cf

Courtney Frazier has been a member of Coffee County Well Armed Woman for approximately two years. Frazier hones her handgun skills at target practice after the meeting.

Protecting yourself from harm comes naturally. The fight-or-flight response in our brains instinctually tells us what to do when we come face-to-face with danger. Here in Tullahoma, there is a group of women who consider protecting themselves vital.

The Well Armed Woman is a national nonprofit organization that educates, equips and empowers women all over the country to protect themselves when they are caught in a dangerous situation. Exercising their Second Amendment right not only allows them to learn how to properly own, carry and shoot a gun, but they also meet like-minded women while doing so.

The Coffee County chapter of Well Armed Woman has been empowering women for approximately two years. The members gather once a month to sharpen their straight shooting, talk about new technology and learn about gun safety, the law and how to properly protect themselves.

“We teach women a lot about guns,” said Tennessee Well Armed Woman Chair Cyndi Clower. “One important part of being a responsible gun owner is knowing which gun works best for you. The more familiar you are with your gun, the better you’re going to be able to protect yourself.”

The Coffee County chapter has 25 members. Some have been there since the chapter started, and some have just attended their first meeting.

“The most beneficial part of being a member of Well Armed Woman is meeting other women like me,” said two-year member Courtney Frazier. “You meet women who have experience with guns and women who don’t have experience with guns. I’m a hunter, I know a lot about rifles and shotguns, but handguns are a different story. This group has helped me hone in on my handgun skills because some women in the group are better at that than I am. In return, I can help them with rifle and shotgun shooting.”

“I’m excited to get to know other women who like to shoot,” said first-time attendee Cynthia McDonald. “I don’t know a lot about rifle shooting. I’m looking forward to learning more about that.”

At their meetings, the literally well-armed women discuss topics that are relevant to them. Clower invites the members to list topics that are important to them or topics they would like to know more about. The group brings in guest speakers who are knowledgeable on the topics to further educate the women.

“I listen to what my group wants to learn about,” said Clower. “I listen to their needs. I try and find the best teachers to come in and talk to them about what they want to learn. Some of our topics include gun care, carrying, technique and purchasing. The point of the group is to feel empowered by knowing how to protect yourself.”

January’s monthly meeting covered the topic of what is called the iTarget Pro. The iTarget is a battery-operated laser that goes into the gun barrel and shoots a laser light onto a target when the trigger is pulled. This allows the gun owner to practice target shooting indoors, without noise and without using live ammunition. In conjunction with an app that tracks the target shooting, users are able to sharpen their skills.

The group also hosts events throughout the year. One of their biggest events is called Unbeatable, during which the group raises funds for Haven of Hope and Blue Monarch for Domestic Violence Awareness month in October.

Because domestic violence, sexual violence and predators are so prevalent in today’s time, the Well Armed Woman chapter strives to educate its members on protecting themselves, equip its members with the firearm best suited to their individual needs and empower its members by instilling confidence in protecting themselves so they do not fall victim to a violent or potentially life-threatening crime.

“This group provides a way with being comfortable with protecting yourself,” Clower said. “Power is in the knowledge of knowing how to stand up for yourself and that is what Well Armed Woman is all about. The group empowers you to not be vulnerable to a predator.”

The Coffee County Well Armed Woman chapter meets at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of every month at Templar Shooting Sports, 1101 S. Jackson St., in Tullahoma. After the meeting adjourns, ladies go out and practice target shooting in the range.

For more information on The Well Armed Woman, visit www.thewellarmedwoman.com, or call Clower at 931-728-9898. For more information on Templar Shooting Sports, visit www.templarshootingsports.com, or call 931-222-4657.

Faith Few can be reached at ffew@tullahomanews.com.