While I was in college, I worked the evening shift at a local convenience store. I never worried about getting robbed, as we had an armed security guard in our store for my entire shift.

It was mid‑July, and I had been working extra hours to save money for the upcoming semester at school. I would have normally gotten out of work at 10 pm but the graveyard clerk called in sick, so I decided to stay and cover that shift too.

I had never worked graveyard. I knew our guard left at 4 am, but I wasn’t all that concerned. I was always alert, and though it was strictly against company policy, I had my Glock in my car. Before the guard left, I retrieved my Glock 26 and two spare magazines. I put the spare magazines into my pocket, and clipped the paddle holster on, and hid it under my smock. The gun and my CCW class were a gift from my Dad on my 21st birthday. He has had me shooting since I was five, and I carried everywhere but work and school.

Right at 4 am, the guard left. About 15 minutes after, a young male entered the store. I greeted him to let him know I had seen him. He looked me up and down with a leer, and walked around the store.

He was dressed in his “gang banger uniform.” Baggy chinos, wifebeater t‑shirt under his flannel shirt that was only buttoned at the top button, and he wore a black bandana on his head.

I am built athletically and am not a typical “weak girl,” and I definitely do not carry myself as one for obvious reasons.The young man looked at me again, as if he was sizing me up. He walked around the store once again, keeping his eyes down and avoiding looking at our security cameras.

The alarm bells were sounding a bit now, so I moved behind the sales counter so I would have a brick wall at my back and a barrier between him and myself. If he crossed that line, he’d have a very painful and rude surprise. I felt there is nothing in a store worth me getting hurt over. I decided long ago, that in a robbery I would offer the robber a sack for the money, and free soda and cigarettes if he wanted them. But under no circumstances would I become a victim of an assault…or worse.

I slipped my cell phone from my pocket and pressed 911, but did not hit “send,” I just wanted it ready for whatever might happen. He looked at me once more, and left the store. I didn’t totally relax…I just “knew” something was coming.

Remaining behind the counter, I moved to my left, where the door to the office is located, so I would have a secure room to duck into if I needed to.

I didn’t have to wait much more than 5 minutes or so before he returned with two others, dressed similarly to him. One stopped and spun the lock on the door. I could only imagine what the three of them had planned for me once that lock was set. I was not going to be raped in the back room of the store by these three punks, or anyone for that matter. They looked at me like three coyotes surrounding a rabbit.
“Give me the f‑–ing money b—-!”

There was about 10 feet between us, and the register was about 5 feet from where they stood. Going to the register would have placed me close enough for one of them to grab me.

“I need to get the key out of my pocket,” I told him as I quartered away a little bit. When my hand came back up it held my Glock, pointed right at his chest. I yelled, “Drop the knife, now!”

The knife hit the floor before I got the words out. The trio stood as if glued to the spot on the floor where they were standing. I bet my Glock looked the size of a cannon to these three punks.

“You ain’t allowed to hurt us!” the tough guy who had the knife squealed.

“Don’t you bet on it mister, move one inch and you will see how much I care about store policy!” I reached for the “send” button on my cell, and when the 911 dispatcher came on, I gave my address and description to her. In less than 4 minutes, my parking lot was filled with officers. The door was still locked, and the officers had no way in without busting through the thick glass panels in the door.

I ordered the trio to back up, and when they were about 10 feet further back from me, and couldn’t reach me, I made them lie down on their stomachs. I stepped out from my position, and while keeping them covered, I unlocked the door. Had one of them moved, he would have been shot for being stupid, right in front of a lot full of cops.

I came through the robbery attempt okay. I honestly believe my having been armed saved my life that night. I decided a long time ago that I would not be the victim of a rape, or any kind of assault. I carry my Glock, on my person wherever I go, loaded with Hydra‑Shok ammo, and it is now outfitted with a 3.5-pound trigger. I have also added a Glock 17 and 19 to my collection. I shoot with dad weekly (he buys the ammunition), and read all I can about self-defense.

The company promptly fired me for violating their “no weapons” policy. I really didn’t care, because one has to be alive to be fired. I urge women everywhere to take responsibility for their own safety. Get training, get a gun, and don’t be a victim. I am currently in law school, and intend to enter the prosecutor’s office when I graduate. —RF, AZ

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