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By Marlie Patton

In 1997, I purchased my first firearm: a 9mm Sigma made by Smith & Wesson. At the time, I thought I was taking a bold step in the direction of protecting myself. I’d never fired a weapon before, despite being raised in a family with uncles and grandparents who hunted deer for food.

That said, I’ve never had an aversion to firearms. I believed that responsible owners should be allowed to have firearms if they wanted them. It would take eleven years and seven guns before I’d realize that I was the worst type of gun owner: reluctant and resentful.

I bought my first gun because I was afraid, plain and simple. I’d had three stalkers in my life at that point. The first was an ex-boyfriend. The other two were random strangers who fixated on me for reasons I don’t understand to this day.

Smith & Wesson Sigma 9mm
By Dsyn22CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Fear is not the right motivation to purchase and carry a firearm. A commitment to doing what is necessary to protect yourself is the only proper motivation. As a fearful owner, I committed all of the cardinal sins of gun ownership:

  • I went to the range exactly once when I bought the Sigma. The gun jammed on the first magazine and I never went back. I replaced the Sigma with a Smith & Wesson Airweight and never thought about it again. In the eleven years I owned firearms, I went to the range maybe five times in total.
  • I didn’t practice routine gun safety. I never cleaned my weapons. I barely knew how to load and unload them. I took a basic handgun safety class strictly to acquire a concealed carry permit and that was it.
  • Despite carrying the weapon everywhere, I never carried it in a fashion that would actually allow me to draw it properly if needs be. It usually lay somewhere at the bottom of my purse where I couldn’t even reach it.

By being afraid rather than committed, I resented the presence of my gun. It was a reminder of the danger I faced every time I set foot outside my house. As a result, I did as little as possible in terms of care and maintenance of the gun and did everything I could to handle it as little as possible.

In short, I was a danger to myself and to those around me. If a situation had ever arisen where I might actually need the gun, I was more likely to either shoot myself or be disarmed. It is this type of behavior that allows people to blame handguns and try to pass gun control laws limiting citizens’ rights. In truth, I was the danger. Not the firearm.

Outside circumstances forced me to sell every weapon I owned. Given my mindset and complete lack of responsibility, it was just as well. And once my guns were gone, and I was relieved. I felt as if a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

What did not go away, though, was the fear.

I became much less likely to leave my house without my husband. I have two large dogs. They became constant companions and protectors, even to the extent of taking my dog with me to take out the trash. If I had to go out alone, I stayed on the phone with my husband the entire time I was gone.

woman with large dog

Despite this constant fear, I steadfastly refused to even consider replacing my guns. I had an excuse at every turn. Finally, my husband just dropped the subject all together.

This went on for two years until something happened that forced me to take a hard look at what I was doing.

I was out walking one of my dogs when two transients entered the parking lot of my apartment complex. My dog was behind a large rock that stands in the center of the courtyard, so they couldn’t see him. When I spotted them, I moved him out where the dog could be seen. They turned around and left quickly at that point.

Were they actually after me? Maybe, maybe not. But it scared the hell out of me. I ran inside and told my husband what had happened and told him that I wanted him on the phone when I took the dogs out. He looked at me and asked some very simple questions.

Exactly what do you think I would have been able to do? You would have been lucky if I could have even gotten out there before they did something to you. How were you going to protect yourself in the meantime?

This left me dumbfounded. I had never considered him being too far away to respond in time. What became clear to me was that I had come to rely on him to take care of me rather than being responsible for myself. Not only was that unfair to him, it was unfair to me.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my safety after that and I came to realize that I have to take steps to protect myself. I’m a very small woman, 5’3” if I really stretch and about 115 pounds. I am going to be at a significant disadvantage up against a larger opponent.

Martial arts training is not an option due to physical limitations. I’ve carried knives in the past, but knives require you to be up close and personal with your attacker. Given my stature, I want to avoid being close to an attacker if possible. That led me to one conclusion: a gun would be my best second line of defense (after avoidance).

This was a radically different decision than the one I made in 1997. This time I made a reasoned and thoughtful decision to take on the responsibility of gun ownership.

