Reloaded Ammunition Strategies

By Kellene Bishop

This evening my husband and I went to the outdoor range for a little practice. As always, we brought a can of several hundred rounds.  Every once in a while I will shoot too limp wristed and get a stove pipe, but tonight it was happening on every single shot I took. Uh, that’s not my shooting, that’s something else. I inspected the firearm repeatedly. The slide smoothly racked back and forth. I was a bit stumped for a moment until I noticed that my husband was having the same problem. Well there you have it.  I think anyone would have a hard time believing he’s limp wristed. *grin* Looks like we’ve got a problem with the ammo. Continue reading

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It’s Always a Good Day to Teach a News Reporter How to Shoot!

So, yesterday morning I got up at “stupid-o-clock” so that I could hook up with a female news reporter from our local ABC news morning show. The premise was that she was discussing ways for women to better defend themselves and her research came across the fact that in 2009, National Shooting Sports reported a 73% increase in women buying guns! (yes, Obama–he really is the world’s best gun salesman, isn’t he?)

We met up at the range near my home in Provo Canyon amidst snow and sleet. But this gal was undeterred. It turns out that it was her very first time to ever shoot a firearm and she actually had been wanting to do so for some time. Unfortunately for her though, she discovered that there are very, very few FEMALE firearm instructors. Was she ever happy to discover that one of the few female instructors in the world is right here under her nose.

So after a little bit of safety, grip, and other procedural info we were to go live! Bless that gals heart! She shot a firearm for the very first time live on camera. She did awesome too! 13 years ago I would have broken down into the ugly cry after my first shot. Even more important, after less than 20 minutes of training, she was able to consistently hit a the targets. I was really impressed with her!

Here’s the link of the short clip they were able to show.

Women and Guns

 

She was sure to take the milk carton that she obliterated several times–as a souvenir. I’ve never seen someone so happy to be taking home a dirty milk carton! *grin*

Copyright Protected 2011, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

 

Now THAT’S What I Call Bling!

Now that’s what I call Christmas Bling

I’ve had the occasion recently to try out a new line of ammo.  I have to say. I think I’m in love with www.ammoforsale.com So, here’s what I tested and how it panned out.

Magtech 9mm Luger (115gr) – These came with the standard 9mm round-nose, full-metal-jacketed bullet seated in good, reloadable brass, and appearing to use an anvil primer. I ran these through a standard Beretta 92FS (tests 1 and 2) and a standard Gen 3 Glock 17 (tests 3 and 4) with my standard battery of four-target tests, which consisted of (test 1) ten rounds of slow-fire for accuracy, (test 2) ten rounds of two-shot double-taps, (test 3) fifteen rounds of three-shot triple-taps, and, finally, (test 4) fifteen shots of slow-fire for accuracy. All rounds functioned flawlessly with no stoppages, no misfires, and no feeding problems. Though it is hard to find a round that won’t pass through these two firearms, the same can not be said for the basic accuracy of several 9mm rounds that I’ve tested. These rounds passed my accuracy test with no problems, which shows a consistency in the bullet weight, the measured powder load, and the overall cartridge length (bullet seating). Of course, your accuracy mileage may vary since the shooter is usually the weak link in the firing process. Overall, this is a cartridge I would have no problem recommending to fellow shooting enthusiasts.

Seller & Bellot .40cal (180gr) – These came with the standard .40cal snub-nose, full-metal-jacketed bullet seated in good, reloadable brass, and using a sealed boxer primer. I ran these through a standard Beretta 96FS Brigadier (tests 1 and 2) and a standard Gen 3 Glock 22 (tests 3 and 4) with my standard battery of four-target tests, which consisted of (test 1) ten rounds of slow-fire for accuracy, (test 2) ten rounds of two-shot double-taps, (test 3) fifteen rounds of three-shot triple-taps, and, finally, (test 4) fifteen shots of slow-fire for accuracy. All rounds functioned flawlessly with no stoppages, no misfires, and no feeding problems. It is hard to find a round that won’t pass through these two firearms, and these rounds were no different. The same can not be said for the basic accuracy of several .40cal rounds that I’ve tested. These rounds passed my accuracy test with no problems, which shows a consistency in the bullet weight, the measured powder load, and the overall cartridge length (bullet seating). Of course, your accuracy mileage may vary since the shooter is usually the weak link in the firing process. Overall, this is a cartridge I would have no problem recommending to fellow shooting enthusiasts.

