More and more women are learning to shoot, in classes around the country, some mixed gender, some women only. They are discovering not only the relaxation that comes with the focus of a trip to the range, but sense of strength and empowerment that comes with mastering a new skill and knowing you can defend yourself and your family. There can be a sense of camaraderie going to the range with friends. There is a calming focus in going to the range alone.
More and more women only classes are popping up around the country and women’s shooting groups are getting easier to find. The NRA has a Women On Target program that promotes this. For some women, they may be more comfortable with other women. Some don’t care. If you have been threatened or violated by a man, you might find comfort with a women only program. I’ve never participated in a women only shooting event, although it is on my goal list for 2012. I did sing with a Sweet Adeline’s Chorus for several years. If someone had told me you could put 100+ women together every week, keep them focused, even under pressure of competitions and shows and still have a supportive environment, I would not have believed it before that. Now, I know better. I do a lot of research into women’s issues with shooting, concealed carry, dressing to hide the gun, shopping for a gun, etc. I’ve read a lot of books, talked and corresponded with a lot of prominent women shooters and authors. Ladies, if you are just getting started, The Cornered Cat by Kathy Jackson is a must read! She has a way of writing that appealed to me on several levels, not the least of which is I’m a cat lover and she relates some things back to cat behavior that makes me laugh because she is dead on!
I enjoy teaching mixed gender classes. I think it is good for the men to see the women learning and succeeding right next to them. Guys, be warned, the ladies tend to outshoot you in the beginning classes. It can be good for women, too, to see that they can keep up with, and sometimes, exceed the skills of the men. About 12 years ago, I went shooting with someone I was dating at the time. He had a macho attitude and was (no pun intended) cocky. So, I shot well, but not great, deliberately hitting various areas on the target. We were down to the last magazine of ammo we had brought and he made some stupid comment about how I could get better if I practiced. That did it, I drilled my next ten rounds through the middle of the bulls-eye, laid the gun down, turned around and just smiled. We didn’t date much after that. Luckily, my husband, who I met not long after that, is not a shooter, but is very supportive. Women should never feel that they need to do less than their best to protect the egos of the men, and the men should never expect it.
Women, discover shooting and all it can bring to your life. Take classes, make new friends, ask questions…learn, practice and find your inner power. If you don’t know where to start, the NRA website lists instructors all over the country and can help you find qualified instruction. If you take a class and don’t click with the instructor, don’t get discouraged. NRA Certified instructors follow a set curriculum with emphasis on safety and fundamentals, but we all have our own personalities and you may like one of us better than another. Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up. It is a great hobby, a great skill, enhances your awareness of the world around you and…it’s fun!