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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do you get a ‘kick’ out of shooting?

By Guest Contributor Dawn Brown
Recoil, also known as kick or kickback, is the backward momentum of a gun when it is fired.  Many beginners are very concerned about how much recoil a gun is going to produce when it fires.  That is completely understandable because if you’ve never shot a gun before, you don’t know what to expect.  What is surprising to me is number of husbands who send their wives to the range with a large caliber gun for their first shooting experience.  I’m not saying that women can’t handle the larger caliber guns, but giving a brand new shooter a .38 Special snub nose revolver or a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol to learn with might be setting them up for failure, or at least an extreme dislike of shooting.
If you are a first-time shooter, why not set yourself up for success by starting out with a smaller caliber, such as a .22 pistol?  As you can see from the pictures below, the muzzle barely lifts up when the shot is fired.  The minimal recoil will help you get past any anxiety or nervousness during those first shots.  It will also allow you to focus on the fundamentals of shooting, rather than stressing out about the recoil of the gun with every shot.
The next set of pictures show the recoil of a .380 caliber pistol.  The .380s are popular with many people who carry concealed because they are so small.  The .380 cartridge is smaller than a 9mm cartridge and therefore slightly less powerful, but due to the short barrel length of the pistol you will experience some recoil.  All that energy has to go somewhere, so it goes towards “open space” (where your hands are not gripping the gun), which is up and back if you have a solid two-handed grip.
The 9mm cartridge is powerful enough for self-defense use, but it is smaller than a .40 or .45 cartridge.  This means that the recoil of a 9mm pistol will be lighter than those calibers, but you are going to feel more recoil than the .22 and .380 pistols.  The pistol being fired below has a compact 3.8” barrel.  As mentioned before, the shorter the barrel, the more recoil.  A 9mm pistol with a longer barrel might not recoil as much as the one in this picture.
Now, let’s take a look at the recoil of a .40 caliber pistol.  If you’ve never shot before, you’re nervous and a little scared, and you don’t know how to properly grip a pistol, do you think a .40 caliber pistol would be a good one to start with?  I sure don’t!
The .45 caliber pistols have quite a bit of recoil, too, but they are generally larger and heavier so the recoil doesn’t feel as harsh as you might expect.  There is still quite a bit of kick, as you can tell by this picture.
These snapshots were taken from this short video of one of our female employees shooting a variety of semi-automatic pistols ranging from .22 to .45 caliber.  You can check out the video here:
At BluCore, we want new shooters to get a “kick” out of their first shooting experience and have it be a positive one.  We wrote this blog and made this video to showcase the recoil of the most popular calibers of semi-automatic pistols.  Sometimes more experienced shooters forget what it’s like to shoot a gun for the first time and they try to get others to start with gun that is “too much” for a beginner.  Why not give new shooters the best chance for success by starting them out with a lower caliber pistol so they can get comfortable shooting and work on their fundamentals?  Once they have the confidence and skills, they will be more than ready to take on the big guns.
Follow her personal blog at and BluCore’s blog at

Monday, October 15, 2012

Going Through The Change

Photo: Change of seasons by Silveryn

I suppose I could be writing about the change of seasons as we all are invigorated by the crisp weather and the changing leaves. Or, I could even be writing about THE CHANGE. You know the change that involves hormones and hot flashes! 

No, I won’t go there, not today.  The change I am talking about is the very profound change that a woman goes through after making the decision to own a firearm, goes through the very important process of deciding which firearm is right for her and training to properly, safely and proficiently learn how to shoot it to defend herself. 

It changes us profoundly. We feel different and we move through our daily lives differently. We in fact are different. How so? We have confidence. With this new sense of confidence we start to look people in the eyes more when we are out and about. We scan the environment with new keen sense of awareness of possible risks and people out of place. We walk through parking lots, restaurants and other public places more prepared and with the confidence that given the worst possible case scenario, we know we are fully prepared to give it all we’ve got to defend ourselves. This not only changes us in the realm of self protection, it also effects every aspect of our lives and relationships.

