Category Archives: Women’s Tactics, Issues and Considerations

From self-defense and personal safety tips to parenting, being a great spouse, powerful in our careers and other areas of life, as women “we rock it!”

“I Decided Not to Use a Gun for Self Defense”

“Carrying, owning or planning to use a firearm as a defensive weapon requires much careful consideration and is a very personal issue.  Get all of the information you can, jiggle it around in your head, calculate risks, benefits and probabilities and make a decision for yourself.  Keep in mind, that as new information is added and/or as you contemplate, you just might change your choice many times.  This is absolutely acceptable.”  Shepard Humphries

Woman practicing pistol shooting

Woman practicing pistol shooting

I taught an NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home class last weekend, and one of the students was a retired lady.  She loves riding her horses in the mountains where wolves, coyotes, bears and human predators roam, and she wanted something to defend herself.  She was a smart and thoughtful lady.  She had previously taken several basic pistol and armed protection classes, and because it had been some years, she wanted a refresher.  She also wondered about her caliber, as she had been told by some that it was not big enough for personal protection.

This lady brought with her a .22 Ruger Mark II pistol with one magazine.  As I lectured, I could tell that she was deep in thought.  I discussed the cost of legal civil defense in the event of a shooting, and I offered numerous “what if” scenarios.  I talked about the caliber necessary for stopping a bear, and that even a 9mm or a .45ACP was not sufficient to immediately stop a grizzly bear and that Pepper Spray was much more effective.

I discussed the goal of personal protection, and that no-where in the goal was a firearm a requirement.  I said that while I am a “gun guy” they come with a great level of risk, and owners have a great responsibility.  I explained probabilities and the potential for an unarmed attacker to become armed by taking a victim’s gun from them.

When we moved out to the range she shot well with her .22, but was not fast.  Her gun handling skills were not great and she recognized her weaknesses.  She realized from the Tueller Drill that even a skilled shooter was not very capable of smooth defensive actions.

At the end of the day, this lady made a thoughtful comment.  She said, “You know, I have decided that I am not going to use this gun for self defense.”  She went on to explain that with her particular situation, the amount of time she was willing to dedicate to practice, her comfort level with anything larger than a .22 caliber and other pacifist-leaning factors, she was not prepared to use a firearm to defend herself.

She said that she would keep it unloaded under her bed, but for right now, she planned to buy pepper spray to use as her primary defensive weapon.

I very much support her decision.  My decision is different regarding my personal practices, however my set of circumstances is very different.  As HCW instructor Gloria Courser says, “Our personal choices regarding self defense reflect not only our ideals but our limitations as well.”  This is wise counsel, and we are all well advised to seriously analyze our unique situation, solicit counsel from those we trust, and make our decision for that moment, knowing it can change.

Article by High Caliber Women co-founder Shepard Humphries

Article by High Caliber Women co-founder Shepard Humphries


I used to be more of a rifle girl than a pistol girl.

I grew up around guns, but my experience was mostly with hunting. We spent a lot of time on the range, but it was mostly sighting in our hunting rifles or practicing shooting clay pigeons with our shotguns. I LOVE hunting. It’s one of my favorite activities to do with my family.

Here's me with my favorite hunting rifle- the Winchester .270 short mag

Here’s me with my favorite hunting rifle- the Winchester .270 short mag

Now, my dad does have a few pistols, and I did shoot them a few times growing up, but he’s not much of a pistol guy. As much fun as my family has with guns, we mostly use them practically.

Fast forward a decade or so- I just took my first pistol class, a CCW class through The Jackson Hole Shooting Experience. As I was taught the basics of personal defense and how to safely and effectively use a handgun, I fell in love. Not only is it a skill that is important to me in self defense, but it is also a challenging and entertaining skill to develop just for fun! I’m really enjoying working with High Caliber Women and honing my skills. I think pistols will be a lifelong love of mine!

Getting to know a new handgun- the .50 caliber Desert Eagle. It's to big to carry concealed, but it's sure fun to shoot!

Getting to know a new handgun- the .50 caliber Desert Eagle. It’s to big to carry concealed, but it’s sure fun to shoot!

If you’re new to pistols like me, you might find this article on life saving tips for new shooters interesting. It helped me to understand what the next steps in my handgun journey might be!

-Ashleigh Allan


Lynn Sherwood, CEO High Caliber Women and Jackson Hole Shooting Experience ~ Femme Fatale Corset Holster

Lynn Sherwood, CEO High Caliber Women and Jackson Hole Shooting Experience ~ Review of: Femme Fatale Corset Holster

Check out my gear review on for the Femme Fatale Corset Holster, my new favorite thing! -Lynn


I’m catching flak that ‘holsters shouldn’t be about comfort, a fashion statement or feeling pretty’.  I found this holster after trying for THREE YEARS to find the right holster which didn’t make me look pregnant, feel as though I walked like a duck, or make it ridiculously obvious that I was carrying.  I’d estimate 92+% of our female pistol students are also NOT carrying even after getting their CCW permit, directly because they also have not found a good option as women.