Since making this decision, I’ve been reading up on various guns online and shopping around in person in my town. I’ve tried several weapons and even made a startling discovery. My fingers are so small that there are guns whose trigger I can’t squeeze.

In eleven years of gun ownership, I held the vast majority of my guns incorrectly. Returning to a Walther P22—a gun I carried at one point—I found that I can’t squeeze that trigger when holding the gun in a proper grip; my fingertip doesn’t reach. The same limitation applies the Ruger SR9c and the LC9s, the Bersa Thunder and several others that I’ve tried in my local gun store.

The search continues. As part of my decision to return to the light of gun ownership, I’ve been reading gun reviews to get a better understanding of all the moving parts. I’ve identified a suitable concealed carry handbag and I’m looking at various holsters.

Fifteen years after I bought my first gun, I’m ready to be a gun owner again. I’m doing the necessary research. I’ve committed to regular range practice that will include working on drawing from the handbag and from the holster, not just picking it up off the counter at the range.

I’m no longer fearful and reluctant about guns. Now, instead, I’m confident that I am taking responsibility not just for my own safety, but for the safety of my family and those around me. As every gun owner should.

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  1. Nice. Good job. Wish my wife would take it more seriously. While she does occasionally practice with me she is closer with the first ‘you’ than the second.

    • Had a Sigma years ago. The thing was very picky about ammo and would fail to feed so often that I couldn’t train with it. Required a re-polish of the feed ramp nearly every cleaning after use just to consume the more “reliable” ammo it preferred. Got a new mag to test, with the same results. The angle of the ramp was just a teeny bit too steep.

      Finally got rid of it. I prefer Glocks and 1911s nowadays. A Sigma pretended to be a Glock, but S&W ended up with egg on their face.

    • That’s my wife too. She’s been to the range with me once. Shot a mag out of my 10/22 and when I pulled out a Colt OP 6″ for her to try, I shot a cylinder first to show her and she got mad at me because I didn’t warn her it was going to be so much louder than the 22 and wanted us packed up and gone IMMEDIATELY (it had nothing to do with the fact I didn’t tell her I owned it. Honest *eyeroll at myself*)

      There has been a couple of times since that all went down last year where she’s asked me to go get a gun because she was scared of something. For instance when police were searching our neighborhood and the nearby state park for someone missing and dangerous. Left her with that Colt when I went to check on and help a neighbor lock up their doors who’s husband was at a party an hour away when we all found out (2 days after the search had started!)

      Slept with my P1 on the bedside table where she wanted it. Was dead set on me taking her to the range the next day to shoot one of my handguns.

      By lunchtime the next day she decided maybe she didn’t need to shoot a handgun and everything was just fine. As I explained to her, if she ever DID need a gun, never really having shot one would bite her. Bad. Even if it was just go to the range with me once or twice a year and shoot a box and maybe quarterly taking out the gun and practicing loading it with dummies (revolver) a few times or mags swaps a few times and some dry fires is a HUGE amount better than having no clue what you are doing in the dark.

      Maybe one of these days before she needs it, she’ll actually decide to. Hopefully she never will.

  2. You will find one that fits you. Don’t dismiss snubby revolvers. They have been around for 100 years +, and are perfectly capable of doing the self defense job. Plenty of people find that semi-auto’s are difficult due to heavy recoil springs (racking the slide), big grips, etc.

    And don’t worry too much about “proper” grip/stance. In a real life situation you won’t have the time to even line up the sights. Practice instinctive shooting from retention at less than 10 ft. If you don’t know what that is, there’s lots of video’s on youtube, including some by ladies.

    • Gunny, you’re joking. Right? Every armed confrontation I’ve been in I had time to assume proper stance and grip. It’s done during the draw and presentation. Shooting from retention, Chuck Taylor called it a speed rock back in the day, is a skill to be mastered, but to say you won’t have time to acquire the sights, as a blanket statement, just isn’t true. You may not, but if you can, do it. Your hit potential increases exponentially.

