The history of shooting—not just in the U.S. but worldwide—has been one of male domination. Shooting matches were rooted in hunting, military and law enforcement bases. It was not until the 20th century that women regularly entered military combat as opposed to military support functions, and it wasn’t until the latter half of the century that female law enforcement officers nationwide traded the skirts of the “police matron” for the uniform pants of police patrol officers.

Is it any wonder that female shooters felt a little behind the curve on this whole pistol match thing? Lisa Marie Judy in Reevesville, South Carolina, saw that this was the case. As a gun enthusiast and firearms instructor, she got tired of hearing from armed female citizens and officers alike that competitive shooting was “a man’s game,” and decided to do something about it.

Lisa Marie reached out to the GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and convinced them that it was time to try a match for women only. GSSF agreed to the “pilot project,” reminding Lisa Marie that for it to be approved again, her match would need to garner 100 entries.

Despite relatively short notice and little publicity, she gathered 105 participants.

History Is Made

I’ve been to my share of GLOCK matches over the last decade and a half, and I haven’t yet seen anywhere near as many female shooters as I saw in Reevesville. Mrs. Judy had proven her point: Many women are more comfortable shooting with and against other women than they are shooting with and against men. A lot of that is perception rather than reality, but since the 1990s it’s been an unfortunate catchphrase in America that “the perception is the reality.”

A very significant percentage of the shooters were first-time GSSF competitors, and many of them told Lisa Marie that the “all-girl” format was the reason they had come. Suspicions confirmed: Mrs. Judy’s idea had obviously tapped into a new source of GSSF competitors.

A huge percentage of the contestants were law enforcement officers. Kitty, a competitor at the match posted online, “I think the entire county sheriff’s department was there—the women’s side anyway. Lisa Marie’s husband is a deputy and probably had something to do with that. There were other LE and military in addition.” One sheriff’s department paid GSSF memberships and match fees for every one of its female deputies who chose to attend.

One of the female officers at the match told me, “It’s way more fun shooting against other women than against men. There seems to be more camaraderie to it…more fun!”
Kitty also remarked that she was “not certain what the ratio of women to men is in all shooting sports. In my local IDPA match there are two of us out of 30 or 40. About three out of 30 to 40 in Steel. I’m the only gal in about 12 to 15 shooting Bullseye. Even the Armed Forces boast better numbers with at least 1 in 8 being female.”
At the “GLOCK Girl Gala” in Reevesville, the official name of the event, slightly more than a fourth of the shooters were law enforcement personnel. The female officers I spoke with felt particularly relaxed and comfortable shooting in an all-women’s event.

This was particularly true of one woman present, who is accustomed to shooting against men and once won a GSSF match against all comers—including all the men. Gail Pepin, the current Florida/Georgia Regional Women’s Champion in IDPA shooting, said, “I’m used to shooting with men. It doesn’t bother me. But I talked to a lot of women at Reevesville who said they came there because it was a woman-only event. I also saw a huge number of junior females who gave me the impression that they were more comfortable shooting an all-girl tournament. I think it was a very nice place for a woman to shoot her first match, because it was kinder, gentler, and more nurturing…a very good way for a woman to break into the shooting sports.”

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