I love going out to the mountains and shooting with the guys. Not only does the adrenaline rush from setting my sights and taking aim across an outdoor shooting range fire my blood and make me feel alive, but the experience of being one of the guys is highly underrated. My suggestion—Next time your husbands, boyfriends, and guy pals head out shooting, don’t be afraid to include some ladies as well.
The Filters are Turned Off
If you’re like me, then the guys who are taking you shooting are good friends, which means you are most likely good friends with their girlfriends and wives as well. They invited you to go shooting with them, so you are participating in a time tested tradition of male bonding. Expect crass and inappropriate guy humor and as long as it doesn’t go too far, my suggestion is to just roll with it. Remember that while you are shooting you will have ear plugs in the whole time, and if the jokes during the car ride to the range get to be too much you can always stick those in.
Ask for Help, and Show Off If You Can
While some women do, I know that I am never going to know as much about guns as the guys. Most men are happy to show off their manly knowledge and teach you how to load your ammo or turn the safety on and off. But they are also seriously impressed once you learn the ropes and hit your targets, and more than likely they will be cheering you on as you shoot. Going shooting with the guys is often a lesson in camaraderie at its finest.
Give it Another Shot…Literally
The first time I went shooting I really didn’t see what the fuss was about. The gun was loud and heavy, and I was very concerned about making sure I remembered everything from the safety talk the guys had given me. But the more comfortable I became the more interested in the sport I actually was. Trying out different types of guns and hitting targets again and again was suddenly exciting and fun. I found myself turning to the guys and saying, “I want to shoot another round. Can I try your shotgun?” I didn’t want the day to end.
Men Are Stronger
There are a couple of guns that I can’t hold and shoot straight at the same time because they are just too heavy, and I consider myself a pretty strong lady. You can kneel on the ground and hold these guns or prop them up on something while you sit or stand. Since my preferred shooting range is a field in the mountains, I like to pack a yoga mat (be warned—I usually get teased pretty mercilessly by the guys for bringing this shooting) and lay on my stomach when I shoot the heavy duty rifles.
Pitch in for Ammo and Supplies
I don’t own my own gun, I’m lucky to have guy friends who let me use their gear when we go. And since they are the gun aficionados and I’m pretty much a rookie compared to them, I let them decide what kind and how much ammo to get. But I always offer some cash to contribute, even when they try to be chivalrous and say not to worry about it. Another way to make them love having a lady come out to the range with them? Bring some snacks or buy them a beer afterwards.
Relax and Have Fun
When you lift the rifle to your shoulder and take aim, the world around you melts away and your breathing calms. Your ear plugs help you tune out the world and you focus in on that target. You pull the trigger and feel the impact of the gun rock back into you as the shell flies and lands on the ground with a metallic clink.
Sports that involve individual challenges are a great way to set goals and see specific improvements. Shooting is one of these. You pull the trigger, assess how close you are to hitting your target if you missed, and try again. The best thing about shooting with the guys? How loud they cheer when you hit that bull’s eye.