WON Landing Page OCT 2022

First Shots alumnae come back for more

Ten former First Shots participants — all women — reconvened this past weekend at Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center in Springfield, Mass., for a refresher on firearm safety rules and to learn more about handguns for personal protection.

The reunion was put together as part of the NSSF’s continuing efforts to promote, protect and preserve firearms and shooting. Delivered as a pilot program with the objective of providing an additional opportunity to learn more about their specific interest, the ladies were invited due to their primary interest in handgun usage for personal protection.

Some of the women had not been back to the range since their First Shots experience, while others had taken the required concealed-carry course. However, none of them had practical training regarding defensive techniques.

The agenda was set to build a comfort level for the attendees to move toward a formal techniques class. The seminar started with an overview of safety fundamentals and gun selection. Choices included a 9mm semi-automatic and a .38 revolver. Everyone had a chance to fire each before selecting what they would use for the day.

Classroom instruction covered a review of safety and shooting fundamentals and moved on to cover basic draw and reloading techniques. Delivered by Jay Bathgate of Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center, the classroom portion provided an interactive format for the inquisitive group. Discussion covered body alarm response, reaction and decision making under stress as well as “defensive mind-set” as an everyday tool.

After class, the ladies geared up with belts and holsters and moved to the range to practice draw from and recovery to the holster. The dry drill emphasized the four-step draw technique and allowed the ladies to begin building the basics of muscle memory while getting comfortable with the equipment.

Progressing through to the live-fire, the women had the chance to put the day’s lessons to the test, and did they ever show their stuff! On command, in two- and three-shot drills, the “attackers” didn’t stand a chance. One look at targets across the firing line told the story that these women meant business.

Some of the women were surprised at their own proficiency, some thought they might browse the store for additional “carry gun” options and others considered the practical-training classes offered at the range. At the end of the day, they couldn’t wait to come back to learn more and keep shooting.

Advanced seminars like this are being planned at additional locations and will include both ladies-only and open groups. To learn more about NSSF’s First Shots program, visit www.firstshots.org.

By Cyndi Dalena
NSSF First Shots Manager

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.