August 24, 2022 – Germantown, WI – Gun safety for women was the topic of a presentation early last week in Germantown delivered by a ladies-only organization.
“The first key to self-defense is always knowing your surroundings. If you enter a room, find out where the exits are. If you are in a parking lot, know where the aisles of cars are. Always think defensively and how you might get yourself out of a situation.” That was the first rule presented by Theresa Schneider, a certified weapons instructor and local Leadership Onboarding Coordinator with A Girl & A Gun, a ladies-only organization established by women shooters for women pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters.

Theresa Schneider, certified weapons instructor

“Do not carry a firearm if you do not feel confident, skilled, and comfortable with using it in a life or death situation,” Schneider said, “If you are not able to use the firearm to protect yourself or your child, then carrying that gun statistically is more dangerous than not having it, as hesitation can result in it being taken and used against you.”

She advises anyone who may be considering using and purchasing a gun to “try them out. Go to a firing range where you can check out different-sized firearms, not only from the caliber size but also the physical size. Find one that fits your hand, that is easy for you to load and “rack” – that you can feel comfortable with. Then spend some time with that particular firearm. Get used to firing it, loading it, and how it sounds and feels in your hand and when you fire it. Then, and only then, make a purchase if you feel you are ready.”

Schneider went over how smaller guns are harder to shoot, can be harder to maintain accuracy with, and capacity differences with a small vs larger fit for concealed and open carry as well as “range” guns.

She also discussed the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop and how to stop a bad guy and buy more time with breaking it.

“A Girl & A Gun is a group just like you. We are ordinary women who want to be able to defend ourselves and those we love,” Schneider stated while addressing the gathering of Washington County Republican Women on August 16 in Germantown.

Her Thoughts on Non-Lethal Weapons

“Check out pepper sprays, and know that there are different kinds,” she advised. “There are the general foggers which may have a shorter range. And then there are pepper sprays that shoot out in a stream. These might be good for 15 to 20 feet. And there are gels.

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Schneider started off the conference with non-lethal forms of self-protection and discussed alternate deterrents such as pepper spray, pepper gel, stun guns and Tasers, and why some were better than others, “pepper spray/mist will cause blowback and anyone using it needs to be prepared for that. Pepper gel has less blowback but not zero, and will stay on the target longer and be more effective. And don’t just spray it straight at the person’s face. Move it back and forth like the person you are defending against is going to move their face – move from side to side to be most effective.

Wasp spray is not a valid form of protection and could lead to prosecution if used illegally.

When it comes to Tasers, she advised that the maximum reach is 18 feet, and both probes must make contact with skin, not clothing, to be effective. A better option is a stun gun, but that requires close contact.

She also offered other ideas for an attacker or carjacker situation. “Make noise. Yell. Scream. Swear at your attacker. They are expecting you to whimper and cower. DON’T!” she stressed. “Defend yourself and fight back as you would if they were trying to get to your children or your grandchildren. Get an air horn, like they use on boats. They are terribly loud and shrill and will startle your attacker. And they will draw attention to what’s happening.” And she reminded the audience that, if you have car keys on a fob in your hand when confronted, hit the alarm button on it.

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