Women and Guns (and some other stuff)

I’m just wondering aloud here.  When will we decide that women are regular citizens, instead of treating female shooters as though they are a separate class of citizen?  I understand that there is a perception that women need their own, separate training classes and all that, so they feel comfortable.  Is that condescending to women or am I missing something?  At what point, or under what circumstances, will we be treating female shooters the same as we treat male shooters (within the sport I mean)?

Maybe it’s a dumb question.  Maybe men can’t help but see a woman as something special and maybe that attitude is bound to find its way into our chosen sport.  Maybe some women are so accustomed to being treated differently that they expect it without a lot of thought.

Maybe the question is simply premature.  Any female shooters want to comment on that?  Do you believe you need separate training or separate categories in a competition, and if so, why?  Should there be guns made for girls, and others for the boys and if so, why”  Marketing strategies are beyond the scope of the question.  Hell, maybe it’s all about marketing, in which case, never mind.

I could understand if shooting involved some heavy lifting, but even then we’ve all seen some women who can out-lift some men.  So you want different weight classes, like in wrestling?

Here’s another.  How long is it going to be before the various races of humans are treated the same in general, in the media, and in the courts?  I understand personal preferences, but that’s quite different.  I’m talking socially, politically and legally.  When will I be able to tell a black guy he’s being a fool without being accused of racism, or tell a Mexican woman she’s wrong without her getting in my face on some racial or sex-related tangent?  When will we be able to disagree without changing the subject as a form of crutch?  I really am getting sick and damned tired of this, so I am herein putting my foot down.  Knock off the race and sex defenses.  Some people are using it as a tool and I’m not buying it.  Not at all, and I’m getting right back in your face if you try it with me so don’t even start.

When, or under what exact specified circumstances, will the gun-restriction advocates declare their work done, pack up their tents, and get jobs?  Any time you hear one of them guffaw over the assertion that they won’t quit until all guns are banned, your immediate response must be, “OK, then tell me precisely when or under what circumstances you will stop, declare victory, and find something else to do, ’cause what I see is that any time you get a win, you’re right on to calling for another restriction.  This has been happening for over 70 years, so, you know, we have a pretty undeniable track record here.  Go ahead.  Lay out the circumstances.  I have all day.”

Staying on the title subject;
A problem with saying, “this far and no farther” is you’ve already established that a) you’re willing to give ground, and/or that b) you’ve accepted or granted your opponent’s basic premise(s).  Some things are properly subject to compromise (such as where to go for lunch, assuming you want the company) and others are not (such as basic rights).  When it comes to basic rights, the response it not, “this far and no farther”.  Properly, the response is zero tolerance, same as it would be for a robber or a rapist.  If someone violates your basic rights, they are criminal and it is not incumbent upon you to prove your magnanimity by compromising with them.  You fight to win, then you fight for compensation and restitution, then you fight for justice, assuming your opponent is still breathing.  Few if any in Congress, for example, seem to have a clue how that might happen with regard to their violations of our basic rights.

11 thoughts on “Women and Guns (and some other stuff)

  1. More than once you called what we do “sport” and wondered about men’s inclusion of or special view of women in our “sport”.

    I don’t know about you, or anyone else, but the lessons of the 2nd amendment are not about sport. Not even close. What it is about, I guarandamntee you I view women as ‘regular citizens’.

    If I am picking nits here, you put them here by suggesting our “sport” is somehow the issue.

  2. Short answer: It’s complicated. Slightly expanded answer: The reason or perceived need for some gender segregation in the shooting sports is going to be very personal. Whether or not it should continue will probably depend on the personal experiences of whoever you’re talking to. Much longer answer based on my years of trying to bring women into the movement as a feminist: Give it time to ferment. This is something I’ve only touched on from time to time over the years because it is complicated and there’s not a perfect answer.

  3. Good question. With regard to design, I think there does exist a market for guns and accessories, such as holsters, that have women-specific (perhaps “women-aware” is a better term) ergonomics in mind. For example, women generally have smaller hands, with correspondingly shorter fingers, and thus a shorter trigger reach. A gun with adjustable-sized grips / backstraps is more likely to accommodate such smaller hands and trigger / safety / decocker / magazine / cylinder release reach. Obviously, the same is true for men with small hands; it’s just the population of women shooters with smaller hands is likely to be greater relative to their male counterparts. To state the obvious: If your gun doesn’t fit you well, you aren’t likely to shoot well, and thus, aren’t likely to enjoy shooting.

    As another example, the markedly different physiques of women (larger hips to waist measurements, shorter torsos) versus those of men mean that a typical high-ride holster that may work well for a man will likely be a poor fit (and difficult draw) for a woman.

    With regards to the use of the term “sport”, I’m in agreement with commenter straightarrow above: I don’t usually commingle the term “sport” when I discuss my constitutionally-protected, God-given rights, although I suspect that wasn’t your intention, and your discussion of rights didn’t really commingle the two. It’s just whenever I hear the term “sport” anywhere in relation to gun rights my Elmer Fudd antenna goes up. 🙂

  4. As far as competition goes, it’s always bothered me that in sports like shooting, pool, darts, etc – if men and women can compete against each other in the Iditarod, certainly we can compete against each other in shooting.

