Buying a gun for your wife?


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pax
December 20, 2005, 06:43 PM
Okay, guys, here is one shooting woman's answer to this perennially recurring question.

The best gun for someone who won't practice with it is -- none.

This is true even if the person is someone you love. It is true even if you really want her to carry a gun and even if she says she is willing to have it or to carry it. If she does not intend to practice with it, there is no point in getting her a gun. A gun is nothing but a dangerous nuisance to someone who cares so little about it that she will not take the time to learn to use it properly and well.

Yes, I'm heartless. But it's true anyway.

If this describes your woman, go do something else because the rest of this post isn't for you.

There is no one best caliber for all women.

Oddly enough, women are all individuals. Asking what caliber is best for a woman is exactly the same thing as asking what caliber is best for a man. And the answer is, "It depends."

While it may be the most important thing about her in your eyes, her sex is simply not much of an issue when it comes to choosing a gun.

Your woman's size (or lack of it) has absolutely nothing to do with which caliber will be best for her.

I've seen tiny little women with great big grins on their faces as they hammered away with full-powered "manly" guns. I've also seen sturdy-looking Amazon-woman types wincing from what I consider to be mild recoil. And vice versa, of course.

What I'm getting at here is that it doesn't matter if she weighs 90 pounds soaking wet or if she's taller than you are and twice as fluffy. Her hand size will matter when it is time to pick a platform, but the size of her body isn't going to tell you much that is useful about her tolerance for recoil or the caliber she'll prefer shooting.

The caliber she'll prefer isn't the one you expect.

Some women love big calibers but hate small calibers. Some love 380s and hate everything else. Some hate .380s but love 9mms. And a lot of women find the recoil of a .40 too "spiky" for their tastes and think the .45 is more pleasant to shoot.

Women are individuals, just like men. You can't pick a caliber for her, or even predict which caliber she'll prefer, because you can't crawl inside her skin and feel what she feels when she pulls the trigger.

There's more to choosing a gun than caliber!

Here we're really getting into it. Sorry if this bothers anyone's sacred cows, but a tiny little woman doesn't necessarily need, won't necessarily like, and possibly won't even be able to shoot a tiny little gun.

There's no point in getting her a .380 to avoid recoil, if the platform is a superlightweight gun which has lousy sights and a crappy trigger. A difficult little gun doesn't suddenly become easy to shoot simply because it eats a lesser caliber; sights, trigger pull, basic ergonomics, and weight will all have their effects.

You know this when you're picking out a gun for yourself. You may want to remember it when you're helping her pick out a gun, too.

Beginners really should start with a .22 -- but that may not be best for her and her situation.

Another sacred cow here. All other things being equal, someone who starts out with a .22 is going to spend less time fighting the flinch, and will thus find it easier to learn to shoot well. The ammunition is cheap and plentiful, so you have fewer excuses to avoid the range, and we all know that more practice is better. It's not as loud as most other rounds, and so shooting a .22 is generally a more pleasant experience for newbies who aren't yet accustomed to the sound of gunfire. So it's great if she can learn on a .22.

However.

If she's only going to own one gun of her own, and needs a defense gun right away, a .22 is really a poor choice. The .22 is simply not suited well for defense. While lots of people have been killed with .22s over the years, the record shows that .22 is generally poor at stopping the attacker (which is the sine qua non for a defense gun). All things considered, it is notably easier to learn to shoot with a larger caliber than it is to improve the terminal ballistics of a .22.

Furthermore, if she's excited about a bigger gun, and annoyed by the thought of shooting a .22, it's probably not worth insisting on the .22. Let her learn on the gun she wants to learn on and even if it's a steeper learning curve she'll be more likely to hike up it.

Size matters.

Hand size, that is. Since women generally have smaller hands than men generally do, and since most firearms are designed to fit the male hand, finding a firearm which fits her hand might be an issue. It is worthwhile to keep looking until she finds one that does fit.

To assess gun size, triple check that the gun is unloaded. Then check it again. Then, with the gun pointed in a safe direction which includes a backstop, have her put the crease (not the pad, the crease*) of her finger on the face of the trigger. With her finger's crease thus on the trigger and without pulling the trigger back, have her wrap her hand around the grip of the gun. If the grip can be firmly centered in the web of her hand -- not 'scootched' over to one side -- then the gun fits her well. Otherwise, the gun is too big. If the gun is very much too big, the recoil will be going straight into the joint at the base of her thumb when her finger is properly on the trigger. She may be able to shoot with a gun that oversized, but it will probably be painful to fire a lot of rounds. Even if it doesn't hurt, it can cause joint problems down the road and really isn't worth it in the long run.

Looks matter.

