Spend much time in the firearms world and you’ll find that there are many myths and some substantial misinformation circulating about women and guns.
You might find it surprising that these conditions remain pervasive well into the 21st century; nevertheless, here we are. To help you make sense of some of what you hear in conversations about this topic, or when you walk into a gun store door or attend a gun class, I’ve compiled a list. Here are some of the most common untruths, why the information is factually wrong, and what that means for women who have an interest in firearms.
Myth #1: Women should only take classes from other women.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are some stellar female firearms instructors out there. But if you focus on taking classes that are taught only by women, you’ll miss out on a huge number of learning opportunities. Men like Massad Ayoob and Tom Givens are instructors whose wisdom you won’t want to miss. Don’t judge an instructor by gender. Choose ones having stellar credentials who offer fantastic content that fits your specific need.
Myth #2: Women should take women-only classes.
This circles back to the first myth, in that you will also deprive yourself of amazing, valuable experiences and lessons if you only take classes that feature women-only participation. You’ll just miss out on so many opportunities. The reasoning behind this tends to be based on a “sisterhood” of kindness and understanding. Well, I have news for you: women get pretty “catty.” I believe it’s likely to always be that way. I suggest you be realistic and don’t refuse to attend classes that are not restricted to women participants only.
Myth #3: Women should learn to use guns with a revolver.
The idea that women should learn the ropes of guns using revolvers, guns chambered in 22 LR, or 410 Bore shotguns is nothing short of ridiculous. There’s no one specific platform that works well for everyone. Women are all different and have varying hand sizes, grip strength, and skill levels. Just like any hunter, women need to find the gun that works well for them and go with it. Don’t buy a revolver because the guy behind the counter says his wife likes it or that it’s a hot seller among women. Don’t buy a 22 LR because you keep hearing it’s the best caliber for first-timers. And don’t get a 410 Bore shotgun because you heard the felt recoil is easier than 12 gauge. You’re a unique individual and that extends to the firearms you utilize.
Myth #4: Women should learn to shoot from their husbands or fathers.
Just…no. When you’re a grown woman, it’s almost always a lousy idea to get your firearm education from your significant other or father. There are certainly exceptions to that, but by and large, too many issues can come up in these situations. Then there’s the fact that a lot of people overestimate their own knowledge and skill levels by quite a bit. That can result in them teaching someone—you—bad or unsafe practices. Instead, I suggest you find a reputable, respected instructor.
Myth #5: Women can or should just put their handguns in their purses.
Purse carry is pretty much the last-resort carry method that exists. It shouldn’t be your go-to. In fact, it should be avoided if at all possible. While there could be scenarios where purse carry ends up being your only option, those cases are not nearly as common as one might think. On-body carry is safer and more effective for defensive purposes, and this keeps your gun within your control at all times. Your purse is a receptacle for all kinds of odds and ends and isn’t a good home for your firearm.
Myth #6: Women should use bra holsters.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard someone say that they love their bra holster because an attacker will be so shocked when they lift their shirt that they’ll have an advantage in the situation. In reality, there are quite a few downsides to raising your shirt to your armpits to try to draw a gun that is attached to your bra. Not only is it not going to shock an assailant into halting their attack, but it’s also going to slow your draw time, and you could end up with your arms pinned behind you (among other things). Also, keep in mind that using a bra holster violates a rather important part of the four golden rules of gun safety. Stop and think: Where does the muzzle of the gun aim when it’s in that holster? And how will you draw it without muzzling important parts that contain things like your brachial artery?
Myth #7: Women need tiny handguns.
Here’s the thing: Tiny handguns tend to produce way more felt recoil and muzzle rise than larger handguns do. This factor can be a major difference. Larger, heavier handguns help mitigate felt recoil. Tiny handguns chambered in formats such as 380 ACP tend to be snappy and uncomfortable to shoot, not to mention less accurate on target. Don’t buy into the “You Must Have a Tiny Handgun” myth.
Myth #8: Your man will protect you.
Ladies: I’m going to put this as bluntly as possible. You are on your own. No one is coming to save you. When things go sideways, you’re probably going to be alone. And even if you are with your significant other, why should you hide behind him? Lots of men don’t even own a gun, or if they do own a handgun, they may have zero skill or the knowledge to back its use. It’s no one’s job to protect yourself but you. So, take the necessary steps to be capable of doing that. It’s your life. Save it yourself.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true: Firearms are excellent equalizers. As women, our body strength rarely outdoes that of a grown man. When you add in the potential of an attacker’s possible drug- or adrenaline-fueled rage, it’s almost sure you won’t be able to physically fight off an attacker. Empty hands aren’t an ideal tool; whereas firearms work quite well.
Learn to defend yourself and remember that attacks can and do happen in the great outdoors. Just because you’re in the woods doesn’t mean you won’t be attacked. Get a gun, get trained and be ready to defend yourself.