Bob reminded me that his daughter was quite tiny and suggested I start her out easy with a .22, and then maybe work up to the larger calibers. I replied that while I’m not an accredited firearms instructor, I’d nonetheless be delighted to take her shooting with me some day soon.
The call got me to thinking about the overall subject of women and guns.
Growing up in a family of outdoor enthusiasts, I found it entirely normal for women to be as handy with guns as men. Since we spent a lot of time outdoors, my mom regularly carried a handgun with her, as did several of her friends. It was perfectly normal for women to carry guns, and they were darned good with them.
When I began dating, often I’d take my girlfriends out shooting on a date. (It took a special kind of girl to go on a date shooting rats at the city dump!)
Before we got married, my fiancée and I would go to a deserted stretch of beach and shoot chunks of driftwood bobbing in the waves.
Several times over the past few years, women have sought my advice as to what kind of gun might be right for them, and my reply is the same as it is to men: One’s choice of gun should always be an individual decision, based upon the individual’s circumstances.
If a woman has grown up around guns, then she will be more comfortable with them from the beginning. If not, then she should start small and work up to a gun she is comfortable with. Naturally, a large woman can probably handle a larger gun than a petite woman.
I received an e-mail a few months back from an old high school friend who is an avid equestrian and who enjoys long trail rides into some pretty remote and wild country. She was worried about the possibility of encountering a mountain lion, or perhaps even a bear or wolf, on one of her rides. After considerable research and deliberation, she ended up getting a revolver in .357 Magnum tune. While it might be heavy for a backpacker to carry, the .357 Magnum was probably an excellent choice for her to carry while riding her horse. As an equestrian, my friend is in good physical shape and can handle the .357 readily.
The most important aspect is the same for men and women: In order to be any good at anything, it takes practice, practice, practice.
I saw a You Tube video the other day of a woman who, along with her husband, owns and operates a mobile home park. They sometimes had large amounts of cash on hand, and the wife carried a handgun for defense. Sure enough, she was attacked by two males, one armed with a large knife. The woman shot and wounded the knife-wielding attacker, who dropped his knife and fled.
On the TV interview, the woman was sure that without her gun, she would have been killed. Let’s face it: The average-sized woman isn’t going to fare too well against a 250-pound attacker with a knife.
It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female — if you do decide to keep or carry a gun for defense, it becomes incumbent upon you to become extremely proficient in its use. The life you save might be your own.
Until next week, tight lines.
• Don Moyer, outdoors columnist for the Tracy Press, has been writing Tight Lines for more than 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.