Getting the wife shooting; our story

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Smaug, Aug 29, 2022.

  1. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    When I first met her about 3.5 years ago, she was pretty anti-gun. I explored that delicately when we were dating, and decided it is more of a lack of gun education than anything rational.

    Over the years, she has asked questions that I've answered, and she slowly built up a low level interest. One time, I mentioned I'll take her shooting with me, and she was really happy and excited. She was happy that I didn't just consider it a "Guy Thing" that I would rather leave her out of.

    A few weeks ago, I took her to the range, where I had her try my Ruger Mk. II Target model. She liked it, but thought it was too heavy. She could cock it; only flinched a bit, which we worked out pretty quickly.

    Next, I let her shoot my Hi-Power. She REALLY likes that one, but hasn't got the hand, arm or chest strength to use it independently. She COULD do it, but had to struggle and messed it up about half the time.

    Then, she said she wanted to try my new carry gun, the Sig P365. She was refreshed, saying "Oh, this is nice and light!" I said: "Yes, but it also kicks harder because of that. It won't hurt you, but it'll jump quite a bit more in your hand than the Hi-Power." I don't think she really believed me until she shot it. That one, there was NO WAY she could rack the slide; just couldn't grab on.

    When the day was done, she said she had fun and was happy I was so patient with her.

    I mentioned maybe she's a revolver gal, and told her there's no need to rack the slide or keep one's elbow and wrist locked for it to work right.

    I mentioned it here in a thread somewhere, and some helpful member recommended a S&W Shield EZ. The local shop has one in 380; that slide is REALLY easy to rack, and has the protruding ears on the back to make it easier to grab ahold of. I showed her a pic of it, and she was: "Meh." I brought her in to look at it in person, and she liked it a little better. I wish they had one in 9 mm. The shop owner said the slide is only a smidge harder to rack on it, compared to the 380.

    Fast forward a few weeks and I brought her shooting with me again yesterday, when we shot only revolvers. When I was packing up the guns to take, I showed her all my revolvers:

    • 5" S&W 625 in 45 ACP (too big, she doesn't like it)
    • 4" S&W 19 in 357 Mag. Gunsmithed. (ugly; too big)
    • 3" Ruger SP-101 in 357 Mag. (she likes the look of it, and it's our home defense gun, so I packed it)
    • 7.5" Ruger Redhawk in 44 Mag. (she dislikes it; way too big and heavy. I packed it anyway, to help illustrate that big/heavy can be a benefit and doesn't always mean hard to shoot)
    • 1.75" Ruger LCR in 38 Spl. (I packed it because she likes how light and small it is)
    We shot the three we brought, and here's how it went:

    1. LCR, as predicted: She likes the gun, but not actually SHOOTING it.
    2. SP-101 with 38 +P level reloads. "This is OK, but not easy to hit with."
    3. Redhawk with 44 Spl "-P" level reloads. She thought I was trying to prank her to see her react to heavy recoil. I assured her it wasn't the case. She shot it and really struggled to hold it up, but she did GREAT with it. Complained that her arms are sore from holding it up.
    Now, she has mixed feelings but is trusting my next step. I want to buy her a gun and I read the sticky thread on the subject. I'll let her make the final decision, but this is what I'm thinking comes next:

    • Rent the Shield EZ in 380 that one local shop/range has and a box of ammo and let her shoot it. See how she likes it.
    • See if they have a small or medium framed S&W or Colt revolver for rent, but not as small & light as the LCR. Maybe like my SP-101, but with a better trigger?
    • Bring the S&W 19 next time we shoot. I think maybe it's on the big side for her hands and it's the square butt version, so there's not much more I can do, grip-wise.
    Anyone local with something that might be suitable that we could maybe meet at a range and try?

    Other thoughts?

    ****************************************************

    In other news, I took the class and applied for my CC license. It should come in a week. I tried to get her to take the class with me, with the understanding that I would not necessarily expect her to carry; I just wanted her along for the education part. She didn't want to.

