“What exactly will it take to make this work for you?”
“I’ll be in the truck!”
I overheard these comments and a few more choice ones, at my regular shooting range the other day. The source was a couple, probably in their 50s, who had settled in at one of the shooting benches to my right not three minutes prior. I was busy and not paying much attention until my marital spat early warning system alerted me to the fact that a guy was in the early stages of making sleeping arrangements for the sofa.
Glancing in their direction, I saw the husband attempting to teach his wife defensive shooting. It was pretty clear that she was an inexperienced shooter. Whether she had fired any type of gun before, I don’t know.
Anyway, he had her firing a snub nose revolver and was guiding her to assume an aggressive fighting stance and hit targets about 15 yards down range. She was obviously having less fun than Simon Cowell at an elementary school talent show. Within minutes of the couple’s arrival, they were gone, presumably to give each other the silent treatment for the rest of the day.
Marriage is a wonderful thing. I know first hand as I’ve been happily married for many more years than I’d like admit, only because that would date me. For all the wonderful benefits of marriage, one area where it doesn’t work out all that well is gun training. There are far too many personal dynamics at play in the significant other relationship.
In other words, who makes the absolute worst possible shooting trainer? Your significant other, that’s who. OK, there are exceptions, but generally speaking you’re not going to have a good learning experience at the range with the person with whom you share a toothbrush.
Why? Lot’s of reasons.
Relationship dynamics are already well established. A learning session has no place for relationship nuances. A learning session involving life and death issues is no place to bring emotional leftovers – good or bad.
Most significant others think they know a whole lot more than they do about the topic at hand. In this case, the “expert” was starting his student off with a lightweight snub nose revolver. That’s a really poor first time shooting experience for anyone, man, woman or child. Good trainers know that the key is to start a shooter with something that doesn’t scare them with blast and recoil, thereby allowing them to overcome fears and build confidence.
Even if they know the “material” most significant others don’t know how to train. Effective teaching is an art unto itself. If you think that just because you know a subject, you are qualified to teach others, stop, do not pass go and do not collect $200.
If your significant other wants to learn how to shoot, do everyone involved a big favor. Spend a hundred bucks on a class or invest in an hour or two of one on one training with a certified instructor. Once they learn the basics, and build some confidence, you can go to the range together.
An outing to the shooting range is too much fun to spoil with a needless spat.