Women are better at shooting rifles than men. When I first heard this statement, I thought the speaker was being more than a bit overzealous. I mean, how often do you see a professional female shooter? Gun shows like Top Shot recognize one or two each year. When I first became interested in firearms, I didn’t know a single other woman who owned a gun. In fact, even now I can only count a few among my girl friends who have shot a gun more than once. However, just because few women participate in firearm sports, doesn’t mean that women aren’t talented shooters. Science proves that women hold a distinct advantage in long-distance shooting.
Why are women good long-distance shooters?
Our bodies are built differently than men. In sports like football this may be a disadvantage, but for sports like mountain climbing and long-distance shooting, our unique body structure actually works as a benefit. Wider hips and a lower distribution of weight provide women with more balance and control. According to expert marksman (or markswoman) Launi Mieli, head coach of the Air Force Academy rifle team and the only American woman to win an Olympic gold in small-bore rifle, “Women have a lower center of gravity and I think that gives them a distinct advantage in shooting from the standing position. I think they have better balance.” http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203960804577239540945498130?mg=reno64-
History proves that just because a sparse amount of women shoot guns doesn’t mean that women aren’t a force to reckon with when we are properly trained. Here are a few Riveters who made the world rethink female firearm abilities.
Phoebe Ann Moses (a.k.a. Annie Oakley) – (1860-1926)
By the age of eight, “Annie” Moses helped sustain her mother and six siblings by hunting and trapping. She quickly proved herself as an amazing American sharpshooter. In 1975, at the age of 15, Annie received her career debut by out-shooting Francis E. Butler at the Baughman and Butler shooting act in Cincinnati, Ohio. Francis and Annie married a year later. Under the stage name Annie Oakley, this American Riveter is most widely known for her star role on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko – (1916-1974)
At the age of 24, Lyudmila Pavlichenko entered World War II as a sniper for the Soviet Union. She joined 2000 female Soviet snipers who proved themselves on the battlefield during the war. Lieutenant Pavlichenko became a military hero for her 309 confirmed kills. She toured with Eleanor Roosevelt as an advocate for women in the military.
Margaret Thompson Murdock (1942-Present)
As an American competitor in the small-bore rifle event at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, Murdock competed in the same events as the men. When she tied her American teammate Lanny Bassham, the judges awarded the gold to Bassham and silver to Murdock. She is the first woman to win an Olympic medal in a shooting event. For the most part, Olympic shooting events have been segregated by gender ever since.
Riveters to Watch
Watch for these top female marksmen making today’s headlines!
In 2012, Rhodes earned her third gold medal in Olympic Women’s Skeet shooting. She became the first woman to win three gold medals in an Olympic shooting event and the first American to win a medal in the same individual event for five consecutive Olympic Games.
As a former member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit and the current captain of the prosperous Smith & Wesson shooting team, Julie Golob has won over 120 Championship titles. She is a strong advocate for encouraging others, especially women, to give shooting and hunting a try.
Taurus team captain Jessie Duff was awarded the coveted USPSA Practical Shooting Grandmaster title. This challenging title is a lifetime goal that few marksmen ever achieve. She is also the first among both male and female competitors to win every Practical Shooting category. Jessie Duff publically advocates for Second Amendment rights.
Women are better shooters than men. Perhaps this statement is a bit exaggerated especially since there is such a small amount of female firearms competitors. Simply put, not enough women participate in firearm sports to accurately compare. However, that may be changing. Recently, more women are purchasing and practicing with their firearms. “Research by the National Sporting Goods Association shows female participation in target shooting grew by 46.5% between 2001 and 2010. And an October 2011 Gallup Poll found 23 percent of women own a gun. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, from 2001 to 2010, female participation in hunting grew by almost 37 percent. “ http://www.usashooting.org/news/2012/2/28/195-usa-shooting-viewpoint–men-vs-women-in-competitive-shooting
Whether you choose to own a firearm or not, we can all recognize the Riveters who are impacting how women are viewed in the male-dominated sport of gun shooting. But, let’s not stop there. Thousands of women (many of them mothers) are choosing to legally carry a firearm for their family’s defense. More women refuse to be victims and are arming themselves against potential criminals. These women aren’t afraid of the unknown because they take the time to become informed. They enroll in training courses and speak with experts who teach them how to defend themselves.
“Boys learn to shoot in Scouts or with their Dads,” National Take Your Daughters to The Range Day co-founder and firearms instructor, Lynne Finch, said. “Often, the girls are left behind because shooting isn’t ‘girly.’ Well, we can, and do shoot, and well. Learning to shoot gives young women confidence, helps to build self-esteem, and introduces them to a sport they can participate in their whole lives.”
Remember June 9th is National Take Your Daughters to the Range Day! This is the perfect opportunity to inspire the next generation of Riveters.
If you don’t have a friend or family member to guide you through the ropes of firearm safety and use, don’t be discouraged. There are many resources available for women to receive proper training. Like any skill, using a firearm takes PRACTICE. Here are some places to start (if you know of another valuable source, please share in the comments):
- Cabela’s Stores – Regularly offers firearm training courses. Visit store for details. www.cabelas.com
- Girls’ Guide to Guns – A refreshing female perspective of girls with guns with plenty of useful information and links. http://girlsguidetoguns.com/
- ARMED MOMMY – A patriotic Facebook page which frequently shares information for gun-carrying mommas. ARMED MOMMY is one of many useful firearm-related Facebook groups. https://www.facebook.com/ArmedMommy
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
What are your positive experiences with shooting guns? Did you out-shoot the men? Did learning how to shoot give you more confidence?
Were you ever discouraged learning to shoot guns? Did you have trouble finding equipment for females? Were you underestimated by male peers?
Thanks for visiting The Riveter! Happy Shooting!