Join Date: February 15, 2009
Location: Kodiak, Alaska
Ditto for a lot of what has been posted, and great article Pax.
Disclaimer: A lot of what I'm about to say may seem (to some) to be, on one level or another, sexist. This could not be further from the truth, I'm just not very well-versed in political correctness. If you have an issue with something I've said, and you don't feel comfortable replying publicly, please PM me and we can discuss it further.
As far as what to teach women shooters once you get them in the door... I think a lot of the focus of defensive firearms training is overwhelming to new shooters, women especially. Most women are not inclined to memorize "tactikool jargon" and remember to stand this way or that way...
Let's take my wife for example. She's been shooting for a few years now, but is still a beginner. The inclination is not there for her to seek out advanced training for carrying a handgun. If I were to design a class specifically for her and her friends (most of which are in the same position as her), here's what I would do...
I would hold a meeting at a neutral (non-firearms related) location. Get to know the women, what their specific skill level is, what their fears are, what they're weak or unsure in, what their daily routine is like, where they go, how many kids they bring in tow with them, what type of diaper bag they like (essential for carrying a gun for many mothers of small children, where else could they carry it?)... There are a lot of variables that will be different for every woman.
This should be conducted on neutral ground for two reasons:
1. A lot of women (my wife included) are nervous and timid around gun shops, ranges, etc... You want this meeting to be on neutral ground (coffee shop, someone's house, wherever) so you can actually get some women to show up and participate and be involved in the discussion without feeling like they are saying something wrong in the presence of the 'experts' of the gun shop or range.
2. Women are a timid bunch, they naturally want to trust people, but because of the environment of gun shops/ranges/etc, the instructor is in an authority position. When the instructor takes their instructor hat off, and comes to them on equal ground, as a potential friend and mentor. Accomplishing that at a range is difficult.
Once I had a list of each woman's specific fears, skill level, and everything else mentioned above, I would tailor my class to their collective desires. Obviously starting with the basics and working from there. Technical jargon would not be used, it just doesn't interest my wife, and if it doesn't interest her, she won't care about it enough to remember it.
Run some scenarios with the ladies; loading groceries in the car, kids hanging on the shopping cart, and Mr. Bad Guy approaches... Walking through the parking lot, guy jumps out and grabs you... Playing with your kids in the backyard and stranger walks up, creepily... Endless scenarios based on the fears and worries each of the women have. Cookie-cutter classes don't interest my wife, she needs a class that works for her, not one that works for the majority of other women.
A learning environment where the student trusts the instructor, where the student has a vote in what is taught. That is what my wife and her friends need and want... Incidentally, that's not what is being offered in the firearms training community.
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.