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Gabriel Suarez
03-11-2004, 06:48 AM
I don't think I need to mention that the female is perhaps the most selected target of opportunity by the Bad guy, and all the usual stuff we hear.

I have a question, and please don't think I'm playing the over-stuffed traditional male "firearms rangemaster" with the half smoked stoggie hanging to the lower lip, but why are there so few females (in comparison) attending shooting courses?

Sure, goofy gunfighting academies have all women classes all the time, but these are populated by their own in-house staff or by the wives or daughters of its male staff. Rarely are these classes taken as anything other than a headline grabbing publicity stunt.

I'm referring to the everyday training class. Why are there so few THERE? And, perhaps just as important, what can be done to change this?

dgg9
03-11-2004, 09:17 AM
I have no numbers, but I would think the number of male gun owners outnumbers female gun owners buy a large margin. There's definitely a huge margin in online gun forums.

And, too, I wonder how many women are scared off by the prospect of being the only female in a probably otherwise all-male class. I.e., just the shyness/discomfort factor.

There are more men than women in most martial arts classes too, but the ratio is a LOT more even. Makes you wonder what the difference is.

The Tengu
03-11-2004, 09:54 AM
It's social conditioning.

I've also spoken to many women who feel like they have a tough boyfriend or husband to protect them.

How do we change that?

Well it's not easy because we have to change the way society raises women.

Women simply don't have equality in society. They have equality in the legal systems, but not in society.

There are even Christian sects that do not allow women to be pastors. I'm not going to argue about what the Bible says, but just by the pure fact that there are groups who believe the Word prohibits women from holding any kind of office demonstrates the kind of difficulties we have in this area.

And this is just in the United States.

The rest of the world? Forget about it.

The Searcher
03-11-2004, 10:05 AM
I will offer a couple of observations on the women I've seen in these classes FWIW.

1) Women who take shooting classes tend to be both better educated and more liberal than the men at these classes.

2) Women who take the classes are career oriented. Mommy trackers don't take them.

3) Women who take the classes on their own seem to have a fair amount of money. More so than the men.

4) Women who take the classes do so because they are seriously interested in defending themselves. They do not see it as a chance to play with guns or go shooting with neat targets.

Not sure what it means but I figured I'd throw it out there.

Now I've got a question for you guys. Do your wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers take these classes?

Geezer
03-11-2004, 12:55 PM
Gabe, for what its worth, here are some observations. My wife and I exercise to various exercise tapes. One of the tapes kept bugging me, because the people in the tape just seemed so different than any of the other tapes. Took me about six months to realize that the exercisers on the tape were all female. There was no male in the room for them to react to.

I had already observed that the dynamics of a group of men changes immediately and drastically when any female, age 1 year to 101, is present.

I am a teacher, so I get exposed to a lot of results of studies on learning, etcetera. It is clearly established that females learn faster, better and retain more when they are in all-female clasees with a female teacher. The differences are the most striking in those areas considered the province of males, such as math, science, etcetera.

The immediate thought is well then, let's have all-female classes taught by female instructors...not so fast. Women do thing for a variety of reasons. They may like guns because the fellow they like likes guns, they might want to meet guys who like guns, they might not enjoy the company of non-warriors and would undertake any sort of hobby as long as the company included warriors. So, trying to enlist women students by assuming that they are universally motivated by the desire to excel at arms probably wouldn't work very well.

My wife, who fits into all of the categories described above, took a 2-day Defensive Handgun at a Front Sight. She enjoyed it, was amazed at how her accuracy and skill increased through the two days, but she got bored very quickly, and has no desire to take another course. She had also been there for one of the free subgun courses, and samo samo, had fun, loved shooting the Uzi, but got bored quickly. There is a certain level of social interaction that is missing from shooting courses that may be more important to women than seeing who can get a gold seal on their certificate. Certainly the edge of sub-surface competiveness among a group of men probably does not amuse women.

Oh, one more thing..the bladed stance just does not work for many women for what should be obvious anatomical reasons, and insisting that they adopt it no matter what is seriously stupid. What a wonderful way to throw away your credibility right off the bat.

One thing we know for sure. The ideas that have been tried so far don't work. I wish I had a good one..the vision of thousands of soccer moms packin' works for me!

God bless and y'all be careful out there. :cool:

Vig Creed
03-11-2004, 01:08 PM
Took me about six months to realize that the exercisers on the tape were all female.



You must be really getting old Geezer! :D

Actually I have taught quite a few women to shoot, but almost always because their husbands were shooters and brought them along to matches, where my wife talked them into taking one of our classes.

Michael w/1911
03-11-2004, 01:15 PM
Now I've got a question for you guys. Do your wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers take these classes?[/QUOTE]



My wife will be starting level one of three classes offered. These will be at a local range, taught by active duty police officers. Each is approx. 8 hours and builds to approx. 500 rounds fired, with simulator time on level 2 and 3. Do I, or her for that matter, think they’d be on the level of a course like Gabe’s or TR etc., in a word, no! Do we think they’ll help, yes, unless the instructors are complete idiots and only time will answer that question. I think the last count was 98% male. Females that my wife has spoken with feel classes are for males. They can’t become good enough or they aren’t good enough to take it to the next level and beyond.

My wife couldn’t care less what the “rambo/dirty Harry” types might say, much less think. Although we both agree, that for females this is a problem. My wife has been in a male dominated field her entire career, so classes with possible attitudes are of little concern. We have heard of classes for women only. I can’t give you numbers, but I hear they do very well as far as attendance. She doesn’t feel like waiting for the next “possible” class to form.

Michael

pax
03-13-2004, 06:03 PM
I have a question, and please don't think I'm playing the over-stuffed traditional male "firearms rangemaster" with the half smoked stoggie hanging to the lower lip, but why are there so few females (in comparison) attending shooting courses?

Sure, goofy gunfighting academies have all women classes all the time, but these are populated by their own in-house staff or by the wives or daughters of its male staff. Rarely are these classes taken as anything other than a headline grabbing publicity stunt.

