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Learning to Shoot by Overcoming Your Fear

April 19, 202110 min read

What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.

Recently, I asked a student in my Florida concealed carry course, why she wanted to learn how to shoot a gun. This woman said something very fascinating to me. She said, "Ryan, I have been afraid of firearms my entire life."

I found this to be really fascinating. This young woman has realized the importance of having a firearm in today's society due to the increase in the riots, the violence and chaos. She knows she needs a gun to protect herself and her family. However, she's still afraid of firearms.

Do You Have a Fear of Firearms?

You may be very similar to this woman. You may realize the importance of a concealed weapon, while also being afraid of firearms. In this Article, we're going to talk about how you can overcome your fear of firearms.

Over the years I've identified six fear that most new shooters have

Fear # 1 - Fear of the Recoil

First is the fear of the recoil. Recoil is the energy of the firearm discharging in the shooter's hand.

Fear # 2 - Fear of the Sound
Next is the fear of the sound. I'll go to the range shooting with students all the time and somebody near us will shoot, and the student jumps. I always tell them, "You'll get used to it. Eventually, it won't bother you." However the fear of the sound, is a real fear.

Fear # 3 - Fear of Being Injured or Killed 
Next is the fear of being injured or killed with a gun. This makes sense because the media has been telling you for decades that firearms are very dangerous and that thousands and thousands of people are dying every single year.

Fear # 4 - Fear of Firearms Around Children
Fourth is the fear of having firearms in their homes around children. We all want our children to be safe. My children are pretty young. My daughter Paisley is 12, Lincoln is 9 and Jaxson is 7. All three of them have been shooting guns since they were about four and five years old. It is definitely possible to educate and teach your children about proper firearm safety.

Fear # 5 - Fear or Intimidation of Gun Culture
Firearm culture can be very intimidating for people. Many new shooters perceive the firearms culture as being very aggressive.

Fear # 6 - Fear Caused by a Negative Experience
When I was a kid, I lived on a farm in Grants Pass, Oregon. My dad and his buddy were  shooting guns in the field. And they said, "Hey, Ryan, come here, come here." I was probably 10 or 11 years old at the time . I ran up and my dad said, "Ryan, lay down and shoot this rifle."  So I laid down, because I assumed I could trust my dad. I pressed the trigger. Boom, the rifle went off and I felt like I got kicked by a horse.

My dad and his buddy thought it was hilarious as they laughed hysterically. Turns out the rifle I shot was a 300 Win Mag which is an extremely powerful rifle. They though it was funny while it was a very negative experience that made me not want to shoot guns in the future.

How do you overcome your fear of guns?

Now that we've identified the most common fears most people have about firearms, let's discuss what you can do to overcome these fears.

The first thing you can do is eliminate all of the risks associated with guns while reaping all of the rewards. I want you to remember for a second when you were about 15-16 years old and you're learning how to drive. Did your parents put you behind the wheel immediately and say, "Listen, turn onto this on ramp, get onto the freeway. You're going to have to floor it. You're going to have to get to 80 miles, merge. Make sure you don't hit anybody. Or we're all going to die." Did they do that? Of course not. Because that would be very high risk with very low potential reward.

That driver would be so overwhelmed because of that increased risk that they just wouldn't want to drive anymore. Instead, what your parents probably did is they brought you to an empty parking lot, like Home Depot late at night. They had you drive around the parking lot where the risk is completely lowered, possibly even eliminated, while you are gaining all the benefits of real-world experience driving your car. We want to do the exact same thing for you as you begin to learn how to handle a firearm properly.

Some of the ways you can do this is to train with an air-soft gun. Air-soft guns allow you to operate in almost an identical way as a real gun and even simulate some of the felt recoil.

Or you could use a laser pistol like a SIRT training pistol made by Next Level Training. Or you could use a real firearm, just make sure you install a barrel plug. A barrel plug is a cool little device that prevents any live ammunition from getting inside of the chamber. Again, our goal is to eliminate risk and reap all of those rewards.

You Must Understand How a Firearm Works

The only way you can can truly feel comfortable and feel safe with something is if you have a deep understanding of how that item operates.

Understand That Your Fear of Firearms is Irrational

You have to realize that your fear of firearms is irrational. As long as you have a deep understanding of gun safety and shooting fundamentals, guns are very safe.

