Women's 'Draw from Concealment' Class

RENO, Nev. It can happen at any time; as you walk to your car after work or in the middle of the night in your own home. Without notice, you can be approached by a person who wants to harm you.

"Women are statistically more vulnerable, or targeted more often than men are," Jay Hawkins, an instructor at U.S. Firearms Academy in Reno, said.

Which is why Hawkins, along with U.S. Firearms Academy co-owner Debbie Block are hosting two women's only 'Draw from Concealment' classes on August 7 and 8.

The goal is to make more women comfortable drawing their weapons and using them appropriately.

"Many people think, if I take a CCW class or purchase a fire arm- or any defensive tool- and throw it in my purse, that when I need it I'm just going to grab it and go," Hawkins said. "But that's not how it works."

Hawkins said it's important for women to have their hands on their gun, or defensive weapon of choice, while walking.

But knowing you can quickly pull out your gun or Taser when you need it is only half the battle.

"We do lose a lot of motor skills under stress," Block said. "So one of the things I wanted as an everyday person was to train under some stressful situations."

Just a few doors down from U.S. Firearm Academy's main store is a class room like setting. A few chairs circle around a video screen, and throughout the room, a few barriers are placed.

It's called MiScenario. It's a virtual tool used to place women in actual situations where they would have to draw, and possibly use, their weapon.

"We want to train you more in that environment you expect to perform in," Hawkins said.

Using a real gun converted to use air compression and sensors, women are placed in front of programmed scenarios where they have to react quickly and decided if they should fire.

Each scenario can be custom programmed, so you may never see the same one twice.

It may look like a video game, in fact many of the scenarios have an animated quality. But others, will take you by surprise.

"We want to open their eyes to 'these are your options, now let's see how you use them,'" Hawkins said.

The classes will be held Wednesday August 7th from 9-10 am and Thursday August 8th from 6-7 pm. Each class costs $50 and is limited to six women. You are asked to bring your own weapon and method of concealment if you have one. For more information or to sign up, call U.S. Firearms Academy at 826-2626.