Guys, your wives & girlfriends wear pretty underthings that no one else is going to see, even when they aren't in the mood.** Women wear stuff like that even though no one else will see it simply because we like to wear pretty things. If you want her to be happy tucking a gun underneath her clothes next to her pretty underthings, it's a good idea to help her look for a pretty gun and a pretty holster to carry it in.

There is no such thing as a healthy adult woman who cannot retract the slide of a semi-automatic handgun.

If yours can't, it's because no one has ever shown her the correct technique. Get her to a class.

She doesn't have to carry in her purse.

All other things being equal, on-body carry is a lot more secure than off-body carry. If she is willing to make minor wardrobe changes and is stubborn enough to keep trying until she finds the gear she needs, she can conceal a firearm underneath regular women's clothing and still look like the attractive woman she is.

Finding a holster is a different ballgame for her than it is for you.

Newsflash: her body is shaped differently than yours. Your cast-off old holster probably won't work well for her. But there are holstermakers who specialize in women's gear, and it is worthwhile to seek them out.

You are probably not the right person to teach her how to shoot the gun you just bought her.

Yes, really. If you want a list of reasons why, PM me. This is getting too long and I've already offended enough people for one day ... ;)

Donning my flame suit,

pax

* We can argue about this on another thread if you want to. IMO, a target gun is fired with the pad of the finger while a defense gun, esp a DA defense gun, is fired with the power crease. In any case, the measurement technique is the same.

** This is news?!?

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Old Dog
December 20, 2005, 07:37 PM
Uh, Pax? You been talking to my wife? You sure enumerated almost exactly every mistake I made when I introduced her to guns ...

But thank you! Great post, should be a sticky.

Signed,
The guy whose wife took his favorite .45 and gave him back the .32 he bought her ...

afasano
December 20, 2005, 07:56 PM
Nice trade. :D

Daniel T
December 20, 2005, 08:25 PM
Great advice pax. :)

mustanger98
December 20, 2005, 08:41 PM
FWIW, the same logic applies for big brother giving gun advise to little sister. I've been there and done that. My sister has shot nearly everything I have and a couple I haven't- big, small, pretty, pretty ugly. I like a lot of different stuff and she has her preference that works for her. I don't suggest a perp argue with her and that .38 snubbie she keeps as I've seen what she can do with it- fist sized 5rd group at 20'.

The part about gun size, caliber size, and the size of the woman not mattering... two of my neighbors have the gun shop I'm in and out of all the time... she carries a Glock compact .40S&W. She says she don't like 9mm because she don't like to waste ammo. I thought of her while reading that part.

The part about who's the best to teach her to shoot... my sister don't like to listen to me, but she'll listen to Daddy. She used to think I "make stuff up", but now that she's had a few episodes of idiots prowling around outside her house at night and early morning, I think she's starting to realize I was telling her the truth. That and she's married to an ex-cop.

AirForceShooter
December 20, 2005, 08:44 PM
any time some guy posts that question of what should I get for my :wife, girl friend. mom.
Here's my reply..........................
Would you buy her shoes?????

AFS

HSMITH
December 20, 2005, 08:53 PM
Amen Pax, well done.

pax
December 20, 2005, 08:54 PM
AirForceShooter ~

I know, and I 98% agree, and I've used that line myself more than once.

But a longish thread earlier this year convinced me that there really wasn't any chance at all of convincing the average gun owning man to simply stay out of his woman's way while she does her own research & buys her own gun (see this link (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=153894) -- deliberately provocative opening post, but lots & lots & lots of good replies on it...)

So I got thinking instead about how to make the research process a little more painless for everyone involved, & the post above is the result.

pax

taliv
December 20, 2005, 08:55 PM
ok, i'll bite :)

The best gun for someone who won't practice with it is -- none.

just because she won't practice with it doesn't mean I can't :)

heh, in fact, i just got back from spending the entire day at the range shooting two guns i bought for my wife this year and 2 years ago!

Gunfire
December 20, 2005, 08:59 PM
Great Topic, who would flame for this?



You are probably not the right person to teach her how to shoot the gun you just bought her.

Yes, really. If you want a list of reasons why, PM me. This is getting too long and I've already offended enough people for one day ... ;)


pax

Inquiring minds want to know.

The instructor wants $50/hr. for personal lessons. Is that about right?

pax
December 20, 2005, 09:00 PM
taliv ~

When I was 10, I gave my mom a kitten for Mother's Day. She hates cats, but I don't!

pax

My wife makes the budget work. We do without a lot of things I don't need. -- Milton Berle

pax
December 20, 2005, 09:21 PM
Gunfire ~

You can frequently find NRA instructors who charge almost nothing for their classes. Or you may be able to find a buddy who is a good shooter, knows how to teach, and is willing to take on the task. Not sure what one-on-one lessons are going for, but $50/hr sounds about right for a professional trainer at an established school.