      • No, I’m not joking. If you have time to present your weapon and “assume the proper stance”, great. Obviously your experience is different than mine, and many others – some of whom have been on the ground before they could even get their gun out.

        • Gunny, I agree everyone’s experience is different. However, now you have introduced ground fighting into the discussion which is a whole different animal from what we were originally talking about. So, to return to the original topic. First, be aware of your environment and don’t let anyone close enough to you that retention shooting is necessary if at all possible. I was in Jacksonville a few years ago filling my car and began walking to the store to purchase an energy drink. Something to keep me awake. Wee hours of the morning and I had a three hour drive. A local ‘ner do well came out of the shadows and began to approach me mouthing platitudes. I immediately assumed a Weaver stance, wrapped my fist around my 442 in my R/F pants pocket, put my left palm out to him and said, “Stop! Don’t come any closer!” He paused, mumbled something and took another step. I repeated myself. You could see the question mark over his head. This wasn’t going the way he was accustomed to. He retreated. Scared the shit out of my daughter locked in and waiting in the car. Off duty encounter. Foot pursuit with a suspect. I’m gaining on him. He turns with a blade in his right hand at about 12 feet. I brake, draw and present a 1911. Front sight locked on his breast bone. He tosses knife. Things go physical. After a leg sweep he’s 10-15. On duty encounter. I watched the video you posted. I noticed both shooters were squared to the target, engaged, retreated, and as soon as possible, ACQUIRED THE SIGHTS. As they should have. Textbook.

        • Seems to me in the heat of things that there may or may NOT be time to do all things properly. I do believe it is a good idea to practice assuming there is NOT enough time to do all things properly. Practice as much as possible and some things should be instinctive. Wasting time worrying about techniques could cost injuries or death. Training and Practice……

      • EVERYTHING is situation dependent. All blanket statements are incorrect in the world of firearms. INCLUDING this one: “A commitment to doing what is necessary to protect yourself is the only proper motivation. ” That is one possible motivation, much more correct than fear, but the real truth doesn’t come until one realizes that a firearm is nothing but a tool, like hammer or a drill.
        A carpenter needs both (and other tools also), but he doesn’t “commit” to them. He uses the hammer when he needs to pound nails, and he uses the drill when he needs to make a hole.
        A firearm is really nothing more than a drill. A tool to make holes. The only difference is; this time one needs to make a hole in something from a distance. A firearm is just a tool to do a certain job. Nothing more. There’s no magic, there’s no mind control, no mental domination, all of that type of ‘thinking’ is just a touch (or more than a touch) of hoplophobia talking.
        And which particular firearm to choose depends upon the job, and the workman doing said job. This is WHY everything about firearms is situation dependent.

      • I’m going to say something about “personal space” also. The vast majority of people won’t perceive a potential threat until it enters their personal space. Funny thing about personal space tho. It’s like a constantly inflating and deflating balloon, with bulges here and there. In crowded areas like malls, subways, etc. it may only extend an inch beyond your skin. In a vacant or nearly vacant park, street, sitting in your car at a stop light, and so on it can extend out to 50 yds or more. But most often it is generally in front of you and not to the sides or back, and is influenced by whether it’s an area you are comfortable in thru familiarity or a place that’s new to you, as well as the time of day, lighting and so on. All this should govern your situational awareness, how handy your firearm is, and whether it’s more or less likely to be needed in a hurry.

        When you’re standing at a urinal in Walmart or other large store for example, do you pay attention to other people entering or leaving and assess whether they might be a threat or not? Shadows, reflections, footsteps – all of this should be on your radar. This isn’t being paranoid, only awareness.

        • Any time my personal space is down to a few inches, I’m in condition red, but not focused in any particular direction. Just on a 360 degree sweep through all the bogeys, but expecting to see a bandit any second. I pretty much developed that as a kid. When you grow up in NE Montana with the nearest people miles away, crowds just feel weird anyway. I’m a wide open prairies kind of a guy.

