Women posing with guns are not something new. There are plenty of sites on the Internet that depict this as well as several TV shows that specialize on this topic. But usually it is a case of women wearing bikinis or less, firing automatic weapons at some target, while literally everything moves in slow motion. If that is what you are looking for, this well done book is not for you. This is a classy quality coffee table style book well worthy of your attention.
From a cover to that brings to mind a bye gone era to numerous pictures throughout the book, this is a book that pays homage to both firearms and the woman who own them. According to the introduction written by attorney Stephen L. Meagher, there is “unsettling” quality to the beautiful images in the book. Instead of “unsettling” the images portray to this reviewer determined women who tolerate no nonsense or interference and have the firepower to easily make their point.
The book contains 78 color and black and white portraits of female gun owners from across the country. Among the many variations are portraits with women posed in Old West style period costumes with antiques, others are in hunting garb, and still others are in law enforcement. Every picture makes it clear that these usually unsmiling women are clearly ready and able defend themselves against whatever man or beast walks the mean streets or crosses their land. These are not blonde blue eyed bunnies in swimsuits flaunting themselves for the camera. These women are serious and depict the plain fact that approximately twenty million women from every race, creed, and walk in life and all ages own guns and know how to use them.
The actual portraits start on pages 12-13 and lead off with “Cynthia” in hunters garb in a cornfield. From Stamford, CT she is pictured with her “Beretta 20-gauge over-and-under” with an accompanying several paragraph text regarding how she field hunts. That same format of the gun owner and her perspective on firearms is carried throughout the book.
A frequent point made over and over by the women is the role that guns have played in the family going back generations. “Jenevieve” of San Antonio, Texas is photographed in her wedding dress holding an “antique single-shot percussion dueling pistol. It was her wedding present from her father who got it from his father. The picture on page 24 pays homage to her husband as well as her father and the role both play in her life today.
The guns range the spectrum from antiques as mentioned above to very modern day weapons such as the “PWA-AR15” held by "Samantha" of Livingston, MT (page 29) and just about everything in between. By no means is this the only automatic weapon in the book, but there is clear preference for pistols and shotguns of various types.
"Sarita" of Armstrong, Texas, in a powerful image on page 33 that would make John Wayne proud, has a “Parker 20-guage side by side” that is the gun her father gave her a teen. One of several Texas women that favor shotguns, it is clear from her picture it would be best to stay off her land. Texas women play a large role in these pictorials and fittingly the book closes with “Windi” of Houston, Texas on page 166 holding a Beretta Silver Pigeon 20-guage over- and- under.” In the accompanying text, she states she knew she “…married the right guy when I got a custom-made monogrammed, pink alligator shell bag for my anniversary.” (Page 167)
That idea of femininity is key to this book. Contrary to the idea of “unsettling” expressed eloquently by attorney Stephen L. Meagher in the introduction, these portraits depict confident women ready for anything and refusing to tolerate nonsense or interference from anyone. These pictures pay homage to the Old West as well as modern times while honoring each and every single woman or young lady in the book. A visual treat that not only entertains the reader with the skill involved to take these powerful portraits, Chicks With Guns by Lindsay McCrum also provides a history lesson about firearms and their role in families and this country.
This is a splendidly done book and well worthy of your consideration. This review simply does not do the book justice.
Chicks With Guns
The Vendome Press
October 1, 2011
Hardback--Coffee Table Sized
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2012