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Female friend wants her first handgun

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by hm, Nov 21, 2005.

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  1. hm

    hm Member

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    A female friend and coworker of mine (who is recently divorced and has a 4 year old in the house) has come to me, knowing that I'm a gun enthusiast and a trusted friend, stating that she wants a handgun to keep in her apartment for self defense. She has essentially no previous experience with guns.

    Of course, I see this as a fantastic opportunity to introduce someone to the wonderful world of shooting and self-defense, but I want to make absolutely certain that I do it right.

    On the one hand, I'm excited to see someone wanting to join the ranks of those of us who take personal responsibility for our own safety, but at the same time, I definitely want to introduce her in such a way that she doesn't: a) get scared off because I unintentionally come across as a gun-hyped commando-wannabe; b) get scared off with a bad first experience at the range; c) live in constant fear of an accident with her kid; d) get scared off by anything else I haven't thought of.

    That's where you come in.

    So, fellow gun community members, help me bring this new shooter in to the fold and keep her here...I'm looking for any resources (Internet or otherwise) that I or she can use to make her experience a pleasant one. I'd love to have a new range buddy and, more importantly, a friend whom I know can defend herself should bad things happen.

    Now I'm gonna go play with my new .308. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. nfl1990

    nfl1990 Member

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    Well to prevent this you could start her on a .22.
     
  3. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    may want to start by advising her that her friends and co-workers may not take kindly to her interest in guns, and not to let that bother her. its her choice, its her life and her childs to protect.

    take her to your favorite gunshop (may want to warn them ahead of time that you and her are simply looking for soemthing that fits her hand, and probably wont be buying anything just yet).

    try if you can to avoid going straight to the DAO revolver that every gunshop tries to sell to a woman. why it is that people in the gun community assume that a female can only handle something with the least amount of moving parts and the heaviest trigger pull and the smallest grip i'll never know. heck, if they can manage to put on their makeup while feeding their kid and driving a vehicle, they certainly can handle a semiauto with its safety levers and slide stops and whatnot.

    see how she likes the 1911, or the BHP, or a sig. (the DAK trigger on the new sigs are sweet! and i think the p239 now is available with that trigger). if she really likes how the revolver fits her hand, and she doesnt mind the trigger pull, great. but i have yet to see anyone who is new to shooting pick up a revolver and use it with ease or accuracy. in fact, i've seen far more new shooters be able to shoot good groups with a semi auto over a revolver.

    most importantly, introduce her to us here!!! :D is she hot? :evil: :neener:
     
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd start ANY new shooter on a .22 target pistol. When she's comfy with that, ease her up to .38 or higher class.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    If she's looking for a house gun is there a specific reason a handgun is mentioned or would a 20 guage short barreled gas-operated shotgun (1187 Sportsman) or a carbine (Su16) be acceptable also?
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I would (and HAVE!) started women on a .22 too, but if she is interested and motivated, the move up to standard self defense calibers can be pretty fast. Same day in some cases I have seen.

    +1 on Spacemanspiff. Most men assume women are too stupid to operate an automatic but strong enough to drag a 12lb DA trigger through on a one pound .38 revolver and still be able to hit something.
     
  7. Nicky Santoro

    Nicky Santoro Member

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    IMHO, her gun of choice should be a .38, ideally a Model 10. Start her with a revolver and low weight reloads, then work up a bit to a decent defense load.
    BTDT with the wife. She wanted no part of guns to start. She now has a 649 with Pachy grips loaded with 135 gr Speer +P , registered in her own name, here in Nazi Jersey. Some of the ladies just need some coaxing to get past the social barriers to realistic self defense.
    FWIW
    YMMV
     
  8. hkOrion

    hkOrion Member

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    Whatever you do - make sure she gets something that SHE likes, not something someone else THINKS she should get. I took my wife to the range, let her try out all of my pistols and a rented Glock. She didn't like any of mine (thank God) but when she picked up that Glock she felt comfortable shooting it and was dead-on-balls accurate. So that's what she got. Personally, I hate the thing. But then, it's not MY gun.
     
  9. mbs357

    mbs357 Member

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    Start by smearing camo paint all over your face, chicks dig this.
    Then dress in your level III body armor and put your kevlar woven camo BDUs over them.
    Wear pink shoes, girls love men with a femenine side.
     
