The cause of self defense is a generally accepted reason for women to learn to shoot. That goal has and continues to introduce many women into the firearms industry. However, as a female firearms enthusiast, I have some additional motivators that get me to the range. In the interest of encouraging more women to consider the shooting sports, I’d like to talk a little bit about why I shoot, and I’d also like to dispel a few common misconceptions about women and guns.
As a concealed carry permit holder, learning to operate my firearm confidently in the event of a self defense situation is definitely significant to me. For this reason, I think it’s important for women to get professional training to learn and improve skills such as, drawing from a holster, maintaining situational awareness, and shooting in self defense scenarios. However, shooting doesn’t just have to be about protecting one’s self.
One of the things I love most about shooting is the sense of empowerment. That isn’t to say that I have delusions of invincibility when carrying or operating a firearm. Instead, I refer to the experience of focusing intently on what I’m doing while I shoot. When I’m at the range, I feel as though I enter a sort of “bubble” of concentration. The better my focus is, the better I shoot, and that is rewarding.
Another element I appreciate about shooting is that it is a precision sport. Each target is a record of range performance. With improvement, the shot grouping gets tighter, and the rounds land closer to the bullseye. I enjoy the feeling of achievement that is associated with learning a new skill and improving upon it.
One of the most important things about shooting is that, for us, it is a family pastime. Instead of watching television together, we spend quality time at the range. Shooting becomes a bonding experience for the whole family. When my sister runs up to me to show me her target, “Destinee, look what I did!” I can’t help but to be excited for her. And, when we go shooting, that’s time I get to spend with her doing something we both enjoy. I always look forward to it.
The more I shoot, the more I encounter reoccurring misconceptions about females with regard to shooting. Here are a few that I’ve found to be the most common.
The first misconception I’d like to address is the idea that females do not have the same physical capabilities to shoot as well as men. One of the elements I enjoy about the shooting sports over many others is how it is a great “equalizer.” I’ve seen men who shoot extremely well. Take, for example, 22plinkster. Watching him pull trick shots, like shooting behind him with a mirror, Annie Oakley style, is nothing short of astounding. But I’ve also seen men who don’t shoot well at all. Gender has nothing to do with it.
Another misconception I find frequently is the concept that women can’t handle shooting larger calibers as well as males. That simply isn’t true.
Just because a big bulky guy is shooting a .45 doesn’t mean he’s going to manage it well. Ironically, I’ve developed a personal preference for .45 ACP over the much smaller .22LR because I shoot the larger round so much better.
A third misconception I’ve encountered is that shooting is only for self defense. While I feel that training and learning to handle one’s self in a self defense situation is important. However, I think many women who haven’t had a lot of exposure to the shooting sports would be surprised at how great it is to shoot just for the fun of it.
Ladies, as long as you train and practice and go out shooting, you’ll become as proficient, if not more so, than any guy who may have wanted to take you to the range. And, better yet, you’ll have fun!
Photo by Graham Baates Grand Power Stribog held by Model Rachelle