The other day, exercising my curiosity, I googled “Webley Bulldog self-cocking pistol.” I was reading the book Son of the Morning Star about George Custer. According to the book, Custer carried the Webley at the Little Big Horn rather than the standard issue cavalry sidearm. As I was reading a site about the Webley, an ad popped up on the topic of women’s self-defense. The ad video featured anatomical charts and other illustrations endeavoring to prove that women are weaker than men and therefore cannot defend themselves against men without the use of firearms. The ad was obviously intended to sell firearms to women.
I am not anti-gun, but I do have several concerns about relying on firearms for civilian self-defense. First, when you rely on a firearm for self-defense, you escalate the threat directly to deadly force. Deadly force is appropriate in some situations, but not in all situations. Second, when you rely on a firearm for self-defense, you have to be prepared to use it.
If you are at all squeamish about using deadly force against another person, relying on the firearm for self-defense can put you in a more dangerous situation. Firearms have no loyalty. If the attacker is not intimidated by your deploying your firearm and continues to approach and threaten you, must shoot or the attacker will take the firearm away from you and perhaps use it against you. Firearms linked to the owner by devise or biometrics would help mitigate this problem, but for some reason they are controversial. You would be better off with a big dog, who is loyal and intimidating, or with training in unarmed self-defense.
Of course, the ad video did not consider the potential of unarmed self-defense. Skill in unarmed self-defense has several advantages. First, the assailant cannot take away your skill and use it against you. Second, skill in unarmed self-defense can allow you to manage the process of escalation without your having to go directly to deadly force. Third ou can take your skill in unarmed self-defense and the air of self-confidence it gives you everywhere, even places where firearms are prohibited.
Those who know and practice Taijiquan would scoff at the video’s premise that a woman cannot defend herself against a man unless she has a firearm. Taijiquan doesn’t rely on bodily strength and trying to out muscle an opponent. True, it takes longer to become proficient in Taijiquan than to learn to shoot a firearm. But the acquisition of skill in Taijiquan has many other benefits because it will improve every aspect of your life.
As for Custer’s Webley, it is still not clear to me why he made such an unusual choice.