There seems to be a common misconception in the firearms community that it’s more difficult for a woman to carry a sidearm properly than it is for a fella to do the same. Let me tell you that the generally smaller build, smaller hands, and more complicated wardrobe of a lady are no bigger obstacles than the barriers to proper handgun carry a man faces. I believe that once the main issue of “I AM going to carry this gun” has been resolved internally, either gender can effectively arm themselves with great success.
In my limited experience, I’ve found that no small percentage of the newer female participants in the concealed carry community are there by way of their husband’s encouragement. I’ve mentioned in the past that no one should ever let themselves be railroaded into carrying a gun, but rather an individual must have their own personal reasons if they are to be successful. The proper mindset that is required to successfully operate as an armed civilian in society must be present for many reasons. If an individual, male or female, does not believe that they would be able to use deadly force in defense of self or loved ones then they should absolutely not carry a firearm. The indecisiveness they would cause to be introduced into a life or death situation only creates more variables to be considered before the solution can be reached.
There is nothing wrong with not wanting to carry a concealed weapon. Contrary to what certain popular talk show hosts might tell you, not everything is for everybody. It’s almost like people think differently to help promote a well-rounded, diverse, and successful society. I know some of the attributes I’ve already seen in my young sons would not be there without their mother’s influence, and if those characteristics contribute to a personality unsuited to the use of deadly force then so be it.
I DO NOT mean to insinuate that pretending evil does not exist is an option. There are, however, substantial differences between carrying a concealed weapon in Wally World and being ready to cover your bedroom door with a shotgun while you’re waiting for the cops to arrive.
If you do come to the decision that the responsibilities of carrying a concealed handgun are acceptable to you as a woman, there are some things to consider. First and foremost, avoid the easiest carry option. That’s right, don’t let yourself stick that LadySmith into that gigantic handbag of mystery. For most ladies, this will be the first obstacle to overcome.
The bag is already there! Why not use it? Well, aside from the fact that any kind of presentation will be complex and difficult at best, unsafe at worst, one of the main reasons women are targeted by bad guys is for their purse. A quick jerk or cut with a small knife and the bag is gone, and now the ugly guy with the box cutter has your 9mm too. Remember that firearms retention is hopefully your biggest responsibility of the day.
Ensure the firearm you select is chosen based on shootability, not carryability. Those air weight .357s sure look good in pink, but when a hot round comes cooking out of that gun you’ll wish you had a little more weight in the muzzle. 9mm seems to be manageable for just about anyone, and .380 is offered in some tidy platforms. Again, don’t allow yourself to get sucked in to that tiny, tiny package that you “won’t even know is there!” If you have the chance, go to a range that rents guns and pick the one that you can shoot the best and still reasonably carry.
Most women will find that a “3:30” carry works well. If you’ve decided a gun is important to carry, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that you’ll have to wear clothing to support that decision. There are plenty of female-specific shirts, some designed for carry and some not, that will not detract from your womanhood while properly concealing your gun. Those shirts will also cover up a belt sturdy enough to support that pistol. You may have to alter your signature look a bit, but if you’ve gotten to this point you’ll probably have fun with it versus being annoyed by it.
One aspect that troubles many women I’ve talked to is their fear that they would be overpowered when called upon to use various firearms retention techniques. While this is a factor that should be considered by everyone, women do seem to have one advantage in this area. When a male thug attacks another male, his intent is generally to pulverize him to the best of his ability and the good guy has to be ready to react accordingly. Conversely, when a male attacks a female his intent is usually geared more toward overpowering her. This can lead to a small advantage that, if one is prepared, can help make up for physical differences.
The final step should be some actual hands on training by an accomplished female practitioner. While the responsibilities and principles of firearm carry and employment are not gender specific, shooters may carry for different reasons. There are numerous tricks of the trade that can be learned and discussed, and any time you have the chance to learn from someone else’s experiences you should jump at the opportunity. Don’t feel like if you aren’t thinking exactly like your Significant Other that you’re in the wrong, but do try to give yourself every advantage in the area you can. If you think about it and pray about it, odds are it’ll work out well. JB.