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Old November 8, 2012, 01:07 PM   #1
WeedWacker
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Do women hesitate when using a firearm for self defense?

SO a long running debate between me and a dear friend is women's means of self defense. I'm on the side that would like to see more women carrying firearms. My friend believes that women should be more preferential to blades because they would hesitate if they were to use a projectile weapon and cites psychology as her reasoning. I have, as of yet, been unable to find any studies or statistics that point to this claim.

Have any trainers or other women in the community observed this phenomenon?

And even if it were true, wouldn't training help overcome any hesitancy?
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:10 PM   #2
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"Do women hesitate when using a firearm for self defense?"

Same as a man....not if they're trained right.
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:22 PM   #3
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Same as a man....not if they're trained right.
I figured it was natural reaction. Development of a new skill set dictates we need disequilibrium to form new schema. Without training in place and being thrown into an unusual circumstance forces us to form the new schema as the situation develops rather than accommodating the situation and falling back on our assimilated skills.
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:26 PM   #4
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In general, I don't think those sorts of categorical statements are true. A lot depends on the individual and the individual's training. And sometimes men inappropriate will hesitate (e. g., the fellow in the Tacoma mall).
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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You'll default to the level of your training.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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No more than a man probably would, given the same level of experience and training.

In fact, many women are mentally "tougher" than some men, especially when family is at risk.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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There are significant biological differences, Thank God, between men and women and there are exceptions on both sides.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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FWIW, judging by the various news articles I've read and the inclusions in the Armed Citizen column in the NRA magazine, women don't seem to have much trouble pulling the trigger when necessary.
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Old November 8, 2012, 02:44 PM   #9
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It is at the very least rash to assume that such blanket statements will apply to all individuals. While it may be safe to say that there is a tendency for women to be more nurturing, there are frequent exceptions to that rule, different degrees of expression, and situations where that nurturing is expressed as a protective instinct. My wife is a very kind person who is universally liked, but there is no doubt in my mind that she would have been absolutely fierce if she had been forced to defend our children when they were little. (And no that I think of it, I am not sure I would want to oppose her on those grounds even now that they are adults.)

I also find it very questionable to think that women would have any tendency towards finding an edged weapon to more acceptable than a firearm. My hunch would be that the closeness and intimacy of using a knife would be less acceptable for many women, to a somewhat parallel degree to which they would exhibit the nurturing thoughts above.

I would be really interested to hear Dr. Meyers' thoughts on this subject.
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Old November 8, 2012, 03:03 PM   #10
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My wife was about as hesitant as any new shooter when I was first teaching her how to shoot. Now she shoots a small 9MM better than I can. I still outclass her with a full-sized handgun like a P229 or CZ75 but damn with those small hands she can make an LC9, K9 or Shield do some magical stuff.

I wouldn't want to be the BG breaking into my home expecting my wife to flinch or hesitate. I am by no means a professional but I have instilled in her if you are going to point the gun at someone it should be because you intend to shoot them. None of this try to reason with, talk to, talk down , hold at gunpoint stuff you see in the movies.
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Old November 8, 2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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According to Rory Miller, author of Facing Violence, everyone freezes (or hesitates) for at least a split second when attacked. He devotes an entire chapter to it. Training and awareness can help a person break out of the freeze in order to do what is necessary. If I'm ever attacked to the point where I need to call on deadly (and all attacks certainly do not warrant deadly force) I hope to use that split second of freeze time to make absolutely sure I have no recourse other than deadly force.

I've been in altercations before and had chances to seriously injure my opponent if I did what I trained to do. I've always held back, because it wasn't necessary -- I was able to end the threat without severely injuring the person. I hope I would hesitate at least a little before shooting another human being. I would venture to say that anybody who would shoot another human being without any hesitation whatsoever has a problem. Of course there is always that point of no return, but it's different for everyone.
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Old November 8, 2012, 04:08 PM   #12
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I've seen nothing that suggests women would prefer blades. I know the research pretty well.
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Old November 8, 2012, 05:09 PM   #13
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Not all of them, me Granny shot a guy was breaking into her house way back in the 50s. She had no training, just knew how to put 2 shells into the double and point it, then pull the triggers.

My ma used to shoot a 357, was a super shot too.

Blades get all messy and are for close up. I got my gals tasers. Wife has her CC permit too.
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Old November 8, 2012, 05:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
My friend believes that women should be more preferential to blades because they would hesitate if they were to use a projectile weapon and cites psychology as her reasoning.
Hmmm, I don't think so. In any event, a short edged weapon should be a weapon of last resort for anyone.
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:02 PM   #15
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Wow. A woman would hesitate to pull a trigger but have no problem using a blade for CQB style wet work? Unfounded and ridiculous. I know my wife wont hesitate. I thought I would be cool and sneak up on her while she was walking the dog and she drew on me so fast I thought I was about to die. Never doing that again. Dumb idea. I thought she needed a refresher course on situational awareness and I was (almost) dead wrong.
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:26 PM   #16
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If family is threatened, a woman would pull the trigger faster than a man. A woman's maternal instincts and sense of protection are much stronger, and that has been tested and proven (intentionally and unintentionally) many times over.
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:58 PM   #17
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When I trained private security officers in the 1980s I had several women who had trouble qualifying. I would whisper in their ear and the next qual round they averaged of 30 point increase. What did I whisper to them? "Imagine you are at home. It is 3 maybe 4 in the morning and you are alone. You wake up to find some guy in your bedroom. He is there for one thing only and won't take no for an answer. This paper target represents that guy. You have to deal with this." That usually did the trick. After that they didn't hesitate at all.
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:16 PM   #18
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Quire a few men hesitate to..

