Sunday, October 16, 2011

For Women: Other Weapons

Last post we covered some of the issues facing women in regards to firearms. Today I’d like to talk about some non-gunpowder weapons for women, but require some consideration in use.

The most important of these is the bow. Whether simple, re-curve, compound or even crossbow, it is important to ensure that they are appropriate for the woman using them. The first thing to consider is draw weight. It is important to make sure that the bow can be drawn comfortably and consistently, and that getting the bow to full draw not require a heroic effort, although the highest comfortable draw weight is to be aimed for the purpose of getting the best range from the bow.

The trade off to a lower draw weight is less overall power, but this is not as important as it seems at first glance. While bullets kill largely by the amount of kinetic energy they transfer to the target, arrows are different. An arrow usually kills by causing blood loss from the action of the razor sharp broad head mounted on the arrows. As the target moves, it causes more damage with every shift of position. Thus the absolute power of the bow is not as important, as long as the energy is sufficient for penetration into the body cavity.

Due to their generally shorter stature, it is also important for the bow to be sized so that it is not too long and unwieldy for women. This can be difficult with conventional bows, but easier to achieve with compounds. Despite my dislike for the more complicated compound, it may be the best choice in terms of draw weight and fit for women.

There is also the crossbow to consider. Here we get the same draw weight regardless of user, although there are other issues. For example, the same concerns for rifles apply here, where the stock must be fitted to the user. Recoil is not an issue, but cocking the bow might be of some concern. However, where a woman might not have sufficient upper body strength to cock the bow solely by hand, there are devices that can help, from the simple waist hook to mechanical cranks.

Another weapon that may require some thought is the knife, specifically the size of the weapon’s grip. Women in general have far smaller hands than men, and it is important that the handle of any knife be proportioned properly so that a proper grip can be established and maintained. This is more of an issue than ever, as more and more the larger knives are becoming the popular choice for survivalists, and few makers take into account that the hand holding it may be a female hand.

There are other weapons to be considered, such as throwing sticks, spears, atlatls, and slings. While any of them are usable by women, I feel the best choice for women in this group of weapons is the sling, where the power of the weapon is derived from conversion of centripetal force, and not just on raw muscle power; and is a surprisingly effective weapon in skilled hands for hunting small game. As well, modern slingshots are easily used by anyone and are also effective.

Most importantly, regardless of what weapons women choose it is important that time is made to practice. In some cases, such as bows, there may be a necessity for a woman to build upper body strength for maximum effectiveness. Really, there is no earthly reason that women in a survival situation be any less armed or dangerous than their male counterparts


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J.G. Lock said...

I couldn't not agree with you more. The bow is not just a great weapon for women but good for kids or anyone who does not have access to ammunition.

In a survival situation, the bow is going to provide a lot more valuable than a rifle with no bullets. Also, it can be made from easily gathered materials.

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