“Dear Gabby” = Advice + Guns

emails from readers with personal issues related to guns, answers hereOver the years I have posted a bit about the personal stuff that I have run into, as it relates to guns. In the past, articles have covered topics like, my non-gun-loving family, introducing friends to shooting, and every now and then, I even let you in on some of my dating experiences. Well, last week I posted one such dating discussion that got a lot of you talking, and, it seems, emailing too. I got so many emails in fact, it gave me an idea… Every one has heard of the old advice column, “Dear Abby” but what if her advice centered around the personal issues of guns? Hence, I’ve come up with, “Dear G+Abby”! But I don’t need to explain this to you, when I can just show you what I mean. Here is an email I received this weekend. (The identifying details have been removed and the message was edited for content.)

Dear Gabby,
I love shooting! I’ve only been at it for a few months, but I try to go every week, because I always have a good time. Just as you’ve said, many men at the range want to give me advice, and one even offer to become my instructor. I had seen him around the range and he seemed professional, so I scheduled a “lesson”. We met at the range the next week and everything started like I would expect. Then, after about a half an hour, he started getting a little touchy. It didn’t cross any lines, but at the end of our time, he asked if I wanted to, “Grab a drink and discuss what I could work on…” I made an excuse and got out of there fast, but now I feel like I have to find a new range! Do all guys think that a woman would only shoot so she could get asked on dates?
Thanks, Shooting Focused

Dear Shooting Focused,
First, I’m glad you’re enjoying shooting, and I’m even more glad you emailed me. I hope this guy has not turned you off to shooting, because he’s a dog, and he’s not indicative of men in the shooting sports! Was this guy a certified instructor? Had any military or law enforcement training? Or did he just say he could “show you a thing or two.” Anybody can throw on operator gear and claim to have skills. If you go looking for another instructor, ask someone who works at the range for a recommendation, or check the NRA’s website.

I’m worried about what you mean by “touchy”. If any instructor ever touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, get out of there! Just like anything else, unwelcome touching is not ok and should be treated as such. That being said, I’ve read about a teaching technique where an instructor holds the gun and the student puts their hand over the instructor’s. This can teach someone a lot about trigger squeeze and reset. I’ve also had a teacher touch my arm or shoulder, but nothing past this, and always with the intent of checking my form, or teaching me something.

Please don’t give up just because of one bad apple! If you run into this guy again, you can politely say hello but then keep walking or don’t be polite and tell him to leave you alone. If he is really bothering you, let the range know, so that they can handle him, or recommend times when he isn’t likely to be there. They shouldn’t want to lose your business , or the business of the women you might tell about your experience, and if they don’t… then a range change may be in order.

(If you too have a gun question of a personal nature, please contact gabby through the team gun nuts page.)


  1. When I want my wife to get some Professional Weapons Instruction, I worked out a deal with a good friend, who was the weapons Instructor for a Major Metropolitan SWAT Team. He would instruct my Wife, and I would instruct his wife…. It worked out very well, for both parties. We each had introduced our wives to firearms and shooting, but found that farming out the Polishing Lessons, was a much better solution, than any other, we could think of. Both ladies were able to settle down and take instruction, without the Interpersonal effects getting in the way. I have found that is has been very common in the Firearms Instruction Biz… and seems to be the best solution. Don’t get an instructor, that you have a relationship with, find one that is Married, and competent….Just Say’en….

  2. If he’s an NRA certified instructor, she should report him, because behavior like that is grounds for losing your certification. When I got my certification, it was made clear that you’re not to touch a student in any way without asking them first every time.

    1. Glad you pointed that out. It’s important to remember, even is not an NRA certified instructor, if we want more women to enjoy shooting, they will have to be treated differently (made to feel comfortable) from male students.

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