Armed Lady is Kicking Butt and Taking Aim!

So, in my last post I talked a little bit about how I had left The Well Armed Woman in favor of a better alternative, Armed Lady. It’s already proven to be the best move I could have made. I’m staying incredibly busy but I’m greatly enjoying it and a sense of accomplishment is something I think we all like to feel.

I want to tell you a little bit about Armed Lady. It is required that all chapter leaders to be NRA Certified Instructors. This is a safety and proficiency issue. I just can’t see how it is safe for someone who’s just picked up a gun in the last month or two to take on a leadership role in teaching other women about firearms. The firearms industry is already so under fire from so many directions that we must make safety and responsibility a priority, so as to not give our opponents any reality in which to base their fears. While that may make it a little more difficult to find good leaders, that’s okay. Personally, I value quality over quantity and I know that Armed Lady, LLC does as well, which is one reason founder Stephanie Dodson-Turner requires NRA certification of all chapter leaders of her Premier Shooting Chapters.

In my short time so far with Armed Lady, I have found things to be organized and structured. Even though the organization is still in its early stages, I value that there has not been the chaos as I have experienced in other organizations. I appreciate not feeling as though I am flying by the seat of my pants with no structure. It became clear to me very quickly that Stephanie’s priorities are straight and her intentions are true and this shows. That is also evident in way that she has been very receptive to suggestions and feedback. One of the signs of a strong leader is being able to listen to others.

I feel comfortable that I need not worry about the ethics and morals of the founder of Armed Lady. I greatly value integrity and when I support any organization, it is important to me that I feel whoever is spearheading such organization be of good character.

I say all of this to convey to you that not only am I comfortable supporting Armed Lady, LLC but I also feel comfortable encouraging other women to join and support Armed Lady, either as a member of one of our Premier Shooting Chapters or as a Chapter Leader.

If you are looking for an encouraging, supportive and organized environment for women shooters, I highly recommend that you investigate Armed Lady. You may visit the website or you may also feel free to email me at e.finch@armedlady.com for more information.

 

HiResPinkGreyLogo

 

*I am receiving nothing for this endorsement except for the satisfaction of supporting an organization which supports a cause in which I believe. It should be very clear to all my readers at this point that I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment (with no buts) and I strongly support women having a place and a voice among its defense.

 

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Mrs. Finch Goes to Atlanta

So, I’m involved in an organization called GeorgiaCarry.Org (GCO). The organization exists to protect and restore 2A rights in our home state. It’s a fantastic organization and truly centered on its mission. It’s not a fundraising organization like some others out there which I will not name. Everyone at GCO is a volunteer. No one draws a paycheck and that applies from the Board of Directors down. GCO has been instrumental and crucial in the passage of all the positive gun bills since its inception. And their members are what makes the organization what it is. GCO members are people of action, not just words.

Yesterday HB 875 passed the House Committee of Public Safety and Homeland Security. This is the best gun bill Georgia has seen in years. The most important highlights of this bill is that it restores private property rights to churches and bars and affords tenants in public housing the opportunity to be legally equipped to defend themselves. The bill contains numerous other benefits as well. The Safe Carry Protection Act is a big step forward in restoring liberty and trust in the general citizenry.

I was honored with the opportunity to speak in favor of this bill yesterday. Those who know me well are aware of my dad’s history and involvement in GA politics. My level of involvement thus far, however, has only been to make myself as knowledgeable as possible and to vote in every election possible. But yesterday, I finally understood why Dad enjoyed the process so much. It’s history being made. It’s being able to actually be a part of the legislative process and not only have a say at the ballot box but to be a part of shaping the laws which are made by those put into office at the ballot box. It’s really a fascinating process up close. And it felt great to be there as it passed the committee.