    I think I'm going to buy her a gun training package from the local place that's geared toward women. (she's a girly girl, before you start telling me how your wife doesn't need girly stuff to succeed at shooting, hehehe) It's 4 or 8 hours worth of class, followed by a trip to the range supervised by the co-owner of the shop, who is a woman. She speaks Womaneze, so that my wife just follows immediately and doesn't feel intimidated.

    Maybe I'll confirm if it's refundable in case she decides she doesn't want to go...

    What do you think of that plan?

    ******************************************

    I'll update this thread as things progress. Maybe it'll help someone else, too...
     
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  2. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Arm strength seems to be an ongoing issue. I don’t know if there are limitations that cannot be overcome or not but some type of conditioning/exercise with light weights or resistance bands would certainly help.

    I will bet she’d like a Glock 44 in .22LR. Very easy to rack, very light, easy to shoot, boring reliability for me, negligible recoil. With proper ammo, it’s better than a sharp stick and it looks identical to a G19.
     
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  3. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    My wife shoots a Sig P365. She didn't have any problems racking the slide. Just needed practice which I made her do before letting her shoot. Right now she is taking lessons from a female instructor who used to teach firearms for the Army. Last week had a lesson on the basics of the 1911, , parts, takedown and assembly. She shot the 1911 last range trip with her instructor. They then took it apart and she got a lesson on cleaning. Yes the Sig does jump a bit more, but she handles it well. Now she wants a fuller size 9 MM. She shot my friend's Canik. I was thinking about a Sig or Glock. As long as it works, I am good with it. She is pretty good with the 1911. She brought a target home and except for shooting low, it wasn't too bad. I just told her we need to make sure its shooting low due to sights and not movement. I have just the cure. Its much easier having someone training her versus doing it myself. I am patient and then some, sometimes its better to have an outsider train.
     
  4. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I'm not sure she'd be willing to work out "just to shoot a gun", but I'll mention it when a good time comes up. ;-)

    Good suggestion! I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with her having a 22LR that she may want to use for defense, though. Does Glock make one in 22 WMR?
     
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  5. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I'm thinking now about 22 Mag pistols, maybe something with a 3" barrel? (not including chambers) Seems like it's just snubbies and full size pistols.

    Oooh, maybe an 22 WMR LCRx, since she liked my 38 LCR except for the recoil? They make one with a 3" barrel. It's a few ounces heavier, with a bit more barrel to get a bit more velocity out of the WMR than it would see with snubbies. Adjustable sights and a SA option. It doesn't appear to have a full-length ejector rod, though. That seems like a missed opportunity.
    https://ruger.com/products/lcrx/specSheets/5437.html

    6.jpg
     
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  6. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    When i met my wife. She didn't like pit-bulls,guns or snakes. Now she has 18 snakes 6 guns. And she loves our pittys. :D
     
  7. dh1633pm
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    dh1633pm Contributing Member

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    When I first met my wife she hated spiders. She still hates spiders. I did get her to shoot my Colt King Cobra. My loads were loaded down to about strong 38 level. She handled it well. I always make her practice before letting her actually shoot.
     
  8. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I just read the Chuck Hawks team review of the 3" LCRx in 22 WMR. Take-aways:

    - Really heavy DA trigger at > 12 lbs.
    - Heavy SA trigger at 5 lbs.
    (Chuck believes it doesn't need to be that heavy for reliable ignition, but I bet Ruger tested some shady ammo and was going for zero failures to fire)
    - Front sight is too short or rear sight is too tall; except at point-blank.
    + Substantially improved ballistics due to having a 3" barrel instead of 1-7/8", though they wished for a 4" option.
    + Accurate
    +/- Much reduced recoil, compared to centerfire LCRs, but equivalent muzzle blast. (can't have everything)
    + 22 WMR is more effective than 25 ACP or 32 ACP, just a bit less effective than 327 Fed Mag and less effective than 38 Spl., 9 mm Luger and 357 Magnum.

