Customer Reviews: Stayin' Alive: Armed and Female in an Unsafe World
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on January 1, 2006
From my review in the January 1, 2006 New York Post:

WHAT should a woman do when attacked by a criminal? Should she behave passively? Use pepper spray? A gun?

Most people hope they'll get lucky and never be attacked. For those who want to think ahead, there is Paxton Quigley's new book, "Stayin' Alive."

It turns out that pepper spray may not do you a lot of good when it is raining or snowing. A woman is just as likely to disable herself as the attacker when it's windy or when using the spray indoors.

Knives and baseball bats are particularly problematic, because women have to get very close to their attackers to use them, and male criminals - that is, most criminals - tend to be much stronger physically than their female victims. When it comes to physical contact, women generally lose those fights.

The advantage of a gun is that it is ideal for keeping the criminal far away from the victim. And the victim isn't responsible for restraining the criminal, as police officers are when arresting suspects. A woman simply wants to keep the criminal away from her.

There have been a lot of good books lately exploding the myth that guns endanger people's safety. (And at least one very notable movie, Larry Elder's "Michael & Me," devastatingly tackles many of the false claims in Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine.") Quigley's book covers a lot of ground, such as the myths about personal defense, when it is appropriate to use lethal force, whether there are any risks to firing a gun while pregnant (apparently not), how often children are killed by accidental gun shots (very rarely) and how one goes about choosing the best gun for a particular individual's needs. The book answers these questions from a woman's perspective.

What works defensively for men doesn't always work for women. As Quigley points out, women who used a gun to resist an attack were 2.5 times more likely to escape uninjured than those who behaved passively. Guns aren't as beneficial for men. They are only 1.4 times more likely to escape uninjured than those who behaved passively.

The book includes real-life examples of defensive gun use and offers academic research on the millions of times each year that people use guns defensively. These good-news stories help Quigley illustrate how women actually react in life-threatening situations. And she also does well explaining what women should know before choosing a gun.

The book could have gone further debunking common misperceptions about guns. Take the claim that "you're more likely to shoot yourself or a family member than kill an attacker." This study assumed that whenever anyone in a gun-owning home was killed by a gun, it was that gun that caused the harm. But academics have found that at least 86 percent of the time, that assumption was wrong - and most of other cases were suicides.

While recent polls show that more households own guns after 9/11, there is still a lot of fear and uncertainty about guns, which may keep people from doing what is best for their family's safety. Quigley's book cuts through a lot of that unjustified fear.

John R. Lott Jr. is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "The Bias Against Guns."
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2005
Paxton Quigley is at it again in her 2004 book, "Stayin' Alive." Many people, for many various reasons, strongly object to women possessing guns. All who prey upon women object to armed females because their prey isn't supposed to even think about fighting back. Others have a death fetish.

A far deadlier device is the automobile. People who object to women driving and riding automobiles are shunned in our society. The real reason is that driving is a sign of maturity, responsibility, and independence in our culture. Yet the automobile is a bigger killer than guns, and guns are intended to be dangerous-it makes guns useful as a deterrent and useful for shutting off an attack. My personal opinion is that if someone isn't responsible enough to own a gun, they shouldn't be licensed to drive automobiles either. The automobile is harder to use safely-guns are really simple mechanical devices.

In "Stayin' Alive: Armed and Female in an Unsafe World," Paxton Quigley provides success stories of women saving their own lives and the lives of their children with handguns. She discusses the issues of child safety-and "CAP laws" (Child Access Prevention). Quigley taught me a few things in her book: warnings about how your VIN compromises your automobile's anti-theft devices and security measures for your checks and your stolen wallet are useful information for anybody. In addition to providing evidence against the modern media-driven urban myths about firearms, Quigley covers tactics, formal schools, buying guns, choosing ammunition and equipment, and recommending non-gun alternative weapons. There is even a chapter on "Sport Shooting and Hunting," which most women probably won't find interesting-despite feminist rhetoric about access to the "boys' tree house," guns and hunting are still regarded as a "guy thing." This may be the only exposure to hunting for many women-I recommend everyone get a hunting license even if they don't hunt because the hunter safety course by your state's wildlife management department will introduce you to gun safety, you'll learn about your state's wild animals, and you'll have a better idea of what is going on in "public lands." Plus, your license fee will care for public lands and the creatures living on them. You need not hunt simply because you got a license! I find it funny that so many know nothing about a subject, yet have their own "expert opinion" on it. Guns are not for everyone. Being informed about guns, even if you cannot or will not own any, is important for any adult who can vote. "Stayin' Alive" isn't the last word in gun knowledge, but you could do worse.

I am fairly knowledgeable about firearms-23 years in the military, two decades of security officer experience (with anti-terrorist work), and a library of gun books. I don't know everything about guns, so I keep adding to my library. "Stayin' Alive: Armed and Female in an Unsafe World" is a worthwhile addition to my library. Paxton Quigley taught me new things in her book. This book is more about WHY having a gun may be good than how to use a gun-and gives the reader a tool to find qualified instructors. It is finally sinking in that adults need to provide their own bottom-line security because nobody else will.
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on February 12, 2007
I bought this book thinking it would be an updated and improved version of the 1993 book Armed and Female: Twelve Million American Women Own Guns, Should You? by the same author. That book was excellent, and I wanted to have the latest version.

Unfortunately, what I received was a much more expensive "pamphlet" (only 160 pages for over ten dollars) that abounds with typographical errors, to the point that the errors change the meaning of the sentence in several places. As if that weren't enough, much of the content appears to have been cribbed from various blogs and Web pages that can be read for free after a simple Google search.

