MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense


Trigger warning: Sexual assault

There’s a lot of upheaval in the world. Despite the progress we have made in society, women continue to face various vulnerabilities and risks. Here to empower women and inspire them to unleash their inner strength through gun self-defense is Paxton Quigley. She is the author of many best-selling women’s gun self-defense books and an educator of personal protection strategies to more than 7,000 women in the U.S. and abroad. In this episode, Paxton joins Whitney Lauritsen to educate women about the use of guns to protect and empower them. Her book, Armed and Female II, is a small encyclopedia about how to be a stronger woman. She brings clarity to the conversation around guns and the discomfort and fears associated with it. Reflecting on her past experiences, Paxton lets us in on the events in her life that transformed her as well as the changes she has observed for women in the past twenty years. She also talks about the disadvantages of gun ignorance, addressing gun safety and violence. For those who are yet uncomfortable with wielding this weapon, Paxton offers non-lethal options and alternatives. She shares classes for learning how to fight as well as tips on what to do if someone points a gun at you or for when you are traveling solo. Start reclaiming your power and becoming a stronger woman who can assert yourself. Tune in to this enlightening conversation and take part in this long standing liberation for women.

Listen to the podcast here


Armed And Empowered: Unleashing Inner Strength For Women With Paxton Quigley

In this episode, I’m discussing the subject matter that’s only come up a few times on this show, and I think it’s because it’s something I’m pretty ignorant about. It’s nice to bring on somebody who is knowledgeable and experienced and can teach me something that I can hopefully teach you as well. That is the subject of guns.

The only time I’ve talked about any type of weapon was probably a few years ago and it was with a male guest on the show. In this episode, I have a female guest on the show who talks, specializes, and has written many books on guns for women for protection, I believe. Paxton, I would love to hear from you on how you describe exactly what you do. Do you call it protection or safety, or is it whatever place guns have in a woman’s life?

I think it’s all of those things. A lot of it is talking about women’s fears. There are so many women out there that are uncomfortable. Many women work at night. They’re on the night shift. There are even more and more women who are living alone as well as many women who have children and don’t have a male companion.

They’re by themselves, and they have to come to the realization that not only do they have to protect themselves, but also their children. I have to be honest with you. When I started writing this book, that was the first time that I wrote. It was many years ago. It was a big thing about a woman writing a book about guns. Before, people thought about men with guns, and this was now a whole new introduction that there were many women in the United States who owned guns for self-protection.

It wasn’t only in Texas or in the South, but it was women in Chicago, New York, and Oklahoma. It’s all over the country. Over the years, it’s become larger and larger. Initially, it was mostly Caucasian women who were buying guns, but now there’s been a real influx of Black women as well as Asian women who are buying guns and are realizing that they need protection and, in many cases, are fearful. A lot of times, it’s because of a neighborhood they may live in or if there are some men out there who haven’t been kind to them.

There are so many reasons why women now are interested in learning how to shoot a gun. More than that, it comes from the freedom that we now have that we didn’t have before. Women are looking in different directions on how to expand their knowledge and what they’re doing in life. I never thought that I would even ever write a book about women and guns because I’ve got to tell you. Before I started writing the book, there was something that happened in my life that made me change.

I’d like to tell you the story because that was the impetus for me to go ahead and write the book. This was in a very nice neighborhood of Los Angeles, and I got a call from my best friend at about 2:00 in the morning. She says to me, “You got to come over immediately. Something horrible has happened.” I said, “What’s horrible?” She says, “You got to come over.” I said, “Tell me.” She said, “There was a man that broke into my house.”

The story goes, she is sound asleep. It’s about 2:00. She lives in a two-story home, but there are different roofs and she had the window open. Not a lot, but it was on the second story so she wasn’t that worried that someone would ever climb up and break into her home. This guy opened up the window. She was sound asleep, and the first thing she heard was a noise, and she was startled.

