While shooting couples aren’t always male-first (or even male-best), it is as near as possible to 100% guys who decide a .45 (or larger) is the best way to introduce their girlfriends to shooting. In most cases, all you’re doing is showing off to someone who doesn’t yet know the nomenclature, and depriving the shooting community of another new member.
Knock it off.
Everyone should have safety as their first lesson in firearms, followed up by the fundamentals. The best and most productive way to get someone safe, familiar, and comfortable around firearms (and therefore willing to come back and try again!) is with a .22. The lack of recoil and noise, arguably two of the biggest factors in people shying away from firearms, along with the general ease of shooting, makes a .22 the best starting point for new shooters.
Once a new shooter is comfortable with firearms, then you can introduce them to the big guns. In many cases, it’ll likely be the same day. At that point, even if they aren’t a fan of the bigger calibers, they’ll still have something to fall back on, knowing that there are ways they can enjoy the hobby as well.
And that leads into another important point—not every gun is for every person. Like a nice pair of footwear, there needs to be a good, comfortable fit between owner and firearm. They can be too big or too small, a grip too long or short, too wide or thin. Another point of significance is that, like footwear, different types of firearms are meant for different uses, such as plinking, competition, or even self-defense.
Firearms are more than taboo enough without us shooting ourselves in the foot. We should be helping people get into the sport, not creating another barrier to entry through fear. Welcome new shooters to the fold with open arms and foster relationships between new shooters and their guns of choice. Hand over your .45 when they’re good and ready, and don’t be salty when she shoots better than you.