Success Stories

If you are like most people, you don’t know any woman who has used a gun to protect herself. This makes it very easy to fall into the trap of believing that such incidents don’t happen, or that they are incredibly rare.

But, according to authorities such as Prof. Gary Kleck of Florida State University, guns are used for defense about 3 to 5 times more often than they are used in crimes. A wide range of different surveys puts the number of defensive gun uses at between 777,000 and 3 million per year. Surely some of these defensive situations must involve women. Why don’t we hear their stories?

One reason is that stories that “make the news” on TV in newspapers almost always involve someone being shot, and in well over 90% of defensive gun uses, the gun is never fired. This is extremely good news for the person with the gun, because it is terrible to have to shoot someone, but it means that most media outlets never hear about such incidents or, if they do, they don’t consider them newsworthy. Consequently, these stories are never heard.

Another reason is that stories that do have enough impact to make the news tend to be fleeting, and if you miss it, you never get a chance to see it again. And a third reason is that many stories are reported without giving the name of the person involved, making it difficult to contact people to find out more about what happened to them.

For some years, Lyn Bates, the Vice President of AWARE, has also been a contributing editor to Women&Guns magazine. Some of her articles have appeared in a series called Lessons in Reality, each of which tells the story of a woman who has successfully defended herself using a firearm. Those stories are archived here. (If you have a success story of your own, or know someone who does, please let us know by contacting AWARE.)

Why not include success stories that involve other methods of self-protection? Frankly, stories about other methods are fairly easily available from other sources; one of AWARE’s unique contributions to the discussion about women’s safety is our in-depth knowledge of firearms and the people who use them.

Be warned that some of these stories may be shocking and difficult to read because of the level of violence involved. They were also written for an audience of women who already have some familiarity with firearms. Nonetheless, many people have said that they find these stories inspiring, because they prove that, in the right hands, firearms can be lifesavers.


Self-Defense, Lethal Force

Specifically Women

Tactics & Techniques


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