I believe society breeds high levels of insecurity in women, socially, emotionally and physically. We seem to always be the “weaker one” or the one “not good enough”. The ability to level the playing field, or more appropriately the battle field, is extremely significant for a woman. We feel less like a victim and more like an empowered, fierce force. 

The role of self protector doesn’t come naturally for most women. We are raised to believe we are protected by others. Today, this just isn’t an option for it is not possible in this crazy world, with our crazy schedules to be protected by our men, our police or others all of the time. Women are taking on this role with courage, intelligence and passion.

So we are changed on the outside because we now carry a firearm and are equipped to defend ourselves, but we are also changed on the inside because we carry a new sense of confidence that impacts every area of our lives. 

Has it changed you? 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Are You Ready?

Election season is deeply upon us. Sadly with that comes quite a bit of dirty politics, annoying ads and an endless onslaught of phone calls! It is quite easy to “tune out” and just go MIA from heated conversations and the stress of hearing all of the doom and gloom or worse, to be lulled into thinking that your vote doesn’t mean anything. 

Responsibility comes naturally to us as gun owners, we are fully aware of our responsibility to “Bear our arms” legally and safely. We each have a deep rooted and almost religious understanding of what freedom means. Do we really understand how easily we can loose these freedoms? Are we also willing to take responsibility to protect them?

I spoke with and listened to Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association last night give a passionate talk about the very real and very present threats to this and other foundational freedoms we each are so blessed to have. He said something that struck me as very profound. He shared that we are only as secure as our ability to protect ourselves. Think about that for a moment. It is a simple statement  yet profound as we look at it personally and nationally. It speaks to our ability to protect ourselves from a violent criminal but it is also profound as we look at it in terms of how our country is governed. Our ability to protect ourselves is one that is granted to us as US Citizens by our government.. Yes I believe that the human right of freedom is one that comes from God, but as US Citizens we also accept the fact that these laws and even our rights are decided and determined by our elected government. These, as Americans we agree to live by. Our “ability to protect ourselves”  therefore comes from our government. The deepest beauty in our democracy is that we have a voice - WE elect the people that are in essence our government. 

I am not a politician and won’t pretend to fully understand all of the nuances of the political game being played with our 2nd Amendment rights. But I do know that lurking just below the surface - pressing hard up against our rights as we currently know them is a very real threat. One that no matter how much we complain, argue and defiantly cry out “From my cold dead hands”, jeopardizes them.  Our rights as citizens of this country are in the hands humans, of our elected politicians. Electing and putting the right ones there is our job alone. Yours and mine, period. We must take the responsibility and we must also be held accountable for the outcome.

Did you know that our 2nd Amendment was almost lost? In 2010 the Supreme Court upheld this fundamental right to bear arms by just 1 vote!  Are you aware that the next President of the United States will likely be appointing 1 to 3 new Justices to the Supreme Court during the next presidential term? The election of our next President is crucial. 

We have all heard about the UN Arms Treaty and were relieved when it was dropped during this years discussions. The reality is - it will be back in full glory next year.! Our Senate however, must ratify such a treaty if it were passed for it to be honored here in the US. Who those Senators are whom will be making that decision is critical. You will be deciding that NOW.

There are many more examples of legislation both nationally and at the state level that are part of the cancerous efforts to eliminate our 2nd Amendment rights.

Should you be scared? Yes, you should. Not scared stiff and immobilized but scared into action.

What is the point of this article? It is NOT to begin an argument over any of these issues and not to tell you how or who to vote for. It is to challenge you to take responsibility for your government. Take the time to understand the significance of this election season and  educate yourself on the politicians and the issues. Support those organizations that are working to protect your rights and of course to inspire you to VOTE .  Talk with your family, friends and co-workers and “Rally The Troops” to do the same. It literally may be now or never.  

Are you willing to take your chances? I’m not and pray you aren’t either.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When You've Got To Go.... You've Got To Go!

