Humiliating New Shooters Isn’t Funny

If you’ve been shooting very long, you’ve probably seen this happen on the Internet or at a range: Someone will take a new-shooter or non-shooter to the range and hand them a big, powerful gun. Usually this is guys giving a female friend or relative a weapon, but I’ve seen guys do it to other guys, too. I’ve never seen a woman do this to a guy, but I’m sure that happens too. Anyway, they’ll put the gun in the new shooter’s hand, not offer any instruction or training on stance, grip, and the other fundamentals, and then laugh their asses off when the new shooter fails. Or falls on her/his butt, knocked over by the uncontrolled recoil.

Sometimes, they’ll even film the incident and upload it to YouTube.

Mary of GatsAndTats posted a video yesterday with her thoughts about such behavior. I’d like to share it, because I wholeheartedly agree with what she had to say, and then I’d like to add a couple comments of my own.

First, here’s Mary’s video:

As I said above, I totally agree with Mary: There’s nothing funny about deliberately humiliating people, and there’s nothing funny about turning a women off from learning to use a tool that might someday ensure her survival. If you’re the kind of guy who posts this sort of thing, I hope you’re never in the position of having to hold your wife/daughter/sister/mother’s hand in the emergency room and listen to her tell you that your juvenile behavior is the reason she didn’t have the tools and training to fight off the rapist or armed robber. I hope you never have to identify the body of a loved one who was rendered defenseless to save her own life because you had to get in those few minutes of macho posturing with your buddies and you didn’t stop to think about the ramifications of the “scar” you were leaving on her psyche.

I know this is harsh, and I mean it so on purpose. It’s not macho, it’s not funny, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not acceptable.

There are two other things I’d like to add.

First of all, consider that you might just be creating a safety hazard for yourself and the other people on the range with you when you do this kind of thing. There’s a reason why the women’s shooting classes I’m involved with teach the basics – gun safety, grip, stance, sights, trigger, etc. – with a blue gun before we put an actual firearm into the hands of a new shooter. And there’s a reason why, when one of our students is shooting, there’s always at least one person right there, able to intervene if need be to keep the shooter, and those around her, safe. How tragic it would be if, in the course of trying to control that too-big-for-her gun, that woman (or man, but it’s usually women I see in that spot) accidentally shot someone? Is that really worth a few laughs on YouTube?

The other thing is this: Although gun ownership, and gun rights, are at an all-time high in this country, there are unquestionably people who would like to see private ownership of firearms severely restricted. The best antidote we have to the anti-gun crowd is to be responsible, safe ambassadors for our gun rights and to offer would-be new shooters a positive, safe, welcoming, encouraging experience. If we do it right, our numbers will continue to grow and our ability to use firearms for sport and defense will continue to expand. If we do it wrong, we’re just pouring gasoline on our opponents’ fire.

Using a gun to deliberately humiliate someone isn’t nice. It isn’t funny. It isn’t safe. It isn’t a good way to demonstrate that gun owners are a responsible, decent crowd of people. It is a good way to prove that you’re an insensitive, thoughtless jackass, and it is unfortunately a good way to help the anti-gun crowd to portray us as reckless and dangerous. So if you’re the kind of person who does this sort of thing, I have a clear, direct, blunt message for you: Knock it the f*** off.

That is all.


  1. Absolutely! I’ve talked to quite a few women who won’t even consider shooting because they were treated this way. Some get over it, but many don’t. The cost of it may well be their very lives.

    This sort of behavior is absolutely not tolerated on our club range, but it can happen anywhere.

    • You’re absolutely right, and I wish the guys who do this sort of thing would think about the potential consequences of giving women a negative first experience with women.

  2. Mary Ellis says:

    I had a man try to do that to me the other day. I was at the range the other day working with a couple of women and this guy asked if I wanted to try his gun–and of course I did. I think he was shocked when I was actually able to control it. I fired 1 round, laid it down & said thank you that is enough for me. He then turned around & asked the 2 women I was working with if they wanted to try it. They were standing with their eyes wide open & I jumped in & said no–they aren’t ready for a gun like that yet. And guess what–I guess I’m not either, because I won’t shoot it again!

    • Mary, you’ve hit on part of what makes me so mad about this kind of behavior: Women can learn to shoot just about anything, if only they’re given instruction on the proper shooting techniques. I’ve yet to find a gun I can’t shoot, though there are some (like my friend’s .44 magnum) that I only want to shoot in limited doses. But that’s because people took the time to teach me the proper techniques.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. I ranted about this on my blog a year or two ago. I don’t understand why the hell *anyone* would find it funny. Not only is it not funny, it’s dangerous and cruel.

    • Absolutely agree – and there’s nothing funny about taking pleasure in humiliating someone. That’s just plain sadism, in my book, and sadism isn’t funny.

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