This is my 2nd “real” year as a reporter for Utah Channel 3, as COVID shut down all Las Vegas conventions for safety and state mandates just after I was hired by the station. As Utah Channel 3 has reported over the past 9 months, conventions are slowly returning, however they have had diminished attendance as COVID still plays a key role, especially for international travelers that make up a large portion of convention attendees.
The 2022 Shot Show was just the opposite. With record attendance, this show was packed and required an expanded area to contain all the exhibitors. It was great to see it all come back to life and see a little more normality return to the Las Vegas conventions.
From the time I was a little girl playing “cowboys and Indians”, to growing up and marrying an avid sportsman, to losing him in a tragic vehicle accident and now dating an amazing guy that loves shooting, I have always wanted to shoot. I would dream of the day I could go shooting with my guy as a team, whether it was with a .22 or a bow.
While I was intrigued with shooting, I was a bit scared as I know how dangerous these tools can be without proper safety and training. This year I was invited to the Shot Show “Range Day” by Karen at “Shoot Like a Girl”. I can’t thank her enough! I totally loved it and within less than an hour, I was comfortable shooting, a bow, handgun and rifle with complete confidence! “Shoot Like Girl’s” mission is to empower women to participate in shooting sports with confidence. I can tell you first hand that it works!
“Shoot Like a Girl” tours with a semi-tractor trailer mobile range. Attendees gain experience in handling and shooting handguns, long guns and compound bows using state-of-the-art technology.
The girls that conducted my training are great! They are right there the whole time and explain everything as you are doing it and holding it in your hands. This is all done inside their mobile range set up with targets and technology so you are never handling a live gun and cannot hurt yourself or anyone else while you learn and under their watchful eyes. Their technology uses a real gun that is loaded with an “air” bullet, so you still get the kick back and the feal of a real gun but in the safety of a controlled environment. This is a MUST experience for ANY beginner. You get to handle the gun and feel how it fits. They showed me how it is important to get a gun that fits your hand comfortably so you can manage it. The kick back is there but not as hard as it would be with live ammunition but it gives you enough of a feel to get used to the recoil and learn how to handle it. This worked 100% as I then went on to shot live rounds throughout the day with other exhibitors in complete confidence and my increasing enjoyment of the sport.
“Shoot Like a Girl” is hosted by many of our favorite sports warehouses such as Cabela’s and Bass Pro. Many times, you will find their Mobile Range parked outside one of these places and their girls talking with customers and their kids. Their goal is to educate and inform so the public can get exposure to the wonderful sport of shooting first hand. “Shoot Like a Girl” has different ways to explain safety that appeals to every different age group. This year their goal was to help change the traditional “Know the Four” safety rules for handling a gun to “Know the Five … to Stay Alive” as they are now including how to properly store a gun.
- Always treat a gun like it is loaded
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Always keep your finger OFF the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Always know your target and what is beyond.
- Always keep your gun secured from unauthorized persons.
As a mother, I totally agree that this is a major part of being a responsible gun owner and taking gun safety seriously. Also, we talked about how important your eye and hearing protection is. I was able to try some different hearing protection devices. This was cool as I tried the basic hearing devices that did the job, but I could barely hear what my instructor (or producer) was saying. After letting me try the basic “ear muffs” my instructor switched me over to a Walker Electronic Hearing Protection. These gems automatically cut out the gun report (“loud bang”) yet allow in normal noise such as conversations and that of nature.
The difference between the traditional ear muffs, that suppress all sound and the Walker high-tech selective sound suppression is night and day. In fact, these Walker Electronic Hearing Protectors were my first purchase upon my return home from the show as I prepare to engage in my new found sport of shooting.
I can’t stress enough that it is well worth your money to spend a little more for these electronic hearing protection devices as you can hear everything that people are saying as you learn and remain 100% aware of your surroundings. This leads to a significant increase in safety as well as enjoyment of the sport.
This whole experience was a dream come true for me! The girls at “Shoot Like a Girl” gave me the knowledge I needed to feel comfortable handling a gun and a bow. I was able to go through this show and try different guns from large ones to small handguns. I think I found a new passion! Who knew?
“Shoot Like a Girl” does not charge fees for any of this. These girls and their numerous sponsors just want to promote gun safety and expose the public to the wonderful world of shooting. If you are a beginner or know someone who would like an introduction to this sport, visit the “Shoot Like a Girl” website and check out their mobile range schedule and give it a try.
You can also view some video footage of my experience at the “Shoot Like a Girl” mobile range below.
By, Sarah Barlow, Field Reporter II
Sarah Barlow is a senior field reporter for Utah Channel 3 with a broad focus on technology that improves safety and promotes winter and summer sports found in Southern Utah.