The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old May 8, 2013, 12:27 AM   #1
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
Teaching someone who is terrified of guns

I touched on this briefly in another topic but thought it would do good to post here for in depth thoughts.

I'm getting my first pistol soon. I've shot before but haven't had one of my own. When I turn 18 I plan to find the best way to keep a pistol in my car (it's legal here). Having it with me when I'm driving is better than not having it at all. There have been some homicidal road rage incidents here among others that I don't want to touch on too much but suffice it to say I'd rather have it with me some of the time.

My girlfriend, who will probably be in my car 4 or 5 times a week, has stated she doesn't want it to be in the car without knowing how to use it. I agree with this. She has some anxiety at anything that "explodes" (result of a house fire and explosion, I think, that she feels she started) and is terrified of the thought of guns. Her dad owns a rifle and a couple handguns but they are in a safe and she has never seen or used them. She fired her grandpa's rifle when she was younger but for whatever reason had not developed this phobia.

In the end, I have no misconceptions that she'll end up carrying a gun in her daily life. This saddens me but if somebody can't have the mental preparedness it's better for them not to do so. I have no ideas that she may enjoy shooting with me one day or even be happy to have them in the house. However, I do need to get her to the range and teach her. Something like an NRA first steps class is not out of the question but is kind of pricey.

I think she needs to know the rules of gun safety, how to safe the gun, maybe some basic laws, and how to shoot it if it comes to that. I don't know how to do this. She went with us to a gun show once, which was a huge step for her, but it caused her anxiety and she said the sheer amount of guns and the way people feel about them causes her confusion. She's declined to hold several of our visibly locked firearms out of fear of the object itself. So, some questions:

People who have taught people like his before; in your experience, do they react better to a loved one or a professional? She knows and is comfortable with me. I'm not macho and don't have bravado but there is still the possibility of her feeling pressured to do it for me or more upset if she makes a mistake. On the same hand, I don't know if somebody she meets for the first time will be able to connect with her or help her fear.

When it comes to loads, I may be able to get a .22lr conversion (Kadet Kit for CZ 75) and have her shoot that. It is less likely to scare her, but will under prepare her for the gun if she needs to use it one day. Does anybody have relevant input one way or the other?

I feel concerned she may get to the firing range and clam up or become distressed at the first gun shots she hears. Hearing them from a half mile away at an outdoor range distresses her. I jump hearing the first few shots when I roll up to a gun range until I get acclimated. Has anybody had a loved one who was this visibly anxious who managed to learn to shoot safely and maybe even enjoy it?

Again, I don't want to get her primed to carry a gun every day. We both feel that to coexist she should be able to handle one should the need arise.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 12:44 AM   #2
Koda94
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2012
Location: Oregon
Posts: 458
after you get the pistol take it out of the safe and spend some time with her discussing handling, safety, dry firing. Talk with her about how you would use it to defend the home, integrate her into that plan teaching her how to do the same, take your time as long as needed... Dont take her to the range until she is comfortable handling it unloaded.
__________________
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2
Koda94 is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 01:15 AM   #3
allaroundhunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 6, 2012
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 1,670
Re: Teaching someone who is terrified of guns

Do you know anyone else who shoots handguns (a professional instructor would be great)? If so, try to get them to help and teach her. Chances are, you trying to teach her to shoot has many possible negative affects on your relationship, and very few positive ones. Once she has a basic understanding of shooting you can let her shoot your CZ75.

Perhaps try to go to the range with her dad, and let him teach her... It would be really nice if he had a .22 pistol.

Now, I say all of this but it is possible for you to teach her how to shoot without any problems. I have been able to teach my girlfriend some basic handgun technique, and we have never had a problem with it. She knows that I don't expect anything from her, and that if she wants to stop for any reason we will.... Unfortunately, she doesn't like to stop shooting and as a result my ammo supply is dwindling

He only problem that I foresee with you trying to teach her is that you do not have much shooting experience yourself. Not that you couldn't teach her, but I think that it would be best that each of you take a class.

Last edited by allaroundhunter; May 8, 2013 at 01:21 AM.
allaroundhunter is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 01:19 AM   #4
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
I don't know anyone too well but I am leaning towards seeing if she's willing to work with a professional. Someone who knows teaching safety inside and out and has maybe worked with someone like this in the past.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 02:16 AM   #5
Gaerek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Arizona
Posts: 939
Look for a women's only beggining handgun course. They're everywhere. My wife went to one by Women on Target I think, and she went from afraid of guns to wanting to shoot anything she can get her hands on. It'd be better if you can get one of her friends to go to (offer to pay for both or something like that).
Gaerek is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 02:23 AM   #6
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,857
The very first hurdle is that she needs to want to learn. It's not about you wanting her to learn. It's about her wanting to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaerek
Look for a women's only beggining handgun course.
Good idea. In any case, the best thing would be to find a good instructor. The objectivity of a stranger who knows what he or she is doing is a big help.

