20 Jul Becoming A Well Armed Woman: Rationale And Process
I have grown up with very little gun exposure. I have never been afraid of guns, but I also didn’t have any desire to shoot them. When I married my husband I knew that he had a passion for guns and was ok with it as long as I didn’t have to shoot them.
This changed however when I came across a news article about a young woman raped a couple of blocks from my home. I realized that I wanted to make sure I could take care of myself.
Find Your Purpose For Shooting
New to shooting, I first had to decide what my purpose for owning a gun was. Am I leaving this gun in a safe for me to protect my home or am I going to carry it? Am I going to carry it on me or in a purse?
I decided that I wanted something small that I could conceal carry. The problem is that there are so many different guns. I went to my local gun store with my husband and found myself overwhelmed by the options.
I later learned that there are two basic types of handguns and which one you want depends on what you value. Knowledge about how these guns work will help you better determine if it is the right firearm for you.
Photo Credit: Photo of Glock 17 found on Flicker and taken by Timothy Tsui
A semi-automatic is a firearm that ejects the spent shell and then loads the next round into the chamber ready to shoot. Although many are a bit bulky for women there are light concealed carry options.
Semi-automatics usually have a lighter trigger pull than a revolver which for women can be a key factor. They also carry more rounds making it so you don’t have to reload as often.
Photo Credit: Photo of Taurus 85 Ultra-Lite found on Flicker and taken by James Case
Revolvers don’t have a removable magazine. Instead, they have a cylinder that typically carries 5 to 6 rounds. Because there is a gap between the cylinder and the barrel firing a revolver tends to be louder.
Revolvers have fewer moving parts, which makes them less complicated to clean and more reliable. They typically have an exposed hammer which can catch onto clothing when drawn.
If you plan on carrying it in a purse a revolver might be easier to shoot from inside the purse if necessary. This is because it cycles through ammunition differently than a semi-auto does.
Your Hands Determine The Gun
Women are generally weaker than men and have more difficulty manipulating handguns. Finding a gun that you feel comfortable with is key. You will want to handle and test a couple of guns out to see which one feels best to you.
Women that have small hands have more difficulty operating larger guns. Although women with long fingers have less to worry about you will still want to ensure the gun feels right.
Getting A Gun That Fits Your Hand
If you want to quickly see if your hand is a good fit for a gun hold the grip of the gun with your shooting hand with your finger to the side of the gun and off the trigger. If the grip of the gun lines up with your forearm you will have more control when you shoot.
Make sure that your dominant hand can wrap the grip and reach all the controls and trigger. The pad of your pointer finger should be able to reach the trigger so you can pull it all the way back.
Getting A Gun That Matches Your Hand Strength
I have a history of arthritis in my family and unfortunately am already starting to feel it in my hands. This makes operating certain guns more difficult. If you struggle with hand strength a gun that has a light trigger pull and an easy slide will make a world of difference.
The Well Armed Woman has a training video that about halfway through shares a technique for racking your gun that tends to make it easier for women. First, hold the gun close to your body with the muzzle pointing forward. Then, use your strong hand to push the gun out while holding the slide with your support hand and let go of the slide.
Make sure that you let the slide move forward on its own. I kept on trying to slowly release the slide because I was afraid it was going to pinch me. The truth however is that when you let the slide come back on its own you are less likely to be pinched and the gun is more likely to fire properly.
Most guns don’t have magazines that are easy to load. Even using a good technique for loading a mag can be hard for women. There is however a device called a Uplula that can help you load a mag.
What Role Gun Safeties Play In Your Firearm Decision
One of the first things I noticed when I went to test guns was that some safeties are harder to manipulate than others. You will want to choose a gun with safeties you can easily maneuver.
Most guns have some form of safety which gives greater control over when the gun will fire. It should be noted, however, that safeties can fail and you should never be careless with a gun no matter if it is loaded or not. Always keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to shoot.
Function Of A Manual Safety
Manuel safeties are typically a button or lever on the side of the gun that will prevent the gun from firing. If you are in a stressful situation, a manual safety can hinder you because it’s one more step before firing.
Like riding a bike, shooting takes time before you can do it without thinking about it. If you have a safety that takes some getting used to, practice will help make it muscle memory.
How A Trigger Pull Safety Works
A trigger pull safety is built into the trigger of the gun. They typically consist of two parts on the trigger itself. Both parts of the trigger have to be pulled back for the gun to fire.
This safety is meant to help make firing the gun a deliberate action. When you fire a gun you need to really mean to pull the trigger. This isn’t to say however that guns with trigger-pull safeties are harder to shoot.
Some triggers have more travel than others before they fire, which may bother some shooters. A comfortable trigger pull will make shooting your gun more enjoyable which can improve your accuracy.
Photo credit: photo of Colt MK IV on Flickr taken by Stephen Z.
Operation Of Grip Safeties
The grip safety is at the back of the grip. They typically sit right under the web of your thumb and trigger finger. If you don’t have a tight enough hold on the grip this safety will stop the gun from firing.
Because you need to hold a gun tight anyway these safeties aren’t supposed to be hard to use. With some, however, you may need to hold the grip more tightly than usual which may be hard on women with weak hands.
Make Your Gun List
Before I went to test guns I made a list of the qualities in a gun I felt were important. I have long fingers so I wanted a concealable semi-auto with a trigger pull I felt comfortable with. I also have weak hands though so the ability to easily rack and load my firearm was extremely important to me.
Once you list off the qualities you are looking for in a gun it is time to test them out. If you don’t know what guns have the specifics you are looking for bring someone who knows or ask an employee at your local gun shop. Not all employees know everything there is to know about guns, but they should be able to help you get started.
The bottom line is that what feels comfortable to you is really what makes the gun a good fit. No matter if you are a man or a woman only you can decide what firearm is the best fit.
Finding the right gun and shooting accessories can improve your accuracy and peace of mind. Anarchy Outdoors would love to help you in any way they can with their wide variety of products you can rely on.