The reasons someone romantically involved probably isn't the best person to teach her to shoot are manifold. In no particular order:

* A lot of spouses and long-term partners ignore each other's expertise, but will listen to an outsider. Not saying it's good, but it's the way it is a lot of times.

* Emotions are involved. Especially for self-defense, learning to shoot often stirs up a lot of really complex emotions. A relative stranger can often impart facts & instill knowledge without triggering an unfortunate downward spiral of emotional reactions, but a family member rarely can.

* Allowing the student to struggle a little bit and figure some things out for herself is a necessary step in the learning process. But a romantically involved man often has a hard time keeping his hands off the gun, and a hard time just letting her figure out how she can do the basic gun manipulations she needs to know how to do. He sees that it is difficult for her to load a magazine or lock the slide back, and reaches in to "fix it" for her ... cutting short the learning process.

* Most firearms instructors have experience with teaching all types of people how to shoot, which means they know more than one way to communicate the ideas if the first way doesn't work. In contrast, a self-taught shooter or one without much teaching experience often doesn't know what to do if she doesn't just get it the first time he explains something.

* Safety issues: a romantically involved man often has a hard time coming down on safety violations the way he must if the beginner is to become a safe shooter. Or on the flip side, if he does come down on a safety violation, his wife/gf sometimes takes personal offense where none was intended.

* Some women are frankly resistant to being taught by a family member or loved one; they feel resentful of his knowledge and find offenses where the man didn't intend offense. Or they have questions they won't ask because they are afraid of looking bad/being teased/made fun of. (This is not to say that their men do or would make fun of them! Simply that this is a fear that some women have...) See "emotional reactions" above...

pax

GEM
December 20, 2005, 09:23 PM
Now, Pax - you can't cut off the 50 zillion threads of what gun shall I buy my wife or girlfriend?

My advice - don't buy a gun for both of them at the same time!

Great post - One thing from my friends, the ones with little training are the ones who want to teach the ladies how to shoot!

Gunfire
December 20, 2005, 09:45 PM
Thanks Pax,

$50/hr would be for private lessons with a certified instructor. That sounds cheap compared to cost of firearms and ammo and if it will give her a good base to start from, it will be well worth a few lessons.

Your points are well taken. I could see my wife and I bumping heads like you describe.

GoBrush
December 20, 2005, 10:10 PM
Pax:

I bought my wife her first gun a year or two ago and she mainly likes going to the range with me cause she wants to be with me and she knows how much I love shooting. Hopefully with more time she will see the need to get serious about self defense practice more and get her CCW permit. Any way mainly sharing my experience.

The nice thing is that even though she is still learning I now have one more gun to shoot:D

Questions for you. Did you become interested in firearms specifically handguns as an adult or where you interested at a young age? If you first got serious as an adult how was the transition for you from casual gun shooter to really breaking out and into serious self defensive shooting?

Thanks

f4t9r
December 20, 2005, 10:19 PM
Good advise

Preacherman
December 20, 2005, 10:43 PM
Pax - great, GREAT thread! And great advice too! Thanks for posting this.

orangeninja
December 20, 2005, 10:52 PM
Good post. Of course I don't agree with some of it, but everything else is good.

I think even a .22lr will deter a criminal...in fact I know it will, I've seen it.

A .22lr in hand still beats the crap out of whatever else is laying around to throw...and if it's all they'll shoot, get it.

pax
December 20, 2005, 11:07 PM
GoBrush ~

Shooting together is a very different thing from going out to teach her how... :)

I'm a little jealous of couples who shoot together. My husband isn't much of a shooter. He's taken a couple of classes which he said he enjoyed, and he's got his carry permit, but it's just not his thing. He didn't get his permit or learn to shoot until quite awhile after I got into it.

I got into handguns as an adult, and was serious about it pretty well from the beginning. I got my carry permit and my first handgun at nearly the same time, and at the urging of a friend, I took my first class only a few months after that. Although I really, really enjoy handgunning, for me it's always been about self defense.

Unlike most the women I know, I didn't really have one defining catalytic moment or big scare that made me "have to" get a gun. It was just the gradual accumulation of a lot of things, and a buddy who came along at the right time and nudged me into it.

Because I started taking classes right away, I was privileged to have other women's shoulders to cry on as I figured out what would work for me and what wouldn't. Although the group wasn't there when I first began shooting, what's maybe contributed most to my growth as a shooter has been the chance to work with a really great group of women at FAS (www.firearmsacademy.com) in their women's study group (open only to women who've taken at least one class there). I've been spoiled by the opportunity to compare notes, help and be helped by other women as we all learn to shoot better, listen to sob stories and triumphs, and just watch as other women worked through a lot of the same questions I'd faced early on. It's been a rare privilege to have that kind of a support network in place and I kind of feel sorry for the majority of new shooters who simply don't have access to something like it.

