By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published June 28, 2016
I have been blessed throughout my shooting career to learn from some great teachers and mentors, men such as Jim O’Young. I never had a female instructor. For me, this was OK. I wanted to advance my knowledge and skills in the shooting sports, and it did not matter to me whether I learned from a man or woman. I grew accustomed to taking classes surrounded by men. I learned how to shoot by taking 2 years of firearm safety classes taught by a male instructor in a class filled with mostly guys. In the advanced classes, there were no women.
Yet, although it didn’t hinder my advancement in the sport, the relative lack of female firearm instructors is an issue that needs to be addressed if we hope to grow female participation in the shooting sports.
We often feel most comfortable when we are surrounded by people with whom we identify. As such, many women might find it more comfortable to get their feet wet in the shooting sports if they were in a class led by a female instructor.
The shooting range sometimes can be an uncomfortable place for women. Although it is becoming more common to see women at the range, there remains some stigma we have to overcome.
Earlier this year, I stopped by the grocery store on the way to my home gun range in California. I brought the paper bag containing the green vegetables I had bought at the store with me to the gun range, wanting to keep them cool. Most shooters and range officers at my home range know me, but on this day, there was a range officer there I had never met.