The ladies room, potty, doing your business, going to the bathroom, or even powdering your nose. Whatever you call it - we ALL have to do it! The problem is, what in the world do you do with your concealed firearm when you do? 

For some obvious reasons, men have it a little easier in this department, well... most of the time. There is quite a bit of confusion and not a lot of discussion on this “interesting” topic. In a recent discussion on The Well Armed Woman Facebook page, the lack of information clearly results in less than safe solutions. So, what should you do? You don’t want anyone in the next stall to see your firearm, freak out and call 911 when you’re simply answering Mother Nature’s call. You don’t want it to fall on the floor and slide over to into the next stall with a mother assisting her young child and you certainly don’t want to do anything that could risk an accidental discharge. So what do you do? 

Photo: Theo Romeo UCD Advocate
The answer is quite simple. The less you do the better! Anytime your remove your firearm from its holster you create risk. A well made in the pants or on the waist holster should hold your firearm snug, even if you accidentally turn it upside down. If your’s doesn’t - get a new one.  Not everyone likes a thumb break but here is a good place where they come in handy. Keep your hand on the HOLSTERED firearm as you carefully slide down your pants and keep your hand on it. Keep the top of your pants up off the floor and out of view from “neighbors”. If you’re wearing a belt, this is even more important as once you undo your belt - the weight of whole package takes on a mind of its own. 

The problems arise when you remove the firearm to get comfortable. Some of you are placing it on the toilet paper dispenser, the back of the toilet and even hanging it by the trigger guard on the hook on the door. These are not safe solutions and yes, even the most responsible and conscientious gun owners can leave and forget their firearms behind. It has happened, perhaps it has even to you. 

Many women are wearing bra holsters and belly bands. With these holsters this challenge is eliminated. For those of you that carry in your purse, as awkward as it may be, place your purse on your lap or even hang it over your body cross body style.  

If for some reason not addressed here you MUST remove the firearm from your body, keep it holstered and hold it or keep it on your lap while you’re “busy”.

All of this “work” just to do your business may seem cumbersome, uncomfortable and even a pain in the neck. The truth is, this comes with the responsibility of safe gun ownership. If you really think about it, we are very lucky to even have the right and opportunity to be a little uncomfortable this way.  So... Give thanks and go take care of business! 

Monday, August 20, 2012


It was a long day of travel - I kept wondering why did Thunder Ranch have to be so far away in the mountains? Once I arrived I quickly understood. The property was breathtaking. The facilities even more impressive. This was way more than a shooting range, this was a serious training facility - surrounded by God’s amazing majesty. I hand’t met Clint or Heidi previously - our entire relationship had been a “digital one”. Facebook, email and a couple of phone calls. I knew they were special people as it was easy to tell even via email, however, I was a little nervous. They had contributed so much to The Well Armed Woman with their positive support and the incredibly generous donation of the Ultimate Giveaway Training Class and they are legends. I wondered what they were expecting in me? We’re they expecting a highly seasoned gun gal? One who already knew all they were about to cover in the class? 

Of course all that worrying for nothing. I was greeted by two warm and gracious faces and big hugs.  Instantly I was comfortable and felt like I had known them for many years. 

Trainings start early at the Ranch - there is so much to do and much ground to cover.   First we met the women from all over the country taking the class. An impressive group of women representing every demographic and every level of experience. Some with none, some with much and everything in-between. I was thrilled to get to meet some of TWAW Facebook fans that were there. We spent the first morning in the classroom where Clint reviewed facility and safety information, what we would be covering and the basics of learning to “fight”. We all were riveted! Not only by what we were being told - but with Clint and his totally captivating “Clint Self”. I don’t think any of us have ever met anyone like Clint Smith. Here are few words to attempt to describe the indescribable! Bold, candid, straight shooting, blunt, raw, serious, funny with a dash of shy. Two of the young moms in the group shared with me on the last day that at home, because they have young children, they work so hard to keep their language and that of others “appropriate”. They said at first they were shocked at Clint’s candor, but by the end, they laughed and said they had started to sound like him. 