.50cal ammo can – Sure, it’s just meant to storage ammo or other supplies, but you have to admit that most .50cal ammo cans that you see look like they’ve been on the muzzle-end of a day at the range or dragged through every available mud-hole and sandpit east of the Mississippi before getting to you. Not so with this one; repainted to look near-new; clean inside and out; this can is one that you could set on the front table as a decoration – with the right doily on top, of course. Seriously though, this can is in good shape and great working condition. If all of their cans come looking like this, I know where to find my new supplier.

I believe you’ll find a broad range of offerings, and respectable pricing. Enjoy—no really, ENJOY!

Kellene Bishop

Founder Women of Caliber/ The Preparedness Pro

Media Hype or Firearm Facts—You Decide

by Kellene Bishop 

Everyone has the right to defend themselves.

Fact:

100% of ALL firearm “accidents” occur as a result of someone violating one of the four most critical safety rules in the ownership and use of a firearm.  Firearms don’t kill people as the media would have us believe, any more than pencils are responsible for making spelling mistakes.  Your ability to STOP an firearm accident is strengthened by your knowledge of a firearm.  In contrast, if you are not familiar with the workings of a firearm, you may actually encourage a deadly accident if you encounter one in the hands of an unauthorized person.  That said, why don’t we ever hear a news report that says something like “There are over 80,000,000 gun owners in the nation today, and only 5 accidents were caused as the result of error on the part of the gun owner”?

  

Fact: Every person in the U.S. has the right to defend themselves, their family, and their property.  Fit or fat.  Blonde or brunette.  When a drug-crazed criminal has a gun point at you, your political affiliations do not lessen the impact on your body or your mind.  A bullet will sufficiently kill you.  So how you supposed to fight back under such circumstances? 

  

Fact: According to FBI statistics, over 5,500 violent crimes are PREVENTED EVERY DAY by the mere presence of a firearm.  So why are our newspapers and television screens only reporting the horrific scenes of crime and bloodshed at the hands of “crazed gunmen”?  All we ever hear about are the terrible and criminal uses of firearms – school shootings, gunmen clipping off innocent bystanders one by one in a mall or a neighborhood, or gangs who murder and plunder with guns.  Why aren’t we being given a clear picture of the use and importance of firearms in America?  Why aren’t we hearing the real stories from the media – like the 83-year-old woman who shot a would-be rapist in her home.  Or the woman who was raped, then given a rifle by a friend, and when the rapist RETURNED to her home she was able to defend herself and killed the rapist.  Or about the female convenience store employee that was able to save her fellow co-workers from abominable acts at the hand of a robber by grabbing for the gun, and shot him.  Or when a concealed-carry permit holder was able to thwart a massive shootout between police and a liquor store robber because he was willing to draw his gun and shoot the body-armored gunman squarely in the skull.  Violent crime rates have fallen dramatically in right-to-carry states.  

Why do we only hear about the terrible encounters with firearms?  Because blood and sex sells.  And it can’t simply be just anybody’s blood.  No, it needs to be the blood of an innocent person, not a violent criminal.  Yes, the so-called education of the facts of gun use for self-defense in America is being steered by money and mindless sheep, plain and simple.  

