Fast forward...a few years ago, I found myself living alone with a teenaged daughter and traveling quite a bit. At the coaxing of a friend that I should learn how to protect myself, I decided to get a gun and a permit to carry. I borrowed a gun and signed up for the TN carry permit class. I was the only female. I remember being very intimidated by a lot of the terminology and being totally lost in much of the conversation because of my lack of knowledge regarding guns. I also had difficulty focusing on the lecture, because all I could think about was whether or not I would be able to pass the shooting portion of the test. I completed the written exam, and miraculously, put enough holes in the target to pass the class.
Not long after obtaining my concealed carry permit, a friend gave me a Glock 23C, my first-owned gun. I decided that if I was going to own a gun, it was probably a good idea to become better acquainted with it, so I started going to the range with a male friend to practice. Because I wanted to improve, I started going alone and more frequently. Whenever I was at the range, I saw only a handful of ladies, usually with a male counterpart, experiencing much of the same things I had experienced in the past, and hearing on more than one occasion, “Hey, honey, why don’t you try to shoot this?”
The more experience I gained, the more confident I became. I literally became obsessed with the sport of shooting. I took a few classes, asked a lot of questions, and searched all over the web and You Tube for information. The more I learned, the more I realized that my needs and interests as a female shooter were different from the guys. I made some terrible mistakes and choices in my purchases of guns, holsters, and various accessories that didn’t come close to meeting my needs as a female shooter.
I saw a TV series during which Nikki Jones, the owner of Austin Sure Shots, an all-ladies pistol club, made an appearance. I happened to be in the Austin area and went to her gun club. On the trip home, all I could think about was how awesome it would be to belongto an all-ladies shooting club in Tennessee. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything in the local area that matched my interest. (However, since starting my own club, I have met some fabulous women in the area that have shooting organizations that I just didn’trealize existed.) I wanted to share my love and passion for guns with other ladies. I wanted to create a safe and social environment where they could come together and be educated about firearms and/or share their knowledge with other ladies. A place where a beginner could be comfortable while learning, and a place where experienced shooters could improve their skills. Through the encouragement of a close friend, and with the support of Eric Matson from Tactical Advantage Corp (TAC), I was able to start an all-ladies gun club, “Aphrodite Shooters,” where we encourage ladies to “Love their Guns”. In May 2013, the Aphrodite Shooters had their first club meeting at TAC. We had three members in attendance. Today, we have over 75 members and are growing each week! We are so grateful to TAC, not only for sponsoring the Aphrodite Shooters and our club's events, but TAC also offers a wide range of women’s only classes and stocks their range with guns and accessories geared towards the female shooters.
A few weeks ago, I was practicing at the range and saw one of our club members with her spouse. She had just purchased a new 1911 and was trying it out for the first time. As I was loading my magazine, I overheard her yell to her husband (who was shooting on another lane), “Hey, honey, why don’t you try to shoot this?” It made my day!