Four Hurdles Some Women Face When Getting Into Shooting

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I want to preface this by saying clearly that there are more and more women entering the shooting world, and that this piece is written from the viewpoint of one woman with only her own experience to draw on. However, I’m a trauma therapist and I talk to a LOT of women, so my perspective is probably different than that of the average person.

A lot of women talk to me about guns. There is a lot more interest among women about gun ownership and shooting than many people realize. I think, though, that women, for the most part, come to shooting from a different perspective than men. It’s probably no surprise that we tend to think about things in “gun world” differently than men.

I believe that women can be one of the biggest populations that could shift and influence the acrimony on subject of guns that currently exists. But in order for that to happen, there needs to be an understanding of how women are different when it comes to guns.

Number one: Women generally come to guns as a means of self defense in my experience. Very few women come to shooting out of the desire to be a tacticool badass operator type. As such, women tend to be more interested in smaller, manageable handguns than things like black rifles and packs dripping with MOLLE. Even I, who love running around in a field with a rifle and trying to hit things, don’t really get the fascination with all the tacticool stuff, though I’m slowly learning about what a lot of it is for.

Given the rate of harassment and sexual assault of women in this country, a lot of women don’t feel safe. Women think a lot about safety…a lot more than men do. That’s because women experience more violence, both verbal and physical. A woman often comes to the gun world after having experienced an ex’s harassment, an assault, a home invasion, or a close call of some kind. As such, she’s already in a defensive mindset, and maybe even scared of men. I’ll get back to that later.

Number two: Women are concerned about kids – their kids, and other people’s kids. Unfortunately, the things that make a gun usable in a bad situation – having it on your body, having it in an accessible place in the home – are also the things that make that gun accessible to kids.

When women are faced with something that could hurt their kids, they’ll often opt not to have it at all. The safety of their kids comes first. It’s also hard for a woman with kids at home to find the time and money to do the regular practice needed to become competent with a firearm, so women will often opt out because of this, as well.

Number three: Gun training environments can be intimidating for women, because they’re mostly full of men. As a woman who shoots rifles, I can attest that in the first eight months I was seriously working on my rifle skills, I never saw another woman in a rifle bay — not one single time — though I was shooting two or three times a week. Women just weren’t around in that environment. I live in a very gun-friendly and gun-heavy city and state, and there still isn’t a women’s carbine club.

Most women won’t elect to enter an environment that’s full of men, let alone armed men, by themselves. I have explained this over and over to shooting friends who reply in astonishment: “But that’s almost the safest place she could be, because it’s supervised!”

True, but you actually don’t know that until you’ve been part of the shooting world for a while. When you don’t know anything about guns and everything is new, the initial hurdles can seem very steep. I think it helps if a woman has a friend to go with for a while, or a partner, but not every woman has someone she can access that way.

Number four: I hate to say this, but it’s simply true that some men you encounter in the shooting world aren’t the best ambassadors. As a woman who has often been the only woman in a training course – carbine and SIMS in particular – or the only woman there on her own initiative (i.e. not there because a male partner wanted her there), I can tell you that I’ve had a handful of experiences of dealing with men who initially assumed I couldn’t shoot, and then became upset when I turned out to be competent.

For instance there was the guy in a carbine course who kept fussing at me about making sure I kept my barrel in a safe direction, even though I was already careful to always keep my muzzle downrange. He then proceeded to negligently discharge a .308 round in the staging area. Nice.

Believe it or not, there are men in the shooting world who are only comfortable with a woman shooting if she shoots a smaller caliber and isn’t as skilled as he is. Now, I imagine that this kind of insecurity happens between men, too, but when you’re the only woman in a shooting environment, it’s just one more thing you have to deal with. “You don’t really belong here” is a sentiment that I’ve encountered more than once.

All that said, I find that a lot of women talk to me about firearm ownership and I encourage them to take classes from good trainers and visit a high quality range to check it out. I’m always glad to be a source of information and help for women interested in firearms, and I hope more of us continue to explore that interest.

comments

  1. Ashland Daily Tidings: Monday, May 6th, 2013/Letters To The Editor

    Women must protect themselves

    I completely read “Will the Legislature protect women in danger” in the Tuesday, April 30, Ashland Daily Tidings. This brings up several valid points pertaining to the issue of women’s safety, security and protection.

    No! The state legislatures aren’t going to protect women in danger! Why?

    Because criminals, abusers, stalkers, rapists and other depraved human vermin don’t respect laws, restraining orders, et cetera. The only thing state legislators are going to protect, including the anti-gun Bolsheviks in Salem, are themselves! They and their ilk are only concerned with their own power, sick egos, positions, and controlling the masses via socialism and people control.

    “Dial 911 and Die!” (www.jpfo.org) again addresses the issue of 911, police response, protection, and likewise exposes the failures, myths and fallacies of restraining orders.

    Criminals prefer unarmed victims. A saying is, “nobody ever raped a .38!” Paxton Quigley’s book: “Armed and Female: Taking Control” (2010) is available via http://www.paxtonquigley.com. A moral, credible and comprehensive guide addressing women in America.

