Who says that guns and hunting are just for the guys? These days, there are lots of girls who own hunting grounds and shooting ranges like nobody’s business. These feisty females almost always leave jaws dropping when they hit targets spot on, but becoming a bull’s eye busting woman takes entirely different training practices from men’s.
If you’re a girl who’s trying to get the hand of handling your first rifle, don’t sweat it. Here I uncover everything you need to know on how to hold and shoot a rifle to make it easier on the female form.
What Makes Women Different From Men?
Don’t think that just because we’re women, we’re any less capable of shooting. In fact, lots of the best hunters these days are girls. The main distinction between men and women is – of course – size. With greater muscle mass and body bulk, men find it much easier to lug around, aim, and shoot a rifle compared to women.
If you’re particularly petite, it could be difficult and sometimes painful to try to handle a rifle, especially if you’re just starting out. That said however, there are lots of things you can do to help ease the process so you can bring down your targets with no trouble at all.
Considerations When Choosing a Rifle
1. Single Shots vs Repeaters – Basically, a repeater is a rifle that can carry multiple cartridges and shoot them one after the other without having to eject the spent cartridge. For beginners, repeaters are almost always more ideal because it gives the user a sense of control.
There are ups to choosing a single shot rifle as well, however. These are much sleeker and lightweight compared to repeaters. For women with smaller frames, this can be a major advantage as carrying a heavier model could be much more taxing on the body. The only issue with single shots is that there is an element of pressure – you’ll only have one shot to make or break the hunt.
2. Barrel Length – It’s important for female shooters to consider barrel length because it can affect the intrinsic accuracy of the rifle. Because women tend to have shorter arms, longer barrels can mess up the trajectory of a shot.
Rifle’s can come in lengths between 18 and 26 inches, however not all models carry these lengths. For women with shorter arms, sticking to the 18, 19, and 20 inch barrel lengths might be more ideal.
3. Scope Mounting – A scope is an essential for anyone who wants to shoot targets like a pro. The best hunting rifle scope will guarantee precise targets each and every time. However, choosing the wrong mount for your scope can make it an absolute waste.
Women tend to slouch closer to their rifles when shooting simply to stabilize the heaping piece of metal more securely. That said, it’s ideal to choose a scope mount with the lowest possible rings so you can comfortably peek through without having to extend your neck to far up.
How to Hold and Shoot a Rifle
1. Start with Your Stance – The first thing you should practice when learning how to hold your rifle is your stance. There are generally two types of rifle handling stances, and these are:
- Bladed-Off – This stance requires that the shooter twist the torso so that the weaker shoulder is pointing in the same direction as the rifle. This is ideal for competition shooters who require a greater deal of precision.
- Squared – The squared stance entails squaring the shoulders off in the direction of the target, keeping the rifle’s buttstock slightly off the midline of the chest, and keeping the elbows pointed down to the ground. This is ideal for moving targets or for first time shooters who want to better control recoil.
For women, it’s almost always better to choose the squared stance because it allows better grip on the rifle. That’s because bustier women might struggle to keep the rifle at the proper position when assuming the bladed-off stance.
2. Find Your Trigger Hand Placement – The next step of the process is figuring out where your hands feel most comfortable. Some rifles come with a pistol grip which is basically a grip that protrudes from the underside of the barrel. With this type of rifle, it’s best to place your hand at the highest portion of the grip by pressing the junction of your thumb and index finger firmly into the “V” where the buttstock and handle meet.
Older single shot rifle models are commonly without the pistol grip. These guns have a slight crook however that’s positioned to the rear of the trigger. To grip this type of rifle, simply place your finger on the trigger and find where your hand fits the crook best. Make sure to hold it as close to the highest portion of the crook as possible to give a stable grip.
3. Support the Forestock – Your free hand should find a place on the forestock of the rifle. This will stabilize the gun while aiming and prevent recoil after fire. As a general rule, women should opt for a farther position on the forestock as this will help prevent the gun from jumping up and back after it’s shot.
Of course, this still depends on what you feel most comfortable with. If you’re strong enough to keep the gun stable after you’ve shot it and you’d much rather have stability while aiming, holding the forestock closer to you will allow a immobilized aim.
4. Stabilize with Your Cheek – Now that you’ve got your hands and arms in place, it’s time to stabilize your cheek against the stock. This will give you a steady eye as you aim and will add a bit of extra stability to your grip.
With your head straight, press the butt of the rifle high against your chest, almost on the collar bone. Then bring tilt your head sideways towards the stock and press your cheek firmly into it.
For added support, some shooters like to use a rifle bipod. In the case of women, using the rifle bipod you can find will take away some of the weight of the gun, allowing you to achieve better aim and try out much heavier rifles.
5. Pull the Trigger – There’s a lot more science to pulling the trigger than a lot of beginners choose to believe. Simply pulling it back might cause a miss all together.
When you’re ready to shoot, take a deep breath and slowly exhale halfway. Once you’ve reached the half mark of your exhalation, hold your breath and pull on the trigger. Only the first digit of your finger – between the tip and the first joint of your index – should be on the trigger. Press on the trigger slowly and consistently, all the way to the end. Be sure to pull back before you run out of breath, as holding it for too long can cause a rapid heart rate which can disrupt your aim.
To prevent recoil, avoid trying to eliminate any excess movement. Instead, maintain your focus on your target and keep your limbs close to your body to reduce the area of motion.
It’s not easy for anyone to get used to rifle handling, and the added pressure on women can make it even more of a challenge. Make sure to keep this guide in handy to help you make the most of every shot you make with your trust rifle.
Are you ready to dominate the shooting range or hunting grounds? What other tips do you have for femmes that want to start their rifle shooting hobby? We’d love to hear what you have to say! Share your tips, thoughts, and tactics in the comments section below, and let’s get talking.