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  1. #1
    Senior Member lanaire's Avatar
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    I could use some advice...

    A neighbor approached me today, because I am "into guns and, well, stuff" (her words, made me laugh) and asked me to help her. she may potentially be on her own soon (her husband has stage 4 cancer), and wants (and I do believe actually does want ) to learn to shoot a gun and be more comfortable around her gun and other guns.

    here is the problem though. the reason WHY she is not comfortable-- and I am talking super high anxiety, breakdown level of not comfortable-- is that her brother walked into her kitchen one day and shot himself in front of her. she is REALLY scarred by this. (I am guessing, maybe about 20-30 years ago?? I didnt want to ask details like that...)

    I know the basic stuff of go slow, take it at her speed, etc... but I am just not sure exactly how to approach all this. I think she wants to start with a 410 shotgun. which is about perfect, I think anyhow, for what she seems to want it for. (light yard protection, mostly her chickens... not going to hunt, and where we are bears arent a huge threat, they are more on the other side of the hwy. cat sure, but I doubt she'll see it) I figured- put it in the sled, set on the bench so that she doesnt really have to "hold" it and maybe go from there....

    has anyone ever had to deal with this sort of thing??? normally I am a cowboy-up and get over it sort of person, but this case--- this one has some real psych damage.... and I wonder if it can even be overcome. not to mention, am I really the right person for this? I have to start working on a bunch of hunting rifles in the next week or two, building loads for them, so I told her to come over then and just be around the guns... figured it would be the best place for ME to start, so I can see how she reacts??

    any other words of advice, thoughts, anything?
    stay at home mama of two, and keeper of the zoo




    I have Lyme's disease, which crossed into my brain four years ago. It IS here in Alberta, no matter how many doctors try to say it isn't

  2. #2
    Go Canucks Go! lone-wolf's Avatar
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    Sounds like she's trying to cowboy up, good for her. You can just keep things simple I'd imagine, break action 410 and bird shot, maybe a friend of her's can tag along as well?
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  3. #3
    Canadian ForcesMember exmilitary's Avatar
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    Maybe avoiding targets in the form of a human silhouette might be good. Hang up game targets like bear, coyote, deer, etc. Just thinking out loud here.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Strewth's Avatar
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    Maybe in the bush instead of the range so she doesn't get freaked by the guy next to you with the brake on his 20" 300WM?
    Having a friend of hers along sounds like a great idea, or even just a great offer to make.

    I don't know how this sounds, but if she's about to lose her husband (I can't imagine) this is maybe her first foray into the world of doing things on her own, and she's chosen you because she's comfortable around you, maybe she wants to talk about it first, so having her over while your setting guns up is a good place to start? Slow and steady, letting her go at her own pace sure seems to apply here.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member lanaire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strewth View Post
    Maybe in the bush instead of the range so she doesn't get freaked by the guy next to you with the brake on his 20" 300WM?
    Having a friend of hers along sounds like a great idea, or even just a great offer to make.

    I don't know how this sounds, but if she's about to lose her husband (I can't imagine) this is maybe her first foray into the world of doing things on her own, and she's chosen you because she's comfortable around you, maybe she wants to talk about it first, so having her over while your setting guns up is a good place to start? Slow and steady, letting her go at her own pace sure seems to apply here.

    I generally work out back, not much of a "range" person myself (a little spoiled that we have a quarter here to go and work, makes it nice to have the space).... part of me feels a little honoured that she trusts me enough for this-- which is why I am also a little worried. this is big. huge. and not something I want to screw up for her. so yeah, we talked a little about it--- it took her quite awhile to work up to asking me actually! thinking it helped that I was cleaning brass while we had our coffee, just casual right? guns literally just give her the shakes, even a little talking about them--- but I mentioned, gently, that it wasnt the "gun" that killed him, it was him--- which she actually finished that sentence for me, so that was awesome that she was already at that point of it in her head (if that makes sense?)

    she had mentioned that she tried to go to a range, but thinking it didnt go well? she didnt say much about it. I think the fact I can just go out back, where its low-key is going to help...

    lone-wolf, not much for friends around here I am gathering from our chatting... most of her family is up north.

    exmilitary, good point. I just use dirty birds mostly.... have a fun game target that consists of bugs of different sizes for scoring, nothing at all human shaped ... I might even just set up some clays to shoot at
    stay at home mama of two, and keeper of the zoo




    I have Lyme's disease, which crossed into my brain four years ago. It IS here in Alberta, no matter how many doctors try to say it isn't

  6. #6
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
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    The first thing I'd do is get a few guns I was planning on letting her try out on a table...no ammo around...110% proven safe. Let her handle them in a safe, comfortable environment over a coffee. Just see how that goes, and with any luck, she'll ask you when you two can go out and pop off a few rounds.....that'll be her telling you she's ready for the next step. Somebody who's already nervous around guns doesn't need the added stress of loud noise and recoil during the first introduction. Just my 2 cents.
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  7. #7
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    Some really good advise in this thread. I would add that if she's willing to open up more over coffee, knowing what makes her anxious (sound or sight for example) will help you prep her and soften the process. If she fears hearing it go off then handling to the point of comfort will help.... Also why wasn't the range trip successful? Was she alone and didn't have someone like you for support or did something set her off? Just thinking out loud... Hope you can help her out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Camo tung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacksmithden View Post
    The first thing I'd do is get a few guns I was planning on letting her try out on a table...no ammo around...110% proven safe. Let her handle them in a safe, comfortable environment over a coffee. Just see how that goes, and with any luck, she'll ask you when you two can go out and pop off a few rounds.....that'll be her telling you she's ready for the next step. Somebody who's already nervous around guns doesn't need the added stress of loud noise and recoil during the first introduction. Just my 2 cents.
    Sounds like a good place to start, establish some "comfort" being around them first. Especially with her earlier exposure to guns.

  9. #9
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    Last edited by Danwit; 07-16-2013 at 03:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lanaire's Avatar
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    BSD-- agreed. one of the first things she said is she wanted to use "x" gun that she owns... I just said, well, we'll go over it, clean it, show you what makes it tick first.... she said it hadnt been cleaned (I'm going to assume never) so I just said that is a great place to start right there... glad to hear I was on the right track with that! the more she can just handle it, get to see how it works, I think it will help...


    DOA-- I have no idea why the range didnt work, but there are good ranges and bad, and great people at them and also not so great. could've been a combination of both. I just want to make THIS go round at it more successful... so yup. more coffee, cleaning/handling the guns, just being around them I think will help. I really hope I can help her through this, it really can be such a positive experience

    Camo tung--- it definitely is sounding like a great place to start, glad to hear my gut was on the right track...
    stay at home mama of two, and keeper of the zoo




    I have Lyme's disease, which crossed into my brain four years ago. It IS here in Alberta, no matter how many doctors try to say it isn't

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