I'm referring to the everyday training class. Why are there so few THERE? And, perhaps just as important, what can be done to change this?
Gabe ~

Don't sneer at all-women classes. They fill a real need, and aren't only offered by goofy gunfighting academies. (Eh, I thought your charter was not to tear other folks down... was I wrong?)

Fact is, for most the women shooters I've talked to (and I've talked to a lot of them over the past couple of years) taking a class is a very scary exercise. Not necessarily physically scary, but socially scary.

Few women truly enjoy pastimes that they have to keep "secret" from their other women friends. So a woman who enjoys shooting (and especially self defense shooting) at all is often either a remarkable woman, or has remarkable friends. (Plenty of women shooters are neither, but also don't particularly enjoy shooting ... poor souls who are pushed, kicked, and dragged to the range by overbearing insensitive insistent guys... a tale for another day...)

Socially, women are more likely to come willingly to class if they have a friend to come with them -- but how many women have friends who also shoot? A guy can ask around, casually, in his circle of friends, if he wants someone to come to a class with him. But he doesn't usually do that. Why would he bother? He only wants to shoot, after all. It's not a social occasion.

For a woman, it's different. She's not going to be comfortable or happy as the only woman in the class, or amongst a group of strangers. She's not going to be truly comfortable talking to (or being ignored by) a bunch of guys she doesn't know. Sure, she wants to learn how to shoot, too -- but she wants to feel socially secure while she does it.

Bringing a friend to class has drawbacks, too. The undercurrent of competition that many instructors encourage in their students is actually detrimental to most women students. "Omigawsh, everyone is going to think I'm an awful shot! They're going to hate me~! I've got the worst target here! Everyone must think I'm a terrible person...!" -- this is normal self-talk for an American woman pushed into a competition she didn't expect, doesn't want, and doesn't know how to cope with. And such self-talk gets even worse if she is pushed into competing with friends. Male friends compete openly with one another, but female friends don't. ("She'll hate me if I beat her!" -- and she will too.) So most women hate competition, and would rather make friends, build bridges, cheer on her fellow students.

Women in general are far more sensitive to criticism than most guys are. If Joe is the slowest draw on the line, you can say to him, "Speed it up, Joe," and he hears, "Speed it up, Joe." If you say to Jane, "Speed it up, Jane," she hears, "You're the slowest person on the line, Jane, and everyone is looking at you and thinking about you and you're an awful shot and you're going to miss the next shot too..." This puts an enormous amount of pressure on women students that most male instructors simply aren't aware is there. Sure, women can learn to shoot under such pressure -- but they will rarely come back for more. They'll take a lower level class, realize that the pressure will only get worse, and never come back. An instructor aware of this can often soften his style for women students, but few instructors are even aware of it -- or aware of it for very long at a time.

What can be done to change it? I dunno. Might want to take that up with the Almighty. ;)

pax,
~Kathy

Mr. Jones, has it ever occurred to you, the world being what it is, that women sometimes prefer not to appear too bright? -- "Ellie," in Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein

Gabriel Suarez
03-14-2004, 06:01 AM
PAX,

I wasn't sneering at all-women classes with the tem "goofy", just a certain school in my state that makes a big marketing deal in the newspapers out of having such classes. Its the school with the "ultimate doctrine" who makes everyone shoot like the founder;), and culminates with a class competition (such as you described).

My "charter" BTW, is to tell the truth no matter what or who it makes uncomfortable, not to refrain from "cutting folks down".

In any case, I think that the material involved is important to women as much as men. And to a certain degree to young people (kids and teens and young adults). I think far too many women either never think about this stuff or at best buy the gun and keep it at home for an emergency. I think the more people (not just men over 35) who are actively involved in the study, the better off we will all be (politically, morally, everything).

Again, thanks for all the info. Not sure what to do with it at this point, but it is very interesting stuff.

billcameron
03-14-2004, 02:57 PM
Women certainly represent the great middle in the gun debate. As such we gunowners need to reach out to them. When Smith and Wesson reached out to women with their ladysmith line the Brady bunch was foaming at the mouth. The Brady bunch realizes most males already have set positions on gun ownership so women are the battle ground for the so called "hearts and minds" issue. So frankly if women feel more comfortable in an all woman class, fine set them up. Personally I think all women's beginners classes may make sense, but after that woman would want to go into mixed classes. Frankly I think many women may go into initial class with little knowledge of firearms and do not want to be talked down to by men who THINK they know it all. But after an initial class and some study I believe most women will be confident enough to attend mixed classes and in fact hold their own against men, and in many cases challenge men with their ability. But again I believe do whatever it takes as the future batteground over gun rights largely rests with a fight for the support of women to our point of view. I would like to see more women instructors in mixed classes. And I really think we need some top notch women holster makers. No its not a fashion thing, it is just that women dress different from us and are blessedly shaped different. Here I think woman holster maker has a real advantage.

FraudCop
03-30-2004, 05:24 PM
This thread has caused me to remember an event I was involved with over fifteen years ago in Phoenix. Working with the owner of a respected bodyguard-training academy in Colorado and accomplished martial artist, together with a well-known firearms instructor we organized a class for women only in law enforcement only in Phoenix. I had anticipated the response to he firearms program, but was totally unprepared for the response from female officers to the class on defensive tactics. If memory serves me correctly, female patrol officers and detectives came from LA, Vegas, and Salt Lake City. The only advertising was a colorful flyer that I was able to have distributed by friends in a number of these departments. All very informally and nothing sanctioned by the departments. These women took it upon them selves to register, pay their own tuition and travel expenses and both instructors commented that these ladies were some of the most motivated students they had ever taught. I observed several of the classes and can assure you they were really into the training. Several students even brought cameras to the class in order to photograph various holds and techniques so they could share the knowledge gained in class with their sister officers that were not able to attend.Gabe I have never met you, but am certainly aware of your impeccable credentials to teach such courses. I have always believed that the more traditional shooting schools either lacked the interest or expertise to offer these specialized courses. I am certainly not trying to tell you how to run your business, but should you wish to contact me off line I would be most happy to give you some additional information.