    My own April 30 Mail Tribune letter titled “Letters were disgraceful” brings up rape survivor and victim Amanda Collins. I gave reference in the letter to “Amanda Collins: Nevada Campus Crime Victim” via Cam Edwards on You Tube.

    Also, Larry Elder’s quote: “A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Col. Sanders.” The bottom line: You the citizen (male or female) are basically on your own and remain your personal first line of security, protection and armed response. The police can’t protect you; you must protect yourself.

    James A. Farmer, Ashland

    Now a resident of Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County). Second Amendment activist, ardent
    supporter of The John Birch Society in Appleton, Wisconsin (www.jbs.org and http://www.thenewamerican.com, respectively), and the Constitution Party of Oregon (www.constitutionpartyoregon.net). And of course JPFO, Inc. (www.jpfo.org) mentioned
    in my above letter. Native Oregonian since November 1956.

  2. avatar Don Prather says:

    My wife finally agreed to learn how to shoot at the sobering encouragement of our local DA and county sheriff. I offered to pay for her to take the best course available. She said, “No, I want you to teach me.”

    We have now run through hundreds of rounds together without suffering the first “round.”

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Don

      It is so good that you were willing to teach her. Most women would best like to learn from a man they know and trust and having that in their life is a HUGE support to learning how to defend themselves. Though, I’ve also seen trainers fussing at women who wouldn’t listen to their husbands but would take the same exact feedback from the trainer without a fuss! Pretty funny!

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      remember the night I asked a fellow shooting team member who we were facing that night and he replied “just a bunch of chicks”….I laughed and asked “what do they call themselves”?…and he responded “the Annie Oakley’s”….a little chill ran up my spine as I uttered an “uh, oh”…which later turned out to be justified…this was about fifty years ago…

  3. avatar anonymoose says:

    “there are men in the shooting world who are only comfortable with a woman shooting if she shoots a smaller caliber and isn’t as skilled as he is. Now, I imagine that this kind of insecurity happens between men, too”

    Carry the biggest gun you can shoot competently, regardless of what chauvinistic limp-wristed wusses think.

    1. avatar Edward says:

      I took my girlfriend to a swinger club once, I got a bit unsecured you never know what some of these guys will try. In most clubs and bars people just want to have a good time but it felt different somehow. All the nakedness and the ongoing action did not help to calm me down. And sure enough, I go to the bathroom, I come back 3 minutes later she is being rammed by a bunch of wild beasts, with more waiting their turn. I cried, and I left.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Edward

        That kind of thing actually happens all the time in the swinger scene. Unfortunately. I counsel a lot of people who want to explore some kind of non monogamy. That’s a ride most people really are not well prepared for and it can go very, very wrong without the right information going in…

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Michael

          You’d be amazed how many conservative people I know who are swingers, polyamorous, or into some kind of BDSM thing. It’s really not that uncommon at all. Human beings are interesting. It’s always been funny to me that I’m the “liberal” one but also the one who’s boringly monogamous, straight, and simple.

        2. Pretty sure Edward was joking.

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Michael

          You never know. This stuff actually does happen to people.

        4. And some people are oblivious to humor.

        5. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          kink is universal, but eddie baby was just feigning sensitivity.
          what i really meant was i’m terminal unless i can convince a laotian gal to help me.

        6. avatar frank speak says:

          some clubs control that stuff better than others…then again, what did you expect?

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @anon

      Heh. Right now my caliber range is .380 to .308. Anything bigger than that, or a shotgun, somebody better be holding onto my belt loops. Working up to it.

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        Honestly, .308 is powerful enough for anything 99% of people will ever do. You need more power if you want to hunt Alaskan brown bears, big game in Africa, or ring steel much past 1000 yards or so.

        I’ll probably lose my man card for this, but a 7.62x54r Mosin and a .270 Win hunting rifle are the most powerful rifles I own (I’m not a hunter). I’m not personally much interested in getting a .50 bmg or even a .338 Lapua, though I may pick up a 30-06 sometime.

        I do want my friends to own those big guns, and give me a chance to shoot them for novelty sake. Shooting guns is fun.

        You mentioned that most women get into guns for security reasons, not because they want to be tactical badasses. I think most guys get into guns because shooting, and/or hunting is a lot of fun. Some get into guns for badassery, security, or other reasons.

        I first got into guns because .22s are fun to shoot. Later on, I expanded to pistols, CCW, shotguns, centerfield rifles, and defensive carbines.

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          we all know who the top russian sniper was in WWII…but who was second?

        2. avatar jwm says:

          I thought Who was on first.

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Art

          Makes sense. I used both an AR 15 and an AR 10 to train for my Africa trip, but that was again for self defense, in case I had to use a rifle out there. I want to go back in a few more years, so they’ll stay in the arsenal for practice purposes. You see some damn big guns out there, but then again, if you can’t get into a tree there’s nothing and I mean nothing more dangerous than an angry rhino, gemsbok, or elephant out in the veldt. You don’t even hope to really hurt them; you just hope to get the hell away from them.

