INSTRUCTORS Heather Holmes (left) and Hana Stickles demonstrate the many aspects of a handgun during the Sig Sauer Academy's women's handgun course at the Farmington Fish and Game Club on Saturday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 06, 2014NEW DURHAM — When the Farmington Fish and Game Club was able to book a Sig Sauer Academy handgun instruction course for women, the club posted the information online and on its Facebook page.
"My phone rang off the hook for two days," said Farmington Fish and Game Club's Tom Mynczywor. "We put it on our web site and our Facebook page and it was filled in 48 hours."
Mynczywor knew this type of course was something the club wanted to do and he was able to use some contacts within the world-renowned Sig Sauer Academy, located in Epping, to get four instructors to come to the New Durham club on Saturday, May 3, for an all-day instruction course.
"This is the first one and it's something we've really wanted to do," Mynczywor stated. "We didn't know what was going to happen, but we easily could've put 50 people in there."
The Farmington Fish and Game Club currently has members who are qualified to teach hunter's education and archery courses, but nobody that brings the level of experience that Sig Sauer can provide in the firearms area. Mynczywor is hoping that the success of this class will help get members interested in possibly getting certified to teach the firearms training courses.
"I'm sure there's guys that would like to do it," he said.
The more than 20 women who clamored into the clubhouse on Saturday morning came from numerous backgrounds, but they were all interested in learning about how to operate a gun safely and how to keep themselves trained in all matters of firearms. There was a wide range of ages and based on the many questions they fired at the instructors, a wide range of experience with firearms as well.
As they took their lunch break midway through the day, many of the women could be heard talking about what they were learning while still others remained in the classroom, chatting with the instructors about one thing or another.
And the instructors from Sig Sauer proved to be as professional as advertised, as they walked the women through the course book, using hands-on experience with the firearms.
"Like anything you are learning, everything's foreign to you until you learn it," said Jim Saltzman, one of the Sig Sauer instructors. "And just because you're a girl doesn't mean you have to shoot a pink gun."
Though he was quick to emphasize that it was just fine to shoot one, as instructor Heather Holmes showed the handle of her firearm with a swath of pink on it.
Hana Stickles, the lead instructor on the course, also went on to explain that there is a lot to take into consideration when choosing a gun, something that often goes overlooked.
"I can't hand you my gun and say this is the gun for you," she said. "It's all about what you're comfortable with. There is no one-size-fits-all."
As he took a break from the teaching part of the class, Saltzman, who was the lone male instructor out of the four Sig Sauer employees on hand, noted that the reason for the all-female class was really quite simple.
"The reason we make the women's class is, quite honestly, guys can be jerks," he said, noting that giving the women a chance to ask their questions without guys jumping all over them and the like was an important part of the experience.
"It empowers them to learn how to shoot and it keeps them coming back to it," Saltzman said. "The shooting world is changing dramatically."
Saltzman also pointed out that he really enjoys teaching the basic level classes because he feels like he is offering a great experience to someone, often for the first time.
"I love teaching the beginning level classes because you're the person who makes the very first impression in the gun world," he said.
The course included class work in the morning and a little more in the afternoon before the group headed out to the Farmington Fish and Game Club's range to put what they had been taught to the test. The class includes responsible firearms ownership and applications of the handgun, firearms safety for the home, workplace and vehicle, safety concerns and practices while training and carrying a firearm, safe use and handling of firearms, locking devices and techniques for firearms, potential dangers, components and operations of modern pistols and revolvers and much more.
Sig Sauer Academy offers shooting development, skill enhancement, specialty shooting, specialty training, armorer, competitive shooting, instructor development and scoped rifle courses through its campus in Epping, featuring state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor ranges, tactical training areas, urban environments, a shoot house, a maritime training area and a force –on-force village. Sig Sauer offers more than 60 courses for the armed professional and responsible citizens.
Visit sigsaueracademy.com or call 610-3400 for more information.
"This was a favor they did for us," Mynczywor noted as a word of thanks. "They were courteous enough to offer to do it."
Farmington Fish and Game Club is located on Old Bay Road in New Durham and can be reached at 859-FISH (3474) or visit farmingtonfishandgameclub.com for more information.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org