The last afternoon was dedicated to some casual shooting. Ruger provided a plethora of its smaller pocket-pistols for us to try out. It was a great opportunity for the Ruger ladies and myself to familiarize ourselves with guns we've never shot before to see what sort of fit and size we preferred. For myself, those little pocket-pistols just weren't very comfortable, and I much preferred the full-sized SR9.
This statue can be found at the main entrance of the Prescott, Ariz., Ruger plant. Though I was not able to take pictures inside, it was exciting to see where the SR9 and other semi-auto's are manufactured.
When we finally loaded up our magazines and the range went "hot" the instructors were on hand to correct any mistakes. Safety was the number one priority, and if someone committed a safety infraction the instructors were not shy about letting you know. For such a large class, I was impressed by the amount of time each individual got with an instructor. For example, I was having trouble drawing my SR9, and Gary Smith stayed with me until we figured out the problem; I was canting my elbow ever-so slightly making it nearly impossible to draw.
Before we loaded our magazines, Il Ling New taught all of the basics "dry," which was extremely important—many women in attendance were novice shooters and some had never used a handgun at all. We moved slowly; we practiced; we repeated. By the end of the four-day class things that I had to think about initially were becoming automatic, and I felt a level of comfort with a handgun I hadn't experienced until that point.
Thanks to Ruger's Elaine Sandberg and Sheri Scoggins the event flowed seamlessly. Range bags full of Ruger gear, a gun belt, ear and eye protection, some awesome holsters and mag pouches donated by <a href="http://shop.blade-tech.com/index.php" target="_blank">Blade-Tech</a>, and a laser donated by LaserMax were waiting for us upon our arrival. We were ready to hit the range first thing in the morning! Each day after that our Ruger SR9s and all the ammunition we would need were at our stations ready to go. We even managed to coordinate matching Ruger T-shirts each day.
The classroom instruction we received each day before heading to the range was unparalleled. Il Ling New commanded our attention and kept us engaged with her ability to convey the seriousness of what we were learning, while still cracking a joke now-and-again.<br><br>
Il Ling impressed upon us the importance of women becoming comfortable and capable with firearms. We all walked away with the knowledge that guns are the great equalizer for us. It was also a comfort to know that we were taught the same concepts in the same manner that men are taught.
In April, 2014, Ruger and Gunsite teamed up for the second Ruger Women's Defensive Pistol course. Instructors (front row, left to right) Gary Smith, Dave Hartman, head instructor Il Ling New and Jane Shimizu led the group from the classroom to the range every day to help each woman enhance her defensive pistol shooting skills.