The man came after her. He grabbed her, and she started screaming. She tried to fight off the guy, but not only was he bigger than her, but he was stronger, and he raped her. He was vile to her. He uses bad language. He said, “If you call the police, I’m going to come back and kill you,” and all these horrible things. She tried to run out of the house to get away from him, but he grabbed her and pushed her down, and he left the house. That’s when she called me. I said, “I’ll come over right away. Be calm.”

She says, “Come quickly.” Fortunately, I lived four blocks away from her. I drove over there. I had a key to her house because she and I had this arrangement that we each should have each other’s keys. I went in and she was hysterical and crying. I had to calm her down. I said, “We got to go to the hospital. You can’t stay here.” At first, she didn’t want to go. She said, “No. I don’t want to go to the hospital.” I said, “You have to because you’ve been raped.”

It was almost as if she didn’t even remember that she was raped. Everything happened so fast. I got her dressed. We went to the hospital. I couldn’t be there where they checked her out and all that, but there was one thing I said to myself. I saw the damage that was done to her, not only physical damage but mental damage. I said to myself, “This is never going to happen to me.” I made that decision right then and there. I said, “I’m going to get a gun.” First, I knew not just to get a gun, but I had to find a place to get a gun, number one, and I had to learn how to shoot a gun.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: I said to myself, “This is never going to happen to me.”


I started calling up some of my men’s friends, “What do I do? I want to learn how to shoot.” Fortunately, there was a friend of mine who had a gun. He said, “Calm down. Next Saturday, we’ll go to this gun store and we’ll look at guns.” It wasn’t even, “We’ll buy a gun.” I got up the nerve to go with him to this small gun store around the LA area. The man was very kind. I explained to him very briefly why I was there. I didn’t know anything about the names of guns, companies, or anything like that.

He said, “You should start not with a semi-automatic, but a gun that you have to pull the trigger and all that, a revolver.” He said, “I recommend that you get a .38 Special revolver.” He showed me some different brands. I liked Smith & Wesson. I heard the name Smith & Wesson, and a lot of the other guns have names that I’d never heard of. I shouldn’t say dumb, but I didn’t know anything about guns like a lot of women.

It is the whole idea of guns, and I’m going to buy a gun and all that. There’s a waiting period in Los Angeles. They check you out. At that point, I couldn’t go and shoot the gun. He didn’t have a place. There are some stores that are connected to ranges, so you can go ahead and try the gun out. However, I put it in my hand and it felt comfortable. I could pull the trigger and all that. I said, “Okay.”

He told me to come back in two weeks and I came back in two weeks with my friend and bought some ammo. I got ear and eye protection. I said, “Do I have to buy some different clothes or something like that?” He said, “No. Just wear jeans.” He recommended a place to go, and I liked it. It was not an indoor range. It was an outdoor range, and I felt comfortable.

I picked out some targets. They have bullseye targets, but I wanted a target with a man on it and there was one that was ferocious. I said, “Good. That’s what I want.” At first, it was difficult. I had to learn first how to load a gun and how to unload a gun, and that’s not easy. It takes time. I did that, and it was time for me to put the bullets in the gun, close down the gun, put it up, and pull the trigger.

My friend warned me that it was going to have a kick. I have to hold it real tightly but hold it firmly. I did that, and I hit the target. I was happy. I thought it would go up in the air or something like that, but it didn’t. I had one shot in one shoulder, one shot in the other shoulder, and one in the stomach. They were all over the place. The idea is that what you’ll learn to do is you want to shoot to what is called the center of mass, which is the chest area because what you want to do is not kill the bad guy. You want to stop the person.

You don't want to kill the bad guy; you want to stop the person. Share on X

I learned how to do that. I was probably there at the range for a total of three hours and I felt good. I got my target. I had two targets. I came home, and I was walking around the place saying, “I shot a gun.” I called up my friend and she said, “What have you done?” I said, “This is important, and it’s something you should do.” She said, “No. I don’t want to go near a gun.” I said, “I’m going to do it.”

