I just got home from spending a very cold day out at the Sir Walter Gun Club for a very good cause. I volunteered for an NRA Women on Target event that gives new female shooters an opportunity to shoot various firearms with coaching to keep them safe and help them be more successful shooters.
I worked the pistol plinking section. We loaded up 7 or 8 rounds in an M&P 9mm semi-automatic pistol and coached the ladies through shooting the targets pictured above. The steel targets fall down when given a solid hit. If you hit them, but don’t drop them, they still give off a satisfying “ping”.
We covered stance, grip, aim, and trigger control. In our section we took 6 ladies through at a time then gave them all a second chance to shoot again.
We had all ages and every women we coached knocked down at least one of the steel targets.
The couple I was working with were also kind enough to let me take a turn and I managed to knock down all 6 targets pretty quickly. Just having an instructor certification doesn’t make you a good shooter, but in this case I didn’t embarrass myself.
I also made a new contact that may open up an opportunity to teach some more NRA.
The biggest lesson I learned today: bring extra layers. I have an emergency bag in the trunk of my car and I ended up digging out an extra layer and a pair of gloves that made me much more comfortable during a long cold day.
I took a break from shooting due to the cost of the ammo I was burning through. I also realized I was shooting for fun, but not really improving my skills. I decided to take my shooting in a different direction in the short term.
My mom asked me to take her shooting, a woman I used to work for asked me to take her shooting, and a volunteer opportunity I signed up for resulted in me coaching new women shooters. All that seemed to point in one direction: learn to teach.
I passed an NRA certified Pistol Instructor class on November 10th, 2013.
I volunteered to teach a section of a NRA 1st Steps Pistol (Ladies Only) class sponsored by the Wake County Range on December 8, 2013
I passed an NRA Range Safety Officer course on Sunday February 2, 2014.
I volunteered for a Women On Target® (WOT) event March 30, 2014 at the Sir Walter Gun Club. I worked the “pistol plinking” event where we taught women to shoot 9mm pistols and shoot steel targets.
Do I feel I’m ready to go out and start a business teaching people to shoot? Heck no! But I do want to find volunteer opportunities to work with more seasoned instructors and build my skills.
It’s really a thrill to see a group of ladies walk into a class room with some level of trepidation and/or anticipation at the beginning of a class then see them leave with a sense of real accomplishment ( and a target with bullet holes in it!) at the end of the day.
The first class I took when I decided to learn to shoot was an NRA First Steps Pistol class at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center. I knew one of the instructors, quite by chance. I used to work with her about 15 years ago. She recommended that I attend the Wake County Ladies Handgun League (WCLGHL). They meet the first Saturday of the month at 9am at the Wake County Range. Some months they have a speaker, some months one of the members will present or share information, but every month they shoot.
They are great about sharing guns, encouraging new shooters, and providing opportunities to experience new skills. I first learned to draw from a holster with these ladies. When I was trying to decide what kind of .22lr to buy, two of the RSOs lent me 8 – 10 guns to try between the two of them. When I wanted to try some single stack 9mm guns, I was able to try 5 in one day.
I’ve never found a co-ed group like this and obviously I haven’t attended a men’s only shooting group, but I think this is a special resource in our area and I’d encourage women shooter’s to check it out.
I ran across the video via this blog post which points out several of the subtle messages in the video. I’m posting it here as it demonstrates the use of a biometric gun safe. I took my mom to look at these and wanted her to see how they should be used. This video made the point in a positive way.
In an odd occurrence of synchronicity, I read this commentary on dancing bears then was tapped to be one. If you don’t have time to check out the link: Dancing bears are special not because they dance well, but because they dance at all. And women are the “dancing bears” of the gun world.
I went to the range after work yesterday to practice, which I do most weeks. I chatted with several of the guys that work there. It’s part of the experience for me. I take the time to build relationships with people I see often. A news crew appeared and interviewed the owner, then one of the staff members I speak to frequently. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School earlier this week in Newtown, CT prompted the visit.
The staff member I know suggested the crew speak to me because I’ve been shooting less than a year and I’m female. I spoke to the reporter for about 10 minutes and got two seconds of airtime. Of all the things I said to him he chose the one thing I prefaced with “It’s a cliche but it’s still true”. On camera I said “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
I’m relieved that nothing I said was taken out of context and I don’t think I’ll volunteer for a video interview again.
So, back to reality. And back to practicing because the point of the dancing bear rant is one I agree with:
“When people look up to you just for being, it takes some strong character to do the work that needs to be done. It’s easier to just shuffle your feet a little, and let the crowd call it a dance.”
I intend to take a Range Safety officer class after the first of the year so I can be safer, network, and find a way to attend matches and cut my cost. And maybe I can enable another dancing bear along the path to knowledge, experience, and the satisfaction that comes with self improvement.