We started on the range after lunch with the in-depth safety reminders and rules. (which is how we started each and every session) Some basic shooting first - just to get the jitters out and to get comfortable on the range. We quickly progressed to multiple shot drills from about 15 yards. We incorporated verbal commands - very loud ones I must say, and practiced working alongside a partner, providing cover for reloads and malfunctions. Heidi, Clint and their staff followed each of us closely, working individually with each, guiding and instructing us on what we each needed to correct. We shot all afternoon, hundreds of rounds!  I think we all were in firearm heaven even with the blisters that began to show. Arms were tired, hands were tired - but eyes and smiles were wide. 

I was pooped.. My arms and hands hurt but I couldn’t wait for day two. I slept like a baby. We were on the range by 7am. I arrived with blisters bandaged and all 7 magazines fully loaded. Day two had movement drills, leaning, flash light training, clearing malfunctions and shooting steel plates (way harder than it looks!) and the  TERMINATOR 3 in store for the afternoon. At one time, Heidi had us all stand at the other end of the range with our backs to her and she and her staff created malfunctions in each of our firearms. We had to run, find our firearm, attempt to shoot, discover the malfunction and clear it and shoot the target (attacker) 3 times in each zone. Talk about stressful! It actually was probably quite comical if you were to watch a video of it. Thankfully, none exists. I hope!!! 

Terminator 3 is a two story structure where we would begin to learn to scan and maneuver inside a building after a threat in multiple light levels. There was quite a bit of apprehension in anticipation for this. Moving ourselves and our skills from the stagnant shooting range at home into a life like scenario of our homes proved to be emotionally challenging for some. I think the reality of what we were really here for began to sink in.

We donned our body armor and  were taught, one by one how to maximize the distance as we cleared each room, clearing doorways and walls. It was awesome to bring all of the skills we had learned into a scenario and put them all together to protect ourselves, our families, our home and yes to victoriously get the bad guy. We each had the opportunity to work the Terminator 3 three times individually with clint, working various layouts and multiple light levels over the last 2 days. 
Day two ended in victory and bodies ready for bed. Funny, I don’t really remember much about the evenings. I know I ate and I know I slept! 

Day three was for me, my favorite - we moved and shot from every conceivable position. We ran forwards, backwards, sideways,  we kneeled, we sat, we laid. We fired massive amounts of ammunition (with pretty impressive precision I must say) into every zone from every distance. When it was time for the final drill of the course, I was at the back of the range waiting to be the last one through Terminator 3. As I watched I saw a totally different group of ladies on that line. They were confident, competent, strong and powerful. I don’t know how many rounds Heidi instructed them to fire - but it was a lot! It was like the 4th of July fireworks. I just smiled at the sight and sound of these incredible Well Armed Women, truly ready to fight for their lives.. 

On the long drive and flight home I reviewed all that I had learned. Here are a few of the key lessons and impressions. 

Clint and Heidi are two amazing people. Passionate and gifted teachers committed to helping people train to their greatest potential. I am blessed to have these two new friends.

The threats we arm ourselves for are very real and very ugly. We must face that and train to fight for our lives. 

Training is perishable - we can’t train and then never practice to keep it “fresh”. With training comes a commitment to keep our skills honed. 

Carrying a firearm is a lifestyle change. If we make the choice - we accept the “inconveniences” and the responsibilities that come with it. As Clint said, “Carrying a firearm isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it is supposed to be comforting.”

Nothing can replace live training. Do all you can do to get trained. Save coffee money, don't buy as many pairs of shoes, sacrifice where you can to get the training you need to save your life. 

Training to fight and why we train refreshed my memory of Ruth. Many of you have met Ruth as I have shared her story here on my blog. It is why we train and why the work of The Well Armed Woman is so incredibly important. In her memory - we train so there is never another story like Ruth’s.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Whatever men can do...

