Do you love guns? Do you love your girlfriend? Do you wish your girlfriend loved guns?
Don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to turn your girl on to shooting.
While I’m not typically one to give relationship advice, I am one to regularly give shooting advice.
I’m also a girl, so I understand the female mind better than most. Unless your sweetie is completely anti-gun (I’m silently judging her), there are some ways to pique her interest and potentially turn her into just as much of a gun nut as you.
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Reasons To Get Your Girl Into Guns
There are plenty of reasons you may want to get your better half into shooting. However, some of those reasons are certainly better than others.
If your main motivation for trying to get her hooked on shooting is so she’ll quit nagging you about how much time/money you spend on your “hobby,” that’s not the best reason. I promise, she’ll find something else to complain about.
Maybe you want her to shoot because you think chicks with guns are sexy. While this is largely true, showing off pictures of your girl with an AR-15 shouldn’t be the primary reason for taking her to the range.
Some very valid reasons to get your girlfriend interested in shooting are:
- You want to share your passion with someone you love.
- You want to spend quality time hunting or shooting with one of your favorite people.
- There is a firearm in the house, and you want her to know how to use it safely and effectively if the need arises.
- You want her to be capable of protecting herself, and you realize firearms are terrific force equalizers.
- EVERYONE should have at least a basic understanding of gun safety.
- You need a competent partner for the zombie apocalypse.
If these reasons aren’t enough to convince her, then maybe she’s beyond being convinced. Let’s assume that’s not the case, though. Otherwise, you may need to do some serious soul searching.
(At least that’s what I would suggest if I were the type to give out relationship advice. Lucky for you, this is an article about shooting, not relationships.)
The Rise of Female Shooters
Gone are the days of shooting being only a “guy thing.” According to the NSSF, approximately 37 percent of new shooters are female. This means the gun range is no longer a male refuge. Although we are still very much the minority, there are plenty of shooters without a Y chromosome putting lead downrange.
Despite the growing trend, there is still a social stigma surrounding women shooters. Female hunters are regularly shamed in the media, and some like Eva Shockey and Kendall Jones receive regular death threats. The media also has a habit of painting gun owners as morally questionable.
Obviously, these aren’t going to be major selling points for getting your girlfriend to the range.
However, if your girlfriend is digging her heels in and resisting giving shooting a shot, it could be due to these common negative perceptions. You may need to address these perceptions before you try to lure her to the range.
If possible, introduce her to some female shooters. We tend to smash the stereotypes of the “gun guy.” Most of us are pretty approachable, and we love to help get other women started in shooting.
Make Her First Experience a Good One
If you want your girlfriend to love shooting, you need to do everything within your power to prevent a bad first experience. This is especially if she’s never fired a weapon in her entire life.
Think about shooting with your girlfriend like your first date. If that first romantic encounter had gone south, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity for a second.
The same is true of shooting. You want to woo her with that first trigger pull. If it isn’t enjoyable, she probably won’t be making a second trip with you to the range.
What makes for a bad first experience? Nine times out of ten it comes down to gun selection.
Hand her too much gun, and she’ll never want to pull the trigger again. So, while it may be tempting for the laughs, don’t hand her your subcompact .45 ACP or your 12-gauge loaded with magnum slugs.
While those weapons can be fun to shoot for someone with some experience under their belt, they aren’t exactly great for the uninitiated.
Let her first experience be soft and gentle (Yes, there is an analogy here that I will leave unsaid). A full-size 9mm (might I recommend the Glock 17?) or a .22 long rifle are great options for that very first time.
You can always go hard and heavy later when she feels more comfortable. (There is so much innuendo here.)
Practice Safe Shooting
Nothing is more important than safety, even if it’s her first time. Do everything you can to prevent an accident.
Not only do you need to teach her the four basic rules of gun safety, but you also need to follow them religiously. As the experienced shooter in the relationship, you need to set the example.
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Don’t forget your eye and ear pro. Invest in some quality safety gear for both of you, and don’t forget to use it.
Also, let her help pick hers out. If she likes purple, let her get the purple safety glasses.
Prepare Her for the Experience
That first trip to the gun range can be pretty scary, and a nervous woman with a firearm is bad news. Let her know what to expect, and be prepared to leave if she starts to feel overwhelmed.
