Adaptive Defensive Shooting Summit 2022

It’s a brisk morning at the end of September and the range is bustling with activity. People greet each other with enthusiasm, laughter, handshakes and hugs, reuniting friendships and making new introductions. It’s the first day of the 4th annual Adaptive Defensive Shooting Summit (ADSS) at the Sig Sauer Experience Center in Epping, New Hampshire.

Adaptive Defensive Shooting Summit (ADDS) 2022 3
Brooke King , Christina Palen, Faith Adams and Danielle Evansic
(Erinn O’Donnell photo)

At first glance, this appears to be the typical kind of organized shooting event that you see at ranges across the country. If you look again, you’ll notice that all participants, including some of the staff, are disabled. There are many in wheelchairs — some paraplegic and quadriplegic — as well as single and double amputees, even some with prosthetics. In addition, there are some with disabilities that you can’t “see,” such as brain injuries and even a participant who is blind.  

This one of a kind event has been tailored to support people with disabilities. It allows individuals the opportunity to train and compete with others who share similar physical challenges. “A more level playing field,”  says Emily Cotton, a paraplegic from Arizona who attended the event for her first time. “We never get a chance to do this,” continued Emily. Christina Palen, who is an amputee and brain injury survivor, also from Arizona, heard about ADSS from the founder of the summit, Trevor Baucom

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(Erinn O’Donnell photo)

The idea for ADSS came from a conversation Trevor had with Joyce Wilson. Joyce had been contacted by a Master level IDPA competitor and former law enforcement officer that was injured in the line of duty. His injuries left him with limited sight and hearing on one side, as well as needing assistance from a walker or cane to maneuver. Trevor decided a match was needed for people with disabilities to create as level of a playing field as possible. Friends of his, Chad Barber and Tom Yost, helped him brainstorm the idea that is now ADSS.

Adaptive Defensive Shooting Summit (ADDS) 2022 1
(Erinn O’Donnell photo)

The three-day event is open to men and women with disabilities — no matter their shooting experience — from civilians and law enforcement to current and former military. All are welcome. The first two days are broken into training blocks dependent upon a person’s shooting ability, which is followed by the competition on the third day. 

The event in 2022 brought participants from all over the country, including five women from Florida, Arizona and New Hampshire. Danielle Evansic was one of those women. She brought her 18-year-old daughter, Mary, to the event. Mary had been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, among other physical disabilities. When the two are out and about, Mary is either holding Danielle’s elbow or she is being pushed in a wheelchair. Danielle does feel at times this makes them a target for criminals. “Mary is my sidekick; we go everywhere together. I want to train to be able to respond to any potential threat while she and I are together,” says Danielle. ADSS gave Danielle and Mary the opportunity to practice shooting in their typical configuration, in novel but realistic scenarios.

ADsS 2022
(Erinn O’Donnell photo)

Like Christina, Faith Adams felt hesitant about participating in this kind of event. Christina had very much been into the competitive shooting community before her accident and had considered that part of her life to be over. After attending the event Christina feels as though some doors may have been re-opened.  She says, “I feel like Trevor brought me back to life again.” Faith’s favorite part about ADSS was the people.  She really enjoyed getting to know her squad mates and would certainly not hesitate to return.

Brooke King has a unique role in the event, not only is she a participant, but also one of the instructors for the training portion. Brooke suffers from a spinal injury and PTSD as a result of a mortar round explosion while serving in Iraq. Due to her PTSD, Brooke finds it hard to be in crowds and to participate in social activities. ADSS gives her the opportunity to get out and be part of something that is familiar and fun. “It allows me to crawl out of the box I tend to put myself in sometimes, which can cause me problems getting around due to my PTSD, ” said Brooke.

She added, “It allows me to give back to a community that has supported me through my healing and gives me a new purpose to look forward to every year. For me, ADSS is the highlight of my year.”

ADsS 2022
Devin McManus, Danielle Evansic, Brooke King, Mary Evansic , Emily Cotton, Faith Adams and Christine Palen
(Erinn O’Donnell photo)

In closing, and as I reflect on my time spent during this event, it’s extremely clear to me that ADSS has an amazing, powerful and positive effect on every person involved. I’ve had the honor to observe the confidence built, along with the participants’ abilities to learn to defend themselves. Clearly, their sense of empowerment in knowing they’ve accomplished the skills learned, along with their desire to share their experience with others, is one of the most powerful things I’ve had the true privilege of experiencing. Please join me in helping spread the word about the important work ADSS is doing .

 Believe me, this is truly changing lives.

ADSS in the Future

Adaptive Defensive Shooting Summit 2023 is scheduled for September 14 to 16 at the Sig Sauer Academy. Details are available at or on Facebook at

About the Author

Erin O Donald

Erinn O’Donnell

Owner of Girlz N Guns, host of the podcast Girlz N Guns,” Erinn O’Donnell has been a facilitator for A Girl and a Gun Women’s Shooting League, introducing women to firearms for more than nine years. Erinn has provided a much-needed service to women creating an inclusive environment, along with inspiring new gun owners to overcome their firearms fears. She holds multiple industry certifications. Erinn also owns A Fresh Focus Photography


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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.