        • Gunny, couldn’t agree more. Personal space does fluctuate. What is personal space in the parking lot is not the same as in the elevator. Still, the most important thing is situational awareness. Condition yellow. My daughter was married this past spring. It wasn’t until I watched the wedding video that I realized that I had my hand in my R/F pants pocket on that 442 as I walked her down the aisle. Yeah, I was armed at my daughter’s wedding and old habits die hard.

  3. “I purchased my first firearm: a 9mm Sigma made by Smith & Wesson.”

    No wonder you gave up on guns.

    • With as aren’t that bad (other than the heavy trigger). I use to own one, and it never jammed on me. She was almost certainly limp-wristing it.

    • The first handgun I ever owned too. And the only gun I’ve ever sold.

      I disagree that she was likely
      To shoot herself or be disarmed. People with little training use guns successfully to protect themselves and to commit crimes all the time. While I think practice and training are great , I’d rather have a gun and minimal training than no gun. Of course you must have the will to fight back or a gun is useless.

    • Mine has always been fine. Its the closest thing to a glock that I’m interested in having. It even has a proper magazine. I would even carry it, although I never have. It lives under the truck seat, cause I don’t much care what happens to it. Like a glock, they’re disposable. But since the Smith glock has a true DAO only striker, I do consider it safe to carry with the chamber loaded, unlike the glock.

    • I put a few hundred rounds through a friends Sygma. Trigger was a little stiff but it went bang. Glock sued S&W and they had to pay them $3 for every Sygma sold.

  4. I seem to recall the glock 42 (.380) having a pretty short distance between the backstrap and the trigger.

    • It does, but slide is harder to manipulate than some other guns. The serrations are pretty smooth and the spring is pretty hard to compress. My sister was going to buy a Glock 42 but went with a Sig P238 for this reason. Both are great guns, and either one would be worth a look for the author.

  5. Double action and striker fired pistols generally have a much longer trigger reach. Maybe consider shooting a few single action pistols at the range and see if they work for you. I’d suggest starting with a SIG P938, which I’ve been very happy with and many of my friends have had similar experiences.

  6. It’s an empowering story and all…but sheesh. I can’t believe we let people this neurotic, clueless, sheltered, & feckless vote. Hopefully she’s just being being overly self-deprecating, and isn’t really this needy & helpless.

    What other personal problems/responsibilities is she pushing off onto others or society at large without realizing or thinking?

      • Maybe it’s just my male privilege that I had to learn to do anything, for myself…

        C’mon, almost every woman I’ve ever met was more introspective & self aware than this writer seems to be, even libs. Like I said, hopefully it was just a blind spot in this one area, which she simply didn’t think about much.

        • I’m with you on this one barnbwt…man that was whiny. My tough as hell wife taught self-defense to gals like this years ago. “I couldn’t hurt him” or “I’ll let him do whatever he wants”. Duh…

        • I agree with ya barn! This smells like garbage written by some liberal anti gun nut projecting all their fears onto the people of the gun. Funny how after all that danger and recklessness and neglect, she never hurt herself or anyone else. If you ask me this is the perfect example of why anyone could and should have a gun and the world is more safe!

    • Sounds like she has a lot of anxiety issues. And OCD to the max. Tough to go through life like that

      • Indeed. But hey, if you have crippling mental issues & emotional instability…probably not the best idea to keep a handgun around. Still, the weapon is so simple & easy to use to even moderate effect, it’s probably worth the risk if you’re in an environment where crazed homeless and stalkers haunt your every move. It sounds like she’s at least trying to get into a mindset where she’d be able to use the thing to defend herself, too, so that’s progress.

        But again, maybe I’m just biased by my male privilege, and the Iranians actually have it right, with regards to mandatory male protection for females at every moment they go outside.

  7. Make sure your elected leaders don’t sell out your right to be armed to incur favor with the left. Where we live determines if we are victims or not. As for guns find ranges with rental guns and try a few out. The big calibers might out but a 9mm or .380 could be a fit.

    • “Where we live determines if we are victims or not” – truest and least admitted statement on this site. Strict gun control states like Massachusetts, NJ, and Connecticut and New York take the majority of the 100 safest cities in the country; safest cities in California are in anti-gun Bay Area and OC.
      Where you live is a much bigger factor in your safety than a gun

      • It’s like saying minimum wage laws are good because there are places where people are paid higher than min wage.

