Cassandra Mack, one of the rifle instructors on hand during the 2021 Women’s Wilderness Escape (WWE), described her introduction to firearms as less than ideal. Her visits to the range were met with no shortage of eager “instructors” with no credentials and no real idea of what they were doing. As a cross-dominant shooter, Cassandra struggled in the beginning, and none of the guys on the range could tell her why. Eventually, she claims to have been lucky enough to “google it exactly right” and found Women on Target.
This kickstarted her shooting journey. Cassandra had the opportunity to learn proper techniques in a safe environment, instead of listening to an unqualified shooter tell her what he does. Cassandra enjoyed learning from and with women, and she kept at it to become a Distinguished Expert and firearms instructor (in every discipline) to help other women find their home in the firearms community.
My group and I spent day three of the Women’s Wilderness Escape on the rifle range plinking with a Ruger .22, emptying magazines into steel silhouettes with an FN PS90 and firing muzzleloaders into a cloud of smoke. The variety and quality in training kept us on our toes all day.
One of my cabin-mates, Lucretia, is a three-time WWE veteran who returns each year to hone her skills, see her friends … and break bad habits. Lucretia remembers bird hunting with her grandfather as a child—mostly to get out of cooking with her mother, she admits. Although she knew from an early age that she would rather be running around outside than stuck in the kitchen all day, learning to shoot from a family member isn’t the same as receiving professional instruction.
Now she wants to teach children on her farm how to shoot, and is seeking proper training to instill good safety habits and techniques. While safety and correct form are important to Lucretia’s informal kids’ range days, she likes to keep things fun and interesting too. Her young guests love shooting a large metal gong on the range to hear the satisfying “pings.” Lucretia has also asked the children to bring an old piece of clothing or pair of shoes to hang from a clothesline downrange. Her grandson thought it was particularly hilarious to be able to say he shot his underwear!
Lucretia shares her love of the shooting sports with grown-ups too! Her tennis team recently took to skeet shooting thanks to Lucretia’s insistence. Now, they all have a blast competing together as the “Bad A** Armed Tennis Team” on the shooting course. The infectious love of firearms is easy to spread, but professional instruction is what keeps range days fun, productive and safe. Making the extra effort to find expert training is the most important step on a gun owner’s journey. WWE just makes it exciting and easy!
The quality training at WWE and the friendships you find there are the reasons students come back year after year. Check back with NRAWomen.com for more articles on my shooting experiences at the NRA Whittington Center for the Women’s Wilderness Escape.