Women with an interest in learning handgun safety got an education Saturday and took the opportunity to safely fire a gun at a shooting range during a workshop held at Heritage Training and Shooting Center.

The attendees spent the better half of the workshop in a classroom setting, learning basic handgun safety. Some of the topics included:

• The pros and cons and differences between semi-automatics and revolvers.

• Cleaning and maintenance.

• Safely storing a gun.

• Loading and unloading a magazine.

• The importance of keeping guns away from children or anyone else who shouldn’t have access to a gun.

They then fired off laser guns in a simulation lab before shooting off 15 rounds in a shooting range with a 9mm handgun.

Suzy Floyd, an instructor at the Training Center, pointed out that one of the most important aspects of Saturday’s course was to increase familiarity.

“I want them to be able to feel comfortable with the firearms,” said Floyd. “Some of them come in here because they have guns in the home or their husbands have guns and they don’t feel comfortable.”

Others come because they have a concern for personal safety, she explained.

“I want them to be able to defend themselves and to be confident in handling firearms,” Floyd said. “I hope they never need to shoot anything more than a piece of paper, but if they do I want them to be confident that they can defend themselves.”

Frederick resident Erin Mark attended the workshop to make herself more comfortable with handling a gun as her husband wants to start bring her to the shooting range with him.

Mark and her husband own firearms but “it’s been a long time” since she’s fired one. The biggest takeaway from the workshop for her was how to hold the gun the correct way.

She added that it’s important to know gun safety in case the need ever arises for defense.

“And date nights with my husband,” she said, laughingly. “That’s my whole goal here.”

Mary El Grammer, from Rockville, attended the workshop because her husband is a combat veteran who owns several firearms and she wanted to learn how to properly use them.

Before the workshop her only experience was with a BB gun.

“I was a little nervous,” El Grammer said of firing the gun. “Then I was really nervous when I got into the firing range. The only frame of reference I have is stuff I’ve seen on TV and it just looks a lot different. When I was actually holding the gun it was heavier than I expected and the recoil when I shot it threw me back and scared me a lot.”

El Grammer believes it’s important to learn gun safety because women should not be “damsels in distress” when it comes to protecting themselves.

“Especially with the Me Too movement, it’s become very well known that there’s a lot of sexual assault happening to women,” she said. “It’s happened to me and I don’t want to feel like I can’t protect myself.

“I want to be able to do anything men can do,” El Grammer added. “Men don’t have to be the sole protectors when [women] can do it too.”

Another women’s firearm group meeting is held every third Thursday of each month, according to Floyd. The group meets at 6 p.m. and covers a different training topic each month.

For more information, head to Heritagetrainingcenter.com.

Follow CJ Fairfield on Twitter @FairfieldCj

(46) comments


Alls I know is, there are a lot of people out there that want my stuff, and they gonna try to take my stuff, and it's mine, and they want to take it. Every day the TV tells me how bad they want my stuff, so I'm gonna do everything in my power to deny those folks my stuff. I see 'em every day, driving past my house, scoping it out, licking their chops. But I'm not gonna let 'em take my stuff, it's mine, and if anyone tries to take it, even one little tomato out of my garden, it's gonna be bad for them. They should get their own stuff, and not try to take mine, but I see 'em out there, looking, scheming, all day every day. You gotta protect what's yours, the minute you don't, they gonna try to be takin' it from you.


While heritage has a beautiful facility, THE MACHINE GUN NEST is more in tune with what a gun range should offer. They are more personal than the staff at heritage!


Agree and disagree. The Machine Gun Nest is more inline with Jarheads and tactical junkies. Not everyone wants that kind of alpha attitude. Heritage is better at being more open to everyone, less intimidating. Personally, I drive a giant Jeep and I am more of a tech junkie so I like going to the nest but I take the girl I am dating to Heritage.


Joel, TMGN's business model is actually to provide a positive and safe educational experience to any and all first time interested parties. Because of the infrastructure in place, the rated capacity of the range and in addition to the aforementioned points, TMGN appeals to a wider audience that Heritage has decided not to support. Consider bringing your girlfriend to TMGN one evening (Date Night) when the 'older' Chief RSO is working. After ensuring safety in all regards he can and will develop her knowledge and skills and an 'Alpha' attitude that would match (or even exceed many others) in time. "Alpha Attitudes" are not restricted to Males. :)


Sigh. Perhaps the nra should be labeled a terrorist organization. While I agree education is always a good thing, I don't agree arming more people is the solution. Guns beget death and violence. More guns and arming the fear mongers is not the answer. Some may think they are pretty bad with their glocks or lugers or whatever but really they are scared. sorry! sigh.


