A Shifting Tide

Ladies at the Gun Range

Article by Justin Schierkolk

Photography by Tim Siebert, Flatirons Pro Media

Originally published in Broomfield Lifestyle

When you think “gun range”, what comes to mind? Like many others, you might envision a dirty dark place where old men hangout to shoot. While this might have been true 40 years ago, one local shooting range franchise is successfully shifting the perception to something a bit more welcoming. Enter Shoot Indoors, a modern, clean, and well-lit range right here in Broomfield along the Wadsworth exit of Route 36. From the start, this range was designed specifically to welcome new shooters to the sport or previous shooters that have rediscovered it after years away. 

Most ranges exist primarily to sell guns. In contrast, Shoot Indoors doesn’t sell guns at all. Instead, they focus on the training, recreational, and entertainment aspects of shooting. Just as Topgolf was designed for non-golfers, Shoot Indoors was designed for non-shooters. This might sound strange, but it's immediately evident when you walk in the door. You'll notice all of the staff are very friendly, all are wearing red shirts, and none of them are openly carrying guns. These efforts help to reduce intimidation while creating a more welcoming environment. This is a huge step towards catering to the new demographic of shooters (mainly non-shooters and females) looking for training, or an entertaining way to spend some time and hang out with friends.

This tact has resonated well with the local community and Shoot Indoors Broomfield is happy to host the monthly chapter of ‘The Well Armed Woman’ (TWAW). They meet at Shoot Indoors every third Friday of each month from 7-9pm for education and range time. According to Sarah Winkler, an instructor with TWAW, “Shoot Indoors is the perfect place to introduce people to firearms. A while back, we started to teach the shooting portion of our class at Shoot Indoors Broomfield. I was so impressed by how accommodating they were to my clients. I would say about 95% of the people I have taught over the past year and a half are ladies. Shoot Indoors would go above and beyond making them feel welcome. I would bring timid shooters into the range just to let them hear the noise level. They would even offer to stop the shooting on the range so my one nervous shooter could fire a few rounds without the sound of all of the other guns firing.”

With gun ownership growing in the United States, it’s more important than ever for people to get educated and feel safe and confident around firearms. Sarah continues: “Earlier this year I started teaching the Women's Intro to Pistol there. It has been the most rewarding job I have had. It's amazing to see the ladies I teach build so much confidence in a short amount of time. I have women who come to my class who have fired before and would just like to get back into it, and I have had women come to my class that are absolutely terrified. I have had survivors of domestic violence, women who have filed restraining orders against their stalkers. One thing that these women have in common, they want to have some power over their situation.” 

With the increase in female participation, it’s common to hear remarks about how women seem to be natural marksmen. The best students are the ones without preconceived notions or bad habits. Any instructor will tell you starting with a blank canvas is the fastest way to hitting the bullseye. New shooters are a perfect candidate, and instructors also point out that the female shooters tend to listen to instruction extremely well. Because of this, they reach proficiency quickly.

“Ladies Night” every Thursday is a great time to drop in and try out the range. Gun rentals are free to females and range time for them is only $10. General manager Tod Barry points out that this is a very popular time and provides the “rare opportunity to try a bunch of different rentals to see what you enjoy shooting while with a group of your friends.” The Shoot Indoors instructors are also onhand on Thursday nights to provide free tips on the range. 

Responsible firearm ownership means becoming proficient with ongoing training. A membership at Shoot Indoors is one of the best ways to save money and build the skills you need to protect yourself and others. Find our ad in this magazine to learn more!

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