I talked to lots of friends, and most of them said I was crazy. I said to them, “I saw what happened to my friend. This is not going to happen to me.” It was with great fortitude that I decided that I would find out more about guns and take a gun course. I took one course. I was with a lineup of people. I was getting better and better. I was talking to people. It was an all-woman class. Everyone was comfortable talking about some of their fears and all that.

Fortunately, now, there are more and more female shooting classes than ever before. When I was there, which is going back many years ago, there weren’t as many, shooting ranges or special ones where women could learn how to shoot. That’s what I recommend to all of my students, and it’s what they should do. I then decided, “I’m now going to go for the big time.” There are a lot of places that you can go, where you can learn how to be a bodyguard. I went to all these fantastic schools. They gave it to me for free. Since I was a writer, I was able to contact a publicist, an editor, and all that does books, etc.

I told them about the book. They said, “Write up what you’d like the book to be about, and we’ll see if we can sell it.” I had to put together two chapters. It took a long time, and I got a publisher. They said, “Go up and do whatever you have to do.” They gave me some money. I went ahead and took these most fabulous courses that are out there where not only do you learn how to shoot a gun, but if you want to get out there, they have bodyguard schools where you can learn to drive cars, shoot out from cars, and this and that. It was so much fun, and I was getting it all free on top of it.

After I did that, I started writing the book and talking to more and more people. I was interviewing women. Women were telling me, “I have a friend that has a gun. You can interview her.” I talked about women of all ages. Also, women who were twenty years old and up who had experiences where they used a gun in self-defense. I learned about security in general and what happens when you go into a hotel and what you can do to be safe in a hotel. I have a chapter about children and guns and how to keep your guns safe. Also, even at a certain age, to take the child out and learn how to shoot.

My book is called Armed & Female II because my first one was Armed & Female I. Because it was the first book out there about women and guns, I have to tell you that I was on the Oprah Winfrey show. I was on 60 Minutes, and with 60 Minutes, they came out and they filmed me teaching the women how to shoot and interviewing the women and interviewing me. It was quite fun. I was on NBC Nightly News, CBS News, and ABC. I was written up in so many magazines. It was shocking, and that was because, fortunately for me and my readers, it was the first book that was directed toward women.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Armed & Female II: Never An Easy Target

I’m proud to say that it came out in hardcover from E.P. Dutton and then it went into paperback. I sold about 100,000 books, give or take, over the years. I then decided that things had changed drastically since those years. I said, “It’s time for me to write a new book.” This is the book that’s come out. It’s been loads of fun for me to talk to people because now, women want to want to learn about guns, and a lot of them are because they’re independent. They work late at night and they have children. They have become the protectors rather than the protected ones. This will go on and on for a while.

Interestingly enough, at first, most of the women who were buying guns were White women. Most of them were from the South. Some were from the West Coast, Texas, and places in Oklahoma. Now, it’s all over the map. There are many Black women and Asian women who are now buying guns. Surprisingly enough, there’s no accurate figure about how many women own guns, but it’s way more than a million in the United States.

Are there any statistics or any way to quantify the before and after of having a gun? That was one thing that came up as you were sharing these stories. Thank you so much for detailing your whole journey. It’s fascinating. Statistically and for other women, but also for you, what was it like before you started to have you learned about guns, and what has it been like since you had one? Is it a matter of feeling more confident and prepared? I guess you’ll never know what would happen if you had a gun versus if you didn’t have one. For example, your friend who inspired you, do you think that the circumstances would’ve been different?

You can’t use your gun because there are people around you and you don’t want to shoot other people. That’s a consideration, and that’s what you’re also taught when you take a class. Just because you have a gun in your purse or your pocket, you may not be able to use it for one reason or the other. It’s not an easy thing to say, “Go out and learn how to shoot a gun. Get a gun and you’ll be safe,” because that would be lying to somebody.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: Just because you have a gun in your purse or pocket, you may not be able to use it for one reason or the other.


