Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been into guns.  I was surprised when the words “two years” came out of my mouth.  It feels like just yesterday I was all, “Uh-uh.  No guns! Not up in here!”.  But then, you know, the times are a’changing.  Now my sweet Smith and Wesson Shield rests a mere sleepy arm’s length away from me every night and trips to the gun range are like candy for a greedy child.  I certainly don’t consider myself an expert (and truth be told, I have some qualms with that word, in the first place) but there are definitely a few things I’ve learned along the way that would have been helpful earlier in my journey.  So, I put together a little list of  things I wish I could go back and tell myself about shooting and the gun world. 

1.  You’re better at this than you think you are.  Stick with it.  Try not to get discouraged.

2.  Focus on the fun.  Gun safety is serious, but shooting guns is just plain, dumb fun.  Don’t get overwhelmed by all that tactical operator, extreme carbine, pistol manipulation,  super ninja, gun nut stuff.  You’re not going to be La Femme Nikita right off the bat.  (But seriously, some of that gun nut stuff is pretty rad and you should check it out on YouTube.  You’ll like it).

3.  Even though you don’t see many people in the gun world like you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you or that you aren’t providing a valuable perspective.

4. When your real-life friends and family give you horrified looks after you tell them you own guns, just smile sweetly and be patient.  You know you’re not crazy, they know you’re not crazy.  It will all work itself out.

5. When the cranky, old fart at the gun range tells you not to put your finger over the barrel of the gun while you’re shooting, smile sweetly and tell him to eat a bag of dicks.

6. You’re going to run into outdated thinking, bad attitudes, preconceived ideas, ignorance and outright disrespect just because you don’t fit into the “traditional gun owner” mold.  Eff that.  You’re not in it for those people anyway.  There is a community of supportive, encouraging people who are thrilled to count you among their ranks, and will  welcome you with open arms.  Be friends with them.

7.  Don’t rush into buying a gun for concealed carry.  Once you make up your mind that you’re going to carry, it’s easy to get impatient, but there are a lot of considerations and a lot of guns to choose from.  Don’t settle for something you don’t really like or isn’t comfortable to shoot.  Take your time or you’ll end up kissing a lot of frogs.

8.  You CAN carry concealed in (cute) women’s clothes! Do not despair! You don’t have to dress like a lady cop or a homeless person, and you don’t have to buy some Mickey Mouse, pink, sparkly gear just because that’s the ladies’ model.  Just put a little time and effort into it (You already like to shop.  How much of a hardship is this really going to be?) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can hide under your t-shirt. (wink)

9.  Prepare to be underestimated.  Then prepare to not give a single shit.

10.  Listen to what everyone has to say about guns, but don’t believe anything as gospel.  The gun world is a rapidly evolving place filled with countless would-be experts, especially on the internet.  Many ideas that are espoused as facts are really opinions.  There’s also a lot of good information out there.  Do your own research.  Ask a lot of questions. Try things for yourself.

11. You will mostly learn by making mistakes, but that’s ok because it will still be plain, dumb fun.  Don’t let failures, mistakes or missteps spoil the pure joy of shooting.

What would you tell your former newbie self about shooting and guns?

28 thoughts on “Girl, I got some things I wanna say to you..

  1. I might also recomend finding a basic course or two, and take time to find a good trainer. Interview them and see if it is someone you want to work with, some are in ruts, this is how it has always been done, and some are open minded, and up to date on training methods and equipment

  2. #10 is relaly important if you ask me. Especially if you are female. You will get TONS of advise (mostly from guys that think they are know-it-all badasses, hahaha), telling you ALL sorts of different things – sometimes conflicting with other things you’ve heard. Do your own thing. Read up on what’s out there and stick to your guns (no pun intended). Form your own opinions. When it comes to posture stance, what gun you buy, what holster you buy, where and how you shoot (be safe of course) it’s really all up to you. and what you are comfortable with. and HAVE FUN!!!!

  3. Agree with all of it except the finger over the barrel while shooting thing. Can’t imagine doing that, but that’s just me. Good list, hope lots are reading it!

    1. Haha! I guess I should clarify that one a little. The range employee who said that to me is notoriously condescending to both women and anyone else he deems suspicious, which really means that if you are not an older, white, clean-cut male, he’s going to give you a hard time. That comment came after months of him forgetting my name (though he calls my husband by his nickname), ignoring me, giving me unsolicited advice and generally talking down to me. I didn’t really say that to him, but in retrospect, I wish I had.

      1. That would be extremely annoying….I deem HIM suspicious! And would have said something (I don’t know what but your thought was good!) I just can’t figure out what your grip is like with your finger over the barrel…do you mean alongside the barrel (your supporting hand)? I’m trying to picture it in my head…and of course I have your reply-thought stuck in there too lol

  4. Find a Gun range with female employees. I have three in my area, and two of them are always trying to charge me more for ammo then they should, let people rapid fire, shoot desert eagles like madmen, and other unsafe things. The range I go to has two awesome women that work there, and they take the edge off the testosterone.

