A rapidly growing number of American women are learning how to shoot and getting their concealed carry permit. Being intimidated by the sounds and recoil of handguns is still deterring far too many potential female shooters from taking the final steps necessary to embark upon firearms training.
I was once one of the ladies who allowed my natural, yet unfounded fears of gun-handling to impact my personal safety – and the safety of our children and grandchildren. That was two years ago, today, I can out-shoot my husband with any handgun we own and thoroughly enjoy shooting my very own AR-15 semi-automatic rifle!
Many women who have expressed an interest, or who are being urged, to learn how to shoot, receive their first handgun from their spouse or boyfriend. While there are exceptions to the rule, of course, this loving and costly purchase often enhances instead of decreases, the anxiety the newbie female shooter has about firing a gun.
A gun is a lethal weapon, so when a woman who has never held or fired a pistol before is handed something Clint Eastwood would drool over, the very first training session will not go well. She will likely walk away in frustration, fear, or a combination of both.
My husband bought me very nice .380 caliber handgun. It sat in the safe except for when he shot it for an entire year. I fired it one time and hated it. At the time, the recoil startled me and felt like something I could not control. The second problem with the gun was the short grip. It added to the sensation that I was not in control, but the weapon which I thought was going to pop right out of my hand, was.
When I was handed a .22 caliber handgun with a substantial grip, not some mini-grip designed to fit perfectly into even a small purse, I quickly began to love shooting. The sounds and recoil generated when I fired the gun did not make me the slightest uncomfortable.
I learned how to accurately shoot with the little .22, how to take it apart (with my eyes shut, eventually) and to clean it properly. All of these steps should be taught to a new female shooter – slowly and with patience. The gun was a cheap one, and old, so it did jam and hang-fire – which ended up being a good thing.
Had that not happened while I was training for my concealed carry course, I would have had no idea of how to clear the jam safely. No woman wants to become “the girl” in the concealed carry training course.
The brand of the .22 caliber handgun is not going to matter to the newbie shooter, it just needs to be dependable – she will be moving up to a larger caliber soon! I never did come to like the nice .380 caliber handgun, but that was just a comfort issue with the tiny grip; but oh, how I do love my .40 Ruger. It feels just an extension of my hand, exactly like the .22 caliber handgun I first summoned up my bravery to fire.
I used that cheap old .22 caliber handgun to introduce shooting to more than a dozen other young and middle-age women who never envisioned themselves being able to hold and fire a weapon – but felt compelled to learn to protect themselves and their beloved children and grandchildren.
I am proud to say each of the gun-toting ladies ultimately passed their concealed carry test the first time and with an excellent score. Although not essential, it often creates a more open and acceptable environment if newbie women shooters are either taught by another female or learn to shoot together with a friend. Becoming comfortable with holding a weapon it crucial to the continuation of training, being able to focus on learning the proper stance, and not being intimidated about asking as many questions as needed to fully understand all the new information being thrust upon them.
Women who are encouraged to learn to shoot and given a weapon designed with a complete beginner in mind, will excel and never, ever, become a willing victim when faced with a threat. The more citizens who are trained, armed, and exercising their Second Amendment rights, the safer the country is for everyone.