*The RIGHT NOW Guide to Self Defense for Women (and some Men) *
By: Swabbie

OK, so you shÖer, folks have followed the recent events (been glued to CNN, huh?) and have decided that you are in dire RIGHT NOW need of a means to defend yourself and your family. I figure that you donít know anyone in your immediate circle of friends, family, or acquaintances that have anything to do with firearms. Why else would you be reading this? Iím going to tell you up front that I probably wonít be polite, understanding, or politically correct during the course of this article. You have the choice of finishing it or "moving on", but remember, if you move on then you havenít learned anything and youíre right back where you started. Now I know that a LOT of gunfolks out there are going to tell me that Iím crazy for what Iím going to be recommending in this article, BUT I think that if they follow my logic that they will see that there IS a method to my madness. Keep in mind that Iím following a few basic guidelines:

So with that in mind let me lay pearls of wisdom at your feet and letís get on with the show!

Your first gun!

Many would not recommend this as a weapon of choice for a "newbie" but like I said before "bear with me". I want you to go out to a local pawnshop, gun store, etc. and ask to see a USED .38 Special Revolver. You should be able to purchase one of these for around $125 - $150 in good condition. Let the salesperson know UP FRONT that you are going to take this to the range and you want a chance to return it if you donít like the way it shoots. If they balk on this go to another store! Get the guarantee in writing! We could discuss for HOURS the pros & cons (remember youíre on a short time schedule) of different brands, gun types, and calibers (bullet size) so just take this for what itís worth. You want to limit your gun to the following brands; Smith & Wesson or Colt. These are both companies that have been in business since the turn of the century and have a reputation for building reliable weapons. Iím not going to discuss politics, etc. about this. You should be able to buy a GOOD revolver for the price I mentioned before.. DONíT let the salesperson talk you into any other brand, caliber, or any extras! Sales people are like sharks, let them smell blood and theyíll rip your wallet apart. If youíre at a gun shop you can ask to buy a box (50 bullets) of .38 Special ammunition, get either lead round nose or semi-wadcutters for around $6-$8 a box. Get at least 2 boxes of ammo. You probably will have to visit SEVERAL different stores to find what youíre looking for, but donít get discouraged. Itís out there.

Note: All Gun Buyers have to go through a Federal Background check called NICS. This should be no problem as long as you have no criminal background and arenít certifiably insane. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get cleared(usually an instant check) , they have up to three days to complete your check.

Note: If you are not so limited in your budget you can consider purchasing a .357 Magnum instead of a .38 Special. Look at the same brands as above, look at used guns, the cost is going to be approximately $250 - $400. The .357 Magnum uses the same bullets as the .38 Special and I want you to BUY the same kind as you would if you bought a .38 Special revolver. It will also use a .357 Magnum bullet that is much more powerful, BUT use the .38 bullets at first until your 2nd or 3rd time at the range. After you fire the .357 bullet you will see why I want you to start with the .38s.

OK, youíve looked around until you finally found what you wanted, at the price you wanted, and youíre ready to learn how to use this thing. FIRST, take a minute to think about this. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT make the mistake of thinking "I bought a gun, now I can defend myself"!!!! Without training AND practice you are MORE likely to hurt yourself or those that you are trying to DEFEND! Donít even finish this article if you are NOT WILLING to spend some time at the range and practicing your gun handling. DO NOT leave your gun "laying around" if you have kids (ANY age!). Keep that thing locked up and put away. You DONíT KNOW ENOUGH yet to tell your kids anything about guns. Until you can do what I list as "graduation" exercises you arenít good enough!

BEFORE you go to the range.

Go to Walmart and purchase 3 items from the Sporting Goods department. You need hearing protection and eye protection. If you already wear semi-thick glasses they are fine for eye protection. If you donít, then get a set of "glasses" that curve around to the side of your head ($4-$6). Ear protection can be a set of earmuffs ($10-$20) or a set of foam earplugs (set of 6 $3). The last thing youíre going to get there is a Gun Cleaning kit. Ask for a "multi-gun" kit ($12) that is capable of cleaning several types of guns, this kit should come with all the liquids (Bore Cleaner & Oil Lubricant) you will need to clean your gun after firing it.

