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By Christy S.

There’s a lot being said these days about the dramatic climb in the number of female gun owners in the US.  Women’s shooting groups are popping up everywhere. The internet is full of female-focused gun/training articles, whether it’s for fun, self-defense, or concealed carry.

Local network news is picking up stories about all-female classes or women’s days at the range. It’s also something of interest to most men out there, especially those who have been trying to get their wife or girlfriend interested in the shooting sports without success.

I can imagine some of you doing the V-8 face-palm and exclaiming, “Why can’t I get MY gal out to the range?” While some ladies simply lack any desire whatsoever to get anywhere near a firearm, there are many out there who simply don’t respond because the approach is all wrong. I’m here to help . . .

There are lots of reasons you may want your gal to be gun-ready. Some of them aren’t so valid:

1.  Because I want a new gun and maybe she won’t balk at the expense if she can enjoy shooting it too.
2.  I want her to stop nagging me about how much time and money I spend on my hobby.
3.  I need another person in the house who knows how to clean a gun. I get a little woozy when I smell Hoppe’s No. 9.
4.  I just want to be able to brag about my pistol-packin’ mama.

Some reasons are very valid:

1.  Because there’s a gun in the house and she should know how to handle it safely.
2.  Because I want her to be able to protect herself both inside and outside the home.
3.  Because everyone should know safe gun-handling, regardless of whether they have a gun.
4.  So we can spend some time together at the range/hunting.

Recommendation No. 1:  Go with a valid reason and explain it with sincerity, not pressure. 

We ladies love it when our men care about us and show genuine concern for our well-being. We also want to spend time with you even if it means participating in something we may not have otherwise had an interest in doing. However, if we feel like we are being coerced we tend to react in a very negative way.

If you’re successful with recommendation no. 1 and your lady has decided she’s ready, you’ll need to properly introduce your her to safe firearm handling.

What not to do:

1.  Insist that you are the best there is and that she must learn from you if she wants to get it right.
2.  Sign her up for a basic pistol class without discussing it with her first. Instructors just LOVE the no-shows.
3.  Drag her down to the range and ask your gun-nerd friend to give her a lesson.
4.  Drag her down to the range on the busiest day of the week, stick a 1911 in her hand, and tell her to shoot.

Better options:

1.  Find some helpful videos on the internet for beginners. Be careful in your selection. There are some fantastic videos out there, but there are also some terrible ones.
2.  Suggest that she find a friend who would be interested in learning with her and tell her where to find women’s/beginner courses in your area. If she doesn’t have an interested friend, you can still give her the list of suggested courses or the sites where she can find them.
3.  Suggest that she find a friend and send her to some good female-oriented sites to find local women-only events.
4.  Introduce her to another female shooter you know (preferably one with character and proper handling knowledge) and let them make arrangements to visit the range together.

Recommendation No. 2:  You’re here to help, not to keep giving her the business about what she NEEDS to do. 

Giving her the information she needs to make the decision for herself will allow her to feel empowered in the choices she makes. She may not know where to start. That’s where you come in with the right stuff. Think about it, if you didn’t know how to drive a car, would you want to be taught by your wife or girlfriend?

If you’ve successfully accomplished your goal of getting your significant other to the range and she comes back enthusiastic, by all means, encourage her and help her to remain interested.

How not to keep her interested:

1.  Run to the nearest gun store and buy her the “perfect” carry gun.
2.  Break out the 1911 and tell her that’s her goal ’cause there ain’t nothin’ finer.
3.  Tell her how everything she learned in that class is wrong. “Let me show you something!”
4.  Talk about guns 24/7, ’cause now she’s finally interested enough to listen.

How to be encouraging:

1.  Listen as she explains what excited her or what she found scary. Offer advice only when asked.
2.  Take her to a range that rents pistols so she can try them all (if so desired) until she finds the one that’s right for her.
3.  Reinforce good behavior at the range. Fill her in on range etiquette or safe gun handling she may not have picked up in that class/outing.
4.  Encourage her to take more classes.

Recommendation No. 3 (it’s a twofer):  A.  Give your lady some credit. 

Shooters don’t all have the same brain cells, hand shape/size, or coordination. The learning curve varies from person to person.

