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By Eric J.

As a firearms advocate, one of the most difficult challenges I face isn’t taking an anti-gun person on in a full-on debate, but rather dealing with the gun-shy folks in my day-to day-life. On the one hand I want to convert the doubters, but on the other, I can’t always be successful, and is it worth endangering a friendship? Recently a good friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend. I’ve come to be a friend to both and the break-up was (thank goodness) actually fairly amicable (well, as far as break-ups can be). I found myself with her at a coffee shop and she began pouring her heart out about the break-up . . .

She mentioned that a source of tension in the relationship was her ex-boyfriend’s recent discovery of and enjoyment of firearms. She asked me, how could anyone like such evil devices? I paused, then told her that I enjoy firearms and advocate gun rights. (I didn’t bother telling her that I’m the one who introduced her ex to firearms in the first place!). She was taken aback. She couldn’t reconcile her perception of me as a good friend and rational person with her anti-gun stance– surely I couldn’t be both an intelligent, morally upright person and like guns!

Sensing that it was an all-or-nothing moment, I quietly asked her if she would like to go shooting with me, to find out what it is like. She initially objected, but I persuaded her on the grounds that she, as an enlightened and rational person, could not fairly judge firearms if she wasn’t open-minded enough to try shooting and listen to guns-rights arguments with an open mind. She acquiesced, likely more out of emotional fatigue than anything, and the following Saturday saw us in my pickup headed into the sage steppe for some shooting.

On the way we reviewed safety rules and when we arrived I quizzed her on them before ever opening the gun case. She passed with flying colors, and seemed happy that I wasn’t about to crack open some booze and wildly fire in all directions (or something such stereotype like that).

The first gun to come out was my Remington 510 (bolt action, single shot, .22 s, .22 l, .22 lr). I figured the gentlest possible start would be the best. I showed her the manual of arms, loaded a round, and fired. I handed the discharged gun to her and let her acquaint herself with the sights. I then took it, loaded it, and handed it back. She gingerly disabled the safety, then took up a peculiar stance, leaning back as if she were afraid of the gun and reluctant to even touch it. I thought about correcting her, but decided to let her touch a round off and discover on her own that it didn’t bite.

The moment of truth came and she squeezed the trigger, sending a mellow Remington subsonic hollow point downrange. After firing, she stared downrange for a couple seconds. I had held my breath from the time she mounted the 510 to her shoulder. What would she think? Was this whole endeavor about to backfire? When she finally turned it as apparent she was trying to suppress a smile. I let my breath out and thanked Providence that her first shot was as pleasurable as mine had been. I simply said “Another?” and held a cartridge up between my thumb and forefinger. She finally let her smile break, and responded with “Please!”

After she was doing reasonably well with the 510 I brought out my Ruger SR22P. The SR22 is my all time favorite gun. It is now hers as well. For awhile I did nothing but load magazines for her while she shot. She did far better in her marksmanship for her first attempt at pistol shooting than I did! I nicknamed her Dead-Eye Cate to her feigned annoyance. We eventually had some friendly competitions at hitting a piece of scrap steel pipe that I had brought along. it is cut at a strange angle and rings like a bell. She demonstrated a befuddling combination of inaccuracy at close range and precision at ~30 yes with the pistol. Women. I’ll never understand them!

The finale of the shooting session was my new Savage Axis in .30-06 Springfield. I warned her several times that, unlike the Remington, this rifle would have significant recoil. I fired a couple rounds to let her see that it pushed my shoulder back; she is a thin-as-a-twig distance runner and would certainly be pushed around more by recoiling shoulder-weapons. I finally loaded a single cartridge into rifle and handed it over, helping her set up in a sitting position. She touched off the round (150 gr Core Lokt), immediately turning to me and yelping in delight then rubbing her shoulder a bit. She popped out the magazine and commanded “Load it!” “Do it yourself,” I said, and she greedily snatched up the four cartridges I offered. Four shots later I found myself wondering if she was going to strain a grinning muscle.  Apparently this gun-control advocated was a latent recoil junky.