The media often fail to portray good examples of self-defense photo c/o abovethelaw.com

Why aren’t we hearing about the real firearm stories from the media?  Follow the same money that goes abundantly to the media and you will see that many members of our government fear the legal possession of guns by its citizens.  Why?  Because the government has committed acts in violation of the U.S. Constitution and thus have reason to fear reprisals from its citizens.  The majority of the media act as mindless minions to our government.  And since the government has trampled mercilessly on the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to us through the U.S. Constitution, left to their own designs with no accountability required from the media, it is clear that the media is a willing accomplice in these acts.  Violation after violation have occurred at the hands of each administration that have stripped many of our Constitutional freedoms in a clandestine manner, and yet the media and entertainment industry have failed to produce any headline which even questions such acts.  Do the media even know what’s it like to actually be courageous Americans anymore?  Or do they merely write about it in hopes that it earns them lauds of glory from their peers? 

Fact: Having a firearm and knowing how to use it does not make you a violent person.  In fact, you will find that responsible gun owners are peaceful, law abiding individuals because they are able to function without fear hanging over them.  Yet firearm owners are never portrayed such an image in the national news.  

Instead we hear the irresponsible and oppressive mantra of, “Don’t resist.” “Don’t fight back.”  “Just give them the money, it’s not worth your life.”   What they forget it that while money may not be worth your life, the freedom to be free IS worth your life.  Ironically, what Thomas Paine and his associates did to the king of England to protect free speech (particularly of the media)  is actually being used to give us a false education and thus strip us of other freedoms because of the false and criminalized picture of gun owners that we are confronted with every day. 

According to Thomas Jefferson, history has proven time and time again that the option for citizens to arm themselves is what ensures protection against a “tyrannical government.” 

  

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson Papers p. 334, 1950)   

You see, not only can this type of “preservation of property” give you peace in your ability to defend yourself against violent acts, but it also gives you peace in defending your nation against the loss of freedoms as well.  

 

  

Firearm training gives you peace of mind

Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised… to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia…” (In Virginia’s Ratifying Convention, Elliot p.3:379-380) 


• “The militia may be here destroyed by that method which has been practiced in other parts of the world before; that is, by rendering them useless – by disarming them.” (Elliot, p. 3:379-80)
  

The men and women of America are not only the sole stewards over their own lives and that of their families – they are also the sole guardians of the Constitution.  In the ultimate act of freedom, specifically for the women of our nation, I say that we must take on a more proactive stance in order to fulfill our roles appropriately.  With the increasing numbers of women raising families single-handedly, the extended hours our husbands are forced to work to sustain us, the increasing threat of brazen crimes being committed against women and children in broad daylight, the consistent attacks which are made on our freedom, for all of these reasons, women need to become informed and skilled in the use of a firearm—not just in matters of self-defense use and safety, but also as a Constitutional right.  We cannot relinquish our safety, our lives, or our freedom to the hands of strangers who may or may not be available to defend us when the need arises.  We must take this responsibility for ourselves.  After all, when all of our liberties are gone, there will be nothing left to protect. 

 Copyright 2010 Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. 

Self-Defense Amidst a National Crisis

By Kellene Bishop

national-crisis-alas-babylonI recently finished reading two GREAT books, back to back, that are fictional scenarios about an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attack on the U.S. Both books are very well written, extremely realistic, and I had a hard time putting them down. The first one (still my all time favorite) was “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank. The second one, as recommended by many readers on this site was “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. (Warning, occasional language in this book qualifies it as “rated PG-13”.) Both authors are actually so expert in their fields of knowledge on the matters which they write, that I feel the books are more a prediction of things to come, rather than a work of fiction. Out of all of the possible scenarios of a man-made national crisis, the most likely to occur against the U.S. is actually an EMP attack. However, what disturbed me so greatly while reading this books is that the majority of the pain and suffering in either of the books could have been substantially negated with the addition of a very legitimate reality in my world—personal preparedness. So, what does this have to do with you and the use of a firearm? Well, here’s a question for you. Are you prepared to implement self-defense amidst a national crisis?