There’s a good chance that if you’ve been shooting since you were knee-high to a grasshopper you have forgotten how long it actually took you to “get it.”  Don’t assume that your sweetheart will instantly become expert marksman.

B.  Provide support and help with research, but don’t choose a firearm for her. 

No matter how much knowledge and experience you may have, you don’t know what’s best for her. It’s important to allow her to select her own firearm.

Handguns are a VERY personal thing. It’s why you and that GLOCK guy are always having the same debate. A carry gun is going to have more recoil than a full-sized handgun and will NOT be as pleasant to shoot. It’s not the gun for a beginner. Besides, she just started shooting and she’s not ready to carry yet. Give her the information (not the spiel) and let her make the decision.

So there you have it. I speak from personal experience as both a woman whose introduction to shooting is still fresh enough to remember the process (the Ruger LCR with +P ammo does not make for a good first outing) and as a firearms instructor (fellas, your wives get frustrated when you “teach” them).

A little encouragement/support goes a long way. Women have a keen sense of what you’re up to. If you mean well and you are supportive without being pushy, we will respond.

Good luck, fellas!

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  1. my friends and I have a rule: don’t teach your own wife to shoot. Encourage them to become shooters, but when it is time to go learn, have someone else teach them.

  2. I’ve introduced a few women to shooting, and the advice in the article generally rings true. Being respectful of the other person’s interest level, ability, and time are pretty key.

    I do note, though, that this was a pretty long list that sort of made it seem like 1) men are innately not going to be good or respectful teachers of women, and 2) women need a lot of very special consideration as students. I don’t agree on either count.

  3. Not spend time on our hobby? There’s a reason to have a man-cave or hobby, it’s to GET AWAY FROM THEM! You have to. Good grief, I listened to the lady next door and her endless talking about NOTHING to her husband. I don’t know how a guy could listen to their wives endless talking about the most uninteresting stuff imaginabl . They’ll talk about a figurine someone at the office got as a birthday present bought off QVC and go on an on and on about it. I’ve told my lady friend across the street my observation. She laughs listening to me rage about it and says it’s a women thing.
    All I can say is I’m glad it’s just me and my dogs because I couldn’t do it. How a woman could even think their husbands give a flying bat turd about the stuff they drag on about is beyond me.
    I’d be like….here honey, here’s a new gun. Let’s go shoot. We can take your Yugo to the range. Shut up and be happy now.

    • My wife natters on, but, as stated, it’s a woman thing. Studies have shown that the average woman speaks several thousand more words per day than the average man. Having said that, I remind myself that if something happened to her I would give anything to have her nattering on. I love her.

      • Listening patiently to one’s lady is a deep sign of love and respect. I look for ways daily to make life a little easier for my lady and listening to her is one of the easiest things I do. Listening only cost me time. Shopping, well that’s another matter altogether.

  4. All well and good if we are talking about a woman who has a significant other. I agree with this article. Now lets cover the other areas, like the single, newly single, abused, and retired women and widows…. who don’t have that encouragement from a personal “other”, or even a relative that’s not anti-gun. And if your family is overwhelmingly anti-gun, how do you make your desire to own a gun known, without them thinking you’re nuts and putting you under the red flag? When they just want to not only talk you out of it but talk you down on it (What’s gotten into you grandma? Are you depressed? Have you been taking your meds? etc.) or worse yet, the threat: “I will never bring your grandkids over to visit again, now that I know you have a GUN in the house! I’m ashamed of you! What would grandpa have said about this? Maybe you should talk to the church pastor first!” Yikes, that’s a lot of noise to cut through.

    • Semi-fictional musing for the day 😉

      Just wish we had a functional edit feature so I don’t look semi-illiterate.

    • Marcia: If I were a woman contemplating purchasing my first firearms I simply wouldn’t tell others: it’s none
      of their business, period! As far as their anti-gun rants and rage goes consider “Raging Against Self Defense”
      via What certain people don’t know, is not going to hurt them. But the self righteous anti-gun deceitful condescending ignorance they project upon you, can not only hurt you, but likewise demoralize
      you and turn you into an unarmed victim!