(edited to add: Dunno if that really answered the question you were asking. Hope it came close...)

pax

Sheldon J
December 20, 2005, 11:31 PM
When I bought my wife her CCW gun I simply took her to the gun store, told the sales person that she was a newshooter, make it a revolver, I want it to fit her comfortably, and at least .357. With that I walked away to drool over other guns.:D

Stevie-Ray
December 20, 2005, 11:32 PM
Good thread, Pax, and you're right, of course. In fact it was a woman, and a quite petite woman at that, that pulled out her CCW to show me how a particular set of grips would look and feel on my CDP, after overhearing my questions to the dealer. Yep, the exact same gun as mine, with the exact same grips I was considering. They now grace my weapon as well. Seems she opted for a "pretty gun" as I consider the Kimbers quite lovely. My kind of woman.

GoBrush
December 20, 2005, 11:44 PM
Thanks Pax I'll be patient with my wife she does shoot and pretty much lets me do what I want as far as CCW, Shooting, and buying equipment and ammo.

Most guys here would give there left arm to have a wife like that I do consider myself very lucky.

I will keep taking her and hopefully someday she will recognize the benefits of her getting a CCW.

Thanks for the Post

Oh and Merry Christmas!

Standing Wolf
December 20, 2005, 11:50 PM
Excellent essay, I'd say! I'd say this one belongs in a library for future reference by one and all.

cornercarver
December 21, 2005, 08:58 AM
Another thing I learned when buying a gun for my G/F and helping her buy her own is to know when to stop talking!

NavyLCDR
December 21, 2005, 09:58 AM
We got our first gun in response to a home invasion incident. :fire: Since my wife is home a lot more than I, we got the gun she wanted. I told her why I thought a 9mm would probably be the best compromise of all the factors. She agreed. We went to a couple of gun stores and they all wanted to push the "ladies" favorites on her. :barf: Finally I showed her the Taurus version of the Baretta 9mm we shoot in the Navy. She loved it and that is what we bought. I shoot it just a little better than she does, but I qualify expert marksman in the Navy. :D

She wanted a .45. So we're in a sports store buying a case of 1000 9mm ammo. I see the handgun case and point it out to her. Whatever she wanted to look at the guy would always hand the gun to me first. :scrutiny: I wouldn't do a thing but hand it to my wife. She asked him to take the trigger lock off so she could feel the trigger pull. Again, the gun comes back to me. :banghead: and I handed it right back to her. Anyway, she picked out what she wanted based on feel in the hand and feel of the trigger pull. (It was a nice SS Ruger P345). I haven't been able to hit crap with that gun :mad: but she would probably qualify expert with it in the Navy. :neener:

So, let her shoot a lot of different guns so she is familiar with the bang and recoil of the different calibers so she can decide what she is comfortable with. Let her pick out the gun that feels the best in her hands. Then she will want to shoot the heck out of it because it does feel good to her. :D

BTW, had to go right back to the sports store the next day to get her a case of .45 ammo ;)

Pilot
December 21, 2005, 10:07 AM
Pax, this should be a sticky. I went through the "buy your wife a gun" thing. We went to a gun store and I tried to get her to like a bunch of semi-autos. HK, Sig, CZ, Glock :barf: , XD-9, Walther, etc. I let her shoot my Sigs, HK's, CZ, etc. She is a very independentlly minded woman (what woman isn't) and she ended up buying a S&W revolver in .38 Spl. Go figure. Its the perfect carry gun for here. Now at the range she likes my PCR and P7M8.

Camp David
December 21, 2005, 10:12 AM
I bought one for her years ago... it is our only gun that has NEVER been fired! It's locked up somewhere; or lost in a cardbox box... I have no idea!

It sounded like a good idea at first... I got her interested in guns and gave her a book or two to read... tried to get her to a shooting range but no dice there...Then I purchased her a gift: A small (tiny) Smith & Wesson Chief's Special .38 with a box of ammunition... It looked cute rather than threatening... I tried to get her to a range to shoot it after.... nope... Not sure what happened... she does carry mace and pepper spray... every once in a while she fiddles in her purse looking for something and that damn spray goes off and smells up the place....:(

poppy
December 21, 2005, 11:33 AM
Oh pax, pax... Will you marry me? poppy

pax
December 21, 2005, 12:12 PM
We got our first gun in response to a home invasion incident.
That's more common than you know -- not the home invasion, I mean, but buying a gun because something happened. Seems to be the most common route to gun ownership among people (esp women) who didn't just grow up with guns.
We went to a couple of gun stores and they all wanted to push the "ladies" favorites on her.
:banghead:

That, too, is more common than you know. I'm torn between amusement and annoyance when that happens, but I try really hard to think of it as an opportunity to educate the guy behind the counter. Most of them mean well and just don't know any better.
Whatever she wanted to look at the guy would always hand the gun to me first. I wouldn't do a thing but hand it to my wife. She asked him to take the trigger lock off so she could feel the trigger pull. Again, the gun comes back to me. and I handed it right back to her.
To me, that passes the line from "needs education" right over into "personally rude and I won't be back."

