After an extensive gun safety class with an NRA instructor, the attendees got a chance to try whatever they wanted, from big handguns to clay shooting.
After an extensive gun safety class with an NRA instructor, the attendees got a chance to try whatever they wanted, from big handguns to clay shooting. photo from

A range in South Berwick, Maine held an event like many cropping up around the nation, one designed specifically to introduce women to firearms, but with a bit of a twist—instead of the standard beginner guns or concealed carry pistols, the attendees got to try a little bit of everything if they wanted.

According to this story from, the South Berwick Rod and Gun Association went farther than most by allowing the attendees of the all-day Sunday event to try out a wide variety of firearms, from M-16 rifles to .500 S&W Magnum handguns.

The day’s course was the creation of Genie Jennings, the story says, who is a longtime member of the shooting club. It’s designed for experienced shooters and new shooters alike. It drew women of all ages like Pamela Bunn, who said in the story that ever since her dad taught her how to shoot a BB gun, she’s had a lingering interest in firearms.

“This is on my bucket list,” Bunn said in the story. “I want to try the trap shooting, because I have a real interest in skeet shooting as a hobby. I came today to see if I really liked it, and if it was something I wanted to pursue.”

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And she got a chance to break some clay targets with a shotgun, convincing her she was right about her new interest. The story says she was asking about a membership before the end of the day.

Before they got to the range, the shooters took a three-hour gun safety course, taught by former police officer and NRA instructor Robert Makowski covered the basics, since some of the women have had little or no experience at all with firearms of any kind.

“The majority of the women have never taken this kind of gun training,” said Jennings in the story. “We have a favorite quote, and that (is) that there are no accidents; there is only ignorance and negligence. If you learn the right way to do things, and there is an accident, it is because of negligence. We want to eliminate both possibilities.”

Markowski says too many people with guns, even at a given shooting range, don’t have enough education, which means you have to keep an eye on them too.

Numbers have skyrocketed since the event started five years ago.

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“In his experience, 95 percent of people on a gun range have not been properly trained, making it important to be aware of not only yourself, but the people around you,” the story says.

Some women were there less for recreation and more for self-defense reasons, like Sandra McCann, who says in the story she used to shoot 25 years ago and is a gun owner, but needs a refresher.

“The way things are in the world today, I thought it might be a good time to reacquaint myself with those guns and learn about them some more,” said McCann in the story. “I think self-defense and being ready is a smart idea.”