I'm with a group of instructors putting on a monthly NRA Basic Handgun class. Probably 80% to 90% of our students had never touched a real gun before. Our class enrollment run 20% to 40% female. We have students of all ages from early 20s to us more seasoned types. We've had entire families attend together. Most of our student show varying levels of anxiety at handling real guns.

We try to address this by bringing them through the course material in a step-by-step, measured and supportive way.

In addition to the core lectures, we do a lot of "hands-on" work with the students. The students handle a variety of revolvers and semi-autos under direct supervision, one-on-one, of an instructor. They use dummy rounds to load and unload the guns, dry fire and generally learn how things work and feel, and they get continual safety reinforcement.

These initial hands-on exercises help students get familiar with handling gun and lay a foundation for safe gun handling habits. The students begin to realize that although guns can be dangerous they can learn how to handle them safely and that safety is in their hands.

Then in preparation for live fire, and after the "marksmanship" lecture, we work one-on-one with students on grip and stance using "blue" inert training guns.

Before going to live fire with .22s, the students shoot airsoft (the quality type) in the classroom so they can get a feel for sight alignment and trigger control (and reset) without the noise and intimidation factor (for beginners) of firing real ammunition.

After the students fire their 25 rounds of .22 (working one-on-one with an instructor), we put out a variety of guns from 9mm to .44 Magnum so the students can get the experience of firing the larger calibers. Shooting the centerfire guns is at each student's option. Most fire them all, but some choose not to.

When someone has gone through our program, it's not uncommon for her/him to be shooting 1.5 to 2.0 inch groups at seven yards with the heavy calibers. A few months ago, a petite young woman who had never fired any type of gun before out shot everyone, including her husband, with the .44 Magnum -- putting three rounds into about an inch at 7 yards.

Going through our process most students shed a good deal of their initial anxiety. Some remain anxious to a degree but still manage to master their anxiety and perform well. In the last several years only one or two (out of perhaps a couple of hundred) could not complete the class.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 02:33 AM   #7
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
Frank, that sounds like an awesome environment! I hope we can find one around here that is that supportive and hands-on if she does ultimately want to.

She does not want to be around guns. However, she wants less to be around guns without understanding how to use them. I believe that is the best way to describe what I know of her feelings about them.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 07:10 AM   #8
kraigwy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 9,513
I run into this quite a bit in my Woman's Only Firearm Safety and Self Defense class.

I start them out in 3-3-3 drills, or three shots, in three seconds at three yards.

Of course a safety course comes first. Then the above drill, with unload firearms. Dry firing. Basically handling the unloaded firearm.

When I move them to shooting, I try to have the timid on the line by themselves, one on one.

I say 3-3-3, that's what I call it, but I start out 1-3-3. Slow, then they work up their speed until they can do 3 shots.

They do a lot of gun handling, I tell them I want that gun as comfortable and as natural in their hands as a cell phone is to a teenage girl.

You'd be surprised, most get over their fear in one night, two at the most, then they start having fun and you've got them hooked.

I also found few like 22s, they want to shoot "real guns" as they call them. Don't let them shoot magnums or plus - P's. I furnish most the ammo and its mild 38s or 9mm's.

Don't let them shoot too much, I keep my class session to two hours. But it's weekly.

Also I stress this is not a "Shooting" Class, its a Self Defense class. That way they don't feel they have to be embarrassed if the don't get little bitty groups. After a few weeks they get competitive on their own. It's a natural evolution.
__________________
Kraig Stuart
CPT USAR Ret
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071

Last edited by kraigwy; May 8, 2013 at 07:15 AM.
kraigwy is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 07:27 AM   #9
CurlyQ.Howard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2012
Posts: 280
I've never had one, but if a suppressor or silencer is legal in your state, I'd consider having one for when you introduce your girlfriend to pistol shooting. Combine that with a .22, and I'll bet that once she's comfortable shooting a "quiet pistol" that she'll have fewer problems shooting the .22 sans silencer or even shooting your 9mm.
CurlyQ.Howard is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 11:26 AM   #10
Lark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2012
Location: Western WA
Posts: 119
+1 what Frank Ettin said. I volunteer at a local club and helped coach at a beginners pistol class. There is usually 20 students, all women except for a few men; it is not a women only class either. Other than the airsoft portion, the class is run the same way as described above and each student gets their own coach.

lark
__________________
Lark is free!
Lark is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 04:55 PM   #11
Spats McGee
Staff
 
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 5,164
How in the WORLD did we get this far into a thread like this without a reference to the Cornered Cat?
__________________
A gunfight is not the time to learn new skills.