  8. Buying a gun and practicing very little is probably going to be ineffective when you need the gun and a negligent discharge waiting to happen when you don’t need the gun.
    I wish more people know what you know because most gunowners don’t practice and are ineffective. There are better ways to protect yourself than a gun you cannot handle properly.

    • The vast majority of DGUs are by those with little to no training or practice. Having the gun and will to use it is the point.

  9. Good you went back and practiced. Kudos.

    A gun is about comfort. Oh have zero issue with someone learning to shoot just to get over a fear.

    Pick the gun that is comfortable. I think the S&W shield EZ and Sig 238 are great choices if 9mm is scary. Go with someone patient who listens.

    • It sounds like she is built about the same as my wife… she loves her P238. And the Shield EZ also sounds like it would be a good choice.

  10. Marlie, thank you for posting your honesty. Too often people think of their firearm as a ‘good-luck charm’ they just need to wear on their person to ward off evil doers. I myself was (am still) guilty of being oblivious to what it meant to carry and what my choice of carry gun really meant. Like you, a non-violent confrontation was a wake up call for me, and I changed my attitude and practices (or started actually practicing).
    Keep up the fight.

  11. I’d disagree with her statement that fear is not the reason to get a gun. It’s the main reason. Especially, if you’re being stalked. I’m a man and my fear was that I couldn’t protect my family. That’s why I bought a gun and learned how to use it. Fear shows you the shortcomings in your situation. Then you can take a reasoned approach to defending yourself by buying a gun and learning how to use it. And then your fear subsides because you have the ability and know you have the ability to defend yourself and others should the need arise.

    • Well, I don’t carry because I’m afraid. I carry because I’m a reasonably cautious person. I suspect there will be plenty of time for fear if I ever have to draw and present my weapon.

  12. @ Gadsden Flag says:
    June 15, 2019 at 14:14

    “Gunny, I agree everyone’s experience is different. However, now you have introduced ground fighting into the discussion which is a whole different animal from what we were originally talking about…………………….. ”

    We’re on the same page. See my last about “Personal Space”. 🙂

    • Gunny, sorry. Not that tech savvy enough to look it up, and honestly, not interested in becoming tech savvy. Not to be confused with what you had to say. I’d be interested, just don’t know how to find it. Sorry.

      • Here’s a place to start if you want a brief explanation of personal space and how it works. It’s generally governed by the amygdyla which perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making and emotional responses (including fear, anxiety, and aggression). It’s present in all vertebrates. Sometimes called the “rat brain”. When you perceive a potential threat – as you did – it’s the amygdyla that helps you figure out what to do next. It’s not uncontrollable, and experience and/or training will give you some control over your actions in spite of what your “rat brain” says you oughta do. 🙂

        The trick is knowing what’s going on in your own head, and why. I’d bet you probably have mastered that, but many, many people have not.


        • Gunny, thanks. Haven’t had a chance to read your recommendation yet. I was across the street enjoying oysters on the half shell and a cold beer with my neighbors. I’m betting your referring to what my long lost (and probably dead by now) professors called the lizard brain. I will read it. BTW. Enjoyed the discourse.

        • Excuse me while I take a break. Grouper and red snapper are open in federal waters now. As well as other pelagic fish. Couldn’t go this weekend, but I have friends fishing out of the Keys, Crystal River and Carabelle. Need to get fishing reports.

  13. Sig P238 is easy to field strip and clean, I mean easy. The slide is easy to rack and manipulate. It’s a small handgun and slim, so easy to conceal carry for a woman. It has a external safety, exposed hammer and a crisp trigger. Range easy hand gun. I’ve never had a failure to feed, eject or fire with it. Of course if you aren’t comfortable with a semi auto, S&W, Kimber, Roger all make excellent revolvers.