I was approached and thanked by several reps, thanking me for my words and for being there. Darlene Taylor expressed her pleasure at my being there. She’s in favor of this bill and she’s the only woman on the committee who is, so I feel like she was particularly appreciative to have additional female support represented. I think that they appreciate regular citizens coming out and voicing their opinions rather than listening to lobbyists all the time or getting form letters or nasty comments and threats from their constituents. I know that we often sit at home and watch and read the news in disgust and complain about our  lawmakers but speaking in front of them, in person, is a productive way to be more involved. I think also, being a woman, that my voice and the voices of other women who were there in favor of this bill, goes a long way with them. It allows them to personally hear how bills can help or harm the citizenry at large.

I had a fantastic experience yesterday and I hope to be able to stand before the State Senate soon and share my voice before them as well as HB 875 moves forward.

Here is the statement which I prepared and delivered yesterday:

“Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Committee,

I come before you today first and foremost as a woman. I am also an NRA certified instructor, leader of a 40 member women’s shooting chapter and a supporter of the right and responsibility to defend oneself.

I have read this bill in its entirety. This is the best bill concerning gun and private property rights put forth in years and I am strongly in favor of it. As someone who is very active in my church as a Stephen Minister, Sunday School teacher and choir member, I often find myself there in the evenings and, often walking back to my car located in one of the handful of parking lots scattered about in downtown Marietta, in the dark. Current law prevents me from legally being able to defend myself properly in this situation should the need arise. I take great issue with this for two reasons: One, churches are private property and should be treated as such. No government should be able to grant certain private property rights to one private entity yet deny the same to another. Secondly, it is my responsibility and, ultimately, mine alone to protect myself. Our police are a wonderful resource but criminals are not generally known to wait for the police to arrive before committing heinous and unlawful acts. For most victims, the police are there in time for the crime to be reported but not there in time to prevent it from being committed. I shouldn’t be denied by law the right to equip myself for my own proactive protection whether it’s at the grocery store, my home or a place of worship. 

Victims are not allowed the opportunity to know when or where they may be victimized. Being one of millions of women who have been victimized at some point in their lives, I’ve had the unfortunate need to defend my life and safety. In 1999 I found myself being chased by my ex-husband with an ASP baton like many police carry. There was no help in sight and no one to depend upon to save me but myself. I felt 100% certain that my life was in jeopardy at that moment. Thinking quickly, I drew my carry gun at that time from my purse and ordered him to not take another step toward me. That day, I was able to defend myself and deter him from the harm he intended to inflict upon me without firing a single shot. Had I not been properly equipped, I feel very confident in saying that I would not be alive today. 

As a woman, it’s important to me to feel safe, secure and equipped with the ability to defend myself. As a citizen and 2nd Amendment supporter, freedom, liberty and rights are dear to my heart. The more limitations there are on where I am permitted to be lawfully armed, the less safe, secure and equipped I am and the more my liberty and rights are infringed upon. As a believer in liberty and The Constitution, I’d like to further point out that current and further restrictions upon where carry is permitted by law is, at its core, rooted in distrust of the lawful citizenry and, as such, is not in accordance with a free society rooted in liberty.

I implore you, as both a woman and citizen, to support and favor this bill. 

Thank you for your consideration.”

Just Because You Can…

There are many things that we can, or that we are legally permitted to, do that often aren’t the best idea. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet in some states. Eating 50 cookies in one sitting. Confronting a home intruder with a gun.

I can hear you now. “What??? I thought you were all for being able to defend yourself! Have you sold out? Did the lefty loons get to you?” No, I am still a staunch supporter in the right to defend yourself. I have not sold out and I am in no danger of taking up with the lefty loons. It’s about responsibility. With the right to defend yourself also comes a great amount of responsibility and if you’re going to accept your rights, you also must accept your responsibilities.

