Even though I was raised in rural Upstate New York, I wasn’t raised around firearms. No one in my family hunts and we don’t have many veterans or law enforcement officers in our family tree. So how in the world did I land here? Months away from opening an indoor shooting, training and retail center – literally on the one inch line of realizing a long term goal and embarking on a career that embodies one of my true passions? Not overnight, that’s for sure, but it wasn’t a very complicated transition.
My husband Bryan and I were living in the City of Atlanta years ago. Freshly married, no kids except for our huge Rottweiler, whom along with our security system we thought would be all we needed to protect our home. I awoke one night certain that I had heard an intruder inside of our home. Big Rottweiler was snoring. But the recollection that our neighborhood association had reported a few recent garage break-ins and the noise I heard made me certain that we were in trouble. Bryan went for his trusty baseball bat that was hidden under the bed and held it ready as we dialed 911. The Atlanta PD came very quickly, and after laughing at our dog (whom they also thought should be a deterrent) went through our home and announced that there had been no intruder. Thank God. But – what were we going to do with that baseball bat??? It was clear that we no longer felt safe and needed to beef up our home protection situation. Bryan suggested buying a firearm. I had to carefully consider that decision. I didn’t know too much about guns and I knew that we would want to start a family in the not too distant future. What would all that mean?
After much contemplation, I agreed to purchase a gun with one condition – if we were going to have a firearm in our home, I needed to be proficient with it. I let Bryan decide on the type. That is, after all, what he loves to do (like most men) – research something to death… and there are so many things to research when it comes to firearms and ammunition! We got a Springfield Armory XDm 9mm for our first pistol, and promptly went to the nearest indoor shooting range to learn how to use it. The range (no longer in operation, which is why I don’t feel too terrible describing it honestly) was dark, smelly, and completely devoid of any women.
Despite the intimidating atmosphere, I took a private lesson and was immediately in love! The competitive nature of target shooting, the instant gratification of seeing how you shot right there on the target, the aspect of danger involved, and the tactile nature of the activity were exhilarating from the start. I could actually see what I was doing well, and what I needed to improve – it’s not often that you get that spelled out so clearly for you! And, once I became comfortable, the confidence that I was now able to protect myself and my family in a way that I couldn’t before was irreplaceable.
Bryan and I shot regularly at this (no longer operational) range in Atlanta, until a much more modern facility opened up in our neighborhood. The Sandy Springs Gun Club was a bright, welcoming, and non-intimidating alternative….. and it was run by two women! We became members and the rest is history. We have been heavily involved in the shooting sports since our early days in Atlanta, and I continue to learn new skills, practice and prepare each and every day. “Who would have thought…” say a lot of my family members.