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Ladies Forum A place for our female Calgunners to discuss, share and interact without the 'excess attention' sometimes found in online forums.

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  #1  
Old 07-02-2013, 11:21 PM
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Question Bringing a gun shot victim to the range for her first time. Advice?

several years ago a friend of my wife was shot in the leg while out on the vegas strip partying with friends for a bachelorette party. one of the two bones in the lower leg was shatter and has been rebuilt with a titanium rod knee to ankle. Needless to say this was a traumatic event for her and all her girlfriends with her, including my wife. Not a good day.

Fast forward to now... I've become more vocal on social networks about my pro-gun stance and had some mild discussion with her about current legislation. I told her if she ever felt up to it I would gladly take her to the range. To my surprise she messaged me back asking to go to the range and learn to shoot and try to face this massive fear. She said she may freak out and want to leave immediately, might start crying, etc... I know she is a tough chick in other regards and is always up for a challenge. On the other hand I know we are all human and each have our difficulties in life. I do not expect anything of her as I know this is huge hurdle to try and overcome.

So with that said, what kind of advice can some of the female CalGuns base bring to the table? What was your first time like going to the range? Did you grow up with/around guns? Have you been a victim of a senseless gun related crime before?

i'm sure the gents will want to chime in since this place is a sausagefest, but i'm looking for a women's perspective. Unless you're a male Psychologist that specializes in this kind of thing or have some genuine advice you feel is useful, leave the answers to our ladie CalGunners.


Update: If you're on Facebook, please like and share her page for justice. Today, Sept. 9th 2013 the criminal who shot in to the crowd hitting Brittany and 3 others *7 years ago*, has been relieved of house arrest and is free to come and go as he pleases.
If you have connections to Clark County justice, please speak up.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:35 PM
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Advice (mostly from experience with ex horse-throwees, but works for guns too):

1) Get Good ear pro (30nrr+). Go to an outdoor range. Do not go when it is crowded. This will cut sharp noise down substantially (a likely "trigger" for somebody who has been shot).
2) Start off with a .22 as an easy introduction. Show it to her, Shoot it a bit, explain its function/pieces, and then walk her through using it. Also, have a centerfire caliber available if she wants to try it. Do not use hot loads.
3) Pay attention to tone & body language (yours and hers). This is not a time to show off what you know or try to get her "hooked" on shooting, the first outing should be simply to get her used to being around guns. Help her and guide her without patronizing her or forcing her into a mold.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:39 PM
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Having been in similar situation, I recommend as private a range al possible. Unexpected is what happened to her and she needs as much control over the situation as possible. Make everything as predictable as possible. Slow deliberate lots of dry fire and then single rounds. Stress that leaving at any time including right after you get there is ok and acceptable without and duress from you. Good luck!
My sit was a friends friend who witnessed a shooting very very very traumatic event.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:45 PM
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^ Said it better than I can.
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Old 07-03-2013, 5:07 AM
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Originally Posted by emtmark View Post
Having been in similar situation, I recommend as private a range al possible. Unexpected is what happened to her and she needs as much control over the situation as possible. Make everything as predictable as possible. Slow deliberate lots of dry fire and then single rounds. Stress that leaving at any time including right after you get there is ok and acceptable without and duress from you. Good luck!
My sit was a friends friend who witnessed a shooting very very very traumatic event.
I've never been an actual gunshot victim, but came very close.....was very narrowly missed........and, yes, even being 'just missed' was traumatic enough.

I can't imagine what your friend went through.......but I think your advice is 'spot on'.

cheers

Carla
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Old 07-03-2013, 6:28 AM
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Originally Posted by emtmark View Post
Having been in similar situation, I recommend as private a range al possible. Unexpected is what happened to her and she needs as much control over the situation as possible. Make everything as predictable as possible. Slow deliberate lots of dry fire and then single rounds. Stress that leaving at any time including right after you get there is ok and acceptable without and duress from you. Good luck!
My sit was a friends friend who witnessed a shooting very very very traumatic event.
Awesome advice! Thank you! I'm planning to go to my local outdoor range (LARG). I know they have a small private range but not sure of the cost.

