Guns for Women?

There are a couple of posts out today dealing with what gun for woman. I think the posts themselves are great. They both say the same thing: Try a bunch and get what works best for you.

But the comments! WHEW!

We need to drop the whole “new woman shooter” thing already. They are new shooters, period. Let’s not use sex to color expectations of a person’s capabilities. The idea that women are somehow less capable than men at ANYTHING other than writing their names in the snow is as dead as Teddy Kennedy. (pause to let JayG cheer.) Frankly I’m a little amazed by the neolithic thinking on display in some of those comments.

And that whole revolver is better than pistol for a first gun thing… Let me count the fail.

Myth: Revolvers are intuitive. (And somehow pistols aren’t)
Reality: ALL handguns are intuitive. Point, pull the trigger, BANG.

Myth: Revolvers are simpler to operate than Pistols.
Reality: Have you not seen a Glock?

Myth: It’s hard to rack the slide on a Pistol.
Reality: Frankly if some is too weak to rack a slide how are they going to deal with that double action trigger pull?

Myth: You have to practice failure drills with a pistol.
Reality: If your pistol fails that often you need to get it fixed.

Myth: You don’t have to train with a revolver.
Reality: You don’t have to train with any gun. Practice will certainly improve your shooting, but when it comes to a self defense handgun you don’t have to train at all, most people never do anyway. Refer back to that whole intuitive thing. Point open end at bad guy, pull trigger until he stops moving. If you like to train that’s fine, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll be more prepared than anyone else when the shit hits the fan. Cardboard doesn’t shoot back and until it does you’re just playing a game.

Myth: You can leave a revolver in a drawer for years then pull it out and fire it.
Reality: And you can’t do that with a Glock because? (and don’t dare say the magazine spring will weaken over time)

Myth: Revolvers are easier to clean.
Reality: If we’re leaving our guns in drawers for years why does ease of cleaning matter anyway? Cleaning is a fetish left over from the old days of corrosive primers. Modern guns don’t have to be cleaned unless the crud buildup impairs function. But if you have to clean, it’s pretty hard to make the case that a pistol is somehow more difficult to clean than a revolver.

Myth: A .38 Special snubbie revolver is a good first gun.
Reality: Are you TRYING to make people hate guns? If I had to pick one of the worst guns to actually shoot, a .38 Special snubbie revolver would be at the top of my list. NO ONE shoots a .38 snubbie for fun. If you recommend a .38 snubbie as a first gun it WILL go into a drawer for years because they won’t want to shoot it.

I personally don’t like Glocks, but that’s because I don’t shoot them as well as other guns, but I think a Glock 19 should be the first gun people try when they’re looking for a defensive handgun.

I’d no more recommend a revolver than I would a flint lock.

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19 Responses to Guns for Women?

  1. styrgwillidar says:

    I agree with you that handguns are a personal thing, each person should assess their own situation and preferences and go with what works for them.

    My daughter (19) prefers a revolver right now because she doesn’t like the motion of the slide on pistols. Perhaps with more practise and experience that will change. However, she hits very well with both .357 and .38 +P, and hitting reliably has more value than what pistol you’re using to get those hits.

    My son (12) shoots a pistol in .40 S&W with no problems but occasionally has jams with the 9MM not cycling because of a less than rigid hold.

    IF you personally have an issue with reliably holding a pistol rigidly enough for it to cycle than a revolver is a good option. (I had issues with short-stroking a pump shotgun when trying to fire rapidly- trained a lot to get over it. But, semi-autos were certainly an option given my personal shortcoming.)

    Also, you neglect to mention the one advantage of a revolver. If you are unlucky enough to have that dud round in a self-defense situation that second round will be easier to fire off from a revolver than it is clearing the dud from a pistol.

    Again, I personally don’t care what anyone uses, there are pluses and minuses to each, and there are always a lot of myths. My pet peeve is telling female shooters to avoid XXXX caliber because it’s ‘too powerful’. Anyone can train enough to use any weapon, it’s whether you’re willing/able to invest the time and resources.