There are so many different situations out there, but learning how to shoot a gun does something for a woman. It’s because with women, still at this time, there are a lot of people who are not comfortable with it. When you learn how to shoot, you can say, “I know how to shoot a gun. I know how to shoot this gun and that gun.” That is empowering itself to make you a stronger woman. All the things that we’re looking for now in women are strong women who can assert themselves. Part of that, you can get from learning how to shoot a gun.

Just learning how to shoot a gun does something for a woman Share on X

That makes a lot of sense. I don’t know how to shoot a gun. This conversation is inspiring me, but I’ve had blocks because I’ve thought about it before. I’ve talked to female friends of mine about going to arrange to learn, yet something has prevented me from doing it. Maybe I just don’t feel like it’s a priority, or maybe I have some internalized fear or bias around guns.

All the things you are saying, there’s truth in that. There were a lot of things going on that you’ve learned about and all that. You have to make the decision, “I’ve been in this turmoil. Am I going to do it? Am I not going to do it?” At least, learn how to shoot a gun. Do you know why? You might be in a situation where there will be a gun there, and you won’t know anything about it.

You won’t know how to even check to see if it’s loaded or unloaded. You’ll be coming from such a disadvantage. I would say to you to give up all the demons you have and say, “Why not?” You’re doing a show. Did you ever think when you were eighteen years old that it’s what you would be doing right now? No, but you’re doing it and you’re doing it well. It’s the same thing with a gun.

That’s helpful. I like the positioning because there are a lot of controversies around guns, especially, in the United States. I’d be curious to hear your perspectives on that because I’m someone who, in general, believes in the gray areas and the pros and cons of things. I’m not a very rigid person. The gun issue, from where I stand, and this is coming from a lot of ignorance, is perhaps regulation. Perhaps it’s a mental health issue.

Perhaps it’s that many of us do have so much ignorance. For someone like me, how could I have an opinion about guns when I don’t know anything about them? Also, it’s a complicated issue. I’m curious about how you navigate it. I imagine this question comes up often in your work because the United States can be so polarized in terms of how we view things like gun ownership. How do you navigate that? Has your opinion changed as you’ve learned about shooting guns?

A gun isn’t for everybody. What bothers me, and you hear about it every day, is that someone has a gun and has gone out and has shot five kids or a whole family. I don’t like hearing that. I would like it to be a utopia. I keep saying, “If we could only get rid of every gun, but that’s not possible.” Unfortunately, there’s an underground movement. You can buy a gun without having to go to a gun store or you can break into somebody’s home and get a gun. There are lots of guns in the United States, and millions are available.

The only way would be if we lived in a dictatorship and people would go house to house and not only take guns away but might take other things away from them. Even if they took one gun away from you, you may have hidden in your basement somewhere another gun. The situation is very difficult. At this point, there’s no answer. In Congress now, there are some bills going on that people shouldn’t be able to purchase a gun until they’re 22 years old.

What’s the difference between when you’re 19 years old and you’re 22 or 16 and 22 if you’ve got that kind of anger within you or psychological problems where you get angry at somebody and you go ahead and shoot them? It’s a complicated issue. For me, I would love it if we lived in a utopia. It would be wonderful. Everyone would be happy, but that’s not the case.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like things, on some level, are getting worse in the United States. That’s why now you’re finding more women realizing that things are getting worse. We’re out there and we’re alone. We’ve got to take care of ourselves or our families and all that. That’s the impetus for a lot of women wanting to learn how to shoot a gun to take care of themselves, their families, and their friends.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: The impetus for a lot of women wanting to learn how to shoot a gun is to take care of themselves and their families and friends.


I don’t see any way out of it, and I hate to be negative like this, but it’s part of our culture. People who have been in the army have a gun. Although I know some people who haven’t been in the army and have guns, they’re in a situation where they are constantly in danger. There’s no easy answer as far as I’m concerned. I can’t help you.

