show off to the world your awesome marksmanship skills.
- Every gun-nut has his/her own opinion about the best make, model, caliber, shooting stance, etc. Be willing to listen but keep in mind that they are just opinions.
- Don’t get overly cocky just because you have a firearm in the house, your purse, or have a certificate from your shooting range for completing an advanced course. Law enforcement officers miss their target in a shooting confrontation about 70% of the time. Think about that.
Do you have firearms in your home? What would you add to this list? Are there any other truths I’ve missed?
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