SOFREP has done a great job of covering self-defense for women over the years by way of their “Women’s Self-Defense Weekly” series. The series gives women some great less-than-lethal options, such as pepper spray or a Taser, for protection. However, I am a firm believer in women carrying a concealed handgun for protection. My handgun is a part of my everyday carry kit, along with other vital things such a knife, flashlight, extra magazines, and an IFAK (individual first-aid kit). Out of all of my female friends and family, I am the only one that carries a concealed handgun daily.

I have been approached by potential male attackers on multiple occasions during my lifetime. In all of the incidents, I was lucky to get away unharmed, and I am thankful for the military giving me a heightened level of situational awareness. Knowing an attack is coming is half the battle. I am not sure why I was singled out; perhaps I have a target above my head and I just attract creepy guys, or I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the experiences and realities that I have faced over the past two decades. When Texas legalized concealed carry, I did not waste any time submitting my packet to get my license.

Many women have asked me about carrying a concealed handgun over the years, and I have always willingly shared my experiences. They are curious about the safety of guns, the logistics of it, as well as the practicality of it, as women’s clothing is less forgiving for hiding a holstered gun in your waistband. I have gotten mixed responses, and some women have countered my decision—they felt that a gun was not necessary for their safety. However, I know my own physical limitations, and I would not last very long if I had to fight a 200+-pound guy for even a short length of time, especially with small kids in tow. Personally, I don’t feel a can of pepper spray at the bottom of a purse and a typical women’s self-defense ‘knee-to-the-groin’ class is enough to ensure the protection of my family or myself. The reality is that a handgun will probably be the only thing that saves you from sexual assault or physical assault.

It might sound girly, but every day, I pick out which gun to carry just like I try to pick the perfect pair of shoes. My choice all depends on where I am going and what I will be doing that day. There are some great compact handguns out there that can fit smaller hands; personally, I own a Walther PPS, Glock 43, and a Glock 19. While the Walther PPS and Glock 43 are better for hiding and wearing on your body, the smaller the size means the less rounds in the magazine. You can always extend your magazines, but it will decrease your ability to conceal the weapon. The Glock 19 is larger, can easily fit inside a purse, and has an increased magazine capacity.