NOTE: U.S. Concealed Carry Association Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to [email protected]. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

What’s a good checklist for what to consider when moving to a new state with your firearms?

The name of the game in this kind of situation is knowing the exact laws of the state, county and city to which you are relocating. The major offenders will be magazines, but there may also be specific models of firearms that you will not be able to bring with you. This is complicated by the fact that someone who lives across the street from your new residence may be allowed to legally possess a firearm that was “grandfathered in” when the law in question was passed, but you may not be able to bring a fresh one into the neighborhood. As with almost everything else, closely consult our Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map before bringing your firearms into a new locale.

Other than ensuring that you will not be breaking any laws or ordinances, security will be your main concern. Plenty of moving companies won’t touch firearms, and this is just as well. I have at least one acquaintance who “lost” a cased pistol while he and his wife were scrambling to get everything squared away on moving day. As it turns out, one of the movers just picked it up off of one of the beds, walked off the job and never came back. That is an extreme example, but I’m all about extreme caution. Don’t have any more people involved with your firearms than absolutely necessary. The same goes for your ammo and anything else gun-related. If you can load up your vehicle or a rented trailer with all of your guns and ammunition and drive it yourself to the new residence, that would be ideal.

As for carry, if you can get a permit before you actually move into that state, that would be perfect. If not, check out our Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map to see if your state’s permit will be recognized in that state. It may, however, turn out that you will have to get your proof of residence squared away before you are able to legally carry in your new home state. If that is the case, then that’s what you’ll have to do. I will never advise anyone to break the law.

What are the differences between male and female shooters?

I am reminded of the old Monty Python “Bookshop” sketch in which the customer asks for a copy of 101 Ways to Start a Fight.

But you know what? Why not.

Let’s do this.

I’m issuing a disclaimer though: Before anyone starts braying about how unfair generalizations are, sure … I could go to any CrossFit gym in this country and find a half a dozen women who are all-around fitter than the average man. But the following comes from my 20-plus years of teaching people of all descriptions how to shoot a wide array of rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers. Outliers definitely exist, but don’t try to tell me what I’m about to say isn’t generally accurate.

MOST WOMEN HAVE SMALLER, WEAKER HANDS AND UPPER BODIES

Racking slides and loading magazines gets increasingly difficult the smaller and weaker your hands are. While some people think this is best addressed by recommending double-action revolvers to their female students, that isn’t exactly foolproof either. A long double-action trigger press can be difficult for some people, male or female, to manage. Pistol modifications like the Slide Spider and devices like the Maglula magazine loader can make guns a lot easier for anyone to run, but this is always going to be an uphill battle.

Strength also comes into play when you’re looking to take a high-volume (or even low-volume) class. Holding your arms out straight in front of you can quickly become hard work, and I’ve even seen otherwise fit male athletes struggle with it. If you haven’t built those muscles for holding your arms up and out, they aren’t there.

MOST WOMEN DON’T LIKE TO WEAR BELTS

The most secure and convenient manner in which to carry a sidearm is in a holster affixed to a sturdy, purpose-designed gun belt. This is unfortunate for many ladies, as most of the women I know do not enjoy wearing actual, through-the-loops belts. Think that sounds like a triviality? Think again. There are plenty of holster options out there that do not require a belt upon which to mount them, but they’re often more expensive and rarely as secure.

OLD WIVES’ TALES ARE DYING OFF

For decades, a certain kind of instructor reveled in proclaiming that he could make a better shooter out of a female novice than a male novice. While this might have been true in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, I’ve seen it drop off precipitously since then.

I believe this is a result of toy guns not being nearly as common as they once were. Used to be that by the time a boy was 10 or 11, he had hundreds of thousands of what amounted to training reps in on his cap guns and water pistols — reps which included always moving his “gun” forward and down whenever crushing that trigger and yelling “BANG!”

If you’re going to tell me that those hundreds of thousands of reps didn’t impact how he’d handle a gun later in life, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

Females, on the other hand, generally didn’t have those hundreds of thousands of reps seared into their brains. There were no “ruts in the road,” so to speak, to slip back into when someone placed a pistol or revolver in their hands. They could take instruction without years of bad “training” they didn’t even know they had muddying the waters.

By the time the ’90s rolled around, millions of parents had completely banned toy guns from their homes. And I can guarantee you that if you put a 25-year-old man in my class who never “played guns” as a boy, he’ll be hitting the A-zone on a target faster than his father or grandfather would have at that age. The playing field has, in my experience, leveled out in this specific way.

MOST WOMEN JUST DON’T ENJOY GUNS AND SHOOTING AS MUCH AS MOST MEN DO

Someone once said that “women are interested in people, men are interested in things.” I’m not certain I completely buy that, but it seems to hold up when you look at sales numbers for guns, motorcycles, electronics and watercraft.

If you are a woman, and you are interested in owning a firearm for self-defense, don’t feel like you’re “doing it wrong” if you don’t absolutely relish the time you spend at the range. If self-defense was your main reason to pursue gun ownership, you weren’t necessarily looking for a new hobby. You were looking to gain competence with an important tool that can be used to protect yourself and your loved ones. So don’t sweat not being as into it as others are. If your relationship with guns is no more impassioned than mine is with fire extinguishers, no one can hold that against you.

PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT — AND THAT’S FINE

It is a difficult balancing act to declare that a woman can do anything with a gun that a man can and then break out the aftermarket accessories necessary to make that happen. It’s awkward for everyone involved, and it can lead to sore feelings.

My goal is and always has been to help shooters find firearms they can not only confidently run but also enjoy running. Whoever you are, if you require certain accommodations or do not enjoy shooting the gun you’re holding, I and indeed all firearms instructors beg that you say so. I want to get the right guns in the right peoples’ hands, and I can’t do that if pride gets in the way. Just gritting your teeth and gutting it through a class with a gun that you hate doesn’t help anyone.


About Ed Combs

Ed Combs is senior editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a former educator and law enforcement officer.