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.
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.
Stay safe and enjoy shooting!