I am an expectant mother. Not in the traditional way, however! My husband and I are currently on the waiting list to adopt a baby through a domestic adoption. We are thrilled to be expanding our family! When we first decided on pursing adoption, we were overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork and background checks involved. As gun enthusiasts, we’ve had many background checks done, but these were a lot more intense than your average gun purchase background check! What we were most concerned about was the home study. The home study is our adoption caseworker’s way of getting to know us. We generally don’t care if people think we’re “gun nuts,” but when it comes down to the people who control if we get a baby or not… we care.
For those of you who don’t know, whenever you go through the adoption process, one of the components of the process is the home visit. Our caseworker came to our house to inspect it, and generally check to make sure it’s a safe place for a child. We were very nervous, because of the number of guns we have. Our caseworker knew before this point that we are gun enthusiasts and that my husband and I are NRA Certified Instructors, but for some people, there is a major difference between us telling them and her seeing all of our guns. We did our research, and heard from some people like police and federal agents who adopted, and obviously they have guns! They said they had no problems. When we brought up our concerns to our caseworker, she kind of laughed, and said that there are not a lot of people in Colorado who don’t have a gun! She said all she cared about is that we had our guns in one safe and our ammunition in another safe. When the time came for her to check out our home, we showed her our safes, and she didn’t express any shock at the amount of our guns. The home visit went fine, and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Now that we are on the list as a waiting family, it got me thinking about children and guns. Let me make one thing clear: I don’t have kids of my own yet. I’ve just been thinking about how I’m going to raise my kids around guns. I keep hearing about horrible situations where kids have gotten a hold of someone’s gun and have hurt themselves or someone else. I already have a pretty good idea of how I’m going to prevent this from happening to my future kids.
I like to compare kids and guns to kids and alcohol. Strange analogy, yes, but hear me out. I’m a military brat, so I lived all over the world, including Germany when I was 7 and 8. There is no drinking age in Germany. While I was there, I tried sips of wine, champagne, and beer. Even after we moved back to the states, when I was a teenager, my parents would give me half a glass of wine with dinner on special occasions. Because I was raised to feel that alcohol wasn’t “forbidden,” I never had the desire to sneak alcohol or get really drunk.
Parents should educate their children about guns, and never make guns feel forbidden. Parents should take their children to the range at a young age and show them what guns can do. If the children are interested in shooting, great! Let them shoot a .22! It’s a very healthy hobby for a child to have. Shooting can teach a child discipline and responsibility. If the child isn’t interested in guns at all, that’s okay too. When a child is educated about guns, they won’t seek guns out and hurt themselves or others.
Just don’t do what my father-in-law did to my husband. My husband was 5 when his dad first took him to the range, and Dad handed his little boy a Colt .45 revolver… I’ll let you imagine how that went! I just find it amazing that my husband ever picked up a gun again as a young boy!
When a woman goes to buy her first gun, she usually tries to get the advice of her boyfriend/husband/father, because she assumes they know what is best for her. More often than not, I see men suggesting a gun that they think would be right. This is admirable, but misguided. Buying a gun is like buying a mattress. No one else can tell you what you need in a mattress; you know what you need to feel comfortable. It’s a very personal decision, and you should try it out before you buy. It’s the same with a gun; no one can tell you what would be the most comfortable for you, and I would highly suggest you try out a gun before you buy it if you can.
There are several factors you should consider. The first thing you need to decide is how you are going to use it. Is it for sport or for personal protection? If it’s for personal protection, is it for your home, car, or to carry on your person? Answer these questions first, and then you can move on to the next considerations.
Your next consideration is if you want a revolver or a semi-automatic. If your gun is for self-protection, your best bet is probably a revolver. Revolvers don’t take a lot to operate, and when you’re in a high-stress situation like defending yourself, the less you have to think about, the better. Semi-automatics have a magazine to worry about. You have to make sure the slide is racked so you have a round in the chamber. You also may have a safety that you have to make sure is in the “fire” position. Revolvers are pretty much point-and-click.
Something to also consider is caliber. I’ve heard so many men who say you need “knock-down power” so you have to go with a large caliber. This is not necessarily true. What you must realize is the larger the caliber, the stronger the kick. If you’re not comfortable with the recoil of your pistol, you most likely will not practice. Practice is more important that “knock-down power.” If you practice with a .22 caliber, which has very little recoil, but you can place your shots exactly where you want them, you will probably stop the threat. However, it may take more shots to stop the threat. What I want to stress is that you don’t have to get a .45 caliber that you’re afraid to shoot to stop the threat.