      James A. Farmer
      Merrill, Oregon

  5. Most of the girls in my TWAW group have husband/boyfriends that introduced them to shooting. My husband isn’t much interested in the sport. He’ll go with me if I ask. I didn’t grow up shooting. First experience was a Pheasants Forever women/youth beginner shoot. Loved it. (Who wouldn’t like to break dishes with a gun?? ) Found an ad for TWAW group at a local range. I’d recommend any newbie to start there. All the leaders are certified instructors, (and we get a discount at the range).


    Naturally as a citizen, voter, Second Amendment activist, Bircher, constitutionalist, etc. I am always
    encouraged to see women get involved in firearms, shooting, gun safety, and the security and protection
    such provides which is not only not available from the state, but likewise is detached from government. The
    above link is to Paxton Quigley’s 2010 revised book: “Armed And Female: Taking Control. Too, bear in
    mind “Dial 911 and Die: The Shocking Truth About The Police Protection Myth” by Richard Stevens. This
    is available from JPFO, Inc. at JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights Organization.”
    Dial 911 and Die addresses the myths of police protection, the fallacies of restraining orders, and much more. Also, The John Birch Society in Appleton, Wisconsin at and, respectively. The JBS is non-NRA affiliated. This is not to criticize the NRA. No. The NRA deserves the
    moral high ground on teaching hunter’s safety, firearms education, and yes…..even women’s safety. But
    unlike the NRA the JBS delves considerably deeper into the proper role of government, the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment and much more. The Constitution Party of Oregon at has posted it’s forum on “Self Defense.” It’s well worth the reading.
    To those women who do choose to purchase their first firearm, I say “good shooting.” You have my moral

    James A. Farmer
    Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)
    Long live the State of Jefferson

    The Bible states: “A wise man (or woman) will hear and increase learning, and a man (or woman) will
    attain wise counsel.” ——Proverbs 1:5

  7. They should cater specifically to women shooters, the training has to be more relatable rather than strict. too much testosterone turns women off. Get some women instructors.

    • “Get some women instructors.”

      Consider becoming a female instructor, Kiki… 🙂

    • “Relatable rather than strict” what does that even mean? I’ve successfully taught both men and women to shoot (as a private citizen who genuinely enjoys teaching about guns rather than a paid instructor) and I have very rarely felt the need to tailor the way I teach to one sex to the other. And I AM strict about the 4 rules, very much so. I have no patience for anyone who has a cavalier attitude toward firearm safety

  8. I had been asking my wife to go to the range for quite some time. She had no interest. She wanted to go to an event 60 miles away; an event in which I have no interest. I took her. She said “Well, you took me, so I guess I’ll go to the range with you.” We went and she loved it. We bought her a G42 which she shot very well. Week after week she outshot me. The RO was an NRA instructor and did all of her training (helped me too!)

    I surprised her with a Browning 1911 380. It is absolutely perfect for her. Compared to a full-size 1911 it’s cute. Very, very nice gun. Now she outshoots me worse than before!

    It’s something we enjoy doing together.

    • OldDad brings up a really good point: if your wife (or I suppose even a sister, daughter, or mom) is not motivated enough to go to a shooting range or training for the first time, offer to accompany her to something that isn’t at all exciting to you — promising to make a genuine effort to enjoy it — in exchange for her going to the range and making a genuine effort to enjoy it.

  9. After reading this article I guess I should really count my blessings. My wife likes guns, likes to go to the range, carries wherever she goes, and doesn’t give me stress when I insist I really need whatever gun I have my eyes on at the moment. A true gem.

  10. I let my wife select her first firearm. Se proved herself a trigger snob from the word go. She ‘settled’ for a Kimber K-6.
    Sweet little revolver with a pretty damn good trigger out of the box.
    She shoots very well with it.
    I had to pay for it, out of MY gun fund.