It’s so complex that we often look for singular solutions and if we can just put this law into place. It is a bigger issue of safety and protection, which is what you’re working on altogether. It’s like, “Do we take the avenue of trying to stay away from something and try to outlaw things,” or do we say, “This is the state of things, and now we all need to learn more about what’s happening?” as opposed to trying to prevent it when prevention might not be a possible thing. Even that doesn’t feel like an easy avenue.

In my book, however, I have a chapter on non-lethal options for self-defense. It’s not only all about guns. I talk about pepper spray. If you’re carrying around the pepper spray, it can be good. There are many batons out there that can be used if you learn how to use them. More importantly, there are a lot of classes like karate classes. There’s a wonderful class that I took a long time ago. I took a beginning level, secondary, and advanced level called model mugging where you learn how to fight.

You learn, for example, that the best place to be if you’re attacked is to be on the ground. It’s because what happens is the bad person has to go down to the ground. You learn how to use your legs, your feet, your elbows, and your fingernails. You learn how to fight, and a lot of women enjoy it. The model mugger is wearing a padded uniform, including a big head or an encasement because you can go ahead.

The most important thing is if you can maneuver yourself around and kick the guy in the head. It is called an axe kick, where you come down on your heel and you heel that guy. What I’m telling your readers is, yes, there are guns, but there are also other ways of protecting yourself. It’s because you may not have your gun with you. For me, you have to do both. You got to learn how to fight and learn how to shoot a gun.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: There are guns, but there are also other ways of protecting yourself.


I took a self-defense class and somebody dressed up with all the padding. It was interesting. It ties into a lot of what you’ve been speaking about. It was so important for me to go and practice because I’ve been privileged to have never been in that situation. I’ve never been mugged. I’ve never been attacked or assaulted, physically, at least. Being in that situation where I had to kick somebody in the groin was very different than I had imagined because it’s a human being.

I’m trying to protect myself, and that means I have to cause some pain to somebody else to get them to stop and leave me alone. It was much different than I thought. Another reason why I’m interested in going to a gun range is because I’ve only held a few guns in my hands a few times in my life. I’ve held some toy guns, but I don’t know how much different and what the different weights are.

It’s a big difference just in terms of weight.

As you’re saying, all the different styles of guns and brands.

There is a .45 and .38. There is .380. There are little bullets, and then there are big bullets.

Do you have tips in the book about what you do if somebody points a gun at you? That’s been a question for me, which we didn’t cover in my self-defense class. Even having the awareness of seeing somebody with a gun, I’ve never experienced that in a dangerous situation. I’ve seen friends who have had guns, but I don’t know what it would feel like if somebody was pointing a gun at me or someone else near me and I was witnessing that.

It’s a very hard decision because you can’t move toward the person unless you feel you can move him and knock that person down. It’s because if you go toward him to fight him, he’ll hit you. He could kill you. He’ll shoot you. The best thing is to be as quiet as possible and see if you can talk with the person. “I’ll give you my money. What do you want?” Look the person in the eyes and don’t yell at them. You can’t yell at them because you don’t know what their mental state is. You can’t start to cry. Although, I’ve heard of women who’ve started crying and it’s worked. The guy, for whatever reason, got scared and maybe had some sense of knowing what he was doing was wrong.

It’s a very hard situation when you’re face to face with someone who’s pointing a gun at you. Some people talk about if you’re going to run away, run in a zigzag situation. Don’t run straight, but run zigzag because it’s much harder for a person to shoot. Again, a lot depends on the situation. A lot depends on the person. A lot depends on how old they are. Some things work and some things don’t. If you’re lucky, the person will turn around and go away or let you go away. It’s scary. That’s all I can say.