  5. I love this blog and your attitude! (#5 cracked me up!) I am relatively new to shooting myself and I can’t get enough of it. I’m fortunate in that I now get to work with new female shooters at a range in Denver, and I love seeing them embrace the joy and self-confidence that comes with knowing how to handle firearms. So awesome!

    Thanks for sharing this entertaining blog. Based on this alone, I’ll be following your blog. Love your sense of humor and sass!

      1. Yes, I work part-time at BluCore Shooting Center in the Denver area. It’s owned and operated by 2 former SEAL Team 6 Operators. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from the best!

  6. Loved the article. Now before I get flamed by the “don’t tell me what to do” trolls, let me say respectfully, I am a pastor and an avid shooter who advocates especially for women and girls to learn defensive shooting and shooting sports in general. I am married with two girls (and two boys as well). I REALLY wanted to share your article. I desperately wanted to share your article. But professionally could not share it for the language. (“Eat a bag of…”etc) I’m not offended. As a sinner saved by grace my unchecked language is as bad or worse than what is in this article. But I’m trying to do better. Please think about sounding more professional. I’d LOVE to share your work.

    Rev Mark R. Simonds

    1. Rev, you beat me to it and said much better than I could have. Rebecca, while I enjoyed your blog as a 57 year old female, I was put off by the language. It is your blog and you can do what ever you please, but it restricts me from sharing (and giving you a wider readership) with many of my friends and family. I hope I have not offended you, that was not my intent, only to provide some alternative input. BTW, I been shooting for over 15 years.

      1. Thank you both for your feedback. I am curious if either of you read any of the other posts on my site. There are many articles which are written in a more journalistic style. This piece, however, is strictly creative writing. And as such, it utilizes the tone and language that I felt were most appropriate for conveying my message. Going forward, I reserve the right to use all and any words necessary to communicate my message. I am of the mind that if you are old enough and mature enough to handle a gun, then you are old enough and mature enough to understand adult language and when it’s useful and appropriate. I am, in no way, seeking to offend or alienate members of the community. I respect that you don’t agree with my choice of verbiage. You are welcome to not share this with anyone, but please respect what I am trying to do here and don’t imply that I am unprofessional by using strong language.

  7. Buying a gun is like buying a pair of shoes. You don’t just go into a store, grab the closest pair to you, and buy them. You have to find a gun that fits YOU. Then you have to decide what the gun is FOR, and select one accordingly. Bestadvice is find a range that rents guns, and try as many as it takes, and don’t “settle for” anything other than what works perfectly FOR YOU. You are the one that has made the decision to quit being a victim, and your choices should and will reflect that. Oh, one more thing. By and large, women have better hand/eye co-ordination, and better dexterity. These things are critical to good shooting. So practice often, and welcome to the club!

  8. I learned a long time ago, years and years, that a woman that is interested in shooting, and applies herself, can usually out shoot me (or any other man) most of the time. I have thought about this a lot, and I believe that it is because women are natural multitaskers. A man thinks about grip, sight picture, trigger squeeze, and etc sequentially. Once learned, women think of it as a gestalt. Some men do also, those who spend most of their lives at the range! As a corollary, DO NOT disrespect a shooting woman. Might want to stretch that to “A human being”!!

  9. This is a great article Rebecca. I am so glad to have found your BLOG. I think if there was one thing I would go back and tell myself it is to ignore the hype and paranoia regarding gun ownership. We have a fundamental right to protect ourselves and our families. Like I tell people, evil exists in this world…be prepared to meet it.

  10. Shop around for your guns first yet them at the range if possible.

    Don’t be afraid to do your own work on your own guns. Saves lots of money on a gunsmith plus you’ll have a far better understanding of the inner workings of your gun.

    Never be get complacent with knowledge if guns, there’s always something new to learn, and at the same token don’t get overwhelmed, everyone was a newbie at guns once in their life nobody is born knowing everything about guns.

  11. One thing I would add, becuse it’s the best-kept secret from new shooters. (Since we all know it and forget to tell them.)
    The lighter a gun is, the harder it will kick.
    I see lots of new shooters looking at ultra-light .38s and itty-bitty .380s and thinking, “It’s ittle. It’s light. It’s cute. It’ll be easy to shoot.” Just the opposite. Such guns do have a place, but they should never be anyone’s ONLY gun.

  12. Hello Rebecca this was a great article. I learned a lot and I am encouraged. I will look through your site and enjoy more great articles I’m sure!


  13. I wrote a long comment and then I realized I was being one of those old farts who offers unsolicited advice.

    So let me shorten it to this: Great essay. Thanks for making my day better.

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