I've been shooting guns my entire life and have not had anybody get injured or get hurt, not even close to that.

Start With a Small Caliber

You need to start with a small caliber. Recently, I had a woman show up for a private range training at the range. She has never shot a gun before and she brought her husband's 45 ACP.

45 ACP is a very big caliber and its one of my personal favorites. However it is not a very good caliber for a first-time shooter. I explained to the women that she might not like this gun because of the recoil. Then after firing just a few rounds she looked at me and said, "I don't really like this."

I personally believe it is far more important for a new shooter to feel confident and safe with a gun and to have a firearm that you can shoot on your own than it is to have some massive caliber that's going to scare you. So choosing the right caliber gun is a huge step in you overcoming your fear.

Learn How to Use a Firearm Safely

You've got to learn how to use a firearm safely. Again, I find myself at the gun range most days of the week, and many times I see people at the gun range that do not understand how to be safe with a firearm.

These are individuals that went out purchased a firearm, walked into a gun range with little to no training. This type of person thinks they will figure it out or that a friend or family member is going to teach them.

In reality your friend or family member probably doesn't know what they're talking about. And because of this, many people never learn how to properly and safely handle a firearm.

Learn the Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting
However if you take the time to learn the basic fundaments of pistol shooting you will overcome your fear of guns lightning fast. There is only one way to overcome your fear of firearms and it called consistent, deliberate practice over an extended period of time.

Let me use the learning to drive analogy again. When I was first learning to drive I was extremely nervous. I remember frantically looking in each of my mirrors as I attempted to change lanes. Frequently when I was pulling up to a stop sign I would press the brake too hard and the car would violently come to a screeching halt.

However over the years I became more and more comfortable and today I can drive with little to no thought at all. This happened because of consistent deliberate practice over an extended period of time and this is exactly what will happen if you take the time to train with your firearm. 

Learn to Store Your Firearms Properly
We have a lot of very dangerous stuff inside of our houses. We all have chemicals under the sink. We have sharp knives in the drawer. I have very sharp knives sitting on the counter. We have the oven, which is really hot. We have the garage, which has a bunch of dangerous tools, chemicals, and all kinds of random stuff.

If you're like Tiffany and I you probably talk to your children about not touching sharp knives, drinking chemicals or playing with tools. I'll bet you didn't stop there you probably also installed locks on your cabinets and garage to prevent your kids from gaining access to these dangerous items.

As a responsible firearms owner it is up to you to educate your children on what to do if they ever find a gun. While at the same time keeping your firearms secured at all times.

You Need to Buy a Gun
I know this sounds crazy. People always say to me, "Ryan, I don't want to have a gun until I feel safe with a gun." In reality, you will never feel safe with a firearm until you buy a firearm. I personally encourage all of my students to purchase a firearm as soon as possible, but do not purchase any live ammunition. Instead of purchasing live ammunition I want you to purchase dummy rounds or snap caps.

This allows you to practice loading and unloading your firearm safely in your home. While eliminating the possibility of the firearm accidentally discharging. Because again, our goal is to eliminate risk and reap all the rewards.

If you do not buy any live bullets, this eliminates the possibility of something dangerous happening and somebody getting hurt.

You Must Practice the Right Way

The final way for you to overcome your fear of guns is to practice consistently the right way. This doesn't mean going to a gun range and actually shooting. This is a big mistake that people make. The vast majority of your training with a firearm should be with an unloaded firearm inside your house. This is called dry weapons handling and this is exactly why I created my course, The Beginner's Guide to Firearms.

What's the Best Way to Overcome My Fear?

The Beginner's Guide to Firearms was specifically designed for new or first-time shooters who want to learn to become safe, responsible gun owners.

This course will teach you everything you need to know to overcome your fear and how to train with your firearm properly the very first time inside of your house.

I'm going to include a link down below. If any of you want to take advantage of this amazing course, it really is awesome.

I've watched a lot of my students' abilities and confidence really soar with this class. And I promise it'll have the same effect with you. So thanks for watching, sheep dogs. Again, leave a comment down below if you have a question. And until next time, keep training and stay safe.

That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...

Ryan G. Thomas

P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…

And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...

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Ryan G. Thomas

Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.

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