With all the talk recently surrounding the Zimmerman case and the Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws, this is a good time to talk about not only what you CAN do but what you SHOULD do. This isn’t a debate about Zimmerman. He’s not guilty and that has been tried and determined through our justice system. He’s no longer on trial in Florida and he’s not on trial in this blog either. I very much stand behind his right to defend himself. His innocence is not in question; however, his actions could be. We sometimes have to make split decisions, just as he did that night. There are many things which factor into these quick moments such as motivation, training, instinct, personal perception of circumstances…I’m really in no position to judge Mr. Zimmerman on any of those factors. I was not there and I’m not in his head. I may have done things a little differently and I may not have but it’s important for all of us to analyze, without judging since there but for the grace of God go we, how could that have played out differently?

I had a perfect opportunity for a “What Would I Do” test this morning. It was 7:30 AM on Sunday morning and I was awoken rudely and sharply by my alarm. Not the one by my bedside, but my home alarm. The mechanical lady who resides within the unit speaks, along with an ear-shattering, high-pitched blare. She told me it was my basement motion sensor which triggered the alarm. I live in a 2 story house with a basement and all the bedrooms are upstairs. I had my .45 right there by me, holstered, in the bed. My husband is out of town this weekend, so it’s been just me for a couple of days. And some dude who is in one of my Facebook groups was messaging me last night and kind of creeping me out, so that flittered through my mind at that moment. So, I got up, pulled my .45 within reach and answered my cellphone for the alarm monitoring company. She asked if I was in the house by myself and I told her that hopefully, yes, but that remains to be seen and she then asked if I wanted her to send police and I told her yes, please. So, I threw on my jeans and secured my .45 to my waist and waited at the top of the stairs on a bench under the front window so that I could simultaneously keep an eye on the stairwell and out the window for the police. When the patrol car pulled up, I carefully went down to the main level and opened the front door to greet him. He checked the outside perimeter first and then came back around the front and inside and into the basement.

Everything was secure. I still don’t know what tripped it. It’s pet-friendly up to 40 pounds and there were no spider webs around it. Perhaps a spider still crossed directly onto the sensor.

But let’s suppose someone had entered my home through my basement. Did I do the right thing? Did I really need to have a police officer clear my basement? After all, I’m armed, I’m good under pressure, I’m an NRA Instructor and I lead a local chapter of The Well Armed Woman which teaches women all about self-empowerment and being able to defend oneself. Couldn’t I have just taken care of it by myself? After all , isn’t that my right, which I am entitled to exercise?

In the hypothetical scenario that someone was in my house, yes, I absolutely had every right to confront him and shoot him. There’s really no gray area there as far as the letter of the law is concerned. However, the Zimmerman case is case and point that even when the law is on your side, your life could still be turned upend. Forever.

Now, I will not hesitate to use deadly force to defend my life but I don’t want to have to do that and I will avoid it until I am unable to. Then, I will kill you but only because there is no other option to ensure that I stay alive myself.

Is it because I’m weak or not confident in my abilities or rights? No, it’s because I happen to enjoy my life the way it is now and I’d prefer to not turn it on its ear.

What if I charged into the basement by myself and ended up shooting a neighborhood kid? What if I ended up shooting a woman in my neighborhood who entered my house in an attempt to hide from her abusive husband who was chasing her? What if it was my husband coming home early? We all like to think that we’d have the ability to discern before shooting but if the light is low and that other person moves their arm upwards in an attempt to motion me to stop and to me it looks like they’re reaching to their side for their own sidearm then I may determine in that split second that I don’t have any more time and I must pull the trigger NOW to save my own life.

I would completely be within my legal rights but I could still be wrong. I don’t want to live with a preventable death on my hands and my heart. No matter how stupid it may be of some idiot kid to enter my basement. No matter how bad of an idea it may be for that neighborhood wife to take refuge in my house to avoid her asshole husband. No matter how completely lame-brained it would be for my husband to come home earlier than expected without notifying me AND without disarming the alarm with his phone before entering the house. Does that mean that they should lose their lives and that I should be the one to take that life from them? Imagine yourself in any of those scenarios and if you still think that you’d be okay emotionally and psychologically, then you need to have a serious come-to-Jesus with God about personal conscience. And probably see a therapist.

