So You Want Your Wife To Shoot Guns?

By Sarah Carling

So You Want Your Wife To Shoot Guns?
So You Want Your Wife To Shoot Guns? : img: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

AmmoLand Gun News

USA -(Ammoland.com)- There are two things I’m guaranteed to hear when I’m at the range alone as a woman, the first is “does your husband shoot” and the second is “I wish my wife wanted to shoot”.

My answers to the first question is simple, yes my husband shoots, in fact he taught me to shoot and is my biggest supporter as I improve my firearms training and skills.

My response to the second thing is a lot more complicated. You see I understand why so many wives, girlfriends and women are reluctant to get involved in the shooting sports, and it’s a complicated issue that is very unique to each individual.

However through discussions with many women who do shoot, I have noticed some similarities in our stories that I feel may be beneficial if you’re looking to get a significant other into shooting.

Leave Her Alone, She May Come Around

The very first thing you have to do is realize that your wife or girlfriend may simply have no interest at all in shooting, and you shouldn’t push it any more than you would want to be pushed into knitting or scrapbooking. This is your hobby and no matter how much you enjoy it and believe it to be a life skill, if your wife has no interest then leave her alone. She may come around to the idea at a later date and she may not.

If you push too hard then you will make it a chore rather than a pleasure from the get go and you will ruin any chance she may have of enjoying shooting.

A Bad First Experience

But let's say that your wife has shown some interest, perhaps you’ve already taken her out shooting and she seemed to enjoy it but never pursued it, or she showed an interest but disliked the experience. From talking to many women, I have found that all too often the first shooting experience with a partner is not all that enjoyable and this often seems to come down to the gun selection.

I have one friend whose only exposure via her husband is to a Springfield XD-mod chambered in .45 ACP. Now sure for an experienced shooter that is a pretty fun gun to shoot, but for a new shooter a compact 45 is a bit of a shock.

Far better to choose a full size 9mm or 22lr with a soft recoil to start out with, let the new shooter experience the fun of shooting before you introduce them to something snappier.

Let Her Pick the Gun

Kahr Arms CW380 Purple Pistol
Kahr Arms CW380 Purple Pistol : Don’t limit her to only shooting the guns you have, which have been chosen because they’re the right gun for you.

Even better is to let your wife choose her own gun, this is what my husband did with me and it started an addiction (I no longer buy shoes because I need that money for guns). Letting your wife choose her own firearm gives her ownership of the process, it also ensures that she has a firearm that fits her well.

Some women have hands too small for a standard polymer double stack (I know, I’m one of those women and almost exclusively shoot on a 1911 Platform) or it may simply be that an M&P feels better in her hands then a Glock.

Help her to research her own firearm purchase and let her explore her options, don’t limit her to only shooting the guns you have, which have been chosen because they’re the right gun for you, not necessarily for someone else.

Start Slow & Safe

Once you have the right gun in her hands you can start out slowly, start with a large target from about 7 yards and explain the basics of good shooting, breath, trigger control, sight alignment, stance, grip, SAFETY, etc. All too often the basics are forgotten when an experienced shooter begins with a new shooter because as much as those things may come naturally to you, they’re not all that obvious to a beginner.

Let her go at her own pace, she may only want to fire off a couple of rounds, and that’s ok.

This is about her and her comfort levels, be prepared to put in the time for her to become comfortable with the idea and practice of shooting.

New Directions

Once she gets bitten by the bug it’s also important that you support her in wanting to know more. Her interest in firearms may be very different to yours, she may be more interested in self-defense or competition, you might love high powered rifles and she may hate them and that’s all OK because the number one thing you have to remember is that even if you get your wife into shooting this will become her hobby, not an extension of yours and you have to allow her to explore it her own way, in her own time.

Sarah Carling
Sarah Carling

About Sarah Carling

Sarah Carling can be found here on Ammoland and on her own blog at SimplyArmed.com. She is originally from the UK and is now an Ex-pat Brit who found her love of shooting later in life after moving to the US. Sarah is an avid firearms enthusiast and proficient in pistol shooting (especially the M1911 Platform). She started using firearms in 2010 and soon fell in love with all aspects. Sarah has quickly become an advocate for the shooting sports encouraging women to learn and improve their firearms skills both through her work as an instructor and her position as a local leader for The Well Armed Women and as a certified NRA firearms instructor.

  • 10 thoughts on “So You Want Your Wife To Shoot Guns?

    1. Women can be easier to teach than men because they tend to listen and they often don’t have bad habits to unlearn. Also, they tend to take safety very seriously. My tip: make sure she is ‘doubled up’, foam plugs in ear canals as well as elec noise cancelling headgear. Still, there is concussion. Avoid very busy times for first range visits and try to ascertain if there is someone there with a 500 SW or other big boomer. Best to wait till they are done. If she is made to flinch by concussion, even if doubled up, she may find the experience not worth repeating.

    2. My wife was a hoplophobe who cured herself.

      I was interested in qualifying for my Michigan CCW/CPL, but knowing my wife’s fear of guns, I was hesitant to push it although I had flyers advertising classes laying around the house. Then, after one particularly deadly weekend in nearby Detroit, she decided that WE were going to get our licences to carry because WE do whatever we can together. The required shooting phase of the training almost freaked her out. Not long after that before we had bought carry guns, she was threatened in a park by a club-wielding maniac (my diagnosis) who only backed off when he saw me coming. This was motivation for her to get a gun and really learn to use it, but her fear persisted. Soon after that, on a business trip to Tennessee, some factory engineers on hearing that she was gun shopping but not knowing of her fear (which she was too proud to mention), took her to the range and had her shoot everything they had and a few they borrowed from other shooters. She decided that she wanted a Glock 23 (.40 caliber) as her first gun. She now carries an XD-9 sub-compact, and is an active member of Well Armed Woman. Bless those Tennessee mountain boys!