Do you feel like your confidence has gone up even when you aren’t carrying a gun? If you were in a situation like that with everything you’ve learned about guns, would knowing more about them or feeling like you’ve done so much work to protect yourself that it’s not necessarily about having the gun in your hand anymore? Is it about the psychological impact that you’ve learned over the past many years?

You have to make a quick decision as to who the person is. Is he going to kill you for whatever reason, or is there some way that you can go ahead and bargain with that person? Some people start crying and that helps. You can’t say that there’s one thing you can do, but you certainly don’t want to go toward the person. As a matter of fact, if you can start backing away in any way to the left or the right.

It depends also on who’s around you. If there’s nobody around you, you can’t even scream or yell. You don’t know the psychology of the person because sometimes you can say, “Damn, you. What are you trying to do with me,” and get angry at them. They see you’re fury that you can scare somebody. You’re taking a chance. If you have that impulse to do that and you think that the only thing you have left is to start yelling at him, he may back away, but you don’t know that.

That’s something that you learn in a class, and it depends. Where is your gun? Is your gun in a gun purse? There are now a lot of gun purses that you can slide your hand in. There are a lot of women at night. I’ve done this where I’m walking down the street and I’ve got my gun in my purse. I have my hand on the gun. I have my hand there so that I can take out the gun if necessary.

It depends on what neighborhood you’re in or how many people are around you. The best thing I can say to people is not to be walking on a sidewalk, but to get to a street where you have a chance to run better than when you are on a sidewalk. There are so many things that you can learn in a good self-defense class. I started first on a shooting range, and then I went to the next step and the next step in terms of learning how even to look in a room.

It’s always good when you walk into a big room to look around the room and assess the situation. “Where are the exits? Can I get to that? What’s behind me? Who’s there?” Get a feeling of what’s going on because if an event is going on and some crazy guy comes in, you want to know where the nearest exit is to try to get to the exit to get out of there. Learning to shoot a gun is only one step in terms of self-protection. It can go on for a lifetime you’ll learn more and more things about what to do and depending on where you are to how you have to think.

Learning to shoot a gun is just one step of self-protection. Share on X

The thinking part of it is what I’m very fascinated by because I started doing a lot of traveling by myself a few years ago. Since then, a lot of people, mainly women, have expressed concern, “Do you feel safe traveling by yourself?” I’ve traveled all around the world. I feel like I’ve been safe. As I said, I have not been in a very scary situation. I’ve been in moments that I’ve wondered if I was safe, but I didn’t even have the alarm bells go off or the intuition.

Yet, I started to think, “Maybe this is ignorance. Maybe I don’t realize when I’m in danger. What else don’t I know?” Conversations like this are so interesting because it’s about arming yourself with knowledge, not only arming yourself with a weapon of some sort. Paxton, with your research and all this time you’ve spent, do you feel like things are dangerous for women, or is it that there’s a cultural expectation that is dangerous? Is it truly dangerous or do we just think it’s dangerous?

It depends on the location, more so than anything else. If you’re at a wedding, it’s not likely that anything will happen. If you’re out on the street, what street is it? Is it in a neighborhood that’s not so good? Are you out walking on the street at 11:00 or 12:00 and there’s nobody on the street? Then that’s dangerous. In general, you can’t become paranoid. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy.

Every person on the street will be somebody who has a possibility that they’re going to hurt you. In most cases, that’s not true. The most difficult is when women are traveling and when they’re traveling alone. That’s when it’s not an easy task. You’re alone. You may have to go up and ask somebody where such and such a theater is or something like that. It’s hard for you if you’re in Czechoslovakia, let’s say, or something like that where you don’t speak the language and you don’t know what to do.

That’s why I have this one chapter that is important for women’s security while traveling. It’s because you drive up to a motel and you park your car. You don’t know who’s in the next car or watching you. You get the key. You’re at the door, you’re turning the key, and there’s someone behind you and he pushes you in.

