Friday, May 8, 2009
Selecting Your First Gun is Like Selecting a Purse
By Kellene Bishop
Selecting your first firearm is like selecting a purse—no one can really do it well for you. As much as my husband loves me, there’s no way that he can know enough about my preferences to appropriately select a purse on my behalf. Are the straps long enough? Does it have enough pockets in the right places? Does it have enough compartments? So I beg you NOT to allow anyone else select your first gun for you. It’s far too personal of a decision.
If you’re purchasing your first firearm for self-defense, ideally it should be a handgun. (I then advise you to move to a shotgun and then a rifle, but I’ll cover that in a future article.) Here are the primary concerns you want to consider when selecting a handgun.
2. Ease of loading
3. Ease of use (such as mechanics, ability to clear stoppages, etc)
4. Reliability (and safety)
5. Cost of ammo
6. Ease of assembly/disassembly
Rather than getting caught up in all of the brand names and what kind of caliber to select, first and foremost focus on the grip of the firearm. Try holding SEVERAL of them. Keep in mind if the grip is metallic, even in part, it will likely impede your shooting ability in a crisis situation as sweat will hinder your grip. I focus on a solid non-slip grip when I select my guns, or my ability to have the gun modified accordingly.
Also, when considering the grip, be sure that it is sufficient so that you can comfortably bring your other hand up to the gun for stability. There are some guns I’ve tried holding where using the other hand only seems to confine and cramp my ability to use fire the gun appropriately. While women are always conscious of fashion at some point, I implore you not to focus on whether or not it’s pink, black, or steel. Focus on the holding of it THEN focus on how it simply it loads and how easily it is for you to master cocking it. For these 3 reasons, most women go with a revolver for their first handgun or a Glock. Out of the most common options, I would opt for a Glock simply because it holds more ammo and is very forgiving of a limp wristed shot that most women possess when they shoot—myself included. It will shoot when it’s dirty, wet, muddy, etc. In other words, it’s highly reliable, and that’s what any woman needs in a time of critical self-defense.
For a myriad of reasons, you really don’t want your first gun to be too light. While you don’t want to exhaust your muscles with the weight of a gun while shooting it (like I do when shooting the AR-15 from my shoulder), I strongly advise you against purchasing a mamby-pamby gun that simply fits into the palm of your hand as your first self-defense gun. Such firearms have their place, but not as your primary self-defense weapon. A solid weight gun will actually help you to shoot more accurately, and it is typically made better as well.
While there is much discussion by “gun snobs” that a .9mm isn’t worthy of self-defense use, don’t pay any heed to it. Rather than focusing on the power of the gun, focus instead on your ability to carry it easily, retrieve it, and aim and shoot it accurately. What you DON’T want to have happen is that you buy your new gun, go shoot it, and it’s so dang powerful that you’re afraid of it and won’t continue to practice with it. So don’t let some “guy” convince you that you need to start with a more powerful caliber. 9mm’s have done just fine in warding off intruders and assailants for years, and have even been used by law enforcement officers all over that nation for a very long time. Sure, there are those rare circumstances in which a drugged up criminal is unphased by a .9mm hit, but I assure you he wasn’t hit dead center in the head or the heart when such was the case. It’s not the power in your gun, it’s the skill behind it that counts.
Another reason why I prefer to train other women on a Glock is because of the lack of a visible safety. For some women this can rattle their nerves but consider this. While the Glock actually has 3 inherent safety features, that gun is ready when you need it most, in the climax of emotion. What I don’t want to happen is to have a woman NEED to use her firearm, unveil the element of surprise as she draws her firearm and shows she’s willing to use it on an assailant, only to be hindered because she realizes that the safety was still on. That may be all the hesitation the criminal needs to remove the firearm from your possession and use it on you. I never, ever want to give away my element of surprise in my self-defense actions. If I’m pulling my firearm from my holster or its hiding place, I’m doing so for one reason and one reason only and that is to STOP an assault.
Also consider that .9 mm ammo is less expensive. If you purchase a gun with a higher caliber shooting power, you may also be less apt to practice with it due to the cost of ammo.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what brand or caliber you choose so long as you’re the last one standing, alive and well.
(Thanks to Conservative Scalawag, great post! VN8)