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Firearms Gear for Women - Street Smarts (permalink)

This column is about ladies, but it is addressed to the guys. Here is our vital public service message of the month: Stop buying things for women.

Actually, you can continue purchasing chocolate, flowers, birthday cards, jewelry, fancy soap for the guest bathroom, and all the other stuff that women typically enjoy (and men pretty much hate), but we really need to stop buying them firearms and hunting accessories.

This advice is based upon the opinion of pretty much every woman I have encountered. Our topic falls squarely into the whole “Man/Woman, Mars/Venus” thing and came about as most do: after a major failure on my part.

I made the common man-mistake of buying my wife a gun purse to carry her Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm. It was a great purse, understated, stylish, functional, and I spent a considerable amount of money on this quality leather handbag that seemed to fit her “look” perfectly.

And it was perfect … except for the fact she hated it.

She didn’t tell me right away because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. That she recognizes I actually harbor one or two feelings shows we are truly meant to be together. But I also learned that no matter how well you think you know the woman in your life, you can’t buy her shooting accessories.

This point was hammered home when I began to talk to Sweetie about what is now known as “The Great Purse Incident.” During our hour-long talk, she finally laid out an important tidbit that I apparently missed during my man training: “Purses are so personal to a woman that you should let her pick it out herself.”

“Fair enough,” I thought.

But the topic grew wings and soared off the chart after I shared our humorous minor misunderstanding with a couple of other women. I think we can acknowledge that guys are usually the ones who get so worked up that they end up flailing their arms, shouting in spit-flecked sentences and generally giving the appearance of a raving lunatic while trying to explain why the Indianapolis Colts need a better offensive line.

But if you want to provoke the same reaction in a woman, talk to her about this subject of female shooting gear produced by a male-dominated industry. Just try to protect your feelings with armor plate beforehand, because it won’t be pretty.

I honestly wasn’t aware this was even a problem because I’m a guy. From my own experiences, I know that some shooting gear fits me and some doesn’t, but I never imagined a world where many firearms and nearly everything else doesn’t work well because of my body configuration.

Before we continue, in the unlikely event that anyone in the S.W.A.T. readership is part of the modern “butt-hurt brigade” that thinks men and women should be treated equally in every single aspect of life, I say “Pffft!” In most things, men and women are equal and should be treated as such, but there are profound biological differences that no amount of politically correct indoctrination can ignore.

In fact, these problems arose because men simply ignored the needs of women and have consciously or unconsciously assumed that what is good for the goose is equally fine for the gander. Judging by my informal polling, this ain’t the case, at least when it comes to gun gear.

Women have significantly different requirements for equipment versus men, due to some obvious and less-obvious differences in our bodies. Woman are generally smaller of stature and have smaller hands and less upper body strength, their hips flare more noticeably, their chest area is radically different, and most of them can’t just unzip their trousers and “let fly” in order to pee when outdoors. Add in the significant issues of men’s style and taste (or total lack thereof) versus that of women, and you have a recipe for serious dissatisfaction among the ladies.

Fortunately, the shooting and hunting industries are waking up to the fact that “shrink it and pink it” doesn’t always make for suitable women’s gear. With more women shooting, especially in competition and personal defense, manufacturers are realizing they need to actually ask women what works, what doesn’t, and what appeals to their specific fashion sensibilities.

All their men would be smart to do likewise.

So, as Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving events roll up on the calendar, don’t make my mistake of thinking a purse is just a purse is just a purse. Either hatch another gift plan or make sure the lady in question has major input on the purchase, because it is highly likely that whatever you buy isn’t going to work for her, and it will end up causing heartache and discontent for both parties.

In our case, Honey felt terrible about the situation, but I pointed out that this is the same reason why men typically have so many nearly new holsters stuffed into drawers and bags. What seems great in the package doesn’t always work out once carried, so sometimes even good gear ends up on the “Island of Misfit Holsters.”

She bought that reasoning and we’re happy. She even grudgingly agreed that the same logic applies to my ever-growing collection of backpacks, the seventh-largest privately held stockpile in the U.S.

I love that woman, but boy, is she gullible!

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