Revolvers best fit for rookie shooters
These are three choices for concealable handguns of excellent quality: a “baby” Glock in .40 S&W (top), an aluminum-framed Smith & Wesson Model 37 “Airweight” in .38 Special (middle) and James Bond’s favorite, a Walther PPKs in .380 Auto.
I tried to force an enthusiastic look on my face as she produced one of the mini-Glocks, commonly referred to as a “baby” Glock. This one was in .40 Smith & Wesson caliber, and I knew she was in for a rude awakening.
I’ve fired and handled a lot of handguns in my 15 years as a law-enforcement firearms instructor and as an NRA certified firearms instructor teaching the state concealed-carry course. I knew immediately she probably was not going to like the gun.
She and her husband had gone to a local gun store to find her a handgun. Afraid of escalating crime in their area, they had determined to make a positive move, take matters in their own hands, get her a gun for self-defense, and wisely take a course in handgun safety and familiarization. It was a bonus that the class would certify her to get a state concealed-carry permit.
Unfortunately, as is frequently the case, they bought what her husband liked, rather than what was the best choice for her as a new, inexperienced shooter.
When we stepped into the range and set up in a lane, I gave her some quick lessons on loading the magazine, slamming it home firmly in the butt of the grip, and charging the gun by pulling the slide all the way to the rear, and releasing it.
“Don’t ‘ride the slide,’ I told her. “When you pull the slide all the way to the rear, let it go. Don’t hold onto it, and let it run forward with your thumb and forefinger holding it. You will retard the forward movement of the slide, and it may not seat. Then it won’t fire, because the barrel and chamber are not locked into position. It’s called ‘out of battery.’
“Secondly, semi-automatics are extremely sensitive to grip. If you don’t hold them firmly, the action will not function properly, and the gun will malfunction — either by failing to eject the spent round properly, or by failing to feed the next live round into the chamber. In either case, it will put the gun out of action.”
It’s a lot to remember in addition to all the other things you have to have in mind when shooting a semi-automatic, and I could see her mind was spinning a little as she tried. And she was trying. That’s why I frequently enjoy teaching women more than men.
The rules to shooting a handgun safely and accurately are pretty simplistic — boring, even. We’ve all heard them thousands of times.
Line up the sights. Hold your breath. Squeeze the trigger slowly. Think of the sights and sight picture, not the gun going off. Try to hold the sight picture after the gun has fired.
The difference between women and men is that women listen to what you are telling them and actually try to do it. Men have heard it all their lives, consider it trite and simplistic, and continue with the same bad habits they’ve always had that affect their shooting accuracy.
Women don’t know it is trite and simplistic. All they know is someone supposedly knows a little more about how to do this new activity and is telling them what to do, and they try to do it the way it is described, and glory be, it works! They shoot accurately. Frequently we get them shooting better than their husbands and boyfriends.
The problem with all these rules is that you have to add several more to shooting with a semi-automatic. And when the semi-auto is something like a “baby” Glock, and in .40 caliber, well, grab your socks, Grandma, we’re in for a ride.
My proud lady student, with her beaming husband standing behind us, fired her first shot from her Glock, and didn’t drop the gun after it barked fiercely and kicked hard and up in her hand.
But she had a shocked look on her face, and showed a bit of fear as she brought the gun down on plane and fired it again.
She hated the gun. She never did learn to shoot it properly, couldn’t fire a group, and in fact, was lucky to hit the 6-inch bull on the standard copier paper at 12 feet. Heck, she couldn’t hit the paper every shot. The gun also failed to eject a couple of times due to her limp-wristing.
I had to switch her to a .22 revolver to get rid of the horrendous flinch she had developed, then to a 4-inch barreled .38 Special, and finally to a five-shot, 2-inch barreled .38 Special revolver. She ended up shooting very well, but she hated the Glock.
Husbands I can forgive, but there needs to be a very special dark place to send gun counter salesmen who sell semi-automatics to women who don’t know how to shoot.
Such salesmen should be forced to stand on a range and repeatedly describe sight alignment, and try to correct all the bad shooting habits that such women develop instantly when shooting a semi. After all, I have to suffer for their empty-headedness. They should spend eternity with the women they so outfit and send off to me to try to train with the gun they so unthinkingly sold them.
