Standing On Their Shoulders
A Tribute To Women Who Paved The Way In The Firearms Industry
By Julie Loeffler
We stand on the shoulders of the women who have come before us. There is a select group of women in the firearms industry who have made significant contributions that have paved the way for more women to enjoy all that shooting has to offer. Often, these women are overlooked as the industry is searching for the latest and greatest developments. The American Woman Shooter is honored to spotlight these great women, have them share their thoughts and comments about then and now, and about what they see in the shooting industry͛s future for women. We hope you enjoy learning about this extraordinary group.
In The Spotlight: Vicki Farnam
Vicki Farnam is well known throughout the firearms industry. She is an instructor at DTI (Defense Training International), and the creator of DTI For Women. She and her husband, John Farnam, travel the country teaching classes on both the instructor development and new shooter levels. Vicki is most noted for developing an instructor class for men on how to teach women to shoot. She spent an incredible amount of time researching the differences between how men and women learn. She realized someone had to teach men about women, and met that challenge head on. Not only does she have a training class devoted to that topic, she has also written a book titled, ͞Teaching Women To Shoot͟, 2nd edition.
Vicki is also the author of ͞Women Learning To Shoot͟ (co-authored by Diane Nicholl), and has taught for law enforcement and the U.S. Marine Corps.
How long have you been shooting? Over 35 years What got you started? Growing up in Colorado, I wanted to learn how to hunt for birds and big game. Then after I found myself divorced and with two children, I realized I needed protection in the home. That͛s when I bought my first gun. What made you continue? I had known my current husband (John) prior to my first marriage. We were friends. After we both divorced from our first marriages, we had maintained our friendship, so it was only natural that I received my personal defense training from him. We fell in love and got married. I found myself wanting to travel and train with him, and that͛s when the instructor in me was discovered and developed.
How has the industry changed as it relates to women?
It has definitely changed for the better, especially in the last 7 or 8 years. It used to be a one-size-fits-all when it came to guns and holsters, and ͚that size͛ was for a larger man. Now there are more choices for women. We are made differently and have very different needs when it comes to proper fitting of a gun and / or a holster.
How were female shooters perceived when you began versus now? There was a feeling of ͞Stay in the kitchen͟, or ͞What could I possibly learn from you?͟ when I put myself out there as an instructor. I had to prove myself every single time to the men in class. Also, there were hardly any other women taking classes back then. It was rare to see another woman in a training class.Now you see more female instructors and more women taking classes than ever before. Also, men are more receptive to female instructors. This is great progress. What is the next big milestone for female shooters moving forward? We need more women attending the more serious-types of classes. Whatever we are going to learn, we need to learn well, because you never know when you will be put to the test. The number of women carrying concealed needs to continue to grow so we can stand up for the rights of everyone.
In your opinion, what is the greatest shooting gear invention / adaptation for females (one of your ͚must-haves͛)?
The Flashbang bra holster.It͛s an ingenious design. Lisa Looper found a way to attach a holster to your bra. It͛s always on your body, and almost always 100% concealable. Granted, it doesn͛t work for everyone, but it͛s a great option. What͛s your every day carry? My EDC is interchangeable between a small revolver, a Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm, and a Springfield Armory XDS in 45mm.
What / who was your inspiration to become an influential female force in the shooting industry?
Almost 30 years ago, there really weren͛t any notable females in the industry. I didn͛t have anyone to look up to, so I made my own way.