It's in ones DNA. Most women are conditioned to be home makes/peace makers. That is why so few practice with weapons. Men, on the other hand, have their DNA coded to be hunters/protectors.

That does not mean all men or women are that way but the majority are.

And that is why you see the disparagency between the two.

And do note, very very few men are John W. Hardens. Very few.

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Old November 8, 2012, 07:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Wow. A woman would hesitate to pull a trigger but have no problem using a blade for CQB style wet work?
That is exactly what I was thinking.
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:19 PM   #20
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Nothing that I've seen would suggest that's the case.

Here's a quote from a 63-year-old woman in a recent news report: "I have a family to protect and that's what I did. I protected me and mine."

The woman, a 63-year-old homeowner, was awakened by a bad guy shoving a gun into her face and screaming at her to give him money. She fought back and won.

From http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/10/...ot_intrud.html

She's not uncommon. My files are full of similar stories.

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Old November 8, 2012, 07:24 PM   #21
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I will add this:

I know a woman who is now a school counselor. Prior to being a school counselor she was an LAPD police officer. She had to fire her weapon 3 times in the line of duty, and each ended with fatal wounds to the suspect.

The first time, her and her partner were going around the rear of a house in preparation of a search warrant being conducted. The homeowner was actually hiding behind a shed and got the jump on her partner. After the suspect hit her partner with a shovel and knocked him to the ground, he was prepared to hit him again when she fired 4 times, each hitting the suspect in the torso. She didn't hesitate, she didn't think twice about what she was doing, she just acted. She said that she doesn't really know what she was thinking when it happened, she just knew that she was not going to let her partner get hurt.

The second time she was responding to a domestic abuse call. After she knocked on the door of the residence she heard the scream of a child and made entry into the home. When she reached a back room she saw a woman who appeared to be unconscious on a bed, a young girl whose face was bleeding, and a large man standing next to the girl. When she ordered the man onto the ground he grabbed the girl and was about to slam her into the bed frame and the officer fired twice, hitting the man in the upper torso; again, fatally wounding him. She recalled this situation and remembers most everything about it. She said that as soon as she saw the girl things seemed to change. When the girl's life was put in danger, she acted.

The final time that she fired her weapon was after a pursuit. She was patting down a woman when the suspect went "ballistic" as she called it. The woman elbowed the officer and pulled out a syringe and as she made an aggressive move towards my friend, both she and her partner fired, killing the woman. In this situation my friend said that she just reacted, there is really no other way to put it.


Obviously, my friend has since retired. After the last incident that I mentioned she decided that she wanted to go into a more safe occupation since she had a family and a young daughter. She still owns firearms, and I will bet anyone that if put in another situation like any of the above mentioned ones, she would not hesitate to pull the trigger.
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Old November 8, 2012, 10:09 PM   #22
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From what I've seen, women are usually better shots than men. That has no bearing on the psychology of hesitation, but it's an interesting fact. I think shooting comes more naturally to women.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:02 AM   #23
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Given that rifles and pistols and revolvers have been reduced in weight so much that it should not matter,. relative to competitive shooting, men and women ought to be pitted against each other with no quarter given either way.

Not so in combat, but we are not talking about combat.

I shoot CAS and think it is unfair for women to have their own categories and also be able to compete without restriction in any of the non-women-only categories.

But we seem not to be concerned with "fair" anymore - only about "equal outcomes."
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:11 AM   #24
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Quote:
From what I've seen, women are usually better shots than men. That has no bearing on the psychology of hesitation, but it's an interesting fact. I think shooting comes more naturally to women.
I disagree.

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Old November 9, 2012, 12:28 AM   #25
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From what I've seen, women aren't necessarily better natural shots.

The advantage I have seen many women bring to their first lesson, though, is that they don't typically fall victim to machismo. IE, they actually listen to instructors, and don't feel they have something to prove - instead, they have something to learn.

As far as preferring blades goes...

I know Glenn said research doesn't support a "preference," but I'd be willing to bet that statistics will show that women are more likely to use a knife than a gun. This doesn't have to do with preferences, it has to do with availability. I doubt half the women in the US have regular access to a readied handgun. I suspect 95% of the women in the US have regular access to kitchen and butcher knives. For attacks that occur in the home, then, I'd expect to see a lot more women using knives than guns.

But that doesn't mean they prefer them.

From what I've read, and from what I've heard (I have acquaintances who have used knives in self-defense and in combat, including at least one who killed a man using his knife), the knife is much more personal, and has greater impact on its user than does a gun, especially if the shooting occurs well beyond arm's length.

The knife user has to be right up on his opponent; the knife user feels the blade enter the opponent; the knife user may then have to cut the knife back out, and feel the sensation of cutting the person the entire time.

I've only killed a hog, using a knife; that seemed much more personal to me, too, than using a gun.

The other drawbacks to using a knife are that (again) one has to be very, very close to use it; and people often manage to cut themselves, when using a knife against another in a fight.
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