trigun
03-31-2004, 08:20 AM
My husband just emailed this thread to me from work, and I couldn't resist posting. (I am under his login, to remove him from any responsibility!). ;)
I want to come forward as a young, conservative, stay at home mom who is seeking to become trained in the use of firearms for the purpose of self defense. While it is true that my introduction to shooting stemmed from my husband's interest, the desire to obtain training and become a proficient shooter is all my own. I've attended the four day defensive handgun course at FS, and am returning for the two day skill builder later this month. So far in this thread, there has been alot of discussion on the mindset of females, and what that may have to do with their limited numbers in training courses. I agree with most everything that has been speculated, but wanted to bring in the factor of the male mindset that may have as much or more to do with it. I admit that I expected a few raised eyebrows directed at two young women attending a handgun course, but was not prepared for what I encountered. Upon pulling into the parking lot, I heard one guy blurt out "look! two girls"! (as in "look! a UFO!") That comment pretty much set the standard for the next four days. I had another guy ask me what I was doing there, and when I explained that I was there for the handgun course, he replied "yeah, but I mean -- what are you doing here?". My point is this: it is possible that females expect to encounter this kind of attitude, and that may be a factor in their deciding not to attend unless it is with their husband, boyfriend, etc. I expected it from a minority, but was surprised to find it was the majority. I should add that I was not treated in any way differently by any of the instructors, I learned so much and my shooting was improved tenfold. Many of the eyebrow raisers in the class turned their attitudes around by the end of day two, maybe because they realized that we were on the same skill level - maybe some of them were shut up because they realized we were better ;) ! Perhaps what we need to be talking about trying to change is not the mindset of the female shooting population, but that of our male counterparts who still think we don't really belong there. Btw, Gabe, my husband and I are looking forward to taking one of your courses, hopefully within the next year.

Trace Heskett
03-31-2004, 08:37 AM
FraudCop,
Isn't your story an example of the "limitedness" of the women attending courses? You specify the class was for "women only, LE only"; that's a niche of women I would expect to attend. They use this training as part of their jobs and take it very seriously.

What about the average-citizen women? What do you do to encourage them?

I've been conducting an informal survey amongst 20 of my women friends and I'm really discouraged with my results. I set it up by saying I'd get Gabe to teach ANY kind of weapons, hand-to-hand, martial arts, mindset etc. they wanted. 1) Would they attend? 2) What kind of class mix (men and women, women only) would they want and then comments.

My answers:
1) Would they attend?
5 - yes
3 - yes w/qualifiers
10 - no
2 - maybe
Comments - the people who said point blank no were the interesting comments. "I don't feel this training is needed by women", "why would I want to steal my mans job in life i.e. protecting the women", "it's too hard", "waste of time".

2)What kind of mix?
5 - mixed classes
10 - wouldn't matter; I won't attend
5 - women only
Comments - "Why take womens only when all of the cool stuff is offered in men's classes", "women only so I won't be intimidated".

Now of course this is just 20 women that I happen to know. If I opened this up to a larger survey my results would be different. Would they be better or worse, who can say.

I accept the fact that women are different and may need alternative training methods. I don't accept the tricks that could be employed to get women into classes. Having Gabe teach in a speedo is pretty guaranteed to get full attendance but does nothing for the students skill set. And, of course, Gabe would shoot me for even entertaining such a cheap trick.

Respect and a willingness to try different training methods to get your point across is SOP at Suarez International. Now, how do you get women to move past previous experiences and try it again?

Trace Heskett
03-31-2004, 09:07 AM
Trigun,
I agree the male mindset needs adjusting but are we as women so thin-skinned that we can't ignore the jibes from men? Self-defense isn't the only male dominated arena that has it's one eyebrow neanderthals. So, are we supposed to not improve ourselves because some men make derogatory comments? You can't change other peoples perceptions and if they've decided that women shouldn't be in a self defense class then there it is.

In a perfect world, I'd love to see people keep their opinions to themselves but that's not human nature. Especially, obnoxious human behavior. So, that being the case what's the answer: go and risk idiots mouthing off or don't go and allow strangers to dictate your life to you.

I know all of this is easier said than done. Maybe we should just let the women use the idiots as targets. We can empower the women and euthenize the idiots.

FraudCop
03-31-2004, 10:40 AM
Mr. Heskett while I have no reason to doubt the validity of your survey I am generally not surprised with the results in general and the remarks in particular. It was my error in not elucidating the protocol that while it should be a “woman only” class I would in no way limit participation to only law enforcement personnel. In point of fact, a mixed class of women would have the additional benefit of not only solid, formal training, but like their male counter parts, women law enforcement officers have a front row seat to the conduct of male predators that daily prowl the streets. While just as you, I suspect, would want to think that all the men sharing the lives of the women you surveyed would stand between her and an attacker their grasp of reality, at best, appears slightly irrational. While human companionship is a wonderful thing I would ask those women that verbalized their confidence in “their men” to calculate the hours each day that they are separated and vulnerable. Predators normally don’t attack women accompanied by their “knight in shining armor”. Like most criminals they attack the weak, the vulnerable, the apparently defenseless human.Mr. Heskett I’m not a marketing guru, just basically a street cop with a little experience. How would you attract the roughly fifty percent of your sampling and that almost flatly rejected your question relative to an enrollment, I have no idea. Other than having them communicate with crime victims relative their experience I have no clue as to how you impact reality on either men or women that we live in a dangerous world and the police and not their “own bodyguard” can not protect them 24/7. I would hope you agree that our personal protection is, in the final analysis, our own responsibility and cannot be transferred to either government or another person.Your survey has definitely peaked my own interest, but I would suggest that while you have correctly interviewed the right customer base, petition you to extend your survey to twenty men and pose the same questions from a male perspective. How many men would feel comfortable having any woman in they’re life; wife, girlfriend, mother or daughter enroll in a course that would permit them to master skills that may someday prevent their death or serious injury? How many men would be more confident knowing that these women, at best, had a skill set that permitted them to do more than simply dial 911? How many men would agree that when they are physically separated from any woman in their life that they were helpless to defend them?As I previously stated, I have not had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Suarez, but I believe I can state the obvious and am confident that he would answer my sophomoric question in the negative, just as I would. If given the fact that we were sitting in a Santa Monica restaurant do either of us have the ability to instantly protect any woman in West Hills from a predator?Personally I know more than a few men that would consider a highly qualified self-defense course to be a terrific “I Love You” gift to any woman in his life. By the way Mr. Heskett the men I am alluding to are all very self-confident gentlemen that if they could, would more than adequately repel any attack on any woman, but are intelligent enough to realize they have not been surgically attached to the women that share their lives.

