I grew up on a farm and was always around guns. My brothers and I did a lot of target shooting for fun as well as spending considerable time patrolling fence lines for pest control. There is a certain comfort level that exists with firearms.
The same is not true for Courtney. This does not mean she is an anti-gunner, but rather that she does not possess that basic level of knowledge and experience of proper firearms handling and proficiency. She wants to learn, though.
So, where do we start? I do not recommend trial by fire, putting her out on a firing line and saying “point and squeeze!” Courtney and I started long ago, slowly, on the living room couch, reviewing an unloaded weapon. First start with identification of parts and functions. I went over a rifle, shotgun and handgun, showing how to work each type of action and also correct identification of which cartridges go with which firearm. I store my pump action shotgun with a full magazine but an empty chamber. Knowing how to quickly hit the slide release will turn that item from an expensive club into a firearm.
Repetition is key to learning. Once the basics are learned, you can begin handling and operating. Depending on they type of firearm, dry firing or the use of snap caps can be employed here. Determining whether a gun is loaded, loading the gun, aiming, firing and reloading can all be practiced first in the living room before heading out to the range.
Once at the range everything should be natural and safe. Having a basic familiarity first will help alleviate any uncertainty or apprehension. I would also recommend that your trigger happy shooting buddies stay home for the first range visit with your wife. You don’t need an audience.