(OH) Handgun class a hit with women


January 11, 2003, 06:20 PM
Handgun class a hit with women

Special to the Statesman Journal

The sessions teaching firearm basics is so popular, it is becoming a monthly event.

Statesman Journal
January 8, 2003

It often starts out looking like an episode of “Fear Factor.”

But it ends up taking the appearance of an all-woman cast in “Annie Get Your Gun.”

The aim of the non-profit Portland Firearms Training Team is simple, said Lee Anderson, a founder and instructor in the program.

“We provide women with a fact-based experience in the defensive use of handguns,” he said.

Its twice-annual National Rifle Association-sanctioned Women On Target events were so popular the organization is going to have monthly shooting seminars and practices, Anderson said.

“We planned for 30, tweaked it for 60, and 75 showed up,” he said about the first session in Canby.

After word got out, at the second clinic, “we had 175 women, and 209 contacted us about the event,” he said.

When asked if there was a typical participant, Anderson quickly responded, “There’s no such thing.”

“We had a 75-year-old woman who never had held a firearm in her hand,” he said, adding that at the end of the day, “She won the 10-shot shooting competition.”

The course — a two-parter in the classroom and on the range — covers all of the basics, from learning how to tell if a gun is loaded (you always assume it is loaded); how to load and unload a gun; safe handling and proper shooting techniques.

Instruction on the shooting range is one-on-one, no matter how many sign up, Anderson said.

“The training doesn’t get diluted just because (the turnout) is huge,” he said.

The $25 fee includes instruction, use of a handgun, ammunition, target, and eye and ear protection.

Despite the initial hesitation, up to and including occasional bouts of raw terror, first-timers — and women in particular — are easier to teach, Anderson said.

“I’m a highly trained guy — I’ve got 500 hours of firearms training — and I’m astounded by how quickly they learn,” he said.

“I also teach coed basic pistol, and almost every time, the women will be the best shots. Because they listen, they learn.”

If the participants have one thing in common, it’s the issue of self-protection, Anderson said.

“What we see is that they’re all interested in defense. They’re not interested in hunting or recreational shooting,” he said.

Enrollment skyrocketed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.

“There was a threefold increase after Sept. 11,” Anderson said. “That woke a lot of people up.”

Although the class is just an introduction to firearm handling and shooting safety, the class qualifies the student to apply for a concealed weapons permit.

“I don’t think it should be,” Anderson said. “But that’s not us, that’s the state of Oregon.

“Whoever wrote the state law in ’89 just said you should have a safety education component by a (National Rifle Association-certified) instructor.”

Most of the women, even those who come in terrified, end up leaving with a smile and a target to show off, Anderson said.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “And there’s a huge recreation potential.”

Henry Miller can be reached at (503) 399-6725.


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January 11, 2003, 06:44 PM
My Wife went to a Womens only Firearms Safety course that the La Porte Police Dept put on it seems like it was once a week for six weeks she said everyone there learned a lot and had a good time. Now if they would just let me shoot on that nice range they have....:D

4v50 Gary
January 12, 2003, 12:25 PM
Gender based discrimination Rick458. Demand your equal opportunity access to the range. After all, they still need somebody to pick up the brass. ;)

January 12, 2003, 07:34 PM
It is supposed to be a very nice range,
I do think all female firearms courses are a good Idea, women really do think and operate differently than men, even when doing the exact same task or job.
And I certainly can't look at things from the perspective of a 100lb 5' 1" woman, because I'm a 6' 2" 260 ish
Ex Marine and I would probably resolve a confrontation differently,
and simply not be picked as a target for many of them.
Besides anything that will help protect our female loved ones is a very good thing.:cool:

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