My 10 year old daughter has developed an acute fear of long guns. This is problematic because we go shooting at the range where I've been showing her guns bigger than our little revolver. This is interfering with her ability to learn self-defense comfortably. She hasn't been able to articulate exactly what's upsetting her, but she's started trying to find any excuse not to go to the range and displaying "I feel unsafe" body language when she's near anything larger than a handgun. This has continued for a few weeks. We're continuing to shoot in the meantime because teaching her self-defense is important, but without forcing her to use anything that couldn't be called a "kid's gun".
The impetus for writing this question is that she asked me almost in tears just a few hours ago (when she should be asleep) if we could skip going to the range next weekend (which is days away)!
How do I help her overcome or avoid this anxiety if I can't even figure out what's causing it?
It can't be a fear of loud noises (which I also hate), because we use hearing protection.
It can't be a fear of powerful recoil. She's hurt her shoulder before due to recoil and been fine.
It can't be a fear of weapons in general, because she's still fine with our revolver.
I'm not sure how to proceed.
Update: We went to the range this weekend and I ended up discovering what she is afraid of on the way back. It wasn't a fear of long guns themselves or even handling them, but of other people using them near her and shooting her by accident, even if she's behaving safely. This actually makes a lot of sense. I hated balloons when I was a kid (I still do) because I worried that they'd randomly burst next to me because someone else mishandled them, no matter how well I took care of my own. When I think about it that way, I can understand the fear of accidents with something much more dangerous.
Some of the guys were getting really rowdy and it appeared like she was trying to make herself look really small whenever they were shooting, which is what clued me in. I hadn't noticed that before.
I'm not entirely sure why she was hesitant to tell me. Perhaps she didn't want to look weak by being afraid of something that I wasn't afraid of, or maybe she didn't understand the fear herself, but at least we were able to work it out together and come up with a solution eventually. We're going to get a shotgun to practice at home, and only go to the range on days that are less busy.
Update 2: We haven't seen the guys who were scaring her for nearly a year. It turns out they got kicked out for their behavior. Things are going very well now and she is extremely comfortable handling firearms (but still respects the risks) now that she feels safe at the range.