Many people have particular views on shooting guns that are part of their upbringing. If your wife, girlfriend, mom, sister, daughter or gal pal wasn’t raised using firearms, find out where on the spectrum of firearms interest she is. Once you know that, you’ll be able to tailor your approach approach to firearms and range time accordingly. Here are a few ideas for ways to get the women that you care about out on the range with you.
Ride or Die
If the woman in your life is all in for the shooting range, find out what and why she wants to shoot. Find a firearm suited to her. Supply eye and ear protection that fits her properly. Identify a range that’s welcoming. Determine a time and day of the week when that range isn’t busy, so you are not rushed or shouting over others shooting trying to give instruction. Take some time before you go to the range to go over firearm safety and run her through the basics of what she will do at the range, how to handle the gun and what range commands she needs to know.
Curious But Cautious
If the woman in your life is curious but cautious, take things a little slower. Maybe she didn’t grow up shooting, or maybe it’s your daughter, and she’s just now old enough to take to the range. Do not overwhelm her. Try to share your love for firearms and shooting in digestible servings. Make it fun, informative and empowering. Explain that you admire her for being strong and competent and you think she will be great at this! Maybe take her shopping. If she’s only seen hunting guns or self-defense firearms, she might not realize you can just have fun with firearms too! Perhaps she’s never experienced a .22 and shooting soda cans or the satisfaction of shooting a steel target hundreds of yards away. There are so many avenues for enjoying time on the range that it’s really only your imagination that limits you.
Tolerates It, but Not a Fan
If the woman in your life views firearms and range days as something you do, while she considers other things her pastime, that’s a bigger challenge. Consider inviting her to come with you for something really enjoyable—like a round of sporting clays at one of the many clubs that offer amenities such as refeshments and golf carts that you drive from station to station. Offer to take a class together. Suggest building a new AR together and let her pick out all the pieces and colors. Share the unique things about range time and firearm ownership that so many of us gun owners really enjoy.
Not a Gun Girl
If the woman in your life is adamantly not into firearms, it’s best to just slowly chip away at the perceptions that have shaped her thinking. Being confrontational or disregarding her thoughts won’t help. Strive to understand, but ask her to be understanding as well. Sharing stories of other women who have changed their minds on firearms is one way to impart that we can be open to new ideas. If her concerns are safety-based, take time to go over safety precautions and do what you can to satisfy her concerns. If she had an experience that influenced her position against firearms, like someone forcing her to try shooting without proper instruction, do what you can to help her see that it wasn’t fair to her, or the guns. If you find yourself in a place where you butt heads, focus on facts and data; don’t turn it into a personal point of contention. Inviting her to the range with other women, maybe even without you, might be the place to start. Female-led gun safety or training events could possibly be a better setting for her to do some investigating on her own.
Make It Easy
Make going to the range easy for her first time. Fill her mags; clean her guns; set up a babysitter for the kids; just don’t make it stressful. Find ways to share what you enjoy about firearms. Maybe that means taking her pheasant hunting, going to a class or setting up a rifle and targets and leaving her alone to plink while you zero a rifle. Some of my most enjoyable times on the range have been completely by myself. Working with firearms is very empowering. It’s like gardening for me … but I’m cultivating accuracy instead of vegetables.