Wonderful story, otherwise! :cool: Glad she's gotten into it.

pax

birddog
December 21, 2005, 12:37 PM
Looks matter.


Too true.

When my wife bought her first handgun, the evil salesman placed a Kimber Ultra CDP in her hand. Beautiful gun. Fit her hand like a glove. It could have been a .45 or a 50BMG and she was coming home with it.

Surprise, surprise, now she likes shooting .45's.

:D

psyopspec
December 21, 2005, 12:37 PM
Great Oden's Beard!!! What an excellent article. Have you considered submitting it to Guns & Ammo, Concealed Carry, Playboy, etc?

palerider1
December 21, 2005, 12:46 PM
i'm trying to get my wife to shoot with me,,,,,says she wont shoot a gun but i'm sure i can pursuade her. if i were getting a gun for my wife i would buy her a colt 380 automatic with some good home defense ammo. it would be small enough for her to be comfortable shooting it (being a new shooter) yet powerful enough to be a good self defense tool.
i would also pay to have her take a couple of handgun self defense/safety classes, especially if she is a new shooter. fear can cause many dangerous decisions to be made and if she does not have the proper training you may be looking at the wrong end of the gun coming home late at night. i have shot guns and practiced gun safety all my life. i grew up shooting, but i also know what it is like to see new shooters learn. i have 3 step sons that i have taught to shoot and when i first started with them i wouldnt go into the field with anything but a red ryder bb gun.
good luck,
paul gilson
palerider1

Larry Ashcraft
December 21, 2005, 12:54 PM
Pax, a lot of good points. Thank you!

No real point here, just my observations about my wife Sandy (who is a member here but rarely posts).

In the early 80's, we competed in IHMSA handgun silhouette, so she is no stranger to handguns or recoil. She used a Rem. XP-100 in 7mm International and a Ruger SBH in .44 mag. She has shot and enjoyed handguns in just about every caliber and platform, from .22lr up to and including .480 Ruger.

A couple years ago, she fell in love with a S&W Ladysmith j-frame being raffled at the FNRA banquet. I bought her a couple chances and she came in second place, winning an NRA belt buckle, not what she wanted. The next year I bought her more chances (the raffle is 48 roses with ticket attached for $20 each) and my son in law bought one chance for my daughter. My daughter won the gun. So I broke down and bought Sandy a blued Ladysmith for her birthday. She shoots it well and it is pretty so she decided it would be her CCW gun.

We took our training for CCW in early October this year and had a surprise. Sandy broke her left wrist in September 2004 and has lost some strength. We discovered that she cannot shoot the little revolver weak-handed. That is unacceptable to her so we are again looking for a CCW gun for her. I think the answer may be my (her) little KelTec P3AT, or maybe a PPKS that we have. Time will tell, neither of these guns are pretty enough, so they will probably be stopgap guns. We are waiting on our CCWs (the state has 90 days, and they are taking every minute of it).

pax
December 21, 2005, 08:12 PM
Larry ~

Sorry to hear about Sandy's wrist troubles.

When my right arm was messed up with severe tendonitis this time last year, I found that it was less painful for me to shoot bigger & heavier guns even though they were harder to hold. Something about the sharp & slappy feel of smaller calibers just about killed me, every time. Such a relief when it finally cleared up and I could again shoot whatever I wanted.

Give Sandy my best wishes that she heals up fast -- and good luck to both of you in finding an acceptable replacement for the beloved LadySmith!

pax

Shorts
December 21, 2005, 08:34 PM
Good post Pax. I've gotten to the point now where I roll my eyes now when I see a "What gun for my wife/GF/female?" on any board. I use to reply, but that got old :o

Nice follow on why the husband/BF should not be the teacher. There is a tension there and its just easier and I think more adventageous to have professional instruction right off the bat. A good first experience will boost a first-timer's confidence and interest in shooting again.

I also think this post should be a sticky :)

Larry Ashcraft
December 22, 2005, 12:41 AM
Here's some food for thought, and maybe deserves its own thread.

Our trainer, Leonard Jimenez, knows me pretty well, knows I've shot competitively, IHMSA and some USPSA. Knows I reload and shoot quite a bit. He also knows Sandy is supportive and wants her own CCW, but doesn't shoot quite as much as me.

