Author Topic: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?  (Read 18975 times)

Offline Oil Lady

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Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« on: March 20, 2011, 02:08:46 PM »
I currently reside in Massachusetts where gun ownership is very difficult and complicated. But I have a long-term plan to move to Vermont in 5 years. I choose Vermont mostly due to the lack of people up there, and the copious annual precipitation, resulting in fresh mountain spring water that you can control yourself if the spring is on your property. The added plus of moving to Vermont is their liberal stance on gun ownership.

I have little training in guns, so I wanted to know what I should plan for. From what I've read, I probably should start with a smaller caliber that won't have a heavy recoil. And probably also start with a gaming rifle as opposed to a handgun. But I'm willing to amend those assumptions depending on what you ladies can suggest.


Offline OKGranny

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 02:29:18 PM »
I fired a rifle long before a handgun simply because that's what we had. Then my ex-husbands black powder gun, then a handgun. As long as you learn proper stance and the correct way to hold whatever you're firing you'll do fine. When you get where you're going see if there is a gun range and someone who teaches ladies shooting. Try everything anyone will let you try and see what you like and what you're comfortable with. A long time ago a family we knew had gone on a hunting/camping trip in Wyoming (I think I remember) and the lady sprained her wrist some so the next day she stayed in camp while her hubby and son went off hunting. A brown bear came into camp and started tearing it apart and she grabbed the only gun left in camp, a .22 pistol. Killed that bear, so it's not always the sized of the gun.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 03:00:51 PM »
Thanks, Granny. :)

I googled "gun range" and "shooting range" for Vermont and found a few up there -- three if I recall correctly. I haven't visited those ranges but they are on the "list" of things to do when I start my real estate shopping up there (not for another 3 years yet).

Meanwhile, I live less than five miles from a range right here in Massachusetts (the Westfield Sportsman's Club where that very young boy --only 8 years old-- needlessly and infamously got killed a few years back when he was handed an Uzi and encouraged to give it a try). Part of me wants to stop by some time and check them out just to get my feet wet and ask them beginner questions. But I hate the idea of doing it alone because of how unversed I am in gun culture. I'd much prefer if I could go with a gun-savvy friend who could show me around. But I come from social circles where NOBODY does guns (the NPR crowd). So I'm trying to grope my way through this all by myself.



Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 03:12:33 PM »
...As long as you learn proper stance and the correct way to hold whatever you're firing you'll do fine. When you get where you're going see if there is a gun range and someone who teaches ladies shooting. Try everything anyone will let you try and see what you like and what you're comfortable with...
What OKGranny said here X2.

I would recommend you eventually work up to at least (3) different firearms. (There is no upper limit.) They are, in any order you prefer:

a) game rifle. I would start with a .22 here. Low recoil, less noisy, fine for many small game animals, and ammo is relatively cheap, allowing for much more practice.

b) handgun. The whys, wherefores and opinions as to which one number at least twice as many as people you ask. What OKGranny says again here.("Try everything anyone will let you try and see what you like and what you're comfortable with.") Handguns are for self defense. If you plan to carry, think about that along with the other factors. Ladies are faced with a harder problem here than the guys, usually. Someone posted this video elsewhere, but this lady does a nice job of discussing the options.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogGBPVk5GQk#

c) shotgun. Can be used to hunt and for home defense. You may find you prefer a 20 ga. over a 12 ga. I prefer a pump type over a semi auto here for the sake of simplicity, but that is a huge discussion in itself. Try both, but if you have never shot one before, I recommend you get someone knowledgeable to help. Again from OKGranny, "someone who teaches ladies shooting."

Eventually, you may want to consider a larger game rifle, but that is a whole 'nother discussion.

It would be nice to find a friend to go with, but especially if you find a place with lady instructors I sure you will have no problems.

The only hard and fast as far as I am concerned is, if you haven't done it before, be sure to have someone who knows what they are doing help you get started.

My Grandpa taught me these gun safety rules. Most of the other rules can be derived from these.