And let’s not forget the possibility that the other person could get the drop on me. If he’s an armed robber I could end up dead. I’m a good shot and all but there are no guarantees in a gunfight. I’d be a complete jackass to assume that I’m going to be the one who comes out alive in that scenario. I feel that my chances would be good but cockiness kills.

Even without the moral implications and the weight around one’s conscience, there are still legal implications. Just because you’re innocent doesn’t mean you won’t be charged with anything. The legal system shows us that every day. George Zimmerman wasn’t even charged that fateful night. It was clear that he had violated no law the night he killed Trayvon in self defense. Yet, here he is a year and a half later with his life changed forever, having faced a long trial and fight for his freedom, more legal battles to face, his name dragged through the mud, his reputation forever in question, broke and slandered and persecuted. His life will NEVER be the same again. He will always be a polarizing figure wherever he goes and his life will always likely be in danger somewhat.

Do I want any of that? Hell no! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Someone is going to have to work hard to make me risk dying myself or losing control over my life for years. If someone had made their way up the stairs while I was waiting for the police, then I was in a position to see them before they saw me and I could assess them first and allow myself time to act after making a determination. This gives me a vantage point and helps lessen my chances of making an error in judgment. It gives me the ability to then move around the corner toward the laundry room so that if he continues up the next flight of stairs I’m then in a position to shoot him when he turns the corner since I’ve been able to determine without a doubt that I’m not only legally but also morally within my bounds to shoot him.

By having the police officer come and clear my home, I greatly lower my likelihood of having to make those life altering, split second decisions. I only have to make a decision on deadly force if an intruder puts me in a position to where I cannot avoid making such a decision. If the police officer shoots a kid or a neighborhood woman or my husband, he’s at a greater advantage than I am legally. It may not be fair, but it’s reality.

I believe that we are our own first line of self defense and that we are ultimately all responsible for our own protection but that doesn’t mean that the police are not a valuable resource. It’s not about holding them responsible for our safety but it is about using your resources wisely. I could have taken care of this myself and refused the police dispatch offered by my alarm company but had I done that, there’s a very real chance that instead of writing this blog post right now, that I could be shaking in a corner somewhere or being booked into jail or at the hospital with my husband or dead.

The actions which I took today are actions which I could have lived with and with a free conscience regardless of the outcome. And that’s what it’s ultimately about. Just because you have a right to certain actions doesn’t always mean you should take them.

Before you criticize my actions or respond with other actions you may have taken, consider them. I mean really think about them. Play that scenario all the way through to the end. Look at all the angles and then see if that changes your outlook. Because your actions aren’t just about what’s legal or constitutional. Your actions could have devastating effects on you and your entire family forever.

What Gun Should a Woman Buy? Part 2

Now that we have answered that question in Part 1 (which is any damn gun she wants), we will now move on to some popular options and calibers.

A woman needs to be comfortable with what she carries but there are actually some levels of necessity here as well. It’s generally not a good idea to carry a .22 or other small caliber for self defense. You might get lucky, but chances are you’ll just piss off your attacker and make things worse for yourself. Not that you shouldn’t have one as a backup and ANY gun is better than NO gun, though. That being said, you really should carry at least a .380ACP (or .38 if you prefer a revolver). They are still nice and compact but have an acceptable amount of stopping power that you need to give yourself a good shot (pun intended) should you find yourself in a situation where you must defend your life. Some people will tell you that it’s perfectly fine to carry a .32 as a matter of course, but I disagree. It might be more concealable but when someone is attacking me, I’d rather have something that I know will put them down.

The highest caliber you’d likely want to consider carrying for self defense is a .45ACP. Go any bigger and you’re going to have a really tough time lugging a gun around. Keep the higher calibers beside the bed or in the closet, maybe. You wouldn’t enjoy lugging around a Desert Eagle very much.