Written by Mary McDonald.. Guest Contributor

Whatever men can do. . .
This past weekend, my neighbors were having a little family barbeque and invited my son and I over.  Kind of a welcome back home for a woman that was working out of town for a couple of months.  Also, a welcome to the neighborhood for Ann, who is the new girlfriend of 70 year old Tom, who's lived next door for the past four years.  Little four foot nine inch Ann was opening a jar of pickles, finding it a bit difficult until she started banging on the lid to loosen the seal.  I told her she should have gotten Tom to open it while he was there.  She looked up at me and said, "Whatever a man can do, a woman can do, and usually do it a whole lot better."

Which is true.  Personally, with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis in my hands, I don't mind asking my son (with much larger hands) to open a jar for me.  But I also have jar openers and will usually do that myself.  I also know there are far too many times when I do what other single moms do -- forget waiting on someone else, I'll just do it myself.  But I was raised by a mom who taught four kids, two boys and two girls, how to cook, sew, and do laundry.  And my dad insisted we all had to know how to change the oil and the air filter on our vehicles.  He taught us enough about engines that we can usually diagnose what's happening, or at least what system is affected, before it goes into the shop.  My brothers usually do most of the work themselves.  My sister and I usually have guys look at us strange when we explain what's happening, until they realize we actually know what we're talking about.

My dad also taught us how to shoot a single shot .22 rifle, took my brothers hunting, and would have taken my sister or I if we had pushed to go with him.  But picking up a big shotgun and bruising my shoulder, like my sister did, wasn't my idea of fun.  He taught us all to respect a firearm, something he taught my son as well.  Oddly enough, it's my 27 year old son who's taught me more about firearms than my dad.  And although my dad's been gone now for six years, I know that I wouldn't have discussed handguns or carrying a concealed weapon with him.  It was not something he felt was necessary, but it's something I feel is important in my everyday life.

I equate my knowledge of guns and gun handling to cars.  I know how they work, how to fill them with oil, gas, and air.  How to change the air filter, change a tire, replace windshield wipers. I like trucks over cars, couldn't really identify different models or some of the extras on cars, could care less about the flash and power. I just want something reliable, comfortable and economical that has the power I need when I'm ready to haul something or pick something up.  I could change the oil if absolutely necessary but would prefer to let my son do it -- he's a new mechanic, almost finished with his associates degree in automotive technology.  I know how brakes work, he knows the proper terminology, all the parts, and how each works.  He doesn't mind getting greasy, I can't wait to wash my hands.  I know bookkeeping and taxes, he could figure it out if necessary but would prefer to get someone else to do it for him.

The same principle applies when it comes to handguns -- he taught me how they work, how to take apart and clean my handgun, how to secure it, how to shoot it.  I load my magazines, load my handgun, clear any jams, then take it apart and clean it after target practice.  I know my gun well, but I don't know the intricacies of revolvers or how to identify half the brands on the market.  As a fiction writer, ideas come to me that lead me in directions I never expected.  So a new story about concealed carry had me a bit nervous, knowing the story I needed to tell but not having the knowledge to properly explain the situations involving guns.  Talking to others on forums or social networking sites, I sometimes feel like I'm totally clueless.  And some guys have a habit of making others, especially women, feel inadequate, stupid, or off base.  Which is precisely the message I try to offset in my stories.

As women, we shouldn't feel slighted because we either don't understand a subject or don't have as much knowledge on a subject as another person.  We all have our talents, and we need to be confident in our strengths while learning to offset our weaknesses.  If it means partnering with others, then find a good partner or good group.  But when it comes to a handgun, be confident in your own weapon, in how to handle and clean it.  Don't allow others to make you feel inadequate because you don't have an extensive knowledge of other firearms.  Your handgun is your partner.  You choose it based on your experience and comfort level, and not based on the recommendations or insistence of another.

I may not have an extensive knowledge of handguns and gun instruction, but I do know how to weave a good story that involves women.  And sometimes about concealed carry.  Which means, I need beta readers to read  through those sections and explain how to describe something better or correct my verbage, all without getting offended with the correction.  Something Carrie has graciously agreed to do for me.  I suggest other women do the same -- find others who can help them learn in a constructive, reinforcing environment while sharing their own talents, their own strengths.

