By Sarah Carling
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
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.
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.
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.