The single shot is great. I didn't think of that at all!
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Old 07-03-2013, 6:43 AM
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Originally Posted by warthog1984 View Post
Advice (mostly from experience with ex horse-throwees, but works for guns too):

1) Get Good ear pro (30nrr+). Go to an outdoor range. Do not go when it is crowded. This will cut sharp noise down substantially (a likely "trigger" for somebody who has been shot).
2) Start off with a .22 as an easy introduction. Show it to her, Shoot it a bit, explain its function/pieces, and then walk her through using it. Also, have a centerfire caliber available if she wants to try it. Do not use hot loads.
3) Pay attention to tone & body language (yours and hers). This is not a time to show off what you know or try to get her "hooked" on shooting, the first outing should be simply to get her used to being around guns. Help her and guide her without patronizing her or forcing her into a mold.
Awesome advice! Thank you! I am planning on starting all three ladies on .22's (Ruger 10/22 and SR22 pistol). I have XD9 and an AR so if they feel up to it.
Very good points! i'll see if I can talk to the folks at LARG and see if they might let us in 30-minutes early before folks start pooring in. usually when I go I get there when they open and there are always a few people in line.
I definitely am not the show off type. I do like to talk though. All of these ladies don't take talking down to. I would be more concerned about someone else at the range saying something. Great point though since i'm sure ladies get this a lot when introduced to guns or simply going out to the range. I have seen 12yo girls shoot better than me so I keep my mouth shut.

Thank you all (except Z) for the input.
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Old 07-03-2013, 7:18 AM
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I wouldn't even take anything other than the .22's to the range.
I like the dry fire idea lots.....after allowing her to handle the pistols unloaded. and then asking her if she is ready load only one round. have her sit it down after firing and talk about what she is experiencing before going forward with loading another round.
definitely go to a range when there won't be a lot of people there!
#3 by warhog is spot on.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:17 AM
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This is just as much psychological as technical, in this case. So, here's non-technical advise.

I'd spend an hour with her, a couple days in advance, sitting down and field stripping a gun, and let her handle the pieces and parts, so she sees its a genuine machine and not a live snake. Show her three times how to determine if it's empty, then get her to do it. Once she's ready to put her pinkie into the chamber, let her dry fire in a super safe way.

Also, take a couple women shooters with you. Let them be the main coaches and moral support. She may not want to cry in front of you or fall completely apart, if you're alone, but the other women will wipe her tears tenderly if she has them. She might. She may come unglued, and that's ok. Just get her out of there, very calmly.

No offense, but a woman firearms teacher would be a really good thing. Or a class of all women, for moral support. Women give you hugs when you fail, not razz you, like guys often do, so it's more supportive.

I'd try to take her mid-week, not on a Saturday, even if you both take a vacation day. Ask the Range Master what's a slow time.

It's incredibly brave, what she's doing, just to even walk on the range. I'd come and back her up myself, if I could.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BonnieB View Post
This is just as much psychological as technical, in this case. So, here's non-technical advise.

I'd spend an hour with her, a couple days in advance, sitting down and field stripping a gun, and let her handle the pieces and parts, so she sees its a genuine machine and not a live snake. Show her three times how to determine if it's empty, then get her to do it. Once she's ready to put her pinkie into the chamber, let her dry fire in a super safe way.

Also, take a couple women shooters with you. Let them be the main coaches and moral support. She may not want to cry in front of you or fall completely apart, if you're alone, but the other women will wipe her tears tenderly if she has them. She might. She may come unglued, and that's ok. Just get her out of there, very calmly.

No offense, but a woman firearms teacher would be a really good thing. Or a class of all women, for moral support. Women give you hugs when you fail, not razz you, like guys often do, so it's more supportive.

I'd try to take her mid-week, not on a Saturday, even if you both take a vacation day. Ask the Range Master what's a slow time.

