The NRA Called Me Out

Not by name, of course.

Top 3 Terrible Pieces of Advice Women Get in Gun Stores

By Tamara Keel, 8 October 2019

Every now and again, you get a writing assignment that’s not even work. This is one of those. “Hey, Tamara, would you like to do a piece on some of the worst advice women get in gun stores?”

Oh, honey. Pull up a chair…

*Gunner Q bellies up with a beer.*

I wouldn’t have worked in the gun sales business as long as I did if I didn’t enjoy it, but like all career fields, you get a wide range of quality in employees. You know that one guy in your office who means well but still hasn’t figured out which part of the envelope he’s supposed to lick? Well, his cousin sells guns, and for some reason I have interacted with him from the customer side of the counter a bunch of times over the years. Let me tell you, he has some downright awful ideas about women and guns. Let me share a few of them with you.

So, Tamara isn’t the average woman buying a gun so she can murder all those evil yet strangely incompetent rapists running around just like a big boy. She’s a gun salesman, which makes her a curious choice for the topic of receiving bad gun sales advice.

1. The worst piece of advice I’ve gotten in a gun store…
…is hopefully an artifact of the past. I haven’t heard it in many years, but who knows? Maybe some dude working in a place out back of beyond is still handing it out. Basically, it’s the “What do you want a gun for? Let your man defend you.” The first time I heard this in a gun store I was dumbstruck. I am standing here trying to give a dude money for merchandise and he’s trying to talk me out of it. That was a unique retail experience.

That’s a rare kind of honesty. I also have had salesmen talk me out of purchases that I thought I wanted but would have been bad, and I always hit the tip jar on the way out. “He wouldn’t sell me a gun because he thought it wasn’t what I needed!” is a concept only a cuckservative can find offensive.

This isn’t even about male-female behavior. A salesman who cares more about his customer’s well-being than landing one more commission brings a smile to God’s face.

It didn’t happen often and, like I said, it hasn’t happened for years, but I swear it happened. There was this occasional guy behind the counter who thought I was intruding in his clubhouse, and told me that I didn’t have the defensive mindset or mechanical aptitude or whatever for a gun, because icky gurrrrl.

He should have punched you hard in the face. Would you have punched back (male), cried/ran (female) or simply stood there in disbelief? (sheltered life)

Closely related to this is the next piece of bad advice, usually delivered by a guy who is affecting the “veteran persona,” which is this: “Oh, what you need to do is load the first chamber with [a blank/snakeshot] because you don’t want to kill anyone. You don’t know how horrible it is…” At which point they gaze off at a far corner of the shop with a 10-yard version of a thousand-yard stare.

I mean, he’s sort of right, in that I don’t particularly want to kill anybody.

She just failed to qualify for a CCW. If you don’t want to kill when killing needs to happen then don’t carry a gun on your person.

But another thing I don’t want to be doing is explaining to a judge and jury why I blinded or maimed a person for life when I didn’t think they rated the use of deadly force. Because make no mistake about it, pointing a firearm at someone and pulling the trigger is deadly force, and “snake shot” or “rat shot” is not some kind of harmless stun ray. It’s perfectly capable of blinding and maiming at defensive distances.

Seriously, Barbie? You don’t want to answer to a jury for maiming somebody but are willing to answer to them for killing somebody? Besides, that likely-a-real-vet-who-did-it-for-real-in-Goat-Fuckistan probably wasn’t talking about how to win at trial when he gave advice that might keep a death off your conscience.

I agree it’s bad advice but only because of adrenaline. When your SHTF, adrenaline means you’ll be doing fight-or-flight, not deciding which barrel of your revolver should be discharged first. Anybody who’s been downrange enough times to not screw up stuff like that is beyond needing advice.

2. The second-worst piece of advice I’ve gotten in a gun store…
The second most common piece of bad advice I’ve gotten in gun stores is the “cute gun.” This is where the clerk steers you to the tiniest little nickel-plated, pearl-handled .25 or .32 in the case, apparently on autopilot. Apparently he has decided that those are girl guns, and you’re a girl, and so…Obviously a match made in heaven, right? It sometimes doesn’t even matter if you’re in there to get a trap shotgun or a long-range precision rifle, it can take a crowbar to pry the clerk off trying to sell you that little .25, because you’re fighting his automatic programming.

