Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:45 pm | Updated: 11:00 am, Fri Sep 12, 2014.
By Kelly Cannon
Sitting in folding chairs at long, thin tables, a group of women gather in a small classroom. They talk, laugh and listen to each other. Their ages range, but most are over 40. They wear comfortable t-shirts and either jeans or shorts. All are wearing tennis shoes. At the front of the classroom, lying dormant on the tables, are a Glock pistol, a Smith and Wesson handgun, a hunting riffle and an AR-16. This is no sewing circle. This is The Well Armed Woman.
Started in 2012 by Carrie Lightfoot, the Well Armed Woman is “where the feminine and firearms meet.” When Lightfoot became interested in purchasing and carrying guns several years ago, she became frustrated over the lack of resources available to women who were interested in guns. She set out to change that.
TWAW Chapters Today
There are now dozens of chapters all over the country dedicated to “educate, equip and empower” women gun owners. The Logan-Cache County chapter is new on the scene and is growing in popularity. The group meets once a month for two hours at the Cache Valley Public Shooting Range. The first hour is a discussion of some kind. The July meeting was dedicated to firearm nomenclature. The group matched up gun terminology with their definitions, including chamber, armor piercing bullets and cartridge. The August meeting focused on the various kinds of holsters available for conceal carry. Participants tried on over 20 different kinds of holsters— including a bra holster— to see which one felt right for them.
The local classes are lead by Beverly Powell, an outgoing brunette who goes out of her way to remember everyone’s name. Powell’s expertise in guns is apparent after only moments of chatting with her, but her resume includes credentials as a concealed firearms permit instructor, NRA handgun and rifle instructor, firearm fundamentals instructor and a range safety officer. She knows not only a lot about guns, she knows guns from a woman’s perspective.
“It’s not a man’s world,” Powell said. “The mystery of shooting a gun is not lost to us.”
Powell believes the Well Armed Woman is successful because it is women teaching women.
“Women know how to teach women,” Powell explained. “Women know the details.”
The second half of each meeting is spent on the gun range. Powell divides her time between instructing other women, offering tips and tricks, and shooting her gun herself. After unloading her magazine, she flashes her winning smile. “Man, I love this.”
Why is Giving Women a Chance to Learn SO Important?
In today’s society, it’s hard to talk about guns without invoking controversy. Gun control is a hot topic, with everyone having some opinion. The Well Armed Woman is not ignorant of the argument.
“Guns are a part of our history. It’s a choice,” Powell said. “I’m not going to criticize someone for being anti-gun. I just wish they would respect our choice to be pro-gun.”
There are many reasons why a woman would be drawn to an all-women gun class. Some are looking for ways to protect themselves from very real domestic danger and an all woman class offers a feeling of safety. Others are looking to protect their families against intruders. Others are just looking for a hobby.
Logan resident Vicki Jones has shot rifles most of her life and joined the Well Armed Woman to get more into handguns. The July meeting was her third time shooting a pistol.
“I took a conceal carry class and I decided to get a handgun,” Jones said. “I wanted to learn how to be safe.”
She explained that the most interesting part of the classes has been learning about how triggers work and how a gun works in general.
“It gives you more confidence to know,” Jones said.
Read more about The Well Armed Woman in the News