It's incredibly brave, what she's doing, just to even walk on the range. I'd come and back her up myself, if I could.
Great list! the two other woman that will attend are two of her best friends. They were with her when she was shot, with her in the ambulance up to when they took her in for surgery. If anyone can comfort her its them.

I will definitely ask her to come over for lunch or dinner days before. This is a great idea!

Thank you!!
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Old 07-03-2013, 1:52 PM
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Everyone has given great advice here so far. I'll just further highlight:

-- Outdoor range with good ear pro

-- Have her view and handle the pistol in a quiet setting

-- Just a couple of shots at a time and then sit down for a bit ask her how she's doing

-- Monitor her body language and facial expressions. Enlist the help of the other women to help you - women are a little more astute with that kind of thing

-- Please try your hardest to secure private range time. While everyone has a right to come to the range, it seems like there's always one guy blasting away with a big caliber gun. I've had new shooters flinch and get scared by the sound of the big BOOM BOOM BOOM from several lanes over. And the looks on their faces was very uncomfortable. As you know, big calibers are loud and the sound wave causes something of a percussive effect that you can physically feel. My concern is that a situation like that could send your friend over the edge and into a panic attack.


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Old 07-03-2013, 2:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonnieB View Post
This is just as much psychological as technical, in this case. So, here's non-technical advise.

I'd spend an hour with her, a couple days in advance, sitting down and field stripping a gun, and let her handle the pieces and parts, so she sees its a genuine machine and not a live snake. Show her three times how to determine if it's empty, then get her to do it. Once she's ready to put her pinkie into the chamber, let her dry fire in a super safe way.

Also, take a couple women shooters with you. Let them be the main coaches and moral support. She may not want to cry in front of you or fall completely apart, if you're alone, but the other women will wipe her tears tenderly if she has them. She might. She may come unglued, and that's ok. Just get her out of there, very calmly.

No offense, but a woman firearms teacher would be a really good thing. Or a class of all women, for moral support. Women give you hugs when you fail, not razz you, like guys often do, so it's more supportive.

I'd try to take her mid-week, not on a Saturday, even if you both take a vacation day. Ask the Range Master what's a slow time.

It's incredibly brave, what she's doing, just to even walk on the range. I'd come and back her up myself, if I could.
Absolutely this! Great advice.

This lets her get familiar with the firearm away from the range, so she's not overloaded by learning about the firearm and dealing with what she will have to deal with at the range with live fire.

Also, give her ear plugs and ear muffs (double protection). It will help her if a big rifle and/or handgun goes off near her.
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Old 07-03-2013, 3:10 PM
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Being a gunshot victim myself my best advice is to let her handle it before you go shooting. I was afraid of guns for awhile and I would get incredibly anxious around them to the point where I would start sweating profusely. Once I got used to them by someone doing a show & tell + feel I decided to try it. Now I hooked
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Old 07-03-2013, 4:13 PM
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The boom boom boom is why I was stressing some alone time at a private range, ask around here lots of folks have hook ups. Understanding what your trying to do would open those doors for a few hours. The trauma to her is ongoing to this day. The smell, the sound, the pressure washing over her is all as real as the day it happened and essentially shes asking you (you better not be pushing at freaking all) to take her back there. Dry fire at home in her house in her garage, bring the gun over in pieces, let her put it together. Looking at a barrel without anything else attached to it shows it is a hollow metal tube not the cavernous fire belching pain spewing dragon hole she knows it can be. Please please please take it slow like days weeks slow. Leave an empty magazine with her if she wants or empty shell casings. Everything is a trigger, no pun intended, and you don't want to pull them all at once. Figure every sense, sight, smell, taste, etc. will need singular exposure time. One trigger many times until their is no flinch. Then group triggers, i.e. build gun, dry fire. Don't even let her rack the action just take it from her or have her set it down. Talk about the squeeze the sight picuture then cock it, set it down and let her pick it up again, or just squeeze it there on the table. I'm rambling but I like the don't pull all the triggers at once theory. It won't end well if you do and we all want her to become empowered and take back her control.
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Old 07-03-2013, 4:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emtmark View Post
Having been in similar situation, I recommend as private a range al possible. Unexpected is what happened to her and she needs as much control over the situation as possible. Make everything as predictable as possible. Slow deliberate lots of dry fire and then single rounds. Stress that leaving at any time including right after you get there is ok and acceptable without and duress from you. Good luck!
My sit was a friends friend who witnessed a shooting very very very traumatic event.
Not a woman or psychologist, but I just have to agree with the above. Start small, even airsoft just to get used to things. If private range is not possible, talk to the indoor range is and find out when they are completely dead. If that is not possible, I would try to find an outdoor place where the situation can be controlled. The reason I recommend that is that when a shooter is at an indoor range, and someone else fires off a centerfire, the noise and concussion can be unnerving.

