Not long ago, I heard Carrie Lightfoot speak. Lightfoot founded The Well Armed Woman, “Where the Feminine and Firearms Meet.” She talked about “What Women Want” and mentioned four notions.
When women go to a club or range to shoot, or to a competitive event — trap or cowboy action or IDPA, for example — they first want a Welcome, not patronizing commentary. This doesn’t mean, Lightfoot hastened to say, that men should rush to “help.” They only want to feel accepted, part of the gang. The same way men treat other guys.
My wife carries concealed when she feels it’s important. She can’t carry at work and hesitates to leave her gun in the car because, although the parking lot is private, it’s easily accessible to the public. We took the New Mexico concealed carry class together from a fine husband-wife instructor team. Then we went to Caliber’s Shooters Sports Center to look at pistols; I’d suggested that she upgrade from her 5-shot S&W revolver. No women worked the Caliber’s counter, but the men were dismissively efficient and sold her a S&W .380 Bodyguard.
The second thing women want, Lightfoot said, is Respect.
My wife is a bit frightened by recoil and blast, so I outfitted her with ear plugs and muffs. I didn’t laugh, because any time we watch Outlander on Starz or The Crown or Call the Midwife on Netflix — English and Scottish accents — she has to interpret because I either can’t hear or can’t understand … or both.
The third thing women want, Lightfoot said, is To Be Heard.
Considering this, I think of the gun my spouse wants. After several range visits, she wants to sell the new S&W Bodyguard. A friend beside her at a Caliber’s women-only “Guns & Rosé” night shot a hammerless revolver, something like S&W’s DAO Model 642 LS LadySmith. Now, my wife has small hands and isn’t a weightlifter. She complains about racking the Bodyguard’s slide. Plus, the LadySmith has a “Robin’s Egg Blue” synthetic grip.
I’m used to black pistols; racking the slide to inject a cartridge is easy, but okay. The LadySmith is a .38+P. It ought to be okay if she ever has to use it. I have to get over the idea that baby blue or pink grips add nothing to the functionality of the gun. (Ever seen a man shooting a pink pistol?) There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, I suppose. It enlarges the shooting family by attracting women, but I argued with her. The LadySmith holds 5 bullets while her Bodyguard is a 6 + 1 and blah blah … and then I shut up and listened.
The fourth thing women want, Lightfoot said, is A Relationship.
We’re married and happy (I checked with my wife before writing that), so I assumed that the “relationship” business was just a woman’s way of … what? The relationship women want is with a person at the shooting range or gun club or retailer. They want to open the door and be greeted. “Hiya, Barbara.” Or Susan or Yolanda.
Me, I just want to walk into the store and buy something and get out. Women, Lightfoot said, don’t work that way. They want “a relationship” with the person behind the counter. A connection. Me, I can run into ABQ Guns for a holster and come out in two minutes. My wife asks, “Did you thank them?” Yes. “Do you remember his (or her) name?” Well … no. To her, knowing his name, having a chat that’s not just commercial but may include chatting about politics or kids … well, that’s a relationship. I’m guessing it’s good for business because whereas I have about six shirts (only two that I actually wear) and two holsters, she has maybe 50 shirts and wants another holster to match her new Robin’s Egg Blue revolver.
Lightfoot summed up by saying, “If momma is shooting, the whole family is shooting.”
Regardless of whether or not you agree with that statement (or with any of Lightfoot’s four notions), it seems to me that what women really want is a concealed carry gun that shoots like a baby’s butt and hits like a locomotive. They want a lightweight handgun that fits in their hand, conceals easily, draws fast, aims easily and makes them feel safe. How is that any different from what a man wants?