At KR Training, our beginner-level courses have a lot of female students, which is great. However as we go further in the course curriculum, female enrollment drops off. I’ve often wondered why, because the mid- and upper-level classes certainly aren’t just for men. These classes are arguably the more important level classes to take (by anyone) because it’s in these classes where you move beyond basic mechanical skills to learn how to fight with your gun, which can include the choice to not fight with the gun.
Sure I have some theories as to why, and I’ve spoken with numerous women about this phenomenon. Mrs. Groundhog (obviously not her real name) shared her story with me, and she graciously allowed me to reprint part of it here.
Learning about guns and taking the FOF [force-on-force] classes gives me options to use to never be a victim again. I fully realize the crime may still occur but the emotional effects will be entirely different because I will have done everything that I possible could to protect myself.
I think that women in general don’t want to take higher level courses because they live in denial that crime could happen to them or one of their loved ones. If it does happen to touch them that there will be someone there to protect them and that they aren’t capable or shouldn’t take that role upon themselves. The image that many women in our country have of themselves is that they should be the “beautiful one” not the protector. That role belongs to the man. Women are told by the media that they should be concerned about things like clothes, hair, makeup etc.. In generally, they do not understand they need to learn the skills to be able to protect themselves and their loved ones. They expect their “knight in shining armor” to do that for them.
The gun community is embracing the idea of attracting women shooters if for no other reason than it brings in more money. However, I think the concept of the “pink gun” is the wrong way to go about it. If they want to add color to guns, which I think is unnecessary; make green, red or purple guns too, not just pink. I think it tends to reinforce stereotypes instead of breaking them down.
The best way to attract new women shooters is to treat them with respect. I absolutely hate going to a gun show and asking a question only to have to clerk give my husband the answer and ignore me even though I asked the question. Yes, there are many things that I don’t know but I should not be treated like a second class citizen because I am a women. I have felt that way at gun shows. Sometimes I prefer to roam without him so I won’t get treated that way.
In all fairest, I have never not once, felt that way with you or anyone else associated with KR Training. You guys have a class act and I have always felt welcome there.
I don’t know if this has answered your questions but maybe it will give you some things to think on for a while.
Thank you for allowing me to reprint this, and thank you for sharing your story with me. It has answered some questions, and given me things to think on.
To others reading this, take it for what you will. She’s on a powerful, moving, and motivating journey.