Firearms instruction for women means handling firearms confidently in today’s world is a necessity, if you want to keep yourself and your family safe.
If you have a fear of guns, try your best to overcome that fear. Because there is no reason to be afraid of guns. You control the gun. Just take that next step and have someone hold your hand if you need to. The best way to gain confidence with firearms is by attending firearms training classes. For many women, this means attending women-only classes.
We build upon each other’s strengths. There’s no better person to do that with than your best friend, your mom, your significant other, your husband, whatever the case maybe. There is physical and mental strength in numbers, so grab a buddy and go and just do it. Sign up to attend a women’s-only firearms class with your best friend today.
Christy Painchaud is married to our E3 Firearms Association President and Founder, Adam Painchaud, and is an instructor who gives trainings for women and men. She has also held women’s-only classes for many years, when she was a Sig Sauer Academy instructor.
People ask Christy, all the time… “Is there a big difference in firearms handling and training for women versus men?” “How do you approach it? Is it different or is it the same?”
There are many female instructors who are teaching women-only classes. Christy believes women are more comfortable in women-only environments when they’re seeking out this kind of specific training.
These women-only classes leave the egos and the pride outside of the class, that men may carry with them. With men in the room, some women may feel intimidated or uncomfortable around them in this situation.
In some cases, there are female students who have been victims of an attack or domestic violence, and being around guns and men increases their anxiety. They feel better attending women-only classes that eliminate the other factors. This way they can be more comfortable in that environment and learn more effectively.
Otherwise, teaching the fundamentals of handling firearms are exactly the same for men and women. We teach the same classes to a man as we would with a woman, yet we do control the environment so women are more comfortable with it.
From Christy’s personal experience in teaching women, they love it. With only women present, it’s fun and everyone can joke around a little more and laugh a little more. It’s just a more comfortable environment for women overall. Just as a single man in the women’s group may feel a bit uncomfortable, he may feel more at ease with a class full of men.
At the same time, Christy’s girls love going to the range. It was just getting over that hump of having men at the range too, at first, and the big difference for them. But after a few times, they were comfortable with whoever was in the class.
When Christy had her first training on the official range in the military, she was frightened. Because of her being in a security police group, there were five girls in her training class and about 70 guys.
The women represented a very small group, with some thinking, “Oh my God, I’m not going to shoot as good as the guy next to me.” It can be very, very intimidating, especially since she had all male instructors.
Christy never had a female instructor, only men, and they’re close to you, they may be sitting right behind you or adjusting their grip, so you have to be very comfortable with being in close proximity of people working with something so powerful as a weapon and learning how to do that. It can be very, very intimidating for women.
Some women want to have a women’s-only training, and that’s completely acceptable, as the industry is opening up more to that and having more classes available firearms instruction for women only.
During Christy’s first visit to the range, she learned and grew from experience. In the military she wore uniforms, but the first visit to the range just to practice, she wore a V-neck shirt. She learned quickly about casing burns, how a casing can go down your shirt. She never wore a V-neck again, after getting some hot brass on her breast, which is painful.
Also, she learned to wear clothing up to your neck, while still being comfortable, including shoes with good footing. Open- toed shoes are not recommended. If you’re using a holster, you want to make sure you wear pants with belt loops, with a good solid belt. Then make sure your hair is comfortable and tied back. You must wear hearing protection, so no dangly earrings are allowed under the headsets.
You’d be surprised what some students show up wearing. When Christy is holding classes for women, she frequently has to ask students to change clothes. You have to be comfortable, because you don’t want to be adjusting yourself while shooting, but you don’t want to have bullet casings flying down your shirt either. This is something people don’t think about, they just show up. Then afterward, they realize their experience could have been so much better if they were properly prepared.
Christy also helps students focus on two very important questions… “What do you carry?” and “How do you carry?” These days, the number of women who are carrying concealed is rising every day. There has been an increase in the hundreds of percents, which is so encouraging. While there used to be a lack of good ways for women to conceal because they’re shaped differently, there are far more options today.
Christy carries a pocket holster holding a Sig 238 .380 caliber auto. She keeps that in her purse or on her body in a pocket, or she tucks it inside her waistband. It fits her lifestyle and her needs. Whatever gun you have, make sure you have it in a holster, that’s very important.
Then however you choose to carry, whether you’re going to carry on your person, or in your purse, you need to make the decision first, before you start buying a bunch of stuff. Commit to how you’re going to carry. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on different things you’re never going to use. Also, make sure what you buy is comfortable.
For women, Christy recommends inside the waistband holsters or pocket holsters. She has carried bellybands when she goes on walks or runs. She has a gun on her all times.
Many female instructors use an Anna Taylor corset, and they really, really like it. There are also options. As a special agent, Christy had to conceal in different ways. She has worn thigh rigs, ankle holsters and more, all depending on what she was doing. There’s a lot of good products out there on the market these days for most applications.
Whatever you like, make sure you practice drawing with it. You can dry fire and practice from your home with an unloaded gun. Just make sure you’re practicing drawing your weapon from concealment. Just because it’s easy to conceal doesn’t mean it’s easy to draw from.
There’s a lot of women-specific products on the market. That industry is growing and it’s great to see that. A lot of products are pretty. You can find something pretty you like to wear. I have pink grips on my gun. We like these things a little bit different than men, and our bodies are obviously shaped a lot different, so it’s great to see some great products out there for women.
We hope you got a lot out of our look at women and firearms training. After what you’ve just read, do you think you’ll feel more comfortable attending an all women class? Do you think you’ll bring a buddy along for support? Did you understand the importance of a good holster and the proper attire, while still being comfortable while you’re shooting? Share your thoughts below.
Want to hear more from Christy? You can listen to our entire interview with her here.
Christy Painchaud is a retired federal agent, special agent and criminal investigator. As part of her extensive career, she has served active duty in the military and law enforcement as well as time as a security contractor and private investigator. Christy is a mom who carries, and serves as a firearms instructor where she teaches firearms training for men and women.