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Old February 27, 2014, 10:00 AM   #1
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Women & Long Guns (SD)

I teach a women's firearm safety and self defense class in a small town in a rural county.

As with any time SD firearms comes up so does the subject of long guns (shotguns and rifle). I don't recommend any one gun for any one person. I supply as many guns as I can get my hands on, and encourage the ladies to try all of them choosing what fits THEM, not me, no their husbands, boyfriends or local friendly LE officer.

So as I say, long guns come up, and of course shot guns come up. I answer their questions of which is best, rifle or shotgun buy providing rifles and shotguns and let them see for them selves.

My students vary from 18 to 80 (I have one lady that is 82), its split between those who live in town and those who live in the country.

To keep the class of reasonable size I spit them into two classes, for example last night I had 4 for my 5-7 PM class and 5 for my 7-9 PM class (this is a weekly class).

Anyway I thought I'd throw in some observations from last night. None of the girls like shotguns, 20-12 gage, it don't matter, after a couple rounds these ladies don't like shot guns.

I use an indoor range which doesn't allow rifles, (HP Rifles), so to compare a rifle with a shotgun I brought a Marlin 94 in 38/357. In my late class, I had two ladies who have never shot a rifle, none had fired or used a lever action rifle.

These girls loved the rifle, all but one got small groups, so the class went totally off topic, all they wanted to do is shoot the rifle. They started to get cocky calling each other Annie Oakley and such. The club president who helps me with the class brings out a deck of card to make it more challenging.

Only I decided shooting a playing card wasn't that big of a deal so I stuck the cards in the target frames so they had only the edge of the card as an aiming point. None of the girls thought they would be able to hit the cards, this was something you see on the Outdoor Channel's IMPOSSABLE SHOTS.

Results, One girl couldn't come close to hitting the card (you always have those who wont listen), One hit the card the third shot, One the second, and two, the first shot. (I forgot the results of the early class but it was close to the second).

I realizes this means nothing as to choice of rifles, as the weather warms up and we get more (outside) daylight I'll move the girls outside so they can try a variety of rifles. But we are limited on what we can shoot in our indoor range. Therefore I'm not saying the Marlin M94 38/357 is the best rifle, but its the only one we had available we could shoot in our indoor range.

Rifles, have their place in SD, especially for rural areas where you may have to protect your live stock or pets from critters. Maybe in the house also, but I push the idea that any SD firearm is useless if its not available. Its not easy to carry a long gun on your person 24/7, especially away from home. But long guns do have their place.

But few women want a shotgun, ALL I've seen in my classes feel safer with a handgun then shotgun.

I'm not going to say this or that rifle is the best. I'll leave that to the individual who is going to use the gun. The girls like the Marlin 38/357, but in rural areas it may not have the range to protect your horses for wild dogs.

All get back to this topic after the weather warms up and we're allowed to work with other rifle.

In short before you insist that Shotguns are the way to go for SD, let the students try them and let THEM decide.

Just a Note about Women's only classes, I don't charge for my classes, most of the women wouldn't be able to afford to attend. But I do keep well supplied in Cookies and other goodies.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
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Old February 27, 2014, 10:27 AM   #2
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Agreed on all points. The shooter should decide whats best for them. Giving them a variety of choices to learn from is excellent. Congratulations.
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Old February 27, 2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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But few women want a shotgun,
...... I guess that makes my daughters exceptional ..... the two that shoot are much more comfortable, and more effective, with a 20 guage than any centerfire handgun.

You might add this little card trick with each weapon (handgun, shotgun (with standard velocity buckshot) and the rifle: Cover a silhouette hanging at 7 yards with glued on playing cards, highest cards in the middle, with no spaces in between. Start at low ready, and at the command to fire, hit the target return button (so that the silhoutte "rushes" the shooter) ..... cease fire at 1 yard. Shooter gets to make a poker hand out of cards with holes, highest hand wins ...... my money's on the shotgun ( You may want to get a picture before you shoot the shotgun stage, as some cards may be completely missing).

