This post is for the ladies….

As I spend more time teaching the Introduction to Defensive Handguns course, I am able to meet more couples who are interested in Home Defense and learning about the various defensive firearms.  I am seeing a trend in how firearms are being purchased especially for the Women of the house.

Husbands tend to be more proactive in buying firearms, even for the Mrs.  Well Men I'm here to tell you, just because you think you know best doesn't mean you do.  I have witnessed too many women coming to the range with firearms chosen for them by their Husband's and in some case they can barely even hold the gun up to fire it.  This not only poses a comfort issue, but a safety issue as well.

  • Fit
  • Caliber (ammunition capacity)
  • Availability

How the handgun fits is usually the first issue.  Get your Wife a handgun that fits her hand as best as possible.  If the gun doesn't fit her hand then she will be less inclined to shoot it in the first place.  If you decide to get her a less desirable firearm (I.e. one with external safety devices/decock levers, etc.) at least get her one that fits well enough to reach all the levers.

The second most common issue is caliber.  Not all women are comfortable shooting a .45 ACP.  Even the recoil created by 9mm rounds can seem challenging in the beginning.  Even though we recommend the 9mm round as the most efficient for personal defense, new female shooters may have to step down to a .380 or even a .22.

Third is availability of support gear associated with the firearm.  Holsters, parts, etc. should be researched if the handgun or shooter requires them.  For concealed carry purposes, it would be counter productive to buy a firearm that doesn't have a proper fitting holster available.

In speaking with the ladies about firearms it seems their first concern is comfort with the handgun.  Although we as men tend to compromise, if we want to help arm our ladies we have to listen to their needs and get them shooting soon.

Attending their first firearms training course is also something I recommend.  Not to show them how great you are, but to give support.  Personal defense with a firearm is serious business and deserves the time needed to get the women comfortable with operating a firearm with the intention of defending themselves if the need arises.

Below are some notes from the ladies of 10X Defense:

Tracy Caswell says:

I have small hands, short fingers, & I'm left handed.  Some of the grips on the pistols I've tried, are too big or uncomfortable.  Some have mag releases on the left side.  Being left handed, my palm covers & rubs the mag release.  Making it difficult to manipulate.

My first firearm that I own & train with, is a Walther P 22.  The mag release is integrated into the trigger guard, which makes it ambidextrous & easier to manipulate. Recoil is easy to manage.  I'm able to put rounds down range, faster than higher calibers.
(publisher's note: to date Tracy is working her way up to 9mm! Baby steps…)
Darci Hoehni says:
“Even after choosing a 9mm that I can shoot comfortably, I am learning that I still have difficulty with the levers. I now have made the choice not to use my safety as it hinders my ability. I am also learning that I have difficulty with the slide lock due to lack of hand strength, so I have to now train to be able to manipulate that lever as well.”
(publisher's note: Darci has demanded her husband to buy her a Glock, he is currently complying)
 Lori Hipolito says:
“Along the lines of comfort level – There's nothing like some solid range time to get more comfortable with your firearm!  When we went to the range and took the time to develop a good level of comfort and work through the mechanics and details, it definitely increased my confidence and capability.”
(publisher's note: Lori runs a Smith and Wesson M&P 9 and very well I might say)

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