    3. I read years back about a small 110 lbs. petite woman who had no problem firing a
      bolt action .375 Holland and Holland Magnum rifle. Despite the heavy recoil of this 1912
      vintage caliber, she was able to absorb and roll with the recoil. Now the question:
      I’m sure there are some over grown macho types who might get belted firing a
      .375 H&H Magnum rifle, yet wouldn’t admit to it. Historically the .375 H&H Magnum
      was the quintessential rifle for Africa, India, Asia, including Alaska: the big bears in
      the latter. But like the late *Jack O’Conner once stated: “recoil is subjective anyway.”

      *Jack O’Conner: former Arms and Ammunition editor for Outdoor Life Magazine. Gun
      scribe, writer, and advocate of the .270 Winchester. Although he likewise lauded both
      the .30-06 Springfield and 7mm Mauser (7×57).

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        As I’ve been telling people – it’s about gun fit.

        When a gun fits well, you’d be amazed at what can be done.

        When a gun doesn’t fit, lots of things start going downhill – ability to put rounds on target, recoil handling, etc.

        1. avatar Perry says:

          I am FOR whatever puts the most lead on-target per second. It’s all about ergonomics.

          DG, for the record, you are one of the more sane contributors to TTAG.

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @DG

          Have you written any articles about what “good gun fit” actually means and how you know you’ve got it? Seems like a lot of people just go through trial and error. If you have, i would really like to see this and have it on file to give to my clients. Having the wrong gun, especially as a beginner, can greatly contribute to getting discouraged and thinking you can’t learn to be effective with large calibers.

    4. I have never encountered #3 or #4. As a new shooter the men at the range have been very nice, not condescending. Helpful when I ask a question, otherwise they mind their own business. We just smile at each other and say “HI” getting in and out the range. I don’t know where you shoot, but I don’t see men as a problem for women here in suburban Chicago.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Victoria

        Think it depends on who’s running things. My current range is awesome and always has been – highly professional and tight. I used to go to a couple of others, but after they changed ownership, things went downhill and the people they chose to work there were just kinda…weird. I had a couple of encounters with RSOs who clearly had issues with the race of some of their customers and would be outright hostile to anyone they thought wasn’t American, not that they ever bothered to even check to see if they were or not. I’m very happy to be where I am now, and not planning to leave.

      2. There are two kinds of gun owners; those that like guns and those that like the second amendment. One group is selfish and the other group understands that rights are for everyone.
        A woman was at my local range learning to shoot a handgun. I had my AR15 and after I blasted a few shots I realised I was the only one shooting. I looked behind me and she was watching me. The noise got her attention. She said “what kind of cannon is that?” I explained that it was actually a light recoiling rifle despite the noise. I asked her if she would like to try it. She took four or five shots and then turned to her husband and said “I want one of these!”
        I think most gun owners are in the second group willing to share knowlege and help new shooters at every opportunity.

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    As an instructor, I enjoy teaching women about firearms safety and marksmanship (and BTW, the “man” in “marksman” is the same as the “man” in “human.” It ain’t sexist). Women listen well, they don’t claim to know everything about guns because they watched John Wick twice, and most have excellent eye-hand coordination.

    Some women seem a bit intimidated at first and they all practically jump out of their skins the first time they hear gunfire, but that fades away quickly. Preconceived notions by the trainer fade away too. My last tiny (5’1″, 95 pound, 65 y.o.) female trainee couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the inside with a Ruger SR22, which I thought was a perfect training gun for her, but she obliterated the bullseye with a 9mm Springfield XD-E. Go figure.

    So, yeah, there are differences in mindset, motivation and physical skills twixt men and women when it comes to guns and just about everything else. But really, people are people. Kindness and politeness go a long way toward making women feel at home on the range. Just like men.

    1. avatar Edward says:

      There is also Mark in marksman and it surely ain’t a woman’s name, even in 2018.

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        Sorry Eddie. I hope you were joking. Back in the ’80s wife and I joined the N.G. for revenue and something different. I was prior service. I put a set of peep and post sights on a 10/22 (kinda like an M16s sight) She was scored as Expert in basic and was a coach for others in AIT. Back at home station she was range NCO for her company. I taught her and she taught others. So STFU ass hat. Elaine D; Too much fem poor me. Life is tough.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Dave

          To be clear, I myself have no issue with guns. I own many and practice regularly with my guy, who is an expert and an instructor. This article isn’t about me but about the hurdles women who have talked to me about guns have expressed to me.

        2. These “hurdles” seem more like cop outs. I guess voter ID is a hurdle too.
          I wish Elaine had convinced these women that the only hurdles to gun ownership comes from government rather than try to convince us that men are the problem.

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Michael

          I think that conversation would have to come later; after a woman has actually decided to take a step into the world of firearms. For people who know nothing about guns, the first question is, “is this something I even want to try/do at all? What does it take to do this, what are the costs and responsibilities?” Baby steps.

        4. Well whining about perceived hurdles is not one of those baby steps.

        5. avatar Scoutino says:

          I think that Edward is joking. He’s got the kind of sense of humor I like. Did you read his post about swingers club above?

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Ralph

      I had a funny experience with my teacher early on where we were doing a private carbine lesson and he was kicking my ass. He kept saying, “A good rifleman will do this, or that.”