  2. Old NFO says:

    My personal recommendation is find one that FITS the shooter… revolver or semi-auto, makes absolutely no difference. FWIW, both my daughters carry/shoot G19s.

  3. Tam says:

    The only real area of superiority a revolver has over an auto for the total neophyte/non-shooter is that they’re easier to clear and verify. One of the most frequent safety oopsies with an auto is someone either dropping the mag without clearing the chamber or, worse, “clearing the chamber” and then dropping the mag. I’ll bet that accounts for a pretty good chunk of NDs (especially with a novice field-stripping a Glock.)

    And that can be remedied with about fifteen minutes of learnin’.

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  5. Glockslinger says:

    The Snarkmaster once again clears away the crud and gets down to the shiny, rational core of the whole issue! What does genitalia have to do with shooting? They didn’t call guns “the great equalizer” for nothing! My mother taught me to shoot and she was hardly a weight-lifter. (And a Democrat. Them’s wuz different days!) New shooters are new shooters, and it is all about how the gun fits your hand and how well you can control it. I’m partial to Glocks, but I know many women who have purchased S&W M&P compacts and Springfield XD pistols because they feel more comfortable to them. We should all feel comfortable with our primary defensive gun, male OR female. Comfort promotes control; control promotes accuracy. In a fight, you can’t be looking at your pistol.

  6. Earl T says:

    Great article! I refer any and all newbies to handguns, over to the “Cornered Cat” website for some good basic instruction on all phases of pistol shooting. In fact I won’t let anyone shoot my pistols without them reading that site first.

    As for choices, a Glock is a good “mudder”(ever notice that many a comment from Glock owners starts out “After I dropped my Glock in the mud….”) but I prefer my FNP-9, a sweet compact 9mm, designed by the folks who brought you the Browning Hi Power. Good ergs, as accurate as the best and reasonably-priced, you can’t go wrong with this pistol.!

    As my championship military shooter friend says of the FP “It just sits nicely in your hand and shoots right where you point it.”

  7. Aglifter says:

    Women, usually, lack a strongly dominant eye. They also tend to have significantly less hand and wrist strength.

    To teach a woman to teach properly, all of those factors must be addressed – especially the lack of a strongly dominant eye.

    The average woman’s physical capabilities vary considerably from the average man’s – in everything from hearing range, to balance, to strength, to reflexes, and how their vision operates. To ignore those differences for political reasons, is foolish, and provides a dis-service.

  8. shmoogals says:

    While I agree with most of what you have written, I think that training has a great deal of value, even if the cardboard hasn’t learned to shoot back yet. If you plan to carry your gun for protection, you must learn how to draw it safely and get the sights on target.

    It’s true that when SHTF, you may not even remember that you are carrying, let alone pull off a cinematic one-handed snap shot that stops the aggressor without killing him; but in emergency situations (which is the very definition of using a gun to protect yourself), you fall back on your training. If you have no training, you will most likely fumble for your gun, just when you need it the most. And your suggestion that you just keep pulling the trigger is just another way of saying SPRAY AND PRAY. Not good advice for anyone.

    Just sayin’…

  9. Glockslinger says:

    @Aglifter – this is factually incorrect. While there is significant differences between the sexes, eye dominance isn’t one of them. Almost all humans have a dominant eye, just as nearly all humans have a preference for which hand they favor. The very first thing I do after going over the “Ten Commandments” in my training sessions is to help new shooters identify their dominant eye. More than half of my sessions thus far were made up of women. So far, none have been unable to find theirs.

    I’d also take issue with hand/wrist strength; it all depends on how one spends his/her day. Overall, women possess roughly 25% less muscle strength than men, but hands are a different story. If they type, use tools (gardening, house cleaning, etc.), then one would need special equipment to detect a difference. With many women, the biggest issue seems to be the size of their hands, not their ability to use a firearm. I mean, think about it; if a 12-year-old boy can become proficient with a pistol, a fully-grown woman (who could whip his butt) could do likewise.