They may not be pleasant to shoot, or precise, but for close range self defense, they are very effective, even in novice hands ......
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Old February 27, 2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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The shotgun can be disagreeable to men and women, unless they've grown up with them.
Folks who have hunted with shotguns from their youth, or are clay bird shooters, wouldn't consider them objectionable.
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Old February 27, 2014, 11:22 AM   #5
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Folks who have hunted with shotguns from their youth, or are clay bird shooters, wouldn't consider them objectionable.
Sounds like a "software" problem, as opposed to a "hardware" issue.
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Old February 27, 2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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Good post Kraigwy. I don't get folks who insist that a novice use a shotgun.
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Old February 27, 2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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I am curious to know why the ladies did not like the shotguns. Did any explain the reasons for their dislikes?
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Old February 27, 2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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I am curious to know why the ladies did not like the shotguns. Did any explain the reasons for their dislikes?
They KICK, even with the light target loads they kick.

Remember we're not talking seasoned shooters here, we are talking ladies from 18-80, most of which have never fired any sort of weapon.

For any firearm to be a valid SD firearm, the shooter has to be confident with the gun and their ability with the gun. If they are afraid of the gun, then they will never be confident.

Yes with proper coaching any one can learn to shoot a shotgun (or any other gun) without discomfort, but that's not the purpose of my classes.

Many of those who responded to this mentioned this and that, I can do this and I know a person who can do that.

Fine, we all have our likes and dislikes, no body can tell me what gun would work best for me, and I don't feel I can tell anyone else what works for them.

I just try to provide as many options as possible and let the ladies choose what works for them. And in the 2 years I have been conducting this class I haven't found a girl that chose the shotgun.

I am of the opinion that the handgun is best for home defense and carrying during our daily lives. But I and my students do live in a rural environment where a long gun may be a necessary, not so much for protecting your self from bandits but protecting your livestock and pets from varmints that want to eat them. Another reason why I think the rifle is better. Shotguns just don't work at critters 100 yards or more away.

I read some news this morning where a 11 year old girl in Washington shot a mountain lion who was following her 9 year old brother home from school. Sometimes shotguns just don't work.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
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Old February 27, 2014, 12:38 PM   #9
Deja vu
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My wife does not like shotguns either. But she does love my MArlin 357 trapper. She says that the recoil is too much and they are more heavy than the little marlin.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old February 27, 2014, 12:52 PM   #10
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You can tell a lot by the responses that go from:

"I don't want to shoot that thing again" to "I'm ready for that impossible shots show"
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
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Old February 27, 2014, 01:21 PM   #11
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My complements Kragwy.
I have found the women I have taught would agree with you in every class I have ever taught. Many can shoot the shotgun well with training, but none would choose it if they can get a rifle instead.

One type of arm that is often overlooked is a good reliable 22 Rimfire. The 22 is neat the bottom of the list of calibers that we'd call deadly, bit it IS ON THE LIST!
My good friend Randy worked as a SWAT and a Homicide investigator for years on Reno PD and he and I compared notes a few years back. We found that MANY people we knew of were killed with 22s.
Lots of them.
In training women and girls who are not into shooting as a sport, I am of the opinion that a good 22 autoloader is a very formidable weapon in their hands. It may not kill an attacker, but then again it might, and very few thugs want to be shot again and again and again. Hit them the first time and its likely they will not give you another open target willingly. Sure, more powder would be better, but only hits count. Any hit is better than any miss.

In the cases of home invasion in nearly every case when the perp was shot (or shot at,) they leave as if the devil himself was trying to light them on fire. The women are not cops, going into the thick of things. The invaders can look for someone easier, and if they get shot or shot at, they usually do.

Yes, I is always possible that the man attacking you is hopped up on drugs ----and is a former Green Beret or a MMA fighter too, but that likelihood is about the same as being struck by li8ghtining.

Few guns are effective every time with just body hits (brain and spine hits....that's another story)
But I stand by my opinion that any body hit is better than any miss. I gal that really shoots well with a 22 rifle is likely to hit an attacker and one that is not a good shot and doesn't like to shoot her gun is likely to miss most Times.

A good lever action 357 or an AR15 or AK47/74 are a suburb defense weapons. All are going to be easier for the ladies to shoot then a shotgun.

But in the case of a lady having "only" a 22, she need not feel unarmed. Hits count. And only hits count.

