Women and Guns

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

It took me some time to get on board, but I’ve been a strong proponent of women and guns for a lot of years. When I was younger, I got caught up in the macho image of men and guns, not really thinking all that much about the need for women to be able to defend themselves. But as I grew older, I heard more and more about women being assaulted and not having the ability to defend themselves. The gun, I reasoned (along with lots of other people) would give women that much-needed ability.

In my personal experience, there are a lot of women who are afraid of guns. Part of that is because they are noisy. But a much larger part of that is because they are unfamiliar with guns. To many women, guns represent violence and death, nothing more. They’ve never seen the positive side of guns being used to save people’s lives.

That’s often the first step in getting women to shoot; getting them to understand that a gun can be their friend and can save their life. Some three and a half million women realized that in the last year, as roughly half the new gun owners since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been women.

As far as I’m concerned, if anyone needs a gun to defend themselves, it’s a woman. There’s a reason why guns have been called “the great equalizer” and that’s because it gives women, the elderly and those who otherwise don’t stand a chance of defending themselves a decent chance at doing so. While the Hollywood image of someone just picking up a gun and shooting wildly, hitting every target is a totally false one and learning to shoot well requires considerable amount of time on the range, women can do so, just as well as men can.

Actually, it has been my experience, and the experience of the instructor at the range where I shoot, that women learn to shoot easier than men do. He attributes that to men thinking they know what they are doing and women realizing they don’t. But I’ve seen plenty of women try to tell men how to do things that it was clear that the woman had no idea how to do. I suspect that they are just about as susceptible as men are at thinking they know what they’re doing, the first time they pick up a gun. After all, they saw it on TV and it didn’t look all that hard.

I think the real reason why women are such good natural shooters is that they have a lighter touch. It has been discovered that it is trigger control, not sight picture, which is the single most important aspect of accurate shooting. While women are just as likely to jerk a trigger as men are, they are also naturally able to apply even pressure to the trigger, without overdoing it and pushing the gun off target.

As more and more women learn to shoot and start carrying a firearm, it should have a positive effect on rape and assault statistics. Criminals prey on women because they see them as weak and unable to defend themselves. But when those women are armed, the situation changes considerably. Few criminals are going to take a chance, taking o an armed person, as it is difficult to turn that person into a victim. They want victims they can take advantage of easily, with little risk to themselves.

So how do we get more women into shooting? First we need to get them over their fear of guns. That comes through education. Women who know and understand guns aren’t afraid of them beyond the healthy fear that one must be careful with guns to avoid danger.

When it comes time to start shooting, take the time to explain everything to them carefully, especially gun safety rules. This is a new area for most women, so don’t assume they know anything. Anything they do know, they probably got from some movie or television show. As we know, that’s all messed up, so don’t be surprised if you have to help them unlearn a few faulty lessons, so that they can learn how to do things properly.

Never take a woman who hasn’t shot before and give her a 12 gauge shotgun, telling her “Just shoot it.” I’ve seen too many videos of fools doing just that. If you want to get that woman hurt and turn her off to guns forever that might be a plan. It might also be a plan to get her to slap your face with that shotgun.

I always start women out with a .22LR semi-automatic pistol. I’ve taught a number of women to shoot and the .22 is an ideal starter gun. The noise and recoil are so low with it, it helps them overcome their fear. Once they become comfortable with it, I can then step them up to something a bit bigger, depending on their hand strength.

I know there are plenty of revolver aficionados out there who would prefer to start out with a six-shooter. That’s not a problem; but I prefer the semi-automatic, because they don’t have to stop and reload as often. That can be annoying to someone who is just starting to get in the groove, so I like to give them those extra shots.

As they improve, challenge them to beat you; but don’t be surprised when they do. I’ve had a number of female students who now shoot better than I do. While that’s a bit damaging to my male ego, I’m glad for them. I want my students to do well, especially since most of them are related to me. If they shoot well, I don’t need to worry about them quite as much.

After all, it’s easier to defend a family who can defend themselves. That just seems to belong in there with keeping our powder dry and our survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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