Overcoming The Fear And Sounds Of The Range

I have taught quite a few women and men classes that cover everything from what a bullet is to advanced classes of armed self-defense.  It is in teaching the newest of the new students that you learn new methods of teaching.  Often when I have a new student, and I will admit that often these students are women, they exhibit a fear of the gun its self but also a fear of the noises at a range.


How can you fear the noises at a range?  If you have ever gone to a range you will know that there are a lot of people that shoot guns that have large calibers.  This can be frightening for people that are not accustomed to these sounds.

I have had a range of reactions to the sound and recoil of gun shots.  One woman screamed and ran gun in hand out the door.  One woman screamed and dropped the gun.  Thank goodness it landed pointing down range.  I have women that cry as they pull the trigger the first time because they are so afraid.  I always explain what is going to happened before they fire the gun but there is no replacement or explanation that can take the place of actually doing it.

I started a new process when I take people to the range to help them overcome the fear of noise and recoil.  I found that if you have people shoot the gun one shot at a time they have too much time to anticipate what might happen.  In anticipating what "might" happen I see people cringe while pulling the trigger, turn their heads and close their eyes and all kinds of other faces.  These are obviously not good habits of marksmanship. 

Most people that come to me are not looking to be Annie Oakley they are looking to learn to use a gun as another means of self-defense.  So what I need to do is to teach them to be confident enough to shoot that gun and to be able to do it under pressure.  The first step to overcoming fear is to do it rapidly.  Yes, some things are just not meant to be done slowly and overcoming the fear of gun shot noises is one of them.

I have my new students do a five shot rapid fire.  This does not allow them enough time in between shots to think, process or anticipate what will happen.  Once they pull that trigger, I stand behind them and repeat the words "shoot em" over and over so they can not stop to think but they are basically pressured to follow the command.  It works almost every time.  Once they have fired those shots and still have the gun in their hand most of my students are then prepared for further civilized instruction.

The next thing to overcome in beginning gun training is the anticipation of the next shot.  They have gotten used to the sound of the gun after just 5 shots but I still have to work on getting them not to fear the recoil of the gun.  Many women buy guns that are small so they can conceal them easily and they are light weight.  The problem is the smaller and lighter the gun is the more recoil you are going to feel.  That recoil has to go somewhere and it will go into you or you will lose control of the gun if you are not properly holding your gun.

In the act of anticipating the recoil people will close their eyes, turn their heads and pull the trigger ever so slowly.  I see people cringe just before the gun fires.  Their body stiffens and the recoil is felt even more than it would have been had they not stiffened.

Another process I started with my students at the range was to take pictures while they are shooting so we can review what they did while at the range when we return for classroom continuation.  A lot of times people are so surprised at what they see themselves doing while shooting a gun.  I even have my husband take pictures of me when I practice my armed self-defense at the range so I can review what I did right and wrong. 

I have found that for some women they can not seem to hold that gun tight enough to make them happy.   They will hold that gun so tight you can see the blood drain from their fingers.  It is often this fear of the gun flying out of their hands while firing that causes women to put there hands in harms way with semi-automatics.  I have one student that I repeatedly told her to keep her left hand either at her side or use it to steady her gun from underneath the gun kinda of wrapped around the bottom of her right hand or hold her right wrist with it.  Anything to keep her from putting it up by the slide of her little compact Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. 

She learned a hard lesson at the range the last time we went when she had her hand in the wrong place and the slide flew back and forward and took a nice chunk of her skin with it.  After that she decided she wanted to learn to shoot one handed and we spent the rest of that range practice shooting with just her right hand. 

We all have some form of fears and the best way to deal with them is to face them head on and do it quickly. If it is the fear of the gun shot sound, vibration, recoil or any other fear you must face it and overcome it.  So keep your eyes open, your gun down range and fire at will.....................


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