“You look too feminine to be a firearms instructor”
That was what a dealer at the River City Casino said to me after finding out what I did for a living.
While I sat there for the next hour… my goal was to be a positive ambassador to all firearms owners…
This last weekend, I attended The Well Armed Women’s Instructor Certification training in St. Louis, MO.
Along with 15 other women from across the country, we gathered and discussed how working with female students is quite different from working with a male one.
To date… many of us female instructors have been trained by men… we have had to learn what we could from men… and daily, we interact with more male clients than females when it comes to firearm instruction.
It never dawned on me that I may not quite know how to teach a woman about firearms… especially if their interest is fairly new to this sport…
(If you came here from our email continue reading here:)
This is where I find Well Armed Women to be such an asset to our growing community.
If you haven’t seen the info-graphics on who is picking up the sport of shooting firearms… check it out here… https://www.nssfblog.com/nssf-infographic-the-changing-face-of-todays-target-shooter/
So… for those of you women who are interested in getting into firearms… or you men… who want to help your wives, girlfriends, or daughters into the world of firearms… here are some do’s and don’t that you need to adhere to…
– Remember, women are built differently… in general… we have smaller hands… smaller body frames… we are curvy, we have weak upper body strength, we have breasts and we have a different center of gravity.
-Understand that becoming “self protectors” is a new concept for us… we have always relied on our fathers, our brothers, the police and our knight in shining armor… now we are being taught to rely on ourselves… for many of us this is a foreign concept.
-Know that many of us do not intuitively understand things when it comes to mechanical processes, therefore how a firearm works may not be an easy concept… so please show me with something that I can relate to…Don’t forget that we are naturally nurturers and caregivers… we don’t want to hurt anyone… in fact, we are just the opposite… that’s why when we accidentally hurt you… we are so quick to apologize.
-We are more defensive in nature.
-We have women’s intuition… and have great instinct… however we have adapted into being in a polite society thinking that people will not harm us.
-Understand that we learn best by taking small bites in sequential order… once we have mastered it, then you can move on to the next step… men are great at picking something up… and filling in all the holes… We love to talk… so keep us engaged by asking us questions… how are you doing?… what do you think?… did you understand?… what can I go over again to insure that you got it? As you listen, you will hear our apprehensions if any.
-Remember, we are always hard on ourselves… and until we get validation that we are doing a good job… we are not always confidant to move on.
-If you want to convince us to learn to use the firearm… you will need to guide our thought process, but let us make the decision to do so.
-Know that we follow instructors well.
-Know that we need to understand what to expect. If you take us to a range for the first time… tell me about the other shooters, tell me that the brass flying out of the firearm is what it is suppose to do… tell me that firearms are really loud.
-Know that we women may not be as fast of a shooter as you, but in general have proven to be more accurate of a shooter then most men.
-Teach me without an audience… if there is an audience, be sure that they are women just like me.
-Assume that I want everything pink.
-Let me buy a firearm for concealed carry until I know if I will carry concealed first.
-Tell me what gun to get… your hand me down may not necessarily be the best handgun for me… let me try them out… and I will let you know which fits my hand well.
-Assume you understand why I want the firearm in the first place.
-Don’t assume that a .38 snubnose revolver will be my perfect fit…Load up the firearm and hand it over to me… you may not be there… when I need it.
-Please do not teach me the tea cup method… it really does not provide additional support for me and I don’t want to look ridiculous!
Sandy Lieberman is the co-owner of the Artemis Defense Institute certified to teach NRA and TWAW programs. She is also FEMA certified for Active Shooter and Emergency Management. She handles the business aspects of the Artemis Defense Institute. Sandy will be working with the local TWAW chapters to help spread the word and train more women.