By Britney Starr, Women’s Outdoor News
As another installment in our series on female gun bloggers, The WON takes a look at the (beautiful) face behind Armed In Heels, a website and blog for the fashion-conscious women shooter. Meet Jacquelyn Kelly, Ph.D. – a high-heel wearing, gun-toting, fashionista.
Brit: It’s great to see such a multifaceted woman shooter. Have you always been involved in shooting and what lead you to create Armed In Heels?
Jac: I got involved with the firearms industry, thanks to my husband. It was his passion, so it made me want to learn about it. The first time he ever showed me a gun, I cried. I was TERRIFIED. But as a high school teacher and college student, I often found myself alone after night class in not-so-fantastic areas of town. This made me feel the need to learn to defend myself. But when I started looking around for self-defense and firearms options, I became discouraged. There didn’t seem to be a place or a retailer that I could go to for information and products helpful to me. When I went to gun stores, I felt like they talked down to me for being female. When I searched online, I often found the retailers intimidating and scary. It was then that my husband and I decided to start Armed in Heels. We wanted to create an online environment that allowed females to see firearms as empowering and allowed them to remain feminine and trendy. We seek out products that are made specifically for women, not products for men that just come in pink. We search for ways that females can carry concealed while maintaining their individual style. We strive to create an environmental where females can be empowered, learn from each other, and know that there is a retailer who supports and understands their needs. And that’s what we try to do with Armed in Heels.
Brit: I know that there are many husbands who would love their wives to become involved in shooting. What kind of activities do you do together when it comes to practice?
Jac: Whenever we have spare time (which hasn’t been much lately!), we try to make it out to the local indoor range. Being near Phoenix, Arizona, outdoor shooting is just not an option during the summer. Because he has been my introduction to the shooting world, we spend lots of prep time at home going over safety things, how different firearms work, drawing and trigger control. I’m thankful that he’s been patient with me along the way. Since my interest in shooting comes from a self-defense perspective, we also like to talk through various self-defense scenarios and what we would do if they arose. I’ve noticed that I’ve become increasingly more aware of my surroundings as a result, which makes me feel in control!
Brit: You have a lot of great products for sale on your website, including firearms, defense products, clothing, and accessories. What is your favorite item and why?
Jac: It is pretty hard for me to pick one thing, every time I see our inventory I feel the need to go on a shopping spree! I mean who doesn’t want a dagger disguised as a hairbrush, a stun gun dressed like a flashlight, range bags that do the organizing for you, or iPhone cases that have built in pepper spray? (And that doesn’t even get me started on the firearms section!) But at the end of the day, my favorite has got to be the UnderTech Women’s Compression Shorts. The reason I pick those is because I feel they are the most empowering. When I was first considering concealed carry, I remember being so frustrated when I was told that I would have to change my style to accommodate a firearm. I’m proud of my femininity and personal style and I knew there had to be a way I could still defend myself while preserving my individuality. Then I came across the UnderTech women’s line of compression concealment clothing. I was skeptical but I ordered some to try out.
Bottom Line …
I can now carry concealed in my skinniest of skinny jeans and heels. The idea that a product could liberate me from the stigma of concealed carry was so empowering. It made me believe that firearms could be for me and for everyday women all around.
Brit: I need to try out a pair of those! I love rockin’ my skinny jeans. All right, you said the magic word, “guns,” so now I have to ask if you have a favorite gun.
Jac: I think of choosing a favorite gun like finding the perfect pair of jeans – you have to try on a few hundred (OK, maybe like 20) pairs before you find the ones that work for you. So far, I’ve stuck to semi-auto handguns that are in the medium to small range. If I was able to carry a full-size rifle with me for everyday self-defense, I’d be looking into those pronto! But, right now I’m still in the trying on phase of finding my favorite gun to shoot. I will say, however, I had a good time with my Glock 19 last time we were at the range … it is definitely at the top end of my list right now!
Brit: I see on your blog that you have some great product reviews written by Gracie from Packing Pretty who we just featured on The WON also. What are you two up to and how did you meet?
Jac: We LOVE Gracie of Packing Pretty!!! We actually met online. I came across her blog and was captivated. I mean it was pink, beautiful, and I could identify with the things she was saying. She made me feel safe and inspired. I knew any contribution she would have to Armed in Heels would be fantastic! While Armed in Heels is a business, we really do care about our customers. Not every product that catches our eyes makes it to ArmedinHeels.com. We want to carry products that our customers can be proud of and will find useful and empowering. With all of her crazy awesome credentials and a vision consistent to ours, Gracie brings the expert perspective, product reviews, and voice to Armed in Heels that we are incredibly thankful for.
Brit: What do you like to do in your spare time, if you have any at all.
Jac: I am a huge nerd. I LOVE education and everything about it – particularly related to the sciences. I have an undergraduate degree in physics, a Masters in engineering, and a Ph.D. in science education. I’m a teacher at heart and am fascinated by how people think and learn. If there was anything else that could rival my passion for learning, it would be my passion for eating! I pretty much love to eat and eat, all the time. As a result, I’ve come to enjoy cooking, but I’m pretty sure it is because I know I get to eat afterwards! I love doing yoga. It grounds me, centers me, and helps me remember how to maximize my potential. AND it helps me learn to control my heart rate and breathing which has made my groupings much tighter at the range!