I’ve been working 17 years to raise a Little Gal (LG) to become a knowledgeable, strong and independent woman. She has been learning how to avoid dangerous situations and how to protect herself. Recently, she learned how to protect herself with a handgun while at Gunsite Academy’s defensive handgun course.
As you know, Remington Arms Company sponsors this column, so you can bet we jumped at the opportunity when they invited us to Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Ariz. Gunsite offers a variety of defense courses, and Remington brought an R1 pistol in 9mm for the Little Gal to shoot.
I’ve had an amazing week and have to take you along on a journey as I watch a young lady who already has a knowledge and respect for firearms, become confident in defending herself with one.
If any of you have followed along in the “Mia and the Little Gal’s” journey, you know LG competes using rifle, muzzleloader and shotgun.”If you’ve never taken a defense course, what you may not know is that competition and defense are 2 very different things.
Something else you should know is that the LG has spent the least amount of time behind the trigger of a handgun. Although I teach NRA Basic Pistol, that’s pretty much what she’s been interested in – the basics, such as safety, loading, acquiring a target and the fundamentals of shooting. The offerings in this Gunsite course would be very new to her.
This Gunsite class is a 5-day class, and it is intensive, even at the youth level. LG went in to class open-minded, but a bit timid. I hoped she would not only learn skills, but also learn to enjoy shooting a pistol.
Let me tell you how the week went …
On day one, a nervous LG stepped up to the line. She kept a positive attitude as she soaked up instruction from some of the world’s best teachers. The instructors focused on safety, as they taught a variety of new skills, including drawing and holstering, maneuvering in and out of shooting positions and focusing on a gun fighter’s mindset. The students also worked on acquiring their targets, scanning their surroundings after shooting and always being aware of what might happen next.
Not wanting to be a distraction to her in this intense training, I popped in periodically to do photography so I could share LG’s journey with you. It was amazing to see the progress, not just with her skills, but also the improvement in her confidence and attitude as the week progressed.
Her accuracy increased. Her speed increased. Her intensity level increased, and the scenarios changed from range time to field scenarios, including assessing threats in open terrain as well as in a house.
With each increased level of instruction, LG conquered challenges presented. From clearing a draw from a holster, to clearing a house, she always wants to be perfect, and in a real life scenario, we know what could happen if you do not achieve this task – of completing the task well.
It was fantastic to see her serious face as she entered the house to clear, along with an instructor right behind her, and her huge smile on the other side when she finished successfully.
In Gunsite’s course offerings, it attests, “Regardless of your age, gender or experience, completing the class will change your life!” This statement is beyond true. I’m headed home with a more confident, experienced young lady, who is well on the road to being a self-sufficient woman, in more ways than one. Also, we both have a peace of mind knowing she’s learned skills and a mindset to defend herself in an attack.