  11. There must be something odd in my wife’s genetics. I taught her to shoot, have taken her to shoot with many different guns through the years, and we always have a good time. Started years ago with a Smith and Wesson Model 10. Yes, I chose it – she knew next to nothing about guns. Lately, I bought her a gun, a Sig P365. She loves it and even shoots it very well. We have gone to the range and she fired a Sig P320 for several hours. We shot a Walther, a $3000 Wilson Combat 9mm, other things. I also taught my wife how to drive, as is a LONG tradition going back almost a hundred years with my grandfather and others. Used to be a lot of women got married really young and MANY of their husbands taught them to drive. I find this whole “TIP-TOE AROUND THE WOMEN” trend in our day really disturbing. “Don’t try to encourage her, don’t have too much testosterone, it alarms women.” Yeah, some women. Others can hang right in there and have a great time no matter what. I wish we weren’t encouraging so much fragility in women now. Imagine if you applied all this advice to a man up above. Everyone would think he was complete mush. Luckily many women do not need coddled to make it through learning something. I also taught three daughters, by the way, one of whom recently won top shot at wildlife camp.

  12. Nothing is wrong with picking up a .22 handgun to get her used to what shooting is about. Let her know that it has little stopping power, but it is a great training piece. After she ids comfortable with that, let her try something you have or rent a more appropriate one for her to try.
    Until she knows what to expect, she will never be able to make a good choice.

  13. After being with me for some 32 years I don’t push my honey to go shooting. She’s one in a billion. She likes guns but isn’t particularly worried about using one in a defense situation(she taught self-defense to women years ago). I’m OK with that. The local range has “date night” so I’ll have to do THAT😏

  14. It really comes down to a few basic rules:

    1- Don’t pressure them into shooting. Wait until they ask you – several times, preferrably – to take them to the range.

    2 – Let them set the pace.

    3 – Don’t get all pissy if they say it’s not their thing and they want to give it up.

    Actually, it’s not just women. I’ve found these rules work pretty well with any new shooter.

  15. I taught my wife to drive a manual transmission in about 2 hours. She then drove the car across town in a one hour drive in heavy traffic without an issue (we were picking up a car across town and needed to get 2 cars with manuals home). I tried to help her in the gym when it came to lifting weights….that did not go so well, we no longer train together. I decided when she wanted to improve her shooting skills that I was not going to “teach” and put her in touch with a local instructor who worked mostly with women, and had very commonly seen the boyfriend/husband “instructor” sour women on shooting at all. Some partners can actually teach and do it well, but in general it is best if it is a third party who is not so connected…for some reason my wife takes any criticism from me VERY strongly compared to someone else. Imagine that.

  16. This article goes for any new shooter, regardless of sex. Not sure why it’s targeted at women. I’d like to see more female shooters because:

    1. Females are humans, and the more humans that believe in the RKBA, the better.

    2. Although it doesn’t matter to me how many X chromosomes you have, it matters to the screeching, foaming-at-the-mouth gun grabbers. The more female shooters they see, the more marginalized they’ll become by their oxygen-deprived arguments about how women should just let rapists do their thing instead of blowing their heads off.

  17. Not sure why everyone likes to go to the “range” with new shooters. I personally hate indoor shooting ranges and don’t particularly care for outdoor ones either. I’m fortunate enough to have legal shooting areas about a half hour away. If you want to get someone jacked about shooting, take them out in the wilderness and do some plinking. Same safety rules need to be followed, but it’s just a much more relaxed experience.

    • One of the better bits of advice I’ve seen on here in a while. We all used to learn to shoot out back of the house. Totally different feel. Very good point.

  18. I taught my grown daughter to shoot after she asked me many questions about firearms. I drilled into her the 4 safety rules and would ask her to recite them on occasion. She would smile and humor me with the correct recitation. Then it was dry fire practice with pistols, revolvers and long guns. Next we both took a NRA gun safety course together along with the First Steps course. Took her to several gun stores after telling her what to expect and how to receive a firearm that was handed to her–see safety rule number 1. Then we went to several ranges both indoor and outdoor. She was a big hit with all the RSO’s and old guys who really enjoyed talking to her about which firearms she liked. At the clays station once, the RSO loaned her his 20 gauge so she could see the difference in recoil from her 12 gauge.

    Fast forward to today and she is a deer hunter (loves her 30-30) who likes the Mossberg 500 for HD and prefers the Sig P-226 Navy for the nightstand. Everyday carry includes Colt Detective special .38 and speed loader. I recommend no one try to enter her home uninvited.

    Anyhow, she loves shooting and knows how to handle a variety of firearms. Including field strip and cleaning.

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