Introducing your reluctant wife to shooting and self protection

Woman Shooter

Screen shot from Baton Rouge NBC33′s story “More Women Own Guns”

Most GC 2.0 men want to ensure that their families are protected and get frustrated when their wives, won’t permit a gun in the house, won’t touch one and say they’re scared of them. So they do the worst thing possible. They press the issue and force her to fire a gun, they decided to teach her themselves and they pick the smallest, lightest man-stopper they can find.

If by chance they get their wife to “ok” their hobby, they get frustrated because she limits the firearms they can purchase and the time available for them to go to the range. The key is to make it a family activity, which can eliminate all three of these complaints and gain an activity the whole family can enjoy. (I’m not there yet in my own home)

Unfortunately, husbands aren’t necessarily the best people to make this argument themselves, as evidenced by A Girl and Her Gun‘s post on Saturday (Went to a party).

If you find yourself in this position there are a number of resources that you can use to help your loved one down this path.

1) Honest discussion about your feelings. It likely won’t change her mind, but it will open the lines of communication and explain why it is important to you. Our wives love us and understanding that it is important to us will open their mind to it. The key is to only express your feelings and leave an open invitation to accompany you to the range or to go with one of her friends. This isn’t low pressure, it is NO PRESSURE, she has to come to it on her own.

2) Books. Kathy Jackson’s book the Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry is a 377 page book that explains many of the important aspects of concealed carry. She starts by answering why you might choose to carry a gun and addresses the moral justification of a Christian’s carrying a gun. She then progresses through the social, legal and safety concerns new shooters that have never been exposed to the gun culture, before ever discussing how to shoot or concealed carry. By giving them Kathy’s book you can let them digest it at their own pace and maintain the no pressure tactics.

3) Her friends and peers. Any beliefs that are held strongly can become part of a person’s identity (religion, political views, guns) and changing that identity can be very difficult. Exposure to the idea will begin to normalize it and discussing it with friends that are even “accepting” of the idea will help your significant other move away from that identity.

4) Woman friendly trainers and ranges. Once your wife has decided for herself that she wants to fire a gun (notice I didn’t say carry). Take her somewhere that she can learn about women’s only classes and learn to shoot in a male free environment. We have good intentions but can stifle questions and cause her to be self-conscious. At the very least you should not do the instruction.

Oddly if you want her to be able to protect herself with a firearm When the Balloon Goes Up! one of the last things you should do is to hand her a gun. The key is to let her come to the acceptance herself, because if you force it she will dig in her heals and become resentful.


  1. says

    Good thoughts… and as a long-time instructor… I recommend starting them with a .22… many new shooters – including women – have been introduced to shooting by firing their first shot with one of our .22 pistols or rifles…

    My gals and I also highly recommend the Cornered Cat… great book…

    Dann in Ohio

  2. says

    I agree on all points.

    I even have two BB guns to use for those REALLY reluctant to touch guns. Don't start at the range. Start at home where things are really comfortable. Practice holding the gun and moving it around without sweeping anyone or touching the trigger.

    I use a plastic BB spring gun made just like a Walther P22. I can fire the plastic BBs into a box inside the house. Then I use an airsoft Walther P99 outside. This seems to take the step to "real" without the danger. It is EASY then to go to the range with some gun comfort already in place and shoot the real P22. All three of these guns, from plastic BB on up all look/feel the same.

    Other people are comfortable enough to start them on a .22 right off. The Ruger MkIII bull barrel has such light recoil that it is a great gun to start with.

    Women are easier to teach than men.

  3. says

    It's good advice for the husband to back off completely. I notice in my classes for the NRA Basic Pistol, husbands usually need to be reminded to not "teach" their wives. Humor helps here, and a bit of ribbing to get the husbands to back off usually works.

    What works well for me is to bring a whole array of handguns the women to can touch, handle, grip and dry-fire. It lets them get past the initial nervousness and begin to get an idea of what kind of handgun would work for them. This past weekend's class included a 1911, Glocks 36 and 17, LC9, Tarus .38 special, Cimmeron SA .45 , an Airsoft M&P; .40 and 4ea. of the Ruger .22/.45 which I use for their range gun. And lots of loading, unloading and dry fire work helps them get ready for the range and their qualification targets.

    Throughout the day it's fairly easy to take both uncomfortable women AND men from the nervous tremors to a solid qualification target. But, you have to have them "walk with" you through the course, not drag them kicking and screaming. In fact, this past May I actually had a young woman excuse herself from the course because of her discomfort with handguns. She simply asked to be able to return at a later date – she has not, but the door is still open.

    I think the bottom line for me, from what I have seen, and what 40 years of marriage has taught me, is that hubbies should NOT teach their wives . . . in ANYTHING!!! :) It's much better for the relationship that way.

    Great blog BTW, it's now part of my "daily read". Thanks for your efforts.

  4. says

    I agree with wkeller's advice. Oddly, though, I taught my wife. I'd like to think I'm an exceptional husband, but really she is a phenomenal wife. We work well together.

  5. says

    I've taught a fair number of FIRST Steps classes, and on average the classes are about 2/3 women. I've found that when couples show up it's best to split them up. What usually works is men on one side of the classroom, women on the other; that also seems to improve the camaraderie among the women, as their natural inclination to communicate helps each other overcome their trepidation.

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