And I have to agree with Ann -- anything a man can do, women can usually do better.  Something I am finding more and more with sites like The Well Armed Woman.

Mary "Dynk" McDonald 

Monday, July 30, 2012


General George Patton

No, not the major German offensive, launched toward the end of World War II, but the daily battle of women all over the U.S. trying desperately to discreetly carry their firearm. The majority of women prefer on the body carry but find it so difficult at times, the concealed carry purse becomes the fall back even though for most it is less preferred.
Women have curves, sometimes big ones, but bulges??? No, we would like to leave those to the men! A big bulge in a strange place just will not work for most women. Women are very concerned about the firearm being truly concealed, this is key for them to effectively protect themselves in many situations. A large bulge gives away the advantage. 
I think women would be wise to explore how they will carry, what the holster options are for their preferred mode of carry and in many cases, what models these holsters are designed for prior to purchasing their gun. I think we tend to go shopping for the gun first, then struggle with how we are going to carry the darn thing after we get it. For me, my first gun was a Kimber .45 - not a practical carry gun for a 5’1”, 110 lb. woman! But, I loved the gun, loved the way it felt in my hand and loved the power and that is what drove my decision. I did not fully consider how I would conceal it, I rationalized that I would just figure that out later. Probably not the wisest decision. Although I love my Kimber as she was my first, I had to buy another, smaller firearm that I could “really” conceal. Yes, loving your gun and everything about  it is absolutely MANDATORY but so is having it on you all the time.

Bra Holster

There are more holster options for women now, but some are limited in the number of models they will fit, so if a bra holster is really the best option for you, you want to know what models it is available for prior to shopping for your gun. If you can find the perfect match - A firearm you love and a holster you will wear - you will successfully carry your firearm. If it is a mis-match you wont  carry all the time like you should - or you might settle for a less than ideal mode of carry that can inhibit your effectiveness when you need it most. 

The Well Armed Woman Thigh Holster
w/ Garter
It is so frustrating for women to want to use a particular type of holster to only learn that it is not available for their firearms. There are of course some “universal” options that work very well, but again the size, weight  and width of the firearm is a significant factor. 
So if you have not purchased your carry firearm take some time to really consider what type of clothing you tent to wear most often for both for work and pleasure and investigate the best options for you. At The Well Armed Woman I try to help by making and offering videos demonstrating various holsters to help you make the best decision possible. I also offer most holsters as returnable if they just don’t work for you. But do your homework first to minimize frustration and unnecessary shipping costs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Concealed Carry For Larger Women


Women have multiple challenges carrying a firearm. Many of those challenges are due to the curves and shorter waists of the female body. Adding to the problem is finding holsters that can be worn comfortably, discreetly and safely while allowing for effective access to the firearm should the need arise. Most holsters are designed by men for a man's body and typical male clothing styles.

For larger, full-figured women the challenges are even greater. A large bust makes reaching for the firearm difficult and sometimes impossible if crossing the body is necessary. A fuller middle also interferes with reach and accessibility. Clothing styles and options that accommodate concealed carry are limited, which only adds to the problems and frustrations. For some women, the combination of these challenges makes typical methods of concealed carry so uncomfortable and frustrating that they give up trying.

Each woman naturally will have her own set of challenges because every woman's body is unique. But the issues faced by larger women are significant and the topic is often neglected. Here, I will attempt to break down the problems as shared by hundreds of women who frequent The Well Armed Woman site, as well as advice and ideas they shared that work for them. Again - there is no single solution to the various problems larger women have, but I hope to offer two things: one - the sense that, as a larger women, you are not alone and that many women share your frustrations; and two - that through the sharing of all of these women, perhaps there is a suggestion or two that you will find helpful to carry your firearm safely and comfortably. All women need to push through and overcome their particular obstacles because if your gun is not on or with you - it can't protect you.