It's good that anyone with a firearm in the house, theirs or not, knows how to use it properly. But people are still stupid and screw up all the time. And those law abiding citizens relatively often cross the line and shoot someone or themselves in a fit of rage, drunkeness or by mistake. It is safer not to have a gun at home, statistically. Nevertheless, training is good.


Being in a bad relationship is the cause... guns may often be the tool (sometimes it is screw drivers).


Sihh...as expected, the usual suspects arguing against education and training. As for fearmongering, these women have nothing to fear from firearms. They will now know how to safely handle a pistol, and hit what they are aiming at. Wasn't one of the objections that there was no training? Well, here it is. As for the slam against the NRA, that may be your opinion, but it would be another lie. The NRA has always fought for anyone committing a crime with a gun to be prosecuted to the full extent of the laws found in 18 USC 922 and 924. It is local prosecutors that let repeat offenders off, only to harm or kill again. Ask the mayor and police chief of Baltimore, who have repeatedly stated such. Where is the outrage over that?


An armed society is a polite society.


No, it is not. It is a society full of fear. Your avocation of guns proves that. what are you afraid of?


Not a thing sam. Shooting is my sport, and I hunt. Why are you afraid of guns?


We shall agree to disagree. Do tell how my "avocation of guns proves that" I am afraid of drowning and being burned alive. Otherwise... I am afraid of nothing. What are your fears?


I did own guns before I gave them away, Gabe. Hunted in New York, West Virginia and Maryland. Mostly big game. But hunting is not the same as owning guns for protection, especially a handgun, which is the topic here. I have never owned a hand gun, never felt a need to own one. And unlike rifles and shot guns you need a license (permit) in Maryland to own a hand gun.


You're in 7-eleven when an armed criminal enters the store. There are two others in the store with you, one who is legally armed and the other who just pooped himself a little. Which one will you gravitate to for your own safety? Rethink ALL of your arguments.


and why do you hunt, gabe? to put food on your families table because the stores are all out of whatever you are looking to kill? just don't see it.


Rik - i am afraid of children getting shot. i am afraid of the large volume of mass shootings. i am afraid of being on a hike and some hunter accidentally shoots me. i am afraid that there are what, ~400 million guns in this country. when is enough enough?


You cannot purchase wild game in the supermarket sam, and realistic people understand that food does not originate from supermarkets. Meat comes from a living animal, not pre-wrapped in plastic packages. No hormones or antibiotics in wild game either. Furthermore, the current deer population exceeds the carrying capacity of the surrounding land, resulting in damage to residential areas. Unless you would like to reintroduce apex predators, such as wolves, to the area, the most effective method of deer population control is hunting. The overpopulation of deer also increases the likelihood of a deer-vehicle collision that could kill drivers and passengers. During the season I keep one or two deer for my family, and the rest goes to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (www.fhfh.org). Also, due to the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 that was requested by sportsmen and sportswomen, an 11% tax is paid on every firearm and ammunition sale that goes to wildlife preservation efforts. Last year this tax generated $1.1 Billion for wildlife conservation. That's why I hunt.


Sam, if you must hike in the woods during hunting season, you should be wearing at least 250 square inches of blaze orange as either a hat, shirt, or jacket. Firearm deer season runs from mid October to mid January. You are free to hike at any other time outside of hunting season.

The probability of a kid getting killed in a school shooting on any given day is one in 655 million, or less than half the chance of hitting Powerball. How many Powerball winners do you know? Mass shootings, as a function of population size, are still rare events. No need for fear.

Comment deleted.

Sorry faux, you clearly dont understand correlation, causation, and coincidence, nor the Brazilian favelas. These areas are run by violent drug gangs now, fighting over turf. They are areas of unimaginable and inescapable poverty, and violence. Housing is either run down buildings, or or ramshackle huts constructed of whatever the occupants can scavenge. The thug life of the gangs is a way of life that many choose to simply survive. Firearms didn't cause the violence, extreme poverty and drug gangs caused those citizens to either arm themselves to commit crimes, or for protection against crime. The police are afraid to go into many of them. Read up or visit.


This is minimal training good for basically not shooting yourself accidentally. Not really appropriate for self defense.


Those classes are available too shiftless.