What I recommend, especially for women and even for men, is that if you’re going to be in a motel, the best thing is to ask the person behind the desk, “Can you walk me to my room?” In most cases, they will because they understand women’s situations and the potential problems that they can have. Even when you’re on a train, you have to be wary of what’s going on. If you’re traveling by train, who’s observing you?

A lot of people observe before they attack. They’re looking for people who aren’t with it. When I get on a bus, I always look around. I look at the people. I don’t stare. I get a general feeling, “I don’t want to stand here. I’ll stand there.” You’ve got to have this internal training when you’re alone in what you have to do, even if it’s in the safest place. You can walk into a woman’s bathroom or public bathroom, and there can be someone in a stall waiting for you to come in and he comes out.

Even the story of your friend that you shared at the beginning. Sadly, she was safe or she thought she was safe in her home. How does a story like that impact you? Certainly, we have all these ideas about what’s safe, but if incidents like that can happen in what we think is the safest place in our lives, it can feel scary.

You have to take certain precautions. She shouldn’t have had her window open. It should have been locked. You should have a double lock on your bedroom door. You should have a solid core door. Even if you live in an apartment and the building doesn’t have a solid-core wooden door, you should go out and get one because it’s very easy if it’s a closet door. That’s not a solid core door unless it’s one where your safe is in there or something like that. It’s very easy to break down a door unless it’s a solid core door.

It depends on your lifestyle and what you do. Also, you have to know yourself, “What can I do? What do I think I can do, and what I can’t do?” A lot of women will not go traveling alone like you. They’d be fearful, but more women are traveling alone. Hopefully, they have taken some kind of course in traveling alone, what to do and what not to do, and what to say and what not to say. That’s also in my book. I have that all.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: You have to really know yourself – what you can do, what you think you can do, and what you can’t do.


It’s not only guns. It’s also taking care of yourselves. One woman said, “I’m not going to buy that book. It’s about guns.” I said, “Let me show you this chapter.” She says, “You have that chapter in there. I’m going to buy the book.” I’ll look at the other chapters, and she felt at ease, “It’s not all about guns,” and stuff like that.

It's not just about guns; it's about taking care of yourself. Share on X

It’s very compelling. This work is so important. As you’ve outlined, there’s so much to know. You mentioned how times have changed in the past many years. I would love to hear a little bit more about what has changed at this time. One thing that comes up for me is our devices. When you were talking about being aware of your surroundings, that probably makes us extremely vulnerable because many people are on their phones all the time. It’s a complete distraction.

Phones and various devices are amazing tools, but if they’re causing us to be disconnected, we’re walking down the street, checking our email and text messages, or listening to music even, you’re not aware of who’s around you. You’re not paying attention to how to escape a situation. That has the potential to put us in very risky and dangerous situations. Not to mention, these devices are expensive and you’re showing that you have something of value that somebody could come and steal from you.

I see women and men all the time walking down the street. I wonder sometimes why they don’t bump into people. I don’t know what they’re reading. I always want to ask, “What are you reading that’s so important that you can’t look ahead?” To me, that’s a dumb person. If you’ve got to text somebody, go somewhere. Sit down or find a place rather than walking down the street with your head down texting.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: If you got to text somebody, go somewhere to sit down or find a place rather than walk down the street with your head down.


Talk about an easy target. That’s the opposite of your book. Are there any other changes that you’ve seen in the past years that have impacted and changed? You were outlining that from the standpoint that women now feel more interested. Is that correlating with changes that are happening and inspiring women, or is it that we’ve just made a lot of advancements in how we view women and more equality, essentially?

There’s more equality. There are many women who are making much more money than men are. We’re finally coming into our own. I think women are stronger than ever and will be even stronger. You’ll see more women in higher places and someday be president of the United States and head of the US Supreme Court and all that. It’s a natural progression. I don’t know what will happen in the gun movement in terms of whether more women will be wanting to carry a gun because they’re fearful or not. It might come to the point that women are stronger than men, in some ways. However, there’s a lot of upheaval happening in the United States as well as in the rest of the world.

