Mississippi Grandma Opens $3M Gun Training Facility

Since BTA opened, 3,500 people have received training at the facility, many of them women.

"I knew then that we weren't living in Mayberry anymore, and I HAD to overcome my fear of guns," Kim Condon told Forbes, speaking about the tragic incident in which 12 people were killed in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012.

It was then that Condon says she decided she wouldn't allow myself to become defenseless in that type of situation.

"It was then that she asked her husband to teach her to shoot. Soon after she would attend a training course in Arizona, an experience she called "was life-changing," the story says.

After returning to her home state of Mississippi, Condon had to complete an eight-hour training course to obtain her concealed carry permit per state law.

The facility where she took that eight hour course was apparently a far cry from the facility she'd just been to in Arizona, and that showed her there was a hole to be filled in the market in her home state.

So, she built Boondocks Training Academy so that others in her area could get the same kind of professional, high-quality firearms education and instruction that she got in her out-of-state training, and especially to provide gun training and self defense instruction specifically tailored for women.

Kim and Mark Condon invested $3 million to start a women-friendly shooting academy in Mississippi.
Kim and Mark Condon invested $3 million to start a women-friendly shooting academy in Mississippi.forbes.com

She and her husband put $3 million into their deer hunting property, which they had affectionately referred to as ‘the boondocks,” and opened their doors to those ready to learn about guns and shooting.

Since BTA opened, 3,500 people have received training at the facility, many of them women. The reclaimed wood lodge was crafted to help women feel welcome, in addition to a number of women-only training courses.

"My BEST moments are when I see a new female shooter have that "Ah-Ha" moment that they too can handle a firearm safely and effectively," Condon told Forbes by email. "It is a journey and at that moment they have started on that path."

The courses BTA offers are varied, including handgun classes, shotgun classes, carbine rifle classes, church security, active shooter training, CPR/AED first aid, hand to hand fighting, a lethal force simulator, land navigation, and, as we said, it also offers women only classes and youth programs.

Here's the BTA mission statement from their website:

"At Boondocks Firearms Training Academy, we strive to create an environment that will appeal to those who wish to become responsible gun owners. The Academy provides skilled instructors who will educate, support, and train you on how to properly handle your firearms. In addition to training, our staff also provides personal guidance in selecting appropriate firearms.

"Our instructors are selectively chosen to represent the Boondocks' mission. The classes are small by design to ensure quality instruction. We aim to teach you skills to defend yourself and to be prepared for the unexpected. Anyone, at any skill level, can become the victim of a crime. Gun ownership is a huge responsibility and requires proper training along with continued education to stay proficient."