Mustang Daily Staff Report
One of the many stereotypes women face is unfamiliarity with firearms, but a local training group is looking to remedy that.
Spartan Training Resources is offering a women’s-only handgun course this weekend that will highlight gun safety and use, specifically aimed at female self defense.
“It’s good for women to have a viable means of self defense,” Spartan Training Resources co-owner Steve Odom said. “Even if a woman knows hand-to-hand combat, it may not be enough. If a women is less than 120 pounds and she is facing a 200-pound man that has more than likely been incarcerated before, proper firearms training may save her life.”
The program is designed for female shooters who have little to no experience with firearms, Odom said. The day begins at 8 a.m., when students are taught the basic safety and handling procedures of using and owning a handgun. The program also provides students with the different holster combinations suited to women’s needs.
After the trainees are taught the fundamentals of handling a firearm, they are taught how to shoot one. The training starts with “dry practice,” in which students go through the motions of shooting an unloaded gun, he said. When the trainers believe the students are finally ready, the real fun begins, he said.
“Besides using firearms as a means for self defense, shooting is an enjoyable sport,” Odom said. “It requires discipline, hand-eye coordination and it’s exciting when you’re shooting ammunition.”
English sophomore Katharine Martin grew up recreationally using firearms for target practice, as well as hunting, and loves the challenges that come with additional training, she said.
“I think that women’s training is valuable because women are able to become comfortable with firearms and learn about safety and maintenance,” Martin said. “This also allows them to acquire excellent marksmanship abilities, which is often stereotypically viewed as an activity for men.”
Most of the training programs such as this one are designed to prevent crimes against women, Martin said. This usually brings people with a variety of backgrounds and views on firearms.
“It’s interesting having women of different political beliefs come together and acquire shooting skills that may help save lives and prevent crimes,” she said.
The program will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association Range in Atascadero. The cost is $200 and covers the group training, which will be a maximum of 12 people, Odom said. Students are expected to bring their own handgun and bullets.
The price of the class is typical for this type of program, said sophomore Brooke Bradshaw who started shooting when she was 11.
Her experience with firearms training has taught her patience and how to be more aware of her surroundings, she said. She believes women should have the knowledge of how to properly use firearms in case a dangerous situation ever occurs.
“I definitely have more security and confidence walking around at night or alone knowing I can handle a situation should it present itself,” Bradshaw said. “That is a feeling every woman should have, especially if planning to live alone at some point in their life.”
Sara Natividad contributed to this staff report.