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Personal Defense for Women
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87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
I have been collecting books on "defense for women" since I first had the money to buy books. I was bullied in school frequently. When I joined the Marine Corps and went to boot camp in 1975, my reason for buying "defense for women" books was that if the techniques worked for out-of-condition women who had not been brutally indoctrinated in the warrior culture, they'd work even better for me. Unfortunately, most of the "defense for women" books are trash.

Not so with "Personal Defense for Women" by Gila Hayes. The book is more of a guide to learning than a complete instruction manual, but I have a better understanding of the "shoulder pocket" for managing shotgun recoil. Folks, I did it wrong for 35 years--now I'm retraining myself based on the clear illustrations on Page 248. This book takes the novice through every phase of learning to protect yourself. Chapter One, A Woman's Rights and Responsibilities, is the foundation of the whole book. If your society holds that you have no right to live, if your attacker has every right to rape and kill you, then the rest of the advice is a moot point.

Nobody has the right to rape or murder you.

Chapter Two covers the "color code" technique that confuses so many is explained. Conditon Yellow is a state of relaxed alertness to your surroundings and the readiness to go to a higher state of alertness and readiness to act. This chapter helps accomplish the next chapter--you cannot avoid trouble if you have zero situational awareness.

Chapter 3--A Fight Avoided Is a Fight Won, is very good advice.

The advice goes through to Chapter 24, Post Shooting Survival. The Afterwards is a discussion of the difference between "victim" and "survivor."

Gila Hayes is a 10-year veteran of Washington state police departments and has her own firearms training school. My own experience is different--14 years of active military service, another 13 years of reserve component military service spread over 35 years, and working in commercial security since 1989. I trained several hundred security guards in the use of the M9 pistol, M16A2 rifle and M60 machine gun as well as provided sustainment training for several thousand soldiers on their annual ranges since 1984--M16A1 and M16A2 rifles, M60 and M249 machine guns and 40mm M203 grenade launchers. You might justifiably regard her advice as more credible than mine. I won't mind.

But I do have a few disagreements.

I prefer semi-automatic pistols to revolvers. The Product Link below gives a partial reason--unlike the "conventional wisdom" real-world experience is that the revolver is harder to use and to keep in operation than the semi-automatic pistol. Sykes and Fairbairn trained a 6000 man international police force in the most-dangerous city on Earth and over two decades they determined that the double-action revolver took twice the training ammunition and three times the training time to gain a level of proficiency their street cops needed--and that the revolver shooter required more retraining to keep that skill level. My own armorer experience is that automatics are simple to repair, more durable than revolvers, and can run while dirtier than the revolver. During the Miami FBI shootout a wounded FBI agent couldn't reload his revolver because his own blood jammed his service revolver. A common shooter-induced revolver malfunction occurs when the shooter fails to complete the long, heavy trigger stroke and skips a loaded chamber. It is almost like limp-wristing the automatic. The revolver shortcomings are nothing that cannot be remedied by more training (and by carrying a second revolver) but the myth that revolvers are easier for beginners to use needs to be put to rest.

I like her shotgun advice. Add to the shotgun myths that "the shotgun is easy to use" because the advice was for people who owned a shotgun and used it for hunting--or trap and skeet shooting. In the old days, why buy a gun useful only for "shootin' people" when you had a perfectly servicable weapon that you were skilled with--one that you used to put meat on the table and used to keep foxes out of the hen house? Gila Hayes discusses caliber and shot size--and rifled slugs. Most of the "conventional wisdom" didn't bother--because the shotgun sportsman already had ideas on what was effective in his scattergun. She talks about shotguns in one chapter and ammuntion in the other chapter. I have to warn the home defender that the .410 bore shotgun is a poor choice for defense--the only effective load is the slug load in that caliber and the buckshot shell has only three #000 pellets--the bird shot penetrates too shallow on humans and is a small charge. Hayes' advice to select the 12 or 20 gauge is sound--and unless you have some reason to select the 12 gauge, the 20 gauge works better for the defense shotgun due to lower recoil and a lighter shotgun. I'd recommend the autoloading gas-operated shotgun because the fewer things the shooter has to do under stress, the less shooter-induced malfunctions result.

By the way, I'm not a shotgunner. I've trained myself, fired a few rounds of skeet, ran drills with the shotgun over tactical fire courses. I selected the 12 gauge pump shotgun mostly as a training tool because police, military and security shotguns were usually 12 gauge pump shotguns--I wanted my skill to carry over because I determined that if I had a shotgun in a shootout, odds were that it would be someone else's shotgun. Gila Hayes is far more skilled with a shotgun than I am. I just learned to manage recoil and even though I fired a perfect buckshot score out to 100 feet with my own shotgun (hitting at least five out of eight #00 low recoil buckshot on a 8.5x11" scoring zone in the center of a B-27 target at all ranges) the targets were not moving.

