Kathy Jackson is a firearms instructor, a homeschool mom, a small business owner, a former magazine editor, a freelance writer, and the author of the website Cornered Cat. This article is reprinted with permission from her personal blog Scratching Post. Head over and check out some great shooting advise!
Keep doing the stuff,
by Kathy Jackson
Okay, I’m about to slaughter a sacred cow here. I’ve held my peace about this (most of the time) for years, but the time has come to speak out. Women do not naturally make “better shooters” or “better students” than men do.
There are three reasons I dislike hearing people repeat the old myth that women do make better firearms students than men do.
1) It is not true. This is what is true: truly new students make much faster and more impressive progress than allegedly “new” students who aren’t new to firearms at all. People who have spent a lifetime developing bad habits will need some time to erase those bad habits before they can learn good ones. This is true for both men and women. People who start with a blank slate, having never handled a firearm before, usually make very rapid or even dramatic progress under the tutelage of a competent instructor. This, also, is true for both men and women.
When we compare apples to apples—brand new shooters to other brand new shooters; novice shooters with existing bad habits to other novice shooters with existing bad habits—we see almost no difference at all between men and women in firearms classes. It is only when we conflate the two, and compare the truly novice female to the badly-taught or untaught male that we see the dramatic, measurable difference in skillsets between male and female “new” students.
Not only is the saying not true in a skillset sense, it is also not true in a “good student” sense. I have worked with both men and women who are good students, and with both men and women who are poor students. If I wanted to make a sex-based rule about this, I would say that women who have a bad attitude about learning to shoot do tend to do a slightly better job hiding that fact from the instructor than similarly-resistant male students do—and that’s about it. But pleasant outward behavior does not mean these resistant students are getting what they need.