I never thought it would be easy. I knew it would be a struggle. Being a woman in the firearms field is still challenging. Julie Golob and other women like her have been doing it a long time. They have opened doors but each journey is different depending on your area. Stepping into the firearm community with a plan is not what most do. Having goals to achieve while others are just slinging brass down the lane is not common. I would meet many obstacles which I was not prepared for, I blindly trusted instructors and learned from that as well.
Since I decided to take this journey into the shooting world, I have met many personalities. The very predictable ‘southern gentleman’ who is all sweetness and condescension about how this is a man’s world but you can have the smaller guns to practice with. Here you go, take this very nice pink pistol that will fit in your purse.
The ‘how dare you’ men who either are supportive but limiting or the plain outright, I have 20+ years of experiences, how dare you think you can you can do what I do! Let me explain the supportive but limiting part, these people will encourage you to the point they feel comfortable with in your growth.
Once you reach that threshold, they treat you as if you cannot grow anyone until you stay in your current condition for a period of time. It doesn’t matter how much you practice, how hard you work. Their mental peak for you is your current training peak. How do you like those limitations?
‘I support the NRA but loathe the NRA type’. At some point in this person’s life they have gotten upset at the NRA and played that broken record until it has become a part of their training. It can be an instructor from another walk of life such as law enforcement, military, etc. that doesn’t value the education the NRA provides to civilians because they feel they could do it better.
Or the NRA critics that feel the training is not sufficient for their liking. These critics are dangerous, if they are so critical of a firearms training program that has been informing and encouraging shooters for decades then using them as an instructor should come with a warning label. The NRA training program is nationally recognized and professionally developed whereas it is a crap shoot with some instructors and their homegrown curricula.
Each student I teach is a learning experience for me. I learn what is effective for each student and I can add that to my teaching toolbox. Using the NRA’s curriculum provides a solid base of knowledge for all shooters. The NRA curricula only goes so far, but for most it is all they want. Not everyone wants to become a tactical shooter or shoot in competition.
I have also met some of the most giving and caring people while on this journey. People who will cheer you on and encourage you because they enjoy seeing other succeed and want to encourage you to do so. Ones that will find any way to compliment you so that you feel encouraged. Instructors that will share their knowledge and experience without being egotistical. The women instructors who have been down this path and encourage new shooters and instructors on their journey, too many to name to fully effectively thank them but one in particular is Kathy Jackson.
I doubted my journey when I ran into the ‘support the NRA but loathe the NRA type’ – I almost gave up because I kept hearing that even though you achieve a level you’re not ready to move on the next level until you spend x amount of time in the current level. I call BS. If you feel you are ready, go for it. If you’re not ready you will realize it and step back and re-evaluate.
I pledge to be one of the supportive voices, to be an encourager, I will tell you if you need an instructor past my experience level. No one’s ego should be a part of your training, you are in training for you, not the instructor. I will give you my best for you to be able to do your best, that is my pledge.