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4 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Women, Guns and Training

At Split 2nd Training, we’ve heard these misconceptions about women in shooting sports for as long as we’ve been in business. It’s high time these myths get busted. Here are four of the most common we hear and the facts that dispel those myths.

  • Women should only learn to shoot for self-defense. 

It’s easy for organizations to lean into the disproportionately high assault women experience, and claim that learning to fire a gun in instances of stress will magically reduce those assaults. The truth is that the more comfortable women are in learning self-defense, the better their chances will be should they ever need it. However, leaning into the fearmongering not only does a disservice to skilled female marksmans, it means that women who own guns for protection will likely only associate it with negative instances (i.e. assault).

Women can simply enjoy shooting! Shooting sports have seen increased participation from women over the last decade. (Archery has especially seen a boost thanks to movies like Brave and The Hunger Games.) Overall, shooting disciplines have seen an increase of nearly 200% over the last few years. Organizations like Shoot Like a Girl exist to make women of all ages feel comfortable in shooting sports.

  • Women don’t have the same physical capabilities to shoot as well as men. 

Shooting sports are known as “the great equalizers” amongst competitors. Why? Because the physical differences between men and women don’t advantage or disadvantage either group. In 2018, the Olympic committee adjusted shooting regulations so that women got the same number of shots as men, both at 60 shots. The initial “fears” were that women would fatigue faster than men. However, research found that in “sports [where] physical strength is a minor factor, as in the case of shooting,” men and women performed equally well.

  • Women need smaller guns than men.

Because of Misconception #2, a lot of people will believe Misconception #3. While some women may prefer a pistol with less recoil, smaller hands don’t mean smaller guns. Many women find that larger guns are easier to operate and give them better control while shooting. Smaller guns are made smaller for concealment purposes; it doesn’t mean they’re easier to use. There are plenty of full-sized handguns that are easier to handle. As for recoil or struggling with larger cartridges, both of those issues can be resolved with proper technique.

  • Women aren’t as precise as men/too emotional to shoot. 

First, stop telling women they’re too emotional to do anything. Just as men aren’t born with an innate knowledge of cars or sports, they’re not born feeling comfortable with firing a weapon either.

Human bodies process stress in similar ways: adrenaline increases heart rate, jacks up energy supplies and raises blood pressure. Cortisol (the primary stress hormone) limits your senses during stress situations and makes the body prioritize those only essential to “fight or flight” responses. Adrenaline and cortisol affect both men and women equally; the only difference, according to research, is that men and women process these hormones in different parts of the brain. Training courses for both concealed carry and tactical training get both men and women comfortable with what to do in stressful situations. For concealed carry, it’s getting people comfortable with the basics of firing a gun and gun safety so they’re not timid around them. For tactical training, it’s getting your body accustomed to muscle memory responses and training the body to not shut down.