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Meet the Women of Ruger

Ruger Firearms recently hosted a defensive pistol class at one of the finest gun schools in the world – Gunsite Academy, located in Paulden, Ariz. A school that trains gun owners to be gunfighters, it drills the concepts of self-defense and safety into willing participants’ heads from the first minute of the first day of the 3-day course. Handgun 250, aka Ruger Women’s Defensive Pistol Course, also qualified participants to apply for Arizona concealed-carry permits.

I joined 23 women of mixed levels of firearm proficiencies in what would become a learning experience that I will never forget. Ruger invited several of its female employees from 4 locations, along with a few female media members, to get hands-on experience with the guns that the company produces. Elaine Sandberg, Social Media/Graphics Design Manager for Ruger in Connecticut and Sheri Scoggins, an administrative assistant at the Prescott, Ariz., facility, designed the event to run like a well-oiled machine.

Sitting together at picnic tables, enjoying our box lunches while wearing fully loaded Ruger SR9s and talking about all the normal things women talk about at lunch with their friends, made for an interesting change – especially for the women who had no or little experience with the guns.

I will be writing more about the handgun we used mostly – shooting perhaps as much as 400 rounds downrange – in a later post. The SR9 did not disappoint. We also shot the line of other Ruger handguns, on an afternoon set up for fun shooting.

 

Il Ling New

Il Ling New taught the Ruger women and their media guests defensive pistol skills. Photo courtesy of Barbara Baird

 

The women of Ruger Firearms did not disappoint their company, either. They exuded confidence and acted brave, even if sometimes the demanding drills forced them into zones beyond their comfort levels. Under the tutelage of superior instructor Il Ling New and her crew, the women forged on, put more holes in their targets and honed their skills hour by hour, day after day.

 

Dave-IlLing-Gary

Dave Hartman, Il Ling New and Gary Smith taught the course. Jane Anne Shimizu (not pictured) assisted.

By the end of the course, they confidently stepped up to compete in a mini-tournament to see who would become the “Duck of Death,” meaning they had to shoot fast and on a small metal target placed at about 20 yards.

Who were these women?

What did they bring to the experience and what did they take away?

Find out here, as I am proud to introduce you to the “Women of Ruger.”

 

Amy-Mistos

Amy Mitsos

Ruger/CT, Payroll Administrator and 401K Manager

What is your shooting experience level?

I thought I was a lot stronger, but I learned I have a lot of bad habits even though I’ve been shooting my whole life.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Besides the incredible instruction, the Ruger women all being together and the camaraderie. The whole experience has been really amazing.

Fun Fact

I donated my bone marrow to a complete stranger.

 Vickie Clark

Vickie Clark

Ruger/NC, Executive Administrative Assistant to the Plant Manager, Mickey Wilson

What is your shooting experience level?

Backyard target practice.

What are you taking away from this experience?

How to take care of myself if I get into a bad situation or a situation where I feel threatened in any way. I feel more confident that I can handle myself.

Fun Fact

I’m a grandmother of 3, and I love playing with the kids out in the yard.

Jean Van Metre

Jean Van Metre

Ruger/AZ, Environmental Health and Safety Manager

What is your shooting experience level?

I have never shot before.

What are you taking away from this experience?

I don’t have a fear of guns anymore.

Fun Fact

I love to ride Harleys.

Linda_Brown

Linda Brown

Ruger/AZ, Customer Service Lead

What is your shooting experience level?

Novice.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Security and feeling comfortable with the firearm. Before I respected firearms, but I was afraid of them.

Fun Fact

I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite with 3 children.

Brenda_Soucy

 

Brenda Soucy

Ruger/AZ, Customer Service Supervisor, originally at NH location

What is your shooting experience level?

Plinking with the kids and grandkids.

What are you taking away from this experience?

What I’ve learned is to use my head. Every situation could be a bad situation or a good situation, so definitely think about where you are and what’s around you.

Fun Fact

I have 2 personalities, my work personality and my outside-of-work personality. If you don’t take time to get to know me, you don’t see that second side of me.

 

Bonnie_Jackson

Bonnie Jackson

Ruger/AZ, LCP Production Supervisor

What is your shooting experience level?

I used to work at the Ruger range, firing and fixing the firearms. I’ve had a lot of experience, but not with target shooting.

What are you taking away from this experience?

The most valuable thing is the mindset of how to use a firearm if you’re ever in a situation where you have to.

Fun Fact

I love to ride motorcycles.

Katlin_Johnson

Katlin Johnson

Ruger/AZ, Manufacturing Engineer for the SR Line

What is your shooting experience level?

Intermediate.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Thumb positions make a huge difference and trigger pull really helps with recoil.

Fun Fact

My family owns a hunting lodge and I’ve never been hunting.

Tammy_Esmaili

Tammy Esmaili

Ruger/NH, Human Resources Department

What is your shooting experience level?

Shooting with my family in the backyard.

What are you taking away from this experience?

A lot less fear and more comfort with the gun. A lot of confidence.

Fun Fact

I really enjoy this. (Shooting.)

Karen Little

Karen Little

Ruger/NH, Pinetree Castings Engineering Executive Administrative Assistant

What is your shooting experience level?

Very novice, very very.

What are you taking away from this experience?

A whole new level of respect for firearms, but not fear of firearms. I absolutely alleviated that fear. I was not comfortable around handguns at all.

Fun Fact

My first vehicle was a motorcycle. I have my motorcycle license.

Emily_Monroe

Emily Monroe

Ruger/NH, Manufacturing Engineer for American Rimfire Line

What is your shooting experience level?

I’m classified as an NRA Master in rifle, but I have zero experience with handguns.

What are you taking away from this experience?

I think 2 things. The mindset, taking away the knowledge that not everyone’s bad, but there are bad people out there and knowing that I can protect myself and my family if I need to, and that I’ve been given the tools to do that.

Fun Fact

I’m the cover model for the Rifle Coaches handbook.

Beth-Pitkin

Beth Pitkin

Ruger/NH, IT Department as a Systems Analyst

What is your shooting experience level?

Very light. I have shot rifles before and I have shot my son’s SR9 a few times.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Awareness – being in orange, walking around at that level and not white. Removing myself from any potentially dangerous situations. Being aware of all firearms around me and being aware of where I have my firearm.

Fun Fact

I like competing in sporting events and play on 2 volleyball teams.

Dawn-Smith

Dawn Smith

Ruger/NH, Human Resources Administration

What is your shooting experience level?

Backyard plinker for a couple of years.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Confidence. Extreme confidence.

Fun Fact

I taught the women here the “No No Square” song.

Denise_Stone

Denise Stone

Ruger/NH Human Resources Administration

What is your shooting experience level?

Very little. As a child with my dad, I shot skeet.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Safety and managing the gun as a tool.

Fun Fact

I like to tease people and I’m a passive-aggressive practical joker.

Dana-Huskey

Dana Huskey

Ruger/NC Human Resources Manager

What is your shooting experience level?

I had only shot a gun 1 time before going to work for Ruger in August, and 2 times before that.

What are you taking away from this experience?

Just to be more aware.

Fun Fact

I have on my bucket list that I want to run a mud run!

A special thanks to Sarah Smith-Barnum, of NRA publications, who collaborated with me on this article.

Ruger-women-group

Photo courtesy of Gunsite

Learn more about Gunsite Academy.

Visit Ruger.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications, including NRA, NSSF and Field & Stream.

     

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