THE FINER THINGS
YOU CAN SHOOT WITH THE BOYS WITHOUT HAVING TO SMELL AND LOOK LIKE THEM.
Let’s face it: Guys who go to the range don’t worry about their fingernails breaking or their faces developing a sun glasses tan that makes them look as if they stepped out of a blast zone. And they don’t worry about dustencrusted hair that hurts to try to brush through.
But gals definitely do not want to deal with these little quirks of range life.
While women can enjoy the range just as much as men, understanding we might have expectations for a few of the finer things in life is perfectly reasonable. You can shoot with the boys without having to smell and look like the boys.
Here are a few things I’ve learned at the range that I hope will help the ladies prepare and enjoy range time more, as well as help the guys understand where their gal pal is coming from when she has concerns.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF FINGERNAILS
I’ll start this off with fingernails. Nobody wants snaggly nails—ripped, torn, dirty. I hate feeling that on my hands! Ladies and men do not want to catch their nails on their clothing and rip them off or have bits of dirt stuck under them.
Shooting is hard on the hands. From reloading magazines to picking up brass and resetting targets, it can tear up your nails and skin, so do some planning ahead. Pack gloves for setting up targets and working at the range. You don’t want to soak up any more lead than you do already, so gloves can help keep lead dust off your skin, especially with shotgun targets getting caked in lead from birdshot.
Keep a nail clipper in your bag to trim broken nails. And I’d advise going with shorter nails to start with. I have seen female shooters who have longer nails catch them on a rail. It brings them to tears, and sometimes, they even bleed. (This definitely sells me on not having a manicure!)
I’ve seen a husband fail to “get it,” and I caution you to realize that if you’re just plinking or having fun on the range with your friends, this isn’t a concern—go ahead and rock those long nails.
As for me, loading a shotgun—especially in years I am working toward a world shoot and practice loading frequently—I want to be sure I keep my nails short, especially my thumbnail. At least a couple times a year, I have to super-glue split nails to keep them from splitting even further.
A nail file in your bag is really useful, too. I try to keep a couple of those tiny, disposable emery boards in my range bag so I can address not only any nails that chip or tear, but sometimes, I use them in lieu of sandpaper for my shotgun lifter or other random gun parts. An emery board/buffer makes a great fine sander and polishing tool to keep in your tool kit.
TAME YOUR MANE
Dusty ranges make hair nasty. I tend to put mine in a braid if I know I’m going to be in a lot of dust, partly to keep it out of my way, but mostly because it will otherwise be so dirty, I can’t comb it.
A hat definitely helps, because it keeps your hair cleaner and your scalp from getting sunburned. Some gals keep dry shampoo in their cars. But covering or securing your hair will help you focus on shooting ... which is what you want to focus on at the range anyway.
SHOOTING IS HARD ON THE HANDS. FROM RELOADING MAGAZINES TO PICKING UP BRASS AND RESETTING TARGETS, IT CAN TEAR UP YOUR NAILS AND SKIN, SO DO SOME PLANNING AHEAD.
Hair out of the way— check. Hands that are functional and still feminine—check.
Adding a few helpful pieces to your range bag can help you enjoy the range more. Many female shooters swear by gel nail polish to help protect their fingernails from cracking and splitting when they’re working hard at the range.
Using guns doesn’t mean you have to scrap your manicure, especially when shooting a pistol. I