November 03, 2023
For someone with little or no experience with handguns, entering the world of shooting and gun ownership is intimidating, and that can be especially true for women. Newbies researching self-defense guns and basic shooting skills must sift through a dizzying array of online information, much of it questionable, and are often bombarded with “advice” from well-meaning acquaintances who may or may not know what they’re talking about.
Enter Rose by SIG Sauer—a program created to help, encourage and inspire women to take responsibility for their personal safety through education, training and community. Developed with pro shooter Lena Miculek—an eight-time world champion who is on a mission to share her extensive experience and encourage other women to become responsible gun owners—the Rose is, yes, a handgun. But it’s far more than that. When you purchase a Rose, you get not just the gun but some accessories to help you get started and, most important of all, the answers to a lot of the questions you have as a new gun owner.
And as I quickly discovered, the Rose is not just for the new gun owner. I’ve been shooting handguns for a while, but not very well or very confidently, and the Rose package was a game-changer for me. It turned out to be a portal to the education, support and encouragement that I never realized I needed.
So what is the Rose? Well, the handgun itself is a variant of SIG’s phenomenally successful P365. I’ve owned a standard P365 9mm for several years, and I love the micro-compact size, magazine capacity and shootability of this popular platform.
The Rose version is prettier, but definitely not in a shrink-it-and-pink-it way. The gun features a lasered rose design in the grip stippling and rose-gold anodized trigger, safety lever, slide release and takedown lever. The effect is elegant, understated and classy.
It comes in two options: the P365-380 Rose, which I tested, and a slightly larger 9mm version, the P365XL Comp Rose, which is designed with slide-lightening cuts to reduce recoil. Both come equipped with highly visible X-Ray 3 day/night sights and feature optics-ready slides on the SIG Romeo Zero footprint.
The Rose, while essentially the same gun as my P365, is a different experience right out of the box—literally. The kit comes in a classic black box with the “Rose by SIG Sauer” logo embossed on the lid. Upon opening it, I found the gun and two 10-round magazines, one flush-fit and one extended.
In addition, there was a magazine loader, five dummy rounds and a Vaultek Lifepod keycode-accessible portable lock box embossed with the Rose logo and rose-gold branding to match the gun. The inclusion of the Vaultek immediately answers one of the major questions many new gun owners have, especially those with young kids at home: Where and how am I going to safely store my firearm?
But by far the most valuable extra in the Rose kit is a little card signed by Lena Miculek. On this is a friendly welcome message and a QR code. The code takes you to the Rose web page (sigsauer.com/rose), where you’ll find a full slate of instructional videos by Lena and an invitation to join the Rose community on Facebook.
The video series is phenomenal. It’s essentially a free online basic firearms training course in 14 videos, hosted by Miculek. In addition to being one of the top professional shooters in the world, Miculek is an outstanding and confidence-inspiring instructor.
The first takes you through an overview of the Rose and its accessories, explains the rules of firearms safety, and then walks you through how to safely store the gun in the Vaultek box—as well as going over the essentials of gun handling, disassembly and cleaning.
From there, the videos take you step-by-step through the basics of shooting. You can follow along with Miculek in a series of excellent dry-fire drills that help a new shooter develop proper grip, stance, trigger control, and the loading and unloading skills necessary to make your first trip to the range.
I did the drills for a week, and they were an enormous help. Other videos cover clearing malfunctions, preparing for your first range session, solving accuracy issues, and several live-fire drills to help you make the most of your practice time. All this instruction builds the confidence new shooters need to become familiar and comfortable with their firearms.
Did I mention the video series is free? You don’t have to own a Rose to watch the videos and learn from Miculek’s excellent instruction, but you’ll probably want one after you do.
I signed up for the Rose Facebook community a bit grudgingly. I’m on numerous Facebook groups, and many of them aren’t very rewarding, but I was quickly impressed. As of this writing, the group has some 9,500 members. The posts are interesting, and the discussions lively and supportive. Members share suggestions for optics and holsters, post training tips and discuss places to shoot. New shooters share their questions and concerns and receive immediate encouragement and advice. And, just like the videos, you don’t have to own a Rose to join or participate.
By the time I took the Rose to the range, I had watched the video series and dry-fired enough to hear Miculek’s confident and encouraging voice in my head as I worked through one of her suggested live-fire drills. I found the Rose extremely comfortable and easy to shoot.
For the record, I shot it better than I shoot my own P365. That’s a bit unfair, since shooting a .380 and a 9mm through a firearm of the same size and similar weight—the Rose is just three ounces lighter—is equating apples to oranges, but it was eye-opening to discover how much my accuracy improved with the lighter recoil of the .380.
Although I’ve never had any problem racking the slide on my P365, I found the slide on the P365-380 Rose significantly easier to manipulate. The magazines were somewhat stiff to load, but they’ve already begun to loosen up with use, and the included magazine loader is a great help.
In recent years, women have become the fastest-growing demographic among new gun owners; according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a full third of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were female. The Rose program by SIG Sauer, with the expertise of Lena Miculek and the supportive community it has fostered, is helping to clear the way for even more women to become confident, proficient shooters.