If you ever have a real need for more than a couple of magazines, your problem is not a shortage of magazines. It's a shortage of people on your side of the argument. -- Art Eatman
Spats McGee is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 05:07 PM   #12
Venom1956
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2008
Location: WI
Posts: 3,069
I've found people seem to retain and perform better when being trained by an indifferent third party.
__________________
E-Shock rounds are engineered to expend maximum energy into soft targets, turning the density mass into an expanding rotational cone of NyTrilium matrix particles, causing neurological collapse to the central nervous system.- Yeah I can do that.
I guarantee you will know it if a bicyclist hits your house going 1000 mph.
Venom1956 is offline  
Old May 8, 2013, 05:33 PM   #13
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,857
Teaching someone who is terrified of guns

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
How in the WORLD did we get this far into a thread like this without a reference to the Cornered Cat?
Oops -- an egregious oversight on my part at least. Sorry.
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 02:56 AM   #14
MarkDozier
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 1, 2010
Posts: 339
If your in Washington, I would be glad to help your g/f train on firearms. As a R/O and an instuctor I have helped a good number of people get into shooting.
MarkDozier is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 10:55 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,799
Make sure this isn't a relationship issue. Forcing someone into a position that they don't agree ... Well, at 18 - plenty of time and other folks who might be sympatico.

I see this sometimes as a deeper dominance issue. Go easy if the relationship means something.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 12:26 PM   #16
Wreck-n-Crew
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,400
I know the silence idea was mentioned, don't know about a pellet gun or a 22 rifle.

I would say that the quietest gun might be the 22 rifle and with earplugs and it has no kick. You remove two of the three scariest parts about shooting a gun and you have a chance.

Don't go to a range. The other guns will scare her. Find an outdoor private place to shoot.

If you can't get there, don't push it
__________________
If you ever have to use a firearm, you don't get to pick the scenario!
Wreck-n-Crew is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 02:24 PM   #17
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
Obviously it will be her ultimate decision. She was the one who brought up learning how to use it if I'm going to have it. I hope she makes that choice, but gun safety is not something you can force somebody to learn or take seriously, and given the stress involved, it wouldn't be worth it to try. Thanks for the advice. It is good to know that this is somewhat normal.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 02:25 PM   #18
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
And Mark, thank you for the offer, but I'm on the other side of the country in Florida. That's a bit of a commute
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 03:11 PM   #19
Erno86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 22, 2012
Location: Marriottsville, Maryland
Posts: 587
I would refrain from letting her wear a low cut blouse to the range, so as to avoid an errant spent hot shell from going into her blouse. A hat or cap is also a good option...not to mention proper eye and hearing protection. Ear plugs are not good enough. Get her a good set of ear muffs that are not worn out, along with ear plugs, if the gun is loud enough.

You'll have to convince her...that the gun is not going to hurt her. Start her off by shooting the pistol off the bench, {at least 10 rounds}, so she can get familar with the trigger.

Shooting any big bore magnums...will probably require a padded shooting glove. Make sure she holds on tight with both hands. Don't make her shoot a big bore magnum, while treating it as some kind of joke; as I've seen some shooter's do. Save the big bore's for later.

Don't let her overextend herself...when she gets tired --- quit shooting for the day. Close range target's will help bulld her confidence.
__________________
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

--- George Orwell

Last edited by Erno86; May 9, 2013 at 04:02 PM.
Erno86 is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 03:13 PM   #20
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,852
Where it is possible I have found making a game of shooting (i.e., no discussion of defense, etc.) with a bit of a challenge. And definitely an air gun or at most a .22. Let's be honest, a hot .357, .44 Magnum or .500 S&W will scare the heck out of experienced shooters, let alone a beginner.

A subtle challenge sometimes works, something to the effect of rolling a can, then saying casually, "Of course you aren't up to doing that yet." If the response is "I bet I can", you have a pupil ready to learn.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 03:42 PM   #21
Pilot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2000
Posts: 3,692
Lots of good info here, and I can only really add my experience with the CZ Kadet Kit as a training tool and plinker. I've had one for about 13 years, and always bring it to the range with my 75B, but I do use it on my 75D PCR as well. My wife will only shoot .22LR, so this is a good way for her to shoot a "service pistol" that I keep for home defense.