I hit send too quickly. Heritage has a complete curriculum also



I was going to say that, shift. You are absolutely right. 15 round is nothing and there should be plenty of class room instructions too.


More fear mongering that creates more problems. More guns are always the answer!


It seems to be a good answer for the defense of a country. Possess superior firepower along with the training of how to properly use it (and the will to use it) and other countries tend to leave you alone. The same can possibly apply to individuals. Being trained how to properly use a firearm in all likelihood, gives you an advantage over criminals (especially those armed only with knives or machetes), most of whom probably do not go to shooting ranges to practice and improve their aim (if they did, fewer bystanders and people in their houses wouldn't be hit as often by stray bullets). While I have a number of guns, I don't keep any of them loaded (ammo and guns kept close but separate) so my first defense in the home may well be the bayonet on top of my 2nd model Brown Bess musket if I don't have time to get my ammo and load one of my guns. However, not everyone can easily wield a 14 pound musket with a bayonet at the end. For those people, owning and knowing how to accurately shoot a pistol can be a better alternative for your piece of mind (as long as your spouse isn't abusive and mentally ill, but even then they could just stab you to death 80 times with a screw driver). I don't own guns for defense (although they can serve that purpose) I own them because I've enjoyed shooting them at paper/wood/clay targets (I don't hunt).


Defense of the country? How? Isn't that what we have the Navy, Army, Marine Corp, Air Force and National Guard?


Dick, I can't understand why you're not understanding my analogy that if arming and training for a war helps a country in its defense, the same should apply to individuals. If you have more fire power and know how to use it and are willing to use it you will probably win if someone enters your home. In other words, if you bring a knife to a gun fight you're going to lose. I'll trust my accuracy with multiple firearms over that of a criminal with less experience. They may hit me by luck if they shoot in response to my commands for them to surrender if they are in my house, but if they do, they're not likely to leave my house other than feet first.


MD, I don't understand your analysis because the government would never consider you to be acting in defense of the country unless you were a member of a government organization. Anything else would be vigilante actions.


More guns in the hands of "law-abiding citizens" is always the answer. There I fixed it for you.


" 'I want them to be able to defend themselves and to be confident in handling firearms,' " Hahaha! This lousy firm just peddles fear. These stupid women won't even get their guns out of their purses before they're dead. Remember, the bad guy gets the first shot. And thanks to the NRA terrorists, there are no barriers at all in place to prevent bad guys from buying all the guns and ammo they want, any time. Case in point: No one is better trained to handle a handgun and defend themselves than a police officer, and none of them survive the rare case of ambush. So it is with police officers, it will be with women who want to "defend" themselves with a gun.


Your ignorance about firearms is very telling faux principal. LEO's have no duty to protect you. They will write reports and attempt to find the person that murdered you. When and if said person is caught/convicted the taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for his/her incarceration. How pathetic you and your anti-self preservation pals are is simply stunning.


One exception to the best trained. Tankers (military) normally carry a pistol and are trained to use them.


Using your reasoning FAUX, the woman should not fight back at all in self defense? She should bend over and accept her fate? NEVER!


El Grammer does not understand one thing about the #MeToo movement if she thinks packing a loaded firearm is the answer. Why does that not surprise me?

Comment deleted.

Um, it's illegal to carry a handgun in Maryland.


It’s also illegal in Maryland to murder, steal, speed, drive drunk, beat your wife, .......


Illegal without a permit, which are hard to get, training or not.


Because you hate firearms?


Certainly not me, ric, I missed by one point of firing expert and only got sharpshooter, on the Marine Corp rifle range. We fired almost everything, rifles for markmanship, pistols for familiarity and Browning Automatics for fire power. Being in a tank battalion we also fired 90 mm, 50 and 30 caliber machine guns. You ought to see what a 50 caliber bullet will do.

Comment deleted.

You just called 5 million + Americans terrorists. How does that make you feel?


"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."


Excellent program at Heritage. Well done folks!


Yep, fastest growing segment in the firearms industry are women. The only benefit of the metoo thing is empowering women to train and protect themselves. Remember when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Bravo ladies...


[thumbup] Agreed pilot. But try telling that to the gun haters of Frederick. It does not fit the liberal all guns are bad narrative.


you buy lock, stock, and barrel into the fear and fear mongering.


I prefer the Machine gun nest. The people at Heritage seemed disconnected and stand-offish when the wife and I visited. Then again that was bout 5 years ago. Maybe it's changed.

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