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When The "Little Lady" Wants A Handgun . . .


When a man who is inexperienced with weapons decides to purchase a handgun for possible self defense purposes he is given all knowing advice from nearly every Weapons Enthusiast out there. The latest model of the newest brand, the tried and true that's been around half a century or more, concealability, magazine capacity, caliber . . .

Caliber . . . I have very large hands so any revolver not considered large framed tends to disappear in my paw. Most .357's, .41's and .44's make a good fit for me and I can shoot reasonably well with them. Many self proclaimed authorities on self protection would tell me "Nothing less than a .38 special or a 9mm will be adequate for home defense." Interesting . . .

A female friend recently told me one of these "self proclaimed authorities" I had recommended she talk to gave her the,"Darlin' could I interest you in this two shoot .22 derringer, or maybe this little 'Zapper' .32acp?"

WTF? If it's gonna take "minimum .38 special or 9mm" for me, a 6'3" 240lb man to defend himself, how is a 5'2" 94lb woman gonna do the same with one of those little poppers? I mean, heck no, I don't want to be staring at the business end of one of them but give me a break!

Okay, the line of reasoning here (I'm guessing) is recoil/weight/hand size. Is that reason enough to have them place their trust in a weapon most men would consider inadequate? No. Hell no.

Revolvers chambered in .38/.357, .44 Special and others can be found in small frame configuration. Semi-auto's in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45acp, often found in large framed guns with double stack magazines can also be found in a reduced size suitable for smaller hands.

And recoil? Unmanageable recoil is a matter of letting the gun control you instead of you controlling the gun. When my daughter was 12 she wanted to try shooting the .44 mag. After going over shooting technique I handed the gun to her, expecting to pick it up after it sailed from her hands. The first shot found her with back arched back and gun pointing straight up over her head. Expecting at least a whimper, instead she said,"Well that wasn't so bad!" She proceeded to shoot up the box of full house factory loads. Maybe I need to learn her technique.

An effort is being made by some gun manufacturers and after-market suppliers to make weapons more appealling to women by incorporating color(s). Bad idea. We already have toy manufacturers placing red plugs on the muzzle end so law enforcement can identify a toy from a real gun. Don't put pink weapons out there to confuse things.

In closing I will say I do not recommend or endorse firearms purchase for anyone, male or female, nor do I discourage it. This is a freedom we share, but cannot demand of each other.

Your thoughts on this are welcome . . .


Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

When I was a girl I wanted to be a gunslinger. I imagined myself as like Sharon Stones character in The Quick and the Dead. I wanted a Colt Buntline because I thought it was a beautiful weapon though perhaps that is an incorrect thing to say about a weapon. I have read all of Tom Clancy, twice, because I love the military tech parts, and I sometimes feel guilty about this. Did you see Top Gun and those oh so lovely Tomcats? How about owning one of those babies? Or an Abrams tank? LOL guess I'm over the guilt.

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

frankie8 - As a law abiding citizen of the US I think if I had the means to purchase a battleship and could get a permit to anchor it in Clinton Lake I should be allowed to do so. Restrictions are in place to keep that from happening so I guess not. (One of my favorite posters here would have me owning nuclear weapons and being responsible for the end of the world. Quite the burden I carry.)

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

I call dibs on firing the first shot! Target practice, dude!
But, but, but...the end of the world would mean no more guns!

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Never missed that show. Emma preferred the hands on approach to taking care of business or TBC as we used to say back in the day.

Fossick 5 years, 10 months ago

Caliber is overrated. There's no way some slob with a pair of .22 caliber holes through his lungs will be thinking about completing his home invasion. Nor does a 6'3" man need a .38 special to defend himself - such a weapon works faster than a nightstick, perhaps, but it's hardly necessary. The best weapon for defense is one that the wielder can use confidently and which the wieldee will avoid at all costs. To paraphrase Westley, then he explained that the report was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear.

All the rest is pink grips and My Little Pony bra holsters.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

There are girls and women who hate the color pink, who loathe the color pink. This is horrible beyond horrible.

gphawk89 5 years, 10 months ago

I was kind of thinking the same thing. I dunno about anyone else, but I'd think it would hurt like hell to get shot with a .22. On the other hand, if a family member's life is truly depending on one or two shots, I'd rather them be at least a 9mm.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 10 months ago

While a .22 is not considered the most desirable caliber, I still don't know anyone who wants to get shot with it. The .22 does have a history of being lethal.

I teach Kansas CCH and a basic handgun course. I also sell firearms through a big chain sporting goods company. I regularly get customers asking me what the best handgun is. I tell them it is the one you can shoot accurately consistently. What that means is if I put a (insert your favorite brand) .45, .40, 9mm, .357, .38, .380 in your hand and you can't hit the ground with it, it does you no good. But, if you can shoot a five-shot group at 15 yards with a .22 that you can cover with a quarter, that should be where you start.

