I begin with this statement. Men are the reason most women do not like and therefore are uncomfortable around guns and that is a problem. Before you get mad think about this and understand what I am saying.
The inspiration for this post came during a recent trip to the public rifle/pistol range. I was at the range to verify that I had successfully solved a firing pin issue on a Yugo 8MM, it tested good and fired consistently with no further issues. While I was there I also ran a few rounds through my Model of 1917, the one in the middle, this is one sweet gun a real tack-driver. After finishing that I decided to fire a few handguns, the man next to me on my right had finished shooting, packed his stuff and departed. That is when I noticed a couple shooting a double action only 9MM pistol, the sight of them caused me to stop firing and watch. They were shooting at the 15 yard line on a shoot-n-see target, or should I say all over and around the target, he was hitting paper sometimes and she was almost never hitting paper. New shooters had arrived so the range was called “cold” to allow for targets to be replaced and new shooters could put up their targets. Now normally I do not offer advice to anyone at the range, but this time I made an exception. During the lull of the “cold” range I told the man his wife was not having any fun and as a matter of fact seemed quite miserable. I noticed the gun was new so I asked him if he bought it for both of them to shoot, or did he buy it for him, he of course said for both, it was the only gun with them. I asked what was the purpose of “them” buying a handgun. He said it was for home defense. She joined into the conversation and said she was having trouble with the slide and the trigger was too hard to pull. I asked her if she had ever fired a revolver, she had not. I asked her if she wanted to, just happened to have a couple with me, she hesitated but finally agreed to shoot one. After the range went “hot” I retrieved two revolvers, a S&W model 19 357 magnum with rubber grips and a S&W model 586 357 magnum with wood grips, from my range bag. I explained and demonstrated to her the operation of a double action revolver versus a double action only pistol. After going over safety items, I demonstrated how to load and unload the revolver. She could not get a good grip on the 586 with the wood grips, so I put it back in the bag, but the 19 with rubber grips was a perfect fit. She chose to thumb cock rather than pull the full trigger weight which was fine. Her first 6 shots were on paper with 1 in the bull’s-eye, she was smiling and enjoying the experience. I asked her if she wanted to shoot again, she said yes, quick, fast and in a hurry this time. I gave her the rest of that box of 38 special and another box of 38 special and told her to have fun. I had a couple of boxes of 357 in the bag, but giving her those would have defeated the purpose. I had “speed” loaders, but I did not take them out and try to explain their purpose and how to load them and then load the revolver with them. You have to crawl before you can walk.
While the lady was shooting the husband and I talked a while. She was having trouble to say the least with their, I mean his gun, in the following areas, loading the magazine, pulling the slide, staying steady during the long, long trigger pull to the point she started shaking. I told him that if the handgun was for home defense it must meet three important criteria. First, everyone must be able to load it and use it. Second, everyone must be comfortable with it, they must not dread the gun. Third, proficiency(practice, practice, practice). You can not meet the third requirement if you can not do the first two.
Two positive things happened on that trip to the range. A woman who was only “luke warm” to the idea of using a handgun became a fan of hand guns, and her miserable experience became an enjoyable one. And as a bonus I had fixed my Yugo.
She politely informed her husband she did not like “his” pistol and wanted a revolver for herself and they were both off work the next day anyway. As they were readying to leave the man offered to reimburse me for the cost of the two boxes of ammunition, I declined saying that she would need ammo for the revolver he was about to buy. I was out a few bucks, he was about be out of a lot of bucks, and we gained one more to our side, overall not a bad investment on my part.
So guys if your lady is proficient with a handgun good for you and especially her. If she is not, buy a good quality revolver with a 4 inch barrel that can shoot 38 special, leave your heavy triggered hand cannon at home, or at least out-of-the-way and let her enjoy the trip to the range. In these times we need all the support we can get, if your lady is “luke warm” to the idea of using a handgun or fearful of handguns it is probably your fault, you may be the problem and the reason. While you are at it and if you have kids buy a good quality 22 rifle and start them off right, remove temptation and leave the heavy hitters out of sight, make the trip about them having fun and enjoying the experience.
My lady is real partial to revolvers and is pretty good with a rifle an M1 Carbine, and getting better, but does not care for the kick of a shotgun, will not shoot a 12 gauge, complains about her 20 gauge, a good reason to buy a .410.