Montana City, Montana. Ten women completed an intensive weekend course designed to provide them the knowledge and skills to select an appropriate handgun and manage it safely, competently and with confidence.
Developed at the request of and with the assistance of Montana Outfitters and Guides Association (MOGA) Education Institute, the first part of the course covered fundamentals of handgun safety and marksmanship. The second part of the course focused on defensive awareness, the ethical and responsible mindset of concealed carry and learning how to safely draw and fire from a strong-side holster and purse holster. By special request from MOGA’s Education Institute, a portion of the time addressed woman-specific carry issues, including appropriate holsters, effective concealment techniques and resources for concealed carry safe purses and retrofitting personal handbags into safe carry purses.
The course, led by Alexandra Brown and her husband Larry Boyle, both highly experienced NRA Certified Instructors and Training Counselors, included 10 hours of class room lecture mixed with 10 more hours of hands-on training and lots of live fire practice. Common among the 10 women enrolled in the course was that they had little or no handgun shooting experience and by the end were handling their firearms in a highly competent and confident manner.
Lead instructor Brown commented, “This weekend’s transformation was remarkable. The women’s reasons to attend ranged from those simply wanting to learn a new skill, those with life-long apprehension of firearms to those who have an active desire to learn self-defense. Several of our students were actually shaking when they first handled the class firearms. We couldn’t be prouder of the entire class’ courage and determination as they supported and encouraged each other, working through the fundamentals and on to dynamic shooting under stress. It was a joy to see women who had absolutely no experience, some women who were actually afraid, end up quietly and confidently discussing caliber, fit and their personal firearms preferences at the end of the course. Montanans should be proud of the work MOGA EI is doing to advance general firearms safety and ensure women’s personal safety.”
Students learned the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude for owning and operating a pistol safely, focusing on NRA’s rules for safe gun handling, pistol parts and operation, ammunition components and firing sequence, marksmanship and shooting fundamentals and proper care and cleaning of a handgun.
Additionally, the all-female students learned the skills, and discussed the attitude necessary to select, safely carry and use a concealed pistol ethically, responsibly, and with confidence.
Thanks to generous sponsorship by MOGA EI, Ruger, Capital Sports and Western, and Smith and Wesson, the students were able to shoot several different sizes, calibers and action types to develop their understanding of proper handgun fit.
“We could not have been more delighted with how the course went and how much the women learned. It was incredibly intensive and demanding, but it was also a lot of fun” said Mac Minard, MOGA Executive Director.
MOGA’s Education Institute (EI) exists, in part, for the purpose of advancing education in outdoor sport and conservation. Responding to an obvious need related to women’s safety the MOGA EI was joined by Ruger, Capital Sports and Western, Smith and Wesson, and NRA to sponsor this training.
Minard said “We are very grateful for the highly professional yet fun manner in which the course materials were delivered and the way coaching was given during the live firing portions of the course”. I think they all really enjoyed themselves and they got to try out a lot of different guns and burned through a lot of ammunition of many different calibers.
Comments from participants:
“The small class and the individual attention was key to my learning and confidence building. My knowledge of handguns and safety expanded tremendously and my confidence expanded. I am looking forward to continuing to hone my practice and continue to increase my skills.”
“I probably would have never shot a pistol if it wasn’t for this class as I had a strong fear of loaded guns. They have always made me uncomfortable. It was wonderful to be in a controlled environment to learn how to handle and shoot a pistol safely. Alex and Larry were so patient and really made me comfortable to learn and ask questions. I don’t think you should let them leave! I would love to take more classes like this.”
“The class taught me to overcome my fear of guns, which was a huge personal triumph. This was largely due to the Larry and Alex’s patience and showing us that guns indeed can be safe when properly handled. I appreciated the women-specific training and the attention to detail and I learned more in 48 hours than I’ve learned my whole life about guns. The instructors had a way of engraining the information in a manner that made sense.”
“I took a Hunter Education Course when I was 12 and hunted until I left home for college. I haven’t hunted much since then and therefore have had little exposure to guns. I did have some apprehension of carrying a loaded gun, but while attending this intensive hands-on class, I learned the proper methods to ensure the safety of my loved ones and feel empowered to protect them and myself, should the need arise.”