By Becky Dolgener, Facilitator, Temple, TX
A Girl & A Gun facilitators offer “mini-clinics” that cover the 5 Fundamentals of Accurate Shooting at most Girls’ Night Out (GNO) events. In the interest of safety, ladies who attend a GNO receive a whole lot of new information in a very short period of time. Once your facilitator sees that you are consistently safe with your gun handling, it’s her job to be available to answer questions and offer pointers to keep you safe. Your facilitator is a fantastic resource, but making the commitment to develop skills requires that you take three simple steps:
Step 1: Learn safe gun handling and fundamentals at GNO.
If you come into GNO not knowing which is the “business” end of a gun, your first goal may be to learn how to operate your firearm and reliably hit the target – somewhere – with each shot. That’s a great first goal, and barring physical challenges, it’s easy enough to meet that goal your first GNO. Whether or not you improve your shooting skills from that point is up to you.
Step 2: Get professional training to learn how to practice.
Training is education by a knowledgeable professional. Practice is what you do to reinforce whatever training you have (or haven’t) had. If all you ever do is go to the range for GNO and maybe a T Time once or twice a month, you will continually reinforce and cement into your subconscious every little mistake you normally make when shooting. If you seek out training from your facilitator or another credible instructor, your practice at AG & AG events then becomes a chance to reinforce good shooting habits and skills that will help you know what goals to set in the future.
Step 3: Measure, assess, and adjust.
Setting SMART, measurable shooting goals can be difficult when you don’t know what good shooting looks like. Anytime is a good time to find out. Go to local IDPA or USPSA matches as a spectator (but don’t be a spectator forever; every great shooter has a “first match” in her past!). Do some reading to find out what reputable trainers require of their students. Better yet, take classes from those same trainers and ASK them how you should practice and what steps you should take next. Every instructor you ask will likely have a different idea for you, and when it comes to improving your shooting, the more ideas, the better.
As you begin your journey and start learning, there’s no better way to measure progress than keeping a journal. Members of A Girl & A Gun have access to the unique and industry-leading Shooting Journal and related Facebook group. The journal provides step-by-step guidance for women new to firearms, as well as those who’ve been learning for a while.
No matter what, don’t judge your skills too harshly. As long-time trainer and author Kathy Jackson says, “Shooting skill is measured in years, not months.” It takes an investment of your time and energy to improve your shooting skills through training and regular practice. So, get to A Girl & A Gun event and find out what you need to work on next. And remember: it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just that you can’t do it… yet.