    Just for giggles, suppose that I have MY facts wrong. That more than justifies the points made on this blog about NOT suggesting a .38 snubby to women! I shot my brother-in-law’s S&W Airlite .38+P. When I finished, he said, “Go ahead, load it up and shoot it again.” I said, “F— you! I’ll save myself some time and just take a meat tenderizer to my hand!” Absolutely no fun to shoot at all.

    I’ve never seen anything in any medical journal or biology textbook suggesting that eyesight and visual acuity between men and women is any different overall. I’m not into “political correctness,” but eschew unsubstantiated assumptions and myth. Plus, I think I’ve been responsible for the sale of at least three Glock 23 pistols to women who have enjoyed shooting mine.

  10. Kevin H. says:

    My fiance absolutly hates revolvers. She finds the flash from the cylinder gap rather unnerving and greatly prefers detachable magazines.

    She knows what she wants and will have nothing less, and because of this we will soon be purchasing several SIGs and a High power (I love her so much!)

  11. wrm says:

    My shooting girlfriend has weak wrists * She sometimes gets FTF/FTE with the two pistols I have that fit her hands * while I don’t (although the 9mmK hurts me, it’s too small for me). As far as I can tell she’s limp-wristing them.

    She quite likes my 4″ 357 revolver (loaded with 38) but can’t hold it up for long *

    I should probably make her shoot the 9mmP pistols more often.

    But there is the issue of “shoot it well” vs “have it for self defence”. For SD, that 38 Special snubby is not that bad a choice (although IMO 9mmP snubbies should be more popular).

    Best gun for a gal? Same as best gun for anyone. Dump two dozen assorted boomsticks on the table, say “knock yourself out”, then have THEM decide.

    * She’s under 5 foot, small boned, and has MS. The weak wrists are just one of the issues.

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  13. Kurt P says:

    One thing about my revolvers- they WILL shoot any kind of load I put in the chamber. How does your autoloader do with snakeshot?

  14. MamaLiberty says:

    I’m a woman, and a serious shooter. I have trained with and love to shoot my .357 snubby revolver – though I use .38sp rounds when I do. I carry an XD compact .45 now, at all times. But I love to shoot a great many different guns.

    Many of your ideas are oversimplifications and outright personal preference instead of facts. While I appreciate your defense of women shooters, much of it is badly misplaced.

    The idea that anyone can shoot without any training whatsoever is ludicrous on its face. There is no tool on earth that can be used well without learning HOW and then practicing that use.

    As a certified firearms instructor, it has been my experience that gun handling skills are actually secondary to learning the skills and mindset necessary for realistic and rational self defense. The safety rules must become ingrained habit to avoid injury and liability. The actual functional use of any gun is simple and easily learned and many women are “naturals” at accurate shooting. That, however, does not make them ready to use the gun to save their lives. That takes a bit more work.

    I have already had to shoot a man to save my life. I have trained long and hard, hoping with all my heart that I never have to face that choice again. But if I do, I have already made up my mind never to be a victim – and I have the skills to back it up.

  15. Thank you Mama Liberty.

    The author may be correct in saying that many people will never bother to do any training. In fact, judging from some of the so-called training I’ve seen hereabout (a lot of it caters to masculine Walter Mitty fantasies) I can understand why women avoid it. However to excuse that with a flippant, “You don’t have to train with any gun” is grossly irresponsible.

  16. alan says:

    Trainers think people need training. Imagine that.

  17. Nancy R. says:

    My first gun *was* a flintlock. Fun to shoot, but no good for personal defense unless you use it as a club. (Which my matchlock was designed to do …) My first “modern” gun was a .38 special and I hated it. I now carry an XD 9mm and love it. I agree — it’s all about what works for the individual.

  18. mike w. says:

    Point open end at target, pull trigger. Simple, intuitive and egalitarian. That’s the great thing about firearms. They can be used effectively without any formal training.

  19. Glockslinger says:

    That much is true, Mike, but a responsible person might want to think about things like bystanders, and perhaps surviving in court AFTER the shooting. This is where the training comes in; the law isn’t nearly as intuitive as the gun itself. Considering the potential impact on your life, I’d say that one should spend at least as much time training and practicing with their guns as they do practicing their golf game.

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