Owning or carrying a firearm for self-defense is a right and responsibility exercised by millions of Americans. However, what kind of firearm should you choose? The best gun for you is one that you can use effectively, and you find most comfortable, but there are other factors to consider.
Handgun, Rifle, or Shotgun?
It’s worth exploring different types of firearms to determine their respective strengths and weaknesses. If you want a firearm for concealed or open carry, worn inside or outside the waistband in a holster, a handgun is your best option. This strikes an optimal balance between convenience, concealment, and effectiveness.
For home-defense, a handgun is more maneuverable in confined spaces, such as hallways, and is harder to take away from you. However, long guns have their advantages.
A 12-gauge repeating shotgun, whether pump-action or semi-automatic, delivers unparalleled stopping power at close range when loaded with buckshot rounds. However, some smaller-framed women may find the recoil of 12-gauge combat loads too severe. If that’s your experience, consider a 20-gauge or .410 bore. Despite popular myth, you do need to aim a shotgun for the best results.
A semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle, such as the AR-15, is a popular option. Lightweight, sufficiently powerful for most defensive purposes, and holding 20 or 30 rounds of ammunition, this weapon is handy, compact, and easy to control. If you live in a jurisdiction that restricts access to defensive rifles and carbines of this type, there are usually compliant alternatives available.
Regardless of the type of firearm you choose, there are several requirements that a gun for self-defense should fulfill.
Your gun must work every time without exception for it to be effective. If your chosen firearm doesn’t perform perfectly out of the box, remember that some new firearms have what’s known as a break-in period of 100 or 200 rounds. This lets the springs settle in, and some tolerances loosen up.
When you fire the gun, are you able to control the recoil? Controllability isn’t only affected by the gun’s weight and cartridge, although these are important. A concealable handgun, for example, provides less gripping surface, reducing your ability to hold the weapon firmly.
Your self-defense gun should not be uncomfortable for you to fire. If it’s a handgun, it should fit your hand, allowing you to reach and manipulate the slide stop, magazine catch, and manual safety/decocking lever. Are you able to pull the trigger easily, or do you have to strain?
If you can, try handling a variety of handguns and other weapons at your local range or gun store to find what suits you best.
You should be able to achieve a reasonable level of practical accuracy with your weapon. If the gun is inherently inaccurate or unnecessarily difficult for you to fire accurately, you should consider an alternative. If the firearm has iron sights, you should easily find and align them to acquire a sight picture.
If you want a gun for concealed carry, you need to think about how well you can hide it under your clothing. While you can carry full-size service pistols concealed, you may have to adjust your wardrobe accordingly.
When searching for a holster, keep in mind that women’s clothing tends to be more form-fitting than men’s, with more tapered jackets and tighter jeans. If you find IWB holsters don’t work as well with these clothing items, you may want to opt for an OWB belt holster.
What About Purse Carry?
Some women choose to carry concealed firearms in purses. However, under most circumstances, you should avoid off-body carry if possible, including purse carry. There are a few different reasons for this:
It compromises access
By keeping your weapon off your body, you won’t be able to access it as readily should you find yourself face-to-face with an attacker. Anytime you have to manipulate a zipper or snap closure to reach for a weapon, you’re less able to respond. Drawing your weapon from an appendix or strong-side holster is considerably faster and more reliable.
It increases the risk of theft or disarmament
A purse is a prime target for thieves and muggers. If an assailant attempts to steal anything from you, it will probably be the handbag that is only connected to you by a thin strap of material. These kinds of attacks can be fast and brutal, and you don’t want to risk losing both your valuables and your weapon.
As a result, you should keep your gun on your person. Holsters that ride inside or outside the waistband are among the most popular, but other carry options may work for you as well.
At IFA Tactical, we pride ourselves on carrying a wide variety of self-defense firearms, from handguns and shotguns to rifles and carbines. Call us at (586) 275-2176, and we’ll help you find the gun that best suits your needs and budget.