Since launching Women of Triangle Shooting Academy this year, WTSA has become one of our most popular programs for female shooters. Led by coordinator Nancy Wilson, this ladies-only program helps women of all experience levels improve their shooting skills and gain confidence handling and using firearms. We asked Terry Marsh, a recent WTSA participant, to share in her own words why she attends the training sessions and what she has learned. Here are some insights that Terry provided.
When did you start coming to Triangle Shooting Academy?
Marsh: I started here about three years ago. I’ve been a member for two years. I wanted to try to get with a group of women so I had some kind of social avenue—not looking at it like it was a social club, but trying to meet people that would be interested in things that I’m interested in.
How long have you been shooting?
Marsh: Three years. I shot a shotgun when I was a kid, but other than taking the concealed carry class, that was about as much shooting as I did. I got my concealed carry and I didn’t shoot for a couple years after that. I’m walking around with a concealed carry permit, but it didn’t do me any good because I didn’t feel comfortable carrying a gun.
What are some things that you’re learning through Women of Triangle Shooting Academy?
Marsh: Like everybody, the biggest fear a lot of women have is just a gun in general. When you say you have a gun, most people are terrified. I think the idea of understanding how a gun works is helpful because unless you put your finger on that trigger, it’s not going to fire. I don’t know what a lot of people’s interpretation is. I don’t know if they misunderstand it. If I’m holding a gun in my hand, and my finger is nowhere near that trigger, it is not going to go off. I had to get over that fear. That was one thing that they taught me. You kind of look at it like that’s common sense, but it really isn’t because a lot of people are afraid of guns.
Why is it important for women to have a class like this?
Marsh: As a whole, women are always taught that we’re supposed to be the caregivers. We’re supposed to be protected, not be the person that protects everybody else from a physical threat. Having this type of class teaches us that we can defend ourselves. It gives you a little bit of power to feel that I can protect myself if I need to. I don’t have to rely on somebody else to come to my aid if I’m taking my training and doing what I’m supposed to do. I can defend myself. This is an area of training that is sorely lacking for women.
The teachers love teaching women because we listen, and because we want to learn. They love helping us. It’s nice because there is no judgment. We’re all in here to support each other.
Describe the Women of Triangle Shooting Academy instructors.
Marsh: I have not met one of them that has not been interested in trying to teach you how to do something and how to do it right. Of course, their number one thing is safety, but they really, genuinely want to pass on what they know. You’re talking about ex-SWAT people, ex-military, ex-police officers, FBI, CIA agents. Just the knowledge that they have, and that they’re willing to share it with you, is amazing to me.
Our RSOs are always in there and willing to help. Hell, they love it when you ask them for help. They love to help. They’re all great guys and girls. The men that are in there, they don’t ever make you feel stupid. They don’t try to belittle you in any way. They get excited that you’re excited to learn, so it’s really good. Then Nancy Wilson has been the biggest advocate of getting this program off the ground.
What would you like other women to know about Women of Triangle Shooting Academy?
Marsh: Right now, there’s different levels of it, so you’re starting out at a really basic level. But even with me, I’ve shot for three years and I’ve done some of the higher training. You always learn something. We’ve got women of all ages. It doesn’t matter. I’ve even tried to get my mother in here. I tell her there’s women here that are your age who are learning how to shoot—and she’s 82!
They’re not going to get over the fear of guns, or of stepping out and coming out of their shell, unless they push themselves to do it. The easy thing for them here is that we’re all supportive of everybody that comes in. New people come in and we introduce them to everybody. We work with each other. We help each other out. There’s no reason for anybody to be afraid. Join a class. Get in there and just try one class. See how you feel about it and talk to the women that are in here. They are really a very supportive and great group of people. I’m glad that I come here. I’ve told a lot of people that they should come and check it out. Nobody judges anybody. They just want everybody to love shooting.
You can also sign up for the next WTSA session.