1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded all the time.
2. Never point a gun at anything you do not want to die. (Of course, targets at the range are already dead.)
3. Leave it alone unless you intend to use it or clean it. (This, of course includes practice, practice, practice.)

I hope this helps. I wish you many happy years of shooting pleasure and that you never have to use one in defense, but it is best to be able to.

Offline soupbone

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 07:13:52 PM »
Oil Lady,

I didn't get a chance to welcome you to the forum, so welcome. You'll find a lot of folks who like to write here, and some are even pretty good at it.

Its good to see that you decided to ask first before making a purchase - too many folks buy a gun and then try to figure out how and when to use it. You might want to check out "The Cornered Cat" - a lot of good information, and the lady can write.:  http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx

I, too recommend starting with a .22 cal. rifle. Ammunition is inexpensive - a factor in learning, and even a quality .22 is less expensive than a high powered or centerfire rifle. Also, a quality .22 will last you a lifetime. Plus, no matter where your shooting hobby takes you, a .22 usually ends up a most often used tool. In case I didn't mention it, they're also a lot of FUN. Living in Mass. now, it might be easier for you to get a head start on your shooting with a .22 (less restrictions?)

By all means, go to the range with a gun savvy friend - it will make you feel more comfortable at first - however, if you start to get the macho bs attitude at the range, don't hesitate to go somewhere else. Quickly. I also suggest that you get professional training or coaching to start with. As well meaning as friends are, they are also good at passing on bad habits and poor techniques.

Don't think that we are being condescending recommending a .22. Once you learn the basics, sight picture, sight allignment, trigger control and breathing control, you can shoot anything. It is easier and cheaper to learn at 5 cents a shot than 50 cents.

I don't agree with TexDaddy, though, when it comes to handguns. Handguns are not only for self defense, but also for sport. A fun and very challenging sport, I might add.

Good luck and enjoy the sport.

soupbone

Offline Bubafat

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2011, 10:42:11 PM »
My advice...start saving now and buy lots!!!  ;D 

And the LCR is a great gun (from the video)...but because it's so light it does kick a bit.

Just don't buy too small of a gun.  I've shot a kel-tec P32 and it is one of the least accurate, hardest to shoot guns I've ever fired.  Then again it is very easy to conceal.

I also agree with everyone else regarding the 22.  I believe I'm a decent rifle shot today because I've spent so much time shotting .22's.  You can develop bad habits if you start with too large of a caliber. 


Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 11:22:14 PM »
...I don't agree with TexDaddy, though, when it comes to handguns. Handguns are not only for self defense, but also for sport...
Well, of course, Soup, ALL personal firearms are for sport and they are all fun to shoot. As a working gun, they are not a lot of good for hunting, although it is done. As a tool, handguns are for mostly for self defense.

Offline soupbone

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 11:15:07 AM »
I don't know, Tex, back in the day when I was an active shooter, I had one handgun for defense and three for plinking and targets. I totally agree with what you say about hunting, though. Those who hunt with a handgun have a lot more confidence in their ability to place a shot than I ever had, and I was pretty good.

What I was driving at with my sport comment was that, as someone contemplating the purchase of a first firearm, I didn't want Oil Lady to get the idea that certain firearms are primarily for certain tasks - in this case, that handguns are mostly for self defense. I would not want to see anyone dismiss out of hand an aspect of the sport because they associate it with an action, or a step they are not currently willing to take.

I hope you didn't take offense at my comment - I was trying to tailor my post to someone with limited or no prior firearms experience.

soupbone

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 11:27:09 AM »
...I hope you didn't take offense at my comment...
Naw, we cool. I totally agree that sport is a aspect of shooting. So far, I have been fortunate enough to still be able to say ever round I have ever fired through any weapon has been for fun whether hunting or for practice.

Rifles, shotguns and handguns can all be used for sport, not just for providing food or defense.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 11:48:12 AM »
Okay, everyone, thanks for helping me waste about three hours of my day chain-surfing down the endless rabbit hole of all the awesome links you gave me. :D

Because of all the information you provided above, I am now very interested in seeking out a place such as the Seattle Firearms Academy (one of the chains I followed just now) where they have special courses just for women. While they have two female instructors on staff, and seem to have a good reputation, I really can't go all the way to the West Coast. But I'd like to start with a good course like that somewhere here in New England.   

