I recently taught my last class of 2021: USCCA’s Women’s Basic Pistol. I absolutely love teaching this class, and it’s not because I wrote the curriculum. I love this class because it always teaches me something … or reminds me of where I used to be. It humbles me. Seeing a group of women come together — from all backgrounds, skill levels and experiences — and share this important time of growth and learning is such an amazing experience. I think other instructors who teach this class would agree you can truly see confidence building and lives changing!

Why They Share…

One of the sections of this beginner-level class includes a small window of time for each participant to share her “why.” We take just a moment to mention the reasons or motivations behind each woman choosing to be there that day. It’s a time to recognize and appreciate each story and to allow the students to break down barriers, be real and vulnerable with one another, and build a community of learning.

Over the years of teaching this class, I have heard an incredible variety of stories. On some occasions, we’ve laughed. On others, we’ve cried. And in every session, we’ve learned about one another and nodded and applauded in agreement and encouragement.

What They Share…

Every one of my students’ stories is meaningful and memorable, but here are just a few paraphrases and summaries of some of the “whys” women have shared for taking their first steps in their firearms training journey:

  • We have guns in the home, and I just don’t feel comfortable enough to use them.
  • Things have changed over the last few years and have gotten pretty scary, if I’m honest. I just feel more vulnerable nowadays, and I want to be prepared to protect myself and my family, if it ever comes down to that.
  • I’m a widow now, and my husband left behind a lot of guns. He bought one for me and wanted me to have it for self-defense. And I guess I have no other choice now but to learn—for him…and for me.
  • Someone tried to break into our house. We have a lot of land, and we’re out in the middle of nowhere, so it was very frightening.
  • I grew up with guns, and I even have a gun for self-defense, but I don’t really know how to use it. And I just don’t feel safe enough to carry it.
  • I have a job that could potentially put me at some risk, and we recently had a scare. That made me seriously think about having a firearm for protection.
  • I’m alone a lot in the house, and I don’t want to feel helpless
  • I was attacked in the parking lot at work.
  • I’ve actually experienced some trauma with guns from my childhood and witnessed a terrible accident. I’m trying to move past that… to get over my fear.
  • I just graduated college and moved out of my parents’ house, and my dad won’t stop pestering me about learning to shoot. So I’m here!
  • I have five kids who depend on me. I want to be there for them, no matter what happens.
  • I’m taking responsibility for my own safety.

Because this is a season of celebration, let’s celebrate these women’s reasons … right alongside our own! What’s YOUR why?