A chapter of The Well Armed Woman has started on the far North Side to give gun-toting gals a safe place to learn and practice with firearms, according to group leader Kari Grayson.
“I wanted to offer a club that could do both,” Grayson said. “It would provide an opportunity for them to continue training and enjoy their hobby, as well as offer information for self-defense purposes.”
The San Antonio affiliate is part of a nationwide nonprofit to educate, equip and empower ladies through firearms safety, gun care and handling, organizers said.
Novices to well-seasoned shooters, 21 and older, can join.
There are 345 chapters in 47 states, with some 11,000 members. San Antonio has been included in the past, but Grayson’s is the only active club.
The last few years have seen an uptick in women getting licenses to carry a handgun, so women-focused organizations that help train and encourage firearms safety are good ideas, experts say.
“Women are probably going to feel more at ease with other women,” said Chris Bird, a local gun-safety expert, firearms author and instructor. “This is going to reach some people who otherwise wouldn’t have gone into this.”
Teresa English and her wife, Ana Navaira, said they’re glad the group is starting near their home.
The first meeting was June 27 at Buck & Doe’s Mercantile, 24250 U.S. 281 North. Grayson and her husband, Rick, are among the venue’s owners, which offers an indoor gun and 3D archery range, firearm sales and rentals, training classes and a boutique.
“The fact that (Kari Grayson is) one of the owners here means that this won’t just suddenly dry up and go away because she’s really going to want it to be successful. She’s invested,” English said.
Future meetings are planned for 6-7:30 p.m. every second Thursday of the month starting in October.
For the meeting’s first hour, Grayson will discuss topics ranging from basic handgun fundamentals to cleaning a weapon and responding to a mass shooting.
Members are asked to suggest the subjects.
“Knowing and being comfortable with being able to use firearms in case you need to is important,” Navaira said.
The last 30 minutes are on the range testing new equipment. Folks may rent from the business or borrow from each other.
“You’re doing something that challenges you and scares you a little bit. … That’s really good for everyone to do, to get out of their comfort zone,” Grayson said.
At a seminar scheduled 6-8 p.m. Sept. 6, a guest speaker will teach about personal protection without a firearm.
Self-defense was why many women attended the initial session.
“There is a lot of meanness and cruelty in the world. There’s just a whole different world after dark out there,” English said.
Several members possess a concealed-carry license.
“The firearms industry is pretty much perceived as a male-dominated thing. The fact that there are female shooting groups, strictly, is nice in the sense that it allows women to be in a more comfortable environment,” said Jordan Parker, Buck & Doe’s assistant manager in firearms.
Grayson worked in the business’ boutique, and became a gun enthusiast after a private lesson.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen to you, but it’s better to have a gun and not need it, then need a gun and not have it,” Grayson said.
She created License2Kari, a separate company where women get instruction at Buck & Doe’s on basic pistol fundamentals, self-defense and more.
Grayson also has taught general music and private piano in both public and private schools for the past 20 years.
Memberships cost $50 yearly. Participants in the group receive a discounted rate of $15 if using the range each session.
Carrie Lightfoot created The Well Armed Woman in 2012 as a self-defense resource for females in a male-driven industry, according to an online source.
Grayson is a National Rifle Association certified pistol instructor, U.S. Concealed Carry Association certified instructor, Texas Department of Public Safety certified license to carry instructor, and NRA chief range safety officer.
For more, visit https://twawshootingchapters.org/chapter/san-antonio-tx-2/ or facebook.com/license2kari.