Women’s Only Classes
We conducted a very successful and well attended Women’s Only Concealed Carry class about two weeks ago. It had been on the ”drawing board” for a long time as we were a bit unsure if there was enough interest among women in this area. ’Women Only’ classes are hardly a ‘new trend’. Training organizations, communities, and other industries routinely offer demographic focused classes for years. However, after our attendance at the Southern Women’s Show in Savannah, and the many discussions we had with the attendees, we were sure that we had made the right decision to go ahead with the class. In terms of comments and feedback, it was a huge success and we will continue offering meeting our student’s expectations by offering what they want.
Some trainers believe women only classes exclude students; however, gender, age, and affiliation unique course offerings and services actually expands access to varied groups and is very inclusive to our shooting community. Offering multiple entry points (market specific classes) offers prospective students an inviting, casual and relaxed learning environment to explore a new skill with peers—this is a fundamental education tenet. Teaching an interested and engaged group of individuals a new skill is enjoyable for the student and the instructor.
The reasons we decided to have a Women’s Only class included:
Women are the fastest growing segment of the firearms community. Not a whole lot more needs to be said about that. From a business standpoint, if your customer base is ‘X’ or if your customers want ’Y’, you may need to realign your paradigms.
Women are built different than men. OK ... Really?? The problem is that most of the equipment made for shooters (holsters, belts, etc.) has been made for men. It hasn’t been until the last few years that more companies have begun to manufacture equipment specifically for the female shooter. This has always been a topic of discussion when speaking with women about carrying concealed. Just three days ago this same topic came up and when I told the ladies I was speaking to about some of the available options, they were quite surprised. (See list below.)
Women like to do things with other women. OK. Guys like to hang out with the guys too. Call it bonding, or whatever. It doesn’t make any difference. The main thing is they are out learning, training and getting educated alongside like-minded individuals.
Women like being in an environment they feel comfortable in – as do most men. Some women are intimidated by “Tactical Ted” or “SPEC-OP SAM” all decked out in their ‘tactical gear’ and their bellies hanging out, who come to some of the classes. Quite honestly, it scares me too!
As an instructor, you have to know that all students have different learning styles and you have to modify your presentation to facilitate a positive learning experience. Just throwing all students into the same ‘learning pot’ will often result in negative outcomes. In no way does this mean we are belittling our female students or watering down the material. Quite the contrary – we have taken the extra step in insuring we are offering the best instruction possible. Vicki Farnam and Diane Nicholl have written two of the best books re: teaching female shooters and I have had the privilege to their attend training for the same. OUTSTADING information!! I believe as a direct result of this training, most of the women I have taught have become quite proficient and would be considered by many to be excellent shooters. In addition, it has made me a better overall instructor.
As stated above, we are going to continue offering women only classes as long as demand exists. Having options when it comes to training is something everyone wants.