RMF
03-31-2004, 11:58 AM
The survey had a higher percentage than I would have expected of those wanting training.

I wonder how asking 20 NON shooting males would work out. I suspect about the same numbers - unless they thought it was a 'macho' challenge.

But then I don't have much faith in the mass of humanity! Most people don't want to know what kind of danger they are in everyday. They don't want to think about it.

I think maybe more women are starting to wake up than the common men.

MTS
03-31-2004, 03:14 PM
FraudCop,

FYI "MR Heskett" is in fact "MS Heskett".:)

Don't feel bad. I made the same mistake once over a misunderstanding and challenged "him" to a duel, pistols at dawn.:p

Once I realized my mistake and aplogised we agreed to one day have beers at sunset instead.:D

Trace Heskett
03-31-2004, 05:54 PM
FraudCop,
I agree with your assessment that there are progressive men out there who would encourage their women (be it mother, sister, wife, daughter) to learn the skills to protect themselves. These aren't the men that are a potential problem in the training classes. It's the obnoxious or egotistical men whose view of women hasn't changed since Moses was a pup. As I've stated, you can't change those people's minds.

As for the survey, I'm thinking it should be run 2 more ways. 20 NON-defensive men and then 20 defensive men. I asked a few of my computer-geek men how they would feel about women in a class and they didn't have any issue. One of the comments was "I don't know anything about it so we can learn together". I'd be more curious about the men who take training. I'm thinking it would be along the lines of "if they can carry their weight, I've got no problem" but it could be "we don't want women 'cause they'll bring the level of the class down". I don't know the answer to that.

As Mark pointed out, I'm a woman who is in 2 male dominated arenas; computers and self defense. I have the same problem with computer classes that I have with self defense classes. I want to attend anything I want and not have to contend with perceptions/opinions about my capacity to learn the subject matter. You get thick skinned or you don't participate without loads of angst.

I want Suarez International to be teaching more women but I don't know how to get women interested. A lot of women take courses because they heard about them from their significant others. How do you get the information to them directly? Advertise in Ladies Home Journal? A lot of women take courses because their significant others think it's a good idea. How do you get them to do it for themselves?

John Kuhlman
03-31-2004, 08:53 PM
Trace,

I don't see where we are going to get more women involved until it becomes more socially acceptable. When women start reading about celebrities and other role models getting into self defense (krav maga ring a bell anyone?), then we will see more women start coming to these classes.

There are reasons why gyms evolved to health clubs which evolved to fitness centers which evolved to fitness centers with ladies only sections (enclosed of course) to ladies only centers like Curves.

I used to be a personal trainer and can vouch for the social shyness in traditionally male arenas. Ninety-plus percent of my female clients wanted to work out in the privacy of their own homes. They felt "intimidated" at the fitness centers and felt like everyone was watching them.

My wife (who is very outgoing by the way), echoed those same sentiments.

When Gabe and Cheryl posted the question at a recent class, I went home that night and asked my wife what would ever draw her to take a self defense class.

"Simply not interested."
"It's G.I. Joe stuff."

It was a fascinating conversation and I realized my wife's attitudes were not what I had thought they were. They had regressed. There was no immediate safety concern on her mind.

After a few break-ins to my car in the driveway and one into our garage at night, she was ready to get some handgun training. Well, time went by and she forgot about those feelings of vulnerability. What started out as an interest in some basic level of self-defense has now morphed to G.I. Joe stuff.

It's sad because women are the top targets and the ones that need this training more than men do. Really.

For us, it's fun to learn and train. The odds of us ever having to use those skills for real are fairly slim. For women, the odds are against them, yet the majority have no interest in learning martial skills until life comes up and raps them on the head.

billcameron
04-01-2004, 02:38 PM
I suspect if you would ask most of the men on this forum when they became interested in firearms, the answer would be at an early age. I also suspect most men on forum owned a BB gun, then 22 rifle, etc. And I don't think the early male involvement in guns was necessarily because of their father's, uncle's, etc involvement. My father and family were not particular interested in guns althought not anti-gun. But I couldn't wait to get my BB gun. My point is a lot of guys for whatever reason grew up with an interest in guns. This general gun interest often evolved into an interest in the self defense use of firearms. Half the reason I carry a gun is because I find it fun. Yes fun to study holsters, shoot realistic courses of fire, participate in gun forums, go to gunshows etc. Ok to be honest maybe the fun part is more than half the reason I carry. There I have said it.

I don't think most women come from this background of involvement with guns as a hobby. And I think men should recognize this fact. Many women probably view guns the way I view this computer I am working on. I want it to work, I am not interest in ram, this and that bit/bites, whatever. Hey I pay people to load programs on my computer. Fortunately, I learned to use a computer when employed in government, where people were on staff to maintain them. My fellow employees helped me learn what buttons to push. I still have no real interest in how computers work and don't ever see myself subscribing to some geek computer magazine. Now where is my lastest copy of Combat Handguns and American Handgunner? I don't know how I would have felt going into computer training class in later life with a lot of pimp faced computer geeks around. Fortunately I avoided this, but I think the parallel with women and guns is often appropriate.

