The Jerks That Erk Me
January 15th, 2013

Original title for this article was “Take a class, any class”, and I was going to talk about tactical training and specific classes for home defense, but over the past weekend I witnessed a few things that once again reminded me about the importance of proper training.

Taking the time to explain the stance

Taking the time to explain the stance

As I was teaching my friend’s wife about the basics of using a pistol, stance, grips, and so on, there were several guys there who brought their wives or girlfriends to the range, and since I am a vocal advocate for involving more women into the shooting sport and just teaching more women about proper use of firearms for self defense, I was paying close attention to the couples at the range. So, a few things I wanted to point out:

Treat every female with the respect and dignity they deserve.
There is absolutely no need to yell at your significant other for not standing in perfect Iso, or not holding the firearm properly, or a multitude of other little things that most beginner shooters do wrong. She’s not doing it to piss you off, she just doesn’t know (yet) how to do it, and it is your job (you volunteered, jackass) to explain things to her. To explain things calmly, and in a professional manner, to a beginner who is scared shitless by guns being fired right next to her. Take the time and don’t yell.

Don’t stick your fingers into the face of your significant other.
Also, don’t grab that pistol out of her hands when her finger is on the trigger, don’t hit her elbows, and don’t smack her butt. She needs to figure out the stance and get comfortable with it. A good shooting stance takes time to develop. Iso is fantastic, and I prefer to teach it to my students, but it’s not comfortable for everyone, and definitely not at the beginning. You could probably try teaching her a modified Weaver… what, both of those terms are confusing? Right, read on.

Really think about leaving it up to the professionals to do it right.
Remember that commercial on TV about not having your doctor do your job, and you not doing his? It seems so easy to just explain things and get everything going… Professional teachers, even after many years, still write lesson plans and prepare for each class, and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you didn’t. You just walked in and started being a jackass that is likely to discourage that woman from ever being interested in shooting sports, or even considering owning a firearm for self defense. Good job, bucko!

It warms my heart to see a potential new shooter coming to the range, and it upsets me beyond belief when she gets so discouraged by improper training that she’ll be lost to the sport forever.

Most shooting ranges offer classes both for groups and individuals, and those classes don’t cost much at all. A properly taught class, however, especially the first ever introduction to firearms, is likely to make or brake the shooter.

If a teacher calmly, and in a professional manner, quickly explains and shows what needs to be done and how, and then spends the time with the trainee to perfect the task – it will be an enormous benefit. Once she is comfortable with the firearm and has the fundamentals down – it will all come from there, she just needs the range time.

So, a few things:

1. Do try to involve your wives, girlfriends, and just friends into the community.

2. Do try to explain things in a professional manner.

3. Do be supportive and encouraging, instead of negative and obnoxious.

And to my fellow instructors: “show, do, explain” works much better than slow death by paper cuts that is the classroom time.

Show, do, tell

Show, do, tell. Pink t-shirt is from

Stay safe and enjoy shooting!

  1. G-Man

    Patience and respect go a long way when handling a newcomer.

    • G-man,

      I couldn’t agree more!


  2. Doug

    Nice article, thanks!

    I am teaching a friend and glad to know I am not one of these jackasses. I love to show people new things and I have a lot of patience and a calm demeanor so it helps. I learn from teaching others and it is a great feeling knowing someone is walking away with the knowlege to be safe and be able to protect themselves if needed.


    • Hi Doug,

      I’m gald you are taking the time to do it right! Keep up the good work!

  3. Micah Rickman

    One of my personal pet peeves is a guy who takes his wife/gf out shooting for the first time and hands her the biggest gun in his collection. This guy wants to have a laugh at her expense when the gun scares the crap out of her, or hurts her or knocks her on her butt. This is the same jackwagon that wonders why his wife/gf doesn’t want anything to do with shooting and pitches a fit when he wants to buy a new gun.
    My wife came from a pacifist, vegetarian family. She had never handled a gun let alone fired one. I invited her to come along with me each and every time I went shooting, but never pushed her to do so. She came to me one day and told me that she was ready to learn to shoot. The first gun that I put in her hands was a Ruger 10/22. No recoil and very little noise. I worked her up in caliber that day till the last gun she shot was a .44 magnum. The look of joy on her face when she pulled the trigger on that gun was incredible. My wife enjoys shooting and has a list of guns that she wants that is longer than mine.
    Guys, if you want your lady to enjoy shooting as much as you do, don’t be a jack wagon. Involve her gently into this great sport and you will not be disappointed. Try to have a laugh at her expense or scare her and good luck ever getting a new gun…..ever.