My take:  A) It doesn’t do anybody any good sitting in a drawer or in a holster at home on the counter because a woman’s not wearing it…. B) Practice, practice, practice with any holster/firearm you’ll actually use.  We ‘’sink to the level of our training”. (– B. Harnish and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman)

Lynn 1 - carrying Sig P938 with Femme Fatale Holster - 3-14

Lynn - Front view drawing - FFH - unsnapping shirt to draw

Lynn - front view FFH - pulling up shirt to clear and draw





Lovin’ my holster and am finally able, willing and comfortable carrying 100% of the time (where permitted) ~ Priceless.

Lynn Sherwood, CEO

Lynn Sherwood is founder and CEO of High Caliber Women and has a passion for teaching women, youth and families with a comprehensive approach in Mind, Body and Attitude.  As a CRSO and NRA Instructor in Basic Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Refuse to be a Victim, she and her husband, Shepard Humphries, lead a team of 16 skilled instructors providing Luxury Entertainment Shooting Experiences and Private Shooting Instruction in Jackson Hole, Wyoming through HCW and the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience


Lauren and Lynn ~ Training and Thanksgiving Fun

Lauren and Lynn ~ Training and Playing!

Teaching a young lady to shoot ~ now THAT’s time well spent!

I so appreciate THIS ARTICLE by Women’s Outdoor News’ author Marti Davis!  With emphasis on safety, she coaches her niece regarding the shooting FUNdamentals in age appropriate words and style, listens to her questions, shows by example, and positively engages her in the field to create a uniquely memorable event for both of them.  Go girls!

I challenge you to make the moments to teach a young lady to shoot.  …Or to reach out to someone else who might mentor your niece, daughter or granddaughter.  In addition to creating memories for both of you which will last a lifetime, you’ll help boost her self confidence, foster grins from ear to ear upon her successes, see her true grit shine though when she has some challenges, and she may even catch the bug to continue training and spending time with you when she returns home as an adult…

(Lynn and Lauren on the range with some .22 fun over Thanksgiving Break 2013)


Stay safe, share great habits and have fun together, friends!

Lynn Sherwood-Humphries

Lynn Sherwood-Humphries had a 22+ year fear of guns, and when she learned it wasn’t the gun she was afraid of – that it was the bad guy behind the gun – she developed the passion to teach others in a uniquely welcoming, fun and educational manner.  Lynn is now an NRA Instructor for Basic Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Refuse to be a Victim, is a CRSO, and owns and operates the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience and High Caliber Women in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with her husband and team of 16 amazing coaches.  …And when her adult daughter comes home, eager to spend time together on the range, she’s one happy camper indeed.

Ladies-Only Intermediate Defensive Handgun & Carbine Workshop

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT ~ The mental and physical tactics of close-quarter carbine defense and training

Defensive Shooting Tactical Carbine Lynn Sherwood CEO High Caliber Women March 2014TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT   

Moving from the door propped on stilts was harrowing and frustrating as my feet plummeted through 18 inches of packed snow with each step.  My breathing was rapid as I ran to take advantage of concealment again, crouching low behind a barrel to avoid detection.  I worked to keep a visual of my threat at about 21 yards while still being undetected as I released my magazine and reinserted a fully loaded one.  Moving to yet another barricade, I dropped to my belly in spread eagle fashion, brought the gun to my shoulder and cheek, stared down and evaluated my threat, and pressed the trigger.  Bang bang. Bang.

The exercises were exhausting and exhilarating. The possibility of ever being in the situation of having shots returned and being ill-prepared  ~  potentially deadly.

It was a day well spent…  I again had the great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone this weekend in a Tactical Defensive Close-Quarters Carbine course taught by Shepard Humphries and Andy Ward of the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience.

Armed with my LWRC AR-15 with Aimpoint Optics, I spent hours in snow and high altitude sun with a unique variety of other shooters interested in practicing tactical defensive concepts, tactical mindset and practical maneuvers.

With a crunchy top layer of snow, should you post-hole through and risk the threat hearing every step?  Or might you creep your way slowly on your belly…  How many times do you need to practice your tactical reloads, malfunction clearing and stoppage drills before you’re comfortable doing it while on the run with live ammo and your muscle memory kicks in?  How is your performance affected as you are being slapped on your calves by sneaky trainers while trying to retain an accurate sight picture under a timer, reflective glare and sweat dripping into your eyeballs?

I’ll venture to say it’s different for every defensive shooter, and since we tend to “sink to the level of our training instead of rising to the occasion* ” we each must practice differently – and frequently!   I must train often and in a great variety of scenarios to even be able to default to my muscle memory, adaptation to environment, etc…

Visualizing the real fight:  Any defensive combat in real life will also be different ~ can I count on a 4 x 2 barrel being just off to my left as I move toward my threat?  Will I be on a beach in Florida when the battle happens, rather than having to think about post-holing in the snow as I move toward my attacker?   How might drugs or alcohol play a role as I read the body language of my threat?   Do I practice verbal de-escalation techniques before I even draw from holster?  In what scenarios is this vital or futile?  Where is my comfort zone and how do I stay alert, prepared and not paranoid?

