After you have spent some firing-line time  beside shooters, offering instruction and correction, certain “rules” make themselves apparent. It is fair to say that men generally find it more natural to handle a firearm. That is easily seen. It is equally true that women are generally easier to teach. Every man in this country thinks he’s a firearms expert. Men who have never owned or fired a handgun want “nines”, “magnums”, “forty-fives”, and so forth. Women don’t care. If you tell a female police officer that she should not over-grip her weapon, she’ll say “okay.”  Say it to a male cop and he’ll say, “I read an article about the Israeli Self Defense Force, and they say….”

Firearms mean something to men at a visceral level, that’s obvious. Unfortunately, that emotion has been extremely harmful to marksmanship, tactical and gun safety training. Men want to believe that a .45 round will knock a man down and a shotgun round will send a man flying. So over the decades men have invented, well, “old wives tales” about firearms that are destructive to those who believe them. Countless men entered the service believing that firing a 1911 pistol would bring tears to their eyes. In the fifties they thought they needed leather gloves to fire magnum revolvers. Its almost as if America has a man-gun cult with its own superstitions, blasphemies, and incantations.

Women think of a gun like they think of a car or a computer, and they are exactly right. Emotionalizing firearms and shooting creates shooter problems. Firearms are simply mechanical devices that respond to exact input from their operator. The sooner a student accepts the mundane quality of firearms, the quicker he will find firearm mastery.

The Author
Al
Albert League is a former Marine and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics.