American civil society gun culture
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Reader Rebecca Platt writes . . .

I was seven years old when I had my first experience with a gun. My father was target shooting with some friends and asked me if I wanted to try. His stable hands enveloped mine as I tried to grip the handle of a Colt Trooper .357.

Ear protection in place, I squinted one green eye like the cowboys on TV and, with dad’s help, pulled the trigger. The deafening kick was a shock. I still remember the immediate fear and respect for an object so powerful.

I was 12 before I experienced another firearm. We lived out in the country and occasionally a water moccasin would make its way into our yard. After many gun safety lectures from my parents and some tin-can plinking, I became decent with a .22 rifle.

As an adult, I now own the beautiful Colt Trooper revolver that jarred me all those years ago, and my husband has outfitted me with a few more pistols for my personal defense.

Millions of new, first-timers have decided to become gun owners over the last three years and a large percentage of them are women. Here are four pieces of advice I’d offer to women who are getting acclimated to their new firearm.

Take a Gun Safety Course

training requirement gun firearms

Even if you don’t plan to carry your gun concealed, please take a gun safety course. It doesn’t matter how new or inexperienced you think you are, take the course. Listen to other people in the class about gun safety and the laws in your state. It will help shed light on your new adventure with the Second Amendment. You’ll hear fresh perspectives, feel some positive encouragement, and gain practical skills in how to store, conceal, and safely use your weapon.  

To locate a gun safety course or conceal carry licensing class in your area, do a little Googling or call your local law enforcement agency. The fee for a basic safety class in my area is usually between $25 and $50. The instructors are frequently local law enforcement officers with extensive experience in handling firearms.

I took my course on a Saturday morning and enjoyed every minute of it. After the classroom portion, we gathered outside at tables with instructors to help us load, properly grip and aim our guns properly. After firing a few rounds and getting some questions answered, each participant was given a packet of information to fill out along with a certificate of completion.

If you want to graduate to a concealed carry permit, this gets you off to a good start. Classes and requirements differ from state to state and can run anywhere from about $50 to $150 or so. Twenty-seven states require no permit at all to carry a handgun. If the safety certificate of completion for gun safety is all you desire, congratulations, you did it!

Be Prepared

No one leaves the hospital with a new baby without making sure the child has everything it needs to thrive at home. The same goes for buying a new firearm. (I know, I compared a baby to a new gun. Just hear me out.)

Your gun is going to need some basic equipment and care if it’s going to serve you well. A gun is useless without ammunition, and it’s important you get the right kind. Do you have a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol with a magazine? Is one magazine enough? My husband bought me two more for my birthday, so the answer must be no.

Woman concealed carry gun in purse

Do you have enough ammunition for practice and protection? Where can you get good ammunition at a decent price? What is a decent price? Did you know guns need to be cleaned regularly? Do you have a gun cleaning kit? Do you know how to safely clean a firearm?

And then there’s safe storage. Do you have a proper lock for your gun? What will you store it in? These are things you need to think about, preferably before you bring your “new baby” home. If you didn’t, start now.

My advice is to find someone you trust who is careful, confident, and has experience with firearms. They’ll be able to steer you toward the best resources like gun accessory shops, cleaning techniques, and facilities to practice shooting. Seek out other women and connect over coffee and target practice at the range. (Then contact me, because I want in!)

Go On Dates

…with your gun. I don’t mean take your gun when you go on dates with other people. Unless you feel you need to…to which I say “Girl, you deserve better.” What I’m saying here is, get to know your gun like you get to know potential mates. Become intimately acquainted with how it works and everything it can do.

Does it have a safety? Do you know where the safety is? Can you engage and disengage the safety without fumbling and unwittingly aiming the gun at people? (Yes, that was me at one time, and yes I got yelled at.)

Can you load it quickly and smoothly? Do you how your gun works (its “manual of arms”)?  I have a .22 revolver that requires the hammer to be half-cocked in order for the cylinder to release for loading. It’s different from every other gun I have.

I only know that because I have “dated” my gun. I took it to a range here in Georgia and I spent a whole weekend getting to know that one gun. See…it sounds like dating doesn’t it?

Woman handgun range gun training

Why do I press so hard on getting to know your gun well? Because you want to be able to rely on it if and when a criminal is coming through your window. That’s not the time to aim, pull the trigger and…realize you haven’t released the safety.

Know where the safety is if your gun has one. Flip that switch and pull! The goal is familiarity and confidence. A predator can tell if you’re brandishing a gun for the third time in your life. But if you’ve taken the time to empower yourself through safety courses and lots of range time and practice, your assailant may begin to rethink things.

Each gun has its own weight, quirks, and action (how the gun fires). Get to know yours really well. Pay attention to its personality. Love it and treat it well and it will take good care of you.

It’s The Perfect Accessory For Every Outfit

If you leave your phone at home, how can you text, check Insta or take selfies? The same goes for your gun (assuming you carry it). A gun left in your drawer at home is no good to you when some mouth-breathing tweaker decides he wants your purse while it’s still on your arm.

We have seen attacks on people in movie theaters, churches, grocery stores, schools, and various random public places. Those are reasons enough to strap on your most important accessory with every outfit. When choosing your firearm, think about concealment in terms of your wardrobe and where you feel it’s most comfortable and invisible on your person.