So, here are the most common problems:

Large Bust
Buxom women shared a few key issues pertaining to full-sized busts. The primary issue is reach. They simply can't get around their breasts to get to their gun, whether in a shoulder, cross-body, an on- or in-the-waistband holster, or even a bra holster. One might assume that a bra holster would work well, given that large breasts create sufficient "hiding space" for a gun, but a majority of larger women responded that bra holsters don't work for them, explaining that the gun "gets lost" and is extremely hard to draw. Sweat under the breasts was another key negative commonly shared.

Wide Around The Middle
Being wide around the middle restricts the ability to reach the holstered firearm especially with bra holsters and on- or in-the-waistband holsters (whether appendix or cross body). The need to wear looser stretch pants with elastic waistbands also limits the possible options for on- or in-the-waistband holsters as they need the support of either a sturdy, wide belt or a substantial and tight waistband. Having a large middle also makes it tough to access an ankle holster. Another common frustration of larger women is that the grip of the gun digs into them in most on-the-waist forms of carry.

Short Waisted
Most women are more short waisted than men. This makes drawing from an on-the-hip holster difficult as there is not enough room to fully clear the firearm without running a fist into the underarm or breast. And the more of you there is in that shorter distance, the tougher this becomes. The distance is simply not sufficient for an effective draw. Most on-the-hip holsters ride too high which only makes things worse. When you factor in elastic or weak waistbands and it becomes almost impossible.

Here are some suggestions women made:

So, what can you do to make concealed carry more comfortable and effective for you? This depends on your climate, and any one of the above issues or a combination of them. But there are a couple of common areas of agreement among the women we polled. The majority found the belly band to be a very good option. Lying against the skin, it can be rotated to any position around the middle. Belly bands can also be worn high or low on the middle, so the user can find the location most comfortable for her and which provides the easiest access to her gun. Unfortunately, a common complaint was that in warmer weather, belly bands can be hot to wear.

An alternative suggested by very large chested women was using an inside-the-waistband holster like "The Betty", but clipping it to the top of the bra near the arm pit. So the gun lies on top corner of the breast, not under it. A simple reach through the collar of the shirt allows for easy access. 

Carrying the firearm on the waist with a loose fitting cover shirt or in the pants, off the back of the hip, more toward the small of the back was another successful position for many of the larger chested, wider middle women. The middle and the bust do not come into play which allows for smoother access. Whenever holstering on the back, however, a woman must be hyper alert to her surroundings as she may be more vulnerable to another person gaining access to it from behind.

The Remora or a similar rubberized pocket holster, which will stick firmly to clothing without the need of a clip was another popular option for in-the-waistband carry. Many women reported to me that because of the non-slip qualities of the rubber - you can place the firearm in any location and it stays put, making it ideal for stretch waistbands.
Another suggested option is a magnetic outside-the-waistband holster, which instead of a metal clip, uses a very strong magnet that locks shut over the waistband. No belt is required, the strength of the magnet providing the necessary support. Also available are paddle holsters which slide down the inside of the pants, acting as a brace to keep the holster in place when no belt is available.

For larger women who happen to be long waisted, a very positive solution is to wear low rise pants. The lowered waistband will increase the distance between the grip of the gun and the armpit. Adjusting the location to just off the hip (front or back) and adjusting the cant to a steeper angle for easier access is also effective.

For women whose middles were "in the middle", the most successful reported option was in-the-waistband, appendix-style carry. Because the firearm is carried in the fleshy front (in front of the hip bone) this was found to be a very comfortable carry position, providing good access to the waist area.
The ankle holster was suggested by many women who deal with large bust and shorter waist issues, but this option is reported as ineffective for women who are larger in the middle as noted earlier.

