Is a Ladies-Only Class Right For You?

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October 4, 2016 / Comments (0)

Featured Shooting Women

Ladies-only firearms classes, clubs, and other opportunities are becoming more and more common and popular. I’ve attended, hosted, and taught at several myself, and have always had a good time and learned a lot. But I’ve also been the only woman around when training, competing, or otherwise around guns, and enjoyed myself and picked up new knowledge and skills then too. Are ladies-only classes and events better, or does it not really matter if you’re the lone or small minority?

ladies gun course

I just shot a major match with these great people and when it went sideways, everyone was there to help and to encourage, not just the other woman on the squad.

Girls just wanna have fun. Not that boys don’t have their own antics on the range, but the girls-only classes I’ve been in have generally been a lot more relaxed. We may be there to do some serious work, but fun is a big part of the equation and the games tend to be friendlier and not as competitive, with everyone’s wins being cheered for. That makes for a more supportive environment and one where a woman can focus on learning without wondering if the boys are laughing with or at her, or if she’s keeping up with everyone else.
On the other hand, a shooter might not get pushed out of her comfort zone because the group might be focused on the “girls’ day” part over the “training ‘til it hurts” part, and that can limit how far she can develop her skills during that time.
ladies gun course

This all-ladies classes wasn’t for beginners – and we rocked it! – image credit, Kitty Richards

Just between us ladies:
In the defensive shooting world, difficult topics that come up can include sexual assault and rape. Both are crimes that women are more likely to suffer, and are experiences that push more women than men to learn how to shoot a gun. From my own experience in both ladies-only and co-ed self-defense classes, it’s often a lot easier to talk about these sensitive areas in the supportive environment of all women, knowing that they are more likely to understand and sympathize in a way that really is more gender-specific.
Similarly, in sport shooting, there are concerns and experiences that men don’t connect to or see the same way as women, and a ladies-only environment can make discussions about those more comfortable and productive. There’s something to be said, of course, for sharing with men so they get it too, but maybe only after you’re comfortable talking about it with female strangers.

Talking about bra holsters in mixed company just doesn’t work as well


I am woman, hear my roar. Powerful women are inspiring to be around, and a ladies-only class is essentially a collection of strong women working together to improve each other and by showing what’s possible. Like many women I know, there are plenty of men I look up to and have been encouraged by. In fact, my coaching and training group right now is composed almost entirely of men.
My heroines and the women I train with though? They’re a little different because I can more easily see myself grow up to be just like them. After all, they look more like me, and I know that their background and life experiences are more like mine. Being in a ladies-only class means watching and getting to know women who are learning and mastering the same skills with the same challenges. They make the dream of improvement more realistic. And I know they’re not intimidated by my roar and will celebrate my wins.

women shoot

Friends, heroines, rivals. These ladies have been all of those to me in the way the boys just aren’t – image credit, Mitch Gurowtiz

I’ve been in a lot of classes over the years, from all-ladies weekends to sausage-fests where I was the only girl on the range. They’ve all been great learning experiences for different reasons. The boys have cheered me on; the girls have celebrated my accomplishments. I’ve been able to talk about awkward topics whether I’ve been the only lady or in a group.
But the flavor and atmosphere of the ladies-only classes has definitely been different and sometimes better. Are they right for you? Try it and see! If you’re having trouble finding ones you can get to, you might have some luck with classes and clinics run by Women on Target, Babes with Bullets, Calibered Events, A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League, and The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapters. Then come back and tell us all about it on our Facebook page.

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