I was trained as a rifleman. I have NO combat experience, just bunches of hours on routine patrols, convoy protection, access control, and static defensive positions. When my National Guard unit went to Kuwait my personal weapon was the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon--a belt-fed 5.56mm light machine gun. Gila Hayes recommends the Ruger Ranch Rifle for the home defender under limited conditions. She didn't mention the old Russian M43 round used in the AK-47, the 7.62x39mm, or the .30/30 Winchester of 1894 that has about the same impact to 200 yards as the Russian load. Due to my training and experience I prefer to grab a rifle when there's fighting over a shotgun or pistol--but if I knew a fight was brewing I'd do what it took to get off the battlefield before the bullets started to fly. I don't diagree with Hayes' selection of the Ruger Ranch Rifle--it works well for the self-defense application. For most people, though, if they don't normally use a rifle, they need to devote themselves to a training program before they consider the rifle. Most self-defense shootings take place at under 50 feet, often as short as 5 feet, because of the defender not having the initiative. The attacker picks the time and place of the attack--and picks the victim. Police are supplimenting or even replacing their traditional shotgun because they have an offensive mission--and by keeping their distance they are safer from criminal gunfire, they don't spray stray buckshot around the target, and the precision of the rifle permits better placement of the bullet. Private citizens protecting themselves would rarely shoot across a two-lane city street. It is nice to have stand-off distance,as the Farnham story relates on Page 266, but most of the time the additional rifle reach won't be an asset. My complaint--if you can call it that--is to realistically evaluate your specific situation. You may be prohibited any firearm--as was the case for residents of Washington, DC. You may live in a rural area and use a .243 Remington rifle with 3-9x telescopic sight to hunt everything from ground hogs at 300 yards to deer--in which case, you might as well stick with your rifle and ammunition because you have considerable skill with it. The old ranch gun standard was the Winchester Model 94 in .30/30 and the new standard seems to be the Ruger Ranch Rifle in .223 or a bolt action with scope in calibers ranging from .243 to 7mm Magnum. A lot of gun writers discount the AR-15 as a worthless toy--but because I have so much experience with the M16-series weapons, I'd have to consider it. There are many women who have been trained to use the M16 and the M4 carbine in military service. Unless prohibited by law or by high price tag, for these women the AR-15 carbine is a viable option because they have a great deal of training with the system.

A firearms safety note--compared to a tubular magazine, the detachable box magazine is safter. Remove the magazine, clear the chamber. Tubular magazines require more care--and more training to use safely. It is a matter of training.

I really like the Taser advice--but Taser training is going to be expensive. I regard one or two $25 cartriges at a 10 foot target adequate with my own C2--but I have a laser-equipped C2 and I read the manual. The dot is with-in 4 inches of where the top probe will hit and the 8-degree angle between the upper and lower probe will put the lower probe about two feet below the laser dot. If both probes don't hit, the Taser won't drop the attacker and keep him down for 30 seconds. The Taser still hits harder than I do with my empty hand--I've had considerable hand-to-hand combat training and I'm a big guy. The Taser is a means to an end--to put a city block's distance between me and my attacker as I run to a place of safety. Of course, I need to have a Plan B for Taser failure.

Shooting To Live: Expanded Edition
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2010
Though I've been shooting handguns for a decade plus & trained in martial arts for nearly 3 decades there was still a lot of good information I gleaned from this book. Very well-written. I like that a book for women seriously discusses guns, holsters, concealment, ammunition, etc. as well as tasers and pepper spray.

Gila demsytified for me rifles & especially shotguns and ammo choices for those as well as good techniques for woman to be able to use.

I advise any woman seeking information on self-defense to buy this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
I have four granddaughters. I thought this book would help me discuss "Personal Defense for Women" with them. It delivers!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
Self Defense for Women is one of the best books I've read on Self Defense (not just "for women"). I've shot revolvers for over 30 years, but recently decided to start Conceal Carry. I started researching, reading, took training from a qualified instructor,and even bought a new gun. I didn't realize how little I knew until I started learning!

I read a lot of great books by a lot of great authors and I glad I did, but I'm so glad I ran across this one. The reason this book is so valuable to me is because it takes and covers pretty much EVERYTHING on the subject in a very well written, easy to understand & remember way.

I have a habit of highlighting my books for easy refresher and reference. By the time I got to the last page, the whole book was pretty much covered in highlights! I was so impressed with it, that I bought 3 more copies for my sisters and daughter-in-law, who agree that it is one of the best books they've read too.

I can't recommend this book highly enough! I don't write reviews often, but this one I had to!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
A very readable, useful guide to personal safety, with practical advice on a wide variety of essential topics. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gila Hayes has penned a must read book for women on the value of self defense (and how to not behave like a victim). There is a bit about using guns to defend yourself, but there is so much more here than just how to shoot. She discusses unarmed defense, taser/pepper spray use and also the emotions that go along with using any kind of defensive tactics against another person. She cites references and links to more information about products and devices she mentions and lots of information on how to find various types of training. Every woman should read this book and everyone with daughters should share the knowledge here with them as well. Even men will get benefit from the information written here even if it is geared toward woman - valuable information is just that, regardless of the targeted audience
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
This book was purchased as a gift for a new female shooter. I read it first so I can discuss it with her when she is finished. It is written in a very easy to understand fashion and stresses all the fundamentally important aspects that make for a safe well educated shooter. Now all that remains is practice, practice, practice.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
I would give this book toall my friends. It has great inmormation that is good for both men or women. You can use the information in evfery day life. I support
what she has put together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
If you've never learned to safely handle and discharge a firearm, you should. Like learning to drive, and basic fire prevention, it's simply a skill of daily life. Who knows when you may have to handle a firearm a child has discovered somewhere, for instance. After that, then consider the moral, legal and spiritual implications of owning and perhaps using a firearm for defense. This book is an excellent guide for that part of your education. Ms Hayes is an extremely qualified expert and gives good, basic information in a manner easy to understand by anyone, regardless of their prior knowledge on the subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
this book is VERY informative!
tells everything from just being aware of your surooundings to what to do if you are grabbed if you do not have a weapon or what to do if you DO have one. And even goes as far as what to expect / what to do if you have pulled you gun or had to shoot.
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