Women with Firearms: 23 Truths You Should Know

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According to a study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the number of women with firearms grew by leaps and bounds with more than 74 percent of retailers reporting an increase in women customers in their stores in 2013 over 2012. The number one reason for this increase was protection.

image: woman with handgun

Fast forward to 2020 and 40% of first-time gun buyers in the January-April timeframe were female, and personal protection is still the main reason. Women’s firearm training courses are increasingly popular with shooting ranges adding classes aimed directly at the female demographic.

If you are one of these many women with guns, or if you’re considering purchasing a firearm, there are a few truths that you should know.

23 Tips for Women with Firearms

  1. You can never have too much ammo. It’s amazing how quickly one or two people can shoot through 100 rounds or more in a single target practice.
  2. If you’re smart, your firearms will be common calibers. It will be easier to find ammo and easier to get replacement parts.
  3. If you’re even smarter, you’ll own firearms that are of popular makes and models. It will be easier to find a gunsmith capable of making repairs and handling customized requests.
  4. Unless you’re at the range every day, it’s hard to get too much practice. If the range masters know you by name, that’s a good sign that you’re getting enough practice!
  5. It’s a mistake to limit your practice to shooting at a piece of paper under optimal conditions. Take classes that will challenge your shooting skills in high-pressure scenarios. Until the adrenaline is really pumping and your brain feels scrambled, you’ll never know how you’ll respond in a life or death situation. (Note: The first time I was firing a gun under pressure, I got so rattled that I was using my non-dominant eye.  I was fortunate that any shots hit my target!)
  6. A shotgun should be at or near the top of your list when it comes to firearms for home defense. Learn about the strengths and limitations of effectively using one.  Your choices are the 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and the 410. Once you’ve made your decision, get to the range and practice, practice, practice. When it comes to stopping power, a shotgun can’t be beat. According to the study, 50 percent of women with firearms have at least one shotgun and 56 percent have a semiautomatic pistol.
  7. Don’t fall into the trap of buying the smallest gun at the store. Believe it or not, a larger gun will be more comfortable and will shoot more accurately. Read my reviews of the Sig Sauer Mosquito, Walther P22, and Ruger Mark III.
  8. Learn how to clean your own gun. This includes completely dismantling it (field stripping), cleaning each part, and putting it back together.
  9. Your safety is your responsibility. Not your husband’s, nor the police, nor your kids. Begin by creating a personal defense plan. This is especially important if you are female and live in your car.
  10. A gun isn’t the end-all when it comes to personal or home security. Think in terms of layers: Situational awareness, home security systems, a watchdog, planting cacti or rosebushes along the back fence. It all adds up to more peace of mind and less dependence on any one strategy.
  11. If a gun isn’t possible or desirable in your circumstances, come up with Plan B. One of my friends keeps a baseball bat near the front seat of her minivan. Another always has the most powerful pepper spray on the market in her purse, and yet another keeps an 18″ length of steel rebar wedged between the driver’s seat of her car and the middle console. This tactical pen serves a dual purpose. Whatever your choice, always be aware of the location of your weapon, practice using it, and be comfortable with the thought that one day you may have to use it.
  12. Don’t listen to celebrities and politicians who go on hysterical anti-gun rants. Remember, they can afford armed bodyguards and state-of-the-art home security systems. (Interesting that it’s okay if their bodyguards are armed but they don’t think law-abiding citizens should be able to own and carry guns.) I am my kids’ armed bodyguard; you can be one for your children.
  13. Practice rapid firing when you’re at the range. If your life, or that of your children’s, is ever on the line, and your only choice is to draw your gun, your best tactic will be multiple, rapid shots at the bad guy(s).
  14. Don’t assume you will only ever have to deal with a single bad guy. Just like roaches, bad guys stick together. You may very well be confronted with several all at once. Keep that in mind.
  15. There’s a reason why experts prefer to keep their sidearms concealed. Open carry is okay if you’re trying to impress people, but it also makes you a target. According to the study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than 42 percent of women with guns have a concealed carry permit. Trying to decide on the best location? This article is a good discussion of the most popular concealed carry positions.
  16. Your life should never depend on a gun you’re afraid to shoot. If the recoil is too powerful, if the trigger pull is too heavy, if firing it hurts your hand, do not plan on using that gun as a defensive weapon. Sell it. Put it in storage, but whatever you do, have a gun you are comfortable with and actually enjoy shooting. If that life or death moment should ever come, there cannot be even a moment’s hesitation due to fear of using your gun.
  17. If you choose to carry your handgun concealed, practice drawing it from its holster or from its concealed location. And then practice another hundred times.
  18. It’s a really good idea to keep an extra loaded magazine in your purse, the glove compartment, wherever it will be safe and easily accessible.
  19. You just might be able to easily handle a larger caliber of handgun than you think at first. Don’t underestimate your ability.
  20. Nothing beats not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  21. Be willing to back down in a confrontation or willing to run or call for help. Your goal is to survive, not show off to the world your awesome marksmanship skills. Also, educate yourself on your state’s statutes on menacing.
  22. Every gun-nut has his/her own opinion about the best make, model, caliber, shooting stance, etc. Be willing to listen but keep in mind that they are just opinions.
  23. Don’t get overly cocky just because you have a firearm in the house, your purse, or have a certificate from your shooting range for completing an advanced course. Law enforcement officers miss their target in a shooting confrontation about 70% of the time. Think about that.

One Bonus Truth That All Women With Firearms Should Know

Be prepared for what happens physiologically and psychologically in a self-defense situation and for the legal and ethical issues that could arise after. For a good discussion of these topics, check out Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected.

What about you? Do you have firearms in your home? What would you add to this list? Are there any other truths I’ve missed?

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164 thoughts on “Women with Firearms: 23 Truths You Should Know”

  1. I got a chuckle out of number 12 because that happaned a few years ago where the celebrity went on this major rant about guns and how they should be outlawed. The very next day her child's bodyguard was seen with a gun. It was brought to her attention that her child's bodyguard had a handgun. She had the nerve to say that was ok because he was protecting her child. But I am not sure she has spoken against guns since then.

      1. The arrogance of these people is staggering. If life without handguns is so peaceful, then why do cities with no-handgun laws have so many shootings? I really feel sorry for the good people of Chicago who can't even defend themselves in a deadly situation.

        1. Agreed. But they argue that if everyone had the same laws then it would work.

          To which the response is: If laws are the answer then why should it matter? It's against the law in (fill in the blnak) so it should work anyway, right?

          I get to aggrivated thinking about this.

        2. Welcome to my corner of the world! This city, this state…arghhhhh has enabled the criminals, who are well aware of the gun laws to rule. It was the only way our mayors could control the gangs. Since the project housing was torn down, many became displaced and moved…to my area!!! But between Smith & Wesson and my dog, I sleep soundly at night.

    1. Instead of the rebar, consider a short piece of 500 MCM copper wire. “That’s not a weapon, I’m an environmentalist recycling copper.

      Note that this size wire is not available at Lowe’s. It’s only used in large commercial or industrial settings.

        1. In the old days it was called a SAP. Guaranteed to take the fight out of any fool after a quick smack in the head with it.

          1. Dr. Robert Faber

            Couldn’t you just take the BB’s out of your Red Ryder, level action, 200 shot Range model rifle and put them in a sock??? That would make a great SAP. Or you could leave them in the gun and shoot their eye out…
            Seriously, one daughter is a Certified Texas police officer and another carries concealed 50% open 50%. Seven grandchildren are well protected…

    2. Victoria Perreault

      I am a 65 year old short fat Grandmother and Firearms Instructor and I carry a .45 on my hip every day. I cannot tell you how many single Moms, fellow Grandmothers, wives of shooters that I have trained who have had bad experiences already and wished they had had a means to protect themselves (prior to my class, obviously)! I cannot stress the importance of taking classes by professionally trained instructors. The NRA had classes for children as young as five and six years old: NOT TO SHOOT, but rather what NOT to do if they come across a firearm, such as schools and parks. Safety comes from the parents first – get those kids trained! I am asked whether preteen kids should learn to shoot. My answer to them is always, 1) First they must take a safety course with me (so I can determine whether or not they are mentally mature enough to conduct themselves on a firing range and take instruction), and 2) Would you rather they asked to learn from some friends on the street who have illegally obtained firearm? I screen every student whether they are adults or youth prior to accepting them in a class. I have escorted an adult male to the door and refused him further training for making the statement “I can’t wait to get home and shoot the neighbor’s cat.” Even adults think immaturely. I have never had to kick out a youth.

