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Teaching Your Daughter to Shoot

By Home Defense Gun staffer Pat

Teaching Your Daughter to Shoot

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of. And a natural ability to wield a handgun with deadly precision. And anshooting with kids innate fondness for the 1911 platform. And an instinctive ability to shoot the center out of a silhouette target that often puts a firearms instructor father to shame. That’s what my little girl is made of. The little girl in question is my 15 year old daughter, oldest of my two girls. She has been shooting in one form or another for most of her life, and handguns have most definitely become her weapon of choice.

Kids and Guns

There is often a lot of debate about when kids should start shooting, especially among anti-gun factions and nanny state liberals. These folks would have us believe that if we allow our kids to be in the same county with a loaded firearm we are horrible parents and our kids are destined not to survive to adulthood. In their little bubble wrapped ideal of a safe world, guns are bad and dangerous, and no one should be near anything bad or dangerous. Any questions about what is right should be directed to them, they will be more than happy to tell you how to conduct every aspect of your and your children’s lives because they know what is best for everyone. Girls with guns? What kind of monster are you?

We take a different view in my house. We don’t differentiate between sons and daughters when it comes to shooting. We do not view guns as instruments of danger. We see guns as very useful tools. Guns can feed you in a pinch. They can protect you from human predators. They can preserve freedom in the face of tyranny. I am very pleased that my girls are shooters, and know that it is a skill that will help to keep them from ever becoming victims in an increasingly dangerous world.

A few years back my oldest girl fell in love with 1911 pattern pistols. I am not sure how this happened since this is not my weapon of choice and we didn’t even have one in the house. No matter how it happened, I started finding gun magazines dog-eared to pages with 1911s on them, and 1911s on gunbroker.com bookmarked on the computer. With little knowledge of the history of this pistol, and never having held one, something about it spoke to her and she was hooked. When my Dad got a Kimber ultra-carry (left handed, which my daughter is too), and she had an opportunity to actually fire a 1911 it was all over and nothing else would ever do for her.

First Guns

The first 1911 she got was an officially licensed Colt semi-auto BB pistol. I taught her the fundamentals of site picture, proper grip, stance, and teaching your daughter to shootrange safety, and turned her loose (figuratively). I thought it would be a passing fancy, like so many Christmas gifts in the past. I was wrong. She shot the gaskets out of the thing in less than six months and was ready for more! She wanted a pistol so badly that she agreed to let it be a combination birthday/Christmas gift, delivered on Christmas (4 months after her birthday! Amazing for an early-teens girl!).

So, Dad’s mission had been established: Find the perfect 1911 for a 14 year old girl without breaking the bank! Fortunately or unfortunately there are a fair number of choices out there. I settled early on one of the .22 LR models for a couple of reasons. First, they can be had for a relatively low price; under $400 was the goal. Second, ammo is cheap when compared to full size pistol cartridges. Finally, the recoil is modest and I anticipated that my little Pistolera would be wanting to shoot a lot. The recoil of a .45 will cause wrist fatigue in a full grown man after a few magazines have been burned, I anticipated burning hundreds of rounds at a time breaking in a new handgunner.  My decision has been validated, especially in consideration of the current ammunition dynamic (as luck would have it, there are many thousands of rounds of .22 in the house so its scarcity has not impacted us as of yet).

I ultimately settled on the GSG 1911-22 imported by ATI. All my online research and discussions with local shooters and gun store owners led me to believe that this was one of the most reliable of the 1911 22s, and it was the only one that came stock with an ambidextrous safety which was very important to my left-handed daughter (I like to tease her about being “Obama-Handed”, which she finds horribly offensive!). We have not been disappointed,

The GSG has functioned flawlessly for several thousand rounds, eating whatever we feed it with relish. Cheap ammo that has been sitting in the box since I was her age performs as flawlessly as brand new top shelf hyper velocity stuff. It took my daughter about two magazines to establish her point of aim, and since then she seldom lands one outside the 9 ring on a standard silhouette target, unless she is practicing head shots. One thing to note is that, as with many .22 semi-autos, proper wrist lock is critical with the GSG 1911-22. If you allow the wrist to flop at all with the recoil, you run the risk of a failure to feed malfunction. This is due to energy needed for proper slide travel being dissipated by undesirable wrist travel. I get a big kick when my little girl has to explain to grown men (usually an uncle or one of her Aunt’s boyfriends) that the pistol isn’t feeding properly because they need to man-up and quit limp-wristing the thing, that makes a father proud! Aside from the humor I find in my daughter humiliating older shooters, the need to have a firm grip and a good wrist lock teaches good habits. If your gun isn’t going to work right if you don’t work right, it incentivizes something that is often difficult to teach. My daughter is so accustomed now to a proper grip and solid wrist lock that I don’t think you could get her to present her weapon in a sloppy manner on a dare. A seeming flaw in the weapon is actually beneficial from a training standpoint, and is not the least bit restrictive once the good habits are established.

Personal Defense Guns for Daughters

I like this gun for my daughter in a personal defense role as well. If she is ever forced to draw on an attacker, it looks exactly like its full caliber cousin and will have the same psychological impact. I also feel that the .22 rim fire is badly underestimated as a defensive round, and I would take it over the likes of the .25 and .380 autos any day. Of course 15 year olds should not be carrying away from home, but there are enough threats that come to the house these days to make defense a valid concern for your kids. I am glad that my daughter is left handed or she would have commandeered her Mom’s new concealed carry purse and I would have had to shake her down every time she left the house. Fortunately the purse was not ambidextrous and the pistol compartment wouldn’t accommodate a full size 1911!

My only complaint about the GSG is that it requires tools for field stripping. This is not a huge issue back at the gun bench, but can be a hassle in the field particularly if you are prone to dropping small Allen wrenches in tall grass or new snow (guilty).

As for my daughter, she has nothing negative to say about her gun. It is, in fact, her most prized possession. She has mastered basic pistol marksmanship, and is moving ahead with combat shooting skills. I have taught her to use the low ready position, transitioning from ready to a shooting stance, delivering a quick double tap to center body mass, and return to ready while scanning for additional threats. This Christmas she will be getting a holster and we will start working on draw and related skills, including clearing multiple aggressors in a moving fight. Quality time with the kids!

I guess the bottom line is that your girls should be taught gun handling along with your boys, hand gunning could be even more important to your daughters than your sons. Women are often victimized disproportionately, because predators perceive them as weaker and easier targets. Teaching your little girl to defend her life may be the greatest gift you ever give her. My wish for all Dads is that they are blessed with daughters that love to shoot as much as mine do. Shooting is not only a very practical skill but is great fun and an awesome way to bond with your kids, building a lasting legacy of knowledge and  great memories.

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