How to get your wife/girlfirend into shooting

Caleb Giddings broached this subject yesterday on his blog and answered the question of “how-to” by simply saying… “Dont.” Seriously. Go read the article for the full context, but basically he is saying dont force the issue.

My opinion on the matter is the same as I mentioned the other day in my Gun N00bs post… that is take them shooting. If there is truly a real interest there and its something that they want to get into then they will be instantly hooked.

Treat it just like any other range trip with a first time shooter and try to make it as fun as possible (reactive targets, use small manageable calibers, dont have a bunch of yahoos around acting like asses, remove as many other intimidation factors as possible, etc, etc) and focus on short term successes. Shooting is like anything else… If you can make it a fun and engaging first time experience, then chances are they will want to go back for more. Its fun. We all know that, but often times first-timers have preconceived notions that can lead them to believe that its not something they would enjoy. But dont push the matter. If they have had an open mind and have tried it but just dont like it then move on. Its probably something thats just not for them. Or maybe they will come back to it at a later date.

I will also add one other caveat that I have observed on the matter… that is, women love shooting with other women. I dont know if its the lower level of intimidation because no men are around, or if its the bonding of it being an all girls shoot, or anything else or all of the above. Who knows and who cares… but it seems to exponentially increase the fun of a range trip for women to have a “girls night out” range trip. So, if you can arrange something like that with other experienced female shooters then do it. It will certainly go a very long way.

  1. Thanks for the article and your education on this subject! We here at SHE CAN SHOOT have created that environment for women to have a “girls night out” or women training in an all female environment. As a result, we have chapters nationwide.

    1. Eric, our webpage is We have the national chapters that are listed on our website. FREE membership, only certified and highly experienced female firearms instructors are used, and a total hands on teaching style. We have over 2,000 members. I will send over one of our national videos to you!

  2. I would like to add a couple of things to this. If your wife or girlfriend say they don’t like guns, ask them why and listen to what they have to say. Alot of women find the noise scares them, or they are taught that only bad people carry guns, or that nice women don’t participate in such a “manly” sport because it will take away some of their femininity. They are taught that “men will find you too masculine if you do something like that. Believe me, I’ve heard those reasons. Assure your girlfriend or wife that you would really enjoy it if she would try it and that you will help her every step of Yhe way. Remind her that she should think about using it to protect herself and her family.

    These are real thoughts that go through a Womans mind when approaching a sport such as this.

  3. I think it’s a great idea to ask your wife/gf what is holding them back and really listen to what they have to say. I had reservations about going to the range because I didn’t want to look foolish because I didn’t know how to use a gun. Once I told my husband that he would have me practice clearing my gun, dropping the magazine, loading the magazine with one bullet (yes just 1 bullet), hitting the slide release, clearing it. I did this process over, and over. I was nervous at first but after doing this exercise each night by the end of 2 weeks I was very comfortable and felt ready to take the next step of actually going to the range.

    I recently met a woman at the range who was watching her boyfriend as he was getting set up to shoot. I went over and introduced myself and she said she hated guns. When I asked why she said that the first gun that he introduced her to was extremely loud and almost knocked her on her ass. Because it scared her she didn’t want to try again, instead she sits in a chair and she stayed for maybe 10 minutes that is why they each brought their own vehicle. What a jerk. If you want your woman to get into shooting don’t be a jerk.

  4. Just be aware that teaching your wife/girlfriend to shoot can be a disaster – especially if they’re feeling pressured to do well. Some people approach a new thing with the attitude that they’re there to learn and not being “perfect” the first time is a-okay. Others are afraid to try anything new that might make them look “foolish”, that is, if they don’t do well the first time, they feel embarrassed.

    I had a friend from work whom I introduced to shooting. He was eager to teach his wife. They almost had a meltdown at the range. He was smart enough to step aside and let me take over the training. The lack of a personal relationship between teacher and student made it purely a learning experience, eliminating most of the stress.

    She turned out to be a better shot than her husband.

    You’ve been warned.

    1. Mike,
      Loved your response! It’s not just teaching firearms that can cause conflict between partners, it can be any subject. Overall, it doesn’t work very well. When we receive couples that come in for training, I separate them. The outcome is most always the male experiencing a great time on the range, while his spouse doesn’t feel any pressure or experience any meltdown. This allows her to focus on the basic fundamentals of shooting that lead to confidence, empowerment, and discovering that SHE CAN SHOOT! It’s a great day when you get to go home together with both having a smile on your face!

      By the way, you are 100% right. Be careful what you ask for. She just might start wanting to go on those hunting trips as well.

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