    • Oh, Micah, you struck so many cords with your reply… I’m glad you know what you are doing, and can help others :)

      Your wife is a lucky woman :)

  4. Ian

    Very nice article. I have seen more often than I like, beginners teaching other beginners and things getting very confused.

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you :) Yes, beginners teaching beginners gets very confusing very fast… and then we have to work on changing those bad habits :(

  5. Matt

    As a military and civilian instructor, I can’t stand when preconceived notions get in the way of a new shooter. I can’t stand when a women comes into the store that I work at and another sales guy tells a women she only can handle a revolver or something dumb like that. It makes me sick and then laugh when they show them the .45 they carry. I wish we could get rid of the the good ‘ole boy mentality that stains the gun industry.

    • Matt,

      Thank you for being on our side in this. It bugs me too that guys want women to have pistols that they wouldn’t consider carrying themselves.

  6. gordon beadle

    I’m going to teach a friend gun safety and using the pistol for personal protection. Your instruction is most appreciated. Thank You…

    • Gordon,

      Glad i could be of assistance :)

  7. Karen Kochheiser

    Well written! I have just begun teaching women only as an NRA Instructor and I have a lot of men who think it is a much better idea to pay for their wives, girlfriend or significant other take a class or private instruction. Women are better shooters, they take instruction and guidance with a much more open mind. The last thing we want, as instructors, is for new shooters to pick up bad habits. Thank you again for your well written blog. I enjoyed reading it and will share in my classes or instruction. Thank you.

    • Hi Karen,

      Glad to meet a fellow instructor, and thank you for your kind words :)

      I’m also glad that men in your area consider it a good investment to have their significant others taught professionally.

      Keep em shooting, keep em alive :)

  8. A Goehl

    Thank you. I am trying to get my wife to shoot and i can not say I’m a great instructor. The part about a lesson planning is a great idea. I have been known to get frustrated in showing her the ropes, but after reading this article it puts things into perspective. Thanks ” the sometimes obnoxious jerk husband “

    • Thank you for reading my article, i’m glad you picked up a few things :)

      Keep your wife interested, it’ll be a great benefit :)

  9. Al Kuhn

    I’ve taught a lot of women to shoot over the years, some who had previously been turned off to shooting by the “Here honey shoot this 88 magnum” types previously mentioned… I’ve ALWAYS started them with a .22, to get the basics down with less noise and recoil. Once that is firmly established, then i’ll bring some other types and calibers into the mix to see what fits her individually. A few stopped at my .380 mustang, some progressed through 9mm, .40SW and onto .45. the key is always patience.

    • Al, i’m glad those women decided to come back and learn how to shoot, so many never do. I also appreciate you taking the time and teaching them right… I so wish that firearms training was done right first time, every time.

  10. Demandra

    I’m kind of shocked by this. I’ve yet to see such behavior. But I guarantee you, if my husband yelled at me or did any of the things you mentioned, he’d promptly find himself with a boot in the ass and looking for another place to sleep that night! Good Lord. I think this is less about partners instructing and more about being a decent man. Just sayin’. (And kudos to you for calling that crap out and not throat punching anyone!)

    • I had to restrain myself from doing things when I saw that crap… You are absolutely right in every aspect!

  11. Don

    Great article! Please keep saying this (It seems to take a bit to get through the invincibility of their egos).

    My much better looking and generally better half and a previous beau who handed her a 629 snubby (S&W 44mag revolver for those who are not such geeks as I) with full-bore loads with the words “”Try this.” It took many outings with a 22 to overcome that and finally get her to try my XD45. Once she worked up to it she finally did try it and one of my favorite moments at the range with her was that day:
    “OK hon, this is going to make more noise and push a bit. As long as you hold it about the same as holding a glass half-gallon from the dairy it will move but not really go far.”
    Long pause, deep breath…… Bang!
    “Oh! That wasn’t bad! I like that!”
    Proceeds to unload the rest of the mag in about three seconds with a huge grin.
    “Where’s the ammo, can I shoot this some more?”

    She now carries an XDm40 compact and is looking for more advanced classes. All it took was some understanding and patience.

    What’s even more sad is that many of the guys who own those guns can’t hit the side of a barn from inside with them.

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