  14. Your dog pic looks like my dog Stumpy minus a few pounds. He’s dead now, old age. With that dog I wasn’t much afraid of nothing. , , , , My X has gunms, and she did kinda what you did. Took it out , ran a mag and hasn’t shot it since, that I know of. She leaves the gunm in her house, carries a knife instead. ? ? Never could figure that out being a rape victim and all. If I was a woman instead of a possum, I know I’d certainly be tooled up and tactics trained. You betcha

  15. Good luck with your search, Marlee.
    For what it’s worth, I had a very petite student who adores her Glock 19. If you do go this route, I’d recommend a Generation 4 since their length of pull is a little shorter than a Gen 3 or earlier. Also, see if you can try before you buy. If the 19 is still uncomfortable, have a look at a 43.

    In any case, stay safe and it sounds as though you’ve already learned the first important lesson, that awareness of your surroundings is the most important thing.

  16. A lot of good suggestions on guns, but I’d reconsider Martial Arts and carrying a knife. I practiced MA for years, and even though now I have physical limitations, there are still techniques I, or the author of this article, could still employ if / when the situation demanded it. Another benefit of MA is the situational awareness it seems to ingrain. Confidence of knowing you can take care of yourself is communicated to potential predators in how you present yourself. In regards to carrying a knife, may I suggest finding a Kali or Escrima school and taking classes. No one wants to get up close and personal, but you never know when things will go sideways.

  17. Don’t get a concealed carry handbag.
    If someone snatches your bag, they get a free gun, and that’s a huge bonus for a criminal.

    Carry your gun on you.

  18. A female friend of mine is 5’1 and her index finger is the size of my pinky. Guns that work for her are the Sig 239 with the short reach trigger, 238, and 938. There’s also the Browning 1911-380.

    • Another vote for the SIG 239.
      I’ve had one for years and the only other 9mm I’ve loved more is the FN Hi Power Mark III I was given to carry, but reluctantly had to give back. Sadly the P239 is no longer produced but it has a nice legacy in the P938.
      The first time I gave my P239 to the wife to shoot she surprised me by printing a tighter group than I could. That was a few years ago and I’ve decided both she – and the gun – are keepers.

  19. It always amazes me how people can’t figure out what to do. The answer is simple. People have these issues because they are unwilling to pay a professional to take them through the weapon selection process and train them. In my 35 years of teaching pistol craft and a martial art I have run in to this ignorance constantly. Seek the advice of a real experienced professional trainer, one who teaches people how to fight.

  20. popper grip IS important when you shoot, a nice subbie revolver is also a good choice ( if you have issues with recoil use wadcutters, they do just fine for defense work, also work on hand strength by holding the gun firmly while watching tv, altenating hans during commercials, that is how I got my hand strength back after an injury) and maybe go to a school. there is always something to learn, even if you think you already know it. I wish the author good luck, and also recommend some form of martial arts training like the fillipine arts since you can’t always have a gun with you. and pepper spray and even a nice stun gun. (layer your defense).

  21. Well I know how most women feel about picking out a good carry gun because I have small hands and my first gun I bought 45 years ago was A22 9 shot DA revolver still have it but I have owned and still own all but one gun I have Brought from A Colt 1911 45 to a raven 25 never carried that thing but I have carried everything else even a russian made 380 good gun but everything was to heavy because I hip carry and they kept pulling pants down one day my wife picked up a 38 ultra lite 5 shot DA she had to have it so she filled out all the paperwork gave them some money and we waited the 3 days because she does not have a ccl went back by there and finished paying for it needless went to where we shoot she shot it she liked alright then I shot it it handled good and felt good and did not weigh much needless to say it became my everyday carry told her to pick any gun in safe except the Colt and she could keep it with her wherever she goes

  22. I find the entire Article from “TTAG Contributor” a bit of a stretch. Could have been published by Slate titled “Why I shouldn’t own a gun but I want another one”. Many kids are taught, supervised and shoot well while being much smaller than 5’3″ 115lbs and tiny hands. Claims physical issues but never mentions recoil with her “guns”. Strange, no mention of hubby gun input? Where did she suddenly learn all the things she had been doing were crap? She has all that baggage, limited scope of knowledge but finds a gun blog to express her born again, I’ll get it right this time mindset. She has a handBAG (ad plug) Plan, a range/training Plan: yet no gun, no range time but lays out an article.