Good luck to you and your friend and keep up the good fight.
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Old 07-03-2013, 5:48 PM
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Please please please take it slow like days weeks slow. Leave an empty magazine with her if she wants or empty shell casings. Everything is a trigger, no pun intended, and you don't want to pull them all at once. Figure every sense, sight, smell, taste, etc. will need singular exposure time. One trigger many times until their is no flinch. Then group triggers, i.e. build gun, dry fire. Don't even let her rack the action just take it from her or have her set it down.
I have to respectfully disagree with this.

You should start slowly and be very aware of how she's reacting to each step (consult with her friends if needed). HOWEVER, while most will respond positively to the the slow-and-steady approach above, some people will "get on a roll" and be ready/able to skip ahead several steps or confront things they wouldn't have the courage to at any other time (Generally, you can consider it an "Eff Them" mood). Some will come to that point but stop, needing just a (TINY!) push to go forward. IF, IF the invitee is one of those people; be ready to suddenly revise your plans.

Again, do not push; but also do not try to stop her if she gets on a tear.
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Old 07-03-2013, 6:28 PM
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start her on a long-gun .22lr single shot. wait on the handguns until she's comfortable. This way if she goes nuts, you can stop her quickly lol.
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Old 07-03-2013, 8:12 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with this.

You should start slowly and be very aware of how she's reacting to each step (consult with her friends if needed). HOWEVER, while most will respond positively to the the slow-and-steady approach above, some people will "get on a roll" and be ready/able to skip ahead several steps or confront things they wouldn't have the courage to at any other time (Generally, you can consider it an "Eff Them" mood). Some will come to that point but stop, needing just a (TINY!) push to go forward. IF, IF the invitee is one of those people; be ready to suddenly revise your plans.

Again, do not push; but also do not try to stop her if she gets on a tear.
What could be considered "ideal" reaction/progress should be capitalized on. I take no offense towards your disagreement with my approach. All persons are different with regards to coping and stress management. I'm a plan for the worst hope for the best type of guy. My experience in this realm is, so far singular, and it was painfully slow. The OP has shouldered a weighty responsibility and I look forward to their updates as to how the young lady does!!
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Old 07-03-2013, 8:19 PM
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What do you mean by "go nuts"?

A possible once victim ( we don't know the back story) wishes to face down her fears and anxieties?! We should be supportive constructive accommodating and safety conscious. I'm sure you meant single shots as to allow for tight supervision as she learns muzzle awareness. Reducing the potential for flagging and the like. Something we should all be doing with all new shooters regardless of background.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:55 PM
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Let her set the pace, and don't be critical unless its serious. I watched a guy turn his wife off to shooting, who showed up enthusiastic, because he was too controlling in expecting results. He would tell her to adjust, and express upset when results didn't pan out. He made her feel like she was doing it all wrong, rather than just having fun. By the time they packed their stuff, I could tell she wasn't into it. I always let the person squeeze a few before pointing trying to aim, just so they get that smile on their face first. ;-) You can't fight that smile...
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Old 07-04-2013, 3:04 PM
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Yah, other than controlling safety issues, micromanaging is the worst thing you can do to a new shooter.

