Heading out to the shooting range has long been a hobby dominated by men, but one Las Vegas valley program is working on changing that while helping more women become skilled and safe gun owners.
The sound of gunfire wasn't always something Christina Geist was comfortable being around.
"I grew up in Los Angeles,” she said laughing. “If you heard shots, you ran!"
After marrying a man in law enforcement, Geist wanted to get more comfortable with guns.
The Annie Oakley Women’s Shooting Program is allowing her to keep her skills and knowledge fresh.
The program is named after the legendary female sharpshooter and sponsored by the Nevada Firearms Coalition. It’s free. There are women instructors, women safety officers and women coaches who are all there to help other women learn more about gun safety and shooting techniques.
Jeanette Morgan is the program director.
"I find that women get a little more intimidated when men try to teach them,” Morgan said. “So, this is a good program because we have the support of each other."
Don Turner, president of the National Firearms Coalition, started the program a decade ago in Arizona.
"It was about 50 percent women who just wanted to know something about guns,” Turner said. “And 50 percent of women who had guns, but wanted to get better with them."
The women hit the shooting range after a classroom orientation that includes tips on storage and suicide prevention. Ultimately, the goal is to empower women to safely and comfortably use firearms.
Geist came with a group of friends and said she would encourage other women to experience a class for themselves.
"The only way you're ever going to know is to put that gun in your hand and be around people who are experienced and can give you guidance," she said.
The program is being held every Tuesday night at the Clark County Shooting Complex located at 11357 N. Decatur Blvd., in Las Vegas. No membership is required and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 can participate if accompanied by an adult.