Shooting guns and drinking is no longer just for the boys.
At Blackstone Shooting Sports, women can sign up for Shoot Then Sip, a firearms class and social activity that brings women together in the name of shooting rounds.
The monthly Shoot Then Sip started about a year ago and has since grown in popularity and garnered positive reviews. Women who may be intimidated by the male-dominated industry can learn about firearm safety and learn how to shoot by practicing on various targets with other women in a nonjudgmental setting before retiring to the VIP lounge for wine and hors d’oeuvres.
The instructor, Bonnie Matera, walks attendees through an hour-long instruction, answering questions and ensuring that women are comfortable with the handguns.
Corey Brausch, marketing manager at Blackstone Shooting Sports, said the instruction is important for women who want to ask questions that might otherwise be deemed as “silly.”
“I’ve found the way ladies have responded with our instructor Bonnie is a breakdown of the how and the why,” Brausch explained. “We‘ve heard that the girls are like, ‘Well, we want to know why. What happens when you do this? And why do you do this? What happens if you don’t do this?’ We don’t want to feel like we’re asking silly questions.”
Brausch said that it can be intimidating for women like herself who want to enter the shooting sports culture — whether as a means of self-defense or as a hobby — because it’s such a male-dominated industry and seen as something that men do with their friends, fathers and brothers.
Shoot Then Sip mitigates those issues for women, Brausch said.
“We’ve had a lot of ladies that come in who were really intimidated by just getting started and then we have also ladies who have had previous experience but haven’t had the best time learning,” she elaborated. “They felt they were frustrated or overwhelmed and then they heard about Shoot Then Sip and they would come and hang out with other ladies who had the same exact experiences that they had, so they feel like, ‘Oh well, it’s not just me, it’s other girls too.’”
After watching Shoot Then Sip become popular, Blackstone Shooting Sports began adding more women-only classes and passes in addition to the monthly Shoot Then Sip, which takes place on the third Tuesday of every month, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We’re in the works of planning a ladies-only training pass,” Brausch said. “It might not be more classes like Shoot Then Sip, but it’ll be level-ups.”
These “level-ups” may include concealed carry classes, defensive handgun instruction and a level two version of Shoot Then Sip that goes into greater detail for more skilled trainees. Because regardless of your stance on guns in general, a populace that’s better trained in using them safely is never a bad thing.