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Empowering Women Through Firearm Training: The Success Story of Bonner County Sportsmen's Association

Learn all about how Bonner County Sportsmen's Association took Women on Target to the next level.

by at Friends of NRA posted on June 4, 2024
Women on Target Shooting Group in Idaho

In the town of Sandpoint, Idaho lies a remarkable group of individuals who are making a significant impact on their community. The Bonner County Sportsmen's Association (BCSA) is not your average gun club – it's a tight-knit community dedicated to promoting firearm safety and education, particularly among women.

Several years ago, BCSA started a NRA Women on Target (WOT) Program for handguns at their indoor range. What began as a modest initiative has blossomed into an impressive success story, with one WOT class held every month during the winter months. The WOT classes are being solely promoted through word of mouth and are at full capacity each session.

woman at shooting range

The WOT Program at BCSA offers 12 women a session of top-notch training in gun safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship and pistol shooting. Thanks to the support of many Range Safety Officers (RSOs) and instructors, as well as generous grants from the NRA Foundation the cost of the program remains low, making it accessible.

firearm training session

But the success of the WOT Program didn't stop there. Inspired by the enthusiasm of their students, the team at BCSA decided to take their training to the next level by combining the WOT Program with the NRA America's Rifle Challenge (ARC). This innovative approach not only expanded the scope of their training, but also introduced women to the world of rifle shooting in a safe and supportive environment. This is the first time Women on Target and NRA America’s Rifle Challenge have combined forces.

women on target learning

To make this event happen, BCSA secured a grant from The NRA Foundation for S&W MP15/22 AR rifles and red dot sights. These rifles, designed to shoot .22 LR rounds, were perfect for the 50-foot indoor range, allowing for realistic training scenarios.

woman target practicing

Before opening the training to students, the RSOs conducted a thorough dress rehearsal to iron out any logistical challenges. Once everything was in place, they held their first WOT-ARC class – and it was a great success. The women who participated walked away with newfound confidence and skills.

NRA Foundation grants awarded to Bonner County Sportsmen's Association

The success of the WOT-ARC program is a testament to the dedication and passion of the team at Bonner County Sportsmen's Association, as well as the growing interest among women in firearm training. By providing accessible, high-quality instruction, they are empowering women to become confident and proficient shooters, breaking down barriers and stereotypes in the process.

woman on target-NRA America's Rifle Challenge practicing

As the WOT-ARC program continues to thrive, BCSA remains committed to its mission of promoting firearm safety and education for all.

Women on Target:
Women On Target® clinics are available only to women — it’s a safe and friendly environment whether you’re picking up a gun for the very first time or are just brushing off some dust and need a little refresher. Clinics are half- or full-day, with a hands-on, one-of-a-kind experience. No experience or equipment is necessary to participate. These instructional shooting clinics are designed to teach you firearm safety and the fundamentals of marksmanship, giving you the confidence you need to safely handle and operate a firearm upon completion.
Learn more and find a WOT clinic near you!

NRA America's Rifle Challenge:
The NRA has developed the America's Rifle Challenge (ARC), offering shooters a platform to test and enhance their shooting abilities in a competitive setting. As the world's largest firearms training and education organization, the NRA strives to extend this initiative to rifle owners nationwide, fostering a collective endeavor to utilize and master the AR platform.
Learn more and find an ARC event near you!

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