      1. My dad started teaching me safety at 2, and how to actually shoot at 4. I still practice every chance I have. My kids all states learning the basics at 2 or 3 And how to shoot a couple years later.

  2. Make up your mind NOW that you are willing to kill some one. If you are unwilling to take a life then don't pick up a gun in the first place!

    1. Amen to that Jeff. A crazied crack head will grab it right out of your hand and start firing at you if your not mentally prepared to pull the trigger!!!!

    1. Think about the legal aftermath and how to win that battle as well. If you do shoot someone you WILL be on trial. The cops and DA like serfs not citizens. The long knives come out for self defense survivors.

      First, learn to puke on cue. Nothing adds to your legal case that "you had no chioce, but to shoot" than several witnesses stating "she was so upset by this. she was puking her guts out."

      Second shut up. Feign hysteria that leaves you literally speech-less. Curl up in a fetal position. Rock back and forth. Do what ever your dignity will allow, but shut up. After an hour or two of this ask the police to leave you alone and talk to your "friend". that friend beeing the good self-defense lawyer mentioned above.

      Cold and calculating? Yes. But, remember this: the person attacking you calculated you that you were prey. If their miscalculation leaves then deadand you in jail, then you've lost.

      You have an obligation to your children and spouse to avoid jail by any legal means available.

      Puke, be distraught, and shut up.

      1. Everyone should take that advice. “Puke, be distraught, shut up.” Say it over and over until it becomes a mantra that you will never forget.

    2. Do this before you shoot someone and avoid criminal defense attorney's chances are they will not get face time with the DA and they are well seen bye the DA as criminal defense attorneys which pretty much type casts you as a Criminal.

      A good find would be an attorney that is ex law enforcement or has law enforcement experience with a family law practice. Much better chance of getting the whole thing cleared up before it begins.

    3. NEVER make any statement without speaking to a lawyer first. Cops will try to pressure you into making a statement right away. When they are involved in a shooting themselves, they never make a statement until they have spoken to a lawyer and carefully crafted their statement.

      This advise is contingent upon not being able to flee the scene. Waiting for ‘the authorities’ is not necessarily the best course of action. The “just-us” system will try to crucify you no matter how right you are. Cops and prosecutors are looking for somebody to bust for SOMETHING and are not particular about who they arrest and convict.

  3. Know your state and local firearms so if you're breaking the law it will be by choice not due to ignorance. You should also read "Facing Violence" by Sgt. Rory Miller so you understand the physiological, psychological, and legal aspects of using force to defend yourself and others.

  4. All great TIPS! As Jeff said above, make up your MIND now you can "DO IT", its to late to "think you can or might" when the situation occurs. It is a BIG difference when a human is at the other end of the sights and your finger on the trigger~

  5. Seeing my kitchen window screen slit one night upon returning home, I readied my weapon and was prepared to shoot. I wasn't crazy about the idea, but I knew that I would shoot. Within a mile of my home, an old man shot twice and killed the 18yr old who broke into his home. Another man, who came upon an intruder, was stabbed by said intruder. An old woman was raped when she tried to offer help to an unstable homeless man. Lessons all.
    Illinois gun laws prohibit me from cc,but my motto is, I'd rather be arrested for cc, than lie in a pool of my own blood.

    1. Get the hell out of the People's Republic of Illinois ASAP. I'll never figure out why anyone would want to live there. The two short (3-5 months) training tours I spent outside Champaign while in the USAF were bad enough.

      Of course, the above would be null and void if Chicago could somehow be expelled from the state. Without that corrupt nest of vermin controlling the statehouse and legislature, Illinois could enact sane laws for sane people.

      1. I'll tell you why I live here, because I just spent the last 30 years paying off the mortgage on my shoebox, I'm a mid-westerner, everyone and everything I've ever known is here, and I can easily go to Indiana for supplies. Yes, I'd rather live there, mostly for the gun laws and taxes, but Chicago and it's politics are no different from D.C. Same game, same players.

        1. Bets, sometimes people can be pretty harsh when it comes to judging where someone else lives. One friend of mine, actually runs a survival magazine, once told me that he hated telling people that he lived in Massachusetts. I regularly get emails from people telling me to GET OUT OF PHOENIX, as if it were that easy. The vast majority of us are already living in our \”survival retreat\”, even if it\’s in the middle of a city. That\’s why we\’re educating ourselves, arming ourselves, and learning new skills in order to survive and thrive as best we can.

          1. Thanks Lisa. I know I tend to get defensive. We are exactly where we're supposed to be at any given moment in our lives. I am here!

          2. Dear survival mom,
            I trained both daughters to keep a small fire extinguisher in their auto for close range encounters. Emptying one in someone’s face will discourage aggressive behavior, plus it gives my girls a chance to draw their weapon if there is more than one.
            A Proud Dad

    2. Hi Bets, Besides being a member of the NRA, may I suggest joining the ''Illinois State Rifle Association'' http://www.ISRA.org . They have a thick & informative newsletter, own their own range, fight for our rights at the Capital & much more. Please check their website for more info (& anyone else living in Illinois). BTW I'm a life member of the ISRA (& the NRA) & I've never lived there. Not because I'm crazy or rich :-), but because if a dumb gun law gets stopped from becoming a law in Illinois, it's less likely from becoming a law in my State. thanks for reading.

      1. Thanks Joe. I’ll check it out. I’ve also written letters to all the local ‘cop shops’ asking them to please help fight for the rights of citizens, to empower us with cc laws and to enable us to protect ourselves from criminals outside of the house legally!

      2. These are exelllent ideas folks.
        For those who dont think you can shoot someone, just imagine after the altercation someone will be laying on the floor dead or crying for their momma while they wait for the EMT’s. The great thing about america is you get to chose who it is. You or the attacker.
        If you really hate the idea of shooting someone , join the NRA and help us fight weak criminal laws and crooked goverment like the Obama appointees who allow guns into the hands of drug lords through “fast and furious”. Help us reduce crime and replace bad laws.
        Also for the ladies the women of the NRA are working to get low cost or no cost shooting instruction and self defense into your city. Call the and ask for info or volunteer your time to protect other women.
        My daughter hadn’t shot a gun for many years, while she was at college i let her shoot my .380 at a pop can. She was surprised that it wasnt hard at all (she was better then me). I asked her if it controlling and firing the beretta gave her a sense of empowerment, she said, yes for sure.
        And who doesn’t like to accessorize?

  6. It is very unnerving to imagine a world where I might have to use lethal force.
    The more terrifying thought is, what might happen to my children if I DON'T protect them…or teach them to protect themselves!

    1. I agree, RWM. I decided a long time ago that I'd rather see the face of an ugly thug on TV with the reporter saying, "John Doe was shot and killed in an attempt to rob a north Phoenix home…" than the faces of me and my two children and the reporter saying, "A Phoenix mom was shot and killed in her own home and now her two children are missing." Nope. Not if I can help it.

  7. Thank you for this article. I JUST completed my CWP one week ago, and I want all the information that I can get on the weapons, psychology, and just the nuts and bolts of it all. With the weapon comes awesome responsibility, and I want to be serious about it.

  8. Be willing to blow a hole in your coat pocket or purse. Do NOT take the time to draw the weapon if that time puts your assailant on top of you. The object is to pull the trigger before they smash you in the face or smack you with a tire iron.

    Always try every option before you shoot. No matter what you believe bad guys deserve, YOU killing a man is something you want to avoid if you can.

    Don't ever wave your weapon around and threaten the bad guys hoping to chase them away. Don't let them know you have it until you use it. You'd be surprised that in many places a justified shoot is legal, but armed menacing is not.

    1. Amen to your third point, Barbara. Waving a gun around also increases the likelihood of it being grabbed by the bad guy and used against you.

  9. Practicing situational awareness is just as important as having a firearm. Evading and avoiding a bad situation will keep your firearm in its holster.

    "Never point your firearm at something that you do not fully intend to destroy." Period.

    1. I'd modify that to say " …that you are not PREPARED to destroy" because actually shooting is the last resort. If it isn't necessary so much the better but be prepared. Just drawing doesn't scare too many people these days.

      1. Rule #1: Never, EVER, point a gun at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy. This will help ensure that your eventual "accidental discharge" is merely an "oh s@#t" instead of an "Oh My God!!". (Police officers and untrained children seem to be the principal offenders in this category, leading to far too many "accidental" deaths.)

        Note that, as a general rule, if you wind up pulling your gun and fail to hear loud noises immediately thereafter, you have probably just made a mistake. Not necessarily, but probably.

