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.