Choose Your Weapon: Women & Guns
There are many factors that should be considered when purchasing a weapon for self-defense, especially for women. The facts are women have smaller hands with less strength. Over the years, I have found that while my ability to shoot has improved, my ability to load a magazine and pull the slide and trigger has declined, due to carpal tunnel surgery and arthritis. Therefore, my weapon of choice has also changed. When I first started shooting, I learned with a .22 rifle. I was a kid and my dad took me squirrel hunting. That weapon was a good start. As an adult, I had an affinity for revolvers and fell in love with the Smith & Wesson Model 686 .357 magnum. I loved the weight and firepower. For me, blowing up shaving cream cans was quite a thrill! The problem was that the double-action was so stiff I couldn’t pull the trigger all the way through, I had to cock the hammer in order to fire the weapon. Another problem was that it didn’t work very well as a concealed carry weapon, for obvious reasons!
Since then, I began my search for a better weapon, one that fit my hand, wasn’t too heavy for repeated firing, had an easier trigger pull, and was good for concealment. I made sure it still had the power I was looking for in a handgun. My husband’s weapon of choice is the 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. But, after shooting it a few times, I found it too big and bulky for my hand and heavier than I preferred. For Valentine’s Day one year, he bought me a Taurus Judge Ultralight .45/410, which I love. It’s easy to shoot and lightweight. However, it only holds five rounds and is still a bit bulky for concealed carry. My search continued!
Several experts on the matter suggested weapons chambered in .380 ACP or the hammerless .38 special, saying that women like how small they are. Not to mention, they are both easily concealable. The .38 special revolver is great, but again, it has a very limited ammo capacity. These two handguns are what I call “girl guns.” Not that they aren’t good for up close and personal self-defense, but I wanted something with a little more knockdown power at a distance. My view is that if a man gets close enough to do me harm, he’s close enough to take my weapon and use it on me, which is not the outcome I’m looking for.
After more searching, I picked up a Glock 19 9mm. The grip fit my hand like it was made for me. I can pull the slide back with no problems and it’s light enough to practice with all day long. It’s easy to conceal, holds fifteen rounds in the magazine (plus one in the chamber), and I can defend myself before an attacker can get close enough to hurt me. Depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing, I’m able to carry it in my concealed carry purse with extra magazines, or I can conceal it as an appendix carry with extra mags stored in my purse. At that point, the Glock became my main concealed carry handgun. But, there came a time when I thought about what kind of problem I might have if I was ever attacked from behind and knocked to the ground. If my Glock was concealed in my purse, I’d have no chance of retrieving it. So, what were my options? A “girl gun” of course!
Enter the Ruger LCP II .380. I must admit that I wasn’t thrilled with it at first, but I also wanted it as an ankle carry weapon. This handgun was the perfect fit for my ankle holster. Because it’s so small, it doesn’t fit my hand very well. But, by adding the extension to the magazine, it significantly improved my grip. I had never fired anything that small, so off to the range we went. I was very impressed. This little “girl gun” is extremely accurate up to about thirty feet. And, I was hitting my 3” styrofoam cube targets 100% of the time.
At this point, you might think I’ve found my perfect concealed carry handgun and back-up weapon, but something else happened—I discovered the Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact .45ACP and I fell in love. This little semi-automatic is like the bulldog of compact pistols. Not only is it perfectly balanced and fits my hand well, but it has the awesome stopping power of a .45. With an ambidextrous safety, even lefties can use it. The slide pulls easily, even with my arthritic fingers, and the curved trigger gives me perfect finger placement. It’s double and single action and it has an added safety measure with a loaded chamber indicator. Plus, it is very accurate.
Whatever you are looking for in a concealed carry weapon, don’t just settle for one that someone else says you need. Test fire the weapon, ask questions, practice concealment with it, and make sure it’s something you are comfortable with.