Zoe: "Shoot 'em?"
If you've not tried one it's time. You shoot the pins, but watch out. If they fall over with the small pointy end forward they're a bear to get off the table in the time and shots you have left.
Yes, that's Caleb from Gun Nuts Media at one of the state Fish and Game ranges. You know, there is more happening at your local fish and game or conservation range than just point and shoot. A number of them have bowling pin matches, putting your quick shoot skills against a line of bowling pins intent on standing up, in addition to great everyday, match and proficiency shooting opportunities, in an environment of safe gun handling and family oriented sportsmanship.
Take THAT, evil bowling pins!
Another fun way to spend the evening is the steel plate match.
But I did notice, other than my usual group, there were no women shooters, though one scorekeeper was female (and a redhead).
I know a number of women who own a weapon for self defense and all shoot for sport as well. There is a decided benefit to weapon ownership. And it's a benefit to others, who may not be armed themselves. For you see, those that want to harm you for wanton gratification, rage against life or your gender, or for profit, do not know who carries and who does not. Over time, they have the decided chance of accidentally attacking an armed person, male OR female. Even if you don't carry to resist evil, you still have some protection by protective mimicry, as in nature, when harmless animals resemble a more formidable foe, giving pause to even the most determined of predators. I think that predators that pick their victims based on their expected lack of resistance, size or ability to fight back will think twice if they believe their small target is carrying a gun. Especially one that has the ability to put a sizable hole in them.
But in order to carry with confidence, you need to not only have a weapon you are comfortable with, but you need to practice with it. Sitting in the drawer after a friend or loved one instructed you in it's use, with dim light in your room, your Adrenalin running, is not the time to be fumbling with your gun. The rapist/home intruder is not going to wait. Participating in some of the activities at the local range is one way to dust off your skills and have some fun and fellowship with fellow shooters. For concealed, during the summer when clothing is lighter, I usually carry something something a bit smaller in size, but what I fired at the match was a .45 caliber.
Some people say that a .22 caliber handgun is as strong as a woman can manage, and some men will actively discourage a woman from purchasing anything stronger. Unless you are weak from illness or have a motor or neurological problem that prevents you from holding onto something firmly, this is frankly not true. Women come in all sizes, but it's a rare woman who is so small or weak of grip that she could not fire a .45 with proper training and the right shooting stance.
It's confidence and stance, not brawn.The stance I believe I use is known as the modified Weaver (or Chapman stance) and might be a good alternative for most female shooters with a higher caliber weapon. In this stance the body is held similarly to the Weaver (at a 45 degree angle to your target with your dominant hand and foot back) but the gun hand is locked out straight (like a rifle stock), with the other arm slightly bent. The advantage with this, it reduces trembling in someone with reduced upper body strength and allows one to shoot even .357 rounds with few problems. The key is to maintain the "push-pull" nature of the grip. You'll still get good recoil, but not to where it upsets your next shot. If you are cross eye dominant, as I am, it's even better as it allows you to line up one eye with the opposite hand.
Here's a little steel fun with a Volquartsen Barrel Ruger 10/22 with a C-More sight that the range officer for our group owned, and handed to me to try out. It was a 40 grain bullet and with the feet per second, it didn't "PING" the targets with a hit like the .45, but it was light and accurate. My AR15 it was not, but it was FUN!
One other thing I noticed at the match, that in addition to all range of skills, there were all ranges of ages, from the college crowd to the very old. If you've ever thought of taking up a shooting sport or learning to shoot for self defense, don't let age stop you. One is never to old to learn. One is never to old to take in their hand the instrument that for them, will be the perfect medium between the spiritual and the physical, the roaring blast of a dream, and the lingering echo of their strength. Big caliber, small caliber, it is what works best for you, but don't stay away from the range because you feel you are too old, too rusty in skills that went stale, or too fixed in your life. And definitely don't stay away because you worry about being the only female or the only beginner.
So try an outdoor pin match or steel plate match. Even if you've never done it before. Trust me, no one laughs even if it's one of those days you can't shoot your way out of a paper bag. I was pretty nervous on my first one, but everyone was so supportive and I had a blast. And you WILL have fun, an evening in the spirit of sportsmanship, liberty and the basic rights we should all bring out to the range table on more than the rare weekend.