Since the beginning of 2020, I’ve been teaching a ladies-only “Intro To Handguns” class at a local gun range. I’m happy to say it’s been a rousing success on all counts—classes are sold out until December, and we’ve had to add additional classes in the intervening months (which are also sold out!). At this point, we’re limiting the attendance to 6 students per class.
It’s been so gratifying to see the transition from brand-new, inexperienced shooters to grinning pistoleros (pistoleras?). Even though they might say they’re nervous at the beginning of class, they’ve already made a commitment to their futures by signing up for the class. I remind them of that gesture of strength when they begin the class, and I can see their postures immediately relax a bit.
This class is a “very first step” concept—about two hours of classroom work comprising a bit of death by PowerPoint, followed by hands-on work with dummy guns, working on stance, grip, and sight alignment, followed by instruction on how to load magazines and revolvers.
Using a SIRT pistol with the iTarget Pro system, students get immediate (and fun) feedback on their sight alignment. Then, they practice stance, grip, and trigger discipline with the green-gas-powered Laser-Ammo pistol, which provides some recoil to prime the students for the feel of a genuine firearm. The idea is to ramp them up slowly to the “real thing,” so that the feel of firing a gun is not so foreign to them when they go out to the range.
After the classroom portion, we gear up with eyes and ears and head over to the indoor range. I co-teach the class with another USCCA instructor, so each student has one-on-one time at the range. We walk each student through loading a mag with one round, inserting the mag, racking the slide, and firing one shot at the target. Often, this is the first time a student has ever pressed a trigger. Almost without exception, the trepidation is immediately transformed into a grin. We repeat that simple exercise two more times, then move up to having multiple rounds in the magazine, with the student becoming increasingly comfortable with recoil and the sound of gunfire.
We recommend that they put in some range time on their own after the class, and then sign up for a more in-depth pistol class at the range to strengthen their skills. I also offer one-on-one range time for those that want to work on particular aspects. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to introduce these women to the world of self-defense!