    3.5 Pinocchios.

  23. Good on her, but a point of order– fear is a perfectly valid reason to purchase a firearm. Maybe not the best, but a certain recognition of ones own mortality to take measures against a premature demise is a valid first step.

  24. Since I can’t find any convincing reasons to believe that Marlie’s article Is liberal, anti-gun propaganda, I choose to accept it at face value. Hopefully, it is simply the author’s introspective account of her angst about owning and carrying a handgun.

    As a short stature male with smaller than average hands, I also bought several handguns that didn’t fit (Ruger Security Six and Speed Six, Kel Tec P11) before learning how a handgun should fit my hand. Now my choices are Ruger SP101, LCR and S & W j-frame revolvers, Kahr and Ruger LCP and LC9 semi-autos. My advice to Marlie: 1) Ignore the hateful comments; 2) Contact your local NRA affiliate and get several recommendations for firearms trainers in your area. Speak with each and find someone who, in addition to being a qualified trainer, is also respectful of your needs and limitations; 3) With her/his advice, purchase a handgun that fits you, not a gun shop commando; 4) Train and practice as often as possible.

  25. Thankyou for your story.

    I have two women in life that matter more to me than my life.

    One is my bride of 20 years. The other is the daughter we made together 19 years ago.

    9 years ago, there was a rape in my neighborhood and my wife turned to me and told me to go buy a gun. I had been a gun guy before we were together, but much like you, life forced me to give up my guns. My ex wife was certifiably crazy and I didn’t want her to hurt herself or others. So I sold off my modest collection and moved on.

    I asked my bride if she was sure, and she said yes. I told her that if I got back into the life, there was no such thing as “A” gun…they were like potato chips…I couldn’t have just one. And I explained that it was a lifestyle. One I had lived before, and one she was not used to.

    19 years later I have a daughter, who though trained at a young age to respect and use firearms, does not want to own one.

    A few months ago they made me aware, though a conversation about someone else, that they are constantly afraid. They fear being attacked, especially in a sexual assault manner. I can’t really identify with that. As a man, I’m actually more likely to be physically attacked, and have the scars to prove it. Not as likely to be sexually assaulted, to be sure, but assault is assault, and it all comes with it’s own emotional baggage.

    I don’t feel afraid. Never. Even if I am unarmed (which is almost never these days). I just don’t. Never have. And I’ve actually had a knife to my throat. Have had guns pointed at me. And have actually had the experience of shots fired in my direction in anger. But I’m never afraid that it might happen again. I practice the type of vigilance that lessens the likelihood. I stay out of situations that might make it more likely. But I have a job that takes me to potentially violent places. But I’m not afraid of them. I’ve trained. I’m armed. And I’m lucky enough to be one of those people that doesn’t freeze or fear when something happens, provided I don’t have time to think about it coming.

    But the women I love still live in fear…daily. And they refuse to do anything to prepare themselves to lessen the likelihood of a bad outcome if something bad does happen. They know that Dad/Husband will protect them. Until he can’t. I know, that at best, I’m likely only going to be able to avenge them. Not protect them. I can’t be with them at all times, and I could fail even if I was.

    So thank your for articulating your journey towards taking responsibility for your own protection. I just read this to my daughter. I hope some of it sunk in.

    Btw…I have the same problem with trigger reach. I feel your pain 🙂

  26. Bravo!
    You are now an empowered and educated person about your personal safety, your rights and your power over the unknown.
    Practice often too.
    God Bless

  27. Try the S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ. My wife lacked the hand strength (rheumatoid arthritis) to confidently rack the slide of any of my 9 mm’s so she simply never wanted to use a hand gun. I purchased the EZ for her last September. Since then she’s taken a firearms self-defense training class, obtained her license to carry, and frequently goes to the local shooting range on “lady’s night” (every Tuesday) to practice her marksmanship. She loves it.

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