MEDICINE HAT, AB ‚ÄĒ Local gun enthusiasts have been waiting for the summer-like temperatures to get out to the gun range.
The sport of shooting is growing.
Steve Van Ieperen is a director with the Medicine Hat Rifle and Revolver Club and said that over the last five years, more woman have taken their firearms safety courses and have gotten their license so they, too, can enjoy the sport.
‚ÄúI think women are finding that it‚Äôs a lot more empowering for ‚Äėem,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a sport that they‚Äôre not subject to physical strengths like a lot of other sports.‚ÄĚ
Steve has enjoyed shooting guns ever since he was a kid in cadets.
His daughter, Stephanie, was around that same age when she decided she wanted to take up the sport too.
‚Äú[My two daughters] would come out, I‚Äôd drag them out, to some of the shoots to watch and one day Stephanie and Alexis, they just said ‚ÄėDad, how old do you have to be to compete?‚Äô‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúI thought it was really cool and I was like, ‚Äėif he can do that, I can do that‚Äô,‚ÄĚ Stephanie said.
Steve said women are often times better at the sport compared to their male counterparts when they‚Äôre first starting out.
‚ÄúWomen can take instruction better than men, a lot of times,‚ÄĚ he said, with a grin. ‚ÄúMost women that I’ve shown how to shoot don‚Äôt come into this sport with any preconceived notions.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúA lot of men have got sort of preconceived notions about things, video games and stuff like that and they think they know a lot about it and that it‚Äôs easy but it actually is a skill set that needs to be practised,‚ÄĚ he added.
He said there are a few skills, like controlling the grip and pressing the trigger properly which do take practise.
Stephanie has been shooting different guns since she was about 10 years old.
Now, at 22, she said it makes her feel empowered.
‚ÄúLike my dad said, it‚Äôs such a sport that you just think that it‚Äôs a male dominated sport but when I get to come do this, there‚Äôs guys and girls out here and it‚Äôs fun,‚ÄĚ she said.
Steve said it‚Äôs almost like a form of meditation.
‚ÄúWhen you‚Äôre out here on the range and you‚Äôre shooting, you‚Äôre focused on what it is that you‚Äôre doing and so your mind is fairly clear of all the other distractions in life and stuff like that,‚ÄĚ he said.
He added it‚Äôs something the whole family can enjoy.