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 Adventure Protection: Women-only Protection & Handgun Class 
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Location: Renton, WA
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I've had the privilege of working with these folks twice now, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

First, I want to to talk about -- in general -- how critically important I believe it is that we get more women familiar with firearms. As many of you gents have probably become (painfully in some cases?) aware, women are damned good shots, and many new women shooters are soon kicking hubby's ass all over the range. :rofl9: Anyhow, I think it's important that more women become proficient with firearms not only for their own sake (protection, recreation, etc.) but also because women are a largely-untapped portion of the voting population from a firearms perspective.

As we all know, our gun rights are in grave danger throughout the country, and certainly in Washington state in particular. The more we can spread the good word, the better off we will be . . . and many women are ready and willing to help with the effort, we just need to introduce them to the sport.

There was an instructor, Amy Bozell, who taught women's handgun classes at the Cascade range in Ravensdale. Amy was a phenomenal teacher by all accounts, but a few months back she announced that she was leaving the area and would be ending her classes. This left a big hole in the women's-only training in this area, which as I already explained is a big problem for ALL of us.

Some of you saw Rutilate's thread on WaGuns a while back, asking for input on the idea of starting up a class to replace Amy's. Many of us gave him input on instruction, guns, etc. -- and I'll be darned, but he went ahead and did it! :bigsmile: Curtis (Rutilate) started Adventure Protection with his wife, daughter and son as co-instructors, and they are now teaching women's-only classes at Cascade.

The first 2/3 of the class is in the classroom, including lattes and lunch, and then they head to the range for a couple of hours of shooting. For the last two classes, I've joined them as an observer for some of the classroom time, and as the range safety officer for the shooting portion, so I've had good opportunities to see first-hand how the instruction works and how the students react.

Let me start with a couple of things that the pessimistic side of me expected to see:

- I thought that the ladies (students) would react not-so-enthusiastically to having two male instructors, and not an all-female team like Amy had; and
- I thought that Curtis would be the "real" instructor and the other family members would just be there to go through the motions and fill in the numbers.

I'm happy to report that I was 100% wrong on both counts. :thumbsup2: All four of them actively teach portions of the classroom section, and all four of them are instructing simultaneously out at the range . . . and all four of them know their stuff and are good instructors, and the students appreciate that!

The two classes that I've attended had 11 and 10 students each. At the range, right from the get-go all of the students were proficient with the .22 Ruger pistols that they start with, keeping all of their shots in well-defined groups. They have all been extremely safe right from the start, which makes my job as RSO pretty easy! Obviously the ladies are getting great instruction in the classroom, and they are paying attention and learning.

They start out with .22 Ruger pistols, as I mentioned, and shoot those for a while. Then, they move up to a host of other guns that the instructors have brought: Sig P238, P938, M&P 9mm, M&P .45, 1911 .45, .22 revolver, a larger .357 revolver, a small .38 revolver, and I'm probably forgetting a few. The small .38 revolver is mainly used to demonstrate how damn painful they can be to shoot, even if the guy at the gun store recommended that you buy one. :ROFLMAO:

At the end of the class, the ladies are EXCITED and ENTHUSIASTIC, and ready to go handgun shopping! It is SO cool to see new shooters that excited!

If a lady in your life is interested in learning more about beginning handgun shooting, I would highly recommend that they check out the Adventure Protection classes. The schedule is on the web page, and the next class with available spots is June 30th. I'll keep showing up as RSO as long as they'll have me. :bigsmile:

You can also see some fun pics of previous classes on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/adventureprotection/

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Sun May 13, 2018 6:37 pm
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That is an impressive write-up and review.

I, too, held many of your assumptions, though I tried to contribute to that thread.

Kudos to Curtis & clan for operating a class with substance, and to you for taking the time to observe & report.

I may know a couple of future participants....


Sun May 13, 2018 6:55 pm
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Congrats. Next up, a ladies-only action pistol league!


Sun May 13, 2018 6:58 pm
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Amazing write up.

Says a lot of this group to have you. We are fortunate to have them and we should all support them in one way or another.

Basically, word of mouth. If you know of anyone that would be interested please have them check them out.


Sun May 13, 2018 7:36 pm
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Steve and others,
Thanks so much for that great review and the comments. These comments, coupled with the women's excitement on the range, makes everything worth doing!

Since we began our classes back in April we’ve trained 31 women.

We had one mother recovering from cancer treatments who came to support her 20yo daughter who was thrown into a closet during a false alarm active shooter incident at the SouthCenter mall; they vowed they’d never be unprepared again.

We’ve had a large number of women who’ve never touched a gun in their lives who saw the armed robberies happening in their neighborhoods and decided to get training before getting a firearm for home defense.

We’ve had two real estate agents get training before buying a firearm. One of them was attacked while showing a house and vowed it would never happen again.

Most of these ladies are going out to get their concealed carry permits. Many of them are buying their first guns. All of them have expressed interest in becoming members at a local gun range.

Women are assuming much greater power and influence within our society. Like Steve, I'm convinced that women are going to be the biggest contributors to the shooting sports and the greatest inhibitor of the erosion of our rights. Mothers play a significant role in establishing norms for children. The left is very effectively using mothers to promote gun control. We need to help more women establish norms where firearms are a tool to be safely used and enjoyed.

In our house we've gone from no guns ever to introducing over 50 other youth, women, and men to firearms. When she was younger, my wife was a witness to an horrible and tragic gun-related suicide. As we were married having guns in the house was almost a deal-breaker. She reluctantly agreed to attend a safety course where a very kind old gentleman took her under his wing, taught her safety, and then how to shoot. She very nearly bested my performance. Afterward, she recognized that guns are a merely a tool, just like a shovel, chain saw, or even a truck. As with all tools, there are safety rules that need to be followed. She has since taken a significant number of training courses with me, including simunitions force on force training (where she again outperformed me!). She has supported our three kids in the shooting sports, and has brought along her friends to the range for instruction. My daughter has brought a number of her friends to the range for their first intro to firearms.