Offline ChristineA

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 01:56:53 PM »
Check to see if there is an Appleseed Project shoot in your area.  They only charge 10.00 for women to shoot over the weekend (plus maybe a small range fee).   

It's rifle instruction, not handgun but they really do teach some good skills.    I went to my first one last summer and even though I've shot guns since I was a kid and killed oodles of critters with gun and bow, I was amazed at how much that one weekend improved my rifle skills.



Offline soupbone

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 02:01:58 PM »
Oil Lady,

Check at your local ranges - they might know some local NRA certified instructors (female) who give lessons or courses for women only. I have  friend who does that here in NE Ohio, and that is definitely the way to go. In mixed classes, there can be an underlying sense of competition to the detrement of all parties in the class.

Competition comes later, after the basics are mastered. ;D

And just to set the record straight, I still owe my eldest daughter $5 for outshooting me on an M-16 qualification course. :-[

soupbone

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 02:03:57 PM »
Check to see if there is an Appleseed Project shoot in your area.  They only charge 10.00 for women to shoot over the weekend (plus maybe a small range fee).   

It's rifle instruction, not handgun but they really do teach some good skills.    I went to my first one last summer and even though I've shot guns since I was a kid and killed oodles of critters with gun and bow, I was amazed at how much that one weekend improved my rifle skills.




Cool! There's one in Leyden, Massachusetts during May. And I have family just 12 miles away from Leyden who can let me stay the weekend!




http://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?topic=20748.0


Offline JerseyVince

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 02:04:50 PM »
Oil Lady Here's a link to the NRA page of Women on Target. It's a Instructional class on Firearms for beginners. i brought up the ones in Mass, hopefully one is close to you. Welcome to the club ;)

http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/clinics.asp?Location=MA

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 02:07:41 PM »
Oil Lady,

Check at your local ranges - they might know some local NRA certified instructors (female) who give lessons or courses for women only. I have  friend who does that here in NE Ohio, and that is definitely the way to go. In mixed classes, there can be an underlying sense of competition to the detrement of all parties in the class.

Competition comes later, after the basics are mastered. ;D

And just to set the record straight, I still owe my eldest daughter $5 for outshooting me on an M-16 qualification course. :-[

soupbone

Awesome, Soupbone! :)

And I agree about that kind of competitiveness. Really undermines stuff.   

(And as for owing your daughter a measley five bucks --cough it up, dude!! :D )




Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2011, 02:12:48 PM »
Oil Lady Here's a link to the NRA page of Women on Target. It's a Instructional class on Firearms for beginners. i brought up the ones in Mass, hopefully one is close to you. Welcome to the club ;)

http://www.nrahq.org/women/isc/clinics.asp?Location=MA

Thanks, Vince. I regret that all of the places listed on that web page are heading out toward Boston. While not an unreasonable distance to travel, I think I'll start with the Leyden workshop for now.


::ETA::

RATS!! I need a Massachusetts gun permit. So I instead checked out the Vermont Appleseeds. There will be frequent workshops held in the town of Proctor, Vermont this summer, not far from Rutland.

http://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?topic=20295.0

So I think that's my new target. And I can STILL drive there and back again in a day. So I can STILL stay at my family's house in the Greenfield, Massachusetts area and commute back and forth to Proctor each day of the workshop.


« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 02:44:00 PM by Oil Lady »

Offline M14fan

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2011, 06:48:17 PM »
First: What can you shoot well?
Next: what that you can shoot well is commonly available ( ammo)?
Next: for what that you shoot well and is commonly available can you readily find parts?
Remember that shot placement is King, caliber is Queen ( always use the largest caliber you can handle well), and parts availability is the jester that can dethrone them both.