A Woman Holds A Gun In Her Hand And Points It At The Camera . Fo

Amazon has affordable ankle, leg, and waist holsters made of neoprene and velcro. There are also tank tops with hidden compartments between the breasts or under the armpit for maximum concealment. They take some getting used to, so give it trial runs around the house, walking the dog, or making quick trips to the store.

Try to guard against publicly adjusting, posturing weirdly or fidgeting with your weapon. The idea is to be as discreet as possible. Being a woman with a weapon already makes you a dark horse in terms of being armed. Don’t squander your opportunity to leverage some power in a dire situation by inadvertently revealing that you’re carrying a firearm.


From one woman to another, I commend you on your brave decision to arm yourself. Whatever your reason may be for purchasing a gun, rest easy in the knowledge that it’s your constitutional right and it is a God-given right. Even the Bible encourages personal safety and proper boundaries when it comes to physical well-being.

You don’t have to be a firearm aficionado on all makes and models. You just have to be an expert on your gun. Take the time to become competent and comfortable with it. After you do, I can’t begin to explain the feeling of power and self-confidence you will begin to feel.

Stay safe out there, ladies.

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  1. Trooper Mark3 was the first .357 I had. Sold it for $120 to buy a .30Carbine which I traded for a Carcano.
    My foot is sore from kicking myself in the ass.

    • … soooo many ways to do dumb gun-shit. I have a Russian milled SKS that I cut back the barrel to 17″, drilled and tapped the reciever for a scope mount intended for (??), put into a thumbhole laminated stock, reworked the trigger group, and use 20 round chinese red army magazines, having traded the original ten rounder away for something or other. Nice shooter, but I can FEEL the derision from knowledgeable shooters on the line.

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      • Uhhh, I dont wanna talk about SKS’s.
        I had a milled reciver with numbered stock blade bayonet, gave it to my son who gave it to a friend because the friend didnt have any gunms.
        Now I’m pissed at my son again, fcking idiot, not him, me.

      • At one point SKS were incredibly cheap, like Mosin-Nagants, so it is inevitable some would be customized.

        Downunder I saw quite a few in aftermarket synthetic stocks (I had one myself) or with altered original stocks.

        Ah, the good old days

        • When the ChiCom floodwaters hit the shore, I ignored them because they were so cheap. And the endless crates of ammo in sealed cans…

          *Sobbing pitifully*

          9×18 Makarovs, as well… 🙁

        • I bought a Russian factory refurb SKS. It was a 1951 dated one that was like new in the box. For 99 bucks. Makarov for 99 bucks. Cheapest I got a m44 mosin nagant was 59 bucks. The 91/30 I got as cheap as 50 bucks. Model 95 nagant revolver for 60 bucks.

          At one point the surplus ammo was so cheap it’s only a slight bending of the truth to say that shooting the mosins was nearly as cheap as a .22.

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  3. I wish TTAG would stop using that stock photo of someone pulling a blaster from a purse with booger hook engaged with bang switch. Other than that, I believe a wimmen with training would probably keep a cooler head in a DGU situation than most menfolk.

    • Nonsense, I’ve always got my finger in the trigger guard. Just keep the finger pushed against the front of the gaurd.
      No you dont have to come shuting with me.

  4. No one should be using a 357 Magnum to introduce a first-timer especially a child into guns.
    Unless you are using low power cowboy action ammunition.

  5. Would it be sexist if one were to recommend a revolver to a new female shooter?

    If so, I’m a sexist. I’ve done it, more than once.

      • In particular, I’ve recommended small 5-shot .38 Special revolvers. I have three so I have taught new female shooters with them.

        A lady in my first shooting class brought a .357 Magnum but used only .38 Special ammo for the class.

    • No. I got my wife into shooting with an SP-101 .357, but with .38 special. Ultimately, she chose a Ruger 9mm. I kept the SP for myself.

      • My woman’s gun is a French Railway Police Ruger SP101 .38 Special w/3″ barrel, a “turn-in” reimported back into the USA, she loves it especially after I replaced the trigger return & hammer springs, I got rid of that 12+ trigger pull and quick. They are fantastic guns particularly for women, the stout construction eats recoil, they’re literally just point & shoot, no worrying about safeties, racking the slide etc.

        My only regret is not buying two, I got mine online a few (3?) years ago for $419 now they’re going for close to $700 if/when you can find one.

        At age 59 and with MS she doesn’t have the left hand strength required to rack a slide on a semi-auto even the “EZ” models but the revolver is a whole different story. I had started her out handgun shooting with my Star BM 9mm and a Rossi 685 .38 Special w/2-1/4″ barrel, that snubbie had a bit too much recoil and the heavy trigger pull had her quiting after just three (3) cylinders but with the SP101 she can go all day.

        • Sweet!

          I bought my wife a Taurus 709 Slim when she expressed an interest in attending the range with me. It’s mine now, still unfired. I guess you could say that she lost interest.

        • I recently had surgery on my left arm. It went fine and I will make a full recovery. But for the time being I cannot handle a rifle or a shotgun. And semi autos are problematic. But fortunately I have revolvers. Glorious revolvers.

  6. we’ve got some trolls here that have probably already “dated” their new guns. and have determined their favorite barrel lengths.

  7. Ant chance of getting whoever’s in charge (is anyone in charge?) to screen out the job scam posts? I know, just ignore them, but it is annoying after awhile.


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