I am so exited to announce the formation of The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team! You may be wondering: “I thought TWAW was about empowering women for their personal protection?” Well you are right and that’s exactly why we have formed the team! You see, nothing hones our defensive firearm skills better than competitive shooting. The adrenaline, the movement, having to think and respond quickly on your feet, all help to grow our self-defensive skills.
My concern has been that there is a disconnect between competitive shooting and women. My desire is to help pave the way to remove the perceived hurdles and open the door for more women to get involved. To do that, this great team of ladies will be ambassadors and connect with women all over the country. They will introduce the different disciplines and show them just how fun it can be and that it is an option for ANY woman at any skill level. The purpose of The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team isn’t to win trophies, it is to spread the rewards and joys of training, and to encourage women to join in!
The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team is a group of regular women, just like you and me, with a wide range of shooting skills. They will compete in a variety of competitions and styles around the country and will share their experiences, challenges, accomplishments and insights with us.
I hope these women inspire you and help to begin to break down the walls that may be keeping you from some great training and some great fun!
Follow The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team on the team Facebook page!
Here are links to a number of competitive shooting organizations where you can find out more information, join and find scheudled events in your area.
“I am excited to represent TWAW because I whole-hardheartedly believe in being able to equip, empower and educate women in self-defense and become more self-confident.”
Even as a little kid, I loved to compete. It did not matter what it was. Growing up and until just recently, I showed horses in 3-day events and even competed internationally. Around 3 years ago, after teaching all day in a small town high school, I turned on the Dallas news to hear there was a triple murder in this very town I taught in. I thought I was safe living in a town of 600 and teaching in a rural small high school. Being single, I figured it was time I learned to defend myself.
A year later I learned how to shoot. Then became an NRA certified instructor. As I was missing competing horses, I decided to try competitive shooting and I was hooked. Shooting USPSA, IDPA, and Steel Challenge sanctioned matches is really fun. I also do the local zombie matches too. Competitive shooting hones my skills and gives me the opportunity to react and shoot under stress. Competitive shooting teaches you to think on your feet and react quickly and accurately with your shots. It increases your self-confidence and how you handle yourself in stressful situations.
“I love being able to see the joy and sense of accomplishment on ladies’ faces when they realize they can: they can shoot, they can defend themselves and most importantly that they can depend on themselves!”
Ten years ago, when I started dating my now husband, Matt, I had never touched a gun before in my life! However Matt had been in the Army, is currently a police officer and had hunted his whole life. He had heard about a sport called Cowboy Action Shooting and wanted to check out what it was all about and I decided to go along to spend time with him. The match we watched was the last one for the season and Matt became obsessed with getting ready to start shooting when the season started again in April.
The new season rolled around and Matt went shooting and I went to provide support. Well, half way into the season, he was not content with allowing me to just hang on the side lines. After a little bit of cajoling, I finally agreed to have him take me to the range for a lesson, so as to not make a fool out of myself!!
I want to say that after the first time on the range that I was hooked, but my sore shoulder, from not being told how to properly brace the shotgun, had me hesitant. I still went to the shoot later that month and had a good time, I was not the fastest or able to hit all of the targets, but I also wasn’t half bad! Slowly, Matt and I went from shooting once a month to twice a month to now we shoot at least three times a month plus travel to at least seven large competitions each year!
I have been blessed to have placed well in the majority of my competitions including 3rd place Ladies Gunfighter at Winter Range (National Competition) and Top Overall Lady at the PA State Shoot! What has me hooked is being able to push myself to do better and to be able to help new shooters with teaching them skills that I have learned from those that taught me! The people that I compete with are some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting! It’s difficult for me to imagine my life now without shooting, whether it is in competitions or just plinking at the range! I look forward to pushing myself to become a better shooter as well as trying as many new sports as possible and introducing women into the world of firearms and competitive shooting!
“I am excited to help get TWAW recognized in many new arenas and help women can find a group nearby or encourage them to start one of their own.”
When I started shooting in 2002, it was at a local gun club doing mostly bowling pin matches. Since then, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the gun club and started running an annual ladies days and have been for the past 12 years. A few years ago I became a certified NRA instructor and love teaching the basics of gun safety and how to shoot.
In 2003 I was introduced to USPSA at a local level and in 2008 I started traveling & shooting competitively in Open and Single Stack divisions. I truly enjoy the competition and the friendships and I try to pass on my knowledge to newer shooters while absorbing everything I can from those more experienced. I also shoot IDPA, Steel Challenge and 3-Gun – I guess I’ll do anything that involves the shooting sports.
“Empowering women is what brought me to The Well Armed Woman and being a part of the shooting team is The Well Armed Woman fun behind the gun!”
“I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be a part of The Well Armed Women shooting team and having this opportunity to share the passion of shooting with other women and show them how empowering it can be!”
I started shooting when I was about eight years old with my dad. We would attend the local rendezvous’ and I would compete with my muzzleloader. I am really proud of the many medallions I earn for placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the women’s divisions at 25, 50 and 75 yards. My muzzleloader is still my favorite gun to shoot!
