By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member and outdoor enthusiast — printed with permission from the Renville County Register
Over many years being a firearms instructor, I have come to the conclusion that Women Learn Better and Faster Than Men. It just can’t be overlooked anymore. The reason of course is that when they come to a firearms or hunter safety class, they carry little or no baggage from previous instruction. They don’t assume that they know much about the subject. They are receptive to new information and don’t forget it.
Once upon a time I was urged to advertise a gun/hunter safety class only for women. This was through a Community Education Program at school.We taught the usual things like how guns shoot, types of guns, safety, wildlife and wildlife conservation, survival when hunting and such. This class also includes marksmanship. But, as an added bit of excitement, we offered a chance to earn certification in marksmanship through the National Rifle Association. And, as the frosting on the cake, a tournament for a trophy would be held in the .22 rifle competition at the end of class.After only a couple of classes, a couple of members ordered a new rifle with “peep” sights, sling, swivels and better trigger. Other women followed their lead as their funds would permit. Soon over half of the women had a .22 target rifle that was well-equipped to give them the best service possible in marksmanship.
Were these women serious? You can only imagine. These women paid attention, asked a lot of questions and really tried to learn and improve throughout the course. We shot our rifles in the gymnasium at the High School at that time; not as scary as it sounds. These women quickly advanced upward in their marksmanship qualification shooting from pro-marksman to marksman, to marksman first class and then sharpshooter. None had enough time to reach expert as the class did eventually have to come to a close. But, several did reach sharpshooter. We were very proud of them. Anyone with the proper attitude, perseverance, and good equipment can do well. The women with less than high class equipment didn’t make sharpshooter, but the lower ranks were easy for them. This is like golf, you shoot against a “par” score. Beyond this basic firearms and safety class, some of the women chose to move on to handguns and eventually shotguns. Familiarity with all types of firearms gave these women incentive to keep studying and practicing.
Since most states allow some form of Concealed Carry of a loaded handgun, many women take the basic class as a foundation to move on up to handguns and defensive techniques with them in preparation for a Concealed Carry Class. The Concealed Carry Class is about eight to 9 hours long, including the actual shooting for qualification. If the women take this class and shoot well enough, they apply for their Concealed Carry Permit at the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff does an FBI Background Check on them. In a few days or a couple of weeks, the permit is issued to the people if there is nothing to cause the withholding of the permit.
Many women have shown me their permit with a huge grin on their face. They are very proud of the fact that they studied the subject, practiced well and shot well and now are able to carry the concealed firearm, loaded, on their person. A few of the women in my classes had “scary” encounters that drove them to decide that they needed to take responsibility for their own and family safety.
We have discovered that there are a lot of “closet” women who are truly interested in personal protection and want to learn more. They need to just come out of the closet and do something about it. Some people have formed a “league” for shooting and meet a couple of times a month at the ranges and shoot together. That can be a great social gathering and learning experience for the participants. Better marksmanship is the result, whether with the .22 rifle, handgun or shotgun. We have noticed that women like the social aspects of shooting and enjoy each other’s company, even more than men do. We have put out a little food for thought here. Does any of this excite you ladies? Talk it up among your friends and associates and see if you might be interested in the shooting sports. If you haven’t read last week’s article about Girls Having Fun while hunting, please do so. Ponder the possibilities.
YOUTH FIREARMS SAFETY CLASS
The Renville County Sheriff’s Deputies will be holding a field practical portion of the Youth Firearms Safety Class on September 19 at 9:00 a.m. The classroom portion of the class will have to be done on-line at the DNR Website. Class size is limited to the first 25 who sign up. The Sheriff’s Facebook Page has details on this class. You can also call the Office at 320-523-1161 located at the Renville County Office Building. Parents should call to get their youngsters registered so they don’t miss out. Age 11 and above allowed in. Ask the Deputy if there are openings by the time of class, if adults can come in and join the group to fill the class.