The Kadet Kit works great. It is reliable with bulk ammo, and just about anything I use, and very accurate. It rivals some of my Ruger MK II's, and that is saying a lot.
__________________
Pilot
Pilot is online now  
Old May 9, 2013, 04:01 PM   #22
Rj1972
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 16, 2010
Posts: 129
I ran into something fairly similar with my sister. I took her to the range one day and she was missing the entire target from the 3 yard line (would hit on the 2 foot by 3 foot paper about 3 out of 10 shots). The problem was she just wasn't used to it and I did a HORRIBLE job of introducing her to shooting.

I've since learned from that mistake and always introduce new shooters outside of a range. I show them it's clear, put some snap caps in and work on the grip, using sights, pulling the trigger, etc... as well as a safety talk. I usually point out that I don't have any ammo even in the same room so they get more comfortable.

Since they have a good chance to pull the trigger quite a few times before we head to the range and I can help correct anything wrong with the stance or grip with them being able to hear me (indoor range) it works out MUCH better. I've since bought a laserlyte training target thing that is a blast as well for new shooters to try out.

After a proper introduction, I'm happy to say my sister shot great on her second trip to the range.
Rj1972 is offline  
Old May 9, 2013, 08:02 PM   #23
dakota.potts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 25, 2013
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Posts: 1,261
I don't know who said anything about large bore revolvers. I don't even have any experience with that. Biggest I've shot is a .40 in a compact polymer and while I'd do a .45 a .44 magnum would scare me too. She did, however, mention that she likes revolvers.

We had a talk today and I don't know if it's something she'll get comfortable with. I think anyone could be but she's just got an intense phobia and doesn't feel comfortable taking that leap. I'm not going to force that first interaction because I don't believe someone can learn something like gun safety without choosing to do so. She was anxious and hesitant when we talked about target shooting (without giving an answer one way or the other) but made it clear that she would never want the responsibility of shooting at somebody and that carrying or even using a gun in the event of a bad situation isn't something she's willing to do. I wish it wasn't that way but I'm a strong believer that anybody who isn't ready to shoot a gun should not be carrying one and I'm glad she can at least make that call.

I made the offer today that if she wants to take a class I'll pay for it and if she ends up liking it I'll buy a revolver that she can shoot with. I'd keep it but eventually give it to her if she got comfortable.

I don't know if it's something that's going to happen but I do think that, given she's willing to work with me, I'm going to get some snap caps or something and teach her how to clear and safe my gun since it's going to be in her proximity so much. Maybe later on she'll feel more able and willing to try. I've got a couple of months until it becomes a problem but I told her to think on it and let me know if she decides to take me up on the offer.
dakota.potts is offline  
Old May 10, 2013, 12:38 PM   #24
Gaerek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Arizona
Posts: 939
Teaching someone who is terrified of guns

2 years ago, my wife was almost deathly afraid of guns. She was uncomfortable seeing them in person. It took a month or two of convincing before she'd let me carry my 12ga for bear protection. Today, she owns her own handgun, shoots regularly and constantly asks me if I'm packing (as in, she's uncomfortable with the environment/situation and warts that safety net).

A friend of hers invited her to a women's only training class. They shot .38 revolvers. They were taught safety, proper handling, proper cleaning, stance and grip. In the course of a morning, she went from almost deathly afraid to wanting more. She said she had wished the class was longer.

So what's my point? Well, a few things:

1) Don't give up.
2) Don't be pushy. She brought up the idea of learning. Find her a class and pay for it. Get one of her friends to go also, and pay for her.
3) You really shouldn't be the one teaching her...ask my wife about the stovepipe incident
4) Be prepared for her still being uncomfortable, or not liking guns...there are no guarantees.
5) If #4 occurs...don't give up your convictions and beliefs.
Gaerek is offline  
Old May 10, 2013, 08:19 PM   #25
357 Python
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 7, 2007
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 696
First it seems to me your girlfriend has a legitimate fear she needs to address. I am not saying she is mentally ill or anything but she should talk to some professional who can help her settle the issues she has. Now how to teach her about guns. You won't be able to do anything until she is ready. You may want to find a womens only class and arrange a time when you can discuss this with the instructor. They may be able to help out. One thing you do not want to do is force the issue on her. You may lose her and make her feel even worse about the situation. Take it slow and easy
357 Python is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13011 seconds with 9 queries