During our classroom training, he made this statement:

"Sandy, you and Larry are likely to be together should something go down. Not to sound sexist but, you know your role is going to be as backup. Your gun may not need to be as big and your presentation may not need to be as fast. Your awareness, however, is paramount."

I don't think Leonard meant to be sexist, I think he just meant I would more likely respond with violence faster than she would. (In your case the roles would likely be reversed.)

Thoughts?

mustanger98
December 22, 2005, 01:28 AM
Hey Larry, Here's my thought for what it's worth. Your instructor may well not intend to be sexist and I'm not saying he still might be, but the question of who's going to react violently to a threat faster, IMO, depends on the threat, which direction it came from and who saw it, and on the individual in question. Also, I recall something about the female of any species having to be deadlier than the male. So, if a married couple, for instance, finds themselves under attack, the reaction will depend on which partner saw it first. Which one will react more violently may just depend on who's ticked off worse. I think we can't know for sure unless we've been there and survived.

Templar223
December 22, 2005, 12:16 PM
Great Topic, who would flame for this?


Inquiring minds want to know.

The instructor wants $50/hr. for personal lessons. Is that about right?


Damn!

We'll give her a two day NRA Personal Protection class for $135.

With the other 20 students, that is.

John

Templar223
December 22, 2005, 12:20 PM
GREAT post Pax. You're right on. Who could flame that?

I bought a gun for my girlfriend for X-mas, but now I'm seriously thinking about keeping it for myself!

John

Z_Infidel
December 22, 2005, 12:31 PM
Good post, Pax.

My wife solved this whole problem for me. Once she picked up my S&W 457 in .45ACP and decided she wanted it -- felt good in her hand with the Hogue rubber grips, the right size and weight, etc... It is now at S&W being converted to DAO at her request. When we get it back she wants to learn to use it well. She will probably never have the same interest in guns and shooting that I have, but she understands that she needs to learn to shoot and handle her gun with familiarity.

Cousin Mike
December 22, 2005, 12:48 PM
Great post, pax!

My fiance read this thread with me, actually, and we agreed about most everything you said, except one thing... hence, my question: :evil:

What if your gf/wife wants you to be the only one to teach her to use firearms? In my case, she's not ready for concealed carry, when she is she'll let me know. She's just learning about guns, and I asked if she would like a professional instructor of her own to teach her how to shoot. She shot the idea down immediately (no pun intended), and said she wanted to continue learning with me acting as teacher. Also, she is a very good listener, and very independant at the range (i.e., clearing malfunctions on her own once taught how). When I do point out flinching or other bad habits, she works hard to correct them, and she also never takes things I say personally. In general, I do understand why it's generally not a good idea to teach your girlfriend/wife to use firearms for most couples. All couples aren't the same though. So, I guess what I am asking (in detail) is:

Is it still a bad idea to act as instructor if:
a.) She has expressed that that's what she wants
b.) She feels more comfortable learning with her boyfriend/husband than a stranger
c.) She understands what you say and why when it comes to mistakes/bad habits, and doesn't take it personally or get frustrated?

I'm not saying we never argue, we just never argue about guns :D
I'm lucky in the fact that I have a girl who has learned to love firearms, and has a serious desire to learn everything she can about guns/shooting.

Thanks again for the thoughtful, well written point of view.

pax
December 22, 2005, 01:05 PM
Cousin Mike ~

Sounds like you & your fiancee have this worked out pretty well between you already. :cool:

That's excellent ... but it probably isn't the norm. There are just so many places the process can go wrong -- over emotional reactions, over safety issues, over instructional techniques -- that it's a rare couple who can really tiptoe through the minefield without at least one mishap.

Big concern for a couple like yourselves who have no emotional difficulties is the question of instructional technique. You'll probably have to sit on your hands a little bit (or stuff 'em in your pockets) to avoid reaching in and "fixing it" if & when she has problems with gun manipulations. Also be alert and honest with yourself when she gets to the point where you have taught her as much as you can, or if she hits some difficulty you don't seem to be able to teach her about. At that point, she may want to enroll in a class or find another instructor to explain whatever-it-is in a different way; it may be hard on one or both of you to admit that, but there's no shame in it if it happens.

Key sentence in your post: All couples aren't the same though.

I agree with you; that's the reason I used the word "probably" when I said someone romantically involved probably wasn't the best person to teach her to shoot. Obviously, to any rule that involves human beings there are going to be exceptions.

Congrats on being one of them. :)

pax

xd9fan
December 22, 2005, 02:02 PM
Thanks Pax I want my wife to get a gun. great info!! Thanks

Cousin Mike
December 22, 2005, 02:07 PM
pax, you are GREAT! I think you might save some relationships with this one! :) Thanks again for your thoughts and insight - you have a gift for explaining the female perspective in a way that is easy for the guys to understand. Not many people can do that.

