Through the Viewfinder: Well Armed Women target practice

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Chris Sanders, left, and Pat Tumminello practice target shooting while firearms instructor for Concordia Parish John Cowan helps Elaine Goss line-up her sights.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Firearms instructor for Concordia Parish John Cowan helps Elaine Goss line-up her sights.

NATCHEZ — Underneath a clear bright blue sky, a collective groan is heard despite the protective earmuffs at the Concordia Parish Firing Range.

Ten members of The Well Armed Woman Natchez/Vidalia shooting chapter find places along the bright yellow seven-yard line marking the distance between them and their targets.

“I’m sending Chris around with tape to cover your sights,” firearms instructor for Concordia Parish John Cowan said. “This is to work on your instinctive shooting.”

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The women reluctantly hold out their guns to Chris Sanders.

“I haven’t even practiced enough shooting with my sights,” Linda Wilson said with a laugh as Sanders covers the thin rectangular cutout on the top of her gun.

Covering the gun sights helps to improve a shooter’s muscle memory and confidence with their gun.

“An attacker isn’t going to stand still and wait for you to line up your sights,” Rebecca Britt said. “So you’ve got to practice to be prepared for all types of situations.”

Once each sight was covered, Cowan walked up to each woman, correcting her hand positioning and checking to make sure her wrist remained stiff.

“The gun is going to kick back a bit,” he warned. “But if you keep your wrist straight, you’re going to hit your target.”

Moving her feet to be about shoulders-width apart, Elaine Goss raised her gun, took aim and fired three shots.

Squinting to see if she hit her target, Goss raised her gun again and, with help from Cowan, changed her hand position and took aim.

“This group we’ve got is nice,” Caroline Holzhauer said. “We get to spend time with a group of women and learn to shoot as well.”

As the hour of shooting practice comes to an end, the women unload their guns and walk up to their respective targets, pulling the thick paper sheets down.

Laughter and chatter soon replace the sharp cracks of firing guns as the women walk back to their cars.

“I got one in the head!” Betty Jo Murray says as she shows her target to Mary Johness.

“Girl, you have murdered somebody,” Johness responded as she looked over the target.