I live in Alabama. Do you want to know something exceptional about the “Heart of Dixie” state? Besides having a very recognizable (and very sing-able) song, and despite knowing that the weather could be snowy one day and 75 degrees the next, Alabama proudly supports the Second Amendment. And it’s no surprise for Alabamians to open carry, conceal carry, and train…even as far as planning a ladies’ Sunday school outing at the firing range!
I’ve always been keenly aware that women can get a bit cautious, uncomfortable, or awkward around men when participating in traditionally “male” activities. I speak from personal experience… years of personal experience as an awkward teenager playing basketball on the co-ed team and as a self-conscious young woman working in the predominantly masculine world of the outdoor industry. When by myself in those circumstances, I would often shy away from shooting—hoops or firearms—and would feign content to be a spectator on the sidelines. Conversely, when I encountered these situations with a few other females, I would feel more empowered and “safe.”
Women are quite skilled at—and comfortable with—gathering up inspiration from their fellow female friends, especially when guys are absent from the situation. We don’t have to be concerned with being too ladylike or being too tomboyish; we can just relax, focus on the task at hand, and give 100% to new, unusual, or unfamiliar activities. Take handgun shooting, for example. If you were to place a woman into a crowd of guys, she might feel a bit intimidated and might miss her opportunity to really let go and shine. Take that same woman and let her shoot with a bunch of her gal pals, and she might annihilate the target, even on her first shooting experience.
That’s essentially the setting my good friend and neighbor, Season Kelly, experienced recently with the ladies in her Sunday school class. These women, like many other groups of moms, plan fun “nights out” throughout the year. Instead of proposing the usual dinner, movie, paint class, or craft night, Season, as kind of a joke, suggested something they’d never done or discussed before: handgun shooting at the indoor firing range. She was surprised by her peers’ response of overwhelming excitement and agreement.
“Some of the ladies in our church group hadn’t shot in years, and others had never handled a gun, at all,” she stated. “I was probably the only one in our whole bunch who was comfortable!”
Empowered by the allure, the fun, and the camaraderie of a ladies’ shooting night, and inspired by Season’s enthusiasm and experience, the group of 6 marched into Hoover Tactical Firearms, soaked up the knowledge and know-how of a safety class, and gave it their best shot. Literally.
“Zombie Hitler and zombie Osama were destroyed! Oh, and who can forget zombie Rhonda, blue man, and square man,” Season shared. “All of the ladies had a great time, and we can’t wait to plan another Sunday school shooting night, again!”
It’s terrific that women are bonding…and connecting over activities like handgun safety and training. Things like that really make me smile. And things like that make me thankful, all over again, for my sweet home, Alabama.