      I finally turned and looked at him, and he said, “Riflewoman! Riflewoman!”

  5. avatar Timmy says:

    Let another man teach your wife and you’ll send up like Rusty Shackleford in King of the Hill.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Timmy

      Depends. Sometimes when a hubby expresses frustration to me about his wife not wanting to learn, I’ll suggest they sign up for a course together so he’s a student alongside her. This seems to help in a lot of cases. Sometimes going through a course helps her realize that her husband really is trying to help her and also maybe isn’t totally full of bull-wee.

  6. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Elaine: Thanks for doing what you do and being a good ambassador.

    The firearms world needs more good people in general, of all races, genders, religions, etc. While we can’t eliminate the undesirables, we can dilute the gene pool.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Ed

      Thank you. I actually have a fair number of people who talk to me about new gun ownership, feeling out if it’s something they want to do. They are female, often minorities, often LGB+. These are folks who don’t know any traditional type “gun guys” and would be way too scared to walk into a range and ask questions. I’m their person for that, and happy to be.

      1. avatar Neil says:

        What you mentioned is all too common. Not to mention when someone is trying to escape a high conflict situation, the last thing they need is a macho range dude to stir up bad memories.

        Honestly, I go to the range as there are the nicest people after a high conflict relationship.
        What matters is comfort. It can be that SR22, a revolver (not my recommendation, but one friend’s wife had a positive association so that was the gun), Sig, CZ, or Glock.

        What doesn’t work is oversize grips, like those on my guns. 😉

        Good luck ladies. Don’t let some of the tangents discussed here discourage you. It is your life, protect it.

  7. avatar Mr Lizard says:

    Hmmmm the 2 biggest hurdles I’ve seen:
    1. Douche bag gun shop guys behind the counter
    2. Douche bag range guys constantly checking up on women who are otherwise shooting according to range rules. Interrupting them, and asking if they are ok, can they handle it, do they need help….

    Looking at shoot straight Tampa for #1, and shooting sports Tampa for #2

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Lizard

      #3

      Douche bag range guys checking out your ass while you shoot and being obvious about it.

      1. avatar T says:

        if you’re going to the range in yoga pants and you have some nice curves, you are begging for attention.
        I don’t remember seeing it at the range, but I see it at the grocery store every time, it cracks me up when some women with a really impressive body are wearing a tiny top, a yoga pant and act surprised when guys look. As if you never have time to take a shower and change clothes after your workout, please.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @T

          Oh, everyone looks at people they find attractive. Women look at men they find attractive too. But it’s not like people have to be obvious or obnoxious about it. And when you’re working at a range, you owe the range customers a certain amount of professionalism whether you’re attracted to them or not. It’s not a bar, after all.

        2. avatar doesky2 says:

          So I guess you’ll call that “eye violence” right?

          Also I call BS on your charge of “verbal violence” because I’m betting like most Leftists nowdays you describe hearing things that you don’t like is considered “verbal violence”

          Hey if you have a nice ass and you’re putting it on display in tight leggings than it’s more than appropriate for guys to take a look. Ain’t no stopping a million years of evolution because you’re not getting attention from the right guy regardless of what the soyboy professors at college teaches. I’ll bet you $10 you wouldn’t have a problem if the stares came from a “hunk” versus the average plump RSO. Well tough, when you put it on display, you don’t get to choose who looks.

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Doesky

          I would call being polite about attraction “being brought up correctly.”

          As far as what I consider violence, keep in mind that I see people who have been crime victims as part of my job.

        4. avatar Scoutino says:

          Exactly, it’s not a bar. So if you don’t want guys looking at your posterior, wear something different from your bar ‘hunting attire’.

    2. avatar T says:

      One of the employee at the Sarasota location definitely needs some customer service training, but even that might not do it as it seems he simply lacks common sense and kindness. I avoid or ignore him, most of the guys are cool but you always have that bad apple.

  8. Your “hurdles” are not peculiar to women.
    And getting in to guns for self defense, as did I, is not a hurdle. It’s just a reason.
    As far as “tacticool” goes, thats probably the smallest representation of the gun community. I would say hunters make up the largest demographic followed by concealed carriers.
    Seems to me your notion of the male gun owner is as sexist as you think our attitude is towards you.
    I guarantee you that 99% of men are more obliging to a woman getting into shooting than they are to other men.
    I can’t dispute your experiences but I can’t agree that this is exemplary of the gun community.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Michael

      I wouldn’t say my experiences are unique, based on what I hear from women. And it’s not something women are going to talk to men about, either. But they will talk to me.

      I’m also quite sure that my shooting friends and teachers would disagree with you that I’m sexist in any way. They’re all male, and quite conservative.

    2. avatar Stop Swinging and Use Your Brain says:

      He is exactly right. “Women won’t talk to men about it, but they will talk to me.” No, intelligent, secure women will talk to men about plenty. Maybe if you hang out with the swingers less, you might find some decent, authentic, and non-neurotic people to coach you on shooting??? This whole article is sexist garbage capitalizing on current, bland grad-school-type narratives about male/female relations. The problem is, most of these types do not and will not ever understand authentic male/female relations by default. Remember folks, current education asks ONLY FOR ASSENT. That means that those who go farthest up the system’s educational ladder are those most likely to concur for advancement and/or give assent willingly. The most mindless.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Stop

        I don’t hang out with swingers, and I’m not one myself. I do COUNSEL people who are thinking about doing that. But I am not a practitioner myself. Read what I actually wrote.

