Valentine’s Day is upon us, and it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with a unique idea for things to do. For a lot of gun people, it’s simple: A hot date at the local range is always fun. It’s not always that simple, though, because sometimes, the one we love might not be particularly keen about guns.
Regardless of whether you’ve been married to a non-gun lover for years or are trying to win over a mate who’s not that into guns, here are some ideas for a hot date that might win him or her over.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
It might sound like a cliché, but search for the right place, and this could be a turning point. Find a USPSA league night or monthly match, and scope it out ahead of time. You can find these by map location on Practiscore.com, which is a free, online scoring and match support website.
For example, in St. George, Utah, Southern Utah Practical Shooting (SUPS) hosts Tuesday Night Steel, and brand-new shooters are welcome at its events. It instructs everyone from novice shooters to military and LEO.
If your significant other is nervous around guns, a good first experience is critical. For instance, don’t take your wife (who’s on the fence about guns) to the range with “just the guys.” Maybe they heard you complain that she’s not a fan of firearms and are trying to help you out. But she is going to feel as if it’s a setup.
Instead, find a place with other women, youth, etc. that’s geared toward new people without patronizing them. SUPS and Tactical Performance Center (TPC) are paired in St. George, Utah; they deliver on customer service for future range “addicts.”
But there are others out there, and local matches abound. So, get looking and go out on a date and shoot guns. (After all, isn’t that every guy’s dream?)
A HANDS-ON GUN DATE
Maybe your significant other would rather spend bonding time working on the house.
May I suggest a gun lover’s version of something like an HGTVstyle makeover for your reloading or gun storage room? If your gun area is a mess, get your laptop, grab a beer or a glass of wine, and go on Pinterest together. Start looking for ways to get her involved in storing the “family’s” guns. Maybe she wants to craft a cute sign for your reloading room or pick out the color of the gun safe. This is a bit of flipping your perspective and looking at things from her perspective. Care enough to make it more than your guns or your man cave. Ask to share it.
People value things they work on and care about. Sharing is caring!
Another date idea: Build her a rifle. Go online ahead of time and buy the parts for her to build a rifle or customize a pistol. I know a guy who paints his wife’s rifles with spray paint and makes them look like constellations and the aurora borealis. How can she not love him for that!
Again, bring the person with whom you want to share into the picture. It’s not just about them understanding your view. Understand theirs, and then try to give them a reason to view things differently or with personal investment and meaning.
If you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway for Valentine’s Day, skip the couples massage and take an armorer’s class; alternatively, sign up for a shooting class together.
My husband and I have enjoyed classes with Mike Seeklander, Ron Avery, Ben Stoeger and others. We have sat riveted, listening to Ron Avery talk about serious topics. He didn’t sugar coat or spoon feed—he challenged. That was a great class, and we loved it. We spent two days on the range, seeing each other work through dry-fire drills, live-fire drills and gathering a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. But a Glock armorer’s course or a rifle-build class could be just as enjoyable. Maybe you have an artsy wife who would love to learn how to Cerakote … they give classes on that.
These are just a few ideas to blend a Valentine’s Day date night or weekend into something that could hook your significant other into loving guns the way you do. The key is to make the date into something they will enjoy and not just about guns.
Take the time to share what you love about guns with the love of your life in a way she or he can relate to, and hopefully, they will understand a little better why you love guns. They might come around and become a gun lover, too.
For gun lovers, maybe someday there will be an “AR-15 Lover’s Day.” But until then, Valentine’s Day can serve as cover for that. So, get out and share what you love. Perhaps you will win her/him over.
Author Becky Yackley competes in action shooting (3 Gun, USPSA, Bianchi and IPSC) with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t shooting matches or writing, she is busy with her camera. Becky is the founder of the 2A Heritage Junior shooting camps and works in social media for several firearms industry companies.
A version of this article first appeared in the February 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.