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  • Advice for getting over firearm anxiety

    Posted by Jessica on April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I am a 24 year old female and I have only shot one gun in my life and it was .22 rifle. I actually had tears in my eyes while I was trying to shoot it and it took me a good 30 minutes to get up the courage to pull the trigger.

    I am wanting to become more proficient in the use of hand guns since I have been assaulted in the past and I believe this could have been prevented with a firearm in my possession. The problem is, I am very very nervous when handling firearms or when I am in the vicinity of anyone else that is handling firearms.

    I have thought about this a lot and I think a lot of my anxiety comes from witnessing my uncle get shot by one of my cousin’s boyfriend when I was a child. He was a veteran that had just left Iraq when then this happened. He shot through half his hand and my uncle’s thigh with one bullet.

    Now I hear people say that if you are educated in firearm safety, nothing bad will happen. But I watched someone come from active duty and accidentally shoot themselves and my uncle at one time. Every time I see a gun, I am worried and anxious and I am looking for advice to move past this to be able to protect myself.

    Jessica replied 1 year, 4 months ago 2 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • The-J-Oven

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    You need two things….

    1) Professional firearms instruction, 1 on 1.

    2) Professional mental health talk time.

    No jokes or kidding aside. You need lengthy chats with both individuals listed above to prosper within your new endeavors.. The internet isn’t going to solve your hangups or meet your training needs.

    I wish you the best of luck!

  • ardesofmiche

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Take a hands-off safety class. Most local ranges will offer a classroom setting guns 101 safety class, would be very helpful to see if it’s something you can proceed with

  • issaacc98

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Glad to hear you’re committed to learning and understanding the issue of your anxiety. Acceptance is the first stage of fixing a problem, after all. My advice? Start with a few videos on YouTube about the universal firearm safety rules.

    1. Know the condition of your weapon (unloaded or loaded) but treat it as if it were loaded.

    2. Do not point the firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.

    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

    4. Know your target and it’s surroundings (what’s in front, behind, to the sides, below, and above it).

    If you follow these 4 rules, especially #2 and #3, you have nothing to worry about.

    One of the best ways to become more comfortable being around, carrying, owning, and using firearms is to familiarize yourself with them. Humans tend to fear the unknown more than anything else.

    Go buy a Glock brand airsoft pistol and just play with it. Don’t load a single BB in it. Just pick it up when your watching TV or eating dinner and practice holding it, pointing it at targets, pulling the trigger (this is why you keep it empty), and just generally carrying it around the house. Once you get more comfortable, load it up and shoot some paper or even some coke cans in your backyard. Practice your muzzle control (always pointing in a safe direction) and trigger discipline (finger off trigger until you’re ready to fire).

    Once you’re comfortable with the airsoft pistol, go buy a real one. Obviously do your research on which one will be best for you but any modern, striker fired, semi auto handgun from a reputable manufacturer is going to perform well.

    Then just repeat the steps I mentioned with the airsoft version. Carry it around the house, unloaded, and just dry fire. Then work in some ammo and live fire at a range or yard with appropriate distance and setting.

    You should realize quickly that guns are nothing more than tools that do as you command. You’re not scared of that giant kitchen knife you use to cut up meat, are you? No, because while you recognize it’s a dangerous tool, it depends entirely on how you use it. You’re comfortable with it because you’ve familiarized yourself with it so much that it’s no longer scary.

    Just take your time. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice along the way, from family/friends/internet, but also don’t be afraid to fact check and ignore any/all advice given. There’s a ton of good and bad information floating around these days. Figure out the difference and learn from both.

  • Puzzleheaded_Nerve

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I want to commend you. You recognize a firearm is a very dangerous weapon, but also recognize it’s ability to be a force equalizer in the right hands. This isn’t a bad way to see guns.

    People do make mistakes. No matter how much you know, a lack of focus can be dangerous. Mistakes often happen from being overly confident/comfortable with the weapon, or by not having an understanding of the weapon.

    Unfortunately there is no easy solution. For me, if I understand how the thing works, I am much for comfortable with it.

    Best of luck to you.

  • obeythehypnotoad

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Unconventional advice: buy a handgun. Do not buy ammo. Have it in your house. Play with it. Fiddle with it while you’re watching TV. Eventually your brain will get used to it not being a dangerous item (in that state) and calm down.

    Then, when you’re comfortable go take a safe handling class. Maybe even ask for a 1:1 class if you’re worried about coming unglued in front of people.

    I have a friend who has a similarly irrational fear and I understand how paralyzing it can be. But it can be overcome.

  • mwesty25

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Maybe guns just aren’t for you.

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  • EveRommel

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Do you have a friend that’s very involved in shooting?

  • dirtydogxxx

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    It important to understand the way a firearm functions and to practice manipulating it without ammo for awhile , while practicing good safety habits. Then eventually you can go get some ammo if you can find any and take it to the range.
    Understamd that the ammunition makes the gun dangerous, and it is only dangerous for something downtange of the muzzle, and only when YOU decide it is time for it to be dangerous. Kind of like a super well trained robot attack dog
    Unfortunately your brain rationalized that since your cousin didnt mean to harm your uncle, that it was the guns fault. But understand that your cousin failed to follow basic safety protocol and that is why they were injured.