Unfortunately our nation is actually ripe for a myriad of different crisis situations, not the least realistic of which is an EMP attack. But there could also be a critical financial collapse, a pandemic breakout (we’ve had two more deaths of swine flu in our state today), an earthquake, a nuclear attack, and so on. While I’m associated with many friends who take such threats seriously by storing several months worth of food, water and medical supplies, I find that the majority of them are actually lacking in one critical component of personal preparedness—self-defense.

Photo c/o criminology.fsu.edu

Photo c/o criminology.fsu.edu

The reality is that we are a nation of overly medicated, out of shape, pampered, spoiled and indulgent citizens. If our normal society of luxurious conveniences, jobs, beautiful sunshiny days, and an abundance of food can still foster crazed rapists, gang murderers, and flocks of druggies, what will a genuine crisis do to compound that problem? So many of us still have the notion that the military or the police department will protect us in the event of a national crisis. *insert “wrong answer” buzzer sound here* What if there is a total breakdown of society as we know it? Will there be drug-crazed marauders about? Yup. Will perfectly sane individuals turn into a Dr. Jekyll because they haven’t suitably planned for a national crisis? Definitely. Come on. If the day after Thanksgiving shopping specials can bring out the worst in people, imagine what a real disaster will do. Criminal violence and looting takes place because of Ohio State University wins or loses a football game. The emotional impact alone in such an instance is sufficient to change the predictable structure of society as you presently know it. How will the generation of the “entitlement mentality” change when food, water, and even a simple aspirin is difficult to obtain? With our reliance on technology, our society has become reliant on a one to three day food and medical delivery system. If such a delivery system is delayed whatsoever you will experience a complete breakdown of “peace” as you know it—guaranteed.

To make matters worse, any such disaster would have a cheaply paid accomplice. Mother Nature and the ugly side of human nature is the ally of any enemy to the U.S. and will successfully work in concert during a national crisis. Yup. This is a whole ‘nother component of self-dense—the mental and physical preparedness to implement self-defense in the midst of a national crisis.

Austin police officer Desireé Small Photo c/o aim4le.com

Austin police officer Desireé Small Photo c/o aim4le.com

Bottom line, having food, water, as well as some medical and financial reserves will be useless if you don’t have the means to defend possession of such items in an emergency. My mom once taught me to have one “bullet” on hand for every pound of wheat to ensure I actually get to use the wheat when my family needs it. Even more realistic, if there is an emergency situation, the likelihood of the police, military, and medical resources will be called out to assist elsewhere is highly likely. What will we women be left with to defend ourselves? Even though I’m married to my own “Rambo” character, I know that he’ll most likely be out helping and checking on neighbors in such a situation, and I would want him to out of my own concern for them. But that leaves me with a great deal of responsibility to protect my own “castle” and preparedness supplies. As women, mothers and caregivers, we MUST be able to rely on ourselves to protect our children and our homes in ANY situation, including a national crisis. Such preparation requires mental preparation as well as physical preparation. Although it may seem like a deep dark place you don’t want to allow yourselves to go mentally, doing so is no worse than immersing yourself in a good book or movie-except in this case, it’s a heck of a lot more important.

Guns, ammo, mental strength, skills and determination to survive and thrive. I’m prepared. Are you?

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Ammo 101

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o military.co.il

Photo c/o military.co.il

While men roaming the earth seem to possess an innate understanding about the various types of ammo to use for this and that, my female friends tend to be more focused on how to convert a quart into cups, which jeans make us look fat, the pursuit of career and education, and how to whip up a mean dish of something or another.   So, forgive me, my gentlemen readers, for taking time to give a little tutelage to our sisters in arms on the various merits of ammo—Ammo 101.

Ladies, have you ever giggled at a person who refers to a truffle dish as a salad bowl?  Or perhaps you’ve seen that blank look when it comes time to change a diaper.  Or have you wondered how anyone in their right mind could put the toilet paper “under” instead of “over”?  You know what I’m talking about.  We women are walking dictionaries and encyclopedias of everyday information, but when it comes to understanding rounds of ammo, well, we usually fall short.  So here’s some education in what may not only save you some embarrassment in the future, but may very well save your life through making educated decisions. 

