I hear this kind of thing from women all the time.
” I just want a little .22.”
“I just want to hurt him; I don’t want to kill him.”
“I want to scare him away.”
“I just want him to know I’m serious.”
Ladies, stop this line of thinking. Just stop. Let’s take these one at a time
I just want a little .22.
You just want a little .22 because you view it as less lethal and easy to shoot. Indeed, it is not an optimum self defense round, but it is most certainly lethal. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good stopping round, and you can learn to manage something bigger. You can easily puncture the bad guy’s stomach with a .22, killing him slowly and painfully. He’ll have plenty of time to shoot you or even beat you to death while it happens. And he’s likely to be extra pissed off at that point.
I just want to hurt him; I don’t want to kill him.
Really? Then why pull out a firearm in the first place? Drawing your firearm is considered employing deadly force in most states. Pointing it is definitely considered deadly force. You shouldn’t be employing deadly force unless you are threatened with deadly force. Here you’ve got a goblin ready to take your life. Why would you want to make any moves that are less than the best to stop him? He’s not offering you the same amount of mercy. In the act of self defense, the goal is to stop the aggression. The most efficient way to do it is to aim for center mass. Don’t waste time trying to injure them, stop them. Death is an unfortunate side effect of their violence. Yes, if you have to take the life of some criminal, you’re going to have to live with it. But if he kills you, he’s likely only feeling guilty if he’s caught. What if he’s not? What if he beats you, rapes you, and leaves you for dead and you survive only to hear on the news about how his next victim wasn’t so lucky? Which burden is worse?
I want to scare him away.
Don’t count on it. Yes, criminals love easy targets, and they aren’t real fond of being shot. Can’t imagine anyone is. But they’re also pretty good at spotting victims. They’ll see that gun shaking in your hand and the fear in your eyes. Can you follow through if he calls your bluff? Why are you bluffing? I hope you draw it and the perp runs screaming down the dark alley into the waiting arms of the local PD, but we all know it’s not always going to work that way. Again, you only draw if you are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the aggression. If he spots it and runs, you’re done. But what is your plan if he doesn’t run away?
I just want him to know I’m serious.
If you are looking to injure rather than take that potentially deadly shot, you aren’t serious. This is your life you are gambling with. Maybe your child’s life. You are gambling with a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend. Where does this leave your husband, child, sibling, friends? Ladies, when faced with an aggressor it is not the time to be compassionate. If you can’t be strong for yourself, do it for the people that love you. There are people that depend on you. If you must be compassionate, show your compassion to the next victim. Unless you are willing to use the most efficient means necessary to stop the attack, you aren’t serious, and he will know it.
Women tell me all the time about how they can’t take that kill shot. They wouldn’t be able to aim for center mass. Honestly, I’ve never been in that situation, so I can’t tell you for certain how I would react, but that’s what I train to do. I don’t set myself up for failure by undercutting the very basis of self defense. I don’t tell myself that I can’t do it.
Understand that just by virture of being female you are far more likely to be targeted as a victim. At 5’4″ 130lbs, a man doesn’t need a weapon to overpower me. I stay alert. I am aware of my surroundings, and I am prepared. Bad things can happen in broad daylight. Exhortations to stay away from dark parking lots don’t really help the single mom working nights to feed her family. She needs more options.