Women’s Step-by-Step Guide to Learning How to Shoot

January 22, 2019

If you’ve recently purchased a gun or have thought about buying one for the first time, there are several things to consider. With many options available for where to shoot, what to shoot and more, it’s worth taking some time to do your research.

More women are choosing to buy guns and learn how to use them, especially for self-defense, but it can be intimidating to learn how to use a gun.

Here are some ideas on where to start, what to look for in an instructor, finding the right gun and getting a concealed carry permit.

Where to Start Shooting

Your local shooting range should offer several different training courses. A basic firearms safety course is the first class you should take.

Other training classes you might want to consider:

  • Quickdraw
  • Shooting at moving targets
  • Shooting with your weak hand
  • Shooting in low light conditions
guns1 - Women’s Step-by-Step Guide to Learning How to Shoot

If you find you enjoy shooting, there are numerous other classes available related to personal protection, shooting from moving vehicles, combat shooting and more.

Consider your skill level and what your goals are. Some gun ranges offer shooting classes specifically for women and for beginners.

Female instructors can help make first-time female shooters feel more comfortable and more relaxed than male instructors. Some firing ranges even offer special ladies’ nights where women can get together and practice.

Make sure you find a shooting range that makes you feel comfortable.

What to Look for in an Instructor

Start with your local gun shops, gun shows and shooting ranges when trying to find the right instructor. Check the company websites for reviews of the training courses and instructors. It may even be possible to research the individual instructors.

Ask about the instructor’s credentials. Is he or she NRA-certified? What sort of qualifications does the instructor have? Don’t hesitate to interview the instructor and meet with him or her in person.

By sitting in on a class, you can observe the interactions of the instructor with the students. Also, talking to others is a great way to find an instructor, as well as help ease some of your anxieties.

Schedule a private lesson to learn the basics. If you are nervous, get a friend to sign up for the class, too. Let the instructor know of any particular difficulties you may have, physically or emotionally, especially if you’ve been a victim of past trauma. Also, let the instructor know if you are a lefty since your training will be different. 

Finding the Right Gun

The two types of handguns generally carried for concealment are revolvers and semi-automatics. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

  • Advantages

Revolvers have fewer moving parts, which make them more reliable and easier to clean. They are heavier, which helps reduce recoil. Revolvers are also generally smaller.

Semi-automatic advantages are that they hold many more rounds than revolvers. Many consider semi-autos better for self-defense because of the higher capacity magazines.

While sometimes larger, a lot of women find them easier to hide despite the size because they have a slimmer profile. The lighter trigger pull also makes them easier to fire.

  • ●       Disadvantages

Revolvers have a limited round capacity. They also have a heavier trigger pull, meaning you need more strength to pull the trigger.

Automatics have more moving parts than revolvers. They are harder to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning.

What Gun Is Best for Women?

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Many women consider the best handgun for small hands to be the Kahr CW9 (9mm Luger). It has a slim profile making it easy to grip. The Glock 43 (9mm Luger) comes next in line being just slightly wider than the Kahr CW9. The Ruger LC9 comes in third but is still a great and affordable option for self-defense.

When choosing a gun, go to the store and take your time holding and feeling the guns in your hands. Make sure your hand can go all the way around the grip for self-defense shooting, and you can comfortably reach the trigger. Ask the store if you can dry fire the gun to ensure your grip and trigger pull fits you well.

Test fire several at the range before you purchase one and see which one feels more comfortable in your hand.

What Ammunition Should I Buy?

Some experts say the best self-defense caliber round is 9mm Luger, which provides you with a lot of different options, is easy to find and is generally very affordable.

If you want, fire several different types of compatible rounds through your weapon and see if any particular brand works better for you in terms of accuracy or handling.

What about Holsters?

The last step in choosing your conceal carry equipment is your gun holster. There are many unique holsters on the market made with women in mind.

Whether you want to wear it around your waist, your thigh or somewhere else, take a look at all the options available, try them on and see which feels most comfortable and will let you draw your weapon quickly in the event of an emergency.

Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit

Many states require a concealed carry course before you can get a concealed carry permit. Concealed carry for women is on the rise. More women want to protect themselves by carrying a gun.

There are three types of state laws governing concealed carry permit: shall-issue, may-issue and no-issue. You will need to check your state’s gun laws to determine if you will be able to obtain a concealed carry permit.

You will then need to request and fully complete all the required paperwork and pay the fees.

Don’t Forget to Practice

Go to the range at least semi-annually. While it may be fun to fire different types of weapons and calibers, ensure you also practice with the gun you carry. Practice drawing and firing using your holster, too.

Final Thoughts

Finally, regardless of your state’s requirements, take safety and training courses for your firearm. Carrying a gun is a big responsibility, and you need to make sure you are trained in handling your weapon and knowledgeable in gun safety. 

Contributed by Benji Menez
Director of Marketing
Concealment Express