In the late 90’s I was introduced to Cowboy Action Shooting, where I competed in the annual Hell on Wheels Shootout in Cheyenne Wyoming for many years. As a matter a fact, I married my husband at the 2003 Hell on Wheels Shootout in one of the bays in front of the Cheyenne Social Club facade. Judge Roy Bean, one of the founders of SASS, performed our ceremony. In 2013, my husband introduced me to modern pistols and steel challenge and I have been hooked ever since!
I had the honor of shooting on the first all ladies squad at IDPA Nationals in 2014, which is what really got me interested in becoming an NRA Instructor and the desire to pass on my passion for shooting to other women through TWAW. Now, I shoot as many local competitions that I can, including bowling pin, steel challenge, defensive pistol, long range and NRA action pistol. It was so cool to earn the Ladies Champion at the 1st annual NRA Action Piston Steamboat Challenge in 2015. My most proud shooting moment was competing in the American Marksman Nationals in January 2017 with three other TWAW sisters and being one of the 9 top amateur women shooters in the nation!
“Believe in yourself – sometimes making your best shot involves taking a long shot.”
Growing up in Louisiana, my grandfather taught me to have a healthy respect for all firearms. My early years were spent behind rifles and shotguns; the first being a .410 that belonged to my grandfather. (Considering where I’m at in life now, it’s a fair statement to say I’ve been shooting most of my life.)
I was in my early 20s before I actually picked up a handgun. Like rifles and shotguns being a necessity for hunting, self-protection was a motivator for acquiring a pistol. My first pistol was a .357. It was a gift and well-intentioned as it was, it was more of a handful than a Hollywood actor in rehab. It’s a wonder my firearms warm and fuzzy didn’t stop there! But, I was determined it wasn’t going to beat me!
Like most everyone else, life had different ideas about the extent to which firearms would be involved in my everyday life. But, along the way there have been adventures with firearms including competing in old west re-enactment and cowboy fast draw.
Since being at my current range for the last several years, I’ve been fortunate to have unprecedented access to some of the best instructors in the firearms industry today in handgun, carbine and precision rifle. The chance to learn from their experience has been invaluable and runs the gamut from defensive to competitive to hunting. Working where I do has presented me with the opportunity to finally combine my love of firearms with how I make my life. From that sprang a new personal goal – instructor.
I’m proud to be a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and our resident instructor for women. I had to overcome physical challenges, including a sight issue, to get where I am. It taught me that perseverance is potential. Conquering those challenges made being able to shoot even more precious to me.
Showing women that no matter what, you can ‘stay in the fight’ and defy the odds no matter your age or abilities, is a universal lesson. Perhaps that is why the empowerment message of The Well Armed Woman has always resonated with me. Being in a rural area and knowing there are like-minded women who share a passion for self-sufficiency, I decided to start a local Chapter here in north central Texas. There is a wealth of untapped potential here and my plan is to excavate and nurture it through this organization.
My main reason for becoming a firearms instructor for women was my passion to inspire women to take control for themselves. That has been my instructor ‘mission statement’, it’s what drives me to continue to improve my own self and, it’s what I want to bring to the competition stage for The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team.
Competing in IDPA, IPSC and other sanctioned events may be new to me but, competition itself has not been a stranger to me – my mother would probably tell you it’s in my DNA. I was a competitor in dance, rodeo and horse showing for much of my life. Being new to this type of competition just means I’m a blank slate waiting for my competitive story to be written…page one!
Like many women I came to shooting later in life. I was born in The Netherlands, and wound up in Costa Rica as the owner of a small hotel and restaurant. That’s where I met my husband, Trevor, and the next thing I knew I was living on his parents farm in Ohio. I never knew anyone who shot guns. Same in Ohio, although Trevor’s parents had been competitive archers and had the equipment. That was great! I had done archery in The Netherlands and loved the precision, the focus, and making an accurate shot.
I got Trevor interested and we began to shoot archery. When we moved to Florida, we wanted to continue, so we found Flagler Gun & Archery Club nearby and joined. They had archery ranges, but it was also a gun club. That got us thinking. We were living in a city and decided we should have a gun in the home for protection. Trevor bought a 9mm pistol and we started going to the club to learn to shoot. The other club members were great! There were very skilled shooters, including competitive shooters who had won trophies in World and National Championships.
They saw that Trevor and I were new and all of them helped us. We learned so much! Then Trevor saw an IDPA match and decided we should start shooting that to improve our skills. I was nervous at first, but once I got called to shoot everything changed. It was no different than archery. I got into the ‘zone’ and was hooked! After 3 years of competition I decided to take the courses for NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and Well Armed Woman Instructor. Part of that was for me to continue to grow as a shooter, but also to give back.
I remember how my fellow shooters had helped teach myself and Trevor. I felt I could help other women in the same way. At the last big IDPA CCP Sanctioned Match in Florida I won High Lady. I’ve also placed well at the few Glock Matches I’ve shot. Steel Challenge is also fun, and definitely a ‘challenge’. Next is USPSA. There are so many matches to choose from. I love it! I never touched a gun until I was well in my forties, but if I had known how much fun it was I would have started way earlier!
Read the article on SSUSA about Natasja HERE
Follow The Well Armed Woman Shooting Team on the team Facebook page!