The seeds of interest probably started before that, as her father is an avid hunter and took her into the woods often, going after rabbits or birds or other such game. She helped gut a deer at age 10, and would be rewarded for going hunting with an ice cream cone and a hushed "Don't tell your sister..."
Being a woman possessed of great measures of common sense, Missus JB hasn't touched a single firearm of mine before yesterday, because "I don't know how to do so safely yet, so I'll just leave them alone until I learn how."
That day was yesterday.
We had a nice enough day for Indiana in February. Temps near 44, skies that were partly cloudy, not much breeze blowing. I grabbed the Glock 19, the Taurus PT 709 Slim that Ambulance Driver gave Missus as a wedding gift, and my old Marlin Glenfield Model 60 in .22LR that my dad gave to me. One ammo can with three boxes of 9mm FMJ and a box of bulk .22, a pack of targets and the staple gun, and an extra set of ear protection... "Let's do this!"
A quick drive to our local range, and we were pleased to find the place empty. Shooting on a Monday morning when everyone else is at work doesn't suck! I set up the Marlin, and sent 8 rounds down range to get a quick sighting of the scope. It's not dead on, and I'd dial it in better if I were out to slay rabbits, but for our purposes that day, it was "close enough."
We'd covered the basics of safety a couple times during the drive, and she knows Jeff Cooper's Four Rules, although she sometimes mixes up the order (Rule 2 and 3, specifically.) I explained "Cold Range" and "Hot Range" and what she should do if she hears either.
At any rate, once the scope was "close enough", I set her up on the bench, sand bag rests for the gun, showed the mechanics of the safety, how to hold the rifle, etc.
"OK, honey, you're all set... Nice and gentle on the trigger press, breathe slow and easy, don't worry about where you hit the target, just relax and enjoy the experience...."
That's her first ever shot from a gun, 2 O'Clock, in the 9 Ring.
Yeah, THAT'S my wife. Go ahead and be jealous, fellas.
After a handful of rounds through the 22, she was ready to try out a pistol, so I took her to the 7 yard range, hung another target, and we discussed the differences between pistol and rifle, with extra details about the size of the round, the increased sound, the kick of the gun, and the basics of grip and sight picture.
She wasn't a fan of my Glock. I think that's a combination of being her first time and it being a slightly larger pistol than she would comfortably hold -- at least for now -- but she was a sport and tried it. Then we brought out her Taurus PT 709 Slim in 9mm, the wedding gift from AD mentioned above, and she instantly remarked "This is more comfortable to hold!"
I'll be sending her to a professional instructor when we can find a class that is close to home, on a day that she has off, and when the Spawn are with their other biological parent. Today wasn't about perfecting the grip, or the stance, or anything else. Those are topics for another day, and a better instructor. Today was about empowering a woman to be comfortable shooting a gun. More than that, however, today was a day to enjoy watching my wife smile.
And smile she did.
She sent a handful of rounds down range, until her hands were sore enough to call it a day.
Oh, the results?
Yep, that's her first target with the Taurus. It currently resides on the wall in the garage, next to the door to the kitchen. I'm of a mind to post a sign next to it: "This is what Momma Bear can do her first day... You'd do well to bring her daughter home before 10."
We wrapped up the range time, swept up our brass, pulled the targets down, and headed for home, stopping along the way for a light lunch and a cold beer.
Got home, and she was on her phone to her father: "Daddy, you won't believe what I did today...!"
That's a solid day well spent.