Before your range trip, take some time to describe the atmosphere. Let her know it’s going to be loud, and fill her in on range rules and procedures.
Explain the gun and how it works. It will be hard to give direction at the range due to noise, so cover as much as you can before you hit the range.
Set Her Up for Success
If she doesn’t experience success, she’s going to walk away, frustrated and unsatisfied (Yep. I’m still milking the analogy.). You want her to hit the target on that very first trip to the range.
Start with a large, close-range target. Seven to ten yards is plenty. You want her to experience some measurable success right off the bat.
Take it Slow
It’s easy for experienced shooters to neglect the basics when we begin with a newbie. Even though the fundamentals may come naturally to you, you need to start your girlfriend’s shooting experience here. It will set her up for shooting success, and success will get her hooked.
Be patient and walk her through proper stance, grip, sight alignment, and trigger control. Just don’t talk to her like she is stupid. Correct her gently when she makes a mistake, but don’t let her practice poor technique.
(Refresh your basics with our Beginner’s Guides to Guns!)
Never smirk or roll your eyes at her, even when her back is turned. We can sense that crap, even when we can’t see you.
Once she’s shooting, let her go at her own pace. If she only wants to shoot a few rounds, don’t take it personally. It may take some time for her to become comfortable with the idea of shooting. Let her take the lead and respect her comfort levels.
Not every woman falls in love with shooting the first time she hits the range.
Sign Her Up for a Class
If you aren’t a particularly patient teacher, sign her up for a class. She may feel more comfortable learning the basics from someone who isn’t you.
No offense, but sometimes boyfriends don’t make the best instructors for their girlfriends, even when those boyfriends are shooting instructors.
Instruction can easily be taken as criticism when it comes from someone you love. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t feel slighted. Just get her started with some teaching she won’t take so personally.
And if she’s feeling intimidated by all your macho shooting buddies, a Ladies Only class or a female shooting instructor may be just what she needs to let her guard down and open up to the idea of shooting.
Let Her Choose Her Own Weapon
If your girlfriend expresses a desire to shoot, she should have her own gun. Don’t give her one of your cast-offs. And don’t pinch too many pennies on the purchase.
Her interest shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought or an inconvenience. Quality isn’t cheap and investing in a quality firearm will go a long way in keeping her interested in the sport.
Resist the urge to buy her a model you want. You know? Just in case she doesn’t stick with shooting? (Even if you’ve had your heart set on a new pistol caliber carbine, for like forever.)
You should let her have a hand in choosing her own weapon. However, don’t be afraid to guide her in the right direction.
Some women, especially those who are a little apprehensive about shooting, seem to gravitate toward those cute, tiny micro pistols in the display case. Especially the ones in bright pinks and teals.
However, while these smaller firearms may seem less intimidating to her, they are going to be much harder for her to shoot. Their miniature size makes recoil harder to handle, even when they are chambered in softer-hitting calibers.
Like with many other things in life, size matters.
Steer her away from those precious pint-sized pistols like the Sig Sauer P365 or the micro Glock 43. Give her something with a little more mass to hold onto, and she’ll have a more positive first experience. (Still riding the innuendo train.)
If she still reaches for that turquoise Ruger, try not to roll your eyes (as long as the color isn’t the only reason she wants it). It’s her gun. Not yours.
Besides, most women like pretty things. If your woman wants to tuck a pretty turquoise pistol up under her pretty feminine blouse, consider yourself lucky.
I’d place money on the fact that her femininity is one of the things you love about her. Don’t make her feel silly for being a woman.
Even if you do win your girlfriend over to shooting, it should become her hobby and passion, not just an extension of yours. Let her follow her own course.
If her path takes her into fast-paced 3 Gun while you’re more of a self-defense kind of guy, embrace it. If she prefers high-powered rifles while you’re in love with handguns, that’s okay.
There is plenty of room in a relationship for variety, and at least you can share some quality time cleaning your weapons. Bonding over the wafting aroma of Rem Oil can be… oh, so romantic.
Do you have any tips for getting your better half to have fun at the shooting range? Share your experiences with us in the comments. Need some advice on buying a handgun for the love of your life? Check out our article on the Best Handguns for Beginners & Home Defense and Best Handguns for Women.