As an Instructor for Handgun Carry Permit Training, it has always amazed me that only about 10-15% of our class participants are female. One would certainly think that females must at least have an equal concern about their personal safety as men have. In the eight years that I have been training the Minnesota mandated course, I have made a point to inquire with women taking my course as to why more women are not taking the course. The following are some of the reasons that have been offered:
1. The individual has never been exposed to firearms, say hunting or target shooting in her family when she was young, and therefore has a fear of firearms (just like the fear when we all had when we first rode a bike or drove a car, etc).
2. The individual would like to learn but is concerned about her lack of knowledge and experience, especially when being around men who seemingly "know it all". She may, in fact, feel that she cannot master the skills in order to be proficient with a firearm.
3. As in number 2, the individual would probably enroll in a class if it were for "women only". The possibility of taking a "beginner's" class before taking the carry permit class might also be helpful.
4. Some individuals are not concerned about their safety or feel that they would probably just faint or worse (submit) if confronted by an assailant. Some women feel that the "Man" is their life will protect them. As my wife would say "A MAN IS NOT A PLAN" for financial or personal security!
5. The overall cost may be a factor for some (training, permit issuance, purchasing a firearm).
If you, or someone you know, fits into one of the above categories, I think we CAN HELP. Let's look at each of the above concerns:
1. This is quite common and very understandable - utilizing a firearm can be dangerous (just like driving a car) if you do not have the proper training and experience. WE can provide the training and experience on an individual or group (women only) basis. Not only will we train you in how a firearm operates so that you know what to watch for, but we will train you how to physically control and operate the firearm. This will be done in a very casual, but safe, environment. We will not rush you or make you take a test other than to have you demonstrate that you have understood the instructor. ONE CAUTION, when a women expresses an interest in learning about firearms, it is almost inevitable that her husband, father, boyfriend, etc says "no problem, I will teach you". Whereas I'm sure that some relationships allow for this to be an enjoyable experience, more times than not this is not the case!
2. Most, if not all, of these problems will be taken care of as stated in #1 above. Learning any new skill takes training and repetitive practice. Fortunately, learning to safely shoot a firearm has a quick learning curve. You will be AMAZED how quickly your skills improve over just a couple of hours.
3. We do offer (Women Only) courses, both in beginning firearms classes as well as the carry permit course. The Carry Permit Course does require a minimum of 3 ladies to offer at our base rate. We can offer individual or smaller group training at a slightly higher fee.
4. In some respects, I think that it is great that an individual feels that their lifestyle presents no risk to their personal safety, but one has to wonder if they are really being realistic. Regarding the inability to defend themselves, our courses (carry permit as well as our non-firearm self-defense class) both spend a large amount of time discussing the mental side of defending one self. Self-Defense, with or without a firearm, is probably 90% mental and only 10% physical!
5. Yup - cost is always a factor to most of us! We, at Pioneer Industries and the Carry Depot, are constantly working on ways to maintain our low fees or even reduce them further. Here is what we have done and offer to our students:
a. Our Carry Permit Training fees are some of the lowest in the state. Our group rates (4 of more) are even lower.
b. If you feel that you would benefit by taking a beginners class first, our beginning pistol class is only $40 and includes a manual to take home and the use of a pistol/ammunition for the range.
c. We are constantly working with the local surrounding county sheriffs to reduce their fee for the issuance of the permit.
d. We will consider a reduced fee for those individuals who can demonstrate a financial need (single moms, etc)
e. Since we are also an FFL firearms dealer, we have spent a considerable amount of time finding firearms that represent a real value. One does not have to spend a lot of money to get an effective and dependable self-defense firearm.