Frankly, what I believe is needed is a true beginners class. This could include men as well as women. But the basic idea would be for people who had no real background in firearms, but were concerned for their safety. Similar to me with computers. I am really not interested in computers, they are a tool and I want to be taught how to use them starting at where is the on switch. And don't bore me with a lot of technical detail.

pax
04-14-2004, 02:27 PM
I want Suarez International to be teaching more women but I don't know how to get women interested. A lot of women take courses because they heard about them from their significant others. How do you get the information to them directly? Advertise in Ladies Home Journal?]
Um, Women and Guns magazine, I would think. :p

A lot of women take courses because their significant others think it's a good idea. How do you get them to do it for themselves?
Trace, you and Gabe need to talk to Gila Hayes (when I grow up, I want to be as smart as she is). At FAS, they've got a once-a-month women's study group which has been drawing 15 to 20 women each time. When the group started last spring, it was populated mainly with women who'd been nagged by their spouses into coming (with a few notable exceptions). That's not true anymore -- the women are there because they want to be there and want to learn how to shoot well.

I'm 90% sure that the study group is going to result in higher female enrollment in the upper level classes at FAS, but even if it does not, the group's existence really puts the lie to the idea that women aren't interested in learning to shoot or don't care about training. These women want to learn and it has been a lot of fun to watch them doing it.

trigun makes a good point, btw. It takes a certain kind of personality to "just ignore" the startled (and sometimes rude) comments from other students, especially if the woman came to class by herself and doesn't have a friend to support her (or trade exasperated looks with, whichever). Some women have a who-cares personality by nature and can take such comments in stride, but many women do not and can not. We are talking about how we want them to spend their leisure time, after all. If something is unpleasant, or is spent in the company of unpleasant people, why would anyone want to spend a vacation doing it?

This isn't necessarily an argument for offering women's only classes, by the way. Maybe all it would take would be encouraging your new students to bring a friend with them (a slight discount for those who do, something like that). But without recognizing the realities of what women perceive as barriers to training, it's going to be difficult to overcome the barriers and get them into training.

Something else -- I think most gun schools get their bread and butter from Walter Mitty types, come to pretend he's James Bond or Army Guy for a few days. It is only after Mr. Mitty has gotten a little bit of training that he buckles down to the serious business of learning to shoot for real instead of fantasizing about just blowing everyone away. The problem is, Mr. Mitty doesn't have many female counterparts -- not many women want to play at being Army Guy, after all. So the advertising that works well at getting men into classes often just doesn't appeal to women, and the more successfully it works for men the less likely it is to work for women.

Frankly, I think the way to sell classes for women is to sell them as necessary adjuncts to safely owning a gun, not as exciting/demanding/electrifying/challenging weekend fun. Boring, I know, but then, women buy more laundry soap than they do shooting classes...

pax

The Searcher
04-16-2004, 01:24 PM
There's a thread on a this general topic over at "The High Road." Don't know the policy here on linking to other boards so I won't.

It's under Strategy and Tactics.

Rollo Tamasey
04-18-2004, 10:04 PM
Many women I have known have a real aversion to guns. They tend to take martail arts classes for self defense or not learn any self defense at all. When I have mentioned the ccw option to them they say thingslike " a gun is 67 times more likely to be used against me than against an attacker" and " If I had a gun the BG would take it from me and shoot me with it" I have even heard one female say Iwould rather get killed than have to shoot someone." In short I think they get all thier information from the " liberal media." Many of these women attended the same university that I did. These were straight A students in the business department. They also said " a gun is the last resort of a coward" and " We fight with fists not with Guns" and "You are going against what "we " are trying to do" I even heard one female student tell me " We are trying to move away from individual rights such as owning a gun so we can be safer collectivley" Many of them even expressed anger at me for having a Concealed carry permit and said I was endangering the rest of society.

Gabriel Suarez
04-19-2004, 05:43 AM
There's a thread on a this general topic over at "The High Road." Don't know the policy here on linking to other boards so I won't.

There are some forums that we will not support. THR is one of them. Rather than go there and deal with typical internet forum environments, let's bring the issue here and discuss it at WT. Thank you for excluding the link.

Rollo Tamasey
04-19-2004, 08:54 PM
You hit the nail right on the head. When I was at U.C.F. I kept a low profile about my gun ownership because it was not politically corect and I wanted to pass my courses and not be on the professors S!@* lists. Then one day in my senior year we had a guest lecturer come in and talk to an auditorium of 300 people. He was Haris Rosen a self made hotel magnet in the Orlando area. He was saying that He was opposing a shooting range opening on International Drive. ( the heart of the Orlando tourist area) He said that now when a police officer stops a car the ocupants can say they have guns in order to go to the range. I raised my hand and then told him that under Florida law you can have a gun in your vehicle as long as it is incased and out of your immediate reach. You do not have to be on the way to the range to be legal. He said that he did not know that and asked if I had a concealed weapons permit. I said yes and some people gasped. He then said that when applicants for positions at his hotels are in the final stages of the hiring process he runs a background check to see if they have gun permits and if they do he just does not hire them and never tells them why they were not hired. I asked him why he does not tell them and at least then they can decide wether the job is worth getting rid of their permit and he said something like my lawyer told me to do it that way but its perfectly legal. I found out Later that Mr. Rossen useto be an expert shot when he was in the military back in WW2 or Koria or something. Any way I was in one of my professors offices the next day and the dean of the College of Hosipitality Management put his head in and said that I embarrassed the whole department and that I was backward thinking.

Around this time period is when I sugested CWP to some of the female students. After all this negative feed back I now do not bring the subject up unless it is with people I know fairly well. I am now self employed so my employer can't fire me unless I fire myself.

There was also another professor in one of the core business classes who basically extolled the virtues of a one world government and said something like that indiviual rights should not hold back the will of the majority and that we can be cowards and cling to the past or move forward towards a one world goivernment with socialized medicine. He was really popular with the students. Many students would say that they should not have to work to hard and should get free health care. Sorry for rambling on so long but I wanted to get this off my chest since this attitude that permiated the place kind of shocked me.