        It’s amazing to me how people sometimes have a knee jerk reaction to something and write a post without even making sure they parse the original content correctly. Ah, the Internet.

  9. avatar Ark says:

    Honorary number 5 that I have observed: Women are conditioned by other women to be against guns and gun ownership. That’s one reason there often has to be some feeling of threat for a woman to become interested in gun ownership. They are socially conditioned to be anti-gun as a default. I wish I understood why this is, but it’s definitely real. It’s why women tend to approach you for information individually, in secret, away from the judgement of the group.

    I know I’m a typical tactical dudebro looking at this from the outside, but I never understood it. Taking responsibility for protecting oneself from the shitty men of the world seems like the most obviously feminist attitude in the world to me. There’s a thing, that you can go out and buy, that will completely nullify the size and strength advantage that men have used to control women for all of history? I mean, duh! Why don’t we have 95% gun ownership among women? The only answer I have is this paradoxical action of women judging, shaming, and socially discouraging gun ownership by other women.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Ark

      Those are good observations and your question is definitely shared by a lot of guys I know who don’t understand why their female partner resists their attempts to influence her into trying a trip to the range.

      I think a lot of it is the same reason you don’t see women in the motorcycle world. In order to handle both guns and bikes, you have to have a certain kind of confidence, a certain kind of power in yourself, that you believe in, even to try. A lot of women really really struggle with that, with confidence in general. And when you don’t have a lot of confidence, you’ll easily quit if you get scared or embarrassed or discouraged.

      In the motorcycle safety class I took several years ago, it was mostly men and just a few women. Naturally you’re going to have a few accidents or mess ups when you are just first learning to ride. Happened to most of us, but all the women quit the course before the end of the weekend even though they didn’t make worse mistakes than anyone else there. That made me sad, especially since I could tell their husbands really wanted them to stay in so they could ride together.

      Both guns and bikes are dangerous. Women are highly conditioned in this culture to believe that we can’t handle danger and must stay far away from it. It’s not like that in every culture – in Vietnam, my other home country, women fought in the war, handled rifles, organized into militias and self-trained, drove the trucks under fire on the Ho Chi Minh trail. It’s a cultural thing. Different attitude. Over there women feel comfortable being soft AND strong. Here it seems like women feel they have to choose and that the two don’t overlap.

      1. avatar Bill from over the hill says:

        Elaine,

        Thanks for stepping into the fire and writing for the site.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Bill

          Thank you for reading, and for the support. Means the world.

      2. avatar Ark says:

        That’s an interesting take. Completely external to partisan or feminist politics, “that there is dangerous and you oughta let the men handle it”.

        American history doesn’t contain the kind of fighting mobilization of the female population that you find in, say, the former communist states. Perhaps some of these attitudes would be different if it did. Kind of like the black veterans returning home from WW1 and WW2, once a group gets a taste of that kind of equality, they’re less inclined to surrender it.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Ark

          It seems to me that the Vietnam War changed and solidified the role of women in Vietnamese society in a different way, for sure. It’s interesting, you never hear about the role of Vietnamese women in the war over here, but there is a lot of documentation by the Australians who took an interest in the topic. I have a whole file of photos of Vietnamese women with ARs and rocket launchers doing their thing in the field. Maybe I will write a little piece for Dan and see if he wants to publish it.

          During the war, the women transported rifles, transmitted intelligence, and took a very active role in defense. The Vietnamese say that one of the reasons the Americans lost was that they underestimated Vietnamese women. Who knows how true this is, but there does seem to be some basis to that when I see how women are treated in Vietnam now, and you still find war era posters and placards of women in military uniform with rifles in bookstores and such.

          I was thinking today about how little girls are just often taught here to “avoid.” Don’t walk down that street or hallway. If someone is bothering you or seems creepy just stay away from them. Don’t confront them, just find a way to run away. And it’s not like this is a bad thing for girls to do, but it completely doesn’t prepare them for what happens when you CAN’T run or get away.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      the cc classes are starting to feature a lot of women…even had one admit to ownership on the bill maher show the other night….

  10. avatar Jorge says:

    As a gay Hispanic male, who also happen to be communist Muslim and white supremacist (I try to keep it to myself in public but sometimes I get involved in debates and arguments), I know what it feels like to have everyone staring at you. However what was first a strong feeling of hesitation, insecurity, quickly turned into a great time at the range. These folks have always treated me with great respect and they don’t hesitate to share their knowledge and experience. Those who seem to not like me for who I am ignore me and that’s fine. I feel better at the range amongst many conservative white men and women than in most places.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      that’s quite a list!…could see why you want one….

    2. avatar Gordon in MO says:

      Jorge, you push too many buttons there. Gay Muslim does not compute. Muslims kill gays, it is forbidden in the Koran with prescribed punishment, death.

