By Lynn Givens,
Director, Women’s Training,
As a full time trainer I have lost count of the number of women who have come in for initial firearms training equipped with an airweight, 2” barrel snub nosed .38 caliber revolver, purchased for them by their husband, boyfriend or significant other. When I would ask them, “What made them think this was the right gun for you?”, the answer I most often got was “He thought it was simple enough for me to operate.” Until I got used to it, that comment really made me indignant, because what the man was actually saying was, “You are an airheaded Bimbo who could not possibly learn to operate a modern handgun.” Such thinking is sexist, chauvinist and downright dumb.
My next question to “the little lady”, was “Can you drive a car?” Of course, they could. Just to go around the block, the female driver has to operate the ignition switch, the steering wheel, the gear shifter, the turn signals, the brake pedal and the gas pedal. She has to monitor the side and center mirrors. To go any further, add in the air conditioner, the radio, and usually a cell phone. They work all of these controls while zipping down the interstate at 60-70 miles per hour in close proximity to other two-ton missiles hurtling by, piloted by other women. How is it, then, they could not learn to operate a handgun that has a trigger, a slide latch, and a magazine button? Actually, the snub .38 is a horrible choice for a beginner. The sights are tiny and the sight radius is short. There is no free lunch, so the light weight means the recoil is unpleasant, if not downright painful. The snub only holds 5 or 6 shots, not many in today’s world of multiple, drugged up assailants. Without a lot of practice, the odds of reloading the revolver are nil, and refer back to the lack of practice due to the gun being so unpleasant to shoot. Finally, about 90% of learning to shoot a handgun well is learning trigger control.
The ratio of handgun weight to trigger pull weight is critical in this regard. A 2 pound semi-auto with a 5-6 pound trigger pull requires 2-3 times the weight of the gun to be applied to the trigger to make the gun fire. A 1 pound snubby requires a double-action trigger pull weight of 12-13 pounds, 12-13 times the weight of the gun. On the snubby, the trigger pull has to rotate the cylinder, plus cock and release the hammer, so it has to be heavier. This is the primary reason the snub is so hard to shoot well, even for a seasoned shooter. Most women I have had try it cannot even pull the snub’s trigger with their non-dominant hand.
A compact or mid-size semi-auto, like an M&P Compact or a Glock 19 will have a better trigger pull weight ratio, a better trigger pull, better sights, and will hold as much as three times as much ammunition as a snubby, probably preventing any need to reload. Any woman that can operate all the controls I mentioned on a car could certainly learn to operate the three controls on these handguns.
So, to all you women out there—don’t let them sell you short. Get equipment suitable to the task, learn to use it correctly, and drive on. If you can drive your car to the gunshop, you’ll be fine.
For more information about the Second Amendment Foundation Training Division, including class schedules, visit: SAFTD.com