Let me begin this piece by stating flat out that a husband is always the worst choice for a shooting instructor to teach his own wife the fundamentals of shooting. He can teach his daughter, his grandkids or another man’s wife, but trying to teach his own wife is a mistake.
There are two basic reasons for this. First of all, she will not listen. Second, he expects perfection right from the start— because, after all, he can shoot, and by association, she should be able to easily do so as well. High expectations and an unwillingness to listen make for a disastrous combination at the shooting range.
SHAME ON ME
Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, a couple of years ago, my “first” wife decided that she should get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. She has always kept a loaded revolver in her car, which is legal here without a carry permit, but I have always encouraged her to get the permit to carry legally, so she could always have a handgun within reach.
She knows how a revolver operates and, over the years, has fired one when needed. But I insisted she let me give her some detailed instruction so she would not “shame” me when she went to get qualified for her permit.
In retrospect, that statement was my first mistake.
The thing is, being the wife of Jeff Quinn, she should be able to shoot very well just by association … or so I thought. After all, she has held the position as my first wife for 38 years now, so I figured she would be pretty good at it with just a bit of coaching.
However, with my instruction for her to not shame me, she thought it was payback time for making such a statement. And so, it began.
We walked out to my range carrying a .22 revolver and a brick of Remington hollow-point ammunition. I first tried to teach her how to properly hold the revolver, which didn’t go well at all.
She proceeded to hold the six-gun with her thumb and forefinger, touching it as easily as possible—as if she had just picked up a piece of dried dog leavings from the yard. I very patiently tried to get her to grip the revolver with both hands, but she was having none of it, barely touching the little six-gun. I knew that any minute, that sweet little Smith & Wesson Model 63 was going to land on the concrete. However, she managed to secure a better grip. After some dry-firing, I was certain she was ready to put a few rounds on target.
I was wrong. With the target set at 7 yards, and after instruction on how to properly load the weapon, she proceeded to put bullets everywhere—except on the target. Standing behind her, I tried to help with sight alignment and trigger squeeze, gently offering advice about how to hold the six-gun and place her shots. Well, gently at first, anyway. No matter how many times I tried to correct her, there was no pattern at all to the way she was missing the target … with every shot. Every. Shot.
I worked with this woman for a couple of hours, and no matter how hard I tried or how frustrated I became, she just could not get the hang of it. I didn’t understand this at all.
She is highly educated, holding a master’s degree in something that sounds important. I have instructed children, grown men and other women, and they all seemed to catch on rather quickly. But here I was, trying to teach my own sweet wife how to shoot. It was like trying to talk sense into a politician.
This just was not working at all. I now had to try to figure out a way to talk her out of wanting a carry permit, because I was certain there was no way she was going to be able to qualify, even on the simple course of fire, for a state carry license. This was bad. Real bad.
LO, A MIRACLE?
Then suddenly, as if God himself had miraculously intervened, her shooting improved dramatically! Instead of spraying lead across the countryside, she started shooting tight groups, cutting out the center of the target. She was gripping the gun properly and carefully aligning the sights before squeezing the trigger.
Then, her pace picked up while still maintaining excellent shot placement on the target. This was great! My instruction had paid off! I was finally feeling pretty good about myself and had the assurance that I would not have to suffer the ridicule of my shooting friends and colleagues because of my wife’s inability to shoot … .
It was at that point that she informed me it was because of my instruction to her to “be sure and not shame me” that she had purposely been hitting everything except the target just to teach me a lesson.
So, there it is, fellows. If you think your wife might need some instruction on how to properly fire a handgun, hire a professional. It will be much easier—on both of you.
Jeff Quinn is a full-time writer/reviewer on Gunblast. com, an online gun magazine started in 2000. He has also written for the Gun Digest Annual and enjoys living life in the woods of Tennessee, where he raises Longhorn cattle … and his grandkids.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.