Even before women could vote, we could carry firearms for self protection.
I remember the day that I bought my first gun.
My very own gun. It was mine, I felt powerful and confident.
I was giddy with excitement. I had a GUN! I felt badass, I couldn't wait to tell my mom and my friends and go to the range and shoot it for the first time.
What a monumental day in my life.
This was in 2012.
Before I bought my gun, I did quite a bit of research on what kind of gun to look for. I had a lot of questions too. There were some women shooters, not too many prominent ones that I could find though, and any man-written blog that I came across told me that I needed the BIGGEST most DEADLY gun I could possibly get my hands on because... ego. This just didn't seem right to me. I didn't think I needed a huge gun. I wasn't going to go elephant hunting with it! I just wanted to make sure that I could keep myself safe and alive if someone were to try to hurt me.
I kept scanning articles, went to a few ranges and asked whatever woman I could find about her opinion. That's where I discovered the best information.
It is time to share my knowledge with you!
Here is how your thinking process should look when it comes to choosing a gun.
1: What will you use it for?
- Will you carry it with you?
- Will you only use it inside of your home or vehicle?
- Will you carry it with you and also use it for home protection?
- Will you only take it to the range for practice and competitions?
If you choose to carry a gun with you when you go out, you want to choose one that you can conceal comfortably. One of the biggest reasons that we leave our guns at home (Where it would be completely useless in a time of crisis.) is that we are afraid that we can't conceal it properly and someone might see it. (Turns out, its not really a big deal if someone does see it.)
The most difficult portion of the gun to conceal is the hand grip, the part of the gun that you wrap your hand around when you hold it. The bigger it is, the more it will stick out. The barrel is typically pressed against the body pointing down so it usually doesn't show at all!
Small guns that are easy to conceal: Glock 42 or 43, Sig Sauer P238, P938 or P365, M&P Body Guard, or the M&P Shield 2.0. (My first gun was an M&P Shield, before the 2.0 came out!) There are many many more.
If you choose to own a gun only for home defense or shooting at the range, a "full size" gun might be a good option for you. These guns are bigger than those used for concealed carry. They have longer barrels, making them more accurate. They can hold more bullets, giving you more chances to hit your target before having to reload if you end up needing to. Unfortunately, they are typically more uncomfortable to shoot.
How well your hand fits around the pistol grip plays a major part in the process of choosing a gun. We, women, tend to have smaller hands so our fingers don't comfortably reach certain buttons and levers used to manipulate the gun with finesse. (Which is what we want!) Many full sized guns come in a smaller "compact" version. One of many good choices for a compact version of a full sized gun (if that is what you decide on) would be the Heckler and Koch VP9SK, a smaller version of the Heckler and Koch VP9.
2: Do you like the way it feels to shoot it?
It is wise to test fire a gun before buying one. Just like test driving a car or trying on clothes before you commit. To do this, seek out your local range. They should have plenty of handguns for rent, different calibers, makes, models and styles. You can also buy targets and ammo right there at the range. They should also have eye and ear protection for rent. All you have to do is stroll in and tell them what gun you want to rent. It's best to call ahead of time to ask them if they have the specific make and model that you are looking to rent.
Some ranges local to the Austin area that have good selections of handguns for rent:
The Range at Austin (South Austin) - On Wednesdays, ladies get 25% off!
Shady Oaks Gun Range (Cedar Park)
Reds Indoor Range (N. & S. locations) - Mondays are Ladies Day! $7.50 to rent a lane and all gun rentals are FREE!
3: Price. What can you afford?
This part depends entirely on you, but I will say that price = quality with most major gun manufacturers.
You can't go wrong with these brands: Sig Sauer*, Glock, Heckler and Koch, CZ, Smith & Wesson, most things made by Springfield Armory.
These brands are good sometimes: Taurus, Ruger and Walther.
Steer clear of: HiPoint, Diamondback, Kel-Tec, and Kahr.
(these are my opinions, some disagree but I stand by my word based on my research and experience.)
* Sig Sauer is my favorite brand. (No, I don't get paid to say that!)
Now that you are armed to the teeth with knowledge, go out and get yourself a gun, girl! (Or if you already own one and made it all the way through this blog, go out and get yourself a new one! You know you've been eyeing that new Sig P365...)
If you are still unsure about the process and want more guidance, I would be happy to go with you to a store and walk you through the process by your side! I offer a service called Gun Store Guidance.
This is a service provided for any woman who would like to navigate a gun store with a pro by her side guiding her along the way. Many times ladies are "bullied" into buying a firearm that they can't manipulate on the range, it's uncomfortable to shoot, or it just is not what they came in for. Ammunition, holsters, magazines, and other shooting accessories are also explained on-site. The location is the choice of the lady or it can also be recommended by myself.
You can't find this service anywhere else!
If you have any questions, you can also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org