Owning a firearm is a right of every American, but it also has implied responsibility. The responsibility is to practice good firearms safety. Proficiency also is vitally important, especially when you are using your gun for personal protection.
At Shoot Like A Girl, when we meet soon-to-be, first-time and/or new gun owners, we stress the importance of safety and practice. As a result, we recommend they buy 2 guns: the caliber they choose for personal defense and a .22LR that resembles closely the same frame with the same features as their personal protection gun. Here’s why: Science tells us that it takes more than 150 repetitions of a task for our brains to build muscle memory. As a new shooter, you want to concentrate on the proper stance, grip and sight alignment; with a .22LR, you can do exactly that, without learning bad habits you may pick up – such as recoil flinch. Plus, a .22LR is just fun to shoot. It’s not as loud, and has less recoil; so, you will be able to learn to shoot correctly and accurately.
Muscle memory is important in a stressful situation. Hopefully, you are never in a situation to use your gun for personal protection, but if you are, your heart may speed up, your hands may get sweaty and shake and you may just suffer a little bit of panic. Muscle memory will step in when you need it.
The additional advantage to .22LR is that a rimfire gun will malfunction more than a centerfire gun; at least that is my perception. A malfunction is usually easy to fix, but it takes practice to remember the steps without thinking about it. I liken it to driving. Have you ever started to change lanes and realize there is a car next to you in your blind spot, and quickly maneuver back into your lane? It’s the same type of muscle memory.
Of course, there’s money savings, too. If you’re truly committed to being proficient with your shooting skills, you will want to shoot at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Federal CCI .22LR ammunition at Bass Pro Shops and/or Cabela’s costs $79.90. Compare that price to 1,000 rounds of Federal Premium 9mm ammunition, which will cost $749.50. Even buying a .22LR pistol at $329, there is a cost savings of more than $300. We also recommend you shoot a box of ammunition from your actual personal protection gun each time you go the range, too.
If you want to be a responsible gun owner, if you want to save money and if you want muscle memory in shooting your gun, practice to be proficient with a .22LR pistol.
Karen Butler is the president of Shoot Like A Girl, Inc., DBA, as well as Shoot Like A Girl DBA and SLG2 Consulting. Shoot Like A Girl was established in 2008, and launched in 2009, with a mission to grow the number of women who participate in shooting sports by empowering them with confidence. You may visit Shoot Like A Girl online. Also, look for the Shoot Like A Girl mobile unit, onsite this fall during its “Great American Tour” at several Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s throughout the nation.
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON