CRAIG COUNTY – Handguns and how to use them were on the minds of 15 women from around the area who made their way over to Craig County July 13 for 11 Bravo Training’s free Concealed Carry class for women.
Their goal was to earn a Basic Firearms Course certificate, which allows participants to apply for a Concealed Carry permit through their local courts. In Roanoke, permits are up to $50. In Craig County, permits are $15 and are issued by the Craig County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
Craig resident Jacob Dellinger, who founded 11 Bravo Training, initially created 11 Bravo as a handgun training class, but there are also separate classes for specific skills, such as self-defense shooting.
Specialized classes, like the free concealed carry course for women, are becoming more popular, Dellinger said. When the July 13 concealed carry course was posted on 11 Bravo’s Facebook site, it filled up within hours, according to Dellinger, and one of the participants said, “I made it just in time.”
The women came from Salem, Roanoke and as far away as Wythe County.
The training was held off Catawba Valley Drive, Rt. 311, at a private shooting range on instructor Joe Coty’s property.
Both Jacob Dellinger and NRA instructor Coty led the concealed carry course, starting with a safety lecture before the women moved onto shooting. A basic handgun safety packet handed out at the beginning of the class included essential information, such as basic gun safety rules, components of specific types of guns and a map of states that honor – and those that do not honor – concealed carry permits. Many women took notes as Coty thoroughly covered the basic information.
“I keep a gun in my saddlebag when riding my horse because it’s just me and one other person,” explained one woman who lives in Roanoke and rides horses in Craig County. She she believed keeping the gun in the saddle bag wasn’t as effective as having it on her body.
Women who keep their handguns in purses, Coty noted, are better off hitting a would-be assailant with the purse with all the “stuff” in it because digging in a never-ending bag might not be effective.
Most of the women who were there said they were taking the class for self protection.
Of the 15 women present, 10 brought their own firearm to shoot.
“Nearly everyone in Craig County has a gun,” Dellinger said, but most women who attend 11 Bravo’s free concealed carry courses are new gun owners and live outside of Craig. At least three women at Saturday’s class had never shot a gun before, and two had never even held a gun.
Set up in a private field with two targets, one pair of women shot at a time as Dellinger and Coty gave instruction. Guns and protective earmuffs were provided for women who didn’t have them, and many women shot several types of guns, including Glocks, single-action and double-action revolvers, semi-automatics and pistols in order to get the right fit.
“It’s important to be comfortable with what you shoot,” Coty said. “What is comfortable for me might not be comfortable for you.”
After all the women finished shooting, they received completion certificates that enable them to officially apply for their concealed carry permits at their local circuit court clerk’s offices.
Another free concealed carry course for women will be held Saturday, July 27, at 1 p.m., but it is already filled, Dellinger said, and there is a waiting list. Along with the completion certificate, participants in the July 13 class also received a $50-off coupon for one of 11 Bravo’s full-day Practical Handgun I classes.
For the complete calendar or more information, look up 11 Bravo Training on Facebook, or visit www.11bravotraining.com.
– By Stephanie Floyd ,Intern