Wondah Woman
09-13-2004, 10:20 AM
I haven't taken formal gun instruction classes for a few reasons. I haven't found an affordable class that is within reasonable travelling distance. And I don't have anybody who will watch my children while I attend. My finances are so tight they squeak ! My older model car won't go long distances reliably. Childcare is also an issue since my husband would like to go shooting with me too. It adds to our enjoyment of the shoot. We are a team ! Our families are mostly anti-gun and have refused to babysit for this purpose. We can't afford a babysitter. What we mostly need is a local club with an affordable family plan, and babysitting services. Ranges themselves are few in Connecticut. Our families, while anti-gun, are not all anti-self-defense. I have been able to attend other non-firearm self-defense classes and they agreed to babysit for those. So, at least I am not totally helpless in a fight.
Another reason women in general may not enroll in classes is the condition of the ranges available to them. I myself prefer an indoor range. However, most of the ranges I attended looked dirty and unkempt, and were dimly lit. They were functional only and were not appealing to the eye. A few coats of pleasant colored paint, maybe a nice border, and a few simple decorations will help a woman feel more welcome.
If you want more women to attend, you'll have to make the gun ranges more unisex in design, and take into account there may be financial and child-care issues.
Just my opinion. :)

MTS
09-13-2004, 04:31 PM
Wondah Woman,

Welcome to Warrior Talk.

For training in CT you might try here;

http://www.defenseassociates.com/

I know two of the instructors and they are good people.

To save on expenses you might consider rotating classes. One time you go the next your husband etc.

Yes, the higher level training is expensive but you get what you pay for. If you cannot afford any of the Defense Associate classes find out if they offer any NRA courses or can refer you to someone that does.

krb
09-14-2004, 07:55 PM
I haven't taken formal gun instruction classes for a few reasons. I haven't found an affordable class that is within reasonable travelling distance. And I don't have anybody who will watch my children while I attend. My finances are so tight they squeak ! My older model car won't go long distances reliably. Childcare is also an issue since my husband would like to go shooting with me too. It adds to our enjoyment of the shoot. We are a team ! Our families are mostly anti-gun and have refused to babysit for this purpose. We can't afford a babysitter. What we mostly need is a local club with an affordable family plan, and babysitting services. Ranges themselves are few in Connecticut. Our families, while anti-gun, are not all anti-self-defense. I have been able to attend other non-firearm self-defense classes and they agreed to babysit for those. So, at least I am not totally helpless in a fight.
Another reason women in general may not enroll in classes is the condition of the ranges available to them. I myself prefer an indoor range. However, most of the ranges I attended looked dirty and unkempt, and were dimly lit. They were functional only and were not appealing to the eye. A few coats of pleasant colored paint, maybe a nice border, and a few simple decorations will help a woman feel more welcome.
If you want more women to attend, you'll have to make the gun ranges more unisex in design, and take into account there may be financial and child-care issues.
Just my opinion. :)


Hi Wondah Woman! :) I've gotten to the correct thread...sorry for any confusion.

Thanks for your reply on the other post.

I certainly am not disagreeing with all that you say, certainly ranges should clean up their brass and fix their light bulbs. Of course that makes perfect business sense. Yes, I am sure that the range in Springfield is beautiful and probably a bit more pricey than other ranges. You pay for what you get. Instead of decor, you may want to concentrate on obtaining the BEST TRAINING you can afford, and overlook the decor-challenged condition of ranges.

Self defense isn't just about standing behind a shelf in a stall and putting bullets into a piece of paper...it's about mindset...no matter where one is. I had written recently in another thread that ladies beginning with self defense are very often turned off or are overwhelmed by all the jargon and buzzwords used in the industry, however once a woman feels comfortable and confident she will take the initiative to further her education in most instances. I think that respecting different communication styles would go a long way to helping ladies feel more comfortable for taking responsibility for their own/and loved ones safety. I also do not think of self defense as being only a "man's world". It is for everyone, and it is only lately that women have really started to take a real interest in their role within the world of self defense. I find the men here on WT to be much more interested in finding a solution for us ladies than what we have found for ourselves...just look at the number of postings and dates of those postings...and most of those are by men. Again, I thank those gentlemen for their interest and experience. I wish you good luck in finding an affordable solution to your issues. I think Mark Swain has given you a great starting point. Thanks again for your reply and I look forward to seeing you here more... :)

Wondah Woman
09-15-2004, 08:10 AM
Hi Wondah Woman! :) I've gotten to the correct thread...sorry for any confusion.

Thanks for your reply on the other post.

You pay for what you get. Instead of decor, you may want to concentrate on obtaining the BEST TRAINING you can afford, and overlook the decor-challenged condition of ranges.


I still think if you pay $700 to take a class, the classroom should be neat and clean. The instructor would be disresepectful to the student if he/she didn't have a decent place to present it in. You could have the best training in the world, but if you present your curriculum in a dump, the student is going to think the instruction is poor quality as well. You wouldn't eat a filet mignon if it was served on a garbage can lid. I won't take training from a person who doesn't even have the respect for me to clean up the place. My combat mindset is fine, and I find your continual reference to it as anything other than that highly offensive. :mad:

krb
09-15-2004, 08:18 AM
I still think if you pay $700 to take a class(LFI1, for example), the classroom should be neat and clean. The instructor would be disresepectful to the student if he/she didn't have a decent place to present it in. You could have the best training in the world, but if you present your curriculum in a dump, the student is going to think the instruction is poor quality as well. You wouldn't eat a filet mignon if it was served on a garbage can lid. I won't take training from a person who doesn't even have the respect for me to clean up the place. My combat mindset is fine, and I find your continual reference to it as anything other than that highly offensive. :mad:

Hi Wondah Woman...

