New guest blogger, Cathi Bray, poses the very important question, “Is fear or fun the best motivator?” Here at Girl’s Guide, we prefer fun over fear any day. Cathi does a great job in this post outlining why the fun factor is so important to first time female shooters.

What would you say is the best way to entice someone to try something new — fear or fun? I think it’s pretty clear that fear is a poor motivator; in fact, fear can become paralyzing, whereas fun — I mean, who can say no to that?

It should be obvious that a woman who knows how to use a gun is in a better position to defend herself than one who has never touched a firearm. Whether she carries a gun or just has one in her home, the woman who has practiced and is more comfortable handling the gun will be better able to use it in a threatening situation.

But it is also a fact that, for most women who try it, shooting is really fun; and I would put forth the theory that the fun of shooting, and the social aspects of it could possibly get more women to the range than the need for self defense ever will.

As an example, I have been in the mindset of a (lite) prepper for several years now — meaning I’ve known that I needed to be prepared for various emergency situations and have over time built up a little stash in order to be better situated should something unforeseen occur. And if you asked, I think most folks would agree that emergency preps are necessary, important, and something we should all do.

However, how many have actually done something about it? Relatively few, I find. The concern is there at various levels, the knowledge is there that it should be done, the ability is there; but somehow many folks never get past that knowledge and move into action to accomplish their goal.

The same is true, I believe, for women and firearms. What woman out there doesn’t know that she might one day have to defend herself in a threatening situation? What woman isn’t aware that guns are much better able to level the playing field and even give that woman an advantage should she be attacked? What woman hasn’t heard by now that there are handgun classes for women popping up in every corner of the country?

Just having the concern and knowledge, though, has not been enough to move a good number of women to the point of standing at the range with their gun pointed toward a target.

My belief is that fear does not necessarily move us forward toward a goal. When you have a large or daunting task before you that is filled with the unknown and based in a negative emotion (fear) it can be extremely difficult to put one foot in front of the other, or to pick up the phone and begin the task. Take the prepping example. Anyone who looks into what we should all have stored in our homes in case of emergency (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, extended power outage, etc.) will be completely overwhelmed by everything that is required.

So now you have concern over the event, concern about not being prepared, concern about how to even get started, and concern that you might never do a thing. Just a lot of bad mojo going on, producing nothing.

But invite a woman to a shooting party with other women, throw in a little fun competition, add some prizes, awards (tiaras, anyone?), and maybe dinner and drinks later, and she is sooooo there! I mean, what woman isn’t up for some down time, especially if she can hang out with the girls and learn a new skill — one that she’s probably always wanted to learn anyway?

So I say we lighten things up a bit, have some fun, and get where we need to go. For one thing, many women who are initially too afraid to even pick up a gun, are amazed at how much more powerful and confident they feel after they learn to use it — two emotions that WILL move them forward to the next step.

There are many women’s shooting groups around the country that focus on the fun of shooting, and many women are drawn to these groups because they can see an easy entry point from which to accomplish their goals, and their fears become a bit less ominous. They are having so much fun, in fact, that they forget for a moment that they are doing something “scary,” and before you
know it you have a few new sisters in arms. From that point on, the concern gives way to confidence, the ability to defend themselves, and a passion for sharing their new love with other women — which were the intended goals to begin with.

So let’s get out there and let our sisters know how much fun we have at the range! Form those shooting leagues,, sponsor a shoot- and-swim party, dress up like the DIVAs,, or the cowboy/girl shooters,, and have a blast — because fun is always more attractive than fear.



Cathi Bray is a shooting enthusiast, but is passionate about pistols.   She and her husband, Tom, have six amazing children and three awesome grandchildren.  She is a homeschooling mom from Texas, who got into the sport late in life, when her youngest son learned to shoot in his local 4-H club.  Cathi realized if they were going to have guns in the house, she had better learn to use them.  Now she’s wondering where this love has been all her life.  She loves shooting with her husband and has enjoyed shooting with most of their children, except their Marine son, but she’s hoping to square off with him one day soon — mano v mom-o.