    As an experienced coach in other sports, I can tell you that I coach boys no different than girls, men no different than women. The “segregation” is about comfort and experience, rather than truly gender.

    BUT … once you’ve got enough skill that you decided to compete, I believe it should be game-on, mixed gender all the way. There’s just NO DIFFERENCE in men’s and women’s ability to acquire a target, pull the trigger, an acquire another target.

  5. I think much of the separation, at least currently (not so much in not-so-distant past), is in response to the desires of the women involved, rather than some perceived inequality in ability.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the innate differences in personality between men and women. I personally believe that the “average” woman has the physical capability to become a better shooter than the “average” man.

    However, women simply tend to be less competitive when it comes to direct competition (yes, I know this is a generalization and doesn’t hold true for all women…don’t get all up in arms about it, it is intended as an observation, not a criticism). Because they are not as competitive as men, they aren’t as driven to hone their skills and perfect their technique so, even though they are physically at least as capable as the men, they often don’t attain the level of expertise needed to win the competitions.

    I think many women prefer the less competitive (and, therefore, less stressful) atmosphere involved in shooting with other women.

    With that said, however, I’ve never seen a shooting event yet where women weren’t welcomed and encouraged to participate.

  6. I think you lump in several different scenarios into the same basket that shouldn’t be.

    For example: Training classes for women. Personally, my first handgun class was in a woman’s only class. I felt more comfortable there since I had never held a nandgun in my life. I didn’t feel the need to be around some guy, who had been around guns all his life and was only in the class in order to get a cc permit, laughing at the fact I couldn’t lock the slide open (after much practice, I can now do it with either hand – with my gun anyway). Am I stereo typing – yes; has that scenario happened to other women – yes.

    For my second class, I had the basic skill set that I needed to be comfortable in a mixed setting. If I was taking a class on “sporting” shooting (do they have such a thing?), I’m sure that I would be fine in a mixed setting. If I were to compete, I would have no problem with a mixed setting either.

  7. Somewhere in between with regards to gun training I think. Only data point I have is my wife’s experience with the Babes With Bullets crew. She raves about that experience and is planning on attending more events. Other mixed events never drew that kind of response from her.

    Again, only one data point here, but I think there is a case to be made for segregated learning. At what stage that coin flips, I’m not sure. Off the cuff, I’d say that competition is one case where separation is more about tradition than about competition.

  8. Good responses. Thanks. As for the “sport” issue; I don’t know of any segregation with regard to self defense, so I mention sport and training, the latter of which also involves aelf-defense training. Speaking as a “threeper”, I understand the Fudd alert– believe me.

    I understand that someone with zero experience is going to be uncomfortable when surrounded by people with experience. I do not however believe that this is sex related. Every male who shoots had to start as a total newbie at some point. We deal with it. Separate classes, therefore, purely for the uninitiated, would make a lot of sense to me. In the NRA Basic classes, basic means basic– we assume zero experience. Some of the students will no doubt have some experience, but they have to sit through all the “this is the barrel; the bullet comes out of this end” type of stuff, same as everyone else.

    For you male shooters; We’ve all seen the utterly stupid and irresponsible Youtube vids showing some burly men with a new femnale shooter, laughing at her mistakes. No, Little Grasshopper, that’s the absolute wrong way to go about things. Be nice, dammit (a real man is always nice except when otherwise required). Be a responsible teacher with some understanding for other people, male or female (or I’ll kick your ass) ; )

  9. Vicky Farnam and Diane Nichols of Defense Training International have done the research and written “The Book” on teaching women to shoot. It is directed at law enforcement trainers, but applies to the rest of us, too.

    There ARE differences in learning styles and methods, not just physical capabilities, between men and women. These differences, if exploited properly, can make entry into the “Mens World of Shooting” simpler, psychologically easier, and more effective both in the sporting and defensive venues.

    Having applied these lessons in my own classes, I find that, for basics, single sex classes usually result in better and more positively motivated shooters. Intermediate, advanced, and competition classes are usually mixed with interesting results. In my experience, until they reach the “World Class” level, women usually shoot as well, if not better, the the men.

    Just an observation. Take it as you will.

  10. On the “when will…” people stop using this or that as a “tool” – either to oppress, or claim to be oppressed.

    While I hope soon, I suspect not for a very long time, maybe never.

    The reason being that there are very strong forces that push towards the current behavoirs. “racism” (and *ism in general) and “superstition” are cheap from an evolutionary perspective, and very fast, and until recently at least in evolutionary times worked really well. So they are to some degree “naturally wired” into people. (That’s not an excuse for any of the evil they lead to – it’s an explaining observation.)

    Likewise, if you are a member of some minority, a. you may well get treated unfairly some of the time; b. even if you don’t, there will often be “majority” have’s vs your have-not; c. you use every tool at hand. whether appropriate or applicable or not.

    Neither of those things particularly explain why women (and men) sometimes do better in segregated classes. I think differences in brain wiring and chemistry are better at explaining that.

    Gun control appears to be a different phenomenon – mostly related to your “when will they fold up their tents and get jobs” – well, about the same time other groups do. Don’t hold your breath…

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