It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with ranges. That's too bad. Most of the ones I've been to are just fine for the job for which they're intended. I was speaking in generalities per mindset, and I still think ladies in general need to tighten up their mindsets, and I'm really glad to hear you're a fighter. Again, good luck with searching for your options.

michael
09-15-2004, 02:10 PM
WondahWoman,

You really need to catch Gabe's CRG class. It is unparalleled in what you will learn to survive a real gunfight, or fight for that matter. His prices are also very reasonable. If you can only go to one training session, this one is it.

The Searcher
09-15-2004, 02:45 PM
I'm a male and I'm with Wondah Woman on this.

If I pay big dollars to take a course (shooting related or otherwise) I expect clean decent looking facilities and an instructor with a professional appearance.

I don't expect luxury and three piece suits but I don't want a decade's worth of garbage littering the place either.

georgel
09-18-2004, 11:11 PM
If I might mediate a little...

Both Wondah Woman and krb bring up interesting points and are actually somewhat similar. The differences may be more of timing and progression. To beginning shooters and to attract clients male or female, a range should be attractive or at least clean. This promotes a more positive attitude and a greater feeling of safety, quality and professionalism and is more condusive to learning. But, as the student progresses, he/she should be challenged and a more "difficult" environment should not pose any particular problem. It may actually enhance the training. For example, where I shoot IDPA, we shoot outside rain or shine because we can't choose in real life. I believe the actual event notices say, "In case of rain, bring rain gear." :eek:
However, I believe many ranges are dark and dirty not because of a more challenging designed scenario, but because of the typical male mindset on these matters. Face it, many men in general are slobs and don't care much how the place looks, present company excluded of course. ;)
Unfortunately, this also carries over to the instruction, with a male-centric bias, which relates to krb's comments on jargon and buzzwords. Oh, and let's not forget the EGO that usually accompanies and exacerbates this. Yeah, it's the man's fault. :rolleyes: Present company again excluded.
Wondah Woman's dislike of some training venues speaks to her bad experiences, just as krb's penchant for doing it faster, harder, tougher speaks to hers for other reasons.

Kobra
09-19-2004, 12:37 AM
She's right. Guys tend to be all about "whatever it takes" to get the job done--minimalists. Hell, why do you think we use so much duct tape? Chicks ain't into what works. They want decent facilities, and that means a bathroom with clean seats and toilet paper. I can't blame em. I'd rather pay $500 for a couple of days at a state of the art facility than $350 for a mediocre local range.

Kobra

Gorgo
09-19-2004, 06:03 PM
While I agree with Kobra to an extent I can speak from my own experience to a greater degree. Up until a few years ago, I had always told myself, "I need to learn how to shoot a gun." There really wasn't anyone who or anything that was pushing that point home with me. We women get so caught up in everything that we are multitasking that sometimes we either need a crisis situation or a really pushy person (in my case, my new husband, Kobra) to bring the importance of gun ownership and skills to the forefront.

Case in point, I have now gone shooting a number of times, and am the proud owner of a Kimber Pro Carry HDII. The sober reality is I MUST take a class in order to become proficient. Kobra affectionately calls me the (go)nad blaster. ;) I need to set my more routine wife/mother/employee responsibilities aside and make time.

By the way, I think The Tengu's remark, "There are even Christian sects that do not allow women to be pastors. I'm not going to argue about what the Bible says, but just by the pure fact that there are groups who believe the Word prohibits women from holding any kind of office demonstrates the kind of difficulties we have in this area." is completely irrelevant to this issue. As part of a conservative Christian denomination, I know more women who shoot than you'd imagine. Women who think they aren't able to handle arms or shouldn't due to being oppressed are in the minority.

In short, allowing for financial considerations and other logistics, we're too darn busy. While that's somewhat a product of our times, it is up to us women to make the choice to participate in classes that will help us to better protect ourselves and our loved ones.

mlhoward
09-21-2004, 01:19 PM
Does it help to have female friends who shoot? Would peer pressure effect your choice of schools? Or help you make time to practice?

bjoanne2000
09-30-2004, 06:13 PM
Hi Gabe
I do not have an answer as to why there are so few women in the training classes. I would love some extra training, but it seem that in Oregon, most of or all of the classes are in Portland, I cannot afford to go to Portland when we have several Ranges here in the Medford/Ashland area. I think that many women may feel intimidated in a male dominated class, and maybe that is the case, being brand new here, (today) I cant answer the question. Sorry if this is difficult to read, it has been a very long day.
Thanks for the time.
Jo Anne :)

bjoanne2000
09-30-2004, 06:31 PM
I taught myself to shoot, I am a 51 year old woman and I purchased my first gun last August. A S&W 44 Magnum w/4in barrel. I went to the range as often as I could, and finally the rangemaster noticed me and gave me a few pointers. I now have 7 hand guns and 5 long guns. I love them all ;) I would have loved to have had some formal training but it was just not available here. We can learn on our own, it is just a matter of how badly you want too. I can't fight anymore, I am too arthritic, but I wont sit still and be a victim either. I take photos, and am in the woods or near lakes all the time, always a remote area, and I get uneasy on occasion, so I started carrying my 44, then a back up gun as well. I go to the range anywhere from 2 to 5 times a month and shoot primarily my 44 and my Kimber 45 acp. Still would like some classes available in this area, especially on ccw.
thank you. and yes for me, it is great help when friends come and shoot with me!!
Jo Anne

