This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
This “Female Gun Owner” series has focused on various aspects of concealed carry and firearms in general which I didn’t expect or hadn’t planned for. (View article 1, article 2, and article 3 here.)
Each article delves deeper into things that never crossed my mind as a woman feeding my ever-growing firearms addiction.
The first aspect of this particular article was a shocker…but was in plain sight at the same time. And it makes no sense whatsoever.
One is the Loneliest Number…
Time for an embarrassing admission…“Hi. My name is Rachel. I’m unwilling to go to the shooting range by myself.” (Hi, Rachel!)
Any other time I’ve ever been to the range, my husband has taken me or I’ve gone with friends.
If I’m alone in my car, with my firearm(s) and range bag, I will find every excuse in the world not to go by myself.
Keep in mind, my husband and I own a gun store. I personally handle an average of 30-40 firearms before breakfast. I clear every single gun, every single time one is delivered and unboxed, and then again in front of the customer before handing it to them.
I smell like Hoppes No. 9 when I get home from a busy day at the shop.
My point is, I handle guns confidently all day, every day. Multiple times a day. I am NOT afraid of firearms. I own a dozen ARs myself. I’m not afraid of shooting guns either…
Just…not by myself…
I just don’t want someone keeping a watchful eye on me the whole time to make sure I’m “doing it right”. Someone who will step in before I’ve had a chance to clear the round myself and “help me” before I’ve asked for it.
Ultimately, I don’t want to be treated like a woman with a gun that shouldn’t have one.
I’m not alone on this one, either.
Think about the last time you saw a woman at the range all by herself.
I realize I will have several comments from men whose wives are perfectly comfortable going to the range on their own. I think that’s FANTASTIC!
The majority of women I know, interact with, and am friends with – while all gun loving and 2A supporting women…would NOT go to the range on their own if their schedules allowed them to say they had something else to do instead.
Even with a supportive husband. Even with supportive friends. It just ain’t happenin’. Not for me, anyway.
Much the same way I’m not likely to seek out training from my husband.
If You’re Gonna Be Stupid, You’ve Gotta Be Tough.
My dad always has the best sayings, one of which said, “If you’re gonna be stupid, you’ve gotta be tough.”
That’s a lesson that got me through a LOT in high school and college. I’m one tough chick in a lot of situations
…Unless it comes to going to the range with my husband.
(See the dichotomy here? I won’t go to the range alone, but I won’t listen to my husband when we go together.)
Don’t get me wrong – my husband is literally the smartest man I know – ESPECIALLY when it comes to things like ballistic coefficient, dwell time, and Coriolis effect. The man is a walking ballistics encyclopedia.
For WHATEVER reason, when we get out onto the range and I have a loaded firearm in my hand, it doesn’t matter WHAT he says – we wind up in an argument.
Bless him, he’s got the patience of Job. He can point out exactly what I need to do to correct an issue I’m having with a new firearm. And I still won’t get it.
Even when I WANT to get it…I won’t get it.
HOWEVER, an RSO can walk by, casually point out the exact same thing – and I’m aces. Everything clicks and I’m ringing steel with the best of them.
Being “tough” doesn’t help in a situation that could have been avoided. Especially involving firearms. Being stupid gets people hurt – and there’s ZERO room at the range for that!
Going to the range, selecting a good instructor…those are things that can be un-learned. She CAN be taught!
However, at the end of the day, there are just some biases that can’t be overcome.
Planet of the Apes
I said earlier that I own a gun store. I work behind the counter, greeting customers by name, helping with part selection on custom AR-15s and AR-10s, marketing, inventory, the works.
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard from women who want to purchase a firearm…but hate the idea of going to a gun store and talking to the knuckle-dragger behind the counter.
My own experience with a local store I was “secret shopping” ended when the guy behind the counter asked me (and I quote), “Are you gonna build yourself an AR there, little lady?”
Even in my own store, I run into biases I can’t overcome.
- “Excuse me, ma’am – is there someone here I can talk to about building an AR?”
- “Pardon me, miss – is your husband around?”
- “I’ve got an issue with my gun – is there someone here who knows about guns?”
In fact, just the other day I was telling a female customer about my articles here on TFB. We were sharing issues we each had with everyday carry and modern, feminine clothing.
I asked aloud, “What am I supposed to do? Pull up my dress to get the gun around my waist?” to which the male shopper behind her said, “Heh heh heh – at least it’d be a show!”
She and I both looked at each other knowingly and moved the conversation in another direction.
But that’s my point.
Women often FEEL inept around firearms because we often run into situations like the “laughing man” behind my customer.
Or the fact that recoil bothers us more because we are less likely to work with our hands every day and therefore don’t have the same grip strength.
Or that most of the modern media today portrays the modern man as a buffoon, incapable of putting on his own pants without a woman’s assistance each day. (Completely untrue, by the way. Shew – that’s another topic for another day.
When it all comes down to it, I think most women want the chance to decide what caliber they like. To choose whether or not they want to conceal or open carry. To be in charge of clearing their own firearm if they don’t ask for help first.
At the same time, women also have to know when to be tough…and when to admit they need assistance. To avoid admonishment when they don’t know how to operate a firearm…but to know enough to speak up and say that they don’t know, rather than worry about being told what to do.
Firearms training, education, conversations…it’s all about finding that middle ground and realizing that we’re all on the same team. We all fight the same common nameless, faceless enemy who would do us harm, male or female.
And if the time ever comes when we’re forced to defend our lives in a dangerous situation, we don’t need to be told what to do – we can make an educated, well-informed decision, and squeeze.