I have had great firearms instruction from both men and women. I have also felt intimated by both. Men and women firearm instructors can be equally be good or bad. One is not better than the other. However, one is most likely different than the other and as a woman, I prefer taking a class from another woman. Is a female firearm instructor better at teaching women to shoot than a male instructor? My answer is probably. Here’s why: It was not too long ago when I was taking classes towards a master’s segree in social work when educators felt the way children learned and behaved in the classroom was a socially learned condition. You know the stereotype; little girls are not as good at science and math, while little boys are not as good in English. We all know this isn’t necessarily true. Girls grow up to be successful engineers, while boys grow up to be successful authors. However, many recent studies prove there are sex-based differences how in men and women learn.
Before birth, the chemicals in a baby boy’s brain develop differently than in a baby girl. Wired differently from the beginning, men and women have different levels of estrogen, testosterone, serotonin, and oxytocin.
Further, the develop of the cerebral cortex, the nerve center of our memory, attention, thought, and language skills are different in men and women. In the cerebral cortex lies the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for verbal memory. In girls, the hippocampus develops earlier than in boys and in general, the hippocampus is larger in adult females than in adult males. Because of this, boys and men tend to learn better through actions and pictures, while girls and women learn better through words.
A female firearm instructor will naturally want to talk more; in an all-female class, she will keep women’s attention where men might get bored. Women learn better with lessons taught in context. Personal stories and detailed explanations of why we do things are important to a women’s understanding of a new idea.
Women tend to be more left-brained. This means we have a difficult time keeping reason and emotion separate. Girls and women learn better when they feel the teacher or instructor likes them. Women will naturally start creating bonds with each other in class—with the instructor and other participants. In a mixed class, some of bonding behavior might be misconstrued as inappropriate.
Women, more than men, need encouragement. While men are achievement-based, women are performance-based and may underestimate their abilities. Men are more competitive than women. In a male-dominated class, women might feel intimidated and discouraged when they don’t measure up.
Some women, especially first timers may have had a previous bad experience with firearms or feel scared by them. They enter the class already stressed out. Men can actually learn better while under stress. On the other hand, women’s ability to learn weakens while under stress.
A woman’s hearing is more sensitive than a mans. Loud gun shots can be more disturbing, as well as louder voices. We may think a male firearm instructor is yelling when he is simply just raising his voice.
The female firearm instructor can also offer advice on stance, grip and how to conceal carry specific to women. Let’s face it, we have parts that guys don’t. Competitive shooter and instructor, Julianna Crowder said, “Knowing that there is someone like you teaching from a similar perspective will ease the experience.” To find a women- only class, taught by women, visit the following websites:
Who is your favorite firearm instructor and why? Tell us in the comment section.