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7 Ways To Overcome Being Gun Shy


I’m all for the Second Amendment because I’m a conservative and that’s a thing for them. I actually do think it’s weird that our government has a bunch of emotionally stressed and extremely well-equipped gun nuts parked all over the world.

Realistically, though, the chances of one of them going rogue in a way that affects me are low, so when my husband came out to me as an emotionally stable gun nut, I wasn’t thrilled. The guy loves guns: he has a lot of them, he’s good at shooting them, and he wanted me to be a part of it. Having my Second Amendment adherence bluff called has been a rough, but worthwhile, experience. Here are some tips for anyone who has internalized anti-gun culture enough to need some help getting over it.

1. Face Your Fears

Seeing a gun in my house, looking at it lying on my bed while it was being cleaned (why was he cleaning it on our bed?), watching someone pick it up and handle it, and handling it myself all made my guts scream. I had a very emotional reaction to that hunk of metal, even though I knew it was unloaded.

Go ahead and unlearn that by getting comfortable handling a gun. Practice picking it up with your finger alongside the frame outside the trigger guard, loading and unloading it with dummy ammo, and aiming it properly when it’s unloaded. Read this article, too.

2. Do the Deed

After you’ve put in some time raining on your own “guns scare me” parade, have someone teach you to shoot your gun. You’ll learn good things from this, like how hard it is to hit a target, and that the trigger pull on many guns is hard enough that firing a gun by accident is a lot less likely than preachy TV shows make it look.

My stomach turns and my elbows go wobbly when I’m aiming a live weapon at a target. I also anticipate recoil and overcompensate for it, resulting in terrible shooting. Those are things I need to know about my shooting in order to make my own gun ownership worth the trouble.

3. Reassess

If you and your gun don’t get along, you might need a trade. I had to break up with my first gun, a mean little semi-automatic, and replace it with a chubbier revolver that didn’t bite so hard. If you don’t have a gun lover in your life to help you, a local Federal Firearms License holder is a good bet. These are guys who are licensed to purchase and sell guns, and they’re in it because they love it.

If you call a local FFL-holder looking for help, he will likely be more than happy to help you sell your old firearm and pick out one more suited to you. By the way, guns are like dogs. The cute little ones that fit in your purse snap, have bad tempers, and are hard to control. A big one is gentler because it’s strong. Most newcomers to guns will have a better time shooting a gun that isn’t as trim. Ladies, that big gun just makes you look skinnier.

4. Practice in Non-Scary Ways

A laser grip is a great way to work on your aim. Point the unloaded gun, then activate the laser to see how good your aim is. Try it from a ready position, then start from a relaxed stance, and then start the drill with the gun in its storage place or a holster to practice the whole motion. Dry-firing (pulling the trigger while the gun is unloaded, using snap caps) will help you get a feel for the trigger pull without the bang, stress, and cost of bullets. This all builds muscle memory and takes the edge off anxiety.

5. Don’t Let Gun Culture Get You Down

Gun culture is dominated by hunting people, military people, and law-enforcement people. I don’t run much with any of those crowds. I accompanied my kids to hunter safety, and hosted a concealed-carry class at my house. Both of those classes have state-mandated time requirements far in excess of the time needed to cover essential information, and both classes degenerated into gun nuts running their mouths about gun junk to fill the time.

It was pretty excruciating, but my kid harvested an eight-pointer we’ve been eating all year, and I got my carry license. Now I never have to take either of those classes again. Also, some ranges and National Rifle Association chapters offer classes or times for ladies that can make the whole experience less intimidating for female types.

6. If You Want to Carry, Find an Option You Like

Holsters are definitely a “you get what you pay for” item. You’ll just end up buying the expensive one, so save yourself the trouble of trying a bunch of cheap ones first. Finding a comfortable way to carry can be especially tricky for ladies. Curvy girls and straighter girls are going to find different options better; there’s the complication of dresses versus skirts or pants; and let’s just give pregnancy a polite shout-out and move on.

Your best bet is to think about where on your body you’ll find a holster least obtrusive, and shop from there. I think this is my chance to do a commercial: love you, CanCan garter belt! The gun-nut husband recommends Comp-Tac CC holsters and Crossbreed holsters.

7. Loosen Up

Forcing yourself to shoot at the range while you’re mentally trying to figure out if some loon is really going to murder you in your bed and make all this grief worthwhile can get taxing. You might find the International Defensive Pistol Association a more fun way to get into the gun universe. Locate a club here, and contact the club leader about helping you make friends with your gun. You’ll find a welcoming group of people of all backgrounds who will delight in showing you how to shoot straight and safely.

This might make me sound like a gun chick. I’m totally not. I still hate guns and wish I didn’t have to think about them, but do any of us need to be reminded that the world is full of really messed-up people with guns? If I ever ran into one of them, I’d rather be able to defend myself with more than moral outrage.