Okay, I have seen this circle way too many times… It is up to us to stop it.
“My wife wants to get a pistol, but doesn’t know what to get”… “My girlfriend is looking at getting a pistol and think she should do XYZ…” Why is it, that when a guy asks someone what pistol is best for him, he is handed a semi-auto-pistol; when a woman asks the same question, she is given a revolver? Enough already.
Number one, if your wife, girlfriend, life partner, etc… is going to get a firearm, don’t tell them what to get. It’s their choice. Encourage and enable them to get training so that they can make informed decisions about what is best for them.
Here are some of the arguments that I have heard in the past concerning women carrying revolvers:
A Revolver takes less training – So I guess whoever makes this argument has already decided that the female shooter is only going to seek a minimal level of training. I find that repulsive. If someone can drive a car, using their feet and hands, I think they can handle learning to do something with their hands.
A revolver is easier to shoot – Ok, I still don’t get this one. You are telling me, that a double action trigger pull on a revolver (for the sake of argument 8-12 lbs) is easier to keep steady as you squeeze, than a 4-5lb semi auto trigger? Unless you are Jerry Miculek or have a special application, a semi-auto is probably going to meet your needs.
Women have issues operating the slide on a semi-auto – With proper training, any average adult can operate the slide of a semi-auto. I shoot with a woman who is 5’4 and 115lbs and she can shoot circles around most of the guys at the range with her 1911.
So why is it that these beliefs are perpetuated? The answer is simple – Male ego.
Do you know someone who took their wife to the range and the wife refuses to go back? I could have told you where that was going to lead.
My experience has taught me the following lessons:
Lesson #1 – Testosterone does not make you a shooter. In my experience, all testosterone does is inhibit the skills of listening and critical thinking… Many times, this leads students into not able to follow even the most simple, yet important instructions. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a guy in a class ask for individual help and then tell me that he would rather do it “his way…” If your way works so well, why did you pay for a class? I don’t tell anyone that a certain technique is Right or Wrong (outside of addressing safety concerns), but I think it is a good idea to try all methods and find what works best for you.
Lesson #2 – Doesn’t matter if you are a Master class shooter, your wife, girlfriend, etc… will still see you as the guy who leaves his socks on the floor in the bedroom. How can you expect her to learn anything from you?
Lesson #3 – Learning to shoot can be a stressful experience full of uncertainty and adding the need to perform in front of a significant other can just multiply the anxiety beyond that point where it is now a chore, not Saturday fun. Help your wife, girlfriend find an instructor and pack her a lunch, stay out of it.
Lesson #4 – If you think bringing your friends along for the ride so they can see you teach your wife how to shoot is a good idea, you better hope that they have a comfortable couch, you may have to borrow it for a few days.
So, here are some of my recommendations based on what I have seen work in the past.
If you want to help your wife, girlfriend, S.O. become a shooter, find an instructor that she is comfortable with and tell her to have a good time. Do not hang around and watch; let the two of them sort it out.
So how do you find a good instructor? Ask around and speak to some of his/her students, but ultimately the student needs to pick the instructor.
If the “instructor” uses the word tactical every other word and have to dress in all black like a Ninja, it is time to leave.
Keep in mind that military and/or law enforcement experience alone only tells you that they passed the minimal skills required to carry a firearm, not necessarily a good indication of whether you want them teaching you anything.
Once your S.O. has gained some level of confidence in her abilities to handle a firearm, she may even invite you to go with her to the range.
If the first trip the range goes well, your S.O. will want to go back – Conversely, if the range proves to be one big ball of anxiety and just a chore, I doubt you will get her to go back out.
I am hoping that some who read this find it helpful.
I would like to see more female shooters at the range.