    This might be a great gun for Cari. (her colleagues have heard of her recent gun adventures and now refer to her as "Concealed Cari" :-D )
     
  9. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    I always liked the Ladysmith 3913. Safety is easy and intuitive. Don’t know what the Slide is like to rack but would think it’s tailored towards the female ability.
     
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  10. James Fonteneaux

    James Fonteneaux Member

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    Good on you for being patient. Over the years, we have tried the EZ in 9mm and the LCR. Both were solid meh guns. They were traded for a Springfield Ronin EMP that my wife loves. She took her LTC class with a Glock 19 that she recently repo'd from me when we took a defensive carbine class earlier this year. That gun is well broken in, comfortable for her to shoot, and she feels confident with it.
     
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  11. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    My wife is fairly petite, and not ideologically opposed to guns (which frankly surprises me given her ethnicity and how much gun control exists in her home country.) She just doesn’t have a lot of interest in shooting for shooting’s sake. So getting her to shoot is a work in progress, so to speak. She’s open to carry (when she feels it advisable) or learning to shoot for home defense, though.

    When it comes to guns she really struggles to find one that she feels fits her hand well with good reach to the controls, and which she also can rack. In 2018 (I think) we went to a gunshow together and tried everything likely. The S&W Shield EZ in .380 had just come out, and she could work it, but it came in 3rd. she preferred the Glock 42 (380) but most of all the Sig P238. So that’s what we got her. Your lady may feel differently from mine, but just passing on the experience, because they’re just not built the way we men tend to be, and while we might be motivated to “master” a gun that doesn’t fit us well, they might not, if they don’t come to it already with a passion for guns or shooting.
     
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  12. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    My wifey has damaged wrists. She can shoot a 32 H&R magnum revolver. She doesn't love to, but she has no problem with the recoil or trigger. She is okay with me leaving it loaded in her room when I'm out of town. She has two enormous dogs anyway.

    My daughter always enjoyed shooting 22's and 32's. Now that she has her full growth, she enjoys 38 special and 9mm, if the handgun is steel and fits her hand pretty well. She is comfortable and accurate with her skinny-barreled 4" Model 10 (especially after I got grips that fit her better).

    Would a 3" 38 special K frame work for the OP's spouse? It might need aftermarket grips.

    Would a steel 3" 38 special J frame be heavy enough for recoil mitigation? Again, aftermarket grips might help a lot.

    No offense, but the SP101 is awkward revolver for some of us. A different steel 38 with mild practice ammo might be more suitable.

    A 32 revolver is a far, far better choice than a 22 revolver, IMHO. The Ruger LCRx is available in 327 magnum. It will shoot 32 S&W long just fine. 32 S&W long has barely more recoil than a 22, but it shoots a significantly fatter and heavier bullet. My daughter would cheerfully shoot 32 S&W long when she was eight. A 32 revolver will usually have a better trigger than a 22 revolver of the same model, too.

    My wife and daughter understand the manual of arms of a revolver just fine. Neither one of them would be able to handle any sort of problem with a semiauto under any kind of pressure, nor are they interested in practicing enough to improve to that point.





     
  13. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    That looks great. Seems like they're getting collectible now, and are worth as much or more than an equivalent new model. ($600 w/one mag on gunbroker) That's more than I'd like to spend on a used gun from the 90s, but if I come across one and it's a good fit for her, I'll get it.

    That will be too big & heavy for her, I think.

    A good recommendation. Easy to find for rental, too. I'll rent one and have her shoot it.

    32 H&R Magnum ammo is getting hard to find. I guess the more modern equivalent is 327 Fed Mag, which would also shoot 32 Long. (is 32 S&W Long still available, or would I be looking at handloading?)