Off to the range

Now itís time for your "coming out" ball. Careful preparation is required for this stage. First, take out the Yellow Pages and look under the heading "Gun Ranges" if you canít find that then call the place you bought your gun from and ask them if they know of a place where you can go shoot. Once youíve located a suitable range, itís prep time. LISTEN CLOSELY! Wear suitable clothing, no slit to the thigh evening dresses, no mini-skirts. Comfortable pants or shorts are acceptable. Tops should be comfortable and accent your chest (if you have one), try not to show TOO much cleavage. Wear sturdy shoes. Donít slather on the war paint. If itís hot, it just melts. Select a tasteful perfume, but donít marinate in it. Remember your outfit isnít complete without your gun, your ammo, and your safety equipment!! Drive to the gun range. When you get there, go into the building and ask to use the pistol range. There is usually a small fee, up to $20 (usually less) to use the range. Ask for a target (just get a circle target, you donít need any silhouettes at this point) and ask about the safety regulations. Donít EVEN try to fool ANYBODY about your skills or knowledge, my 8 year-old daughter could sniff you out as a fraud. Saunter out to the pistol range, keep your mouth SHUT (I know itís hard) and LOOK at your surroundings. Itís very likely that the guy behind the desk has called the range master/safety officer on a walkie-talkie and told him/her about an accident waiting to happen on itís way. Before you get too close remember to put your ear protection on/in & put your eye protection on. You did remember to bring them right? You will also need to take your pistol and 2 boxes of ammo with you. This is what you are looking FOR:

Now, THIS is what you WANT: find an older gentleman that seems to be somewhat competent at what heís doing. Stay AWAY from anyone that is younger than 30 and even remotely attractive to you. Stay AWAY from anyone that is pointing his weapon in any direction other than straight down or at the target (big time safety hazard). After you locate your mark, I mean future instructor, this is what you DO. Line up behind your victim, wait patiently (no one said this was going to be easy) until the guns stop going off and everyone stops shooting. LISTEN for the range master to call out for a "ceasefire" (this means stop shooting, everyone is going to get up and step away from the tables, some will go look at their targets). This is when you make your move. Iím not going to tell you exactly HOW to do this, itís instinctive (unless youíre "butch"). Your goal is to ask this "nice man" for help. Use the old "my father passed away (instant sympathy) and left me his gun. I never fired one and want to learn how to defend myself (protection instinct)". If you prepared properly (and he ainít gay) then heís hooked. This nice man is going to spend the rest of the afternoon hopefully giving you years of instruction and advice. Heck, he might even ask you out (check to see if heís married first). After you shoot your 2 boxes of ammo, ask him to show you how to clean your pistol. Now you will find out why I recommend revolvers. They are VERY reliable, you donít have to take them apart to clean, and an idiot can handle them. Anyway, youíre on your way to learning to shoot. You might be a natural shooter and able to "graduate" right away OR you might spend 10 or so boxes of .38 ammo learning, BUT practice and you WILL learn. Your "graduation" is the following.

You are NOT good enough until you can hit a 12" target at 10 yards (30í) 5 out of 6 times. Practice until you can DO IT!!