I've seen guys "teaching" women at the range where I am a range master, who hover, shout, grab guns out of her hands, needle her, you name it.

I've actually had to interfere with one guy who kept jerking a handgun out of the lady's hands. Mainly because he couldn't seem to keep it down range, and as a possible assault. What caught my eye from the tower originally was when the shooters in the adjacent handgun booths moved quickly to other booths, far, far away.

So, teachers, be nice, speak softly, don't be a GD critic. This is supposed to be fun, after all. Pretend it's a first date and you want to see her again. And remember you were once a beginner too.
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Old 07-04-2013, 5:16 PM
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Yah, other than controlling safety issues, micromanaging is the worst thing you can do to a new shooter.

I've seen guys "teaching" women at the range where I am a range master, who hover, shout, grab guns out of her hands, needle her, you name it.

I've actually had to interfere with one guy who kept jerking a handgun out of the lady's hands. Mainly because he couldn't seem to keep it down range, and as a possible assault. What caught my eye from the tower originally was when the shooters in the adjacent handgun booths moved quickly to other booths, far, far away.

So, teachers, be nice, speak softly, don't be a GD critic. This is supposed to be fun, after all. Pretend it's a first date and you want to see her again. And remember you were once a beginner too.

From a fellow range master with very similar experiences.
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Old 07-04-2013, 5:32 PM
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Outdoors!!! For indoor, the noise and shock waves would be overwhelming
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Old 07-04-2013, 9:08 PM
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What do you mean by "go nuts"?

A possible once victim ( we don't know the back story) wishes to face down her fears and anxieties?! We should be supportive constructive accommodating and safety conscious. I'm sure you meant single shots as to allow for tight supervision as she learns muzzle awareness. Reducing the potential for flagging and the like. Something we should all be doing with all new shooters regardless of background.
Regards
I mean some people with PTSD sometimes have unexpected reactions when faced with a stressor....I'd want to limit the potential damage from such an event if it were to occur.
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Old 07-05-2013, 1:07 AM
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This thread is of interest to me, I was shot a few years ago myself. I wish I had someone around me to help me like this, but I don't. The VA shrink I'm seeing wants me to fire a gun again, and I've been trying. So far, I just can't. I have gotten to where I have a 22 rifle around the house now, that's a recent step for me.
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Old 07-05-2013, 6:35 AM
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This thread is of interest to me, I was shot a few years ago myself. I wish I had someone around me to help me like this, but I don't. The VA shrink I'm seeing wants me to fire a gun again, and I've been trying. So far, I just can't. I have gotten to where I have a 22 rifle around the house now, that's a recent step for me.
Where are you located? I'm sure there are Calgunners who would be willing to help out / support you if you want it.

Last edited by warthog1984; 07-05-2013 at 6:47 AM..
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:49 AM
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Where are you located? I'm sure there are Calgunners who would be willing to help out / support you if you want it.
I'm not in California at all. I'm only a member here because one of the ladies here invited me.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:07 PM
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Let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:16 PM
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I see good advice on here so far.

Had my head almost taken off by an AR jamming. Barrel was only a few inches from my head. While it didn't make me scared of guns, it did make me a little more nervous and aware about people handling jams around me. It felt like getting kicked in the face, and I felt like one of the guys in a war movie when everything slows down and happens without sound.
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Old 08-05-2013, 7:11 PM
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I just did this my a close friend. She and my wife were in middle school and a kid brought a gun and started shooting. She did not fire a round but stood back and watched. She was OK until the handgun was used. That was too much. I locked it up and it was not used the rest of the day. She said it was a start. She feels more comfortable around them, just not ready to fire one yet. Slow steps. I had everything available for her but move at her pace.

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Old 08-05-2013, 7:27 PM
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You could always hire George Zimmerman to watch her neighborhood.
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Old 08-05-2013, 7:33 PM
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You could always hire George Zimmerman to watch her neighborhood.

Really? Don't you have a rock you can crawl back under? There are some threads in OT and I think they're calling your name - you should go there now.