Ammo 101: It’s not a “bullet”—it’s a “round” or a “cartridge”

First of all ladies, let’s be sure that you never commit the gaff of calling any part of the ammo something it’s not.  For example, the “bullet” isn’t usually what you think it is.  Usually what you see lying on the ground after someone else has been shooting is called a casing, though many newbies call it a bullet.  The casing is the part of the round that has housed the primer and the bullet tip and has been expelled from the gun when it was shot.  If you really want to be knowledgeable, you may want to test yourself as you go to the shooting range and see if you can identify the types of rounds used simply by looking at the leftover casings.  For example, a Shotgun round, 9mm, 357 magnum, .22, etc.  A lot of folks refer to these casings lying around as “brass.”  In fact, you may see signs at the practice facilities which instruct you to “clean up your brass.”  It’s the casings that are being referred to.  Bottom line, the case/casing is what holds all of the components of the ammunition round in place.

The bullet is actually the pointed top or tip that you typically think of when you picture a round.  A shotgun round does not have an actual “bullet” housed inside.  It has either buckshot, a lot of little round pieces or a “slug” which is shaped like a bullet.

Ammo 101: Powder is not the same as primer

ammo-101-bullet-partsLooking at a cartridge from top to bottom, your first layer is the bullet.  That’s what leaves the gun towards your target when you pull the trigger (assuming all goes well J).  The next layer is your powder charge.  This is the part that actually is quickly ignited by the next layer of the bullet.  The very bottom of your cartridge, usually the round shape at the base, is your primer.  Primers can be ignited by striking the outside of that round shape or right on the inside of the round base, depending on whether or not it’s rim-fire or center-fire ammo.  What happens when you fire a gun is that the firing pin inside the gun hits the rim or center fire.  This causes an ignition of the powder inside the casing, which causes the bullet to propel forward towards your target and the casing to expel out the ejection port.  This is how the casings end up landing all around, and sometimes even down your shirt.  Since the casings have housed the fiery dance between the primer and the powder, they are inevitably hot–thus, you don’t want them to land down the front of your shirt and nest.  😉  Don’t worry ladies.  I’ve even seen some men do the “hot casing line dance”, too.  It does happen and for the most part you don’t have any control over them with the exception of what kind of clothing, hat, and eye protection you wear to inhibit the rogue piece of hot brass.

Ammo 101: Self-defense roundsThe best type of self-defense rounds are much more expensive than what I would use to practice with.  The ideal self-defense rounds are known as hollow-point bullet.  The reason why they are ideal for self-defense is because of their stopping power.  Perhaps you’ve heard the expression of the “bullet went clean through.”  If a bullet does not expand once it hits mass, then it can indeed go clean through and thus not have the efficacy of stopping the threat that you need in a self-defense scenario.  However, a hollow-point bullet head will actually expand outwards, like a well-rounded claw, once it hits mass.  Some describe this as mushrooming as well.  This is ideal for a couple of reasons.  

 

1)     When you’re using hollow-point bullets for self-defense and it does hit your target, it will actually expand and do sizeable damage within the body cavity as it passes through.  Most times a hollow-point bullet will not actually exit the cavity, or if it does, there will definitely be a significantly larger exit wound than the entrance wound.  

2)     If you were to miss your target, say, while you’re defending your home, the bullet will expand as it hits the wall, and thus stop traveling sooner.  This means you’re less likely to shoot through your walls or doors and harm bystanders or neighboring property. 

Now, in terms of hollow-point ammo, many shooters swear by the use of Hydra-Shok™ ammo.  Reason being is it has been found to reliably mushroom upon impact, whereas some of the hollow points mushroom simply by hitting clothing fiber.  The good news is a hollow-point round will also give even a 9mm more stopping power, and as such I still recommend it as a self-defensive round.  (FYI, Hydra-Shok bullets will expand at any velocity much over 800 feet per second, and perhaps even less.  Ordinary hollow-points generally require 1,000 feet per second of velocity to reliably expand.)

