About Me

I am also the author of 4 books, available on Amazon, and at many major outlets. I have been contributing writer for Combat Handgun Magazine and Women and Guns Magazine.

I was an instructor for many years, currently on hiatus.

Thank you for following along with me as this journey continues.

Safe Shooting!



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Thoughts, comments and insights for women who shoot and the men who love us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Open letter to Gun Store Owners and Employees

Open letter to Gun Store Owners and Employees (I know there are some women out there; I just haven’t found them yet. This is addressed more toward the men…if you recognize yourself you have something to think about. I did a little secret shopper research for this one.) Dear Gun Store Owner / Employee, I am a confident, self sufficient, intelligent woman. I would like to buy a gun for personal defense. I’m not interested in being hit on, patronized or called “Little Lady”. When I tell you I don’t know much about guns, please consider recommending some local professional instruction before I buy, explaining that it will help me understand what I’m looking for, narrow my choices, and give me some experience before I commit $400 of more dollars on something I’ll use once and put away. I’ll be more likely to come back. Take the time to ask me questions, such as, why am I interested in shooting, do I have anything particular in mind, do I have experience, do I live in a multi-unit dwelling, or do I want to carry concealed at some point. If I tell you I’m interested in Personal Defense, don’t immediately take me to a Shotgun (I had a salesman tell me not to chamber a shell because the noise of doing so would scare away most intruder, uhm, does that make a shotgun a $300+ good luck charm?). Unless I plan to swear it on a sling, they are only good in one room, and somewhat hard to take outside and conceal. In addition, please, don’t offer to teach me to shoot it on your off time. When I steer the conversation to a pistol, don’t start telling me how Revolvers have fewer moving parts, are easier to shoot and I may not have the hand strength for a Semi-Automatic, that has lots of moving parts. I may opt for a revolver, but I need to understand my options. When we do get to the Semi-Autos, don’t assume I want something small or compact. Please do not say it would be easy to carry in my purse! If I didn’t know better, which I do, I would think you just told me it was ok to carry a loaded gun in my purse! If it takes me 30 seconds to find my keys, how long will it take to find my gun? And, what will be stuck in the barrel or the trigger guard when I do? Oh, there’s that ink pen I was looking for. Ok, I did receive a couple recommendations toward a 9mm, which is what I carry. However, a compact 9mm with a 6 round magazine? Maybe in evening-wear! We can learn to carry a full size gun, concealed, just like the men. No one in any of the shops I went to ever realized I was carrying a Glock 19 and a spare magazine, on body. Take the time to explain to me that the small, easy to conceal gun is a lot harder to shoot and could cause me not to practice, which could make me a danger to myself and others, if I carry it. Don’t tell me that in a real-life situation I won’t notice the recoil, my adrenaline will be pumping. If I can’t practice with it at the range, I can’t use it effectively to defend my life. Even if I told you I don’t know much about guns, you should! Do not rack the slide without even looking down and hand me a pistol with a closed action. Just because you didn’t load a round, doesn’t mean the other guy didn’t slip one in. Use the Slide Lock and show me that it is empty, open the cylinder and show me there are no rounds in the revolver, let me verify it for myself so I can be less afraid of it. Help me out; tell me it isn’t wise to put my finger on the trigger unless I intend to fire the gun. If I really am new, I don’t know anything about safe handling, I’m looking at you as the expert. If you do it wrong, I’ll think that it is the right way. If I ask you to show me how to aim a pistol, please do not show me a modified Weaver with a teacup grip! Show me an isosceles, straight out, strong two-handed grip. Most new male shooters would have trouble with a teacup grip, and so would I, even with experience. I did confess my secret mission to most of the men I dealt with although I didn’t tell them all the errors I saw. One pointed out that he knew I had more skills than I let on when I kept my index finger on the frame instead of the trigger and didn’t muzzle him. Oops, training wins again. I just can’t bring myself to violate the basic safety rules. Encourage me to take some professional training, have a list of NRA trainers in the area, or a stack of cards from local trainers to recommend to me. If you make it a positive experience, I will come back, and probably bring a few friends. If I feel patronized or walk out with a gun I can’t shoot, I will probably tell all my friends. My apologies to the men who tried, and didn’t make a sale. I know who you are and where to send friends to when they are ready, or when I’m ready for my next purchase. Guns are like shoes, have to have more than one! Stay Safe!

5 comments:

  1. When I was working at a local gun shop, I tried to impress on the guys I worked with these very things. I had a lot of novices - both male and female - seek me out because I didn't make them feel small for not knowing everything about guns. Women just have a different selling technique then men do.

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  2. I worked in gun shops for several years and now I've managed an online firearms forum for more than ten years. I've found that your experiences in gun shops are universal with few exceptions. It's disturbing but gun shop employees tend to be chairborne commandos who all too often get their information about guns from other similarly untrained individuals and simply perpetuate myths about firearms. I believe that dealing with female customers who are buying their first gun is the same as dealing with male customers buying their first gun. One treats the customer as an individual with personal needs based on their specific experience, lifestyle, etc. Just like some neanderthals in our society cannot see past the color of a person's skin, others cannot see past one's sex. I'm not saying that women don't have some differences from men--for instance on-body carry is influenced by our different shapes and by the clothes we wear. But those things are a far cry from attempting to steer "the little lady" to the mini-caliber "purse gun" because a woman "can't handle a real caliber." There are men who believe this way and they are working behind gun counters....

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  3. Thank you to the gentlemen who responded. I agree that gender is less important than common sense in selecting a gun. I was actually pretty surprised by some of the attitudes. To be fair, I have encountered some caring, knowledgeable salesmen who were interested in helping me find what was thr right gun for me, but unfortunately they were not in the majority.

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  4. Can I ask what is wrong with a modified Weaver stance? I find the isosceles stance to be bad for absorbing recoil. It's also not a fighting stance, so when things really go wrong and you have to dodge a knife blow or resort to hand-to-hand you are at a dis-advantage. And it is simply not possible to do while shooting on the move.

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  5. Andy, Many people enjoy shooting in a modified Weaver. However, for a new shooter, that is an awkward stance. I find it easier to acquire a target using the iscoleses, and find that for beginners, it is easier to come up straight on target. I have seen students come in who were dedicated Weaver guys. Most found the iscoloes more accurate. It if works for you..stay with it. But for a new shooter, I believe we should start with the fundamentals.

    Stay safe, thanks for sharing!

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