Here are some of the many options that are popular among women for self defense concealed carry. This is not an exhaustive list and if you like something that’s not on this list, you should get it. As I’ve said before, guns are a personal choice but there are a few tried and true populars. What follows are only my personal opinions from my experience and your mileage may vary.

REVOLVERS:

If you like a revolver, then you are like many women. The great thing about a revolver is that it is very easy to operate and learn on. And in a highly stressful situation, there’s not much you need to futz with. Personally, I have never been a fan of any revolver I’ve ever shot. I just don’t like the way they feel and they’re just not my thing. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be your thing. If you do go with a revolver, my recommendation is a double-action only. The trigger pull will be long but you won’t need to worry about cocking the hammer in a stressful situation. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about the hammer snagging on clothing while drawing.

As far as revolvers go, you can’t go wrong with a S&W Airweight .38. It’s small and weighs just under a pound. This is an ideal gun for any woman who wants self-protection but isn’t necessarily “into” guns. The same can be said for the Ruger LCR. You can add laser grips to either one and you have a gun which is not only convenient and easy to operate but helps ensure your aim in a life-threatening situation.

S&W Airweight .38

S&W Airweight .38

Ruger LCR

Ruger LCR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEMI-AUTOMATICS:

I’m going to break these down into pocket carry models, sub-compacts/compacts and full size.

Pocket carry models are pretty much exactly what they sound like. You can insert them into a specially designed holster that will fit in your pocket and go about your day. You can also carry them in other ways but we’ll save the holster discussion for another time. They are very small, lightweight pistols that are easy to carry and conceal. The only caliber in the pocket carry I’m focusing on is the .380ACP round. There are pocket models in .32 and .25 and such, but as stated before, they’re not ideal for regular carry. The most popular among this category would be the Colt Mustang, Colt Pony, Taurus TCP, Ruger LCP, S&W Bodyguard and the Sig P238. They all have their pros and cons. The Taurus, Ruger and S&W are all made of a polymer frame, making them very lightweight but not so much fun to shoot. The lighter weight your gun, the more recoil you’ll experience. So, it’s a tradeoff. I personally carry the Colt Mustang when I need something lightweight and small. I have also owned a Colt Pony and we will soon have another as soon as the UPS man delivers it. I sold my old one and have regretted it ever since. And I can’t say enough good things about the Sig P238. I don’t have one. Yet. But I will. It’s a beautiful little mini 1911 and I WANT one. Again, here, the tradeoff is that they will weigh a little more but to me the weight difference isn’t enough to make me want a polymer frame pocket pistol. You’re looking at an average of a 5oz weight difference. I have no problem with polymer but I don’t care for it in such a small gun.

Sig P238 .380 ACP

Sig P238 .380 ACP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colt Mustang .380 ACP

Ruger LCP .380 ACP

In the sub-compact and compact categories, you have a few in the Glock series, Beretta Nano, Ruger LC9, S&W M&P Shield, Kimber Solo, a sprinkling of Springfield models like the XD-S and XDm and others. What you’ll find here are mostly 9mm, 10mm, .40 and .45 calibers. All of these calibers are very good for self defense – at this point it’s just up to general preference. My personal daily carry weapon is a Springfield XDm Compact .45. I know many may think a .45 is too much for a woman to carry, but I assure you it’s not. In fact, it’s a much easier round to shoot than the .40 caliber. My previous daily carry was a Glock 27, which is a .40 caliber and it was just too snappy of a round for me to enjoy it. I went to the .45 and I’m much happier. A 9mm is perfectly acceptable choice as well and might be one that you want to consider if you plan to carry it on your person at all times. It’s a little easier to conceal. I happen to carry both in my purse and on my person most times, so my .45 works fine for me most days. You’ll find a great deal of polymer frames on the market in this category and I do recommend them in this case. The weight of the slide coupled with the overall weight once the magazine is loaded with ammo, will balance out nicely to absorb recoil.