  • Lb3ntl3y

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    if you have firearm anxiety, you can

    1 go to a range and ask ro/rso for help (depends on 1 how busy the range is, 2 if the range allows ro/rso to do so)

    2 go seek out an instructor

    3 find a group of people/friends/coworkers that are willing to go to a range with you and shoot, this one might also go with instructors but allows for a more fun environment

  • HumidNut

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    When selecting an instructor, see if there are any that offer, or specialize in “Ladies only” classes. Then check references on said instructor; you don’t want to pay money to an idiot or a creep.

    At my club, there’s 9 instructors, and only one I would ever recommend to my sister or my mother to take classes from. Find people who would say the same thing about any potential instructor you may select.

  • ojioni

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    First, get some therapy. After some therapy, approach firearms again, but with a trained instructor or someone equally knowledgeable.

  • ClassicWoodgrain

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    > I hear people say that if you are educated in firearm safety, nothing bad will happen.

    Guns are very different from the assault you experienced. That assault probably just “happened“ to you. You had no control over what they did. You didn’t pull their trigger. You didn’t aim them in an unsafe direction. That was a decision they made. They did it.

    Guns don’t shoot people on their own. It doesn’t “just happen.” They have a point of aim, which the holder is responsible for. They have a trigger. Just because that shooting with your cousin happened beyond your control doesn‘t mean it just happened. Your cousin’s boyfriend did it. Presumably on accident, but he still did it. He let it be loaded, pointed in an unsafe direction, and pulled the trigger. It doesn’t matter what you know. It matters what you do. He forgot some of his most important responsibilities and shot someone. What you do controls what the gun does. So controlling the gun comes down to controlling yourself. You have to be responsible for those things at all times. Either you shoot someone or you don’t, and you’ve got to be responsible for that.

    Guns are like voting. They‘re your right. They‘re an important civil responsibility. However, they‘re a reflection of your personal judgment and the time / resources / mental energy you have to contribute to something which isn’t normally critical to your day to day life.

    When political groups try to “Get out the Vote” and want everyone to vote, and shame those who don’t they do a great disservice to the country. They don’t want you to be involve. They just want you to vote for their guy, and they figure people who are too busy with work, children, etc. to reseach and contemplate the finer nuances of complex global policy, economics, etc. will simply go vote for “their guy.” Voters who would stay home and “not vote” / abstain… they are voting. They are contributing more than those who blindly vote for the guy they feel pressured into voting for. They know they don’t know enough to know who to vote for. They know it’s important and if you’re not able to meet a certain threshold where you feel you’re ready, then its too important to mess up.

    Just like there’s no shame in missing an election – particularly if its a small one – if you know that you don’t know who to vote for. There’s not shame is leaving “getting a gun” on the back burner until you’re ready, because thats just the start of “having a gun.” When you “have a gun” you’re anything but powerless. You‘re in control of your life, and the lives of those around you. It wouldn’t be a matter of something happen someone. It‘s a matter of what you do or don’t do.

  • loki993

    April 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    First thats a terrible thing to have to see and I can definitely understand your anxiety.

    This will come off as a bit blunt, but when dealing firearms safety is of the utmost importance. Like other potentially dangerous tools, you dont go waiving a hammer around willy nilly, you dont mess around with your kitchen knives, you wear ppe when running a jackhammer etc.

    Just because someone is a veteran doesn’t automatically make them an expert in firearms safety, or frankly even knowledgeable about it.

    If one has an ND or accidentally shoots someone its because they were stupid. Im not saying someone is stupid there…Im saying in that moment they were stupid….there is a difference.

    Fact is the 4 rules are of utmost importance. If you religiously follow the 4 rules you can never have an accident. Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the chamber before pulling the trigger unless you are actively shooting the gun.

    Dont ever “think” a gun is empty, know it is and even then its still treated as loaded.

    When you pass a gun to someone it is customary and expected safety practice to check the chamber before you pass it to them…they should in turn do the same when giving it back or vise versa.

    Also you can have all the firearms safety instruction in the world and it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t follow it…literally all the time.

    Now I think there are people that give classes on basic firearms safety and familiarity that are classroom only, see if you can find one of those maybe and give that a try. See how you feel, maybe take it more than once. Once you are more comfortable then maybe think about getting some 1:1 training if you are comfortable with it. Do some research on instructors, talk to them maybe if you can, tell them your situation, see which ones a good fit because at least some of the will not be and not be understanding to your situation.

    Lastly, about being assaulted and preventing it with a firearm…yes that is entirely possible but remember back to the 4 rules “do not point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy.”

    Guns are not something you point at someone to scare them away, if you are in a situation where you feel you need to point your gun at someone, you are in a situation where your life is in danger and you are going to shoot and possibly/probably kill that person. Just keep that in mind.

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