Females and Firearms


Chandra L. Carleton

"Live life to the fullest, but with responsibility!"

Over the past 18 years, I have amassed a general and specific knowledge in an array of firearms and guns. I began with my career in the military in which I worked as an armament specialist specifically outfitting Apache attack helicopters with 30mm and Hellfire missiles. During my military career, it was required that each member of the detachment be proficient in the use of side arms and military assault rifles, in particular M-16 fully automatic. Additionally, I experienced and had the opportunity to shoot .50 caliber machine guns.

Once my military days were over, I continued on with my interests by becoming an avid shooter at several gun ranges in my home town area. I specifically became a common sight at the Hicksville Range located near Gatesville, Texas. My hobby has been shooting .223/5.56 semi automatic rifles ranging from Colt, Bushmaster to Ruger Mini 14s. As part of my business, I sell a number of clothing and storage capabilities for the firearms themselves, therefore, I have a wide array of customers who utilize and shoot an enormous pool of weapons.

Not only do I believe a weapons should be used for defense purposes but I believe that all women should become well versed in the use of firearms. Many friends and customers are female. The majority of these individuals all back and support the right to carry and posses weapons. I support their efforts. However, I do believe just having a weapon is not in itself appropriate. I fully and wholeheartedly believe if a female owns a weapon she must know how to use it and be proficient in the weapon itself. Practice is a must! Any woman who practices and becomes proficient with this weapon becomes proficient with the firearm craft. This is the only way to become familiar with a weapon. Sitting on a shelf or under a bed leads to having the weapon being turned on them self when the time comes to use it. Practice..Practice…Practice…this is the only way to become familiar with the weapon.

Shooting a weapon is by no means difficult. The hardest part of any new art is to step off into it and taking the bull by the horns and doing. Every gun or firearm has a quirk about it. Learning how to deal with the quirk makes it enjoyable and fun to shoot. From the loading of the weapon to the pull of the trigger, there is nothing whatsoever hard or difficult. It is just taking those first steps and picking the fun up and making ones’ mind up that she is going to learn how this gun operates and works. This is the fun part of the craft of gun ownership.

When it comes to safety, every single action requires thinking. Safety is first and foremost. This has to be considered from the purchasing of the gun, transporting of the gun, loading, shooting or storing at home. First, ALL guns should be considered loaded. Every single time I pick a gun up, I think of it being loaded and deadly. The gun should be kept in a safe place at all times where no one, especially youngsters, can have access to it. The gun should be kept clean and in good shape. It should never be pointed at a single person unless you plan to use deadly force on that person. Safety is no accident. Always, always again, think about the gun as being loaded every single moment you handle it.

As far as what I would recommend for my fellow women gun owners, for home defense, I would most definitely recommend a .40 caliber semi automatic, small frame gun, or a .38 caliber revolver. These are the best pistol type firearms available. For over defense of the home though, it is hard to beat a shotgun. A youth shotgun is easy for all females to use and provides great defense when accuracy is not practices. For fun however, there is no other gun more fun that an AR15. The feeling of exuberance one gets from shooting paper at a range is next to none.

I grew up in upstate New York where hunting is a way of life. I was not much of a hunter but when I came to Texas to live for the past 18 years, I took up the art of firearms and shooting firearms for fun and if need be self protection. I absolutely consider shooting a sport and it is mind relaxing activity for me personally. I have had people give me a great deal of advice over the years about what gun to use, what to shoot, how to shoot. The best advice I have received over the years is to be proficient and to take the use of firearms seriously and safely. The best advice I can give a fellow female when it comes to firearms. Think about the protection of you loved ones, your kids, and yourself. Be smart, be serious on the range and practice….

My motto in life is Live life to the fullest, but with responsibility!