I am a card-carrying gun nerd so the racks of guns, rows of tactical accessories, crates of ammo and familiar, soothing smell of gun oil characteristic of your typical gun shop are like old friends to me. Gun nerds speak a common language and, with few exceptions, enjoy common values. We are typically courteous, friendly and generous. To those outside our little fraternity, however, it may seem like we are from another planet.

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the gun-buying community, and one of the challenges we have as a gun culture is creating a warm and inviting environment for those who might not already be familiar with the shooting sports. A good friend owns a thriving gun business, and the petite, gun-savvy girl behind the counter sells significantly more firearms than her co-worker, a grizzled ex-Airborne Ranger. The Ranger has the street cred but the young lady is less intimidating to the neophyte.

If shooting is not fun then newcomers will not want to do it; if the experience is unpleasant then there is a disincentive to practice. Someone who is inept and fearful around guns is better off being unarmed. Some will view this as heresy. But, I personally feel a young woman carrying a .22 Walther P22 she is proficient with and enjoys shooting is more prepared than the same person with a pocket howitzer that fills her with dread every time she touches it.