      That claim makes me wonder about everything you say.

      Accepting what you say for the sake of argument, your statement that ” I feel better at the range amongst many conservative white men and women than in most places” does not surprise me. Most conservatives are not violent people. They may reject what you are but not hate you for it. As the preachers say, “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

      Muslims on the other hand are forbidden to be friends with infidels. The Koran says they may act friendly to further the goals of Islam which is world dominance.

    3. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Jorge

      I’m really glad you found an environment that works for you. Supportive environments really lay the groundwork for good learning and practice.

      I’ve brought a fair handful of goth/punk friends to my range over the last couple of years. They always astonish everyone with how well they can shoot. It’s always highly amusing to see people’s eyes widen when a guy wearing black nail polish and wearing a kilt bullseyes his rounds at 20 yards easy as breathing. Fun times.

  11. avatar Yarbles says:

    I have taught about 12 women to shoot and shoot properly. Most of them were taught IMPROPER fundamentals from husbands, boyfriends, fathers, etc. Shooting a firearm is an athletic event. It all depends on good fundamentals and regularly PRACTICING THOSE SOUND FUNDAMENTALS. The one’s who practice shoot better than I do.

    It is a real pleasure to see the beatific smile on her face when she realizes that with proper grip, stance, sight picture, and trigger management techniques she can indeed hit not only the target but her point of aim at 10 and 10 + yards where before she would miss the man-sized silhouette completely at that distance.

    Now, try to get my GF to go to the very nice indoor range not more than 3 miles from her house once a month. She’s just too busy. I mostly end up going alone.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Haha, isn’t it always that way? It’s like how you never go see the attractions in your own city because you live there. Totally guilty of that myself.

  12. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

    I stopped reading at:

    “Given the rate of harassment and sexual assault of women in this country, a lot of women don’t feel safe.”

    Should all women be armed if they so choose to protect themselves from violent rapists that do exist?
    ABSOLUTELY!

    Do we have some kind of rape epidemic or perpetuate a “rape culture” in this country? NO. If you want to push those false progressive beliefs maybe head over to Vox.

    Btw I have enjoyed several of your previous articles and the different perspective from a non OFWG so take that for what you will.

    1. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

      Even one rape is too many, yes it’s better then the Middle Ages but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t get better. Personally I am for hanging violent rapists and pedophiles. May God have mercy on their Souls but I don’t think we need to waste finite resources on them.

      1. avatar Red in CO says:

        He’s not saying there are no rapists out there, just that the narrative of “rape culture” is utter horseshit

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Blazin

      Given that I said absolutely nothing about rape culture in what I wrote, not sure where you got that. I’m a trauma therapist, so I see people that crimes have *already* happened to, not ones that “might” happen.

      1. avatar Pete says:

        I think the reaction was to “in this country.” Comes across as though rates are significantly lower in other countries, therefore something cultural, ie rape culture. I do believe from your writings that it’s closer to “even in this country,” ie rape and sexual assault are bad and happen everywhere, even here. But I don’t mean to put words in you’re mouth or speak for you here, that’s just how I reconciled it.

  13. avatar David Walters says:

    Once because of our political views (we’re conservatives), my wife, my children and I received threatening phone calls. My wife freaked.

    But I’m and ex-Marine infantry officer and am very skilled with firearms (BTW, anyone who wants to argue between “ex” and “former” can just GFY. “Ex” was good enough for my WWII Marine Dad and his Marine Dad before him. So, it’s good enough for both you and me too).

    She respected that and allowed me to teach her the fundamentals of shooting. Then she got her CHL and then joined the local range’s women’s group.

    I guess it takes an event like that for most women to finally decide to learn shooting and to carry as the old man’s not always around.

    She’s now a partner in every conceivable way and I’m digging it. We shoot often across several platforms and calibers.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @David

      Well, yeah. I think that does happen for a lot of women. I’ve worked with more than one woman who experienced a home invasion while her husband was on a business trip or working late. These incidents have often involved more than one intruder and are astoundingly frightening and traumatic for women who have little kids in the house.

      I don’t bring up firearms with women unless they ask me about it, but if they do I’ll give them as much information as they can stand.

      Sorry you got threatened. That’s ridiculous. No one should be threatened for the way they choose to believe or vote. The last thing I’d want is for everyone in the world to be like me.

  14. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    It seems the people who flaunt their sexuality are also rabid gun grabbers. And those that don’t discuss what they do in the bedroom are more reliable protectors of gun civil rights. That’s been my observation as a person that was born and raised in California. (The Mulford Act)

    The truth is women in general don’t want to carry 2 or 3 pounds of metal and polymer in the form of a hand gun. The smaller 25 and 32 caliber hand gun has stopped cold any rapist. He might die days latter. But the attack was stopped. Before the 1968 gun control act which banned the importation of small handguns, women had a wide variety to choose from when it came to smaller firearms.

    People tend to forget that in Europe larger handguns are frowned upon because it couldn’t be concealed. Open carry of firearms was banned in most of Europe. It’s not like in the United States. We are Cowboys openly carrying a “big iron” on our hip.

    The truth is women are not going to dress like a man in order to carry a gun.