Having demonstrated to her that shooting is a very enjoyable pastime, I decided it was time for politics and philosophy on the drive back to town while she was still in the afterglow of discovering a marvelous new activity. After some awkward discussion, she was the one who cut to bone of the issue and challenged me to explain why Second Amendment advocates are so dedicated to words penned so long ago. How is such a thing still relevant? Is not ‘gun violence’ reason enough to heavily restrict the ownership and use of firearms, enjoyment notwithstanding?

After the usual statistical arguments (Wouldn’t we be better off banning bicycles and fists to save lives? They take more live, after all.) I tried a different tack. During the ‘Arab Spring’ she was very enamored of the romantic thought of people rising up and casting off a tyrant, especially the fall of Gadafi in Libya (the long-term consequences being a separate issue). I gently inquired how the Libyans were able to overthrow the man. I gently steered her into recognizing that they were able to do so because they had armed themselves.

Unarmed demonstrations can be put down. Armed revolutionaries are an entirely different matter. I likened this to the American Revolution. She understood the analogy easily enough, but was unwilling to make the intellectual leap to recognizing that the maintenance of an armed American populace is ultimately a safeguard against tyranny. After all, she inquired, isn’t America past that? Too civilized? I asked her, what makes us all that different from those folks across the Atlantic. Isn’t human nature universal and more or less uniform?

She started to more-or-less say that we are ‘better’ than them, but bit off her words, unwilling to assert racial or cultural superiority, per her other beliefs. Neither of us spoke a word for several minutes. I finally gently inquired that if firearms are the ultimate safeguard against government gone wrong, what’s so bad about their insignificant statistical cost? She didn’t reply, but her brow was furrowed with the struggle of reconciling that argument with her pro-gun control beliefs. When the conversation resumed, it turned to other issues, and I didn’t press further, deciding I may have pushed my luck a bit much for one day.

After parting ways, I began to wonder: would she come around? Would she at least want to go shooting again? Or would she turn back to old ways and hold against me my pro-gun beliefs in the same way as she done to her ex? A full turnaround of her beliefs was simply to much to hope for. I decided I would settle for some small of sign of her relenting.

Three days later, she left me a voicemail:

“Hey, sorry to disturb, I was just wondering if you’d maybe want to take me shooting again. I, uh, tried to find some of that .22 rifle ammunition, but I couldn’t, so I got a box of .30-06 instead at Walmart. Hope that’s okay. Anyway, give me a call either way.”

I wonder what’ll happen when she discovers that guns come in pink and purple.

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  1. Nicely done sir. My question is, now that she’s a convert, will she get back up with her old boyfriend.

    • Well from the phrasing it wasn’t the only reason they broke up. I’d enjoy being proved wrong though.

    • Whatever, she just found herself some new hotness! You can’t just expect the guns to win the girl over, you gotta have finesse. Old boyfriend obviously didn’t. Eric, though, he gots it.

  2. Nothing compares to an explosion a few inches from your face…especially for a womanLOL. Are you 2 an item yet? Very good entry BTW.

    • It’s his friend’s ex girlfriend. Getting involved with a friend’s ex is basically never a good idea. Something I have learned the hard way.

      • ditto, I have never been there, but I have seen the therm-nuclear warfare that follows. Not for me thanks.

  3. You’re hella slick, I’m jealous. I’m certainly going to use this as a manual if I ever get to take an anti shooting or try to convince them.

    “…explain why Second Amendment advocates are so dedicated to words penned so long ago.” Because that document wasn’t written to deal with any specific situations, it was written to counter balance the darker sides if human nature mixed with power. Neither human nature of the nature of power have changed since then. Not that this worked on my super hardcore anti friend.

  4. This is how you win hearts and minds. Don’t shove them through the door. Open it, and let them walk through of their own volition. Some will leap right through. Others will stand, hesitantly, at the threshold. Still others will turn and run away, screaming. Hey, you can’t win ’em all right?

    If you do it right, they’ll think it was their idea all along.

  5. I’ve taken many women shooting and all of them seemed to enjoy it to one extent or another. Some of them went so far as to describe it as “empowering.” Most of them want to go ’round again. Only the diehard soccer moms and other assorted dunderheads are beyond redemption.