        Having said that, it is useful to note that in 98.5% of reported cases in which non-badge-carrying citizens wind up being forced to pull a gun in a perceived self-defense situation, no shots are actually fired. It is an admittedly snide aside to note that in the remaining cases, the "citizen" shooter winds up shooting an "innocent bystander" fully five times LESS often than the badge carriers do…

        1. Tim,

          I would be VERY interested in the source for this: "the "citizen" shooter winds up shooting an "innocent bystander" fully five times LESS often than the badge carriers do."

        2. 45 year trainer

          Tim, Rule #1 should be changed from kill or destroy, to the word stop. No explanation required! The second change is from the word accidental, to the word unintentional. Accidental is where the gun goes off by itself with no petsonal involvement. Unintentional is where one shows either a lack of training or experience and pulls the trigger when not intended. The only other input to unintentional is when some outside physical or auditory input generates a muscular reflex causing one to unintentionally pull the trigger. That’s called the “oh s#!t shot”. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. So if you are going to put your finger on the trigger, then keep the weapon pointed in a direction where an Oh S#!t shot will do no more damage than intended.

  10. The point I agree with the most is to practice pulling your firearm from your concealment location (if you do carry concealed). No old-west stuff hear, just getting comfortable with timing and sighting. I have done this, and it IS harder than you think. My input would be to find a firearm that "fits your hands." Comfortable to hold, easy trigger action, and smooth motion of the pistol slide. You need it to perform when the time comes (if ever) and I am personally not one for revolvers, to cumbersome. I like my xd-9 by springfield… fits me like a glove, and FUN to shoot. Another point: if you carry concealed, chamber a round to be ready!

  11. There is an interesting article in thesurvivalistblog.net today entitled " An analysis of NYPD shootings and how they apply to you. I found the statistics stunning and think it would tie into this.

  12. I'd add two comments, First, get a CCW Permit if it's at all possible in your County and carry religiously. How quickly could the shooter in Tucson who almost kille Rep. Gifford and killed several people have been stopped if the judge who was killed had been carrying (and had used) his concealed pistol that he was authorized to carry off duty? Second, and more important, listen to that little voice that's screaming at you that something is wrong. Your subconcious is trying to tell you that you may be walking into a situation which could possibly render you dead. There are dozens and dozens of news reports of shooting victims who said they didn't listen to that voice and ended up getting shot.

  13. theres a strong possibility a confrontation will occur at night or low light conditions,,you should have access to a flashlight strong enough to melt the eyeballs of any scumbag trying to do you harm,,,,have you ever had a cop blind you with a flashlight,,theres a reason why they do that,,,it completely disorients you and gives them a strong advantage

    just saying the obvious that people over look

      1. you would want something that has at least 80 lumins and has a tail cap switch. Keep the light off until you absolutely need it to light up your subject. with the light on the subject will see you long before you will see them. also what ever you do do not hold it out in front of you or in front of your head as for the light as it my blind the subject in front of you can be a target to a subject out of the light

  14. Prepare for what might happen after you use your firearm in self-defense.

    #1 – Don't talk to the police
    #2 – Ask for your attorney

    "In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection" by Massad Ayoob is a good reference.

    1. SicSemperTyrannis

      This is good advice anyway… but if you're thinking the guys whose primary job it is to get YOU to pony up when you're doing 10 over the speed limit are going to suddenly be all pally with you when you're armed and there's a stiff in your living room… well, guess again.
      At that point, you're not a hero… YOU'RE A SUSPECT.

      1. don't fall for Police trickery, they (sadly) are legally able to lie to you, just remember your rights and ask for your attorney.

    2. word of advice… the courts have ruled silence is not invoking the 5th amendment, so god forbid anything ever happen that it be required to use lethal force immediately before law enforcement can say anything verbalize i invoke the fifth and want a lawyer.

  15. Dont ever fire a warning shot. If you had time, opportunity and motive to fire a warning shot, then your life wasn't really in danger.
    Firing a warning shot pretty much blows your whole "it was self defense, my life was in danger" excuse right out of the water

    1. In addition, you're responsible for whatever damage the bullet does when and wherever it lands. As a firearms instructor once told me, "every bullet sent downrange is a liability."

  16. number 16 – "throw it away" is a stupid suggestion. you would really want someone finding a gun in the trash and what then it may be used for? maybe sell it, give it away, or trade it would be better…

  17. A large flat (as opposed to Phillips) screwdriver under the drivers seat in an accessable spot
    is an explainable as a tool and is useful as a weapon. An ex-con I had contact with as a leatherman
    wasn't allowed near any weapon and he had a long handled wire brush as a self defense weapon
    lots of common kitchen equiptment make great self defense weapons (rolling pin)

  18. Be careful with #11. In a large number of jurisdictions, that bat or rebar will be considered a weapon, especially if it is not in plain sight and accessible by the driver/passengers. A tire iron might be a better choice.

    The advice given above is correct, never, never, NEVER talk to the police. It can never help you and will often hurt you.
    This video is well worth the 45 minutes it takes to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

  19. I can think of one area you seem to have missed:
    Know where the safest place on your property is, the ways to get there and what the vulnerabilities of that place are.
    Ensure everybody else knows these things too.
    This may, btw, be a decent place for a stache.

  20. You can also never have enough TP. I like at least 2 years upply of TP. The ammo I have is enough for a life time.

  21. Great post! Shotguns really do rock for home defense. I'm a big man, but if I had it to do over again I'd start with a 20 gauge, not the 12 gauge I chose. Best bet? Try before you buy if you can work it out. And women, you probably can. If your dealer won't/can't help you out, call a nearby range. Many are VERY eager to get women members, and might find a way to accommodate a trial if you plan on joining.

  22. few suggestions: if you are gonna carry a gun concealed carry it all the time. not just for special outings where you think you might get in trouble. carry concealed should be part of you daily routine. Like brushing your teeth. Only times you don't carry is when you can't due to location or ablility.

    another suggestion is to carry 2 guns concealed. a primary gun and a small back up gun.

    3rd suggestion is you carry concealed on your body…and avoid using a purse of bag. For if you bag gets stolen there goes your gun too.

  23. Lady Sport Shooter

    Look into a sport called USPSA, at your local outdoor Gun Range.The United States Practical Shooting Association, will not only teach you how to move and shoot while confronting different situations, (AKA:Stages) while addressing things like, drawing your firearm, shooting through doors, ports, moving targets, etc. It's great exercise, and also provides a fantastic base to learning how to shoot for sport, while becoming proficient with your firearm. But, the best part about it is that, it is an incredible amount of fun, all the while, it gets you even more COMFORTABLE with the operation of your firearms. Lets face it, if you cannot shoot in many different situations, or only bring out your firearm while standing at a bench, at the local indoor range, chances are you won't be as prepared, as you would hope to be. Shooting sports, are highly attended by more and more women. Also, look into Skeet shooting, Trap shooting, IDPA, and as mentioned earlier, USPSA. (See USPSA.org for more information). My point is, to not just have your firearm with you "just incase", become proficient with it, and the confidence gained will be WELL worth it!

  24. 1 thing to think about while at home imagine possible situations that can happen everything from a person making a visual threat to a threat of deadly force and think of how you would have to respond. this is what law enforcement calls the 1 +1 use of force. Which means your use of force should equal to or just above the assailants force. remember a persons presence does not always warrant the threat of deadly force.
    another good tip weather your going to carry concealed or open always carry your weapon in the same location every time if you are going to carry strong arm always do so dont switch to a purse or bag carry then back to another stile this can slow your reaction time down.

  25. I was on a murder trial as a jury member. The wife shot and killed her husband. He had raped the wife many time over the years and had molested the daughter (from when she was 3-9 years old). They were going to the police that morning to report his molestation. He came over to the wife's home to take the wife's life, to prevent her from talking. It was also probable that he was going to kill the daughter. That being said, he held his wife in complete disdain as he put down his gun to let the cat out. She picked it up and killed him. She had never shot a gun before and it was a one in a million shot she made with her eyes closed. To me and several others, it was a clear case of self-defense. However, to others on the jury, they wanted to see her convicted of SOMETHING- as she had killed a man.

  26. We finally acquitted the woman by way of self-defense, however the holdouts would have voted her guilty if she had done any of the following: 1. Practiced with a firearm. 2. Been to a range lately. 3. Had training with a firearm. 4. Owned a firearm herself and so on. None of this was patently illegal in and of itself- but to these members of the jury would have considered her guilty had she had any of this experience. I couldn't believe my ears. Lesson learned: don't think that being judged by a 'jury of your peers' is going to get you off the hook.