I have seen quite a few couples at the range we frequent become quite snappy and short with eachother. I definitely have seen the things you cited first hand. I see lots of women at the range with their husbands, and usually it's pretty visible to all that they are uncomfortable, and not enjoying themselves. As for me personally, I'd be happy to get my fiancee a teacher, but she rejects the idea everytime. I think once she gets as accurate as I am, she'll open up to the idea of a professional instructor. However, she is shooting, shooting well, and shooting often! We're having more fun together than ever. That's about all I can ask for, right? :evil:

Sandy Ashcraft
December 23, 2005, 05:46 PM
Pax this was a great thread. I really enjoyed reading it.
I just have one question - Why do men think we know which gun we will like without buying five or six like they do?

I think I am going to have to start posting here just so Larry will see my Christmas list.

Dear Santa
1. New gun
2. Lessons
3. New shotgun (Steve's fault)
4. Lessons
5. CCW
6. More lessons

It's not to late Santa doesn't shop till Christmas Eve.

Scarface
December 23, 2005, 07:27 PM
Pax, what a great post.

My Dad gave me the best advice I've ever had the morning my wife and I were married. He told me "Never try to understand her, just go along with her". He and Mom were married for 50 years, so I figured he must know something.
My wife shoots with me about 4 times per year, primarily because she knows how much I enjoy being wih her. With the exception of repaeting the safety rules each time we shoot, I haven't tried to improve her skills unless she asks. Recenty, we took a new couple shooting. While instructing them, she said she learned more than all the years we've shot together. Now, she asks for tips and I'm thrilled to be able to help her out, but onlywhen she asks me.

Over the years, I've bought several pistols with her in mind. Of them all, she likes our P22 the best and has become proficient with it. She has a Taurus 605 wih Crimson Trace grips under her pillow and fam fires it each time we shoot, but she practices with the P22. I'm just glad she goes with me and practices.
Next year, we will have been married the 38 best years of my life. I never try to understand or train her.

Be Well,

Scarface

pax
December 23, 2005, 09:43 PM
I just have one question - Why do men ...?
Sandy, I've never been able to answer a question that starts with those three words!

:)

pax

mustanger98
December 23, 2005, 10:31 PM
Sandy Ashcraft:
I just have one question - Why do men think we know which gun we will like without buying five or six like they do?

pax:
Quote:
I just have one question - Why do men ...?

Sandy, I've never been able to answer a question that starts with those three words!

I cannot presume to speak for every man on the board much less the planet, but I for one do not think that. This question again brings to me images of my sister and her preferences. She likes one gun. I like several. (And I can't figure out my brother-in-law as he don't seem to like anything.) My sister has shot most of my sixguns and says they're "too forward heavy". She never bought one; just shot whatever I had. And FWIW, I almost hate that .38 snubbie she keeps, but not because of brandname/quality/price/whatever. I just don't do well shooting that small of a revolver just like she don't get along with my selections. So we don't generally shoot each other's guns. "Why do men...?" I don't know... why do women...? why does anybody...? I've come to the conclusion that people are just notional by nature.

Hikingman
December 24, 2005, 01:53 AM
Err, Hikingman is wondering - any women out there care to comment on this forum topic?

Father Knows Best
December 24, 2005, 10:43 AM
We took our training for CCW in early October this year and had a surprise. Sandy broke her left wrist in September 2004 and has lost some strength. We discovered that she cannot shoot the little revolver weak-handed. That is unacceptable to her so we are again looking for a CCW gun for her. I think the answer may be my (her) little KelTec P3AT, or maybe a PPKS that we have. Time will tell, neither of these guns are pretty enough, so they will probably be stopgap guns. We are waiting on our CCWs (the state has 90 days, and they are taking every minute of it).

Wow. If she has trouble shooting a J frame Smith weak handed, I don't know why you think a P3AT or PPK/s would be o.k. I've found the P3AT to be wicked to shoot. The tiny grip and light weight contribute to wicked recoil, despite the .380 cartridge. The P32 isn't bad, but in my experience the P3AT is extremely uncomfortable and almost impossible to hit with. It's a BUG, at best.

As for the PPK/s, I have one. I hate it. The double action trigger pull is incredibly heavy, and from what I understand, that's typical of these guns. It takes a LOT of hand strength to squeeze off that first shot. In addition, slide bite is a common problem.