bjoanne2000
10-01-2004, 09:41 PM
If I may make a suggestion..
I shoot frequently and at work when I first started shooting my friends asked me "why do YOU want to shoot guns?" I simply said in my reply, "I refuse to be a helpless victim"
I taught myself to shoot and to clean my guns, all 12 of them now, and lately I have had some of the women I work with come up and ask if I would teach them to shoot. I never say no, I only ask that they purchase the ammo that will be needed, for the guns I would select for them to shoot. I buy the .22 caliber, but I also ask that they buy a box of 9mm
and a box of 38 special. I wont go into a larger caliber, that is something they can do on their own or go to a class to learn.
1 Year ago I was one of only 2 women at work who would go out and shoot guns, now there are 5 of us. it is a slow process, but the 3 new shooters, really like to shoot:)
I encourage them to go and take a gun safety class, I did, and then I got my CCL and I always have some sort of hand gun on me. Usually my Kahr PM9 because it is small and lightweight. I don't intimidate anyone, rather I try to instill respect for firearms. not fear. I think that my friends asked me to teach them because like you said, they are intimidated by men. I would go to classes but they just arent offered here in Medford. so I shoot and I shoot and I shoot until I get it right. I might not have the perfect stance , but what I do works for me. I do have a bad habit of 2 handed shooting, i might get disabled and can only use one hand, am working on that. also working on shooting left handed, pretty good with 9mm, but not with larger. Anyways, ladies, talk to your friends about shooting till they are tired of hearing it, and say just show me!! they will like it. my friends do:)

sepolvora
10-03-2004, 10:33 PM
In my personal experience is women are different from men in several ways (Duh!)

As many of yo suggested before, most women who do attend a shooting classes are better students and faster learners than most men.

They do not need advise as we men do: "do not enter into a fight you do not need to get into!" Women don't look for fights.

Women are not affraid to say "Yes I am affraid" as we men are.

Women who come into my courses usually do along with their husbands or boyfriends. Many just come and go, but a few are much better than their beloved, so from the start I put them in separate shooting positions.

We need to understand most women are not tech freaks as many men are: they do not care if their car is manual, auto or limited slip diferential; they need to get there.
So, they don't care for hubby's 1911, glock, 44 magnum, et al.
But they do recognize the real differences between them: "this is too heavy", "I like this trigger" "this one fits my hand really well" .

Briefly; they care about the end results, not how the gun shoots, they have others things to care about.

In the end: in 12 years, some of my worse students have been women, but also some of the best I've had.

I'll end with two quotes: the first is from my wife, coming from a family of hunters that owned mostly european weapons. Once a friend called me to show me his proud posecion: a winchester 94 in a velvet case. Before I started to praise it, she just opened her mouth and said: "It looks cheap"

Second is from a divorced lady who came form a family of coffee growers. His father told her she was not going to inherit the family bussiness because he didn't wanted she and her daughters lived in a farm, risking their lives without a man to protect them. At the end of the course she simply told me:
"Thanks for allowing me to take control of my life again. Now I don't need a man or nobody to watch after me."

That's why ladies are always welcome.

Yours truly,

Juan

minuteman
10-05-2004, 02:29 AM
PAX,

I wasn't sneering at all-women classes with the tem "goofy", just a certain school in my state that makes a big marketing deal in the newspapers out of having such classes. Its the school with the "ultimate doctrine" who makes everyone shoot like the founder;), and culminates with a class competition (such as you described).

My "charter" BTW, is to tell the truth no matter what or who it makes uncomfortable, not to refrain from "cutting folks down".

In any case, I think that the material involved is important to women as much as men. And to a certain degree to young people (kids and teens and young adults). I think far too many women either never think about this stuff or at best buy the gun and keep it at home for an emergency. I think the more people (not just men over 35) who are actively involved in the study, the better off we will all be (politically, morally, everything).

Again, thanks for all the info. Not sure what to do with it at this point, but it is very interesting stuff.

Hey Gabe,

One of the best way to get more women in the gun-training classes to have all-women gun training classes. A local sheriff
in NW Arkansas did a all-women gun safety class and they couldn't deal with overwhelming response by women who wanted to take the class.

I think that one of the best way to get more women into shooting is have a all-women class with a female instructor. Don't too quick to dismiss all-women class as goofy, we need more women shooters out there.

Sekcp
10-09-2004, 06:18 PM
I own my own gunshop. I am female. I deal with women and men differently. Usually when women come in, I am more on their level of understanding the caretaker feild they come from. Most women are wanting something to protect themselves and their families. I also let them know that when they purchase this firearm, they must take it and shoot it to get the feel, in case "God forbid" the situation should occur. I also let them know that it is sometimes better than a Valum or Zanax. HAHAHA Once a week and all that tension that has been building from everyday hassels is all over in the matter of an hour or more. AAAAAH Relief. These suggestions brings them to the range and sometimes, alot of times I go with them. I am not certified, but I do provide a class that does have a certified instructor. We also have a laid back attitude. Not a rambo atmosphere. I have noticed alot of women picking up firearms. They should. Their grandmothers did, their great grangmothers did. Women and guns is a part of history. We probably just don't do it as often as the men, cause we have other obligations to attend. They are out there, and they are shooting. Most of the time a better shot. I am sure of that.

bitesize
11-01-2004, 10:43 AM
A lot of important points were touched on in here, I think everyone's in agreement that women are intimidated, especially those that don't know a lot. I know I fall into that category. An all women class would probably garner a bit more interest because the women might assume they are all on the same beginner level. Extreme basics is also a great idea- I would look into a class that advertised tag-lines such as "...never shot a gun before?" "no experience necessary" etc...those are odd examples but you get my meaning. Not every woman wants to learn, so you can't always make the horse drink, so to speak. Targeting the woman who wants to learn but may be intimidated and/or starting from scratch would be your best bet.

Personally, I would feel most comfortable with private lessons, unfortunately that's too expensive for most people. So I make my boyfriend teach me everything he knows, hehe.

Dan-O
11-13-2004, 02:21 PM
Guys,
This is just a simple marketing exercise.
Women have different motivations for doing many things differently than Men.

You have all touched on some key issues but I really feel the best way to involve Women and Guns is to market it completely differently than how classes are marketed to men.
You must take into account the different attitudes,and motivations for Women wanting to do any kind of activity and go from there.

Im researching this extensively and when I come up with more data I will make some suggestions.

Women need this training the most,the key is making that information palatable in a fashion that does not treat them like the Army treats Left Handed shooters.

They are different,and need to be approached differently,from the ground up.(Certain women in Warrior Professions Excepted)

Expect more from me on this in times to come

LRS