We don’t all have to be strong, independent women.

What comes to mind when we talk about women and guns? Empowerment, strength, confidence. Well ladies, I’m here to tell you something: Just because you shoot, it doesn’t mean you always have to feel empowered, strong, and confident. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a little terrified the first time you go to the range. Even after that you might cry, and that’s okay.

I don't actually care WHAT you shoot.
I don’t actually care WHAT you shoot.

It can be very intimidating for some and very frustrating for others – this idea that because we are “gun women” we always have be all strong and ferocious and empowered. You know what? Sometimes my shotgun breaks and I fudge a bunch of reloads and I want to cry.

As new or experienced shooters we all have the right to feel frustrated sometimes, to feel like we aren’t performing to our own standards, or to feel whatever way is making you sad or frustrated – it’s okay. Just don’t stop. Never stop. That’s where the strength comes from. It doesn’t come from a one second draw or fast splits, it comes from pushing yourself constantly and showing yourself you can do what you didn’t think you could.

If you’ve been meaning to get out on the range but have been intimidated by the idea that all the women out there are strong and flawless and always confident, go. Because the secret is, we’re not. We rely on each other to help us stay strong, we work hard to make what we do seem effortless, and we air confidence because we have shown ourselves what we can do.

Stop worrying about being empowered and go shoot.


  1. “it comes from pushing yourself constantly and showing yourself you can do what you didn’t think you could.”
    I would like to add: you also need to know when to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Take some time off if necessary, do not allow anyone to force you to step beyond the point of no return. Don’t get me wrong, people need to step outside their comfort zone to grow. When we are dealing with devices that are capable of taking lives, stepping back a bit might be necessary and personally I recommend it. I experienced this, when beginning to drive heavy equipment at work. Some situations would make me nervous to the point of sweating and feeling shaky and I would tell the person asking me to do something, I am uncomfortable and cannot do this, it is unsafe for the people here for me to proceed at this time. Today, 3 years later, there are still occasional situations that bring on that feeling and I ask someone else to do the job or for advice on how to proceed. It happened just yesterday in fact; I stepped back, evaluated the situation (after asking a seasoned veteran at the task for help) and while he was going to clock in, I said to myself: you can do this and I did. We may not ALL be capable of being the Best, nor of even doing some things, but we owe ourselves an honest attempt. Thanks for the thought provoking introspective article Shellie.

  2. I know this site is geared toward the competitive shooting sports, and I think it’s great that more and more women are getting involved and developing their skills to extraordinary levels.

    At the same time I think it’s good to remember that millions and millions of women, a high percentage of whom qualify as strong and independent, are happy and satisfied to have developed a basic competence, comfort and confidence in their ability to handle firearms and defend themselves and loved ones if it ever comes down to that.

    While they might enjoy going out from time to time to plink cans and bottles or powder a few hand thrown clays, they aren’t interested in organized competitive shooting and don’t care if one of the people whose company they are enjoying while shooting is a little bit better at it than they are. And it’s all good.

  3. Hey, sometimes when I’m having a crappy day at teh range, _I_ feel like crying. And I was an infantry drill sergeant. LOL

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