Training Women To Train Women

Women journey to gun ownership on a completely different path then men.

It is no longer a news flash – women have been and are coming to the world of firearms in huge numbers and with passion. Ranges and firearm training schools are flooded with these feminine firearm freshmen eager to learn everything there is to know about guns and how to use them safely and effectively. At The Well Armed Woman, I am fully intrenched and surrounded by these fabulous ladies. Listening, discussing and dealing with the unique issues surrounding this bursting population of gun owners. I am focused and committed to three things: To Educate, Equip and Empower women shooters. To accomplish this, things needed to change. The “way” the “how” and the “what” had to change to effectively and fully meet the needs of the woman shooter. 

“Guns are guns” you say. “Women need to know the same things men need to know” why can’t they just learn, shoot and use the same equipment men do?” Well, here is the answer…Woman are different. Yes, I know you know we look different but it goes way beyond curves. Women journey to gun ownership on a completely different path then men. It is a totally different process for us, from start to finish.  Our brains are different and process information differently than a man’s. We learn differently and need an adjusted approach that allows women to comprehend and master information and techniques. So, delivering the information and training in the same way that it has been delivered to men in the way men learn best, leaves women with a less then fully integrated, fully absorbed experience and depth of knowledge. 

Many women are intimidated entering the testosterone filled world of firearms and the physiological differences in how we process and learn are only exacerbated by the natural male/female dynamic. Men can move quickly from concept to concept and can easily grasp the big picture.  Women learn best when given the time to fully understand one step, then they can fully move on to the next. For a woman, information is built, completed layer upon completed layer. Women can be afraid to ask questions when men are in the class. They are interrupted more and fear being seen as stupid. Her need for detail can frustrate the men teaching or participating in the class. Because of this they tend to engage and participate less and not ask the questions necessary to master a concept to be prepared move on to the next. (Harvard 1999) Women want detailed instruction and the time to practice before moving on. Naturally, women are more comfortable with other women and more comfortable asking questions and practicing new techniques with less fear of judgment. 

It was time to address these differences and change the way women are taught. To accomplish this, more women instructors, trained to teach to these differences was needed, lots of them. Imagine women all over the country, fully trained to deliver firearms training to women in the way women learn best and effectively addressing the different learning needs and styles in which women flourish. The Well Armed Woman/NRA Instructor Certification Course is a  3 day intensive built around the NRA Certified Pistol and the Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor certification trainings infused with the feminine. I think this combination of certifications best prepare our woman instructors to effectively teach to and speak to women, whose primary reason to learn how to shoot is to protect themselves, their homes and their families. 

Now this doesn’t mean there is no place for men, in fact The Well Armed Woman has partnered with Certified Instruction and Training owner Mike Abramovich, an NRA Training counselor. Why? Because he is a phenomenal teacher with the grace, poise and experience to deliver world class training.  He also sees and embraces the need to address the differences in training women instructors. His flexibility and his ability to handle the man jokes also makes him ideal.  There is one more reason, he was my Training Counselor and being the only woman in my class I had the chance to experience and benefit first hand from his top notch instruction. That is what I want for The Well Armed Woman instructor students. 

Mike believes it is important to teach our instructor candidates how to engage the new shooter to make sure she retains what is taught and to involve them in their education. We are committed to our student’s success. “We lay the foundation for our instructors to succeed and then continue to assist them as their mentors as they start to hold their classes and grow their instruction programs and business.” He shared.

Women from all over the country are showing their passionate desire to change the lives of other women by traveling to Phoenix AZ from every corner of the US to train specifically for this purpose. The level of desire and commitment demonstrated by these instructor candidates is truly impressive. Nancy Basham of Houston shared that she “wanted to train with so many like minded women”  and that “having the network of support of ladies who not only inspire  and challenge you, but who also genuinely care about you and want to help you achieve great things is incredible.”  Julie Tytler from Florida said ” Not only did the training prepare me to be a good instructor and gain confidence in myself, but it also focuses on ways to help women learn and feel comfortable.”

It is exciting times in the firearm industry on many levels and now women are participating in very significant ways. The tidal wave is here and there is no stopping it. These women instructors are riding its crest with professionalism, great skill and the tenacity to change the lives of women. I can’t wait to see what it looks like 20 years from now….. 

(Original article published in Western Shooting Journal)