    1. Excellent comment. Thanks. None of those points the holdouts considered evidence of evil intent have any bearing on intent. Well, they do but not in the way they think. The show that you have considered and thought through in detail what a firearm is and what it can do. You are thus more likely to have made an accurate assessment of the frame of mind of someone else who is brandishing a gun (as in this case). If the guy ever pointed it at you you know he's revealed his intention IAW the cardinal rule of gun safety, namely, don't point a gun at someone you don't intend to kill. Those holdouts earn my "moron" title for discounting, apparently, all the evidence of that man's being a rapist and having showed up with a gun. What did they think violent people with guns are likely to do. Apparently, the wife was supposed to phone a hotline and get a professional assessment of the guy's state of mind.

  27. There are reasonable people out there who think that if you know how to shoot, you are premeditating the murder/killing of another individual and that since you have thought about it, you are already predisposed to use excessive force. This is an ugly reality that you will have to face if you exercise deadly force in protecting yourself. Also, the police are themselves judged on their conviction rate, regardless of the circumstances of a case. They are not your friend. Do not answer ANY questions unless you have an attorney present. Repeat, aside from giving your name, DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS OR MAKE ANY STATEMENTS TO THE POLICE unless you have an attorney present. This may keep you from serving 20 years to life for self defense. Anyway, for what it's worth.

  28. Here's my input. I tell all my female friends, many of whom I've taught to shoot, to go to their 'safe place' in their home and pick out a good place to fire a round into (floor, ceiling, pillow, what ever is the safest). Then, when you here sounds of break in, retreat to safe place, fire 1 round, and then either the criminal will run, or if he doesn't,
    feel comfortable smoking his ass when he comes thru the door. If he's your husband, boyfriend, etc., you can bet your sweet ass he will identify himself at the top of his voice. That's even better than racking a pump shotgun. I also tell them to run when threatened, and when you can't retreat any further, turn and kill. You're justified.

    1. Dear Survival Mom,

      I know we try to keep our posts positive, but this reply to a posting can only be presented in the manner in which it requires:

      Greg Smith, you are an IDIOT. I pray to GOD, none of those women listen to your mind numbing, stupid advice! It's people like you that give the government the excuse they need to disarm us.

      Ladies, and anyone else reading this, Rule #1: Do NOT discharge any weapon in your home without their being a target IN SIGHT that you are attempting to disable. PERIOD. If you discharge your weapon, that bullet WILL end up somewhere you didn't intend it to. Walls, ceilings, and roofs WILL NOT contain a bullet and it will EXIT your house. Shooting the floor will put that bullet ricocheting around your basement. Someone, OR MORE, will be pissed if you put holes through your house, or your neighbor's house, because you THOUGHT your husband, or other family member, was an intruder. STUPID IDEA! If you're not sure who is there, ASK, and WARN you are armed. If you have a SAFE PLACE, have a phone installed in that spot and be ready to SHOOT a POSITIVELY identified intruder that attempts to overcome you.

      1. Just to add a note….Every situation is different. Being silent may be best because it gives you the element of surprise. If the intruder is armed and he knows you are too, he may turn to a different mode of aggression.. this is a subject that should be discussed with an expert.

  29. Henrietta Bowman

    I am 64, but am a former Vietnam-era Woman Marine. I had to shoot two attempted home invaders before I was 16. My motto is now "bring your own body bag" concerning intruders. I am disabled, but because I live downstairs and my son-in-law upstairs, my chihuahua and I are the first line of defense in a dangerous urban environment. Lobo is an excellent watch dog and I keep a long barreled .38 Smith & Wesson loaded with HydraShoks at arms length at all times. All of your tips are excellent! I am linking your article at my message board's survival forum, Circle the Wagons, in the Sagebrush Saloon. I love your blog by the way.

  30. I think something that is very important is knowing how to use a gun and aim properly. There are a variety of options for training, one of the easiest I've found is using portable targets. You don't want to get cheap targets that won't hold up. One company I've bought targets from is Action Target. They make high quality targets that law enforcement and other professionals use so you know they hold up. I believe if you don't know how to use a gun then it can be a lot more dangerous to yourself.

  31. Just remember the one golden rule
    If you get into a situation where you have to shoot in 2 years time no one will care what gun you used,what bullet,stance etc as long as YOU are alive to remember it then you did well…..Survival is a very selfish act but death is awfully final and you don't get a second go around if you mess things up

  32. Great tips, though I don’t buy into the shotgun thing. Here in Crook County, ex-mayor Daley, who is opposed to citizens owning guns, still has an armed police bodyguard. I’ll link and pass to my wife. Just checked her out on the M1 I bought and she was putting them in the black at 100 yards. I would add rule one, “There is no such thing as an unloaded gun. Even if you unloaded it, you don’t point it at anyone, including yourself, unless you plan to shoot them.” I will link to this from my Old Jarhead blog.

    Robert A. Hall
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    (All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans)
    For a free PDF of the book, write tartanmarine(at)gmail.com

      1. Read the article on stopping power … the conclusion is the real take home for anyone thinking about firearms for self-defense:

        “No matter which gun you choose, pick one that is reliable and train with it until you can get fast accurate hits. Nothing beyond that really matters!”

  33. Dunno how anyone else feels about carrying a throw-away knife in the event that the man who attacks you winds up being unarmed. Seems you'd have problems, if you're in an area with surveillance video, to make such a move stick. Nevertheless, it's a time-honored tradition in law-enforcement. And this is not some sarcastic anti-gun person posting; I am in complete earnest on this point– some hoople on a jury might believe you're just some hot-tempered anti-male harpy looking to take down some guy who might just have been led on. You had better hope that any pervert who attacks you is armed or has a long criminal record of similar offenses if you end up shooting a guy who thought he could handle the situation empty-handed.

    1. know that Joe is correct when he says that planting a “throw-down” knife on someone who the police have shot is a time-honored tradition, but I don’t think it is something we should emulate.

      Another time-honored police tradition is to plant drugs on a person they want to punish. See the story of grandmother Kathryn Johnston. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_sho

      I wonder how many innocent lives the police have destroyed with these "traditions". I don’t think ethical people should honor them.

      I despise these traditions and the police that use them.
      A Humanist Dad

  34. Also don 't let your husband handle your brand spanking I am talking less then 3 hours old .22 because he will break it. Yep it happened.

  35. If you are going to carry a baseball bat also have a glove, balls & spike in the car with the bat, the if a cops stops you there is a reason for the bath other than as a weapon!! I recommended dfsdthis to a lawyer friend after he had be stopped by a cop ahd had the bat stolen by the cop!!s

    Ming Bucibei

  36. If you are going to carry a baseball bat also have a glove, balls & spikes in the car with the bat, the if a cops stops you there is a reason for the bath other than as a weapon!! I recommended this to a lawyer friend after he had be stopped by a cop and had the bat stolen by the cop!! & he thought it was a good idea and kept a bat balls gloves & spikes in his car, it was easy since he was a ball player

  37. In a verbal challenge when in a relatively secure location such as in your car, with locked dooors, rather than letting the argument escalate I use the technique of frightening the opponent with a comment like," hold on a second til I get my gun I can talk better", while reaching under the seat. They will usually be gone in a second.

  38. This is great, I've thought about getting a gun before but I was nervous about it. I like that your friend keeps a baseball bat. I use a rolling pin

  39. One thing about the handgun I bought brand new from a gun shop. It came certified that it had been test fired. BUT, the first time I took it to the range, loaded it up, aimed and fired, nothing happened, tried again, nothing.
    What the heck??
    I took it back to the shop and it turned out the firing pin was faulty. What if I had needed it to defend my life?
    Always test your weapon, even if it is brand new. Yes, the shop replaced it on the spot.

  40. For those locations that do not permit concealed carry and have restrictive laws regarding pepper spray and the like, get a can of wasp and hornet spray. It is not illegal anywhere. It will spray over 10 feet. Wasp and hornet spray in the eyes of an aggressor will stop them cold. Many over-the-road truckers that go into nanny-states carry this.

    1. Agreed! Also, UDAP bear spray. You can’t take it on planes, but it has a 40 foot range and is meant to stop a charging grizzly bear. The only thing is that if it was used in an enclosed your home, there is a chance it could affect you as well, although not nearly as badly as the person on the receiving end of it. This is because it is designed to spread out so that you don’t miss your target. Pros and cons.

  41. Any person who so chooses to carry a firearm for personal defense should be well versed in the 4 precepts in the use of lethal force. 1. The perpetrator must have the ability to cause you or another grave physical harm or injury. 2. The perpetrator must have the opportunity to cause you or another grave physical harm or injury. 3. The perpetrator must demonstrate the intent to cause you or another grave physical harm or injury. 4. You must have exercised all REASONABLE options available prior to resorting to the use of lethal force.
    You should know these by heart and should be running the various scenario’s thru your head as to how they would apply to any given situation. Doing so, and acting in accordance with them, could save you a lot of legal problems on down the road in the unfortunate event you actually do have to use your fire arm.

