Women and men have different relationships with guns; just as they have a different relationship with, say, shoes.
The differences in firearm relationships between the sexes can be easily seen when it comes to Concealed Handgun License (CHL) classes. Kathy Dietert, Texas CHL Instructor, says she sees men and women coming to her Botox and Bullets classes with very different attitudes.
Boys typically grow up with an exposure to guns, whether in play, video games, TV, or movies. Becoming men, they have a natural tendency to feel a close association with guns. Even if they have never touched a gun, they feel a certain kinship to them…like they SHOULD know how to use one. A person coming to a CHL class with the mentality of “I already know all of this” can be a difficult person to teach.
Women usually arrive at class with an eagerness to learn, and not even pretending to know anything about a gun. Often, they view the gun as a “snake” about to bite them and are reluctant, yet still excited, about even touching the gun.
Read what blogger Rachel Poloski wrote about shooting after going on assignment to experience shooting first hand.
It’s the gun, the outdoors, and testing as well as pushing of your abilities that make shooting so pleasurable.
Everything is intoxicating: the smell, the sound, and the kickback. Every time I fire I feel more confident, powerful, and relaxed.
Hitting a target sends a shiver down my spine making me more focused and assured I am going to hit the next one.
And ladies, when you go shooting with men and hit more targets than they do, there is no feeling like it.
Do you see the difference in how a woman thinks about shooting versus a man? A man couldn’t have written the above description of shooting.
Just that short passage gives an insight into how shooting, and learning about shooting, is much more of a sensory experience for a woman. She notes the smell, the sounds, and even the kick of the gun to be intoxicating.
Shooting makes her, and other women, push and test their abilities in ways they have never thought about trying. They discover a new feeling of confidence and power that can stick with them long after the class and enrich other aspects of their lives. And they like it.
It sends a shiver down her spine by simply hitting a target.
Ever hear of a man describe shooting like that? Probably not. Men have different take-aways, none of which likely include shivers.
While an increasing number of women are being drawn to shooting, both for sport and self-defense, it’s important to be aware of the different mindsets brought to the table by men and women. In a traditionally male dominated field, the firearm industry, including training, is adapting to meet women where they are.
What are some of the things you think instructors could do to make firearm classes and training more appealing and comfortable for women? Your comments are welcome below.