by Kirk Gilles

The message came in at 11:27 AM. “Can you get your ad and article to me by Thursday?” the publisher inquired. “Stressing on the deadline,” the message said.

Deadline? It’s Tuesday night! Flashbacks to last minute college term papers came to mind. Two choices: Punt- I.E. find an excuse to give, something believable like maybe my typewriter is in the shop. Or take the opportunity given to me and put down some coherent thoughts on a relatable topic. Lets try that one.

An Assumption is defined as the act of taking something for granted. Assumptions are part and parcel to the American Woman Shooter concept. I think it is not a stretch to say there are Assumptions about Women and Guns.Assumptions are made at the Retail level (“Miss, can I show you something in Pink? A nice little .22 maybe?”). Assumptions are made at the Training level (Now you just stand back little lady and watch, then we’ll get you on the line by yourself so no one gets hurt.”). Assumptions are most certainly made at the Societal level in stereotypes of female law enforcement and females in the military.

So, I would like to share a personal assumption I made as a Military Trainer. I was allowed to participate in some unit training involving a Humvee Simulator. It was the frame and body of a Humvee with a driver’s station, a .50 cal machine gun station and a radio operator/passenger station. Like a version of Driver’s Training, the simulator used a video interface to give the feeling of driving in Whereverstan.

A female soldier, a Specialist E-4 was in my simulator along with another male soldier. The female soldier got into the passenger seat with the radio simulator.

Showing my chivalry and leadership, I said to the female soldier, “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather practice on driving or taking the gun position?” Because obviously, to me, she needed to practice these more essential combat tasks than just riding it out in the passenger seat.

The Specialist replied, “No thank you Sergeant, you see I have driven on convoys through Bagdad several times in my tours. I usually drive or shoot but I really need to practice with the radio more.” Assumptions.

I work for an operation called Triple Threat Solutions in Bakersfield, California. We cater primarily to the Female Shooter market. We actively seek it out. In doing that, we must not make assumptions in the focus or presentation of the product we are providing: Familiarization, CCW, Defensive handgun training.

Good trainers find out what the “Client” is looking for and engineer the instruction to meet the client’s goals and expectations. The mistake that trainers can make is the assumption that the course(s) is about “Them” and clients are only there to watch the trainer in action (“Now you all stand back and watch me demonstrate my techniques. Man, I’m good at this!”). The point is to look into your choices, check the reviews, ask those who have been there. Get the bang for your buck.

My thought to speak of Assumptions in the context of the American Woman Shooter was actually brought on the publisher herself!

In our first phone conversation, I asked why she was not distributing the publication in California. The answer was a somewhat incredulous, “California? Guns in California? It doesn’t seem like the best place for it.”

I defended my state as a potential bastion of the American Woman Shooter. With 38 million plus people here, (and a Bass Pro Shop!) it was more likely than not California would have high numbers of gun owners and enthusiasts. Outside of the Bay Area and L.A., the state is very agricultural, rural, and markedly conservative in nature (Believe it Or Not). We shoot stuff here too.

I hope to be able to contribute with stories of Women in California who shoot or want to learn to shoot. But I won’t make the Assumption on that yet until I see my words on the pages of the next American Woman Shooter magazine.

Bio: Mr. Gilles is prior service U.S. Army, a semi-retired deputy sheriff , and a small arms trainer for the CA Military Department. He instructs for Triple Threat Solutions in Bakersfield, CA and produces handgun training aides for 19Delta Products.Capture