Again, my complements sir.
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Old February 27, 2014, 05:27 PM   #12
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I'd like to know how many of the woman used a shotgun that fit them ?? Excessive LOP makes the recoil much worse ! Competitive woman shooters in sporting clays almost all shoot 12 ga shotguns .Perhaps target loads .
HD reduced recoil 12 ga buckshot is what I recommend.
BTW I just saw an article about an 11 year old girl that shot a mountain lion to save her brother. Keep training them !!!
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old February 27, 2014, 07:18 PM   #13
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I actually liked the Remy home defender, just couldn't hit the side of a barn with it so I'm going to take lessons and really learn it soon. I have shot the .223
Remington 700ADL and loved it and it's my absolute favorite. I plan to get lessons for that too. We're not all shy of long guns....

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Old February 27, 2014, 07:49 PM   #14
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I grew up hunting and trap shooting with shotguns, but a short barrel 12 gauge pump with a lightweight collapsible stock is downright unpleasant to shoot with buckshot loads, especially since I broke my collarbone in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago. I went back to the standard stock on my HD shotgun. Since I live in a jurisdiction which restricts "assault weapons", I have a lever action .44 mag. If I can't solve a problem with 10 rounds of .44 magnum, odds are I can't solve it with 30 rounds of 5.56 mm either. I have a female friend who couldn't/wouldn't shoot a handgun. She ended up buying a Ruger 10/22 with an extended magazine for home defense. The .22 wouldn't be my first choice, but she has two pitbulls, so I think she'll be ok. Any of the semiauto pistol caliber carbines: Beretta, Marlin Camp 9, or even the lowly Hi Point would be a good choice too.
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Old February 27, 2014, 08:48 PM   #15
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I travel a lot and I wanted a reliable long gun that my wife could quickly and efficiently operate under stress with a high degree of success.

After some research I suggested she consider the Taurus/Rossi Circuit Judge 18" bbl revolver shotgun. We found one at WalMart she liked the way it fit her and how it handled. We bought it.

I ordered Federal Premium .410 000 buck shotshells from Gander, both the four pellet and five pellet loads developed for the Taurus Judge revolver. I also bought a box of Speer .45 Colt 250gr Gold Dot JHP.

I also bought several boxes of .410 #8 shotshells from WalMart for familiarization and training.

She loves this shotgun. She prefers the Federal 000 buck four pellet load. Her second choice is the .45 Colt Gold Dot.

It barely recoils, it doesn't jam, it's easy for her to operate, it's easy for her to load and unload, it's easy for her to quickly land good hits, and she's confident with it.
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Old February 27, 2014, 09:01 PM   #16
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About the only thing my mother feels comfortable with using is a shotgun. We set her up with a Mossberg 500 with a Hogue 12" LOP stock to fit her better which has a rubber buttpad on it, loaded it with reduced recoil 00 buckshot, and drilled into her head that when pumping the shotgun don't be afraid to slam that forend all the way back and forward with plenty of force as to prevent a short stroke.

She is not a shooter and does not practice enough to become proficient with or maintain proficiency with handguns. She doesn't handle guns enough to remember all the controls on an auto pistol, nor does she feel comfortable having to do tap and rack drills with auto's. Sure, you can still miss with a shotgun, but it's a hell of alot easier to hit something in a narrow hallway with a shotgun than a pistol.

Last edited by Dragline45; February 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM.
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Old February 28, 2014, 10:35 AM   #17
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You should also have the ladies try a .410 shotgun like the Mossberg 500 youth pump. Easy on recoil & hits harder than you think, especially with the new SD ammo.
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Old February 28, 2014, 10:44 AM   #18
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Great post and good work with the ladies. Most youth shotguns (all I think) are too light weight. Full size adult shotguns can be cut down to fit and you keep most of the weight and can even add it back in the stock.

I shot a youth single barrel recently in 20 gage, kicked like a mule......not a good idea for kids IMHO.
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Old March 4, 2014, 08:33 PM   #19
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Great thread, and good observations.

This is the reason why I have been contemplating a carbine for my wife at some point. Leaning towards a 9mm of some stripe to keep her caliber requirements and familiarity under control.

For me...that's waaaaaay too late.....ship sailed.
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