On May 19, 2018, I traveled to Mari’s Cucina and Social House in Johns Creek, Georgia, with several of my Alabama friends and fellow firearms instructors to attend a special, women’s-only networking event for the firearms community. This event is the brainchild of Shelley Hill of The Complete Combatant. Shelley was initially inspired by the successful women’s meet-and-greet at the 2017 SHOT Show, and she wanted to see something similar take place in the Atlanta area. “I was on a mission,” she says, “and The Complete Combatant now hosts our annual women’s event called ‘The Mingle.’”
The purpose of The Mingle is to provide a time and place for women in the industry to get together, talk, learn and network. “With the help of sponsors, we basically lend a hand in helping women in the firearms industry, gain knowledge and meet more ladies in the business. What a fantastic opportunity to be able to pick the brains of the ones that paved the path before us and meet ladies who offer new ideas. These special ladies are all patriots who will influence, support and fight for our firearms and self-defense rights,” said Hill.
Attendees of the second annual gathering enjoyed giveaways, delicious food, great conversations and a presentation from Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, on some myths and misnomers within our industry. Between a nationwide online training raffle and a Glock raffle, The Mingle helped to raise $5,725. The proceeds will be split between The Mingle 2019 and Racheal’s Rest, a nonprofit organization that offers counseling and retreat programs designed to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of survivors of abuse.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything about The Mingle, especially seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Beyond taking home a variety of goodies and information from sponsors (along with a head full of ideas from spontaneous interactions with other participants), it was great to hear some thoughts from others about the purpose and effect of the event.
Shannon Pable of Buford, Georgia, said, “In the ‘politically correct’ world that we live in, it’s so refreshing to be amongst other women (and men) that you know are passionate about the Second Amendment and speak freely about guns, shooting, carrying, etc.”
Also from Georgia, Karen Whitlock of Trigger Time Indoor Gun Range added, “In a time when you can feel like a villain for supporting gun rights, it is nice to get together with women who share your viewpoint.”
Stephanie Weidner of Active Self Protection, a sponsor of this year’s event, stated, “I think the ability for real, normal, laughing, everyday women to get together is a great opportunity to show the country a more realistic face of the average gun owner. If you ask someone to picture the average gun owner in America, they probably won’t picture a suburban mom dropping her kids off at school, or a busy professional business woman, or a person of color, or an elderly woman, or a liberal, or an atheist. These are some of the realistic faces of the gun community and this is a great event to represent and celebrate that.”
Evangeline Andrews of HolsterSmith commented, “Meeting other women who are in the industry is empowering. The camaraderie that this event encourages emboldens each of us to speak out more about the Second Amendment.”
Abigail Summar of Mountain Rose Defensive Training agrees. She commented that events such as this “[encourage] women to carry every day, continue their training and improve their skills whenever possible, and bring other women into the exciting world of gun ownership.”