Monday, August 9, 2010



It starts out like a bad joke. A guy and a girl walk into a gun shop...

I've heard "the conversation" many times and generally stay out of it.

It sorta goes like this: The girl wants to buy a gun and has never shot or has shot very little. She plans to devote little time to practicing after buying the gun. She wants a gun for self-defense and generally does not plan on carrying the gun on her person, but rather, in her purse. She doesn't want it to "kick" too much and likes the .22 she has shot in the past (if she has ever shot a pistol).

The guy is either a gun freak or knows something about guns in general and maybe even owns a pistola of some sort or knows nothing about guns.

If he knows about guns, he generally steers her toward revolvers for her needs, which is good advice. The guy who maybe hunts deer and bird hunts and maybe owns one pistol for home defense and knows very little about pistols is also going to recommend the revolver. Five or six shots for sure. No jams. No failures to fire. No failures to eject.

A knife is a great weapon to use for self defense, if you're willing to spend the time learning from a pro how to not only knife fight but to defend from knife attacks. If a rapist is bearing down on a woman, shooting them in the privates, as El Fisho Jr. would say, works as well if not better than a slash with a knife through that same area.

But some super gun freaks want to get their girl something they'd use, or like to use. A Glock. A 1911. A Sig or an HK. These are usually the type of guys you don't want to be next to at the range. They are inconsiderate, often they are bad shots, they think they know it all, and really, really, really want to be Jack Bauer. They wave their weapons around, loaded and hot, and take offense when you ask/tell them to keep their weapons pointed downrange at all times. I've left more than one range because of a nearby idiot over the past 3 decades, and have no problem in packing up and advising range personnel and waiting until that idiot leaves before I resume my shooting.

But I digress. So the question in the gun shop with the girl looking to buy a weapon for self defense, a weapon she will devote a very minimum in time in learning about and practicing with. The revolver is absolutely the only choice for this person. My mom and sister and wife are like that. They've learned how to shoot, and that's that. They can check a revolver to see if it's loaded, they know how to point and shoot at close quarters as well as aim for further shots, and they shoot well.

The last time Mrs. El Fisho came shooting with us, she picked up her revolver, fired a shot through it, and said, "yeah, it still works and I can still shoot it".

Despite my efforts to interest the ladies in my life to more shooting practice, it's not going to happen.

And so it goes sometimes with female gun buyers.

Yes, I see many females at the range every week, sporting everything from .22 pistols to 9's, 40's and 45's. Many of them are quite good shots and it's obvious they take their defense seriously. This summer, I've seen an awful lot of mother-daughter combos coming to the range, mom teaching the girls how to shoot. My last range trip saw three moms with about six girls shooting revolvers, all S&W and all with 4" barrels.

Chic Gaylord would be so proud.

But this last week, as I was perusing my local gun emporium on my lunch hour, in came a couple looking for a gun for her. Her man thought he knew everything about handguns, and first wanted to get her a Glock subcompact. The boyfriend said he wanted her to carry it unloaded in her purse, with no holster, so if danger struck she could rack the slide and be good to go.

My friend the gun shop owner and gunsmith and longtime lawman told him why that wasn't such a good idea. Might not have time to rack that slide if danger strikes, and fishing for a gun in a purse with no holster in a situation is doing a lot of hoping that you're going to be lucky and find that gun in time. My friend began steering them towards the revolver counter, regaling them with the many benefits a revolver has over an autoloader for someone who is not going to spend the time to learn about using an auto for self defense.

At this time, my friend called on me for some backup. I said a good S&W or Taurus J or K frame with a 3" barrel would be ideal for a purse gun, preferably a heavier one made of all steel and not a 12 or 14 ounce wonder. Simple physics, you understand. With a revolver, more weight usually = less felt recoil. Buy a set of Hogues or Pachmayrs that will fill her hand, and replace the tiny "boot" grips that Smith puts on their snubbies and small revolvers nowadays.

In his revolver cabinet, my friend had a nice Model 60 with a 3" barrel, several nice S&W and Taurus snubbies with concealed, open and internal hammers. There were several used K frames Model 10's with 4" barrels, and an assortment of older Colt Official Police and those types of older Colts and Smiths for those who really know about great revolvers.

I extolled the virtues of the Crimson Trace laser equipped models as well, if he wanted to drop some extra coin for a great defensive gun.

But unfortunately, the eyes of the "gun expert" boyfriend wandered to the cabinet holding the pink Kel Tec .32 auto. The gun expert said nobody uses revolvers anymore and everyone loves these lightweight teeny tiny guns. And look honey, it's in pink.

The store owner and I stood there watching as the Pink Gun became hers. I hope she likes a lot of recoil, for I've seen the kick that these teeny guns have. If you do manage to hit your attacker with a shot, you're likely to make him made by shooting him with a teeny tiny bullet.

Anyway, that's the conversation. I hear it all the time. Usually, the gun buying girl walks out with a nice revolver that she won't be afraid to shoot. One that when she pulls the trigger, it will go bang. For sure.

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