Every time I go to the range or to a match I am asked this question. My husband Charles and I are a regular fixture together at most competitions. Even when I show up by myself I am always asked how I got in to shooting. At The Findlay Cup recently one of the guys asked how he could convince his wife to come out and shoot with him. He said I needed to start posting something about this on my blog. Well, I will give it my best shot. This may take more than blog post. First I will start with the fact that any hobby together with your significant other is great for a relationship. The obvious reason is that you have the interest in common. But shooting can be an intimidating if not a scary option of a hobby for the uninitiated. You also picture a dark and dirty indoor range or a cold outdoor one. I chose to get involved in a shooting sport that was done only outdoors no matter the time of year. Believe me, when starting out I stayed at home more times when I looked and saw the NW rain bearing down. I must have grown a thick layer of skin since then because now I find myself out in the worst weather competing. To be honest guys, many ranges are not pleasant environments. If there is a bathroom it is a porta potty. There may be someone next to you shooting a 500 or 50cal. Or me next to you with my Dragon brake. Not pleasant. And unfortunately there is a stereotype that every shooter is a “bubba”.
When Charles asked me to please give shooting a try, I said yes but with a condition. I promised him one full year or season of competition. If I hated it I would back off and if I like it then well, great. Before I had the last sentence finished I had a match grade AR15 under the Christmas tree that year and a match schedule. He really just threw me in the game. He gave me the basics of instruction to get started but then over time stepped away and let other competitors step in an coach me. Smart man. We all know that it can be stressful for a spouse to teach. I highly suggest training and introduction by a professional instructor. Then the spouse can come back in the picture. He also took care of all of the dirty work for me of cleaning the rifle and loading ammo. I would find the truck already packed up for me with all of my gear needed for the day or the match. A lunch or dinner out afterwards and unpacking of the car again for me ended the day. Spoiling? Perhaps. But he wanted to make sure I liked the game. He made it as enjoyable as possible. 8 years later I am now mostly cleaning my own guns. But I love it. I now know the detailed language of guns and ammo and all of its parts. And as you can see from my blog, the US Team and my lifestyle that I have made guns my life and livelihood. I don’t expect anyone to go crazy like I did. But it makes life fun to have a common interest such as shooting.
I just today discovered a blog by a couple that shoot together called none other than The Couple That Shoots Together… Imagine that! They have made a website together on their shooting adventures. I am a new fan. I would imagine it is easier to get someone you are newly dating out to the range than a spouse of many years. We all know how hard we work at impressing the other in new relationships. We are willing to try anything right? I have a friend who’s girlfriend went out and bought a shotgun and a dirt bike on her own so she could spend more time with him in his hobbies. Several years later together they still enjoy these hobbies. It was not just to get him to the alter faster. For those in long term relationships it may a bit tougher. Especially if you may have been drifting in to completely separate interests over the years. At this point there may need to be an extra push or sacrifice from each side. If you have kids you need to make an effort to get a sitter so you can get away for a few hours. If they are old enough, even better. Now you have a family outing. To the guy, if you want to woo her on a shooting date you may need to suck it up and go hang with her on one of her interests or offer the spa day or dinner out as a treat afterwards. To the gal, surprise him that you just signed up for an introduction to handguns or rifle class and that when done you would like to go shooting. Ask him to take the class with you. I have taken basic classes over and over and I still learn something new each time. You don’t need to know how the gun’s mechanics work at first. I didn’t. I just learned obvious safety rules but mostly just had fun pulling the trigger. I have another girl friend that started watching her husband and us at pistol and 3 gun matches. She is now itching to give it a try. She is nervous but wants to. Baby steps!
Charles and I have had crazy conditions at some matches that most people would have walked away from. But being there together was a reason to stick it out. Afterwards we laughed about it and realized it was a great time together. We have also driven an hour to a match, saw that it was pouring rain and mutually agreed to skip it and go for a warm breakfast and coffee instead. You don’t have to be die-hard all of the time. But it is a choice you make together. What could be wrong with that?