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How to introduce the woman in your life to shooting

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Alright guys, this one is for you. Have you ever wanted to share your interest in firearms with a woman in your life? Whether it is to welcome them into the hobby of shooting or because you want them to be more proficient with a firearm to defend themselves, it is great to want to introduce new people to the discipline of shooting.

Let me start by telling you exactly how NOT to do it. I know this because I have had numerous female students who have described how a man in their life introduced them to firearms and now they are looking for training specifically because of how badly that initial introduction went.

Here's how to make sure the woman in your life whom you would like to become interested in your hobby ends up never wanting to shoot again.

Start at an indoor range. Indoor ranges are nice and loud and claustrophobic and you will have people shooting right next to you. Make sure to skip over any kind of safety briefing and say something like "All you have to do is point and shoot". Make sure to give her only a few shots worth of practice before you give her the biggest gun in your collection, preferably a revolver designed to kill a moose in a single shot. Laugh when she hates the recoil and turns around, accidentally pointing the gun at you. Make sure you yell at her even though you never explained not to do that. Done! Now she will probably never want to go shooting again. If that was your goal you can stop reading but if you'd like to make a positive introduction I'll fill you in.

This is not the feeling you should be aiming for

Start before you get to the range, preferably an outdoor range or at least somewhere outside where you can safely shoot. Explain the 4 fundamental safety rules before arriving so your new shooter isn't distracted by everything else.

1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded (or as I like to say, always know the condition (loaded or unloaded) of any firearm you handle)

2. Don't point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot

4. Be aware of your target's foreground, background, and surroundings

On top of this make sure you have both eye and ear protection for your new shooter. Getting a piece of brass in the eye or being deafened will not make a good impression. You can double up ear plugs with ear muffs for additional protection.

Make it clear what to do in the event of a malfunction, a dropped gun, or getting a piece of brass down your shirt. I usually explain the following -

If the gun doesn't work just keep it pointed down range until you get help

If you drop the gun for whatever reason do not try and catch it

If a piece of brass goes down your shirt or a bee lands on you or whatever else, keep that muzzle pointed down-range

Once all the safety stuff is covered go through how to load and unload which ever firearm you are using. I would strongly suggest starting with something like a .22 pistol. The reduced recoil and noise make it much easier for new shooters to learn. One quick tip, don't start new shooters with tiny, sub-compact pistols. It might seem a bit counter-intuitive but do not give small people small guns. Most women can comfortably shoot a full-size or compact handgun like a Glock 19. Starting a new shooter with a pocket pistol like a Glock 43, Sig P365, or Ruger LCP will not do them any favors. Remember, they are all shooting the same bullet so all you are getting is more noise, more recoil, a shorter sight radius, and more cramped controls.

Taurus TX-22 pistol

This Taurus TX-22 makes a perfect first gun for new shooters to try. This is what I have my students start with.

SIG P365 Pistol

The Sig P365 makes a great concealed carry gun but it will have more recoil and be harder to aim than a larger-framed handgun.

Don't assume your new shooter knows how guns are supposed to work or how to shoot them. For many people, the only exposure they have had to firearms is watching on TV or in the movies and shockingly that does not properly prepare you for actually shooting safely and proficiently.

Pull that trigger!

This would be an excellent example of terrible form.

Start with only 1 round in the chamber and an empty magazine. This way if your new shooter drops the gun or tries to turn around to tell you how awesome it was it will at least be unloaded. With pistols make sure to have the shooter keep the web of their hand away from the slide to avoid slide bite and with rifles or shotguns make sure they keep the stock firmly in their shoulder and don't get their face too close to any optics to avoid getting dinged in the eye with a scope.

If that first shot goes well, load up and keep going! Remember to be patient and don't assume your new shooter knows anything you haven't covered.

Your buddies might enjoy shooting the biggest gun in your collection and showing off their sweet bruise but women tend not to be nearly as impressed. Starting someone off with a .44 mag gives the impression that all guns are like that and not super pleasant to shoot. Work your way up to larger calibers and at least explain what you are having them shoot before you give them some hand cannon.

Raging Hunter 460

Not a great first gun for beginners...

Hopefully these tips will help ensure your first introduction to firearms with the woman in your life goes well, makes a positive impression, and adds a new fan to the world of firearms!

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