Update, 1/23/2012: These posts get a LOT of hits from folks which is really cool. If you have questions or comments please feel free to post them as a comment below and I’ll do what I can to answer quickly.
One other quick note. If you’re interested in handguns for ladies there a couple of video channels that you want to check out. There are many but a couple that are really fun are these two:
Heather does lots of fun videos and a few reviews as well. I mostly like this because she’s from area of the country where I grew up so it’s fun to listen to the accents.
She has a couple of different streams on Youtube that tend to be targeted at men but if you’re a woman and want to see that women really can shoot this girl’s got it going on :
Here’s a great overview video:
Destiny is a little camera shy but she shoots really well and has a LOT of videos about shooting for women that are, essentially, training videos. She also does fun stuff and reviews.
She’s also on Facebook here:
I started my post yesterday with the following disclaimer:
First, I’m not a police officer and never have been. My experience is based on working at a gun range for several years during college, some time in the military and that’s about it. Second, I’m not a professional shooter. I just have guns and know how to use them. The range that I worked at wasn’t a “fly-by-night” operation. This was a professional, state sanctioned public facility. Local Law Enforcement trained and were tested there. The Rangemaster was a well loved and respected member of the small-town society and was regularly invited to comment on topics by the local media. I’ll probably write an entire post about him sometime but that’ll be a tough one. Third, I’m not a lawyer in any state… especially yours. This just reflects the prevailing legislation in a particular state of the union about 15 years ago. Many of the theories still apply but don’t call me to throw your bail.
I haven’t changed history in the last 24 hours so… it still applies.
When teaching the "Handguns for Ladies" course we encouraged people to bring whatever self defense weapon that they had. Part of the course included free instruction and range time. We would take each lady and teach her to shoot whatever she brought. If they didn’t have a gun they were free to borrow one from one of the other class members or use one of the "range guns".
There were always people around the range. It was just a cool place to hang out and we welcomed the company most days. We would often have some burly redneck see the notices for "Handguns for Ladies" classes and say, "Oh man, chicks with guns… I’ll have to remember not to come to the range that day" then they’d all giggle like little girls. The Rangemaster never gave them any slack with this. He’d say, "Joe, there on the wall are the targets from the last class of ladies. If you can match any one of them with that .45 that you carry around I’ll give you an hour free on the range." Joe Redneck would look at the targets for a minute and just shake his head. Sometimes, he would argue that the Rangemaster was pulling a fast one. Sometimes, he would try to win the bet and, honestly, a few of them managed to win out on it but those were rare.
Here’s the news, a woman with a handgun is bloody damned scary. I’ve seen police officers under qualification miss a full sized silhouette target at 3 meters… repeatedly. I’ve also seen women that have never fired any type of gun before fire 3 inch groups at 25 yards with a .38 Special and only 30 minutes of instruction.
I don’t blush when I say that we were good instructors because it’s something that I can prove but these skills went beyond that. Mostly, it came down to primacy. The Ladies, for the most part, had never shot a gun. Any gun. They were nervous to start with and we spent two hours telling them how very dangerous guns are so when we gave them instruction they listened. A male tends to have preconceived notions about how things are done. Even if they try to follow our instructions they would often get it wrong or, more likely, would listen to half of our instruction and then do the rest of it the way they were taught (or learned on their own) originally. The guys would wait impatiently for us to get through and then blast away. The women would listen carefully and ask questions. They would attempt to demonstrate what we were teaching them and ask for feed back. "Am I doing it right? Do I hold it like this… or like this?. Are my feet far enough apart?" They would carefully configure themselves into the stance that we taught and aim carefully. They would squeeze the rounds off just like we instructed and would continue in that way. They could consistently outshoot anyone on the range. I have always been amazed at what good instruction could do. I have been shocked by what someone dedicated to learning something the right way could do. It’s something that I’ve tried to remember and emulate when I’m learning new tasks… I’m not always as successful as they were.
So, laugh at the idea of "chicks with guns" if you like… just ensure that you’re at more than the maximum range of the weapon when you do it. You’ve been warned.