Ammo 101: It’s grain, not grains.

Grain is the actual weight measurement of a bullet—not the cartridge.  Newbies often call it “grains”—plural.  If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, refer to it as grain—singular.  The more a cartridge weighs, the more grain it has.  Standard weight for .45 ACP ball ammunition (full metal jacket – FMJ) is 230 grain.  Standard for 9mm is around 115 grain.  Generally the heavier bullet moves slower than a lighter bullet.  There is quite the battle raging among shooters as to which is better for defense.  Some say to use a big, heavy, slow bullet for target penetration and some say to use a lighter bullet at higher velocity for expansion.  Personally, I’m in favor of a heavy bullet with a good hollow point.  After all, a heavy bullet still moves “at the speed of a bullet,” right?

Ammo 101: +P or +P+ ammo

“Plus P” or “Plus P Plus” designations simply mean that a cartridge is loaded with a higher pressure than standard ammunition.  Essentially what this does is give your round more firing power and a greater impact on your target.  It’s one of the variations of ammo that I recommend for women to use who are more comfortable with shooting a 9mm for self-defense.  Be sure that your gun is designed for such ammo use though.  You can see whether or not your ammo is +P or +P+ on the cartridge box, or sometimes it’s stamped on the base of the cartridge.  +P or +P+ cartridges are usually center-fire cartridges.

That’s all for Ammo 101 today!  Tune in for more later on. 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

The Caliber Wars for Women

By Kellene Bishop

Caliber Wars: .45 Caliber Photo c/o wikimedia.org

Caliber Wars: .45 Caliber Photo c/o wikimedia.org

In a recent article I wrote, quite a few opinions were given about the appropriate caliber for self-defense.  There are many macho opinions dished out on the caliber wars.  But as a woman and a professional instructor I am constantly waging war on the misinformation dispensed to women on this matter.

Ironically, in spite of this site being primarily for the benefit of women, we have a LOT of male readers.  I don’t intend to offend any of these male readers when I say that the majority of the bad advice on “appropriate calibers” is given by men to women, and in my opinion, it’s a BIG reason why more women don’t embrace the ownership and use of a firearm.  The good news is that I’m certain that when men dispense this misinformation they certainly aren’t doing so for a diabolical reason.  I’ve talked to too many of these well-intentioned men over the years on “caliber wars” and have realized that ultimately they have a genuine interest in the safety of the women who are about to embark on gun ownership.  Regardless of their good intentions though, this unfortunate myth is still dispensed regularly.  And it goes as follows:

“Be sure that you have a caliber with a “4” in it.”

“Don’t rely on a 9 mm. It won’t save your life.”

“Anything less than a .40 caliber is useless.”

“Practice with a .22 or a .9, but be sure to carry a .40 or better.”

There are many versions of this advice freely dished out on thousands of blogs and in classrooms all over the U.S., but they are WRONG, pure and simple, for several reasons.

Lt. Yamile Jana Shoots a 9mm. Photo c/o northshorejournal.org

Lt. Yamile Jana Shoots a 9mm. Photo c/o northshorejournal.org

First, let’s understand where they myth comes from.  Many women opt to begin with a 9 mm handgun primarily due to the grip and recoil of the firearm.  A 9 mm typically has much less of a kick than a higher caliber.  But women often hear from their well-meaning, gun-toting friends that a 9 mm is useless.  This myth is perpetuated because of a handful of well-publicized instances in which a criminal was NOT stopped promptly in spite of being shot several times with a 9 mm.  Yes, it’s true that a drug-crazed individual is not easily fazed by a 9 mm shot.  But it’s not the caliber that is at fault.  It’s the PLACEMENT of the bullet. 