    The gun fashion shows are a wonderful start. But “New York” will not be designing conceal carry clothes for women. “Gun women” with designing knowledge, are going to have to fill that need.

    I see more women shooting with their husbands and boy friends, than I ever have before. (Smile)
    And I see more women open carry here.(smile)

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Chris

      The Republican/Libertarian swingers I’ve worked with would find your first sentence quite interesting. For sure. Like I said, there are a lot of conservative-identifying people who engage such practices. It is not at all uncommon, I’ve found. And they’re gun nuts, not gun grabbers.

      I think also part of the issue re the actual firearms is that for a woman who isn’t big framed, a full size is never going to be any kind of “conceal”. Mostly we ladies just do not have the frame for it no matter how you try to cover it. That’s why a lot of women opt for off body carry.

      I’ve thought a lot about working with a designer to either design gear or offer modifications to existing pieces. Like, perhaps there’s a CCW pocket that, if well designed, could be added to an existing jacket or something. Some of the designs out there are good (like belly bands) but they run into problems in really hot climates like Texas; a woman will pass out wearing a polyester sheath in the summers here. The women’s CCW market needs a lot of work, for sure.

  15. avatar Lance says:

    “He then proceeded to negligently discharge a .308 round in the staging area. Nice.”

    Pfft, are you serious?! Sounds like he had a bad case of projection.

    I noticed that too. When I do see women buying a gun/ shooting guns, self defense against some knuckle head who can’t take a hint is usually the reason.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Lance

      Yup. Dangerous AF. We were all lucky that he happened to be pointing that rifle off into a field at that particular moment.

  16. avatar New Continental Army says:

    The tacticool craze, as much as people make fun of it, is actually rooted in some legitimacy. I make tacticool jokes too, but I get why there’s a market for it.

    1. Veterans. 20 years of war have left a shit ton of combat veterans. I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head but their near WW2 levels. Many veterans want at least some kind of SHTF set up, or simply want some gear to remember their time in.

    2. The militia movement. This is somewhat tied to veterans as well, because many militias are made up of veterans. The past 10 years we’ve seen serious threats of gun confiscation, civil war, civil unrest, economic collapse, and WW3. This has caused the militia movement to swell beyond even its 1990s levels. Laugh all you want at some militias, but there are also some seriously hardcore ones out there that can give SF a run for its money.

    3. Prepper/Survivalist movement. The growth in this movement is due to many of the same factors as the militia movement.

    4. Call of Duty/Walking Dead/Battlefield. Yep. For real.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @New

      My first carbine course, almost everyone but me showed up in full tactical/battle gear. I had no idea, of course, and don’t own any of that stuff anyway, so I just showed up in my everyday clothes, which became kind of a funny running joke as I trained more with that group over the next year or so.

      But hey. I wouldn’t even know where to begin in terms of that kind of stuff. And honestly if I ever have to use a weapon it’s likely that I will be in my street clothes. It took me almost a year to figure out how to set up a proper gun belt for training; I finally learned a basic failsafe system from a LEO and have used it ever since.

      I remember it was super hot that weekend too and I felt so bad for those guys because they were in full battle gear – vests, plates, hydration packs, boots, the whole nine. At first I didn’t get it; I was like, why are these poor guys torturing themselves? It’s 102 degrees outside!

      But as the weekend went on I started to get that it was more than a physical thing for them. It was mental. Toughness, endurance, the ability to get through something hard with even more burden on yourself. I get that, because I do think that mental toughness is a huge part of self defense, maybe even the biggest part.

  17. avatar Dr. Chet says:

    I totally agree with the article and would add a fifth, Intimidation by recoil and difficulty learning conventional techniques (neutral) grip. That is one of main reasons we developed the Gas Pedal CG for Carry Gun which makes it MUCH easier to learn and handle a semi auto, especially with bigger calibers that can actually stop a bad guy.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Dr

      I’ve never heard of this. Interested to hear more, maybe this would help some of the women I talk to. Definitely fear of recoil is a big thing, especially since in my state you cannot even take or test for a CHL with less than a 9mm equivalent. That’s a lot for a rank beginner to take on and feel confident with.

  18. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Elaine D.

    Keep writing articles here. Your different viewpoint is educational even for those who might disagree.

    I am a veteran who has made sure the women in my family are familiar with firearms. One daughter in law is now a sponsored competitive shooter, another has gotten her CCW. My grand daughters both shoot and one plans to get a CCW when she turns 21.

    I don’t understand how you reconcile being a democrat and a POG. The democrat party seems to be all in for disarming everyone….except criminals.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Gordon

      Believe me, I understand your confusion.

      Keep in mind: I’m a Texas Democrat. Historically, Texas Democrats have been socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and gun owners. Texas and California Democrats are not the same. Texas and California are radically different places. An old school Texas Democrat like me might be considered libertarian by some.

      The thing is, in Texas, there are a lot of blue voting gun owners. Including here in Austin, which most people mistakenly think is a city of hippie free for all veganism. Not the case at all. I would say that most of the liberal people I know here own guns and are not “anti 2A.” I include myself in that category.

