Concealed Carry for Women: Gila Hayes Walks the Walk


I grew up with my mother’s repertoire of fears: attack by strangers, kidnapping, rape, and other violence by men against women. We were taught to behave quietly, dress modestly and pray that you do not attract criminal attention. Our training was in avoidance; we had no game plan if evasion failed. Girls weren’t taught how to fight, even in last-ditch self defense. We feared violence but weren’t allowed to respond in kind.

Very early in her book, Personal Defense for Women, it becomes obvious that Gila Hayes has overcome that mindset.

Hayes has trained with the big names in this industry: John Farnam, Clint Smith, Chuck Taylor, Ken Hackathorn, Louis Awerbuck, and, yes, Massad Ayoob. In fact, Ayoob thinks quite highly of Gila. In the Foreword for her book, he says:

As a police weapons trainer since 1972, active in the national associations and attending international seminars, I’ve seen the best that great cadre has to offer. I can tell you that Gila is in the top tier of either gender, though she has become most famous for her ability to both inspire women to protect themselves and theirs, and effectively teach them how to do so. Cross-trained in less-lethal weapons, hand-to-hand, and the legal side, she puts the Armed Woman Lifestyle into a total, real-world perspective.

There’s another stereotype that Gila absolutely shatters, the one that says, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” Believe me, sisters and brothers, I’ve seen this woman shoot. . . .  When she won the shotgun match one year at Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors’ Seminar – shooting a hard-kicking Remington 870 pump with full-power slugs against big SWAT guys, some of whom were shooting reduced recoil loads in already soft-kicking semiautomatic shotguns – I wanted to dance in the streets. (I’m a father of daughters. Sue me. Our daughters need more role models like Gila Hayes.)

Women cannot rely on “police protection” any more than men can. In Personal Defense for Women, Hayes gives practical advice on everything from avoiding conflict all the way to responsible use of handguns, revolvers and shotguns – and everything in between, including concealed carry issues for women. This is practical advice for women, from a woman who talks the talk and walks the walk. Chapters include:

Chapter 1    Women’s Rights And Responsibilities
Chapter 2    Developing A Safety Conscious Attitude
Chapter 3    A Fight Avoided Is A Fight Won
Chapter 4    Finding The Will To Survive
Chapter 5    Emotional And Physical Consequences Of Survival
Chapter 6    The Comfort Of Home Safety
Chapter 7    The Bump In The Night
Chapter 8    Campus Safety For Young Adults
Chapter 9    Personal Safety At Work
Chapter 10    Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts
Chapter 11    Non Lethal Tools
Chapter 12    Tasers
Chapter 13    Rape Prevention And Survival
Chapter 14    When Am I Allowed To Shoot?
Chapter 15    Safe Gun Habits To Live By
Chapter 16    Basic Firearms Training
Chapter 17    Annie, Get Your Gun
Chapter 18    All About Hand Gun Ammunition
Chapter 19    Shooting Skills
Chapter 20    Concealed Carry
Chapter 21    The Home-Defense Shotgun
Chapter 22    Shotgun Ammunition
Chapter 23    Rifles And Carbines
Chapter 24    Post-Shooting Survival

If you'd like to read an excerpt from a chapter, let me know in the comments below. I'll give everyone a few days to chime in, then print an excerpt from the chapter with the most votes.

Gila Hayes is operations manager for two businesses, the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. and the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, Inc., the latter of which is a membership organization started in Jan. 2008. It has grown from zero to over 5,000 members, and keeping it going takes up most of her time these days. Gila edits and does most of the writing for a monthly journal for Network members. Check it out at

Gila's book gets a wholehearted “highly recommend” from this Gun Digest editor. Click here to order copies of the book from the Gun Digest Store.

While you're there, be sure to check out the great selection of concealed carry holsters and other accessories.


    • Thanks for the feedback Constitutionalist! Your picks win with most votes, so I’ll get the excerpts from those chapters posted at There’s a lot of good stuff here, so watch for two separate posts. Enjoy!


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