Just as an aside, keep the lasers off a combat pistol unless you have a true need for it. Lasers can seriously work against you if you haven't been properly trained with it.

labmonkey 5 years, 10 months ago

Laser on my .380 S&W Bodyguard = worthless. That is a gun made for 10' or less anyway... who the hell needs a laser on a gun that small?

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

Don't you know that in Kansas we spray and pray?

labmonkey 5 years, 10 months ago

I wish my wife would want a gun, but alas, I married someone who was raised in a firearms-free household and she never caught the bug to shoot (the only thing she has ever shot was my Ruger 10/22).

If I ever get my CC, I will probably just get a pocket holster for my .380 S&W Bodyguard. Otherwise, I keep my Glock 17 in the drawer right next to the bed in case of home invasion.

As for your comment about colored handles... I have a friend who has another take. He has CC and he said he thought about buying a pink .38 and putting some of the stick-on fake jewels made for cell-phone cases. That way if he were ever in a situation where he had to use it, he figures he would gain at least a couple split seconds when the perpetrator looks at it and thinks "WTF?!?"

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

lab, my wife also has no interest in guns although she was raised in a home where the old single shot 12ga. was always propped up by the back door. Doesn't hate 'em, just not interested. She keeps a can of pepperspray in her purse, which she forgot about on a trip to Europe. It was spotted when she was getting checked for boarding the plane to fly back in the Netherlands. They damn near kept her. I call her my little international felon now.

riverdrifter 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't want no stinking gun of the hand. Don't need one and don't want one. Don't want no CC either. Got barking dogs and plenty of of other fire-power. I'm good.

KSWingman 5 years, 10 months ago

That's OK. Leaves more for the rest of us!

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

Fossick and Gaurdian - On caliber I happen to agree with you. Why the double standard though with some salesmen?

Gaurdian . . . When I took the CCH class I was one of thirty two that day. My groups were consistantly under saucer size in under 6 seconds. Only one person shot better and he would take that long between shots! I doubt you see quarter size groups from one in 500 people attending your classes, and I see no relevance between shooting non-moving paper targets at 15 yards and fending off an attacker at arms length who may also be shooting at you. About the only thing that proves is you have experience with firearms. I also agree with you on the lasers. I call them and other add on devices "GOGS". Gizmos On GunS. The only thing that will make you proficient with firearms is practice and lots of it. Bells and whistles are prone to failure and will not work when you need them. I do thank you for your input even if I don't 100% agree with it. Something tells me your background includes much more than working for a sporting goods company.

repaste 5 years, 10 months ago

I have 0 personal experience, but a friend, a retired firearms instructor who has had to fire his service revolver numerous times on duty, Explained it to me as "The 22 will kill a man, but he will continue forward and may still harm you. The 45 will stop his forward motion." He told a story of a fellow officer, a female, who was attacked in bed, shot him through the heart, the police found his body 100 yards away.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 10 months ago


Well, some salesmen work on commission, some don't. Some fall into the trap that bigger is better, some believe accuracy is the deciding factor.

Actually, you and I are closer in our philosophies than you think. You are right when you say there is little difference between shooting holes in paper on a nice sanitized range and shooting as if your life depends upon it. Most shooters, myself included, are not capable of shooting a quarter-sized group at 15 yards. The point I was trying to make was that one should use a gun that one feels comfortable with and even then, constant practice is a necessity.

And you are right about my background as well. 20 years as a police firearms instructor, former IPSC competitor, Chapman Academy of Practical Shooting and Lethal Force Institute grad, and 28 years police DT instructor.

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

Impressive history you have Gaurdian! Would you consider doing a blog on civilian gun ownership from a LE perspective?

Jim Phillips 5 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't mind, but it would be quite short. I'm in favor because when seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

I once read an article about G. Gordon Liddy (convicted felon for his role in Watergate break in of Democratic Headquarters.)

He said although his felony conviction prevents him from owning firearms his wife has an extensive collection. Which she chooses to store under his side of the bed.

Mr. Liddy, I don't think it works that way . . . .

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

Nice! I will very likely be getting a device implanted in my back to control nerve issues this summer. It has a "remote" so the level of stim can be adjusted as needed. Now I'm thinkin', "what if the wife gets ahold of that remote?"

BUZZT! "Clean up that kitchen!" Yes dear!

BUZZT! "Take out the trash!" Anything you say dear!

BUZZT! "Water my flowers! Make the bed! Clean the litterbox!" Roe quivering on floor Whatever you want dear!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

A .22 you have in hand is of more use in an emergency than a .44 left in the safe.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes, a .22 or .25 is better than nothing, but a 9mm or .38 are very manageable, even for a woman. If after much training and consideration, you decide you shoot a .22 the best, then by all means, use it if you need it.

I'm all for pink guns. If it helps girls get as excited about guns as I am, then it'll help provide a sense of ownership.

RoeDapple 5 years, 10 months ago

After digging a little deeper I realize even toys with bright orange barrel tips have to be treated cautiously by LE in a low light or fast paced weapons call. I mean, how hard would it be for a law breaker to paint the barrel of a real gun orange to throw off an officer for just a second or two?

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