Women Shooters - Capabilities and Issues


Thank you to @Steve-G for turning me on to Silverado Shooting Academy’s youtube channel!
I found this video of their women shooting students. Really surprised me but I got all emotional watching it. Makes me think I want to go do this for my next career.

If you are female, what do you find you struggle with most?
If you teach women or girls, what do you find to be the most common issues or the hardest things to correct?

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I think women are easier to teach/train than men. They listen to instructions better and don’t have that “I knew that” macho crap going on. I think a lot of guys are insecure about “man skills” and are probably more sensitive to correction. The best shooters I’ve taught have been women. Close second is close guy friends. I’m their “gun guy” so it’s like I’m some sort of “gun god” in their eyes. I have a line I stole from Larry Vickers I use for training purposes : “In addition, I don’t tailor my classes so that someone who has deployed overseas can evaluate my classes and determine if what I am teaching or the round count meets their approval. If you fit in these categories do both of us a favor and skip attending my class. When you show up it is good advice to leave your attitude and your ego at home and get your head straight to learn.”


@JKetchem I do find that women are often (but not always) paying better attention than men - I think it’s partly that there is often an elevated sense of concern (or fear) about being safe and getting it right that means they’re really focused. Also most women aren’t born with the “John Wayne gene” … you know the one… it’s the gene that means that you were born knowing how to shoot :wink:

That being said, I do find women, in general, have more difficulty with some things than men.
Is there anything you find you need to correct more often, or spend more time on, with women?


Probably slides on auto loaders, I show the cool little leverage trick and that seems to work. Trigger finger discipline at times causes issues, but that usually gets corrected fairly easily. If it’s beginners, I start small and work up, if they can handle it. I know that sounds a little chauvinistic, but I’m not going to “let a beginner use a 44 Redhawk they brought to class knowing they’ve never shot before”, ask me how I know :wink:. I’ve been lucky I guess, only had a few idiots of both genders.

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I could tell stories on my hardest student, ie my wife, but I like to eat and sleep in my house. Nah, actually her only problems were riding the slide home (she thought she’d hurt her gun) and slide bite, that corrected itself. :joy:


Chauvinist? Not at all! Smart!

I find that new shooters are always easier to teach as they don’t have bad habits. They also have a healthy fear of the gun.

Of those with some experience, women generally are easier, but it’s definitely not an absolute by gender.


Here’s the things I notice - keeping in mind these are generalization and not always gender-linked:

I tend to need to correct men more on trigger discipline, and women (once they get that’s where the BANG is) a lot less.

Women have a lot more trouble with limp-wrist. teaching them to push forward strong hand and pull back weak hand to create a little isometric tension really helps with this.

Men are more likely to want to move up to a bigger caliber before they’re ready (meaning: safe and accurate.)

Women are more likely to fatigue and lose accuracy faster if keeping the firearm at full extension than men are. If I see that, I have them go to low-ready more often while they build up stamina.

Women are far more likely to be leaning back and to continue to return to this posture after many corrections - there’s a reason for this that I think most male instructors miss. Women, in general, don’t have the upper body strength that men do. Put a firearm at arms length forward and ask us to hold it up for a period of time and we’re going to offset the weight to closer to our center of gravity by moving our upper body back behind the centerline. It’s the same thing we do when carrying a kid on our hip - we shift the upper body away from the weight. Once I see that’s what’s happening, explaining it to the shooter, rather than just correcting them over and over, solves it much more quickly.


I worked a deer season rifle sight in clinic last year, and can say that the only type people I have had zero issues with are kids. That sight in clinic was an absolute nightmare.

@JKetchem, I do think students should be able to critique instructors, but they should also pick classes where they can learn something, and get challenged, not go to classes to make anyone’s life miserable.

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@JKetchem, which leverage trick? maybe I know it by another name, but maybe you can teach me something :smiley:


I’ve worked some NRA Women On Target events - they were pretty cool and pretty safe. But I worry about more grass-roots organized events and the safety / quality of teachers. What did you see at your clinic? I like to hear about those things so I can do the same sort of scenario-based mental training for teaching as we do for self defense.


