I grew up and live in the suburban New York City area, and didn’t learn to shoot a handgun until later in life. Once I tried it, though, I loved it. Whether you want to shoot recreationally, target shoot, or learn to defend yourself, shooting is a heck of a lot of fun—and an empowering activity for women.
Still, I wish I’d had a girlfriend who could have helped guide me through those beginning stages. Because I had to learn things the hard way, I have some words of wisdom for any woman who’s picking up a gun for the first time, or just thinking of giving it a try:
1. Size matters…
Calibers, frame sizes, and ammunition type all play important parts in learning to shoot. But with so many pistols on the market, how does a girl know what’s good to learn with?
In the old Western movies, women were often portrayed as shooting either a tiny Derringer or a Clint Eastwood-style .45 caliber. If you’ve never shot before, and someone hands you either of those, run. Neither is appropriate for a first time shooter. You’ll likely shoot one round and decide shooting isn’t for you.
What you need as a beginner is a nice .22 pistol. They’re inexpensive, fun to shoot, and the recoil is barely noticeable. I always recommend that beginners learn on a .22 and don’t move up to a higher caliber until they’re ready. You want your first shooting experience to be safe and fun, and with a .22 it will be. Learn the basics of shooting with that first, there’s plenty of time for the higher caliber pistols as you progress.
My Browning Buck Mark Camper is lightweight, inexpensive, shoots like a dream, and is downright comfortable in my hand. There are many .22s on the market, so handle as many of them as you can in a gun shop until you find one that feels right.
2 …but age doesn’t.
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