They’re cheap, light and concealable, which is what most women want when considering a firearm. Maybe if you told them you’re a firearm dealer yourself, they’d understand you aren’t like 90% of the other female customers?

3. The most common piece of advice women get in gun stores…
And this brings us to the most common piece of bad advice given to women in gun stores, and it’s one often given with the best of intentions: The lightweight .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver. If there is a single firearm configuration that has put more novice women shooters off the idea of shooting as a hobby than the lightweight five-shot .38, I don’t know what it is.

Hmm, that’s advice I give to almost everybody entering gun ownership. Revolvers are simple to operate & maintain and reliable enough that a novice can purchase one used, to save on cost. The other good entry gun is a .22, also because it’s cheap, but most women only want to buy one gun, for self-defense, which makes the .357 the better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, the lightweight .38 snubbie has settled a lot of bad guys’ hash over the years, but it’s not really a beginner’s gun. The light weight amplifies recoil and it also hurts accuracy, in that a 12-pound trigger pull on a 1-pound gun will really test the shooter’s abilities to keep the sights aligned through the whole trigger press. The sight radius is short, the sights are minimalistic and low-contrast, and the grip is tiny.

No first-time gun purchaser cares about any of that. Unless a woman is interested in guns as a hobby, just tell her to get a one-size-fits-most revolver, shove it in the bad guy’s stomach and pull the trigger until the noise stops.

There’s better advice to be given, of course… to those who want to go farther.

In short, the little snub is an expert’s gun that gets foisted on novice women shooters because it’s small and light and has a reputation for being effective.


I think there’s also this idea that because it’s a revolver that it’s “simpler” and therefore easier for our lady-brains to understand or something.

QED, and “simple” in a firearm context is good for everybody. Simple is your friend.

Nothing is more discouraging than being handed a gun that’s unpleasant to shoot and challenging to fire accurately when you’re a novice, especially when you’ve been told it’s the perfect gun for you.

That’s a lie. Nothing is more discouraging then a newcomer being shown a .454, being told you can handle it and then being told about all the aftermarket upgrades you’ll need to pimp it out.

I had that trouble with a computer guru friend. “Nah, you don’t want an overpriced Wintel computer. I’ll help you build one from parts in order to save money! What’s your favorite flavor of Linux? You’ll want a motherboard with AGP port because PCI is obsolete for the latest graphics cards…” Credit to him, he at least waited until I had some computer background, but even so I came dangerously close to chucking it in the trash. Found out via trial and error that the reason Windows wouldn’t install outside of safe mode was the RAM chips were defective… and just this description of the problem is glazing eyeballs among my readership.

Eyeball-glazing is a bad sales tactic.

So there are a few of the worst pieces of advice I’ve been given in gun stores, but there’s plenty more where that came from. Hopefully this will become a quaint relic of the past as more and more women get involved in shooting.

Why do more women need to get involved in shooting? If they don’t want to, is that a bad thing?


3 thoughts on “The NRA Called Me Out

  1. Happy New Year.

    You’ll want a motherboard with AGP port because PCI is obsolete for the latest graphics cards
    Ahhh… you are bringing back memories. I still have a computer with an AGP port, with the video card to match. About to throw it out 🙂


  2. I have to believe that Tamara, as a professional firearms dealer who is also obviously a feminist, has also given more than her fair share of terrible advice to (non-gun-hobbiest) women who are in the market for a gun for purely defensive purposes. If the tone of her editorial is any indication, her sales approach is probably full of you-go-grrrl “you need a REAL gun to protect yourself [, since there’s no man in your life to do it, and you don’t need no stinkin’ man anyway], not some wussy LadySmith 9mm or a pocket 22 pistol.”

    Even though, of course, these would be, as you pointed out, the ideal weapons for a novice (especially a woman novice) looking for a purely defensive, close-range, easy-to-fire-on-a-split-second’s-notice weapon.

    Narrative Über Alles, even when it comes to protecting a woman’s own life.

    Liked by 1 person

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