Springfield XDm Compact

Glock 26 9mm

Glock 26 9mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S&W M&P Shield

S&W M&P Shield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the full size category, you’ll find the many makers of the 1911 frame, full size Glocks, Springfields, Sigs, etc. These are larger and more difficult to conceal usually, although it CAN be done with the right concealment plan and accessories. But overall, most women choose to carry something a bit smaller. The full size is something great to have for home defense, though. Keep it in a drawer beside the bed or wherever works for you.

Les Baer Custom 1911

Les Baer Custom 1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this has given you some information on options. Remember, there are many more options and new ones coming out all the time. The key is to find what feels good in your hand, fits into your lifestyle and that you enjoy shooting.

Happy Memorial Day! Please remember the men and women who have died to keep your freedom intact and this very post possible.

What Gun Should a Woman Buy? Part 1

What a loaded question. Ask that amongst a sampling of men and the most common answer you’ll get will be a smattering of models that shoot a small caliber. And come in pink.

I remember when I first got into guns. I grew up with a dad who was a firearms dealer and I had an ex-husband who was literally a gun nut – psychotic but knowledgable. Different story, different day. Point is, I had a pretty good deal of knowledge. I worked gun shows, I learned a little about reloading, I shot A LOT, I beat out an entire metro region of state law enforcement at qualifications when I was 21 (wish I could still do that now)…I wasn’t an expert but I also wasn’t a shrinking violet in the world of firearms. Yet, almost every time I walked into a gun store or stepped up to a table at a gun show, some beer-belly bubba inevitably tried to push a “cute, little, pearl-handled .25.” And that was when they thought I might have shot a gun before. Other times, they wanted me to buy a “little revolver that would fit my little hands and would be easy to shoot!”

Sound familiar? It should, because it’s been a pervasive attitude amongst the male-dominated sport forever. It’s changing recently, and that’s good to see, but there’s still a long way to go.

There are many considerations that should go into choosing your firearm. And please, for the love of all that is Holy, do NOT let your husband/boyfriend/uncle/any-man-in-your-life pick one out for you and tell you what you need. I’m sure your guy is well-intentioned but his experience and comfort level and body mechanics are all very different from yours. You wouldn’t want him picking out your bra. He shouldn’t be picking out your gun either. And for that matter, don’t even let your best girlfriend tell you what you need. This is YOUR life, YOUR protection, YOUR decision. Here are a few rules of thumb and questions to ask yourself when making that decision, though.

1 – The most important rule is to get something that you enjoy shooting. A gun will do you no good if you hate shooting it because then you’re not going to practice. And this means trying out many until you find one that fits. Most ranges will have many different models which you can rent and try before you buy. When you’re making an investment of hundreds of dollars, you want to shoot it first.

2 – How will you carry it? It needs to fit into your life and routine. Sure, you will inevitably need to make some adjustments when carrying at all times but consider what will fit the easiest into your life. Will you carry it in your purse, on your person, or are you only comfortable at this point keeping it in your car? Whatever it is, the method of carry will impact your decision.

3 – What is the reliability? Once you’ve settled on something you like, you need to make sure it’s going to work when you need it most. While there are MANY brands that have great reputations and picking one over the other just comes down to a matter personal preference or budget, there are also some that you absolutely want to avoid. If a manufacturer doesn’t have good reliability, then move on. And their warranty, regardless of how good it is, does you no good if the gun is going to likely break when you need it to defend yourself. You want something that works, not something that breaks but has a really great warranty and customer service. Great customer service is important when your dishwasher breaks but it will not save you from being raped.

Ultimately, you have to get what works for you and there is no particular model – there are an array. Some women find that the pink .25 works for them. Others, like myself, prefer a compact .45. The great thing is, there are so many options out there that you’ll find what fits you.

In Part 2, I’ll go over some of the most widely popular options.