Yeah, idk about “grass roots” per say, the club member that oversees the safety of the clinic is an NRA Chief RSO and NRA Training Counselor, among other numerous certifications. I was only one of 2 people on the line that didn’t have an RSO cert, but the other dude was a cop, and I’m a vet. It’s not just a bunch of rednecks shooting at milk jugs.

The biggest issue is that people like talking down to people younger than them. Men and women alike. Out of the 1000 people that came and paid, I only had to put my hands on 3 people’s guns, and about 15 people total had to be corrected in that manner. So not that many walking violations, but a lot of rude people.

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I agree 100%. However, you get some that overestimate their skill level. If people were honest with themselves and the instructor, it would make life easier. If you don’t know something, you’re not gonna get crucified or laughed out of the class. Hell, I’ve been shooting for 25/30 years, like I could actually own the gun I’m shooting, and I still don’t know everything. I learn something new all the time, sometimes in a class.


Overhand grip on slide and push/pull using the grip of the gun. Seems to help, my wife has zero upper body strength and she’s good to go.

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Yeah I suppose a lot of people like to think they know more than they do. I want to take some intermediate pistol classes. A lot of people ask me all sorts of pistol training questions because I was a vet, and I just say, I have no clue, I carried a rifle! That’s the fun about shooting, if you ever stop learning, you’re wrong. Even beginners classes, if you stop and put away the ego, you can still learn something.


I get the same deal. I acted like LE for 5 years and people think you’re an “expert”. I shot on my own, I really like shooting, I learned a few tactics, but nothing major. If I didn’t shoot on my own back then and just shot when the department wanted, I’d maybe shot 100 or so rounds a year. That’s counting shotgun qualification. That was before the big “patrol rifle” phenomenon. I saw a one officer really struggle during a qualification, the instructor came down out of the booth and stood beside them and put hands on them at times so the could pass and stay on the road. That’s not an uncommon sight. If some people only knew. There are departments that just do the FBI qualification once a year, and that’s it. Granted there are some exceptions, but it’s kinda scary when you think about it.


@JKetchem Oh for sure. That’s why police trade ins are great buys. Most of them have hardly been shot.


yep that’s the one I usually teach women - much easier for us because we get to use bicepts and pectoral strength from both arms, more than just hand/lats/triceps on the weak side.

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I am always interested to learn more about techniques that will help women become better shooters. I am not an instructor of any kind, but I do have some female acquaintences that sometimes ask me for help. I want to make sure that I can give them the best possible advice. Despite differences in physiology, I feel that with good instruction and practice, women and men are truly equals when it comes to our ability to safely and effectively run firearms.

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I’m so glad you liked the Silverado videos Zee, it all seems to make sense to me. We Need More Women shooting Competitively! I have found that most of the women that I have helped learn to shoot, are very determined, they have a passion for the sport that’s unmatched. I’m by no means saying that men don’t have passion for shooting, because that’s just not how it is, but women have always kind of been on the sidelines in past years and I’m glad to see more women getting involved instead of watching. Be the first one on the range, and the last one to leave, practice well, and most important of all, have a lot of fun.
God bless. :sunglasses:


@Nathan women can make great shooters :smiley:
I mostly teach first-timers and beginners, an accomplished shooter is going to outgrow me as a teacher, but by then, most of the gender-stuff is sorted out.
I’m happy to help answer any questions I can about teaching women, especially beginners. You’re right, our physiology difference is at the heart of about half of it - less upper body strength and stamina, weaker grip, smaller more flexible wrists, different ways of handling weight, different natural posture adaptations to stress and fatigue.
Our psychology is different too, though. Women often carry a lot more fear of firearms, and many are more conservative about taking actions they see risk attached to. In my experience, they also lose confidence much faster in the early stages of learning something with a physical or risk factor - that is, a small failure can set them back much further than it does a man. For that reason I’m inclined to stay with the same exercise longer until it’s really mastered and the woman is feeling her confidence in it than I might with a man. (well, men learn better this way too I think, but they often want to move along to the next thing much sooner).
Keep a new female shooter within her skill set till she really owns it, then moving to the next thing makes for solid confidence, and that reduces fear, and that increases fun. It’s my favorite recipe for making new female shooters :smiley:
Of course there are women who don’t abide by these generalizations at all, but on the whole I’ve found it really effective.

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