    3. My car was stolen, my wife tried to get the thief out of the car, but he took off, we recovered the car, with nothing missing (Which in the trunk was my son’s (10 yrs old) Christmas gift and in the back seat was my daughter’s (12 years old) American Girl Doll Christmas present). Since then, my wife talked about having a gun at home. So, my wife and I went to an indoor shooting range, tested out hand guns that would be a possible purchase. We ended up buying an HK USP Compact 9mm, When we picked it up, we purchased an HK MR556A1, then later purchased a Ruger 10/22 for my son and a Cricket 22LR, We went to a gun show, and purchased an HK USC 45acp and an HK 416 22LR. My wife has shot all of them, I did not force her, just asked her, if she said no, then it was no. on her own, she picked up the 556, enjoyed it, she picked up the USC, she liked it. She sometimes is the one that tells me, lets go to the shooting range. We have a 50/50 relationship, and we discuss everything before making the purchase, but she is the one that sometimes pulls the trigger first on saying….let’s buy it….In November 16, 2015 it will be 2 years that we, as a family, been going to the shooting range, we let the kids shoot, then once they get tired (about 1 hour or so, they sit in the back, read a book or play their hand held video games, then my wife and I start shooting. Very fun, family activity, we will be there for about 4 hours, then we go out and eat.

    4. Ken is Spot On! Not long after we married my wife went with me out onto the desert for a little plinking. I gave her the rudimentary safety rules and then we shot. She enjoyed the .22, but I had to be both Coach and Range Officer by her side. Later she even bought me a Beretta .380 for my Birthday, but didn’t really shoot that much. Kids and life got in the way and she wasn’t available to go shooting or hunting. Then the kids got a little older and I became involved in Muzzleloading and she started going along. Not long after she told me she really wanted to learn how to shoot. Rather than try and teach her myself, I suggested an NRA instructor with a Women Only class. She had a great time with the other women, including some range time, and now frequently goes along with us, and I Don’t have to stand by her shoulder as Coach Or Range Officer.

    5. Husbands, DO NOT TEACH YOUR SPOUSE. Send her to an approved NRA Womens Behinners Gun course. No arguments, all women, she can ask question without you rolling your eyes. My wife is getting he CCW permit and wants her own Sig.

      1. I am an NRA Certified Instructor in Pistol, including the defensive handgun courses. If a husband is patient with his wife when instructing her, and NEVER downplaying her ability, she can learn just fine. I took my wife shooting for her first time, started her with a Ruger 22 caliber semiauto, and had her punching holes in the black within half an hour. She now fires my XD40s with no problem, even though she has small hands. I just worked with her to where it could be safely and accurately fired with a modified grip.

    6. Letting her pick was my big mistake. We had planned on waiting till we got an AR and I could teach her the basics on that, low recoil, very controllable, great gun to learn on. However we were in a shop getting some extra mags for my Glock 21 (.45 ACP) when she saw a Khar CW that she really liked. So I took her next door to the indoor range and rented theirs because she was so excited and I wanted to foster that. I don’t know if the rental was in bad condition or if it’s a Khar thing, but that little gun felt rough, it was incredibly snappy and bit me (not sure if it got her smaller hands). Between the gun and the concussive conditions on the range she was in tears after 3 rounds and has been extremely reluctant to discuss shooting since. I really wish we’d stuck to the original plan and waited till we got the AR and could shoot outdoors.

      1. Women often make the mistake of thinking that a small gun is going to be easier to shoot then a large one, which causes them to pick compact weapons like the Kahr CW9. Of course as experienced shooters know this is a mistake and those little guns can pack quite the recoil punch. If you’re going to let your wife choose a firearm you may still have to guide the decision and steer her towards a full size .22 or 9mm which will be more enjoyable to shoot. If you can see if your wife will try a .22. I wouldn’t recommend starting with the AR as that can also be a very intimidating weapon to shoot for a brand new shooter (as fun and controllable as it seems to someone with more experience).

    7. Shortly after we got married 30 years ago, we used to go plinking with the 10/22. Not only did she love it, she was a better shot than me. Then along comes 2 kids, and the motherly instinct kicks in. Not only did SHE quit, but my guns had to stay hidden. I stopped shooting for about 20 years. Now that the kids are moved out, she has lost all interest. It’s too heavy, it’s too this that or the other. I’m trying hard not to push her, but I think if she pulls the trigger once, it’ll wake up that joy. I don’t expect her to shoulder the 30-06 and go tromping through the swamp with me, but I know that skill and enjoyment is there, not to mention she really needs to blow off steam.
      Any suggestions?

      1. I totally understand the motherly instinct issue and I can empathize with your wife. It sounds to me like she has developed a fear of firearms that is causing her to avoid them now. I would probably approach her from a safety aspect and give her the opportunity to re-learn in a very safety orientated way with someone else, so something like “It’s really important to me that you know how to use the firearms in our home for your own safety, I’d like you to take an NRA basic pistol course for my peace of mind”. This might appeal to her desire to keep the guns safely, and removes what may be the biggest source of frustration for many women learning, which is in fact their husband.

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