Book Review: Women Learning to Shoot by Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam

| July 25, 2014 | 2 Comments

I am usually the only woman in our fight-focused classes, especially the intermediate and advanced levels. Some of my female friends have expressed interest in training, but don’t make the commitment to go to class. We do see more women in the basic classes, but I think there are many aspects about firearms and shooting guns that are foreign to girls — unless they grew up playing “war” with their friends or have a family with an interest in shooting.

As such, I’m always curious about why women don’t take more fight-focused training, especially since statistically we’re more likely to need it. This curiosity has led me to do more investigation into the firearms training and competitive shooting communities, social attitudes about women and guns (particularly self-defense weapons), and the general amount of basic knowledge women have about guns versus men.

I wanted to read this book  because our head firearms instructor is a protege of Vicky Farnam’s husband, John. The Farnams are the principals of Defense Training International, and Vicky has a reputation for training women in law enforcement, government agencies, and the military. Our head instructor Erik Pakieser stated that he learned a great deal on how to teach women to shoot thanks to Vicky, and recommended the book to me.

I was apprehensive about the book at first. I’ve attended some “women only” shooting classes, and some of the behavior of the students really made me cringe. One woman cried at the last women’s only class I attended. I hoped that Vicky’s book would serve as a way to get my female friends a basic understanding about guns before they even stepped into a class.

I was surprised to learn that the material covered in Women Learning to Shoot applies to everyone, not just women. You should read it, whether you have a Battle Bosom or not.

The book begins with a chapter on what risks you might encounter both physically and mentally. This chapter introduces a central theme that is reiterated throughout:

“Stay focused, keep the clutter out of your mind and you can do it!”

Subsequent chapters cover all of the safety rules, body position, and detailed descriptions of each part of  several styles of handguns. There are lots of pictures and the authors really thought about how to explain each part of shooting in great detail – something that instructors on a live range rarely have time to do. The book addresses common fears and gives technical tips on how to diagnose your own mistakes and then practical tips on how to fix them.

At first I thought a “girl’s only” book wasn’t necessary, and that girls didn’t need any special treatment when learning how to shoot. I still feel like this is true, the only thing that makes girls “different” from boys is that we don’t often have the base familiarity and vocabulary men do about firearms. As such, I’d recommend Women Learning to Shoot to anyone new to shooting, regardless of their sex.

If you’re interested in taking a fight-focused shooting class but don’t know where to start, check out my Pinterst board “50 states of fight-focused training

It’s an interactive map showing national trainers. If I missed someone you think should be included please mention them in the comments and I will make sure to add them.

About the Author:

The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective. Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.
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2 Comments on "Book Review: Women Learning to Shoot by Diane Nicholl and Vicki Farnam"

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  1. Vicki Farnam says:

    Dear She-Sheperd,

    I would like to thank you for the very nice review you have posted about “Women Learning to Shoot”! Glad you found it useful and I appreciate that you are sharing the information with your readers.

    Please be in touch, I would be delighted to talk with you!

    Sincerely,
    Vicki Farnam
    DTI, Inc

  2. B says:

    Whatup FemShep!

    Thanks for the write up. I’ll share this with my wife…she’s enthusiastic but easily deterred…still trying to size up the right wep for her…she’s little. Peace to you sister!

    b

Post a Reply to B