In the last few years, women have purchased firearms in droves and have outnumbered men in obtaining their concealed carry licenses. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation 2015 report “Women Gun Owners,” the number one reason for this is self and home safety. With recent violent events, across not only the nation, but the world, women have realized that empowering themselves through gun ownership has allowed them to have better control of many important aspects of their lives.
Firearms training empowers women…
- To take control of their personal safety – We can assume that the average gunfight will take just seconds and the average police response time is, at the very least, several minutes dependent upon the city you live in. As a society, waiting for someone else to protect your life or the lives of your family is not a viable option. You can also not depend on a significant other to be with you every moment of the day. The only person who is responsible for protecting yourself one hundred percent of the time is you.
- To be independent – Not only does carrying a gun make a person their own protector, it allows them to be free to do what they want, whenever they want from going to the range to practice, the mall to shop, or a new city for sight-seeing. Now that a woman can protect herself, there is not a need to rely on anyone else being available for them.
- To be confident – Through firearms training and education, woman can be certain about their abilities and capabilities to protect themselves and be independent. By preparing for a variety of different situations, they will be ready for a variety of different challenges.
- To be strong – Shooting is a physical activity. Many different muscles groups are used to control the basic skills needed to shoot accurately. Women, especially, will need to strengthen their core muscle groups, along with upper body, wrist and hand strength. Beside the physical strength, shooting builds emotional strength by knowing that you have a plan to protect yourself and can remain calm and rational as you work your plan.
- To expand their knowledge – Shooting can be a lifelong learning activity. A typical path for a new shooter may be to take the license to carry class in their state to learn the laws governing self-defense and concealed carry. Then they may want to purchase a handgun specifically for concealed carry and will have to research the multitude options. Next, they may take a course on shooting from concealed positions or weapon retention. Knowledge can also take the shape of learning more about the criminal mindset and avoiding potentially dangerous situations. The options for learning and growth are nearly limitless.
- To inspire other women – There is nothing more inspiring to women than to see other woman accomplish their goals and become successful.
- To face their fears – Guns are not warm and fuzzy. For some people, they are scary, frightening, loud, powerful, and too dangerous to control. Many women choose to overcome this fear for their own personal reasons, whether it be to protect their children, join a group, or just for the challenge to beat fear itself.
- To relieve stress – Believe it or not, shooting can relieve stress and anxiety. Shooting accurately forces you to control your breathing and focus your mind on your activity putting aside the issues of the day. Furthermore, it is also a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the vitamin D. You can also take a good friend to the range and use it as a social time to vent.
- To meet new people – Shooting can be a social event. In order to learn how to properly use a firearm, shooters should take classes with vetted instructors. This is just one opportunity to meet new people. As shooting is a perishable skill (if you don’t practice, you will not be able to effectively reproduce the skill over time), once a new technique is acquired through instruction, then practice is needed. Organizations, like A Girl and A Gun, not only make practice a scheduled activity, but provide a safe, fun, and social environment. Often times the women at these events will become more than just shooting buddies. Women can also take their skills to a new level by competing in shooting sports. Many competitions are designed so that shooters are teamed up in pairs or squads.
- To have fun – Shooting is a fantastic opportunity to have fun. Watching flame explode from the muzzle. Seeing paper targets shredded with each pull of the trigger. Hearing a familiar “plink” of the brass bullet hitting a steal target. There’s also the comradery of the Shooting Sisterhood. Even putting in hours of training in order to improve a particular skill is fun.
- To challenge themselves – Trying new things, and setting and attaining new goals can be challenging. Understanding the correlation of maintaining proper sight alignment during the processes of smoothly working the trigger is very challenging. Focusing on your front sight after a flash of fire, a loud noise, the gun recoiling in your grasp and the unsettling desire to see where that bullet punctured the target rather than focus on the front sight is challenging. When it comes to women and shooting, women are up to this challenge.
- To thrive – Women who can protect themselves; who are independent, confident and strong physically and emotionally; who expand their knowledge and inspire other women; who face their fears; and who relieve stress, meet new people, have fun and challenge themselves will flourish and prosper in life.