My wife recently attended an NRA instructor course where she was noticeably dismissed by the instructors during class. At the firing range, two RSOs hovered over her, while a ~20yo male who admitted to being new was unsupervised two lanes over. She proceeded to drill out the bullseye, leaving only a ragged ring of black showing--the RSOs disappeared. Someone later said, "I've seen you shoot. You belong here." That was when my wife realized that we have to provide women-only classes. Her own experience told her that due to (typically unconscious) bias, women have to prove themselves before they can be included in the sport. And yet there typically isn't a place where they can develop those skills in order to be accepted. She introduces each of our classes by telling the ladies, "We assume you are smart and capable of learning a new skill. Firearms are a tool, and learning to safely store and accurately shoot them is merely a set of new skills. This is the place where you can learn those skills, make mistakes and learn from them because we're here to keep you safe every step of the way." And the ladies love it.

We'd love to have you join us on the journey, and we'd love your suggestions on how to do so. Here are a couple of things I've learned along the way:
  1. Invite the women along with you. Take some time to show them how to shoot. And start them with the smaller calibers (.22, .380, big frame 9)
  2. Don't give them the "girl guns." A woman was given a S&W J-frame pistol, which she shot for the first time at our class. She shot it once, hated it, said she was selling it on Monday. Small guns may fit small hands, but the recoil is murder on small and/or unconditioned wrists. If they aren't shown a better alternative, they will give up on guns altogether.
  3. Focus on safety and fun, rather than killing. It seems obvious, but safety and fun resonates with the ladies, followed closely by home protection
  4. Try not to use jargon. The beginning ladies often don't know the cartridge and caliber designations, nor the gun model numbers. Beyond the safety rules, there are only four things they need to remember: front sight, rear sight, trigger, and magazine (vs. clip). This is a whole new world and if we can ease them into it without overwhelm, they'll retain it.
  5. Patience! I've had so many women tell us on the range, "This is going so much better than when my SO tried to teach me!" Think about how you teach a new employee, barely graduated from high school, trade school, or college. Assume they're smart and just need to learn the ropes. You might have to repeat the rules a time or two but that's ok as they're drinking from a fire hose and trying to put everything together.
  6. And be careful of showing off. "Preening" is common in so many males in the animal kingdom. We all do it, and that's ok. But when taking a new shooter to the range it is ok to fold up your tail feathers and focus on how they can learn and improve rather than how much you've learned and improved over the years.

How else do you think we can get more women to the range and involved in the sport?

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Adventure Protection: Women-only basic protection and firearm instruction
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Last edited by Rutilate on Wed May 16, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed May 16, 2018 11:14 am
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Verbally describing sight picture does not work for everyone. This helps
https://gundigest.com/gun-videos/gundig ... every-time


Wed May 16, 2018 11:57 am
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quantsuff wrote:
Verbally describing sight picture does not work for everyone. This helps
https://gundigest.com/gun-videos/gundig ... every-time

That is brilliant. I’m making those stencils and putting them into the class!

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Wed May 16, 2018 12:08 pm
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I wish this were closer, I might be able to talk Rita into going, but not if she'll have to drive for an hour to get there and back.

Rutilate/Curtis, I suggest you create a signature for all of your posts with a link to your classes in it so people don't have to go scrounge for it.

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Wed May 16, 2018 1:36 pm
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delliottg wrote:
I wish this were closer, I might be able to talk Rita into going, but not if she'll have to drive for an hour to get there and back.

Rutilate/Curtis, I suggest you create a signature for all of your posts with a link to your classes in it so people don't have to go scrounge for it.

Wow. You're absolutely correct! I just added the .sig. Thanks for the suggestion.

And you're right, Duvall is a long haul. We'd certainly love to have her join us. I'm a relatively recent coffee fanatic (funny story for later). I bring my espresso machine to the class and serve lattes to the ladies while my wife welcomes everyone and kicks off the class. The ladies love it, and it has a fascinating psychological leveling effect, making us all more equal in the classroom. I'd be happy to ply Rita with some amazing coffee to perk her up after the drive and prepare her for the drive back! :-)

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Wed May 16, 2018 2:05 pm
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Curtis,

My staff are always looking for "bonding" adventures together. Assuming they'd be interested (I'll ask them), can I contact you to arrange a private group class?

I was going to PM this question, but thought others might want to do something similar so I figured I'd ask in the thread.

Thanks!


Wed May 16, 2018 2:24 pm
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DGM33 wrote:
Curtis,
My staff are always looking for "bonding" adventures together. Assuming they'd be interested (I'll ask them), can I contact you to arrange a private group class?

I was going to PM this question, but thought others might want to do something similar so I figured I'd ask in the thread.


Love to! We had someone ask about doing a course as a birthday party. It’s a great idea! We may need some advance notice to get approval from the club, but I'm happy to work with you and find a way to make it work.

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Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 pm
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Rutilate wrote:
quantsuff wrote:
Verbally describing sight picture does not work for everyone. This helps
https://gundigest.com/gun-videos/gundig ... every-time

That is brilliant. I’m making those stencils and putting them into the class!

A .pdf or other on-line resource for making them would be a dandy resource to share.


Wed May 16, 2018 2:57 pm
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If you have any box dividers.
Like the ones used in bottle boxes to divide a case of alcohol. Cut those babies up and they make instant sight pictures.


Wed May 16, 2018 3:01 pm
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