Girls and guns – those two words are going together more and more, and that’s a very good thing. Over the course of the past two years the number of women (of all ages) who are getting their concealed carry permit, hunting permits, and fine-tuning their shooting skills has drastically increased.
Girls and Guns 101
The world is a far more dangerous place than it was when many of us grew up. Guns became more stringent as violent crimes rates soared in cities across the country. Common sense gun laws are now replacing both concealed carry and open carry regulations in many states, and women are lining up to learn how to defend themselves – and their families.
Women, especially young women, are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights and buying guns in record numbers. There are two primary reasons which seem to have motivated women to learn how to shoot – or improve their skills and get a concealed carry permit: refusal to be afraid and ever become a willing victim and, especially for twentysomething women – to protect their own littles ones.
Training of novice female shooters works equally well individually or in small groups. The type of training sessions and number of shooters will depend on both the instructor’s abilities and the comfort level and personality of the students. Young women tend to enjoying doing things in groups and may feel less intimidated by the training if accompanied by friends interested in learning how to safely and accurately handle a firearm as well.
Public school boards in many states have finally listened to the citizens of their respective communities and allowed trained teachers (which are still primarily women) to arm themselves to protect the students in their charge.
My daughter will never be cowering in a closet hoping a local hero with a badge will make it to her home in time to save her and my grandchildren. The only reason she will ever need to call 911 is to report a crime and to let the police know where to pick up the body.
Teaching girls to shoot when they are young teenagers can begin with something as simple as an air rifle. The non-lethal firearm may be an excellent way to teach gun safety, stance, and aim to a novice shooter or youngster before moving up to a .22 rifle or handgun.
My husband taught us both how to shoot, beginning with small caliber handguns. Rifles, shotguns, and large caliber handguns can feel intimidating for some women to even hold, let alone fire, during the initial stages of training. But, that apprehension does not last for long when a devoted newbie puts her mind to the task and then challenges herself to excel. Our daughter can now outshoot her husband the vast majority of the time. Competition on the range can make the learning experience a lot interesting and apparently, even serve as a great date night activity!
Just by chance, while preparing for my own concealed carry permit test, I wound up giving an impromptu gun training session to one of my daughter’s friend. She, like many women who have not grown up around guns, was unnerved at first by the sound of my pistol – a Ruger 40-caliber handgun. After her deer-in-the headlights look subsided, we started her first gun training session. I had an old .22 handgun in my range bag, so we started there – and remained with that gun for almost a month. Brea’s friend thought once she could load the magazine by herself and hit the target proficiently at five feet away, she was ready to move up to my .380 – she was wrong.
Girls and Guns 101 – How To Teach A Female Firearms Newbie To Shoot
1. Start the training with a gun that does not have a lot of recoil. Often times, when a man teaches a woman how to shoot a gun he does one of two things: 1 – Hands her his gun or 2 – Gives her a high-caliber but compact gun which will fit in her purse. For many woman, either of the above scenarios will turn what could be a wonderful first time experience into a complete (and possibly painful) nightmare.
After teaching a novice female shooter how to handle a pistol, it is time to move onto rifle training sessions. Sportswomen are a growing segment of the hunting community. Teach your daughter or granddaughter to shoot a rifle and you may have a life-long hunting partner who no longer spends endless hours on her smartphone. During a SHTF scenario, you never want to be forced to get down to handguns to protect yourself.
2. Some folks are natural teachers – others are not. It can be difficult for an accomplished shooter or a person very familiar with guns to forget some all-important first steps in the gun training process. Before the handing the gun to newbie female shooter, teacher her how to identify every part of the gun and understand, what it does, and how it works. Spend a little extra time on the slide to avoid the new shooter winding up with a bloody hand after the first trigger squeeze.
3. Next come the stance. Just like in sports, lining up the body properly is the only way to hit the target during training, even at a short distance. If the woman ever face a real threat, the muscle memory developed from time spent training with a proper stance could make a life or death difference.
4. Don’t ever load a woman’s magazine for her – not even during the very first training session. Buy a loading tool, they are not expensive, if the woman, at least initially, needs helping pushing the rounds into the magazine. Loading the gun is just as much a valuable part of training than aiming at the target. The best way to remember how many rounds your various magazines hold and how to quickly release them, is to load the magazines yourself right from the start.
5. Learning how to shoot a gun at a short distance is surely something to celebrate, especially considering the low level of firearms awareness some young woman possess when beginning training. Starting practice at just five or seven from the target is advisable. Work back in two to five foot interval each training sessions until the shooter is 20 feet away from the target. A thug can traverse less than 20 feet in mere seconds – not allowing a novice shooter (or perhaps even a seasoned one) time to grab a concealed firearm, chamber a round, aim, and then shoot.
6. Cleaning a gun a chore, but it must be done after each time it is fired. At the end of each training session, the new shooter should be instructed on how to not only clean the weapon, but on to take apart and put back together, the gun they used. Taking a gun apart and putting it back together with your eyes closed will seem like an impossible task at first, but when the new shooter can do it – and she will be able to, the sense of accomplishment will be inspiring. When moving up a higher caliber handgun, the gun function, cleaning, and assembly training begins all over again.
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7. When moving on from handguns to rifles, follow the same basic training steps, but start at a greater distance from the target for both safety reasons and to teach the shooter how to use a scope or iron sights. Some female shooters love shotguns, especially the country girls. But, the kick can be a bit much for some ladies. The AR-15 is known as one of the best rifles for new shooters, particularly women. It is lightweight, has very little recoil, is highly accurate, and simple to use.
The number one reason young women want to learn how to shoot is to protect their family. For mothers, keeping their little ones safe, has always a priority. A momma with a gun, is not someone a carjacker, mugger, or armed home intruder would ever consider an easy mark.
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