BK
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Old 08-05-2013, 7:52 PM
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Really? Don't you have a rock you can crawl back under? There are some threads in OT and I think they're calling your name - you should go there now.


BK





couldn't have said it better myself, BK!
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Old 08-05-2013, 7:56 PM
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couldn't have said it better myself, BK!

Thanks. I know it wasn't necessary to be so snotty; but this is a thread which seeks sincere advice about how to help a woman who was the victim of gun violence. I fail to see how usclee's comment is appropriate.


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Old 08-05-2013, 8:37 PM
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I'm not a woman, but feel the need to comment anyway. I find some of the posts helpful to me, but I also find some of them a bit misguided based on my experience.
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Awesome advice! Thank you! I am planning on starting all three ladies on .22's (Ruger 10/22 and SR22 pistol). I have XD9 and an AR so if they feel up to it.
One thing in this thread that made a light bulb go off in my head is that I need a 4" DA .22LR revolver. My 10/22 and Buckmark have been very helpful in helping a couple of gun shy ladies (and a few kids) get comfortable with shooting. Having seen some of those same women later with a .38 Special with light loads was very encouraging as opposed to their overall feelings about center fire semi auto pistols, and even the operation of the Buckmark after trying the revolver. Some even wanted to go to full power .38 Special or even .357 Magnum loads once they got comfortable with the revolver. With the rimfire guns, recoil was minimal and they were able to get on the paper by themselves building their confidence. Simplifying the process with a revolver should only make it less stressful for the new shooter, be they male or female.

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Great list! the two other woman that will attend are two of her best friends. They were with her when she was shot, with her in the ambulance up to when they took her in for surgery. If anyone can comfort her its them.
Unless the friends are experienced shooters and comfortable enough being on a hot range to be helpful, leave them at home. If you're truly going to be nurturing and helpful (and SAFE) with your friend, you need to be focused. Managing a hot lane with a several other inexperienced shooters will only add to the stress for both you and your friend, not reduce it. If you want her to have a positive experience, don't put yourself in a position where you are not paying full attention to her. She will not have a positive experience if she's got a jam, is just freaked out by the noise, etc. and you are distracted by one of the other girls that is having some issue as well. Focus is critical here. You don't need it spread all over the place.

Good luck. It is a noble cause for sure. I hope it turns out well for all involved.
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Old 08-05-2013, 9:01 PM
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Thanks. I know it wasn't necessary to be so snotty; but this is a thread which seeks sincere advice about how to help a woman who was the victim of gun violence. I fail to see how usclee's comment is appropriate.


BK


I don't think you were snotty at all........it was refreshing, actually: for once it wasn't me verbally drawing the line in the sand. I like that more women are doing it and in that way keeping it sane here.
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Old 08-06-2013, 3:00 PM
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Really? Don't you have a rock you can crawl back under? There are some threads in OT and I think they're calling your name - you should go there now.

BK
Concur

well done, BK......... : )

cheers

Carla
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Old 08-06-2013, 3:41 PM
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1 other thing to consider is......

She just might want to shoot the d**n thing!

Almost everything above is treating her like she will be all emotional and has a really great fear. Even if she is she might just want to shoot to prove to herself that she won't let fear rule her. So keep that in mind, let her go at her pace. Take the cues from her. Let her be her, you might be surprised if she takes to it like duck to water. Who knows, she might even mutter under her breath "take that A**HOLE!", breath a heavy sigh and say, "now, how do I get my own?"
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Old 08-06-2013, 6:47 PM
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good point, SWalt.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWalt View Post
1 other thing to consider is......

She just might want to shoot the d**n thing!

Almost everything above is treating her like she will be all emotional and has a really great fear. Even if she is she might just want to shoot to prove to herself that she won't let fear rule her. So keep that in mind, let her go at her pace. Take the cues from her. Let her be her, you might be surprised if she takes to it like duck to water. Who knows, she might even mutter under her breath "take that A**HOLE!", breath a heavy sigh and say, "now, how do I get my own?"
Now that would be a big win!
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