For folks with hand strength issues, a good 'smith can generally lighten the trigger pull on a J frame without compromising reliability. Another possibility is the Glock 26 (subcompact 9mm). It is relatively light, has a light and consistent trigger, and recoil is quite light. The only issue may be the grip dimensions, which don't always fit people with small hands.

pax
December 24, 2005, 01:42 PM
Hikingman ~

Several have.

pax

Larry Ashcraft
December 24, 2005, 02:11 PM
Wow. If she has trouble shooting a J frame Smith weak handed, I don't know why you think a P3AT or PPK/s would be o.k. I've found the P3AT to be wicked to shoot. The tiny grip and light weight contribute to wicked recoil, despite the .380 cartridge. The P32 isn't bad, but in my experience the P3AT is extremely uncomfortable and almost impossible to hit with. It's a BUG, at best.

I don't know, the P3AT has a 5 lb trigger pull as opposed to the j-frame which is probably 8 or more. As for wicked recoil, nah, a .480 Ruger has wicked recoil. The P3AT is hard to hang on to, but I have no problem emptying the mag into the A zone at ten feet. Sandy has shot the gun and doesn't find in uncomfortable. Remember, this is a lady who once put 120 rounds of hot .44 mag downrange in one session (shooting silhouette).

As for shooting it weak-handed, we really don't know if she can. We're going out back as soon as the range dries out and try it out. If it doesn't work, well, back to the drawing board. Nerve damage from Sandy breaking her wrist probably caused a 25% reduction in her hand strength, so maybe just exercise is in order.

sm
December 24, 2005, 02:34 PM
Standing Wolf wrote: Excellent essay, I'd say! I'd say this one belongs in a library for future reference by one and all. +1

Sandy Ashcraft wrote: Steve's fault

pax writes eloquently, I get blamed for purchases.

I'm a guy, I know my role.

:D

pax
January 3, 2006, 10:55 PM
So, Sandy ~ did Santa come through?

pax

Sandy Ashcraft
January 4, 2006, 12:33 AM
No Santa didn't! But our kids did. They gave us lessons for sporting clays.
Just what I wanted. :)

I loved the potato gun. Did the boys build it yet?

Sandy Ashcraft
January 4, 2006, 12:56 AM
Sorry, double tap. What is up with THR tonight?

mustanger98
January 4, 2006, 01:09 AM
Sorry, double tap. What is up with THR tonight?

I don't know. It seems every time I reply to any post tonight, it takes forever to load the next screen. I'll have to check and see how many double taps I've made tonight.

Fred Fuller
January 4, 2006, 10:26 AM
pax,

Another great thread- thanks much. I agree this one needs to be in the library for future reference.

lpl/nc

shaldag
January 4, 2006, 10:47 AM
Pax, I don't know what you do for a living, but you should be writing books.

gc70
January 8, 2006, 04:00 AM
pax, your advice is excellent. Luckily, I have never had to use most of your pointers because my wife was armed and qualified before we met. The only thing I don't quite understand is how my S&W Model 28 became hers. :)

Erinyes
January 8, 2006, 05:52 AM
This is all very good advice.

I'd taken my to the range once with a 1911 and a S&W M19 (loaded with .38 spl). She liked neither the feel nor the recoil of the 1911, but did fine with the .357 snubbie downloaded. Unfortunately, she didn't have the hand strength to pull the double action trigger and had to thumb cock it for every shot.

When my GF's aunt started having some problems with a guy threatening her, my GF decided to become more interested in firearms. Now she wants to buy one for herself. We went to the gun store I generally frequent, but they started showing her the smallest pieces. We later went to another shop in TN (She lives in TN, so it's already a better place to look). After describing herself as a new shooter without a lot of hand strength, the salesman immediately handed her a Glock 19, and she loved it. Despite hands that couldn't properly fit a 1911, they fit the Glock pretty well. She handled both the 19 and 17 and liked both of them.

We haven't bought yet, and I still have to take her out to the range again to try my P38 and make sure she's alright with the 9mm's recoil, but assuming she is, we'll be buying a Glock as soon as the tax returns come in.

kwallace
January 8, 2006, 06:51 AM
I'm blessed to have a wife that both understands the need for having a gun, and is willing to have one.

She picked out her own gun while we were at a gun show. SHe made a good choice, if you ask me. An Astra .40sw, double-stack, 14 round whopper that's patterned after a SIG and the same size. It's a mid-size gun, but she really enjoy's shooting it.

We liked this thing so much that I went and bought one too - in 10 round .45.

I've carried the thing for so long now, that when I break out the Colt 1911, MKIV Series 80 that I used to carry I'm simply amazed at how LONG and frankly, unwieldy the thing is! And I;ve also come to appreciate the double-action of the Astra over the SAO Colt.

I think she made a good choice, and she does too.

We have SIX kids, four of them under the age of six, that I feel a lot better about her having to wrangle four youngsters in the wal-mart parking lot when she's alone with them.

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