    • That’s funny you mention that. Of all the anti’s or the simply uninitiated whom I’ve taken shooting, including men and women, I’ve never had any of the women leave with less than a very upbeat, excited attitude about firearms in general. However, a couple of men over the years have come away somewhat deflated.

      I don’t know why, but I wonder if it’s related to those two being the most gung-ho for guns from the outset, despite having zero actual experience. I wonder if they just had some kind of expectation built up that wasn’t fulfilled or what, or if they liked the idea of a brotherhood of shooters more than the shooting itself?

      That latter explanation may be more near the answer. After all, I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there who do enjoy their fantasy football leagues immensely, but wouldn’t last more than 10 minutes in an actual football practice running wind sprints or play drills.

      • I know what you mean, I felt like that when I first started shooting. I wasn’t raised shooting, but always loved guns. The first couple times I went to the range it was so different than what was built up in my head from 20+ years of video games and movies I just felt “weird”. I stuck with it though and now I shoot all the time and love it.

    • Too true. A friend, who’s family does the “foreign exchange student” thing, brought out the 16 year old French gal they were hosting to my house as he wanted to try the new EOTech I had mounted on the AR. He liked it (a lot) and then offered the rifle to the gal they were hosting. Being French, she’d never held *any* firearm before, nevertheless an AR. Popped the ear pro on and she took up the rifle. We walked her through stance, finger control, etc and with the EOTech, she lined up the first shot on AR500 steel and touched off the first round. She brought down the muzzle, had a huge grin and asked, in very petite French-tainted english, if she could fire another. I mentioned that the magazine still had 15 (or so) rounds left and she was welcome to empty it. Another 30 round mag later, she had the biggest grin on her face that I’d ever seen. She mentioned that her grandfather had a rifle and, while she’d had been offered the opportunity to fire it, she’d always said no. Apparently her answer would change upon her return to Marseille.

  6. I’ve taken many shooting who had said we shouldn’t be allowed to own or use guns. Everyone of them had a blast shooting.

    Everyone of them still insisted that although they had fun and that they and I could be trusted with guns, others couldn’t be trusted.

    Classic mindset. Just enjoying guns is not enough to change their belief that others are the problem.

    • Skyler,

      It takes time for people to reject an old paradigm and accept a new one. As frustrating as that can be, it is a good thing — otherwise we would all be waffling back and forth on everything.

      While I have always been very pro-liberty and pro-rights (which includes firearms), it took me about two years of learning and pondering to finally reject the paradigm that government is infallible and we must always obey everything government commands.

      Give your friends time. That gesture of respect is nearly as important as taking them out to shoot. They will most likely come around. And even if they don’t come full circle, they will certainly be much more likely to reject full-retard laws from state and federal legislatures.

      • No single guy invests significant time with a single girl without some small hope that he is going to bed her. Exceptions of coarse for the Gaussian curve endpoints that may involve physical attraction issues or extreme gun loving.

        • Has buddies dating, meeting single girls for lunch, single girls calling him up and asking him out to the range, no mention of a wife…..he’s single.

          I’d wager good money that he’s weighing the the value of his friendship with his buddy versus that voice in his pants. I’m not betting on the buddy.

        • Time to grow up Beavis. Then perhaps you’ll have more success (that last more then 10 seconds).

        • That’s not true, for I have taken a single woman out to the range numerous times with having no interest in bedding her. She just happened to be always willing to go to the range, and had happened to buy a membership to the range I used ( a person could only go once as a guest, and none of my friends had memberships). Now granted over time that changed as I began hanging out with her more and more, and I realized i was starting to fall in love with her, but it definitely did not start off that way.

  7. Let her shoot a saiga or something. Then after she’s had fun with it, swap to a non-import setup. She had so much fun with the “naughty” AK rifle. There’s always a shocker.

  8. Well written. Especially the part about knowing how far to push it with the discussion. Sometimes its best to let the seed get planted and come back later to water it.

    • Yeah he can always re-engage the discussion for some pillow-talk conversation material.