I love this article by Britney Starr of, in which she discusses “Tactical” as not being about the high tech gear but about a state of mind ~ “A state of preparedness and calculated planning that can be used in everyday life.”

Visualizing potential scenarios and placing ourselves in training situations which may be just ‘too close for comfort’ helps inoculate us to stress and prepares our mind and body to default to our level of training.  Was I out of my comfort zone as the paper faces I named glared at me as I moved from target to target, as I discerned my threats, shooting when necessary, controlling my breath and emotions, training my mind and body to attack in defense for my life?  Absolutely.  …And I may just default to the level of my training someday.  I’m grateful.

Train yourselves up, High Caliber Women.  It’s a comprehensive “Mind, Body and Attitude” development and you may just some day be glad you invested the time and effort.

It can even be pretty ridiculously fun along the way… Carbine Course Jackson Hole Shooting Experience High Caliber Women March 2014 Lynn Sherwood Images

Lynn Sherwood,  CEO High Caliber Women

*(“You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training”:  Credit (as close as I can discern in this internet web of historical ‘facts’) goes to a Barrett Tillman (and a motivational poster he saw at a So. Cal. Naval Base) and Dave Grossman in “Killology”, “On Combat”, as delivered by a trainee.)

Lynn Sherwood is an NRA certified instructor for Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Refuse to be a victim.  She and her husband Shepard Humphries (yes, the principal instructor in this course – there ya go!  🙂 ) own and operate the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience and High Caliber Women ™.  Lynn had a 22+ year fear of guns and discerned several years ago that it wasn’t the gun she was afraid of, it was the bad guy behind the gun.  Since then, her mission has been to prepare herself and others to live not in fear but in preparedness.  Her passion is teaching women, youth, families and corporate groups and thus High Caliber Women was born to educate and empower women in life and personal defense with a comprehensive approach in Mind, Body and Attitude.  (High Caliber Women Facebook Page.)


GO FOR THE UTERUS of your female attacker!  Stacy Paxton weighs in…

Supine POV (What IS center mass anyway?  Consider your shot placement relative to center mass of the exposed areas…. Great article by Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics and Monderno.  Worth the read!!)


After we shared this article yesterday (Thank you to Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics and Monderno) about shot placement and center mass being relative to the exposed area, fan Stacy Paxton wrote in with her insights 

Stacy is an avid supporter of self defense education, AWARE (Arming Women Against Rape & Endangerment) liaison, daughter of a physician mom who taught Stacy young how to proactively avoid dangerous situations and shoot defensively, and is certainly a High Caliber Woman herself.

“Shot placement is one of the most talked (& most argued) about subjects, amongst defensive shooters.

We – as women – were left out of the equation (as usual), both as defensive shooters AND as attackers. In order to immobilize an attacker, the pelvis has to be broken in two places. Most handgun ammo lacks the power to break it in one place (let alone two!) & many attempts to do so have ended with disastrous results for the defensive shooter. The pelvic bone structure is the last place I’d aim on a man.

On the other hand, the lower central pelvic region is the first place I’d aim on a female attacker, with emphasis on the uterus. The uterus is a blood laden organ & any hit there will get a female attacker well on her way to hypovolemic shock. You don’t even have to get a direct hit. Any hit within two or three inches will likely strike with enough energy to cause multiple ruptures of the uterus & induce the same effect. Furthermore, our ovaries are every bit as sensitive as a man’s testicles & any hit(s) in that area will make her ovaries register a degree of pain far beyond what she could begin to withstand. I’m talking off the charts pain that would make childbirth look like a walk in the park by comparison! It’s pretty hard to continue an attack when they’re curled-up in a fetal ball & writhing in agony. Thus, I’d expect faster neutralization with such a shot, than with shots to her chest (although, I’d certainly keep her chest in mind for follow-up shots)!

Consider your shot placement

Consider your shot placement

I’m sharing not only to make reveal this as an excellent neutralization zone in female attackers, but to remind every woman reading this of our own vulnerabilities in that area. I’ll grant you that most violent street criminals are men. But, about ten percent are other women & they strongly prefer female victims. That’s because – as a group – we’re smaller than men, less skilled in fighting (present company excepted) & less likely to resist.

Far too many women are completely oblivious to the existence of violent female criminals &, sadly, many have paid the ultimate price because of it! Keep that in mind & be safe, sisters – because it’s quite possible that not every woman you encounter will have sisterly intentions towards you! 😉 ” – Stacy Paxton

Stacy, we appreciate your passion for educating women.  THANK YOU for your involvement and care to make a difference in the lives of women!

Lynn Sherwood-Humphries

Lynn Sherwood-Humphries founded High Caliber Women with the goal to empower women to take charge of their lives and personal defense with a comprehensive approach in mind, mody and attitude.  She walks-walks-the-walk herself in this goal and sometimes succeeds at feeling well-rounded through the excitement and challenges that life throws her way.  Lynn is a shooting instructor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and appreciates the opportunity to empower women accross the board to be their own best bodyguard and friend.

Get involved ~ it’s your life and you’re worth it!