Don’t tell me that 9 mm is useless.  A 9 mm to the forearm may be useless whether or not the perpetrator is on drugs or embroiled in rage.  But a 9 mm to the center of the head or heart will stop a tyrant regardless of the quality of the drugs he/she is on.  The myth insinuates that a .40 or .45 caliber does not require accurate placement.  Clearly even if I manage to hit an attacker with a .50 caliber round on their pinky finger, it’s going to do very little to bring the confrontation to a halt, right?  You simply can’t count on the caliber to bring you safety.  You must rely solely on your target skills.

Grip, recoil, and competency all come into play when honing your target skills.  A chosen caliber should merely be the result of these aspects, not the determining factor of them.

Additionally, consider the capacity aspect of a firearm.  With a smaller caliber firearm I typically have more opportunities to hit my target directly than I do with higher caliber. 

This is not to say that women are “sissies.”  If a 9 mm were truly a “sissy gun,” then our nation’s law enforcement agencies would be run primarily by cowards.  Plenty of my students, male and female have opted for 9 mm, while others have chosen .40 or .45 caliber.  It’s not a self-defense issue.  It’s a personal preference issue.  But in most instances, my female students never would have started shooting if a .40 or .45 had been their only option.  If you’ve got too much kick in a firearm, you lose your skill.  If there’s too much required grip, you lose your effectiveness as well.  This is exactly why I’ve recommended the grip as the number one concern in selecting a firearm in previous articles.  The less a woman has to recover from the kick-back in her firearm, the more shots she can take.  Even a .22 caliber is better than a woman having NOTHING to defend herself.  And that is the primary goal of this site—to train and educate women how to appropriately defend themselves with a firearm.

Here are a couple of facts to be considered:

  • Professional (and military) assassins have long elected to use a .22 caliber rifle or handgun.
  • Law enforcement agencies all over the U.S. use a 9 mm as a standard issue. 
  • There have actually been several instances in law enforcement where even .40 and .45 calibers were ineffective in stopping a criminal—not because of the caliber, but because of the ineffective placement of the round. 
Woman Practicing At the Range. Photo c/o midwestdefense.com

Woman Practicing At the Range. Photo c/o midwestdefense.com

The reason why I fiercely advocate this point is because many women hesitate to shoot a .40 caliber.  They are much more successful in their shot placement when shooting a smaller caliber.  Thus it’s shameful to have a woman stopped or frustrated in her pursuit of gun ownership because some macho, misinformed man tells her that a strong caliber (that knocks her on her butt when she shoots it) is useless.  One thing that men simply don’t realize is that women are physiologically more sensitive to the loud bass sound of the bullet igniting than men are.  Women are literally more affected by the sound of a .40 caliber+ than men are.  The sound resonates through them longer than it does in men.  As such, the sound literally rattles a woman.  Thus high caliber firearms are uncomfortable for them to shoot initially.  Do you really think someone is going to practice with a firearm that they are not comfortable with or that frightens them?  No.  So if they do listen to their .40 caliber friends, all they end up doing is A) not moving forward with gun ownership, or B) acquiring a .40 caliber+ firearm and just putting it away, allowing themselves to be lured with a false sense of security.  Is that really in the best interest of a person who is considering taking on the responsibility of firearm self-defense? 

Finally, on dispelling these common myths, practicing with a firearm other than the one you intend to use qualifies as “dumb squared.”  Practice with what you are going to use for self-defense.  Period.  An element of surprise can only be suitably conquered by mental and physical practice to combat such an element.  The last thing you need when suddenly confronted with an attack, robbery, nighttime break-in, or worse, is a millisecond of doubt that occurs, causing you to question whether or not you will be able to use your firearm since it’s not the one you’ve been practicing with.  

Here’s one final thought on this topic.  Five years ago my own mother took her life with a teeny tiny little .22 Derringer.  So many men would have me believe that such a firearm is useless for anything other than rabbit hunting.  Mom’s death had nothing to do with the caliber.  It was all about the placement, folks.  So, well-meaning gun owners, PLEASE stop spreading the myth that a 9 mm is useless.  Let’s identify the real culprit.  A poorly practiced shooter is what’s really useless to provide self-defense.  Let the caliber wars cease.  

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.