  42. All of these comments and not once has the numerous advantages of having a ‘laser sight’ on ones gun, any kind of gun, come up. Since there appear to be numerous ladies involved, this would be indispensable!
    I have numerous guns, CC, home defense and fun. Every one of them in the first 2 categories has a laser sight. Each also either wears a light, or there is one setting next to it, for ‘identification and disorientation’.
    I’ll leave this to the members of this forum to research, expand on and discuss. The benefits are endless.

      1. I think that you should use anything that helps you to hit your target.
        I think that when that red dot appears on the bad guy’s shirt it gives them pause to think!
        Joe R

        1. Joe, I was asking why “ladies” in particular would need help with hitting their targets. In my experience, women (“ladies”) who target shoot learn faster and are more accurate than men (non-“ladies”.)

  43. I think you should be comfortable with whatever weapon you choose. I have a pellet gun ( non-lethal, but painful ) and I am comfortable with that, my husband has his armory( lethal ) and he is comfortable with that.

  44. Just my 2 cents…until recently I have always been vehemently opposed to having guns in my home. (Why I’ve changed my mind is a very long story) During that time, though, I kept a hammer within arms reach of my bed, and another in my car. I am NOT a tiny woman (5′ 10″ 200+ lbs) and have quite a long reach…now add the foot or so of the hammer’s handle, plus the metal claw on the end..’nuff said!

  45. I have 2 degrees in Gunsmithing and 5 NRA Instructor certs. (Just to establish credibility). I respectfully disagree with the choice of .410 shotgun for Home/Self defence. Stopping power is minimal compared to other shotguns, and the price per round is more than a 12 ga. If recoil is problem, look at reduced recoil defence loads in 20 ga.

  46. “Only Criminals, Public Servants, and the Military carry Guns… More than 60 million American gun owners didn’t kill anyone yesterday, or the day before or ever in their lives” – unknown

    1. I shoot the Glock 19, recently I had the chance to try out the G26 (9mm) subcompact. I was amazed at how easy it was to shoot right of the bat and the recoil was alot less then my own G19, there was no pull to the left like my own G19, easy to shoot and hit the bull’s eye.
      Like my instructer said to me; if you can’t hit the target and the gun is uncomfortable, then it doesn’t matter what caliber you are shooting . Hope this helps you ladies in choosing your weapon choice.

      1. thesurvivalmom

        The G26 is my next handgun purchase. I, too, was surprised by how comfortable it was. And your instructor is smart!

  47. #24, if a pistol is too hard for you to slide the rack, but is otherwise perfect, get the spring changed to a lighter one. Costs about $15 and takes 4 minutes for a world of difference in comfort & ease.

  48. Most important is accessibility. If your firearm is not accessible for what ever reason when you are in need of it (which may be at the most unusual of time) you might as well not have one. Here in my city a a woman was robbed in a parking lot on the way to her automobile. Her firearm was IN the automobile.

  49. John Atterberry

    #25 Ammunition. Each gun will prefer a certain bullet type, weight, & speed. Each gun may have a different preference. Handguns need practice ammo and carry ammo. You must take the time to find these for each and every gun. It could save your life. Don’t wait to find out your gun won’t cycle the brand you always get because it was on sale.

  50. Joe Ritrovato

    Hi Mom.
    Good advise. Your right about only shooting sunny days with no wind. You need to practice in all kinds of weather. My late Friend Dave and I would shoot every weekend rain shine wind no matter. I really looked forward to it and I miss it and him. For Night shooting check with an Indoor range I had Mondays off for years and during the day I would be the only one at the range. They would dim the lights for me.
    I guess that’s it except practice practice.
    Joe R
    PS Bring back the Garand no matter what your publicist say’s.

  51. Most of this stuff is good advice but there are 2 things that are very, very bad. Number 15 says that open carry is ok to impress people. Nothing can be further from the truth. Open carrying a gun is faster to draw than concealed carry, especially for women in most situations because if a woman conceal carries in a purse then you can add between 1.5 to 3 seconds at the minimum to draw time. Also, Open carry doesn’t necessarily make you a target but it absolutely makes the perp aware that you are serious about your personal protection. The perp has to think that “if that woman is serious enough to carry a gun, then maybe she is extra aware of her surroundings too” among other things involving her and her family’s personal protection. The other thing the author is wrong about is that in number 16 he/she tells you to throw away your gun if you don’t like it/can’t use it comfortably. Throwing away your gun may have 2 serious consequences: 1. Someone finds your gun and uses it in a crime, possibly killing some innocent person, possibly a child. 2. Someone that finds and uses your gun in a crime and that gun is registered to you then you will have a hell of a lot of answers to come up with. Then there are all the other wild-card possibilities of which none are any good. As much incite and good advice as the author has, don’t heed these 2 items. Oh and for the reason that police miss about 70% of the time is the same reason that infantry uses so much ammo for just one kill, they have their body behind cover and don’t stick their head up long enough to properly site in their target who is usually also behind cover and/or moving therefore making a high-stress shot that much harder. So, yeah, think about that. Think about how serious self-defense actually is and it is your job to take it that serious for your sake, for your family’s sake, or even for your neighbor’s or fellow citizen’s sake.

  52. Unfortunatly, all the ranges around here will onmly let you you double tap. No quick firing of more than tow rounds is allowed!

    1. Women, women, women…. before you run out and buy a gun, practice, and feel like you’ve done everything to be protected…. please, take a class, talk to your psycho, whatever – with regard to killing another human being in times of threat. You must be able to accept the fact that you are shooting to kill. Unprepared women, when it comes down to it, will hesitate…. some being overtaken and killed with their own weapon. We may think we are protective ‘mama bears’, but therein lies the problem. Don’t think it, KNOW IT ! Know it with all your heart and soul, and be able to live with the aftermath of what you have just done…you’ll be faster at the trigger.

      1. Lori – I have to agree AND disagree. I strongly support taking a class to learn how to safely handle (whichever) gun you choose for your personal defense. Also, it is very important to examine yourself and see what you are willing or not willing to shoot at (or for that matter act like a grizzly bear protecting her your and attack and destroy) another person – you certainly do not want to provide an attacker of you or your family with a weapon they didn’t already have. But I also disagree strongly with your assertion that your are “shooting to kill” – those of us trying to protect ourselves or our families (and those of us that teach concealed carry courses) shoot to “STOP THE THREAT” to our safety.
        I strongly believe none of us here would ever want to kill another human being – but we all are responsible for protecting ourselves and our families.
        I certainly hope none of us ever have to use this ability because it will surely change your life – but we must be prepared.
        Thanks Lisa for all you do. God Bless us all

        1. I disagree with you. If someone is coming after you or into your home, you don’t shoot to wound. You are protecting yourself. If your in a life and death situation, then it’s you or them. With your scenario… Let’s wound them. What happens when they come back later prepared.

        2. Shoot to wound, and you can COUNT on a personal injury lawyer being in your life. Bad as it may sound, you must shoot to end the situation — the bad guy(s) didn’t break into your home to have tea & crumpets with you, and a wounded bad guy can still function pretty well.

          1. Dan and anonymous,

            I NEVER said “shoot to wound” – I said “SHOOT TO STOP THE THREAT!” It is all about attitude and intention. I will definitely shoot to STOP someone from hurting my family or me. To do that I shoot center mass and until my sights are clear (the threat is stopped). If the magazine runs empty, I reload and continue until the threat is STOPPED. What happens to the threat to my loved ones is then out of my hands – if they die from the gunshot(s) it is not my fault.
            You see, I don’t see that I would ever want to kill anyone – but if you threaten my loved ones, I will do everything in my power to stop your threat – and as I think it was the Soviet boxer in Rocky 4(?) that said “If he dies, he dies.”
            If anyone is shooting to wound (or shoot the weapon out of the creeps hand) they are seriously mistaken – and overestimating their abilities.
            Hope that clears things up.

        3. I would go farther than Lori. It is not just the issue of “maybe” killing someone. I teach, as I have been taught, that you do not draw your gun unless you mean to shoot it, and you do not shoot unless you mean to kill. Trying just to wound an attacker is like pulling your punch, you end up the loser. And your kids. If you do not have the kill attitude, then you need for find some other method of self defense, because the perp will sure as shooting (pardon the pun) grab your gun and use it on you and yours. I shoot between 200 to 400 rounds a week in several different guns under different conditions. That gun has to be part of your hand and you better not need to think about the next step. Practice, practice, practice.

