No. Really. Just stop.
I came across a post on Twitter that made a statement about the lack female participation in armed self-defense. It’s a topic I’ve heard on several podcasts, read on blogs, and discussed with several gun owners. I believe men, while meaning well, are partially to blame for the lack of female participation in shooting sports.
Shooting sports and armed self-defense are male dominated. I’ll even go further. They are predominantly dominated by middle and upper class white males. I’ve got no stats or references to back that up that statement. I’m just going off who I tend to see at shooting events, the gun range, and gun stores. Frankly, I’d like to see a lot more diversity.
Why do I think men are partially to blame?
There have been a number of times I have seen a lady at the gun store usually accompanied by a male and usually being helped by a male behind the gun counter. It’s fairly common to overhear the male clerk say something to the effect off, “You need a .38 Special revolver for self defense” or the male companion suggest that a gun or a cartridge maybe too much for her to handle. Now, I think these men mean well. I believe they are genuinely trying to assist the lady. However, this approach puts people off.
I’m not immune to this behavior. My wife recently expressed interest in going hunting. Of course, I’m giddy as giddy can be about sharing my passion for hunting with my wife. It just so happens we were at a sporting goods store the other day where we took a gander at the hunting rifles and, lo and behold, I suggest a rifle chambered for .243 Winchester or a .270 Winchester would be best for her. Foot meet mouth. We left the sporting goods store empty handed.
Seriously, we, men, need to stop doing that. Frankly, we should know better. I don’t know about you, but my wife ain’t too keen on me telling her what to do – even when she directly asks me what I suggest.
Just like any other shooter, ladies have to find out and learn what works for them. That’s a gun they are comfortable with and capable of operating. That may or may not mean a “ladies” version of a rifle or a .38 Special revolver.
So what can men do instead?
It’s not rocket science. How would you help any other shooter? Make sure they are comfortable. Help them find opportunities to try different guns and different cartridges. Ask them what they like or don’t like. Answer questions. When asked make suggestions about what they may want to try or consider. And for the love of God, let them arrive at their own conclusion and make their own decision.
That’s what I’m going to do for my wife, just like I would do for any other person. Granted my wife will get extra attention and a VIP treatment. Mostly because she is my wife, but also to get out of dog house.