06 October 2022

Choosing the Right Weapon

(Short post this week, because we've got family coming for the first time in years!  Huzzah!)

Elmer Fudd whispering shhhh
Elmer Fudd © Looney Tunes

I was down at the Farmers' Market a couple of months ago, and there was a booth that the city had put up, asking people for suggestions to make downtown Sioux Falls better. I put in my two cents – we desperately need a large Central Park that everyone can use, that is quiet, not on any interstate, and has actual landscaping.  So did everyone else, including a lady who was telling every woman who stopped that "you need to empower yourself and get a gun. You will feel so safe."

Well, if you insist. I feel pretty empowered as it is.

I've never owned a gun, but I've known a lot of people who did and do. I've shot quite a variety of them myself, because in my younger days I attended dynamite parties down South, where it was quite common for people to show up with a few cases of beer, some stuff to grill, and a trunk full of firearms.

I quickly learned that I don't have the heft, the sheer mass, to use any kind of assault weapon without spraying bullets around like an old man in a barroom urinal after five beers. And some rifles have the kind of kick that leave you with a bruised shoulder (yep) and/or a cracked cheekbone (Nope – I would NEVER do the classic TV/movie/ad pose where you lean in with your face on a firearm. What, are you nuts?)

But I had good marksmanship with weapons that were more my weight. I could hit a distant target, and even a moving target, like a ping-pong ball hanging from a tree.

I also learned about shotguns – I could use one, if I aimed low and was ready to be knocked back, say, flat on my back to the ground. From that I learned that (at my weight) if you aim at someone's knees, you're bound to hit something serious as the shotgun kicks up, like their gonads, stomach, chest, or even head.

Which is why, to this day, if a woman asks me what kind of gun should she buy for self-defense, I always tell her to avoid any kind of handgun. If your hands shake (and they will, especially late at night in the dark), you're not going to hit your target, and you're just setting yourself up for worse than the whatever your assailant had planned. For home self-defense, buy a shotgun. Just racking the damn thing will scare the crap out of most people. Aim low, and you will hit something on the way up.

NOTE: One of my partners in crime, Leigh Lundin, pointed out that I really should tell people to keep a shotgun "pressed against their hipbone or thighbone to absorb shock and prevent the stock from slamming hard into the bone."  He's right.  Here's the thing, folks – if you never have fired a specific weapon you need to learn how to use it BEFORE you actually bring it home.

And I don't really believe in packing 24/7, because it gives too many people the idea that it makes them invulnerable, and they often do foolish things because of it. There are many true stories of a handgun falling out of a purse or a pocket and going off in the restroom. I know one armchair Rambo who managed to screw things up in the time of crisis and, while he survived, has never yet lived it down. Frankly, I've always found that a quick tongue or a quick run will get you out of most trouble, and I've lived in dicey neighborhoods in both LA and Atlanta. 

And I don't really feel like the karma or the cleanup from shooting someone, perhaps to death. I'm sticking to a baseball bat in the bedroom. Actually, I'm sticking to calling the police when I hear gunshots in the neighborhood (and I have), and otherwise trusting that the porch lights keep the critters away.  

So far, 100% success rate. 

Elmer Fudd with shotgun
Elmer Fudd with shotgun © Looney Tunes, Warner Bros.


  1. Eve, in the lead-up to the hurricanes, a rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ plaid flannel-in-Florida kind of guy told my friend she should pair up with him because he was well armed and could protect her when the inevitable hordes breached their walls to take the food and wimmin. She said he scared her more than the hurricanes and hordes.

    Poor guy might want to rethink his mating strategy.

    Eve, I just watched Lou on Netflix and in a way. It presents an exceptional showing of woman-as-action-heroine. Although she totes a rifle, she saves the day while shooting little more than a deer. Pretty impressive.

  2. PS: One of my favorite lines of all time came from Elmer Fudd:

    “My twusty wifle is a twifle wusty.”

    (Wow, that’s hard to type with autocorrect.)

  3. Eve, after a few beers the urinal keeps moving.

  4. Good advice and enjoy your visitors!

  5. Leigh, my favorite woman as action hero was and still is Emma Peel, who rescued Steed regularly. I think the only time she ever fired a gun was at a rifle range...

    1. Frankly, Steed was more of a gelding. Never trust a man who carries an umbrella. If he's not passive-aggressive or haunting a grassy knoll, he'll poison you with a Russian polonium pellet. On the other hand, President William Henry Harrison, acting macho, didn't have sense enough to stay dry during a rain.

  6. Colorado is an open carry state and it scares the bejesus out of me to see an untrained civilian with a holster and automatic pistol strapped to his waist. That's when I usually pick up my stuff and depart the area.

    On the firing range in army basic training, our DI in order to show us how little the recoil was on a M-16 assault rifle, which we would be using in Vietnam, placed the butt of the M-16 against his chin and let off a few rounds. No problem. The slight recoil, plus the high volume magazines, may be why mass shooters favor the AR-15 (the civilian version of the M-16.

    When Kiti, being a lefty, went to army basic training, she had to learn to shoot right-handed. It seems you don't want your left cheek resting on the right side of the rifle stock when those hot casings come flying out of the right side when they are being ejected.

    If a female insists on having a hand gun, I usually recommend a revolver because they don't have to remember to click off the safety before shooting, plus a revolver seldom jams. I was in a fire fight in Kansas City one Thursday morning where the automatic handguns of two different people jammed. One bad guy and one agent.

  7. R.T., I'm with you in leaving the area when I see people open-carry in enclosed public places. Thanks for your expertise on weaponry. Back in the dynamite party days, the weapons were a little heavier. And I'm glad you survived that fire fight! Whew!

  8. Elizabeth Dearborn06 October, 2022 13:53

    Eve, we do keep miniature baseball bats in the bedroom & at the front door, in case of trouble. They give them out at the Louisville Slugger factory if you go on a tour there.

    Lou was great, wasn't it? I found a wonderful quote from Allison Janney: "Listen, I'm an actor. I can make anyone believe anything. I don't have to know what the hell I'm talking about." Kind of like writing, if a person is really good at it ...


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