Arming yourself for self-defence purposes is the stark reality of life in South Africa. Right across the country, many women now own guns and regularly participate in target shooting at shooting ranges.

Yet, even with more women engaging in shooting sports, that’s not actually why so many are purchasing guns. It’s not for fun. It’s for self-defence. According to research, women are more likely than men to cite protection over recreation as the foremost reason for owning a gun. And for many women, it’s the sole reason.

Say no to fear

Now more than ever, women are buying guns to protect themselves. One such woman is Geraldine Burke. She said, “I work long hours and drive a 200-km round trip to work every day. The route is fraught with hijacking hotspots. Which is why I decided to put a stop to the constant fear while driving.

“Thanks to Geoffrey and Hein’s training and patience during the self-defence training, I’ve learnt all the aspects of the law on gun ownership, handgun maintenance, alertness and preparedness.”

Forty years ago, self- and home-protection typically were relegated to the man in the household, but that’s no longer the case today. Arming yourself has become a priority. Today’s woman is stepping up her role to protect herself and the people around her.

Concealed Carry

According to Marksman’s Nest chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee, with a rise in women carrying concealed, it’s important to understand your weapon and feel comfortable with it in your hand. “Therefore, it’s best to take a class or a few courses on gun handling.

“There are classes both for new gun owners and refresher courses for those who haven’t shot in a while. Classes include self-defence, carrying concealed, as well as those specifically for women.

“Our classes encompass everything you need to know about your gun, demystifying firearms for those who’ve never been around guns. We also teach trainees how to take them apart and put them back together, how clean them, how to handle them and of course, how to shoot them.

“As was the case with Geraldine, we also teach trainees about gun safety and the legalities of carrying concealed. And importantly, we have drills to get you used to pulling and drawing your firearm, building your confidence and comfort levels.”

It’s fun too

Geraldine concluded, “The courses are not only extremely informative, but also loads of fun. By learning from the pros, we all learnt to do things the right way, avoiding bad practices.

“Regardless whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, I’ve learnt that practising regularly is key in having the ability to handle my gun effectively and consistently.” Arming yourself has indeed become a must.

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