      I personally think that “for” and “against” 2A are misnomers. The 2A is there, it is written into the foundation of this country, and there are disagreements about how it is interpreted, and that includes variations in SCOTUS interpretation over time. Some believe that the 2A says that anyone who is a citizen can have whatever they want whenever they want. But even Scalia said that states had the right to impose restrictions, which seems to indicate that even though he was an originalist, he didn’t believe it was nearly as broad a directive as the NRA, for example, seems to believe.

      My own reading about the historical context of the 2A does not favor the broad interpretation that the NRA seems to either. But I’m new at that part. But there has always been gun control in the US of A. Always. It’s taken different forms and been more and less restrictive at different times, but it has always been there. This is why liberal gun owners reject the notions that we are “gun grabbers” who want “gun control.” Show me a time in the US where there has NOT been gun control. Some of it imposed by Republican legislators, as is happening now.

      I do not believe guns are a partisan issue. I think making them one is a huge mistake. Liberal gun owners, in general, have a problem with the racism and sexism that the current Republican Party and the current NRA seem to be into. Many of us are not white. Many of us are friends or family with gay and trans people. Many of us have parents or grandparents who are immigrants – I’m in that category as my mother is a Vietnam war refugee – and are therefore complex to the sensitive issues of immigration that is related directly to failed US policy in other countries, as it was in my mother’s case. So we are very, very resistant to anti – gay, anti – woman and anti – immigrant rhetoric on the level that has been seen lately from the “right.”

      Personally I think most moderate conservatives and liberals in this country are a lot closer together than we think we are. The extreme fringes rule the discussion and stir up bad feelings. But I don’t think that’s the reality.

      Wordy answer, more than you wanted to hear probably, but an attempt at summation.

      1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

        I can understand that California and Texas democrats are different in some respects but Texas democrats tried very hard to elect a far left candidate to the US Senate in this last election.

        On Beto’s web site he advocates a new national universal background check law, opposes national gun-carry reciprocity, and calls for additional funding for government research on gun violence. He also explains his support for banning certain semiautomatic rifles and so-called high-capacity ammunition magazines.

        The national party is all in on disarming everyone, the national leadership openly calls for it. That means you also, not just conservatives….unless you are one of the elite who will have armed security.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Gordon

          I’m in favor of background checks, research, and I don’t think reciprocity can ever work because it overrides states’ rights too much. It’s a nice idea but to me it looks like one that can’t ever happen and is therefore a waste to press forward.

          The only thing on that list I’m not a fan of is the bans. I have good reasons for accepting the above three that have nothing to do with ‘grabbing guns.’ Not all liberals are the same, you know. Just like all conservatives aren’t the same. And I didn’t think Beto could win. He isn’t the kind of Texan we tend to vote for.

        2. avatar James A. Farmer says:

          Klamath Falls Herald and News: Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
          Letters To The Editor

          Trump description would fit LBJ well

          In her Sept. 20th letter Sandy Couch describes Donald Trump as “narcissistic and egotistical.” That is an accurate description of Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) , perhaps the worst president in American history.

          Unfortunately, an issue doesn’t disappear simply because it’s been ignored, censored, covered up and concealed for decades.

          Also, the legacy of deceit, abuse of power, and political corruption that continues to curse America today! Case in point: “American Experience, “LBJ: Beautiful Texas/My Fellow Americans. A profile of Lyndon B. Johnson.” This recently aired on KSYS Channel 8.1 Aug. 15 and 16, respectively.

          Consider the following the itemized links below:

          Barr McClellan’s 2003 book: “Blood, Money, and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK”. Also posted at YouTube.

          J. Evett Haley’s 1964 book: “A Texan Looks At Lyndon: A Study In Illegitimate Power.” “How Persecution of American Christians Really Began in The US!” via the Constitution Party of Oregon (www.constitutionpartyoregon.net) posted under “Liberty In The News.”

          Trump to Pastors: ‘Christians Have Been Silenced Like a Child” via Pat Robertson’s 700 club confronts the 1954 Johnson Amendment which remains blatant censorship.

          “Lyndon Johnson Murdered John F. Kennedy” at YouTube. The oppressive 1968 Gun Control Act LBJ signed into federal legislation and its Nazi/ racist roots long since exposed by JPFO, Inc. at http://www.jpfo.org.

          Finally, the Vietnam War (1961-1975) How LBJ and then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara greatly escalated this “no win war” in Southeast Asia. And at a cost of 58,000 American lives. Lyndon B. Johnson likewise paved the way for Carter, Clinton, and Obama.And while Richard M. Nixon was no saint, he wasn’t even in the ballpark with Lyndon when it came to the above political atrocities, abuses, and crimes against the American people.

          James Farmer

          Ashland

  19. avatar Sprocket says:

    Just a reminder; this person supports a political party that wants to strip you of your second amendment rights. If you are playing nice with her, you are a chump. She and her ilk are cancer.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Sprocket

      I think the adults on this forum are more than mature and intelligent enough to decide whether they want to interact with me without your help. TTAG has a pretty smart group of readers. But thanks for your concern.

  20. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Elaine D.

    Please watch this video and give us your thoughts on it. I have thought this for a long time.

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