On Sunday I hosted a shooting day at the gun club in Austin for some of my favorite Texas ladies, and even though several days have passed, I am still trying to wind down from all the fun. Everyone shot a gun, chocolate was consumed, and friends and family were “shocked” and “impressed” to see us wielding guns.
Most of the girls I invited to this shoot had never even held a gun before. Some of them were nervous, but most everyone was eager to try it. One friend texted to say, “Ok, I think I want to do this,” as if she was talking herself into it.
As I handed my shotgun off to one of the girls, she said, “Whitney, you do realize this is my first time to hold a gun.”
I smiled and said, “Oh girl, you just wait. You’re going to be hooked.”
And she was.
For this event, I brought in my former skeet coach Terry, an Olympic gold medalist, to give us pointers.
He first helped get everyone fitted for a gun. Then he talked to us about left vs. right eye dominance. If you’re left eye dominant but right handed, you need to close your left eye when you shoot and vice versa.
Everyone grabbed some earplugs and shooting glasses (essential)…
…and then we took to the field. We were shooting over under 20 gauge and semi-automatic 28 gauge shotguns. I was pushing the button to make the clays fly out of the house, and the girls were taking turns trying to hit them.
I took one group and Terry took the other on separate fields, and then we switched after a while.
There is no better place to learn how to shoot than in the company of women. As my friend Emily put it, “There’s just so much pressure with Chad. He’s like a gun expert.”
When you shoot with women, you can ask questions like, “What is the difference between a shotgun and a rifle?” and no one will laugh at you.
If they do, they are not invited back!
I loved seeing my friends out on the gun range. You know the feeling of sharing your favorite restaurant with someone, and then seeing the smile on their face when they get their meal? They say, This is so good! And you’re like I know right?!
It was that same level of satisfaction for me.
Just your average Texas women out for a day of shooting!
It was also really nice to show this side of myself to my friends. Shooting never was something we had in common or could talk about. Now, it’s something they have tried. I even had a friend say, “I feel like I know you a lot better.”
One of my mantras is that outdoor experiences are great bonding for friends and family, and this was totally the case.
I’ve said before on this blog that shooting a gun is incredibly empowering. Perhaps it is the idea that by trying out a “man’s sport,” you’re breaking a social code. Perhaps it is the loud BANG that rattles your eardrums. Perhaps it is the feeling of control over a powerful weapon. Or, perhaps it is the satisfying feeling that comes from knocking a can off a fencepost or blowing a clay disk to smithereens. I think it’s a swirl of all of the above. There’s a thrill factor that tickles your nerves and makes the whole affair fun.
To up the ante, I offered two main prizes: first, to the top shooter. Props to my childhood friend Alison for knocking it out of the park! She won a Yeti tumbler emblazoned with the Whit’s Wilderness logo.
My second prize was for the best dressed. It seemed like nearly everyone had read my advice on this and was dressed up properly, but my friend Shana really looked pulled together. She wore a Magellan fishing shirt (the best material to shoot in on hot Texas days), belted jeans, and her jeans tucked into cute Western boots. A practical outfit with a Texas flair.
And of course, a ladies day at the gun range isn’t complete without chocolate bunnies shooting shotguns…
….and plenty of food.
I considered the day a success when a friend said to me, “Oh I definitely want to shoot a glock now!”
It was awesome to see everyone come out of their shell (haha! shotgun pun!) and have fun. Everyone left a little taller and prouder for having taken on the challenge.
I’m just glad to know I have a whole new cadre of shooting buddies.
This was an inaugural Whit’s Wilderness event. Be sure to sign up for my emails here to be the first to know!
PSS. “After-shooting” just made me think of “après-ski”, a French term for the social activities that follow skiing. I think I just found a new term: après–shooting.