  10. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Also point her to the $19.95 lockable, bolt-down pistol lockbox in the sporting-goods section at Wal-Mart. Plenty secure from young children and very inexpensive.

    I'd recommend a medium-frame .38 revolver with appropriate grips would be a good starting point. With appropriate target loads, it's similar to a .22 as far as noise and recoil for just starting out, but much more potent in defensive chamberings.

    A medium-frame .357 would also be a possibility; she could start out with low-powered .38's and keep it loaded with .38 Spl. defensive ammunition, but has the option of moving up to .357 ammunition if/when she gets comfortable with that.
     
  11. hm

    hm Member

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    mbs357...LOL! Finally, some advice I can use!!!

    Ok, I get the "start small and work up" advice...very helpful. Also, I will certainly encourage her to feel and shoot several different frames and calibers so that she finds what she likes.

    But do any of you know of some resources I can direct her to that can help her understand, feel safe with and enjoy shooting? Maybe even (though I suspect this is a long-shot) a resource for current shooters who need advice on how to properly introduce a new shooter to the subject? My Google search found slim pickings.
     
  12. fisherman66

    fisherman66 Member

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    20 guage shotgun w/ HD barrel

    #4-6 shot reduced recoil
     
  13. Kurush

    Kurush Member

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    Take her to a range that rents pistols and try things out. I agree with Spiff about revolvers, many women have really bad hand strength and in my experience they like manual safeties even if they're redundant. I'd say try out the usual roster of SA and DA/SA pistols.
     
  14. Kacerdias

    Kacerdias Member

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    This has worked for me in the past:

    1. Before she ever even THINKS of touching a gun - Teach her the safety rules. Do not hand her a firearm until she can repeat them back to you.

    2. Take her to the range and bring a wide assortment of handguns with you. Explain the safeties, slide mechanism, how an autoloader works, etc. Do the same explanation with a revolver. Let her handle several *unloaded* weapons and let her get used to properly handling them as per the safety rules. Don't be afraid to give gentle correction if she misses one.

    3. Load up a .22 to begin with and show her how to use iron sights, breath control, squeezing the trigger, etc. A .22 is a fantastic starting point as the recoil is low, practice is inexpensive, and you can quickly build correct technique through muscle memory which will later carry on into larger handguns. Let her know that the .22 is inadequate for self defense but great for practice.

    4 When she is comfortable with the .22, show her how to use some larger SD-capable calibers like .38 and 9mm, working your way up to whatever she feels confident handling. You may be surprised at discovering she likes a .44 magnum better than a lightweight pistol in a lesser caliber. Let it be her choice and practice with her.

    5. Help her during the purchase of the gun she selects and have her get a nightstand pistol safe to keep it away from the kiddo. (who you might be able to teach later on as well!)

    6. This one is important - Encourage her to obtain training from a professional such as an NRA range instructor or CCW class. Even though you may think you're a pretty good teacher there are things that you don't know and a pro does. Admit it, it isn't shameful. She will benefit from training beyond the basics you can offer.

    Congratulations, you may have found a new range parnter. Plus, you've helped another citizen protect herself and her family. That is priceless.
     
  15. hm

    hm Member

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    Boy, you got that right Bubba. Thanks!
     
  16. VacuumJockey

    VacuumJockey Member

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    I believe that this is what you're looking for. Ms. Cortese may be a self-proclaimed feminist, but certainly not in the same way as Rosie and Hillary. And her site is useful for all neophyte shooters, not just women.

    Also, Paxton Quigley's Armed and Female may be worth checking out.
     
  17. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    I'll repeat the obvious
    --start small and work up
    --let her choose
    --don't be surprised if she chooses the biggest bore available
    --safety lecture before shooting.
    --let her handle the guns before beginning shooting. Hand familarity does a lot to avoid safety infractions in a noobie.
    --Safety equipment
    ----eye glasses
    ----double up on ear protection
    ----high neck blouse (shirt)
    ----ball cap

    Just thunk of something. Since her young'un is 4, I suggest getting a copy of Eddie Eagle from the NRA. Get the kid safed as well as the handgun. Also begin to look at the various quick access safes which are available.
     
