Training anyone to fight with a gun is problematic. Training women can be more so for a wide variety of reasons. Average decent people use force against another reluctantly. Some can work up to it, if given sufficient time and motivation. Others would never use force against another, no matter what the circumstances.
This crosses gender lines, though females tend to be less aggressive. However, a great many people now actually believe we are all alike, that no one would ever harm them because they have liberal/progressive/serendipitous views, and that if faced with the prospect of being injured by another, they should take no action against the aggressor.
The nanny state has produced a large percentage of people who have never been in a fistfight, people who have never been punched in the face, and have never hit another. Instructing these people in the lawful use of deadly physical force is a huge step in taking them from their make-believe world into cold, harsh real life.
Women have historically been nurturers, though many took a path less traveled and now many are functioning in areas that some never thought possible.
What follows are my opinions, based on my experiences in training primarily (but not exclusively) with carbines. Understand that I am not talking about very basic weapons safety, hunting, competitive shooting or plinking, but rather fighting with guns.
Women are different. And we are very happy about that. Women often lack the upper-body strength of their male counterparts. This can be a factor in training, but is generally not a showstopper.
Women are also more methodical in how they process training. They do things not necessarily because they understand why, but because I tell them to. In some respects this is similar to how the military provides large numbers of people to perform certain similar tasks.
We could also say: And one reason women listen and follow instructions is because, unlike many male students, women usually haven’t taken a lot of previous classes and therefore don’t come with preconceived notions, so we don’t take up class time on, “But so-and-so doesn’t do it that way!”
NOT ALL WOMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL
Just as all men are not the same, a woman’s individual lifestyle gives her a particular frame of reference. Men who work in a sedentary job and whose only connection to anything physical is when they move from the couch to the refrigerator to grab a cold beer during halftime are no different than women working the same sedentary jobs. The only difference is that women may get off the couch to open a fresh bottle of wine while watching Project Runway, but you get the point.
But take a female who engages in high-energy, highrisk sports, and things become different. Those seeking a more aggressive and exciting lifestyle are commonly referred to as a Type T Personality, indicating that they are thrill seekers. More women are moving in this direction, down paths that were once exclusive to men.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM
This may come as a surprise to some, but the biggest issue with training women is (wait for it) men. Of course it is a certain type of man, though not always the stereotypical Male Chauvinist Pig, the whipping boy of the feminazis of the 1970s.
The most common threat is the husband/boyfriend/ gunshop clerk whose advice to a young female is based on “what everyone knows” rather than what is actually good practice.
An example of this is when a woman wants a handgun. The “everyone knows” solution is to “get the little lady a J-Frame.” That two-inch J-Frame revolver is a neat little gun but also one of the tougher handguns to shoot. The coiled mainspring produces a difficult trigger pull, and a small grip area makes control of the gun challenging.
But “everyone knows” a woman cannot run a large gun, right?
This is, of course, nonsense. My much better half is 5’2” and petite. She carries and shoots a Government Model, which is commonly known as The Man Gun. Yes, size does matter here, and some guns—generally the high-cap DA/SA abortions that have so long plagued us—have a combination of size and trigger management that makes it tough for many of either gender to manage.
Striker-fired guns (Smith & Wesson M&P, Glock) are clearly a better answer here, and the types available will increase as the DA/SA guns die on the vine.
Men often recommend accessories based on what they like instead of what may be appropriate for a female shooter. We had a woman who was having great difficulty accessing the selector switch on her AR carbine. Upon inspection, we found she had a very large aftermarket pistol grip that placed her hand farther back and made it impossible to reach the selector without rotating her hand around the pistol grip. When I asked why she was using this pistol grip, she said, “Because my boyfriend told me it was better.”
Perhaps better for him, but it was far less than optimal for her.
Our society is full of “everyone wins” nonsense. This is similar to the “no kid left behind” concept, which turns many into the “whole lot of stupid people incapable of conscious thought” crew. One result is that a fair number of women are incapable of doing much for themselves and want to be catered to—even unto death.
