Idaho-Based Sportsmen’s Association Launches Innovative Training Sessions

posted on July 2, 2024

Once a month, during the winter, the Bonner County Sportsmen’s Association (BCSA)—in Sandpoint, Idaho—indoor range hosts an NRA Women on Target (WOT) program for handguns. Launched modestly by word of mouth several years ago, the events now attract full-capacity, 12-person participation. 

Attendees receive top-notch training in gun safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship and pistol shooting. The effort is made possible by the range safety officers (RSO) and instructors, as well as grants from the NRA Foundation that keep programs costs low.

BCSA recently decided to take the training to the next level. It combined WOT with the NRA America's Rifle Challenge (ARC), the first time the popular programs have been combined and an innovative approach expanding the knowledge and experience provided in each session.

Bonner County Sportsmen's association shooting range nra ar challenge women with guns

To make it happen, BCSA secured a grant from The NRA Foundation for Smith & Wesson MP 15-22 rifles and red-dot sights. The rifles, which chamber .22 LR rounds, were perfect for the 50-foot indoor range, allowing for realistic training scenarios.

Before opening the training to students, RSOs conducted a thorough dress rehearsal to iron out logistical challenges. When everything was in place, the first class was held. By all accounts it was a great success.

WOT clinics are available only to women, providing a safe and friendly environment—whether they're picking up a gun for the first time or in need of a refresher. Clinics are half- or full-day, with a hands-on, one-of-a-kind session. No experience or equipment is required for participation. The instructional clinics are designed to teach firearm safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship, providing students the confidence needed to safely handle and operate a firearm upon clinic completion.

NRA ARC offers participants with a platform to test and enhance shooting abilities in a competitive setting. As the world’s largest firearms training and education organization, the NRA strives to extend this initiative to rifle owners nationwide, fostering a collective endeavor to utilize and master the AR platform.


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