The last and most reluctantly suggested option for most of these women is carrying in a concealed carry purse or fanny pack. Carrying in an external bag takes an extra dose of awareness and responsibility, but for many women it can be the difference between carrying and not carrying. When this is your only option, the firearm must be in a sleeve or pocket holster with the trigger fully covered and the firearm in a separate compartment within the bag. There are just too many items in the purse that can get in the trigger guard and contribute to an accidental discharge. The bag must be on you and with you at all times. Having the firearm in a separate compartment also makes access easier and faster. No fumbling around - you know right where it is.

Practice is essential when wearing any new holster or when changing the position of one you already use. The utmost care must be taken to make sure you are not "covering" yourself at any time during holstering and un-holstering. Practice with your UNLOADED gun (checking 3 times) to get comfortable and effective with the new holster and location.

Our ability to carry a concealed firearm is a powerful equalizer for women when assaulted. For many large women, running away or running for cover may not be a realistic option. She must be able to access her gun quickly, safely and with the skill necessary to defend herself. That requires at least three things: The gun must be with her, it must be holstered in a manner and location that SHE can manage and she must be well-trained and prepared to draw and use it effectively.

A sincere thanks to all the women who bravely shared their stories, challenges and photos with The Well Armed Woman. Hearing about your struggles and sharing what works for you will no doubt help others.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Well Armed Woman's Independence Day

As Well Armed Women we enjoy our own personal form of Independence Day each and every day! 

By taking responsibility of our personal self defense, we gain a sense of independence which is both physical as well as emotional. 

Physically, we are equipped and trained to carry and use a firearm to use effectively if heaven forbid our lives are at risk. Emotionally we have a confidence and sense that if we have to, we will know what to do and will have the strength and courage to defend ourselves effectively.

I will never forget the overwhelming sense of personal confidence I felt when I began carrying a firearm. Internally I felt strong and capable. It really changed the way I "moved" through my life. My self confidence rose and for probably the first time in my life, I knew what it was to be truly empowered and independent!

I recently posed the following question to the women on Facebook: As a Well Armed Woman, one word that describes how that makes me feel is ____________. The words the hundreds of women used to describe this feeling was really inspirational. Let me share a few of them with you. 

Bad A**
As we all celebrate our nations independence, 
I want to celebrate YOURS!  
I'm proud to be your Sister In Arms and I salute your commitment to safe and responsible gun ownership. 

Happy Independence Day! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Well Armed Woman ULTIMATE Giveaway is ON

The Well Armed Woman has teamed up with Clint and Heidi Smith, owners of Thunder Ranch in what may be the most significant giveaway ever for women firearm enthusiasts. Women from all over the country are submitting essays and videos sharing “What makes them a Well Armed Woman and why,” to be entered into The Well Armed Woman Ultimate Giveaway. The winning Well Armed Woman will win a full 3 day training course (of their choice) with the Smith's at their premier firearms training school Thunder Ranch in Oregon, lodging in a quaint lakeside cabin, 1000 rounds of ammunition and a $200 shopping spree at The Well Armed Woman. This is a $2200 package!  
"I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy." Clint Smith

What an amazing way to educate, equip and empower a woman shooter! So many women are eager and hungry to learn to handle firearms safely and effectively to defend themselves, what better way to accomplish this than to train with one of the firearm industry’s most respected legends?
Clint and Heidi are amazing people and are such extremely experienced and gifted trainers.  The training facility at their ranch is top notch and their desire to bless others and arm them with knowledge and skill is a beautiful thing. 
Entries for The Well Armed Woman Ultimate Giveaway will be accepted through July 28th, 2012 and the winner announced August 1, 2012. Contestants may submit a brief written essay on what makes them a Well Armed Woman and why, along with photos or they may create a brief video. Entrants must be a woman, 21 years or older and be legally able to own a firearm, with no criminal record. Contest information, rules and entry form can be found on The Well Armed Woman website. HERE
So film your video or write your Well Armed Woman story and enter the fun. Maybe you will win this dream package. Help us to spread the word around the country. Share on Facebook or Twitter and send to your email list - let’s offer this to as many women as possible!

Here are some famous Clint Smith quotes:

"Dont shoot fast, shoot good."

"If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's rediculous. If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for."
"When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away."