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Giving The Lady A Gun

Aug 17, 2007
The great majority of ladies have some inherent dread of all varieties of firearms. This is no doubt largely due to the senseless and irresistible desire of inexperienced persons to indulge in a mock-heroic display and flourish of such arms when in the presence of ladies. All useless demonstration and ostentation with fire arms serves only to distinguish those who are unfamiliar with their proper manipulation and use. Persons handling arms in this manner should be avoided, or promptly compelled to desist. Many of the accidents of the "I did not know it was loaded" order occur in this manner.

There is nothing occult or mysteriously dangerous about fire arms, but their potential power must never be forgotten in handling them. As a weapon of defense the revolver places the weakest and most diminutive person skilled in its use, on an equality with the most powerful antagonist. Ladies who travel extensively and visit semi-civilized countries, especially the wives and daughters of men in the diplomatic service and of the army and navy officers assigned to foreign stations, should be thoroughly familiar with fire arms and skilled in their use.

The necessity of knowing how to shoot, like knowing how to swim, may occur but once in a woman's lifetime, but when occasion does require either, it is generally under circumstances involving peril to life, and for that reason both are advantageous and valuable accomplishments.

Every woman should, therefore, be sufficiently familiar with fire arms to know how to handle them safely, and, in emergency, to use them with intelligence. While skill in the use of the pistol and revolver is a useful accomplishment, the practice of shooting with these arms will prove exceedingly interesting.

Target practice with the 22-caliber pistol is particularly well suited for ladies, and those who have the opportunity to indulge in it have invariably found it an enjoyable and fascinating pastime. There is every reason, too, to believe that ladies would excel and develop a higher order of skill in pistol shooting than gentlemen, because they are generally more temperate and possess a more delicate nervous system.

A number of civilian shooting clubs have successful ladies' auxiliary clubs. There are at the present time a large number of ladies who are skillful markswomen with the pistol and revolver.

A very serviceable and handsome combination for ladies' use is furnished by Smith & Wesson, which consists of their regular target pistol with a 10-inch barrel and an interchangeable .38-caliber revolver barrel and cylinder, fitting to the same stock. These are furnished in a special case with cleaning rods, etc., making a complete and attractive set. The .22-caliber Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector with a 6-inch barrel and .22-caliber Colt Police Positive Target revolvers are also well adapted for ladies' use.

It is well to begin practice with a .22caliber pistol, as this is a light and very pleasant charge to shoot, and the tendency to "flinch" is reduced to a minimum. After a fair degree of skill has been developed with the .22-caliber pistol reduced charges with a revolver may be tried and from this stage the practice shooting can progress to the regulation full charges. It is desirable that ladies should have a little practice with the revolver with full charged ammunition, so as to be able to manipulate it with sufficient confidence and skill in case of necessity.
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