Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Lady Survivors

I'm one of those husbands...

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Smurf Hunter:
My wife has been comfortable with owning guns for a while now.  Last year she took a women's only handgun course, where they practiced with a variety of actions and gun types - but they were all .22lr rimfire.  There's no phobia or emotional issues, in fact she's quite willing to arm herself.  Turns out I mistook enthusiasm for experience.

We've had a few friends and neighbors experience home burglaries, including a home invasion while the family was home.  I think this triggered the mama bear instinct, and made her want a CCW gun ASAP.  Technically, my wife is very informed about guns.  She understands the basic physics of the different actions, etc.  She really enjoys plinking with our 10/22, but shotguns are too big and loud (so she says).

She's shot my full frame Ruger GP100 a little, but it's a long heavy 6" barrel, and being a smaller woman she has a lot of trouble getting the sucker to point quickly.  Otherwise she likes the simplicity of revolvers.

This past weekend we're at a gun store, and we grip and dry fire about 4 different guns.  I was trying to nudge towards a compact 9mm (not pocket, but G26, XD compact, etc.), but she thought they were too heavy.  I explained the heavy mass of the slide, absorbs recoil, but she felt she wanted a pocket carry gun she could wear all day and in the home as well.  She said she was committed to practice and training, so I stepped aside a bit. Currently, there is hardly any inventory of the pistols I was suggesting, but a number of revolvers were in stock, including the Ruger LCRs.

Personally I was (and still am) very impressed with the Ruger LCR, and that's what she chose.  The trigger is excellent, on par with full frame guns.  That's what she bought.  I was proud that she filled out the 4473 form, used her conceal license, etc. while I waited in the lobby.  I let her drive the whole purchase process.

Anyhow, we're at the range after church yesterday.  I brought a handful of powder puff .38 special rounds, a box of 38+p defensive (what I suggest she carry, even though it's chambered for .357mag) and some .357mag rounds for me to try out.

She liked the powder puff cowboy rounds, but I only had a dozen or so loaded up already.  Then we moved up to the +p.  She fired a couple cylinders, then complained her upper arm was bothering her.  Personally I could not relate, as even the +p felt pleasant to me.  The .357mag did start to bother me, but I was in awe that I could shoot something @ 1400fps from this pocket revolver.  I did not offer .357mag for her to shoot.

So now her confidence is shaken, she has buyer's remorse, etc. I plan to load up a ton of the lightest plinking rounds, and hope she'll want to practice.  A cast lead cowboy bullet @ 600fps is better than a rock. 

Is there anything I can do to remedy this? 

I'm not sure what else you can do.  More practice with the cowboy loads then gradually add a cylinder of normal 38SPL loads.  Maybe skip the +P for a while?  My wife likes the heavy stuff, but she's not petite and dainty either.


Yea, I agree, more practice with the lighter loads and eventually work your way up from there.   Even if she never decides to shoot the full magnum round, it is always an option.....and that flexibility is very nice.

Somewhere along the line, we picked up the idea that unless we were shooting the most potent round we could load into the cylinder, we were doomed to fail in a self defense situation. Not so. Even the "anemic" .38 Long Colt was considered effective for everything except someone running jurimentado. For them, you needed a 12 ga.  For a short barrel revolver, the idea of a .357 or even a super hot .38 is borderline silly - the only thing you will get more of is flash, blast and recoil. For a hot round to be effective, you need at least a 4" barrel. For the revolver to be controllable, you need at least a medium frame.

As far as effectiveness is concerned, two of the most effective rounds for a short barrel are the .38 Special 148 gr. Target Wadcutter and the 130 gr. FMJ bulk loaded or white box stuff. The wadcutter is a soft lead flat plug driven at modest velocity, designed to punch clean holes in targets. Very accurate, low in recoil, blast and flash, and already half mushroomed, it usually expends all of its energy in the target. At the other extreme is the Full Metal Jacket .38 Spec - a modern replica of WWII issue ammo. This is for the folks who believe in penetration to punch a hole in something vital.

Even though the ballistic table numbers seem modest, remember that for most of the 19th century, the energy of most common black powder revolvers (cap-and-ball or cartridge) approached moderate .38 Special loadings. The folks back then didn't consider themselves underarmed. Your wife will not be underarmed either, but she will be able to master the revolver in an expedient manner. .357 Magnum, in my opinion, is useful only if the revolver is paired with a pistol chambered carbine in a wilderness situation. If you run out of wadcutters.....


I started out with an little ivory handled .22 short revolver. While I've "graduated" to bigger calibers, that little jewel is still my favorite.  ;)

But don't discount the .22 LR.  I used to work in ER and the docs tell you straight up that a .22 gunshot wound victim is one of the worst to come in because a .22 will ricochet around inside the body, traveling alongside bones, and cause numerous small internal wounds that are hard to find.  And as such, surgery can take hours...and in a great many cases, the victim bleeds out and dies.


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