Skip to comments.Women take aim
Posted on 12/23/2008 9:13:14 AM PST by Graybeard58
Left hand tucked casually into the pocket of her cargo pants, body cocked at a 45-degree angle, Sheila Thompson outstretched her arm, locked her elbow and pointed a .22 caliber pistol at her target.
The bullet exploded out of the barrel, splintering the quietness of the indoor range. Bright yellow ear plugs muffling the sound, Thompson kept shooting.
Wednesday is when the Blue Trail Belles meet for target practice. About 25 ladies, some dressed in cargo pants and Nike sneakers, like Thompson, others in pointy fashion boots, make up the Wallingford shooting range's women's pistol league. The group practices bullseye shooting, or one-handed shooting.
"They make a night out of it," said Lenny Smittner, as he sat around a table with his friends and watched through a window as his wife, Cathy, 58, coached the shooters. "It's women's night out."
According to the National Rifle Association, 4 million women participate in target practice nationally. The association sponsors annual women's shooting classes and reported that the class grew from 500 to 6,000 within six years.
Cathy, who has been shooting more than 20 years and works for the North Haven police department, said she's the marksman in the family.
"I clean the guns, he does the dishes," she laughed. "Many people think that shooting sports are a man's activity...many women are excellent shooters and look at this activity as a way to relax and unwind from the day's stress."
The group practices slow, medium and rapid fire shooting and compete, against men, at other area gun clubs. Competitions are usually once a month. Women from nurses to teachers to parole officers, mostly from the Greater New Haven area, make up the club. Cathy began coaching the Blue Trail Belles in 2000, but said the group is "umpteen years old," and has been around for decades. It's the only women's shooting club in the area.
"It's one of the few sports where men and women can compete on equal footing, with no distinct advantage for either sex," she said.
Thompson, currently the only member from the Greater Waterbury Area, has been a member of the ladies pistol club for three years. She said it's a confidence builder and wanted to keep shooting after getting out of the military and found herself practicing at the Blue Trail Range. When she heard about the women's group, she couldn't resist.
"It's less intimidating (shooting with other women)," she said. "The ladies here are pretty fun, we've become good friends."
Between rounds they gather around the TV for biscotti, coffee and chit-chat.
Thompson, 38, said some women "don't even like to look at a gun," but encourages ladies to try it out.
"You can get as involved as you want," she said. "You can rent a gun for $3, that's cheaper than bowling. See if you like it."
Cathy, certified pistol instructor and coach of the Belles, said the Blue Trail Belles grew by 11 members this year, noting that not all members compete.
Some in the Wallingford club, Cathy said, choose to compete against themselves from week to week. Others join the group because their husbands have guns in the home and they want to learn more about firearms, she added.
"There are about 10 who are really into it," she said, adding that learning about firearms teaches safety and responsibility.
"The discipline that the sport requires also spills over into everyday lives. Women should take time to learn about firearms so that the stigma of 'they can be bad and dangerous' can be erased," she said. "The more one learns about firearms, the safer they and the people around them will be."
Those who do compete are classified as a marksman and their scores are submitted to the NRA.
The Blue Trail Belles season lasts from November through April and women are invited to visit anytime.
For more information call (203) 269-3280.
My wife and I just picked up our Class A LTC’s this past weekend - very excited especially since we live in Massachusetts and expected a humongous ass-ache. The first thing we did was make a b-line to our local armory to enquire about the Taurus ‘Judge’. Anybody have any thoughts and opinions on this model? The cover of the latest NRA Rifleman magazine features it and the write-up for it was very favorable. Any first-hand experiences out there?
Ain't nothing sexier than a woman with a gun in her hand. Provided it's not pointed at me, that is.
My daughter and I are going tomorrow when she gets home from school to break in the new Sig 232.
Bought the wife a Ruger 22/45 (Mark 2). She groups real nice at 15 yeards indoor.
Some of the best money I ever spent; range time is ‘quality time” (AKA a date)!
A while ago someone askede her if she wanted to shoot a S&W BFR .50. Nearly took her thumbnail off but she actually got on paper at 25 yards!
Got my wife a Walther P22. She absolutely LOVES it. Now, she wants a Sig P232 for carry.
Some of the best money I ever spent; range time is quality time (AKA a date)!
Ain't that the truth!
I haven't fired the Judge but I've fired a lot of Taurus revolvers.
If at all possible, try to shoot it before you buy it.
A revolver made by any of the larger manufacturers is going to generally be ok quality-wise, so how it feels in your hand and how you perceive the recoil are going to be much bigger factors in how happy you are with your purchase.
We looked at several Taurus, Smith and Charter Arms revolvers before we settled on the Ruger and that was a happy accident.
We went looking for a particular kind of weapon for Mrs. Knitebane. It had to be a revolver, less than a 3 inch barrel, either hammerless or shrouded hammer and in .357 caliber.
We had pretty much made up our minds on either a J-Frame Smith or a Taurus when we came across the Ruger SP-101. I have a special place in my heart for Rugers since my first large caliber revolver was a Security Six but I wasn't aware that Ruger made a hammerless six gun.
That it came from the factory with Crimson Trace lasergrips was a definite plus and we jumped on it.
SP-101 with a crimson trace?
Isnt that offered as a special ruger package gun?
My dear saintly mother is getting an old school smith and wesson chief’s special thurs morning..Just like the one dad has.
that’s because in most cases, women dont have those bad habits they need to unlearn...thats why they tend to become good shots.
Rule one, never point the gun at your husband.
We had plenty of women competing in both center fire and rim fire competitions (alternate weeks). The women were very competitive. Often one of them would have the top score for the evening.
.44 Mag is ok for a few rounds but it is too much for me to do much more than empty a cylinder.
The great philosopher Harold Callahan once said that a man has got to know his own limitations and .44 Mag is pushing mine!
That’s a really hot Bulgarian....
My wife chases cans all over the yard with her P22. It used to be mine. I had to get another one just so I could plink too.
Sig 232 How do you llke it ? A couple of times the round got hung up going from mag to barrel when you put a loaded mag in.
As a cetified instructor of firearms and martial arts I can say without hesitation, women make the BEST students!
Every city and town needs these indoor shooting ranges. Shooting is a great family sport. It would most likley put bowling in second place during the winter months.
But most of all people could learn firearm saftey in a safe enviroment.
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