To sum up: The 1993 version of Armed and Female is a well-written and interesting resource, albeit slightly dated in technical recommendations on ammunition, calibers, and of course the makes and models of available handguns.

THIS book is unfortunately only an overpriced, badly printed rehash of information available elsewhere.
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on May 3, 2007
It is ironic that the people who need to have a gun the most are the ones who are afraid to own one: women. Paxton Quigley has been working to change all that. This little book gives a quickie course on what women need to know and why they need to know it. The book contains a number of true stories of women using guns to protect themselves. And as every such book needs to do, it exposes all the lies the media tell about guns.

Give a copy of this to every woman friend you have. After reading this, you'll be wondering why you and everyone else in this society has been so convinced for so long that it is a bad thing to have a gun around. This book explodes many of the lies and myths that have been packed around the image of the gun and the notion of gun-ownership, as well as the image of gun owners (read "gun nuts"). The biggest myth, of course, is "911". People infer almost magical powers to dialing 911. Read this book and find out why only doing that is suicidal.

The Second Amendment is needed now more than ever, because now not only the Second but the First and Fourth Amendments are slipping away; and this is happening at the most critical time in our history. If you don't know why, read While America Sleeps: How Islam, Immigration and Indoctrination Are Destroying America From Within. Things are going to get worse, much worse. People living near the border already have guns: they need them every day. But illegals and jihadists are being bussed throughout the country. They blend in with the peaceful and moderate and are "invisible" until they strike. Then, everyone says, "why didn't we see them?" Read Michelle Malkin's book and its stories about crimes committed by these people. We don't have much time. Learn why, then act to protect yourself.
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on August 18, 2005
I first heard Paxton Quigley's name mentioned by Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News, then I saw her on 60 Minutes and on Oprah. Media don't impress me but this lady does. I really liked her first two books and bought them to give to female friends and relatives. This one, Stayin' Alive, is her best yet.

100 years ago it may have been the men's job to keep their 'womenfolk' safe but certainly no longer today. Today a woman has to prepare herself to encounter violent predators - mentally, physically and with hardware - because she will. It's not 'paranoia' if they are really after you - and they are. If you read only one book on the subject it should be this one.
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on November 9, 2005
There has been no finer, more consistent author in the realm of balanced, incisive information on the topics of women, firearms and contemporary society. Paxton's "Armed and Female" is the definitive work, and "Stayin' Alive" represents the next logical step. I strongly recommend these to my students; even more important, I recommend these works to anyone who truly wants to understand the "why" and "why not" of conscientious self-protection in the 21st Century. Knowledge truly is the light of the mind. -D. Crafton, DMD/Arizona Ranger/AZ DPS Firearms Safety Instructor-CCW.
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on March 7, 2006
Expertly written by Paxton Quigly, "Stayin' Alive: Armed and Female in an Unsafe World" presents a detailed exploration into the issues of female self-protection. On page after page the reader will discover practical advice on handling diverse threatening situations, critically important commentary to which they may refer when finding themselves in such positions. The problems of rape, molestation, and undesired groping are effectively dealt with through the mean of furthering of education of the reader with what Paxton Quigly has to offer her readers. "Stayin' Alive; Armed And Female In An Unsafe World" is a very strongly recommended reading and instructive, practical guide for women seeking their own form of defense from sexual predators and physical abusers.
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on October 15, 2005
Stayin Alive is a book which responsibly examines the important issues facing gun owners in today's world. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on children and guns, a major issue for parents who own weapons. I appreciate Ms. Quigley's discussion of when to talk with children about guns, as well as her advice on safe gun storage. This book should be a must read for all families with guns in the house.
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VINE VOICEon April 28, 2010
I'm not a fan of the NRA. Shooting my mouth off is more my style. However, Paxton Quigley's take on firearms and women is so sensible, it makes me feel ridiculous for not taking this practical step toward self-protection. I'm not afraid of shooting an assailant...I'm pretty sure I could aerate any thug who broke into my home or who threatened me or my loved ones and do a big high five afterwards. My concern is that, in confrontational situations, I start to shake, and I'm afraid I'd never be able to hit the target. Ms. Quigley provides us with a very readable book that answers a lot of questions and clears up a lot of misinformation. She gives us a basic education on types of guns, how to choose the right one, selecting ammunition (there are types of ammo that will blast such a wide area, you barely have to aim at your target...perfect for trembling types like me. Paxton is not a one-note diva. She also gives sensible and practical tips on non-gun types of self defense, and does a great job explaining what works and what's just going to get you in more trouble. Forget the can of pepper spray, for example. It works only when the weather is right and the wind is blowing away from you. I've read defense books that are still telling us to "jam that spike heel into the attacker's foot." Fine, except what if I'm wearing running shoes...or that pair of Laboutins that are individually worth more than anything else I own? Stepping on an attacker's foot is annoying, not crippling. Now you have a cranky rapist on your hands. Paxton's suggestions are designed to delay the attacker long enough so a woman can make her getaway. Much more sensible than trying to disable someone with a toe stomp. Whether one chooses to heavy up or not, reading this book provides food for thought, do-able safety tips and reasonable ways to defend yourslf. The best self-protection is prevention. Locking doors and windows, being aware of your surroundings, noticing what--and who--is around you, avoiding obvious danger areas. For women who can reasonably say that are at some risk, I'd say "buy a gun and Paxton's book." For others in less precarious positions, I'd say "Buy Paxton's book and then decide."
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on March 19, 2013
Both my husband and I are impressed by Paxton Quigley's background and by the information she shares that helps women be empowered when the culture we live in has worked so hard against women arming themselves.
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