The next lesson and the next weapon

AFTER youíve mastered (or are well on your way to mastering) the pistol, I recommend that you purchase a shotgun next. Again, youíre going to visit the pawnshops and gun stores in your area and look for a good used shotgun. If you are petite (under 5í6" and less than 125#) then Iím going to recommend a 20 gauge shotgun. I taught my ex-wife (98# @ 5í2") how to shoot a 12 gauge shotgun, but I canít count on someone being there for you. A 20 gauge has plenty of punch on the business end and ammo is fairly plentiful for it. A 12 gauge is better, but Iíd rather you learn, know, and use a 20 if it fits you better. The brand names that youíre going to be looking for are: Winchester, Remington, & Mossberg. Get a pump shotgun (more reliable, easier to care for) that can take at least 5 shells in the under barrel magazine tube. Your approximate cost should be around $170-$250 for a decent weapon. When you get it, also purchase 4 boxes of #7 ½ birdshot to practice with. Again, go out to your favorite range (where you should be well known by now) and look up one of the familiar faces to teach you how to load, shoot, and clean this gun. For starters just get used to firing this beast. Itís going to make a lot more noise than your pistol and will have more kick to it. Thatís OK because by now youíre no longer afraid of noise, kick, or guns. Shoot at some full size silhouettes to see how the birdshot patterns (shotguns are different because they shoot LOTS of little BBs) so you can see where best to "aim". Try shooting from both the hip and the shoulder so you know how your particular guns shoots. After youíre comfortable with it then you can try some skeet or trap shooting. This is where a small clay "pigeon" is thrown into the air and you try to hit it. This is very different from pistol shooting but you may find it interesting and/or challenging. Hitting a moving target is a lot harder than shooting at a piece of paper. This section doesnít need to be as detailed as the first. First of all pistols are supposed to be harder to shoot (I never thought so) and second of all you should be comfortable with guns and have made a few new friends at the range.

Ammunition Choices

The bullets and shells that youíve been shooting are deadly but they arenít the best choices out there. For your pistol youíre going to need ammo that packs MORE punch. In a live or die situation youíre probably only going to get one or two shots off. The .38 Special isnít a real powerful load but it got the job done for many years (itís WHERE you put the shot that counts). To increase the power of this caliber youíre going to want to use a hollow point or some type of dum dum bullet. Federalís Hydra-Shokís seem to be real popular in most gun magazines. Get at least 2 boxes of these, they come in a 20 round box and still average 2x what you pay for a 50 round box of regular bullets.

For your shotgun, youíre going to want more knockdown power also. After you become familiar with it youíll find that there is a wide variety of loads that you can shoot in your shotgun. For small birds use #7 ½ shot, for heavier, larger birds (like geese or ducks) youíll need a heavier bullet get #8 or #9 shot. For large game (deer, etc.) and for self-defense get 00 buck (called double ought buck shot) and slugs (one very large and very heavy piece of lead). Get a couple of boxes of each type for around the house. The birdshot comes in 25 round boxes, the 00 buck and slugs usually come in a 5 round box. For defense rounds (00 buck/slug) you should probably have 3-5 boxes of each.

If you expect to have to use your weapons over a longer period of time without the ability to get more ammo you will probably want to have more ammo stocked. Itís up to you as to how much you think your going to need. Just remember this, a gun without ammo is just an expensive club.

What about rifles?

Rifles are for longer range shooting, given that this article is written for the neo-phytes that have never shot a gun before, they are a little beyond your immediate needs. After you have become familiar with those weapons that weíve discussed, you can then move on to rifles. By then Iím sure that just like every other shooter out there you will have developed and refined your opinions about guns to the point that you sure donít need MY input!

With what Iíve covered in this article you should have the ability to defend your family and protect yourself within a reasonably short period of time. How short a period of time you say? Thatís based upon your natural ability and the amount of practicing that you DO. Of course, if you donít ACT on this information and PRACTICE your shooting skills then you will NOT acquire this ability. The choice is yours.

As a final note:

Those folks that know me well would probably be surprised at my rude comments in some parts of this article. My wife was repeatedly looking over my shoulder as I wrote this and popped me in the head at least a couple of times. My teenage daughter kept saying "oh, youíre so WRONG". Iím a true southern gentleman born and bred. If you made it all the way to the end of this article without "leaving" in disgust then you probably have the determination and "grit" necessary to excel in the shooting sports. I apologize to those that were offended. I leave you with this thought.

The Second Amendment was NEVER about hunting, it was about a peopleís ability to defend themselves from their own government should it EVER get out of their control.

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