Since so many women friends and acquaintances have found out that I coach a shotgun and pistol team, I’ve been asked a dozen or more times “Which gun is right for me?”
Let me preface this blog by saying, “If you don’t know the difference between a shotgun, a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver, this blog post will NOT explain them. I suggest you attend a class or go to your local shooting range for education. I am by no means an expert on the subject. This post will simply share my own personal opinions and include discussions I’ve had with my friends about guns, gun choices, and uses.”
The initial question I ask is “What will you use it for?”
The second question is “How often will you practice with it?”
I prefer a pump-action 12 gauge shotgun that can hold several shells for home defense.
First, everyone knows the Chk-chk sound of a pump-action shotgun. If that is not a deterrent to an intruder, you have well over 100 pieces of shot (think BB’s) that come out of the shotgun shell at roughly 800 mph.
Second, a shotgun does not require dead-eye accuracy. The shot comes out in a circular pattern and spreads as it travels away from the barrel. It really is a point (in the general direction) and shoot.
Third, you must have the upper body strength to pick it up. Shotguns weigh 8-15 lbs. That doesn’t sound like much until you are scared and trying to pick it up and hold it pointing in one direction.
Fourth, you must understand that there is a greater likelihood of collateral damage to your walls of your house (see above – hundreds of BBs at 800 mph).
Fifth, having multiple shells loaded provides additional defenses. And if there are multiple intruders in your house, you’ll want additional defense.
Moving on to pistols – is it for home defense only? A carry weapon? Will it be used for both?
There are semi automatics and there are revolvers. I prefer semi automatics and have many friends who are just as enthusiastic about their revolvers. Don’t be confused by bullet calibers (380, 9mm, 45 are some common terms). Some instructors tell women they should only purchase / shoot a particular bullet calber. I disagree.
The first thing I say about pistols is that the right one for you is the one that fits your hand. More importantly, you should buy the one that fits your hand with a comfortable grip that aligns closest to your natural point of aim. This will help you improve accuracy as you practice.
Here in the state of Tennessee, in the United States of America, we have several sporting goods chains that sell guns and will allow you to pick them up and hold them to see how they fit in your hand. In my metropolitan area of Memphis, we also have a few indoor gun ranges that will allow you to “rent” a gun for use while you are there.
In general, a home defense gun is larger than a carry gun. It may have a longer barrel, a larger caliber, or hold more rounds. A carry gun is a tool to allow you to defend yourself and get away and is smaller to be comfortably holstered on your body or in a purse or pocket.
There is no way for me to be able to instruct you personally from this blog on which gun is right for you. That is best done in a one-on-one situation, hopefully with someone who has a good deal of experience and multiple guns you can hold, shoot, and practice with.
Whatever you may choose to purchase, I strongly urge you to attend a class (and in some states a class is required before you can get a carry permit). I encourage you even more to practice, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!