There are several women’s shooting groups around the country, but there is only one all-female traveling shooting academy–Babes With Bullets (BWB). It started when Deb Ferns went to a match with some of the best in the shooting sports, and made a suggestion. She said, “There are so few of you women at this level and yet there are millions of middle-aged women like me. Why not train them?” Kay Miculek, matriarch of the Miculek family, said, “If you build it they will come.” So she did.
Babes with Bullets has a phenomenal cadre of instructors. They are all women, and all pro shooters such as Kay and Lena Miculek, Maggie Reese, Lisa Munson, and others.
BWB holds 10 camps each year, all focused on simply showing women how to shoot. Students spend nine hours on Friday and Saturday, and finish up with five hours on Sunday. “We eat together, we house together, we go to the range together,” says Ferns. Women simply show up with pants with good belt loops and the rest is provided. Registration is limited to 24, mainly because of the need to provide enough loaner equipment. Students shoot about 600 rounds over the three days as they learn how to work and draw from a holster, shoot multiple targets, transition between targets, shoot moving targets, and move while shooting.
“These are life-changing skills that these women are learning,” explains Ferns.
Women don’t have to be new shooters though. All are welcome to attend. Ferns estimates about 80 percent of the campers are newbies but there are intermediate and advanced campers as well. The campers end up split up into groups according to their experience. The more experienced campers also learn how to teach other women handgun skills. Ferns is excited that BWB will be starting a new partnership with The Well Armed Woman program in 2018 to train their facilitators.
In addition to handgun camps, BWB also offers 3 Gun camps, and a co-ed BWB 3 Gun Challenge match. Ferns reports that the match recently held was evenly split between the number of men and women attending. There was $115,000 in prizes, also split.
“The women’s domain had their own prize table and got half the prizes,” smiles Ferns, who serves as Match Director.
When Ferns got her first gun at 45 years old, she had no idea where that would lead. “In 2004 it was unheard of for an all-women traveling firearms academy. In 2008 others decided we might be on to something, and by 2010 everyone was on board,” she smiles.
So what does Ferns hope to accomplish with BWB? As BWB is not a club, they do encourage the students to get involved in clubs. They hope women will get into competitive shooting, and they hope students will go on teach other women, getting them involved in the shooting sports as well. “Go forth and multiply,” she laughs.
To find out more about the BWB camp schedule, go to the website, BabesWithBullets.com, and click on “Camps.”
Images courtesy of Babes With Bullets