  9. Oh man….This entry is tied with the Vietnam high power entry…


    I applaud your attitude. You handled the situation like you had cheats. Seriously, if I could, your entire night of drinking would be on me.

  10. >>”why Second Amendment advocates are so dedicated to words penned so long ago.”

    Maybe for the same reason that First Amendment advocates are so dedicated to words penned so long ago. No expiration date on rights.

  11. You should win the P320 just for the conversion. Seriously. It may not be the most compelling or best-written entry (though it’s no slouch in those departments, either), but you brought a hardcore anti-gunner over to the good guys, and that should be rewarded. 🙂

    • Actually trading the college buddy in exchange for a potential gun loving wife is a sign of maturity. It’s your job as guy to grow up sooner than later.

      But of coarse you have to first innocently inquire to the buddy if the girl has a crazy problem.

  12. Great story. I am hopefully taking my fairly liberal neighbor for a first-time-shooting trip to the range soon, and this is a great example of how to approach it. My fear has been that I push too hard and wind up with a negative experience. I will most likely be thinking about your story in the back of my mind now when we go. (Lots of others from TTAG too, thanks guys).

    And: Recoil Junkie. I will be stealing that to put on my next T-shirt.

  13. Thank you.

    Hopefully a few people hanging out here, who in a similar situation would call her a “libtard statist” or some such (if they deigned her with their attention at all), will take note.

  14. Perfect! I recently introduced my S/O to the world of firearms. She knew of my interest and didn’t mind it. Despite being a girl from Texas and raised in Georgia, she never once fired a gun…

    I took her to the range on one of my usual jaunts there, and fired both my LE6920 and my Px4 9mm. I left some ammo for her on the pistol side. While I figured the rifle really wouldn’t scare her once she fired it, I opted for the “intro” to be the pistol. The Px4 is very safety-conscious. Some POTG call it a “throwback” with it’s big honking decocker/safety lever, but I don’t mind it. I can draw and unsafe it very smoothly almost as if it were a continuous-duty pistol. Most importantly, the big visible safety made her comfortable. I went over the safety rules and the manual of arms, and let her have at it. The blue man was at 7 yards, and if he were alive, he would have been dead from her shooting.

    Now I have a problem, my ammo budget is going to double!

  15. Very good write up.
    May be I should share my account of acquainting a young lady from a Blue state who had never shot or held a gun in her life. Who wound up with a deep desire to keep my Saiga-12.

  16. This program seems a good rational for acquiring a Mossberg MVP or similar .223 bolt. “did you know this rifle fires the same little bitty .22 caliber round as this black rifle the press hates?”

    From a 22LR directly to the AR is likely not a winning tactical plan for the hard core antigunner. From 22LR to .30cal anything is rather a big step particularly for a woman.

    I agree on the SR22.

  17. And there it is. That’s exactly how we win them over. Trip to the range, ammo and cost on me, safety, patience, kindness, encouragement, positive reinforcement, then a brief discussion on the way home. Honestly, who wouldn’t enjoy a trip to the range? It’s like fireworks; you may not be crazy about them before they go off, but there’s not a chance you’re doing anything else during the show.
    Nice job! And the best thing is, while she may not become a card-carrying NRA member, she’s probably not a MDA donor either. And maybe she’ll take the opposing position in her circle of gun-control friends, possibly converting one or more of them! it’s funny how we always hear and see the conversion, but I’ve never heard or seen the opposite conversion. Even at horrific gun violence events I’ve thought more of the victims being unable to defend themselves versus the evil that lurks across the globe.

  18. Well done!Ive taken a few anti gun women to the range.Always has ended in a load going off near there face.

  19. Bravo.

    Now if only the significant other was this rational, and not emotional, in arguments.

  20. If this story was written with the girl as the narrator it could definately serve as the beginning of a chapter in a romance novel.

  21. Whale done. This is how we make changes, nicely and one person at at time. Yes, there are those 20% that will never change but it’s the 80% that we can influence.

  22. Well done. One of the most fun things I can do at the range is take a newbie with me. Every one of them gets a case of “perma-grin.”

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