          A side note. Many people get stuck in a conflict between what they were taught “Thou shalt not kill” and the need to kill in self defense. First, the commandment actually says to not murder, which is to say taking the life of an innocent. You are required to defend your life, the lives of those who depend on you, and your property according to the Old Testament, New Testament and the Koran. I haven’t gotten around to checking other sacred writings, but you get the point. By attacking you with lethal intent, the attacker has forfeited his own life. He is not an innocent.

          1. When I took riot control training in the military we were taught to aim for the center of mass when it was necessary to use or weapons for any reason. Why the center of mass, because that is where the majority of the critical organs are, thus the better the chance of stopping (killing) the target. Few of us have the ability to carefully aim to hit a limb in a critical situation. If you intend to shoot to wound your assailant the best advise I can give you is get the hell out of Dodge.

  53. I disagreed with #15 and that part about throwing a gun away in #16. Steve B gave great advise on both of those points. Just found this blog last week and I’m loving it. I try to spend a few minutes each evening reading past posts.

    1. thesurvivalmom

      Good grief! How about a little sense of humor here?? My comment about throwing a gun away was meant to be humorous, and it seems that most of the thousands of people who have read this article get that!

  54. Two of the most important Key factors in this article and some of the comments made are” realistic type training and proper mindset.” Law Enforcement does miss 70-80% in their shooting confrontations , A lot of this is because of training that consists of static range shooting in good lighting !! Not reality !!
    We teach that in most defensive shootings there are 3 key factors: #1 Low Light !!! #2 Its going to be close !! #3 This situation will happen fast !! The need for good instinctive shooting skills is paramount!
    We could care less about your sight picture , just your ability to aggressively drive the gun into the target and hammer the trigger until their is no threat left , then asses your situation and see if their is any other scumbag the Lord has blessed you with the opportunity to shoot today !!! THAT is the MINDSET part ,the most important part !!

  55. my 2 cents: Merely wounding someone, may not stop the threat. It is amazing what pain a human can endure and still function. Especially if drugs are involved. The circumstances may not dictate deadly force. But, you have to be pyscologically ready to take a human life. A human attacker can cover over 20 feet in 1.5 seconds. You will not have time to make a moral decision then. You must make the decision ahead of time. Then you have the problem with multiple attackers. You can’t waste ammo on warning shots, leg shots, wounding shots. You need to eliminate the attackers’ abilities to sustain violence before you have to dig for your spare clip.

    Other blog sites have raised the issue of being prepared to deal with legal consequences. I think Zimmerman was justified in shooting a guy on top of him and beating him to death. But, that does not stop the government from bringing criminal charges for political purposes. Nor does that stop the attacker himself or his family from bringing civil lawsuits against you for personal injury or wrongful death. IMHO, a person who is evil enough to attack you and require you to defend yourself, will not hesitate to lie under oath and make up stories. He cannot lie in court if he is dead. He cannot retailiate against you and your loved ones. I am not recommending murder. I am strongly suggesting to NOTshoot to wound. Think about it this way: You are only going to shoot your weapon if you believe that life or physical safety is immediately at risk. You will be trained to only draw your weapon if you plan to shoot it, not to scare someone. Therefore, you will only draw and shoot and kill when you are justified to do so.

    You will have enough hell to go through with the legal process, attorney fees, media, etc. You don’t need to be looking over your shoulder for your attacker – again.

    1. I agree completely and again to clear up any misunderstanding, I said shoot to Stop the Threat NOT shoot to wound.
      If you do have to shoot, from what I have seen and heard – it IS going to change your life – but better to have your life to change than to have lost your life of the life of a loved one.
      I pray that I never have to use the skills. I practice in case I have to use the skills. If a loved one is threated with their life – I will use the skills (any and all I have) to stop that threat and will live with the changes that may occur.
      Blessings to all,

    2. On another blog, a long time LEO said – shoot, mute, scoot. In other words, don’t do like Zimmerman and call 911. Defend yourself, get out of the area and don’t talk about it. Applies if it is not a home invasion of course, but that is a different kind of legal battle, and depends if your state has the Castle Doctrine.

  56. James Brian Peterson

    During hurricane Katrina, The entire world witnessed the fact that in any natural or man made disaster, the first priority of the pernicious communist rapacity that too many people still consider to be “their government”is to forcibly disarm the innocent.This was done by out-of-state and heavily armed National Guard troops and Federalized police officers going door-to-door,by squads,block-by block,forcing their way into private homes at gunpoint and seizing the lawfully owned guns from peaceful(albeit,terrified) Americans in their own neighborhoods:in their own city and state. The point to this is that yes,arms and ammunition are a non-negotiable prerequisite component of any successful survival strategy.However,the best way to avoid a firefight is simply not to be there.While the unified pernicious communist rapacity of LOCAL STATE & FEDERAL “GOVERNMENT”were busy “serving and protecting” New Orleanians by unexpected and unprovoked close-to-medium proximity (potentially) lethal attack by military force of arms and numbers,under color of law and(contrived)”emergency”-the storm having passed.My wife and I ,with our furry little dog,Lady the wonder mutt,were staying in a small private hotel in Texas,where we spent a comfortable and quiet 3 weeks before returning to Louisiana to rebuild our home. we were able to do this because we had planned comprehensively and far ahead with everything that we would need in any such emergency.Incorporate your weapons and ammunition into a strategy of low-profile avoidance.Never involve yourselves in anything that would endanger your life liberty and property unless otherwise unavoidably necessary.

  57. “Don’t get overly cocky just because you have a firearm in the house, your purse, or have a certificate from your shooting range for completing an advanced course. Law enforcement officers miss their target in a shooting confrontation about 70% of the time. Think about that.”

    The thing is, most people are ready to kill, including the “pros”. A lot of soldiers in real wars dun even take aim. You need to be psychologically, philosophically and spiritually ready to kill. Else your subconscious will be conflicted and you will sabotage your aim. You would see this at the range but you can see from the stats this phenomena is real.

  58. As for hitting only 70% of the time,
    that is likely optimistic.

    It has to with many things. Stress, time, movement, stance, and the fact none of them will be ideal.

    I grew up shooting. My dad ran several ranges. I shot for many teams, to include the army rifle team.
    Also spent time as a sniper. And have hunted since I could carry a gun with my dad.

    And I consider it a good day if I hit a rabbit running in the timber with about half my shots. My two boys have good days if every fifth or tenth shot gets a bunny. The oldest was captain of an ROTC rifle team. The middle boy just won a junior trap contest and averages about 94 out of 100 (16yd)trapshooting.

    Bunnies don’t shoot back.

    When lead starts flying, and things get to moving real fast – someone who is a good shot will hit more often than a bad shot. They won’t hit a lot, but if you can just get there faster than the other guy…

    As for killing, most folks have a hard time with it. Just pulling the trigger is hard if you are looking at someone. If you are someone who would have a hard time shooting a rabbit because they are cute – wait until your target looks a lot like your daughter.
    You need to face that before you get there. And make your peace with it. Because the one that looks like your kid, just might be the one that kills your kids parent if you don’t.

    That’s my two cents.

  59. Pingback: Episode 59 – Politics and GUNS! | Politics and Guns Podcast

  60. I’m writing to you from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. I’ve got to say, that I generally stay out of forum chatter. Unfortunately, there were far too many baseless comments made, and I feel duty bound to answer them. Unchallenged falsehoods have a tendency to gain a life of their own.

    I’ll start with my “qualifiers” (since other forum members have ordained it mandatory). I’m a former U.S. Army infantryman who honorably served 10 years with multiple combat deployments. I’ve been awarded the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge and a Purple Heart (among others). I’m currently a military and civilian gunsmith working for the DoD in Afghanistan. I’ve been a ‘prepper’ long before it became cool. I come from a stock of Americans who believe it better to do what is necessary and right, than to talk about it. I consider myself a member of the silent professional community.

    That being said, I wanted to refute a few of the points made that seem to be either meritless or downright misleading.

    First, (because it is a personal affront) “Steve B” states that:

    “police miss about 70% of the time is the same reason that infantry uses so much ammo for just one kill, they have their body behind cover and don�t stick their head up long enough to properly site in their target who is usually also behind cover and/or moving therefore making a high-stress shot that much harder. So, yeah, think about that.”

