by Linda M. Gilbertson
It always frustrates me when I see women who have been sold a “bill of goods” on what the gun store owner wants to sell them, rather than what is appropriate for their hand size, muscle strength, physical tolerance or body shape. Many times they have no idea what they’re looking at or looking for.
They may be buying on its’ appearance or style or perhaps color. Maybe it’s what’s fashionable, full of bling or it’s what their husband or significant other has told them they want. Sometimes gun stores push the special of the month, or the item that doesn’t sell. Maybe it’s not only a pistol, but also a method of carry. Will it be a revolver or semi-automatic or will it be a concealed carry purse or onbody carry?
So, let’s set the stage. She holding this metallic, polymer or alloy pistol the gun store owner has just put in her hand. She doesn’t know how to hold this object and doesn’t understand how it functions. Her husband or significant other buys it for her or she buys it based on his recommendation and takes it to a range. She’s given some ammo. She needs help loading it because she has no idea how to accomplish it. She receives the briefest of instruction, supposedly aims it and pulls the trigger. The pistol rebels against her. The pain in her hand, the abrupt force of recoil in her body and the fear of the loud noise has set the mold. She’ll refuse to try this again without being cajoled.
To prevent this problem from occurring, don’t put the cart before the horse. Get her some training first, then let her try before she buys her pistol. An indoor range should have a number of rental guns for her to try. Perhaps the range has a ladies only shooting club. It’s a great opportunity for her to meet women of like mind and learn in a comfortable environment. Make her a friend, not a foe.
Now she’s purchased a pistol and ammo. How is she going to carry it? This next step is dependent upon comfort level and accessibility. For many women, carrying a purse is normal. Perhaps a Concealed Carry purse is the way to go. Unless however, weight of the purse is an issue. A pistol, ammo and perhaps a spare magazine for a semi-automatic will add enough additional weight to make carrying the purse uncomfortable. There are some perfectly comfortable purses, but you’ll need to reduce the amount of “stuff” you carry in your purse to accommodate the pistol and its weight. You can carry your hairbrush and make-up in something other than your purse. Then there’s the matter of accessibility. Is the zipper or Velcro to the concealed carry compartment on the side or on the top? If it’s on the side, is your pistol small enough not to get caught on the zipper or Velcro as you remove it, or is your pistol to large and you can’t get it remove it quickly. Will you draw from strong-side or cross-draw? If the zipper or Velcro is on the top, have you practiced manipulating it? To answer these questions visit stores that carry these purses, try them out with an unloaded pistol and talk to women who already carry.
So on-body carry is more your style? Let’s divide this topic into three sections of research:
1. Fanny Pack, Pocket Carry or Concealment Clothing
2. Belly Bands, Corsets and Compression Clothing
3. Shoulder, Bra,
Waist, Thigh and Ankle Holsters
Read magazines and peruse the internet for these items. Purchase them if you’re feeling confident and try them out. Be informed as to evaluations of products as they appear in your research. What Fanny Pack are most women buying? What type of pants do women find you must purchase in order to have pockets of substantial depth and volume to accommodate a Pocket Carry Holster and pistol? Does the Concealment Clothing allow easy access and is it durable? Do you have adverse reaction to pressure around your stomach and would a Belly Band be too hot or itchy? Consider whether a Corset is too confining and do you find Compression Clothing suffocating. Perhaps the pistol sits at the small of your back, where you’ll suffer serious injury should you fall on it. Consider that Shoulder Holsters require a coat or jacket to conceal. A Bra Holster may require the wearing of an underwire and will definitely limit the size of your pistol. In order to comfortably carry a waist holster make sure you have a “Woman’s Holster” that has a wedge which pushes the grip away from the body so you can access it. A Thigh
Holster may slip, itch or your thighs may knock together. The Ankle Holster requires you to bend over or down to retrieve. Are you pliable enough or quick enough?
As you can see the purchase of a pistol and the means to safely and comfortably carry it shouldn’t be taken lightly. We don’t buy a car without a test drive and we certainly shouldn’t buy a gun and its’ accouterments without training and research.
Don’t get sold a Bill of Goods. Try before you buy.