Taking the Next Step: How to Find Training Opportunities and Shooting Organizations
Traditionally, guns and shooting have always been a man’s sport. However, the tables are starting to turn with more women becoming increasingly interested in learning about and training with firearms. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, nearly 79 percent of firearms retailers reported an increase in female customers between 2011 and 2012. In addition, the NSSF reports that women are seeking out training in high numbers. Almost three quarters of women have taken at least one training class, whether it be a concealed carry class, hunters education or range safety instruction. The report goes on to say that most women will take around 3 gun training classes. If you are a woman in this growing majority, where can you find training opportunities and shooting organizations after you decide you want to commit to train?
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Gabby Franco travels the country, teaching critical shooting skills to women, men and youth. (Gabby Franco photo)
National Rifle Association: The NRA has always been one of the largest lobbyist groups to defend the right to bear arms. With the recent addition of female commentators for NRA News such as Gabby Franco and Natalie Foster, women are more empowered. It’s also a great resource for news, education, events and more. You can also find an NRA training course near you. Some of the courses offered are Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Personal Protection Inside & Outside the Home, and Refuse to Be a Victim. Find out more at their website: http://www.nrainstructors.org
(The Well Armed Woman photo)
- The Well Armed Woman (TWAW): Founder Carrie Lightfoot says that several years ago when she began thinking about owning and carrying a gun, there was no single resource for a woman gun owner and shooter. Her aim is to educate, equip, and empower you as a female who’s looking to learn more about firearms and training. TWAW will introduce you to armed self-defense, gun ownership, gun safety, shooting skills and products for women shooters. There are 225 shooting chapters in the United States that meet monthly to practice, learn and grow as shooters. Search to see if there’s a chapter near you: https://twawshootingchapters.org/index.php?_route_=chapter/locate
(A Girl & A Gun photo)
- A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League (AG&AG): Founded by Julianna Crowder, AG&AG empowers women to take personal responsibility for their safety by learning the proper handling and use of firearms. By helping ladies become comfortable on the range, she’s then able to bring women into shooting sports and competition shooting. Similar to TWAW, AG&AG also has chapters throughout the United States. Search for chapters here: http://www.agirlandagun.org/loc/united-states/
(Diva WOW photo)
- Diva WOW (Women Outdoors Worldwide): For more than 15 years, founder Judy Rhodes has been introducing women to the outdoors through clinics, leagues, adventures, hunts, trade shows, charity events and community outreach. DIVA WOW teaches women, many for the first time, about the great outdoors and all that it has to offer. To find out more about their events and clinics, or to join, follow the link: https://divawow.org/membership-signup/
(Barbara Baird photo)
- Local venues: If you’re unable to get involved in any of the previously listed women’s groups, due to location or scheduling conflicts, ask around your local area. Many local gun stores or ranges will be able to offer suggestions of where to take classes. Local sheriff’s departments usually have a database of local firearms instructors that you could contact as well.
Natalie Foster (Julie Golob photo)
- Online resources: Natalie Foster, creator of Girls Guide to Guns website, lists several of her favorite online destinations for firearms information. From non-profit organizations and less known women’s shooting clubs; to blogs, informational sites, and forums, there’s plenty to choose from and investigate. http://girlsguidetoguns.com/learn-to-shoot/resources/
(Stacy Bright photo)
For many women, making the decision to take a class can be a difficult one. Feelings of nervousness and fear of the unknown hinder their ability to take the next step. If that’s you, let me encourage you by saying that as an instructor I’ve taught many women about firearms and how to shoot accurately by using proper fundamentals of marksmanship. Let me tell you, women are extremely cautious and safe, they follow directions exceptionally well, and they’re almost always more accurate than men! Don’t sell yourself short and underestimate your ability to learn, grow, and become confident! Whether you’ve chosen to take classes that will better prepare you for a self-defense situation, or so that you can go to the shooting range for enjoyment, continue to expand your knowledge and capabilities. It’s so rewarding!
About Stacy Bright
Freelance writer Stacy Bright holds instructor certifications from the NRA in Pistol & Rifle, as well as being an Range Safety Officer and Refuse to be a Victim instructor. In addition to her NRA credentials, she also is a Missouri CCW instructor and teaches various other home and personal defense courses.
“In a field dominated by men, I feel I bring a unique perspective to firearms and training, especially to women. I'm passionate about educating, empowering and developing confidence in those I train. In November of 2014, I started the Southwest Missouri chapter of The Well Armed Woman,” said Stacy.
Stacy lives in southwest Missouri, and has been married for 20 years.
Visit TWAW Facebook page: The Well Armed Woman-Springfield, MO Chapter.
View all posts by Stacy Bright