    His statement is insulting on many levels, but I’ll try and delineate his fallacies clearly. Police and infantry are not to be placed in the same group. There are many law enforcement groups with dramatically differing levels of training. From the beat cop that “gets” to qualify with his service firearm annually, to high threat units that train daily. Active duty infantry receives more training than any law enforcement entity I know of. Personally, Uncle Sam provided me with hundreds of thousands of rounds to shoot every year (remember that I served for 10). His statement that we don’t stick our head up to “site” should reek of ignorance to the reader with any common sense. Making broad inaccurate generalizations shouldn’t require rebuttal, but I’ve noticed how ignorant and arrogant statements become trafficked popularly. For that reason alone I speak up.

    There are many men and women who have even more training and combat experience than I do. Such statements should be publicly recognized as shameful and without honor. Additionally, it’s very difficult for me to stand quietly and listen to “Monday morning quarterbacks” or “armchair ninjas” with minimal or no experience try to educate others. I’m speaking specifically of those who profess to challenge the potential mental state of someone who might have to take another life. Especially when they haven’t done it themselves. When you actually do kill another human, then you will be qualified to speak on the matter. I’ll add that with that statement I am more than qualified. The other people who fall into this category are unfortunately a dime a dozen. I speak of the “goonsmith”. This is usually a well-intentioned, though highly-opinionated person who knows just enough (sometimes) about firearms to feel qualified to “guide” those new to them. They are almost never someone who does it as their profession.

    Hopefully you wouldn’t take or request legal advice from an attorney’s secretary. Or request and heed a diagnosis from “someone who reads a lot of medical books”. My point is that if you don’t “do something for a living” and “have experience”, be quiet. I apologize, as my patience wears thin with demonstrable incompetence. Those who profusely jump to assume the lead of “the blind leading the blind” surely have no place in leadership; they should be identified loudly and clearly for what they are.

    Other comments have been made to the effect of “if a 20 gauge is too powerful, you can reduce the load”, or other such well-intentioned “help”. Yes, you can. Of course if you were a gunsmith, you could install a recoil reducer in the stock. Thereby someone who had difficulty with a 20 gauge self defense load could probably move up to a 12 gauge. Instead of “wrapping duct tape around a leaky radiator”, try “taking the car to a professional”. There are more ways to tailor a firearm to the shooter than there are ways to tailor a dress to a bride. Many things an ACTUAL gunsmith can do to a firearm can significantly increase a shooter’s capabilities.

    Lastly, a laser sight is a definitely useful tool. In Iraq many of the locals were conditioned to having pistols and rifles waved around and pointed at them. In fact, there were three things that I personally observed which immediately received their full attention. A laser dot on their chest. A shotgun pointed at them. Or a machinegun pointed at them. That being said, a hardened criminal who has made the choice to deprive you of life or property, will most definitely not be stopped or turned by a laser dot, or the sound of a shotgun cycling (“racking”). A laser sight will aid you immensely in most combat situations…..whether a “lady” or not.

    I hope my observations have helped. Survival Mom is doing a great job. While I disagree with her on some things, they are tremendously outweighed by her positive effect on our community and nation. She is a true patriot and deserves none of the untenable, opinionated slander I see so readily spewed from the mouths of those sycophantic forum groupies. Keep preparing.

    Those with the most to say should speak the least.

    1. Thank you for your input, it is most valuable to us stay-at-homes (voluntary or otherwise) And thank you for your service. God bless.

  61. All sound like good ideas but I would like to add keep wasp spray handy. It can be used at a fair distance and is effective for temporarily blinding someone so you can get away. Of course, this may not be your best option, but it may be the only thing you can get to quick.

  62. I’ve had MANY 1000 rd days at the range (just me shooting) but they were .45’s that I cast the bullets out of wheelweight lead, and reloaded the ammo. I’ve had many, many more such 1000 rd days, when half of the shooting was .22 lr, and the rest was said .45 reloads. but yes, you can have WAY too much ammo, but it’s unusual. 🙂 As hard as it may be to believe, SOME people have quad mount 308 electric gatlings, 6 barrels, rotating. 50c per shot for tracers, 16,000 rds per minute! Google for Dillon Reloading. He has a video about doing this shooting, in the AZ desert.

  63. top competitors in the handgun matches shoot at least 40,000 rds per year, and a few shoot 2x that much. not just 1 year, but every year, for decades. Many of them are sponsored by gun companies these days, but back in my day, the late 70’s,. a few did it on their own. I made up those .45’s for 3c per shot, and I used a college loan of $2000, plus Gi Bill money for college ($250 per month) , and worked full time, and had very little other expenses and shot 40k rds per year, for 3 years. I had 10,000 rds of .45 casings. I’d cast bullets and load ammo all winter, then shoot 1000 rds per week during the season.

  64. Excellent blog post. Just found your blog via Pinterest. I am new to the world of guns. Passed my Hunters Education class this weekend in CO. I will visit here often to learn lots more!

  65. All such GREAT comments on a GREAT post! A concealed-carry instructor told me once, to KILL the person trying to kill you- not just hurt them. Why? Because the pud will sue the snot out of you in civil court later, for all his medical bills, and for damages and trauma! And take your bank account and your home,- And WIN! OK, all fun aside, why would anyone want to simply injure a jerk trying to kill them? So s/he can go kill someone else, or can haunt you the rest of your life? Lookin’ over your shoulder hurts the neck, eventually. KILL the pud. –Look. We all must die at some point. Its the ONLY guarantee in this life. The ONLY one. The creep is going to eventually die anyway. So do NOT hesitate when your life is in danger, or the life of your loved ones… Just kill the pud. -Save a stranger, kill the perp. Its going to happen eventually no matter what you do- Perp WILL die sometime. (Not all murderers are men, girls.) That should get you over any hesitation about killing a “human”. Just always remember, if you don’t kill him/her, now, s/he will be killing you in a moment or two, and your kids shortly thereafter.-Oh… About a .410: Don’t use it for personal defense. Use a 12 gauge, unless you’re out of the house… (hard to pack around) Last time I killed a varmint eating the head off my sweet little biddy-chicken, with my .410, I was shocked and surprised at close range that my first shot did not kill it- I didn’t even check to see if that first shot did more than injure its little leg. After that first shot, it jumped on top of my sweet, dead-beheaded-biddy, in the nest-box, and proceeded for all the world to try to look like a freaking VICTIM! AFTER it murdered my hen-girl! That was the biggest, ugliest possum I have EVER shot, and I was only about 6 ft from the snarlin, hissin’, beady-eyed li’l monster.. Had to freaking AIM that .410 to kill the little bugger. Now, THAT made me mad. Its a shotgun, for heaven’s sake! -OH, and I noticed that I was screaming naughty words at it- that was surely NOT planned, and I thought it strange that I was that angry at the stupid possum. There I was, barefoot, in the dark, 2 am, weildin’ smokin’ Babe, (the gun) skinny li’l flashlight in my teeth, in my little nighty, yellin’ and cursin like a mule-skinner, and cryin’ over my dead biddy. (My son came running out of his house to see what all the clatter was over. Said he could hear me squealin’ and a-cussin’ in spite of that flashlight I was chewing on…woke him up.) Take my advice…Don’t scream naughty words at the perp… Bite the tongue…Words are HARD to un-say. Especially if any witnesses hear them. (We all have a fight-or-flight response, and mine has always been fight. -Since I was two! -another story) Practice, when shooting, to hold the tip of the tongue gently between the front teeth- (but not with the 12 gauge shotgun, girl, -you’ll bite through it if it kicks. Ouch.) Of course, I was PAINFULLY aware I was going to have to sleep with those 8 eggs under that hen she’d been setting on, till they hatched, which is why I guess I was cussin’ mad… which is exactly what happened, and had to leave the electric blankie on the clutch (in a little box) durin’ the whole day. -Cute little chicks, tho. -Remember, any mess of blood and guts can be cleaned up- the hole in the house can get repaired… don’t hesitate, but don’t miss. It’ll cost you BIG… One final note: I hear they have nice libraries in prison, so, if you are worried you wont like prison, and that makes you hesitate to pull… caskets don’t have libraries. Choose prison. Imagine prison will be a little like the vacay you never get, with time to even read a few novels. Oh, I know how fast the brain works. ALL those fears slam your head in the millisecond before you must make that final determination- blood, guts, holes, prison, kids, Mom, etc… So, sit down, visualize shooting someone attacking you (go thru it a few times with different perps and different weapons(/scenes) they are brandishing at you) then imagine the aftermath- invoking the fifth, headed to jail, mentally telling whom you called to care for the kids… Go through it, like you are watching a TV show and you are the star.) OH! and if you pled the 5th, DON’T tell the friend you called to care for the kids all the gory details, since the cops are now listening!) -Promise you’ll tell them over tea in a few days, -now, visualize meeting a few new friends in jail. There. Not so scary, huh. Gotta do ALL that visualizing before the event happens. Furthermore, if you do mental exercises like that, and DON’T tell anyone you do it, not a soul can swear in a court you were “preparing for the opportunity to kill someone”. Life is hard, girls. Its always a kicker to me that so many folk somehow assume they are going to sail through it unscathed. Prepare for the worst. Its insurance.