People are getting a little bit concerned and are saying, “I don’t like guns, but I think I would feel safer having one just in case.” That’s how I feel. You are not having it out there in the open. “I’m a gun-toting woman,” or something like that. I hope that will never happen. I hope we’ll continue to have our femininity and all that. It’s a change in what’s happening in the United States. It’s good that women are now learning how to protect themselves. They are realizing that they can’t rely on a man.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: I have a gun just in case.


In some cases, they might have to help a man who’s been accosted or something like that. There are cases like that out there where a woman has saved a man because she had a gun. It’s not a one-way street. I feel good about what’s happening in the United States, and there will be more and more women learning how to shoot a gun and not necessarily buying a gun because even if there’s a gun somewhere on a table, they will know and find out if it’s loaded, unloaded, or whatever. It’s part of the longstanding liberation of women.

I’m grateful for your perspective on all of this. Do you have an intention to write another book and continue exploring this subject matter? Are you educating yourself too? What’s next for you?

I’m going to go in a very different direction.

Like what?

My book is titled Just Try Me. It’s a novel. It’s about a woman who goes ahead and does a lot of fabulous things. I’m going into fiction now.

You’re ready to take a break from writing about this. What about you in your personal life? Are there more things that you would like to learn about guns, self-defense, and safety, or do you feel like you’ve covered your bases?

I’d like to learn to not be fearful because even now, even though I have a gun, I still have fear in me. I think about it in terms that I’m cautious. I would like to be in a place where it would be a utopia, you could walk down the street, and not have to say, “Should I cross the street? It’s because I see this man coming up and I don’t like the way he looks.”

It’s because I’ve done that rather than walking toward him and who knows what’s going to happen. I’ve crossed the street. It would be nice if that wouldn’t happen, but that’s maybe utopia. I’m going to keep my ears, eyes, hands, and my legs in good shape to run if I have to. Also, it’s important for women to use their bodies more and work out. I’ve been working out with dumbbells and weights since I’ve been sixteen years old. I started doing it. I work out three times a week. It makes you feel good too. That’s what I’m doing now.

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-Defense

Women’s Gun Self-Defense: It’s really important for women to use their bodies more.


It shows the humanity in you that you still have fear despite how much you’ve done and learned. If we didn’t have fear, would we be human? It’s a natural response to life. There’s a lot of stimulus going on in a lot of different people. I am so amazed by what you’ve done for yourself and how you’re educating others. It’s empowering and inspiring. It’s certainly getting my wheels turning and giving me that nudge to learn more. As I’ve said, I want to be prepared. I want to learn a lot.

Guns are one of the areas that I have not explored. The way that you’ve spoken about it, Paxton, has been motivating for me. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to dive deeper into the books and for the readers, if you are interested in that after this conversation, even if you’re not into guns. I love that little story you shared about how a woman bought the book to read because of the other details in it. It wasn’t even about the guns. I think that’s so important too. There’s so much in there.

It’s a small encyclopedia about how to be a stronger woman, which includes guns. It’s available on Amazon now. I hope people will purchase it there.

Paxton, thank you so much for being here and also for the work that you do in the world. It’s valuable. I’m grateful that you took the time to share in this episode.

Thank you. I enjoyed talking with you. I want to say to you, please be safe, and also, to all of your readers.


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About Paxton Quigley

MGU 468 | Women’s Gun Self-DefensePaxton Quigley is the author of the best-selling women’s gun self-defense book series ARMED & FEMALE (hard cover, E.P Dutton; paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press), NOT AN EASY TARGET (Fireside), STAYING ALIVE: ARMED & FEMALE IN AN UNSAFE WORLD (Merril Press) and ARMED & FEMALE: TAKING CONTROL (Merril Press). She has taught personal protection strategies to more than 7,000 women in the U.S. and abroad.



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