Guns for gals: recommendations from a Green Beret

Photo: Pixabay (CC0)

Before I begin with the firearms, there are a few basics I wish to cover to provide you folks with a “base of reference,” so to speak.  Some of these basic parameters will help the ladies, their significant others, and their families to be more effective.  There is a rule I wish all of you to latch onto and keep in mind:

The most effective defense occurs when multiple firers concentrate their fires on a target.

This is a simple concept; however, it is a critical concept to understand.  We are speaking from a home-defense perspective in these matters.  When attackers and marauders beleaguer you, the massing and concentration of fires…putting a lot of bullets toward your target(s)…makes for maximum effectiveness in combat.  Now in order to make this happen, you need to understand the different types of weapons, how to effectively “communicate” when paired or partnered, and some things you can do daily that will help your skills improve.

First of all, for my gentlemen reading this, you and your spouse need to have the same type of weapon as your primary firearm.  Such is for several reasons, as follows:

  1. By having the same caliber of weapon you will use the same ammunition
  2. Whether a semiautomatic pistol or a revolver, you will each have either magazines or speed loaders that are analogous, respectively. We will soon touch on why this is important
  3. If both weapons “go down,” it may be possible to construct 1 working weapon from the 2 identical models combined [Better 1 working weapon than 2 paperweights].
  4. Familiarity: husband and wife will each come to know their weapons and will be able to pick up and use them in an expert fashion; therefore, they will be able to do the same with their spouse’s weapon

Regarding the second item listed, it is very important to be able to flip your wife an extra magazine or a speed loader if she runs out of ammo, or vice versa.  The reason for this is that it’s better for two people to fire at a target/multiple targets than just one.  I will deal with this topic in a subsequent article, as we are just discussing a few fundamentals that will make your home defense more effective.  Let’s talk about some firearms, now.


My personal preference is .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), for many reasons.  The round has excellent stopping power and depth of penetration.  The round is affordable and easily reloaded.  Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) is primarily for targets, and Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) are your standard rounds for defense, the bullets being 230 grains (gr).  The history of the .45 ACP is pretty interesting.

Around the turn of the 19th century the Philippines Insurrection was occurring.  The duty sidearm for the U.S. Armed Forces was the .38 caliber revolver.  It did not have success against the Filipino Islanders who were very fierce and determined fighters.  Enter John Browning, who came up with the .45 ACP in the Model 1911, and even today it is considered one of the finest pistols ever produced by the U.S.  Durable and dependable, the 1911 saw use all the way up into the late 1980’s before being replaced with the Beretta 92 series in 9mm.

A lady can more than handle the recoil and power of a .45 if she is able to practice with it and get the feel of it.  The .45 ACP is my #1 recommendation for a lady firer.  The stopping power is great and much more effective than a 9mm or a .38 special.  The bullet (with hollow points) mushrooms out from .45 inch to between .61 – .65 inch depending on the make.  This gives a greater surface area for maximum stopping power.  One common misconception is that the velocity of the round is the primary factor of stopping power.

A high velocity round has a greater chance of passing through soft tissue without stopping its target.  The .45 ACP is technically a low-velocity round, traveling at 930 fps (feet per second), but the 230 gr bullet yields depth of penetration and stopping power.  A lady can more than handle the power with practice.  That word – practice – is the key.  The objective of effective marksmanship is found with clean, well-placed shots.  Ladies, I’m here to tell you firsthand that a 9 mm does not have the stopping power of a .45 ACP and you want your assailant down and done with the first one.

I highly recommend the model 1911.  Kimbers are a little pricey, but Sturm Ruger just came out with several models that are really nice for the price.  Anything Ruger puts out is covered with an outstanding warranty and service guarantee.

.357 Magnum

#2 on JJ’s pick list is also by Ruger, the SP101 revolver in .357 magnum with a barrel length of 2 ¼ inches.  The SP101 has in its favor the stopping power of a magnum weapon, yet with the kick just a little more than a 9mm.  The SP101 is a 5-shot revolver, double action.  Ladies, this means that after you pull the trigger, the hammer will be rearward and the trigger ready to fire the next round.  The revolver is very compact and can be slipped easily into a purse or handbag.  Speed loaders and cylinder pouches complement it nicely.  The bullets (standard) are flat-nosed lead cutters that reach a velocity of 1250 feet per second.

Here in Montana (bear and mountain lion country) we carry +P rounds by Buffalo Bore.  You can pick them up wherever you live for an added advantage as a home defense round.  They are also more than able to penetrate body armor, too, by the way.  This revolver features a handle that is perfect for a woman’s hand, and it comes with a fairly nice factory rubberized grip that is quite comfortable.  The trigger (when the weapon is fired) moves to the rear of the trigger guard and does not require much pull to fire the next round.  The handgun is stainless steel and is cleaned and serviced smoothly and easily.

These two ideas should get you started in the right direction.  Both are reliable and effective firearms.  Speak to a local firearms dealer and I’m certain the words you hear will bear echoes of my own.  Have a great day, be safe, and take some time to explore these options.  Each of them is well worth it.

Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.