  66. As a part-time firearms instructor, my favorite rule (after all the ones on safety, of coarse) is that there is no “best gun” only what the shooter is “best with” so if you can handle a .45 and are comfortable shooting it well, then more power to you. But, if you’re experience has been that the recoil of a .45 is too great and extends the time on potential follow-up shots, downgrade your caliber and smile while you do it! You’re never more effective than when you’re PROPERLY ARMED. I’m a big guy, I can handle a .45 but I don’t enjoy shooting it as much as a .38 or 9mm and, in fact, frequently carry a .380, so let ’em laugh, I’ve laid-out an attacker with a single punch before, so most any bullet will do because I also practice situational awareness and don’t take my .380 into abandoned warehouses on the crack head side of the tracks, either. When it all comes down to it, whoever gets shot first (by most any caliber) loses in the end.

    A few other good rules to live by are:
    * A .22 in the hand is worth three .45’s in the truck.
    * There are tactical advantages and disadvantages to blued or nickeled firearms, mainly “Do I want prying eyes to know I’m packing heat” and “if I get mugged in a dark alley, do I want the gun to make a statement that could potentially end the scuffling confrontation before it starts” to say nothing of corrosion resistance.
    * No mugger will politely wait for you to fumble around in your purse for the wallet (or a gun), they’ll grab you by your plunging neck line, put a knife blade in your cheek and threaten to end your career on the runway while you try and pull it off your shoulder with trembling hands IF they don’t just “purse snatch” it and run in the first place – either way, don’t keep your gun in your purse.
    * You won’t get assaulted and raped with a gun on your hip in broad daylight, you’ll get assaulted a raped while you’re out jogging at dusk, after you jump out of the shower and walk down the hall to your apartment’s laundromat in your bathrobe, or while your head’s down in the trunk as you load groceries and you’ve already put your purse in the passenger seat.

  67. So I have “Judge” but not good for carrying. So my husband bought us matching 9mm Glocks for Christmas. We plan to take the class so we can carry. My dilemma – I’ve been wearing pants with stretch band waists for years. Now I have to go buy new pants with belt loops and get a belt so that I can buy a holster to carry the gun on my person. lol

    1. Prepared Grammy

      We like Glock also. They are easy to field strip, and I like the way they shoot. I got the G43 for my husband, and like it so much that I’m getting one for myself also. It’s a single-stack 9mm that is easy to conceal.

    2. Robin, there are “belly-band” holsters that are wide elastic with Velcro closing. Some allow for 2 firearms, cross draw and extra clips. I purchased mine from Amazon. I really like it…not only for my protection but the wide elastic supports my back. My biggest gripe is that the elastic can be itchy so I wear a camisole so the elastic isn’t against my skin.

  68. All of these are excellent points, but part of protecting your children includes keeping them safe from the guns themselves. Before you bring a gun into your house, have a plan. If you have small children running around, don’t leave your gun where they can possibly get their hands on it. If you have older children, make sure they know guns aren’t toys. For even older children, make sure they know the proper use and safety precautions to take with guns. There is no reason your child should ever be injured by your gun.

    1. Prepared Grammy

      I tell ANYONE who is purchasing a firearm to get a safe first. This includes a small, easy-open safe for your handguns. We even have one in our vehicles and camper. Plan to stay safe.

  69. Pingback: Prepper News Watch for March 22, 2016 | The Preparedness Podcast

  70. The lead photo shows an extremely dangerous and incorrect method of drawing a gun. As soon as the gun clears the holster it is going to be pointing at her left hand. That is not how to do it! The left hand should be out of the way until the gun is in front of her and it can join the right hand on the grip. It can be over there pulling a cover garment way up out of the way, but it should not be down in front of the gun.

  71. Looking at a lot of the comments, I wanted to say there’s a really good group called USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association). They provide a lawyer immediately if you end up shooting someone and 1 million dollars of costs covered. It does cost a small amount monthly but I have an aquantence who ended up needing it and they were great. They also have lots of training information, some of it is live. I don’t sell it or anything, just a good idea to have. I hope it’s ok to say here. Great article as always. 🙂

  72. I think people need to be careful when disparaging anti-gun campaigns. Those laws work. If we are looking at facts and data, they do work. Look at Australia. They had 13 mass shootings from 1979 to 1996, when they outlawed the possession of most (NOT ALL) guns, and they haven’t had one since. Their violent crime rate dropped off steeply as well. That story is repeated in countries like Japan and the United Kingdom and Germany and Norway and Canada.

    People that are campaigning for gun control are not stupid. They are not crazy. They are desperately looking for a way to end the massacres, end the accidental toddler shootings, end the insane amount of women murdered with firearms in domestic violence incidents, changing the scale of gang violence, etc., and the way to do that is to follow examples of what has actually worked for other countries. I’m not anti-gun. I have a gun. But if we as a country want to change the unbelievable amount of gun violence that happens here every day, we need to work together to achieve that solution.

  73. Some really great discussion here, but two things I have not seen addressed is ensuring your weapon is secured, but readily available at home. I keep my self-defense weapons in wall mounted gun safes in the areas I spend the most time in while I’m home. Re: Next to the bed, in my computer room, in my shop, etc. etc. There are some great little safes that are unobtrusive and easy for the owner to access. I have children in my home and my #1 priority is to keep them safe from harm, and that includes making sure they cannot get a weapon. Secondly, if you have decided to have a weapon in your home, teach EVERYONE in the home all about gun safety and what to do if they come across a weapon. The youngest in our home is 4, and he knows to never touch a gun because we have practiced with him (used a toy gun to teach him what to do, and not to do). The oldest is a teen and has attended several safety courses and has almost as much range time as I do!

  74. Pingback: Women with Firearms – Carry Couture

  75. Ladies! I am a gun saleswomen. It’: an amazing field to be in. One piece of advice to cover. Under common misconception, most women buy a firearm to carry in their purse. Do NOT carry in your purse. A gun is a huge responsibility and should not be left in a place where you cannot physically keep an eye on it. It should not be treated like a chapstick or wallet. You will have to change your clothing style to carry a firearm, but these are all life decisions you make when making the decision to carry. It is a great thing to carry a firearm, but you are responsible for it. So treat it as such! 🙂

  76. Many women go into emotional shock after using lethal force. “I was afraid for my life” or “He/She left me no choice . . .” are the first words out of your mouth! If questioning continues, ask to talk to a lawyer and then shut up . . . especially if you are read your veranda rights! Woman want to immediately justify themselves to someone . . . DON’T. Let your lawyer do that for you! 9 times out of 10 women turn “Bitchy” in a situation and escalate the situation because they can’t shut up! This leads to an act of violence which results in a gun being drawn. Sadly, in the shooter’s eyes they did nothing wrong to provoke the situation. However, witnesses will tell a different story. The point being, be prepared for the aftermath of a shooting. That’s as important as practicing with your gun!

  77. Well, I only shared this on FB last year but resharing today I started reading the comments. Here’s my ‘two cents’.
    First, the title is ‘sexist’. These are definitely 23 truths for EVERYONE. I know plenty of men that could use these.
    Secondly, there are good comments about ‘preparing’ yourself should you ever have to take a life and dealing with the police, etc. afterwards. If someone hasn’t, I would very much recommend getting legal insurance such as with USSCA. A legal defense will cost you THOUSANDS. And even if the DA decides not to prosecute, you could be sued in civil court. It would suck to go through all that and be found ‘Not Guilty’ and still lose your house…

  78. The post you submitted here is very informative. Toy guns are toys which imitate real guns, but are designed for children to play with. From hand-carved wooden replicas to factory-produced pop guns and cap guns, toy guns come in all sizes, prices and materials such as wood, metal, plastic or any combination thereof. Many newer toy guns are brightly colored and oddly shaped to prevent them from being mistaken for real firearms.

  79. Something I always emphasis when discussing carrying a firearm with a female is maintaining positive control of your weapon. That means your gun is always, always on your physical person. Not in your purse, not in a shoulder bag, not in the glovebox. There are far to many stories with bad endings because a weapon was not properly controlled.

  80. I am 65 years old and I have never held a gun, much less shot one. I am a widow now. I have never felt the need to own a firearm as long as I had my husband. Now, without my husband, and with the growing violence in our cities, now I feel the need to learn to protect myself. I found reading information on this site informative. I am looking for sound and trusted advice. Thank you. SK

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