The problem with a dependent woman is that when a critical incident occurs, she may be the only one present who can influence the situation. If you’re waiting for that knight in shining armor to come save you, you may spend the rest of your life anticipating his arrival. The rest of your very short life….
WOMEN ONLY … NOT AT EAG
At EAG Tactical, I don’t teach “women only” classes for several reasons, but neither do I have a problem with others teaching those classes. In general, women-only classes target an audience of women who may feel uncomfortable in the company of men or performing in front of others, or may just feel less intimidated (and therefore more comfortable) with others of their own gender. These classes are usually very basic.
The problem with this is that crimes against women usually involve a male perp. In the case of a female perp, the actor may be a very aggressive female. And Mrs. Average Soccer Mom, who stresses out if her Snickerdoodles don’t rise, will not rise to the occasion and deal death to the mutts who are sodomizing her daughter.
Awhile back, I was talking to an instructor who was teaching a women-only class. After the lecture portion, he directed the class to get on the firing line. All but one student did. When he told her again, she told him that she would not do anything a man told her to do, and that if he wanted her to do something, he would have to ask her.
He did ask her, and then spent the rest of the class telling some women to do something, and asking another to do the same thing.
I’m not sure what could be accomplished here, but kowtowing to an obviously disturbed woman did not do anyone—her, the instructor, or the other students—a favor. The likelihood of her reacting properly in a critical situation is about zero.
Compare this with an Open Enrollment Basic Pistol class that I taught. One female had previously been kidnapped by a sexual predator. Though bound, she kicked a window out of a moving car and escaped. She had proven that she could look death in the face and react properly.
A second woman in the same class became ill during the day. We thought she might have been a heat casualty, but that was not the case. On her ranch shortly before the class, she’d roped a bull, which then fell down an icy hill to a pond. She cut the rope, but her horse fell on her, bursting a breast implant. At the hospital, they found a broken rib that had punctured a lung—a true problem. She showed up for class with her drainage tubes still in.
Think the kidnap victim or the cowgirl might be better able to handle a scumbag than Ms I Won’t Do Anything a Man Tells Me To Do?
My beginner classes are not for zero beginners. I expect people to be capable of functioning in the environment. Some, regardless of gender, are incapable of this and do poorly. We cull them from the herd (though most self-select) with the clear understanding that not every person should have a gun (or a car, or children, or even oxygen).
The majority of the classes we teach at EAG are carbine specific. Because of the demanding nature of that weapon, people who apply for the classes have a certain mindset that makes teaching them easier. The ratio of women to men in carbine classes is much less than in pistol classes. But the quality of those attending a carbine course is often far above those attending a pistol class because of the difficulty level.
We don’t treat women differently than men. We don’t dumb down the training because we are dealing with females. The threats they face will generally be the same as male students will encounter, and bad guys do not give an opponent a pass based on age, gender or political affiliation.
The standard must be set, and we must avoid the current dogma that if one can’t meet the standard, we should lower the standard to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. There have to be a winner and a loser, because that’s how real life is.
We need to get more women engaged (and I’m not talking about engaged to be married), and for a lot of reasons. Women may have advanced in the past few decades, but they are still heavily influenced by the stupidity of Oprah, The View, and other such nonsense. As a political group, they lean heavily to the left.
Women (and many men) have come to believe that “someone” will take care of them, relieving themselves of their sense of personal responsibility. Additionally, as voters, they flock to those similarly inclined. And those types despise guns and those who wield them. They fail to understand that a weapon is an inanimate object, and good or evil is determined by the person using that weapon.
At EAG, we’ve been fortunate that the overwhelming majority of females in our classes have been independent, fit, and functional humans—and in one case, significantly more functional than her spouse.
Political correctness does not exist in a gunfight. Leveling the playing field, as in Affirmative Action and other silly programs, only means that some will be significantly less prepared than they should be. If you are in the business of training people to fight, and you do not treat women as equals, you are selling them short.