Women’s Firearm Safety: Better Without ‘Bubba’

Monica Cowles of the Northwest School of Safety.
Monica Cowles of the Northwest School of Safety.

Some things are just better without Bubba.* Gyms. Tiramisu. Eternity. Firearm safety classes.

Knowing that we spend half our lives on the trails hiking the hinterlands, some well-meaning soul who shall remain nameless handed me a can of “Bear Beware” recently. Its effective range is 15 – 25 feet.

Great. Just what I want to do. Point a nozzle at a charging bear who’s 15- 25 feet away and hope the stuff hits him before he hits me. If you’d rather not go that route and personal safety is a high priority, I’ve got a better idea: Sign up for Monica Cowles’ Women’s Firearm Safety Course.

The all-day, eight-hour course is held twice a month on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Aberdeen. This is a no-nonsense, heads up class. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed but professional. The course is based on the mid-level comprehensive textbook published by The United States Concealed Carry Association. Topics include:

  • Developing a Personal & Home Protection Plan
  • Self-Defense Firearm Basics
  • Self-Defense Shooting Fundamentals
  • The Legal Use of Force
  • Violent Encounters and Their Aftermath
  • Gear & Gadgets
  • Basic and Advanced Skills

You don’t need to own a firearm to take the course.

The four women in last week’s class were encouraged to attend by husbands or boyfriends. Most started out tentative. They left more alert and confident.

The course is limited to five students to optimize individual attention. Besides firearm basics, it covers conflict avoidance, situational awareness, the color codes of awareness, action vs. reaction, observing our environment, mental exercises and how a concealed carry permit fits. Plus a whole lot of other good stuff. Students apply techniques learned in class with dry-fire exercises using air guns.

Incidentally, here are some classic Condition Whites. Ladies – and everyone else – are you watching? Cuz you never, ever, ever want to be in this condition in public:

And yep, we practiced stuff like yelling at an oncoming threat. Out loud. Woke up the whole dad blame zip code.

This kind of exercise feels counter-intuitive to a lot of ladies. That’s okay. Monica walks you through everything. Questions are encouraged. Ditto discussion. And just like the title suggests, the Women’s Firearm Safety Course is ladies-only. As in, it’s a Bubba-free zone.

So if you aren’t comfortable learning the basics of firearms safety with a testosterone audience, or the mere notion of sharing the range with every Bubba in the county is enough to make your teeth ache, chillax. You don’t have to. You can take the Women’s Firearm Safety Course instead.

Meanwhile, want to make sure a beginner stays a beginner? Start her out on a .45. (That’s just dumb.) Make sure she feels overwhelmed or stupid by dumping a truck load of firearms/gun clubber jargon on her right out of the gate. Your average beginner probably won’t know what “low ready” means. How to safely clear a weapon. The difference between an Isosceles and Weaver stance. Understand single vs. double action. A Level I holster, “innocent party” rule, double-stack magazine, ‘Castle Doctrine,’ or a ‘Squib Load.’ She doesn’t have to. Monica explains and demonstrates everything. (She recommends learning the basics on a .22 pistol. It’s small, light, and unintimidating. Move up from there once you’ve got the basics down.)

Did I mention that Monica is one of five plaintiffs suing the Washington State Attorney General over I-594?

Know what else, ladies? If you have trouble with the slide on a semi-auto, you’re not alone. It’s the #1 difficulty most women encounter with a handgun, according to Monica. But you can do it. She shows you how. Feel better?

Monica shows ladies a proper pistol grip.

Just in case you’re still wondering: No one in this context will make you feel “dumb” if you’re not ready to audition for the next Rambo movie. No one will rush you or talk down to you. No one will make you feel stupid if you think “magazine” means Better Homes & Gardens. Or “slide” refers to playground equipment. It’s okay. Any woman who’s vertical and breathing should take this course.

One other thing. The student who posts the highest grade on the final exam wins a free book: The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry.+ (And yep, I’m liking my copy.) Synopsis:

When a cat feels threatened, she gets away from the danger as quickly as she can. She doesn’t care what damage she inflicts on her way to safety, but she’s not interested in fighting for fighting’s sake. She does only as much as she needs to do in order to escape. She doesn’t deal in revenge. If she feels threatened, she simply leaves. Efficiently.

Until she needs to use them, her claws stay sheathed. She doesn’t go around threatening to maul people. She’s cuddly, she’s cozy, and she likes to curl up next to a crackling fire on a cold winter’s day. She’s great company.

But don’t try to trap her in a bad situation.”

You’ll be more relaxed, knowledgeable, and confident after taking this course. It’s well worth the $115 fee. Guys, if you have to cough up the fee or part of it, now would be good. Cuz firearm safety is definitely better without Bubba* standing next to you.

For more information: Northwest School of Safety. On Facebook. Call 360.532.2132 or 360.580.3686. Email: Info@northwestschoolofsafety.com.

About Monica

Monica is a Range Safety Officer, NRA Certified Instructor and USCCA Affiliate Instructor. She also teaches the award-winning Refuse to Be A Victim course developed by the NRA in 1993. Find out more about Monica here.


*A beer-guzzling, pick-up truck-driving, know-it-all redneck who keeps calling you ‘Honey’ and suffers from terminal Delusions of Grandeur.


+ Monica will now be giving out The Law of Self Defense ( http://lawofselfdefense.com/ ) by Andrew Branca.

Watch for my article about Monica and the Northwest School of Safety. Coming soon in Grays Harbor Talk.