I've grown up around guns my entire life. Every holiday or family gathering, my dad and uncles all got out their weapons of choice and shot at cans or targets that were set up in the backyard. (Let me make note that my family has wooded property, so we're very aware of our surroundings and were shooting in a safe environment.)

My dad and uncles would always set the gun up for me and tell me what to do, and I would shoot. This was something I really enjoyed, but was never completely educated on.

Fast forward to now. I wanted to know more about how to safely operate a firearm, so I would be completely comfortable if I ever needed to use one. I researched places in the area that teach firearm safety and offer a permit to carry course. Midwest Shooting was by far the best choice. My husband and I both took the Iowa Permit To Carry course with the owner, Wade. It was a three-and-a-half hour course that teaches the following:

  • Use of reasonable and deadly force laws
  • Consequences of using your firearm
  • Where/What/When you can and can not legally carry
  • Iowa Permit to Carry reciprocity with other states

In the course, I learned the parts of a firearm, how to operate it, what states and places I can and cannot carry, laws, and how to judge situations where one could be used. Part of the course involved scenario-based training. 

Midwest Shooting offers Eastern Iowa's only Use of Force Simulator where you can experience over 500 real-life scenarios in a non-lethal environment. To give you a brief breakdown, students are confronted with realistic scenarios where they have to decide whether to shoot. If a student chooses to 'shoot', they must deploy their firearm and fire at the target. Your adrenaline is pumping and it all happens so fast.

It really gives you an idea of how you would feel and react in a real-life situation and how your stress level impacts your performance. Our carry class took turns on the simulator and the class reviewed each simulation. Through this, we learned proper ways to react in each scenario. This is a great way to not only develop skills, but it's also good practice for making the right decisions.

Everyone that takes the course doesn't have to pursue their permit. It's your choice from there, as Wade made it clear that you have to be mentally ready to carry. This class was such a unique and humbling experience. I definitely walked away from it with a different perspective, and I felt educated and empowered.

The Women's Only Permit to Carry class is a great place to start for ladies who have never shot before, to get familiar with everything in a comfortable environment. Find out when the next class is here and bring a friend.

If you're not necessarily interested in carrying, but just want a general education, Midwest Shooting offers private lessons where skilled instructors will work with you no matter what your skill and experience level is. If your experience level is non-existent, check out the Pull The Trigger class for basic handgun knowledge. Don't be intimidated. If you're coming to learn, they are there to help teach.

Whether you're going to Midwest Shooting for some target practice, general education, or are interested in how you can better protect yourself, it's definitely worth a visit. Click here to see their upcoming class schedule and to register.