The last thing I think you should consider is size. I’ve seen so many women get a gun that is small and cute. The smaller the pistol, the less mass it has to absorb the recoil. Smaller guns can be pretty painful to shoot! Large pistols will have less recoil, but can you conceal it comfortably if you are carrying it on your person? Or will it add a bunch of extra weight to your purse? Look for something in the middle, but also make sure it is comfortable in your hand. I have shot pistols that are the same size, but the grips were different, so one was a little uncomfortable for me.
I can’t stress enough to try before you buy. There are a lot of ranges that will let you rent guns, and some will let you try several out in one session. If you don’t have access to a range like this, ask your friends if you can try out their guns. Most guns are pretty expensive these days, so be sure before you drop the cash!
I am a diamond life member of Frontsight Firearms Training Institute. I have been for a while, but because I have a regular job, I had a hard time getting the time off so I could fly to Nevada to take a class. The first time I had the opportunity was October of last year. Specifically October, because I didn’t want to be out in the Nevada desert in the middle of the summer and be completely miserable. I was especially excited with the timing because it was around Halloween, and if you’ve been to Las Vegas during Halloween, you know why I was happy to go then. I was excited to go hang out on the strip and people watch that night after I got back from Frontsight.
My husband and I flew out for our courses, I was taking the two-day defensive handgun course, and my husband was taking the four-day defensive handgun course. I was only taking the two-day course because it was my first time, and I just wanted to get my feet wet. My husband had taken several classes before, so he knew what it was like already. Because we took different classes, we were on different ranges, which was fine by me. I love my husband, but I was happy to take the course by myself because I didn’t want the perception that I needed him to hold my hand through my course.
We got there the day before, and checked into our hotel in Las Vegas. The next day, we got up at o’dark thirty to drive the 45 miles out to Frontsight. We got there, and went to our separate ranges. The weather on the first day was beautiful. We sat underneath a shelter to protect us from the sun as the instructors taught us the basics. They would lecture on a lesson, then we would practice the lesson down range. The only down side to the range I was on was it was a 100 yard range. The shelter was at the back of the range, but we were only shooting at about 10 yards. So every time we had to shoot, we had to walk 90 yards. This wasn’t that big of a deal, but if you got thirsty… yup, you were walking your happy butt all the way back, and all the way back to the line when you were done.
The instructors were incredible. I almost expected them to be very strict, almost like drill instructors, but they were just the opposite. They were friendly and loved to joke around. There were four instructors and our range master, with about thirty students. The rangemaster had us pair up so that we had two relays. When one relay was shooting, that person’s partner would be their coach, so it was very safe because not only did we have the five instructors, but also an entire relay watching out to make sure everyone was being safe. Since the instructors had so many eyes on the range, it kept them free to give us very personalized help.
I wound up partnering up with a woman who works as a police officer on the railroad, so she knows her way around her pistol. Once we started to get to know each other, we started to have way too much fun. So much so, the instructors began to pick on us and tease us. Through the fun though, I was blown away by how much I learned in just the two days I was there. The class was very intense and fast-moving. You know how I said I was looking forward to going out on Halloween? Yeah, that did not happen. We were so exhausted when we got back to our hotel on Halloween, we went to bed a 9 o’clock!
The best part came on the second day when we got to go into a shoothouse. The scenario was we had just gotten home from Frontsight, and there were men breaking into my house. We had a guy who was controlling the pop-up paper targets, and I had an instructor behind me. The instructor was giving the bad guys a voice; he was screaming at me to get me rattled. I have to admit, it worked! When the first bad guy “kicked” in my door, I forgot to even aim! I was lucky that I hit him where I was supposed to, in the thoracic cavity. In the back of my mind, I knew I would have a hostage target, but I figured if I shot the hostage, I would turn it into a joke like in the movie Speed. But when the hostage target popped up, the bad guy was holding a kid. I’m thinking, “Crap, I’m a future mother, I can’t shoot the kid!” Well, as you can see, the bad guy bit the dust!
What I really liked about Frontsight in general was that about one-third of the students were women. I did not feel like I was treated any different from the men, I was treated like any other student who wanted to hone their firearms skills. Everybody was so friendly, and all the students jumped at the chance to help each other out. Our class was on our lunch break and decided to hit the restrooms before heading to the lecture hall for lunch. While I was in the restroom, my partner was giving an impromptu lesson on presenting from the holster. Only at Frontsight would you see five women in the restroom practicing their presentation in front of the mirror! Frontsight really is a place where women can feel like equals.
I can’t wait to go back, I’m signed up to take the four-day defensive pistol course in April. There is a possibility I may not be able to go, but if I do, I will write another post once I regain use of my hands!