Listen up guys: Ask her a few questions. Determine if she’s ever shot a handgun before. Determine if it was a semi-auto or revolver. If she has little or no experience, you are doing her a disservice selling her a semi-automatic pistol. Semi-automatics are simply too demanding of the skills of a shooter to be a good choice for a beginning shooter.
Revolvers, on the other hand, are (forgive the pun) bulletproof.
She may not be really accurate with it. She may point it, pull the trigger, and shut her eyes when she does so, but when she does pull the trigger, the doggone thing is going to go off every time. And that is something we can’t swear will happen with a semi-automatic.
Semi-autos are sexy. They are the prom queen, the supermodel in the thong, the new, unusual, exotic and beautiful.
Revolvers, on the other hand, are like Golda Meir — old-fashioned and dowdy, not a flashy dresser, and certainly not anyone’s idea of sexually exciting. But like Lady Prime Minister, they carry a steel backbone, an unflinching attitude and a time-tested capability to get the job done.
And there is such a plethora of new models of revolvers out there — mostly in .38 Special caliber — that even the most jaded gun nut can have fun examining and recommending a new revolver for milady with all the latest tricked-up cosmetics and additions.
In fact, with the veritable explosion of shall-issue concealed carry law states across the country, a whole new marketing strategy has been opened for the gun manufacturers. Now, with all the laws, there is a huge demand for smaller, easily concealable handguns.
And admittedly, while nothing hides better than a smaller, flat-sided semi-automatic pistol, a light aluminum or scandium framed revolver is not much harder to hide. And you don’t have to worry about whether they will remember all the necessary things to do to make sure the semi will shoot more than once.
Some come with exotic alloys in their chambers. Some have unusual finishes. Some, as in the Smith & Wesson series, even cater to the women with colorful or art-déco grips in the “Lady Smith” series.
And they don’t have to have a .38. One of my very favorite guns, and a great favorite in my classes, is my Model 617 Airlite .22 by Smith & Wesson. Known as the “Kit Gun,” this dandy little sidearm can turn right poisonous when outfitted with Crimson Trace Laser Grips and eight shots of CCI Quik-Shok .22 ammo.
It slips inconspicuously into a pants pocket, and is easily carried since it weighs only about 10 ounces. It is always one of the most requested of our loaner guns when the shooting begins.
And to those who have started to sneer at the thought of a .22 “mouse gun” as a self-defense weapon, I offer these dictums:
1) Most times, the mere presence of a firearm deters crime.
2) The most important gun to have in a gunfight is the one you brought to the gunfight.
Countless students have told me the same thing in practically the same way over and over: “I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t had a gun.”
So it behooves you to have a gun for self-defense, and to know how to use it, and be confident with it. And it is so much easier to attain a working level of competence with a revolver than a handgun, it behooves husbands, boyfriends and gun counter operatives to take into account the level of expertise of a woman before convincing her she needs that sexy, overpowered semi-automatic for which he admires and lusts.
And if she likes the .22, get it for her. She’ll shoot it, become confident with it, carry it and exude that confidence, and that in itself will be a deterrent to possible attack.
Besides, you can always get her a .38 (or a semi-auto) later. After all, you can never have too many guns.
Gordon Hutchinson’s best-selling novel, The Quest and the Quarry, a generational tale that parallels the lives of a line of trophy bucks with the youth of a farming family and their hunts for them, can be ordered at: www.thequestandthequarry.com or by calling (800) 538-4355.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
Louisiana Sportsman is the complete hunting and fishing magazine for Louisiana.
Devoted to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities in the wetlands,
Louisiana Sportsman is the information guide for Louisiana's most active hunters and fishermen.
Posted on September 29, 2011 at 11:57 am by Gordon Hutchinson
Posted on August 02, 2011 at 8:59 am by Gordon Hutchinson
Posted on June 30, 2011 at 9:55 am by Gordon Hutchinson
Posted on June 10, 2011 at 11:26 am by Gordon Hutchinson
Posted on May 02, 2011 at 9:56 am by Gordon Hutchinson
|Reports / Forum|
Calendar of events