Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he’ll spend a week in a boat drinking beer.
And another great concept goes down in flames….
As Socrates said, “ I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” And since old Soccy is generally acknowledged as having been pretty sharp, and since criminals haven’t changed much from his time, the question that raises its ugly head—at least in this author’s mind—is, where are the female trainees on defensive firearms training ranges?
Yes, they are in evidence, but predominantly in what is colloquially referred to as “professional circles,” such as law enforcement and military personnel. But what about the average Jane Doe urbanite? Let’s face it: anybody who seriously believes that violent crime figures are down in North America is either walking around with rose-colored glasses or hasn’t read a history book.
Has anybody out there noticed that predators pick on those whom they perceive as the weak? Which usually means—from their viewpoint—somebody they can outnumber and wolf-pack, such as the elderly, the physically infirm—and females. To a criminal’s mind, these are prey—The Weak. Yes, you may be the rare reincarnation of Boadicea or the one-in-a-thousand accomplished martial artist, but criminals will usually smell that on you and move on to easier pickings. Crooks may be garbage, but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid. For the most part, especially when it comes to violent crime, they excel at what they do.
So it’s back to the original question: why is the number of female firearms and tactics trainees so disproportionate to that of males?
Usually a training range populace consists of 90% males, attired in the obligatory “tactical” gear and sipping a chemical concoction of testosterone and war stories from a Camelbak. I’m not saying they’re not good people, but one more time: why are there so few females on training ranges?
Hundreds of women are being brutalized and killed every day—and it’s getting worse, because the crook knows that the odds are stacked in his favor that he can physically overpower a female. And he knows that many women won’t report the crime, for various reasons unknown to male reasoning.
That’s why Samuel Colt and Henry Deringer (yes, his name was spelled with one “r”) invented their “Equalizers”—to match physical force with ballistic force.
That having been said, the above-posed question can possibly be answered, at least from a male author’s perspective, by looking at two root causes: (1) The male in society has, since time immemorial, characteristically been the “protector” and utilizer of physical force, and (2) a horrendous backlash has manifested from the 1990s politically correct “minority” programs, resulting in Jane Doe paying the dues.
The net result of the latter is that a new breed of creeps has symbiotically surfaced, with the mindset of “if she wants to be a man, I’ll treat her like a man,” resulting in a drop in morals, courtesy, social graces, and an increase in physical violence. The Age of Chivalry may not yet be dead, but it’s certainly in need of serious medical attention.
The “hunter-gatherer” situation has also changed societally in the last couple of decades, with the dragon-slaying knight now usually armed with a mouse and slaying computer icons. So don’t lay any bets that your knuckle-dragging Sir Galahad will come to your aid. And if your Tarzan were present, the predator probably wouldn’t have picked on you in the first place.
The bad news for a female is that a criminally based confrontation will inevitably be close up and physical, as a predator is looking for one of two things—her purse/handbag or physical debasement—and either, or both of these, require close physical proximity. Usually this problem cannot be de-escalated by verbal means but requires physical retaliatory force.
Ergo, by nature of her occupation, the Number One prime target for physical violence has to be the Lady of the Night. (No, this is not a pompous sermon from a chauvinist. Life often deals a cruel hand, and yours truly, for one, has done a lot worse things than any Soiled Dove, and am in no position to judge others.) The point is, if that is your profession, you are at least equally or even more open to daily physical violence than a frontline soldier. You need a physical force equalizer, and you need the training to adeptly deploy the firearm, because there’s no question you will be dealing with an aggressive, demented, physically strong adversary.
If you’re the “generic” Jane Doe prey, it will still be close, with the same requisite physical response, but with suitable mental conditioning forethought, you may be able to see or sense the problem manifesting (women have an extremely efficient Sixth Sense system). If you do sense the situation developing, you have a surprise element advantage, which can buy valuable time, but you will probably still require a mechanical tool, i.e., a pistol, to apply sufficient lunatic-stopping force.
Should you, as a female, choose to agree with the forementioned, herewith a couple of humble suggestions from a male firearms and tactics trainer:
1) Don’t let somebody talk you into starting off your basic firearms training with a chrome-plated snub-nosed revolver. It is a viable choice but, contrary to popular opinion, you will have to train 20% harder with it than with a reliable semi-automatic to attain the same efficiency. It is more complicated to load, manipulate, and shoot accurately than the latter—and there are plenty of quality semi-automatics on the market today that are of the same ballistic caliber and overall size as the revolvers.
2) Carry the weapon in a quality-built container, be it holster, fanny pack or handbag designed for the purpose, which will allow quick access to the weapon.
3) Be wary of “women-only” classes. While women tend to process information differently than males, and you may feel more comfortable with only women trainees on the range, the tendency is often—for whatever reason—to not push yourself as hard as you would in a mixed-gender class. This is usually the instructor’s fault (being overly polite and “gentlemanly”), but bear in mind that this can be detrimental to your for-real performance on the street. On the other hand, nobody needs a rude drill-instructor type or wannabe Casanova on the range either (unfortunately all-too-common occurrences when women trainees are present).
The bottom line is that there’s a happy medium somewhere, and apart from upper body strength variables, women are no different than any other trainee—and shouldn’t be, nor expect to be, treated any differently. Women train to save their lives or that of a third party. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” And she wasn’t being gender specific.
Give a woman a fish, and she’ll eat for a day.
Teach a woman to fish, and she’ll feed her family for decades.
Louis Awerbuck is Director of the internationally acclaimed Yavapai Firearms Academy. Course information and schedules are available at their website at http://www.yfainc.com