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2011, 10:40:46 PM »
I'm an honest to goodness "gun guy" so I can say this.  Ignore any man who says, "This is the gun you need."  They are probably an idiot with delusions of sense.  OTOH, the guy who says, "Try this one and see how you like it."  Is probably worth listening to.  A small caliber firearm is a good first choice because both the recoil and noise are not overwhelming.  Also to mention that the venerable .22 is the cheapest thing to feed which translates into greater ability to practice.

A rifle is a good first choice because it lends itself well to learning good marksmanship and safety practices.  While the technique is a little different between rifles, handguns, and shotguns (and select fire and full auto for that matter), the marksmanship and safety practices are the same.  Might as well make the learning as easy as possible.

Handguns are tailor made for combat (both defensive and offensive).  They are the go to choice for a weapon that can be kept handy most all the time and be unobtrusive.  There is no general "best choice" in handguns.  What is best for you and what is best for me are likely to be different.  What is best for the individual shooter, in their own estimation, is the best choice.

If I had to pick only one shotgun to own, I would pick a 12 gauge.  They are the most versatile.  In fact, I own one.  That said, I favor a 20 gauge.  The weight and recoil are both slightly less and besides, I like my old 20 gauge hand-me-down better.

My best advise is to go out and shoot a bunch of different guns of various types, makes, and models.  Make some notes while you are shooting.  Put in writing what you thought of each firearm, whether or not and why you liked it, and how you scored with it.  Eliminate what you didn't like unless you can find a very good reason to retain it on the list.  Then eliminate the worst half of the scoring firearms.  Perhaps it might be a good idea to go and shoot those left on the list again if possible and go through the elimination process again.  After that, pick the ones you liked best and scored the best with.  Then practice, practice, practice. 

Make a range buddy.  It is more fun to shoot with a friend.

All of the above are just my opinions, but they have served me well along with most of the folks I have been privileged to train.  Deciding you want to do this in the first place and being open to suggestion has already put you way ahead of the curve.  Be safe and have fun.

Offline phuttan

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2011, 02:02:14 AM »
The best thing is fire as many guns as possible before buying. Then buy those that are most comfortable and accurate for you.

As far as what to buy, I recommend a bolt action 22lr rifle, a shotgun and a deer rifle. Add a defensive pistol and rifle and your off to a good start. The 22lr is great for practice, marksmanship training and small game hurting. The shotgun and deer rifle work for work for hunting and defense. A defensive pistol is great for having with you all the time. But remember that a pistol is there to help you get to something better or out of the situation. The defensive rifle is simply better than a pistol.

The only way to put together the best arsenal is to try a variety firearms and analyze your needs. As you gain experience the best choices for you will become more apparent.

Pat

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2011, 06:45:56 AM »
NRA is a great place to start for basic firearms training and I concur, a .22 rifle is the place to start.  My personal favorites are a Ruger 10/22 and a Marlin Model 60 (my preference goes to the Marlin because it's cheaper and more accurate out of the box, but the Ruger can be more accessorized and dressed up).  After that, a self-defense handgun would likely be my next choice, but shoot a lot of them before you settle down with one to carry. 

As for your next level of training, anyone who knows or has worked with Vicki Farnam is worth talking to.  She literally wrote the book on teaching women to shoot in the self-defense and law enforcement arenas.  Her and John are great instructors, but they also train other instructors, so you'd surely be able to find someone they work with in your area once you're ready for that kind of training.

Jack recently did an episode with a firearms instructor (can't recall his name, but he worked with Vicki) and it really did a good job of explaining why it might be critical to find a course oriented toward women only.  Some very interesting points were made.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 12:21:20 PM »
All right guys, I am sold on having to go to a shooting range somewhere and just plain shooting a weapon. So I intend to go to the Appleseed in Vermont in June to accomplish that. And the near-unanimous suggestion of a 22 rifle has me sold, especially the rationale behind it.  

If I arrive at the Vermont Appleseed with no gun, would it be "okay" (this is an etiquette question) if I bring my own box of shells (B.Y.O.S.) meant for a 22, and then negotiate some shooting time with a 22 rifle owner in exchange for the shells? Or would that just be flat-up stupid of me? Are the Appleseed organizers prepared for people to show up without their own firearms?

