I'm not referring to the ubiquitous Swiss Army multi-tool, but most of us have one of those too. I'm also not implying that most Montana women are packing a loaded firearm on their person, or in their purse. Weapons come in many forms - it just depends on the confidence and knowledge of the possessor. 

Quite simply, the majority of women (over 75%) that we asked in recent weeks regularly have a weapon 'of some kind'. NOTE: We collected information used in this article in an informal, non-scientific way. But we DID keep accurate responses from every woman polled, AND asked for proof.

Asking for 'proof' was possible in this case because of relationships and the need to confirm possession. This removed the possibility of any false positive responses. If someone said they had a weapon, I asked to see it.

Sure, a few of the women asked refused to show proof, which is absolutely fine and their right to refuse. I did not include or tally any positive responses that I didn't verify. Basically, I asked every woman I know and who's path I crossed in the last 30 days. They knew me, I knew them and they understood the assignment.

It's a simple yes or no question: Do you regularly carry a weapon of any kind on your person or in your purse? We collected responses from 100 women from across Gallatin County, Montana over the course of about a month.  Nearly 80% of them said yes. The vast majority of the weapons were either a knife or some kind of spray.

Photo by maxx ❄ on Unsplash
Photo by maxx ❄ on Unsplash

Personally, I can't remember a time that I didn't carry significant folding knife with me pretty much everywhere. (Anyone who knew my father will understand. To call him a knife guy would be a vast understatement.) The point is, he always made sure I had a good knife if I wanted one, that it was extremely sharp, and that I knew how to use it properly. Like, how to open and close it quickly with my eyes closed kind of properly.

My general go-to is a Benchmade Bailout Tanto, because it's a really nice knife and it's super easy to use and control. It's not a very big folder, but is incredibly tough...I don't worry about it in my purse or it opening on it's own. It's all personal preference and level of knowledge.

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I'm not a fan of ANYONE carrying ANY type of weapon without proper knowledge of how to use it. That certainly includes pepper spray and Mace. It seems that 'personal protection sprays' of all kinds have been marketed so heavily in recent years, many have forgotten that it's crucial to practice their use in a safe environment.

Seriously - if you want to carry protection spray, buy 4 of them and practice with at least 2 of them. ANY weapon when not handled properly can easily be used against you if you don't know what the hell you're doing...gun, knife, or spray. It's unsafe and irresponsible to carry any kind of weapon and not know how to use it with confidence.

OK, enough preaching. Here's the takeaway:  Over 75% of women in Gallatin County are carrying some kind of weapon. About 75% of those women who are carrying weapons, are carrying a significant knife or some kind of protection spray. Keep in mind, this was just an informal, local survey we did over the course of a month...but I DID see the various weapons with my own eyes, so the margin of error can't be that big.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Whatever you do, NEVER leave a gun in your vehicle. When I asked the Bozeman Police Department for the most important piece of advice for citizens when it comes to personal protection, this is what they said: Have knowledge and proficiency with any kind of weapon, otherwise it can easily be used against you. MOST IMPORTANTLY - Never, ever leave a gun in your vehicle. Vehicle break-ins in Gallatin County are skyrocketing. A gun left in a car at a trailhead or a driveway is as good as gone.

photo - Michelle Wolfe
photo - Michelle Wolfe

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