Gun Training During Pregnancy: Safe Alternatives
Oleg Volk 06.16.14
“And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail, the female of the species must be deadlier than the male” (Kipling)
Pregnancy can seem to others such a short period that women could coast on the residual skills from prior self-defense training, but the reality is different. The gradual changes in the body often make prior carry and drawing methods unusable, and stances have to be modified as well. It’s doubly true of long guns for home defense, as even the basic low ready stance becomes problematic.
Even use of a stout gun belt isn’t always possible towards the end of the process. Worse, any hand-to-hand fighting skills, such as traditional martial arts, also degrade.
At the same time, pregnant women face increased risk of unprovoked attacks by strangers who perceive them as easy pickings, and some also from the father of the fetus who isn’t interested in having a child and the attendant child support obligation. Maintaining self-defense capability becomes important.
The two major problems with the regular gun practice are noise and lead exposure. Both can be mitigated but imperfectly. Shooting outdoors with fully jacketed ammunition and lead-free primers is a part-solution, but that doesn’t solve the exposure to the residue from gunfire by others. Sound suppressors, where legal, are also a possible solution. Unfortunately, most revolvers cannot be suppressed, nor many of the smaller carry guns. In any case, a suppressed pistol handles very differently from what most people would carry and so provides only marksmanship practice. And the noise from the gunfire of other people at the range is still a problem. Although the fetal hearing is protected quite effectively by amniotic fluid, some women still report kicking by the fetus in response to gunfire report.
Fortunately, the main focus of the maintenance training is in the presentation from holster. So live fire is less necessary than just going through the motions of getting the gun in hand quickly and reliably. Unloaded carry pistol would work fine for this. A laser cartridge would also enable training for effective point shooting up close. For those who carry mid-size auto pistols without manual safeties, the dedicated laser trainer would also work, as it fits most standard holsters. The focus of the training should be on getting the weapon into play efficiently.
The benefits from continued training are two-fold: the increased confidence that would make it less likely anyone would try to victimize the pregnant woman, and the maintained defensive ability that would enable effective response if an attack by person or animal does happen. While it’s ideal that most of the practice occurs before pregnancy begins, I know of quite a few women who developed a sudden interest in self-defense after realizing they now have to defend more than just themselves.