And as for advanced training with instructors who are geared toward women, that's definitely something I want to accomplish in the future. Right now I am still getting my feet wet.






« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 12:28:32 PM by Oil Lady »

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 12:52:20 PM »
I'd try to connect with the organizer and ask if he has a gun you can borrow or if he knows a way to rent or borrow one at the event.  I'd just be a little afraid that you won't have something to work with at the class if you didn't arrange something in advance. 

Most of the time, gun owners are multiple gun owners, but if they don't think to pack a spare for some reason, you're out of luck.

Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 01:11:30 PM »
I'd try to connect with the organizer and ask if he has a gun you can borrow or if he knows a way to rent or borrow one at the event.  I'd just be a little afraid that you won't have something to work with at the class if you didn't arrange something in advance. 

Most of the time, gun owners are multiple gun owners, but if they don't think to pack a spare for some reason, you're out of luck.

I'll try to contact the Applseed folks. 



Offline ChristineA

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 03:30:10 PM »
Definitely ask the shoot boss about getting a loaner rifle at the Appleseed.

They will try to accomodate new shooters as best they can.  In fact, my 10/22 was a loaner rifle at an Appleseed shoot near here last weekend.  :)


Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2011, 05:34:28 AM »
Okay, everybody got a +1. Thanks for your contributions!  8)




Offline liftsboxes

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2011, 07:55:25 AM »
Westfield Sportsman's Club is two hours away from me.  Anytime you want to come up to NH and shoot I would be happy to let you try out a variety of long and small arms.

http://www.shireexchange.com/product/new-shooters/?from=/category/labor/

No fee for you.  Just split the ammo cost with me.

If you'd prefer, this group would be happy to take you shooting as well: http://www.2asisters.net/nh/

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2011, 04:05:40 PM »
I was going to suggest that you rent different guns at a range, but it looks like Liftsboxes is willing to loan you his.

I'm a big fan of trying different guns before buying one. 

As others have said, don't let the guys tell you "this is the gun you need."  Take in all thoughts and go with what works for you.  Especially if you are considering concealed carry (which is very doable in Vermont when you get there) then get a gun that you like.  That you'll acutally carry and shoot.  That's way more important than what someone tells you is a great gun.

If you like background research, here is a great Guns 101 thread on TSP: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4704.0

Offline liftsboxes

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2011, 07:55:47 PM »
The 2nd Amendment Sister will have a fair few options they're willing to share as well.  My wife often shoots with them, so if that is the route you want to go it won't limit your choice of firearms.

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2011, 05:33:06 PM »
http://www.appleseedinfo.org/search-states.php?filter=MA&statename=Massachusetts
or
http://www.appleseedinfo.org/search-states.php?filter=VT&statename=Vermont


I can highly recommend The Appleseed Project for any person, of any age, who wants to learn marksmanship, if you attend a couple of shoots, you will feel perfectly confident to go to any range and practice alone. 
No matter what organization or group you decide to shoot with, the two main choices for shooting paper now are the .22lr or an air rifle due to the cost of the ammo.  If cost is a factor, be sure to ask what the organization is going to charge you for what they offer.

As for an "arsenal" you first need to decide what the weapon is to be used for: no need to buy a goose gun (long barreled shot gun) for shooting moose... but "maybe" squirrels??

When making your decision/s on weapons, please take into account ammo cost and availability as well as maintenance and repair.  Having the last of a discontinued weapon is a great 'find' and has appeal, but if you cannot easily get ammo, repairs or parts it can quickly become a useless dust collector...

Once you have the weapon/s you feel you "need" in Vermont, then you can buy the Toys - and let your imagination run wild doing it   :o

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Any advice for a woman starting her own arsenal?
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2011, 08:17:41 PM »
I have been shooting at ranges with my husband over the years, but really found it helpful to take a course while we were in the DFW area. Good luck to you! It sounds like you have some very good options within driving distance of where you are.

You might find it interesting to check out the thread, "Weapon of choice" http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=5498.0

... or "Do you carry? What do you carry?" http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=18907.0

... or "Becoming an outdoors woman" http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=6143.0

LC