    We will see how she likes my S&W 19, which is a 4" K frame. It has a bit heavier barrel than a 10 and a bit heavier cylinder, but a fantastic trigger and will probably kick less than the SP-101 with given ammo. She has small hands and is weak of upper body, so maybe a J frame with regular 38 Spl ammo?

    No offense taken. I home-tuned the trigger mechanism with polishing and a spring set, but it's still not awesome. I think maybe you're on the right track.

    Good points. I just have to decide if I want to get into handloading another caliber. If I'm going to do that, I guess I may as well look for an old S&W in 32 S&W Long, get some brass, etc. I bet it's easy to reload for. An old S&W will be lighter than an SP-101 and have a better trigger, too. I guess it'll come down to supply and price, if I go that route.

    I have a feeling she's going to say my 19 is too big & heavy, but not by a lot. The SP-101 is just about the right size & weight; it could just use a BIT less recoil and a better DA trigger. Seems to point to mild 38 handloads or a 32 S&W Long. Do you really think the longer cylinder of a 327 Fed Mag would not adversely affect accuracy with 32 S&W Long loads?

    Yeah, it would take me a lot of training to get her to clear a jam in an automatic. She would be overwhelmed and lose the fight if it came down to that.

    Seeing your guns, I've had a S&W 64. It had mechanical issues. Maybe shot too much magnum in its previous police life.

    The Charter 32 Magnum is not a bad idea. Did they make it in a 3"?

    The Taurus 82... I remember when those came out. Are they OK if they're gunsmithed? How's the trigger compared to an SP-101? I seem to remember they were just like a S&W, but less refined and with the occasional quality issues.
     
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  14. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    Here's some footage of Cari shooting the SP-101 with 38 +P loaded on the mild side: (105 gr. bullet, 5.3 gr. of Win 231) I could load this quite a bit lighter for her; down to 3.4 gr. or so of Win 231. You can see some flinch, but I've seen worse.


    ...and here she is shooting the LCR. She's clearly shaken by this; doesn't like it at all. Look at the big flinch before the second shot. This is with factory 38 Spl and 158 LRN. Maybe we will try this again with lighter reloads. 105-125 gr. bullets and a lighter powder load. Lots of that powder (even in 38 Spl) is burning outside the barrel, so it isn't helping velocity anyway.
     
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  15. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Mine was introduced using the following:

    Bersa Thunder 380: two shots, one each in SA and DA, wanted no more.

    Charter Arms Undercover 38. Five shots, wanted no more.

    Heritage Rough Rider 4.75". Enjoyed it, but gun was "too heavy." She actually does have very dainty wrists.

    Phoenix HP22A: Enjoyed it, weight felt nice, but no way could she have slide-racked it, nor manually cocked an at-rest hammer.

    Taurus PT22, the old, aluminum-framed version: Oddly enough, her favorite. Filled the hand well, consistent trigger, good recoil management. She kept coming back to this one. I've always liked it, too.

    In the end, she won't shoot anything bigger than a .22, so an identical gun in .25ACP became the gun that gets left out when I'm not home. I did recently come into an old Undercoverette in .32 SWL, but haven't tried it out yet. That might be one she could handle, but I'm leery about stepping down to only six rounds. I'd rather her have nine of .22 in a revolver, but revolvers are still heavy for her (I have a Taurus 94 that we didn't try out that day; I don't recall why.)
     
  16. Mark 40
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    Mark 40 Contributing Member

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    Smaug, first I'd like to compliment you on the way you are handling everything. You willingness to go slow and search for just the right firearm is great.

    I like the 3" LCR idea in 22WMR.

    Agreed. I'm recoil sensitive and have less grip strength than I used to after hand surgeries. So I've really come to appreciate 32 revolvers. I have two S&W revolvers, one a 327FM and the other 32H&R. But I only use 32 S&WL with them. Have never had much issue finding 32 S&WL ammo. The LCR 327 only comes in the 1.875" model, unlike the 3" 22WMR which is something to consider depending on what she might like handling the best.

