Concealed Carry and Women: Myth Debunked
Ron Gunner 04.17.17
As an instructor I can’t tell you how many times I have had women come take a concealed carry class and walk in the door with a brand new snub nose .357 revolver or a 38spl Plus P, smiling from ear to ear. Then by the end of the one-, two-, or three-day class that smile is gone. Why you ask? Because they went to a fill-in-the-blank big box store and the guy behind the counter who is either just filling in from the boot department or has no real knowledge of firearms to begin with told them, “Oh you want a concealed carry gun? Here, this is all you need with that pretty pink personal defense ammo over there.”
And there it is, snub nose and 38spl plus P or 357mag for women no matter what size she is. Now before you go off on me, yes there are plenty of women that can and do use conceal carry snub nose revolvers. But there are many that can’t stand the recoil and it hurts their hands. I am friends with some women Pro Shooters that are very good with snub nose and conceal carry one all the time. My problem is the myth that “ALL” women need this and that’s it.
But the gun industry is not all innocent as one might think. Ask yourself how many companies that make revolvers that are pink, gold, red, teal blue etc? Everything happens for a reason, even the “pink” personal defense ammo is the same as their other personal defense ammo, so why does it have to be pink? The answer, to get the women interested and buy these products. Now that “IS” a good thing as I believe all women who can legally conceal carry should. (Restraining orders are just paper.)
So why am I hung up on this one reading this might ask? Well, because it comes down to not EVERY woman in the world can handle a revolver and in my concealed carry classes I have seen that some can’t. The problem is when that happens it almost turns them off of shooting and the idea of concealed carry altogether. That’s why I am hung up on this myth!
A True Story
Let me tell you about a mother and daughter I had in a concealed carry class a few years ago. When they called to sign up I asked them as I ask everyone if they already have a pistol they plan on using for concealed carry. If they say no not yet, I ask them to wait before they go buy one until after the class because I have about 10 different pistols and revolvers there in different sizes and calibers. They can try any for the concealed carry class and see what they like before they go buy something they may not be able to handle.
This mom and daughter didn’t have anything at that time, so I told them that is fine, I provide guns for the class. And I thought that was going to be the end of that issue then and I would start them out on a small 22 pistol since neither of them had ever shot a gun before.
The day of the class rolled around and they walk in with two brand new Ruger 38’s that the local big box store sold them, telling them to rest assured this is all the needed. And yes, they had 6 boxes of pink personal defense ammo. The class was on a Saturday, they had stopped by the big box store the night before to “look” at some pretty guns, and the guy behind the counter when he heard they were taking the class knew he had two new customers right then and there.
They told him that the instructor told them not to buy anything until after the class so they knew what was best for them. He told them feeding off of that info that he was “SURE” the instructor (me) would tell them to buy these two revolvers because this is all women need, yes he really told them that! Needless to say I was upset with that store and the salesman, but nothing I could do about it now. So forward to the shooting part of the class, I tried to get these two women to start out with the 22’s and work up to their new guns.
They would have none of it, they were so in the spell of the salesman they didn’t want to even try anything else. I started with the half the class out on the indoor range and kept these two in the second group on purpose. I wanted them to hear how loud they were and watch the flash and recoil of some of these guns. I was hoping to change their minds and start them out small. It didn’t work. They ONLY wanted to use their new shinny guns. After several more attempts on my part to get them into the 22, 32, 380, 9mm first failed, I did get them to let me shoot one of the their two new guns first so they could be right there and see the soon to feel violence these two never before shooters were about to handle!
They were shocked at the sound and the flash, and I admit I let the recoil go a little more to enhance my point. They were very determined to say the least. So after setting up the new targets, having them on the line at only 5 yards, and going over and over the safety rules of gun handling, it came time to take that first shot. The mother went first, when that shot went off it was all she could do to hold on and not run away. Both of these women may have weighed 110 pounds soaking wet.
She looked at me and asked if she hit the target at 5 yards. No she didn’t! I asked her if she was surprised, and she was. I asked her if she wanted to try one of the other guns now. She didn’t, they had the feeling that they bought them they are going to use them. So to make a long story short, after not being able to hit the right places on the targets or even bust the balloons or at least as much as the other students, they finally listened to me and asked if they could try something else. By this time they were almost in tears because they thought that they could not become concealed carry permit holders ever.
They shot a 380 and did GREAT! Then I moved them up to a 9mm 3.5 inch barrel and they were hitting dead on shots and busting balloons at will! They by this time had thrown out the notion that they could not or ever learn how to shoot. They learned that my “myth” comments in my class were really true. They were taking the two 38’s back the next day to trade them in and the mother said she HOPED the guy that sold them these was going to be there!
So the point of this article is simply this, do not listen to only one guy behind a counter that says he knows what you need. In fact talk to him and even somebody else. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a competition shooter or law enforcement officer working you can talk to and ask to try many different types of guns in the counter. There are many semi-autos now that are easy to “rack” the slide, which is the main problem some men and women have, no matter what age, shape, or size. It could be from arthritis or carpal tunnel or just not the hand and arm strength needed.
Both men and women may have this trouble with racking a slide. One thing to try is to grab the slide tight as you can in one hand holding it stationary and then force the frame forward with the other hand. You have more area to grip and angle to push with by doing it that way. Remember to always just let the slide go at that time, don’t “ride” the slide as it will cause issues within itself!
So let me leave you with this, there is NO one perfect gun across the board for everyone, just as there is NO one perfect holster for everyone also, but that’s for another article.