  18. pax

    pax Member

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    Okay, two book recommendations:

    1) Gun Proof Your Children by Massad Ayoob. Excellent resource, step by step guide to keeping your children safe around firearms.

    2) Effective Defense by Gila Hayes. Written by a woman with a female audience in mind, this is a step by step introduction to the world of self-defense. It doesn't just discuss firearms, but covers the entire complex of issues women face when they begin to take responsibility for protecting their own lives -- including some of the social difficulties a new shooter might encounter. From making the crucial and life-altering decision that your own life is worth defending, to figuring out which risks are worth taking and which are not, to finding a suitable firearm and (if applicable) holster for it, Effective Defense gives a beginner's-eye-view of defense issues. The book explains the terminology and jargon of the gun world in clear, easy to understand language, and is thus a good introduction especially for women who are so new to this whole thing that they don't even know what questions to ask.

    ***

    Two magazine suggestions:

    1) Women & Guns magazine. Produced by the Second Amendment Foundation, W&G has articles which aren't too far out of reach for even the most beginnerly female shooter. It also has the nice side effect of reinforcing the knowledge that other women do like to shoot so there's no reason to feel like a freak about this new hobby. And the articles are, for the most part, written by other women which gives a good balance to the range bubba / testosterone hero flavor of too many other gun mags.

    2) Concealed Carry Magazine. While your friend may not be ready to carry a firearm yet (and might never decide to do so), this magazine is a good choice simply because it highlights ordinary people who've decided to take care of their own safety. Again, a good way to counteract the "I'm a freak!" feeling that sometimes strikes folks who are newly interested in self defense.

    ***

    And two internet sites:

    1) Cunningham Custom Leather has the best information on how to choose a woman's holster that I've ever seen. It's well organized and gives a quick overview of the choices, explaining just how & why holsters for women are not quite the same as holsters designed to fit men. The owner of the company makes a fine product, but even if you aren't going to buy from her, you owe it to yourself to check out this site before you buy a holster. The information there really could save you a ton of money & stress.

    2) Marc MacYoung's website has tons of information about self defense issues, more than you'll be able to absorb at one time, and it's really well organized. Worth adding to your links page & visiting often.

    ***

    Good luck to her & to you. :)

    pax
     
  19. antsi

    antsi Member

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    That is a very pretty mental image :D

    Agree with those who say
    1) start with a .22
    2) let HER choose HER gun

    When I take a new shooter to the range for the first time, I spend a lot of time on the four rules, safe gun handling, and shooting at big targets up close. If they leave the range having had a good time and feeling safe and secure about what happened, with a good sense of accomplishment and having learned something, then that is a success.

    The second time out, of course, they always outshoot you ;)
     
  20. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

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    Buy her a copy of Boston's Gun Bible. It's a hoot to read. And there's a good section in there on Women and Guns.
     
  21. wingnutx

    wingnutx Member

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    Bersa/Firestorm has a model that comes in .22, .380, and 9mm.

    This would let her start with a .22 and then move up to a larger caliber without having to get used to a different setup.

    I've been meaning to get the .22 so I for my wife to practice with, since her defense weapon is the Firestorm .380.

    I'd have your friend rent a couple of different pistols and see what feels good to her.
     
  22. hm

    hm Member

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    Vacuum...now THAT'S what I'm talking about. Great resource!

    The rest of you...you guys rock! I can always count on getting opinions at THR (what a surprise) :p
     
  23. pax

    pax Member

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    hm ~

    I must be the only gun-owning woman in the world who is less than impressed with the Paxton Quigley book. It's got a great title, but it's gotten to be quite dated.

    pax
     
  24. hm

    hm Member

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    Pax,

    Ah, the sweet smell of critical thought. Thanks for your honest opinion. Given that you've proven your mettle for independent thought (well enough for my purposes on this topic anyway), tell me what you think of the site VacuumJockey suggested to me: http://www.io.com/~cortese/firearms/index.html

    Frankly, I'm impressed. It appears to be the "I'm a woman and am thinking I want a gun for self-defense" resource I've been looking for...but I'd love to hear what you think (just in case I'm not thinking clearly) ;)

    Anyone else who would care to editorialize as well, please do...like I can stop you.:p
     
  25. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    Interesting site I stopped reading when I came to this in the section on firearm safety

     
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