I have been working with KC for a little while now on her firearm proficiency, and she has made great strides in her gun handling skills. After getting to know her and her husband Brad, both of which you have helped me with several reviews, I learned she used to not care for firearms. After learning the details I asked her to put together an article on her thoughts and how she came to get a concealed carry permit and carry a defensive firearm. It is definitely worth a read and I thank KC very much for sharing her story.
From Fear to Fierce:
It was early 2006 when my husband first expressed to me his interest in purchasing and carrying a firearm, revealing that he had been flicking through gun magazines at the store and speaking with some friends about it. My initial response was, “Why do we need a gun? We live in a safe neighborhood with watchful neighbors and we have a home alarm system that is monitored 24/7.” The last thing I pegged my husband, a social worker, for was a gun enthusiast. He was the kind of man who collected PEZ candy dispensers and displayed a “PEZ Not Bombs” sticker. So, you can imagine my surprise when his deadpan expression told me how seriously he was reconsidering his viewpoints on firearms and concealed carry. As we discussed it further, it began to make a little more sense. You see, we were living in the New Orleans area, where we both grew up, and had recently purchased our first home together. The city was just barely beginning to recover from Hurricane Katrina, which had devastated the area the previous year, and it seemed that everywhere you looked, construction was underway, and crime was on a rise as people—often members of those same construction crews—took advantage of a vulnerable city and its citizens. No longer under our parents’ roofs, my husband felt it was our job to protect ourselves, now more than ever.
A few days later, my husband shot his first rounds ever, using a friend’s semiautomatic pistol at a local range. He returned home excitedly replaying his friend’s video of him taking his first shots. A day-long training and a few saved paychecks later, my husband purchased his first pistol, a Glock 19. I didn’t mind him owning a pistol; my husband was an extremely meticulous and responsible person. He showed me the basics of gun safety and operation, and demonstrated safe practices while cleaning his Glock in front of me.
I, however, was still not at all interested in shooting a gun, much less purchasing or carrying my own. Despite all the education my husband had provided about how “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” I remained ignorant to the fact that a loaded gun would not just explode in your hand if you touched it. In short, I was terrified of guns because I was raised to be that way. It took my husband nearly seven years (and a second pistol and rifle purchase) to convince me to point, aim, and fire my first round. That was when the most amazing change happened.
I could not believe my overwhelming sense of empowerment. My whole view on how important, and easy, my precious life was to protect changed in the flash of that one bullet from barrel to target. In that moment of point, click, boom, I decided that I no longer wanted to be an easy target for robbers, rapists, and serial killers. I knew it was a dangerous world in which I lived but, now, I had a fighting chance against potential predators.
Over time, following further conversations with my husband and several of his friends who were educated on gun laws and concealed carry procedures, and considering various fight or flight confrontations, my mind opened up to the idea that, in a worst case scenario, I preferred having a fighting chance of escaping with my life. I now believed that if someone wanted to rob me, rape me, break into my home and disrupt my harmony, that person would not walk away unscathed. I began to view firearm ownership and concealed carry as not only my right, but my duty. Now that I had taken my first shot and faced my fear, it was time to take action in becoming a legal gun owner.
I started by reading some literature before taking my first concealed carry course. Since my husband and I relocated states, he had to retake the class, so it was a great shared learning experience. One Saturday, one visit to the sheriff’s office, and 90 patient days of checking the mailbox later, I was the proud owner of my first concealed carry permit. Now, it was time to purchase my weapon. My husband assisted me with the research on that, as well. He did not attempt to sway me towards anything particular, or try to tell me which guns were “good for a woman” (Remember that, guys!). Rather, he shared his knowledge about different types of models, features, calibers, etc., in order to help me make the right choice. There were so many things to consider: Which guns were easier to handle? Which ones were most accurate, more reliable? And, of course, which ones were easiest to conceal? These were all very important, and very difficult, questions to answer; and, I received different feedback from every individual I asked, book I read, and video review I watched.
Researching the first ideal pistol for me was by far the hardest part of the whole process of becoming a gun owner. Yet, after handling several different pistols at a local gun show, I determined that it was not possible to have a perfect balance of accuracy and concealability in any one weapon. I would have to sacrifice one for the other, or at least be willing to compromise. For example, the longer the barrel, the more accurate my shots, but the harder it was to conceal. The shorter the grip, the less it stuck out from behind while hidden on my hip, but the less I could wrap my fingers around it and aim well.
In deciding what the perfect carry pistol is, I found that the shortest answer is that it depends on the individual. It’s not a decision you can make hastily and be happy with on the first try. Just like the princess must kiss many frogs before she finds her prince, you also must do your research. I finally settled on a Glock 42. It was slightly thinner than the Glock 43, which made it a smidge easier to conceal. It was less powerful being a .380 versus a 9mm, but I concurred with a friend that whether 9mm or .380, no one would want to get shot with it. It was easier to wrap my tiny fingers around the grip of the Glock 42 while still being able to aim and pull the trigger…this multitasking is obviously crucial in the use of any firearm. Concealing my pistol, however, is a different concern altogether. As I write this article, I am still experimenting with a variety of holsters, belly bands, specially designed fanny packs and purses, as well as wearing baggier shirts in lieu of buying thick belts and bigger pants. I am told that it is common for gun owners—particularly new ones—to go through a plethora of holsters and carry options before finding “the one.” I can see why. I want to carry my pistol concealed while still dressing like a female, and it is proving difficult for my 5’3”, 138-pound frame. Ultimately, I know I may need to make some serious changes in wardrobe and accessories in order to be able to carry more frequently; and, I may even share my thoughts on that process in a later article. In the meantime, I will continue to do my research and carry as often as possible.