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GUNS Magazine January 2012 Digital Edition - Page 20
STORY: Massad Ayoob Some good choices are found within conventional wisdom, and others are hiding “outside-the-box.” Guns for GALs A GUNS reader suggested a story on which handguns might be best for a defense-minded woman. Our editor agrees. Shortly after receiving the assignment, I was teaching a MAG-40 class at the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and eight of the 29 students and three of the training staff happened to be female. Sometimes, things just work out…. The old saw that autoloaders aren’t for women because they aren’t strong enough to retract the slides, is bunk. There are multiple ways for a person with limited upper-body strength to manipulate a semi-automatic pistol. First, if it’s an outside hammer design that’s not double-action-only, cocking the hammer will alleviate the additional resistance of the mainspring, leaving only the tension of the recoil spring for the shooter to work against. the slide with the thumb on the inside and pointed toward herself. Holding the slide hard with her support hand, she digs in her heel on the gun-hand side and, turning her hip forward into the movement, drives the dominant hand forward, running the frame under the slide and letting the slide come back and then snap forward. Or, the shooter can grasp the slide Israeli style—the thumb pointing toward the muzzle—and turn her hips like a karate practitioner performing a reverse punch. That is, the support hand brings the slide back as the gun hand drives the frame forward. This puts the whole body into the technique, and makes slide manipulation almost effortless. Rather than wrestle with slides and recoil springs at all, some women prefer the double-action revolver and its swing-out cylinder—and that’s OK, too. The 1911 pistol works remarkably well for small-handed folks, none better than the Springfield Armory EMP 9mm, which is scaled down for its cartridge. Championship shooter Gila Hayes, administrator at FAS, carries one of these and she’s deadly with it. Among the students, Melissa shot great with a Kimber Classic 1911 .45, and petite Jennie alternated between an STI Trojan 9mm 1911 with short reach trigger, and the S&W Chief Special 3"-barreled revolver she prefers for concealed carry because of its lesser size and weight. Another who appreciated the Chris Cunningham (above) carries her Glock 26 inside the waistband in a holster she designed and made herself (below). Choices And Adaptations Female staff and students (below) at the Firearms Academy of Seattle class trained with a cross section of firearms comprising revolvers and autos from .38 Special, 9mm to .45 ACP. If the shooter prefers the American GI technique, she firmly grasps the frame (keeping trigger finger clear of the guard) with the dominant hand, then bring the other palm down atop 20 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 2