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Opinion

Women’s Armed Defense Weekend In Detroit 2023

Rick Ector invites women to come shoot for free. This makes sense in so many ways. We want everyone to be able to defend themselves. If you didn’t grow up around firearms, then you might have doubts if you could ever handle a gun safely. Last weekend, 1400 women found out that they can shoot, and many can shoot very well.

Yes, I said one-thousand-four-hundred women came to this event. How do you get that small army of women to safely handle a gun and leave with a smile? For one thing, it takes practice and friends. It takes lots of friends.

Success leads to smiles

Rick Ector organized this event for over a decade. His first invitation drew about 50 women. It has been growing steadily since then. That doesn’t mean it is easy.

  • To start, generate enough publicity to get 2400 people to sign up on Eventbrite.
  • Find donors to fund the weekend. Michigan gun owners donated the targets. Gun Owners of America donated in the past and hosted a dinner for the volunteers after the event this year. I am not sure who all the donors were this year.
  • Get two shooting ranges to close for the weekend while they throw open their doors to this training event. Thank you to both Recoil Firearms and to Top Gun Shooting Sports.
  • Buy about 5-thousand earplugs and 2,500 sets of eye protection glasses. That will fill your closet for sure.
  • Source and deliver 25-thousand rounds of 9mm ammunition. Thank you Gun Food and Patrick Collins.
  • Have a local firearms builder deliver Glocks, and Smiths for the students to use. Thank you ATEI Guns.
  • Call your friends who are firearms instructors and have them travel to Detroit for the weekend. Put about 50 volunteer staff on the firing line split between the two ranges.

That barely touches the surface of what happened.

Firearms Safety and Introduction to Shooting

Every two hours from 9am to 5pm, one to two hundred students arrived at each range. The students heard a lecture on armed defense and firearms safety. They stepped to the range where they practiced finger discipline and muzzle discipline on inert rubber guns. They were issued eye protection and ear protection. Then the students came to the shooting lanes and the instructors went to work.

This was a short introduction so new shooters would have the confidence to later sign up for a group class on basic pistol shooting. We kept it simple on the firing line. I concentrated on grip, aim, and trigger press. I had between 35 to 40 students that weekend. Some were shooting all over the target and some were shooting remarkably well.

Student on the firing line at Recoil Range

After they shot, lots of the women shared a picture of their target and looked at taking a class.

I had one student who was so nervous that she couldn’t stand still at the sound of gunshots. Three of the students I met already owned guns. We started to teach proper grip while using a rubber gun. Several of the women could not comfortably hold a double stack handgun so we switched them to a single stack firearm.

Most of the students had trouble using the sights at first. The SIRT laser training guns were invaluable to get new shooters to actually line up the sights on the target. A few of the students were in such a hurry to press the trigger that we had to slow them down. That is a common problem so we have several drills that focus on the trigger press.

I had about 6 people who were putting bullets through the same ragged hole 10 to 15 times as they shot at four yards. I struggle to shoot that well.

The students came for every reason imaginable. Some were simply curious. Some had seen violence, and some were the victims of violence. I’m glad I got to meet them.

What would it take to put on an event like this near you? Might I suggest courage, determination, and friends. You’ll need a lot of friends.

Instructors and Staff at Recoil Range

Rob Morse

Rob Morse works and writes in Southwest Louisiana. He writes at Ammoland, at his Slowfacts blog, and here at Clash Daily. Rob co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast, and hosts the Self-Defense Gun Stories Podcast each week.