    Starting out, Introduced my wife to many handguns, starting with 22LR semi-autos and revolvers. Any attempts at increasing calibers was not to her liking. She decided that revolvers were for her, she owns a 1.875" LCR. She prefers the larger Hogue tamer grip on it rather than the smaller tamer it came with. She enjoys my 3" and 4"J Frames in 22LR as well. I'm not disappointed in the least with her choice because she had the opportunity to make her own choice.

     
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  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    That shield E-Z is a great choice for people like her.
     
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  18. Sacramento Johnson

    Sacramento Johnson Member

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    I suggest getting a Ruger single six with a 5 1/2 or 6 1/2 inch barrel, in 22 LR. This is a simple handgun to use and learn from. As a revolver, it has no slide to rack, limp wristing isn't really a concern, it does not weigh very much, recoil is negligable and it can be very accurate, thereby giving instantaneous positive feedback. At this point, it sounds like she needs to find a comfortable firearm she can hopefully get used to shooting for pleasure with. I would not try to have her jump into a home defense/CCW type firearm at present; the small semis and small light weight revolvers are not good pleaurable teaching firearms in my opinion. If she finds she enjoys shooting and wants to progress to home defense/CCW type shooting, then discuss/look into those types of firearms.
     
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  19. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    :thumbup::thumbup: on getting your wife into shooting. I got mine started before she became my wife. Well, actually we were out hunting in the sand dunes under the caprock and I had my single six and and she told me she wanted to shoot it so I handed it over. She asked how it worked so I explained. She knew the safety rules as she had gone rabbit hunting with her dad many times but it was always with a rifle.
     
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  20. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    I've gotten my wife to the range twice and thought a Ruger single six 22LR would be good to start with. She shot it very well but had difficulty pulling the hammer back with her tiny hands. She wants to take the pistol permit course and I'll get her an instructor. I think a 22 cal semi auto with an easy to rack slide might work for her. I tried to teach her to ski and she got frustrated and ready to quit by noon. We got her an ski instructor and after a couple hours she was enjoying herself. Good luck!
     
  21. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I was very careful with my daughter. We only went to the range when she really felt like it, and she only shot guns she was comfortable with.

    She shot 22's and 32's for quite a while (a couple of years). I got a Colt Government 380 and she liked that okay. One day she shot her grandpa's Star 9mm because she was bored. Soon after she shot 38 special because her friend was doing it. She has no real interest in more powerful calibers.

    Things that helped were 1) taking her out for lunch after we went shooting 2) When my friend would bring his daughters along, too

    Gradually teaching her about shooting was awesome as a father/daughter thing. I also got some really cool handguns. I bought my Browning Buck Mark, Single Sixes in 22lr and 32 H&R, Colt 1903, Colt Government Model, and probably a few others, to help her learn to shoot. What an amazing opportunity to get some fun new handguns! :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
  22. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    [​IMG]

    The only centerfire revolver my ex-wife ever shot and liked to. I'm glad she left it behind when she ran off with her favorite hippie DJ.
     
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  23. Mark 40
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    Mark 40 Contributing Member

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    I can relate to your choice here. When my daughter and wife wanted to learn, took them to a range with a competent instructor. Preferred staying out of it, I suppose it's knowing yourself and your audience. That said plenty of guys do great teaching spouses and kids.
     
  24. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I do instruction part time and I hear stories similar to the ski story a lot. There's a relationship there that doesn't always work for learning new skills

    Good on you.
     
  25. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    That tears it: I'm buying her admission to our local class for ladies soon.

    Sometimes, when showing my wife something, I'll explain how to do something, demonstrate it, then ask her to do it and she doesn't get it. I can even move her fingers around, but she's stiff as a board; won't move. Then, one of her girlfriends will explain it in some dramatic and emotional way and she laughs and gets it immediately.
     
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