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Local all-women shooting club growing

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS – The seven women who attended the first Women of Caliber meeting had two things in common: They wanted more training with firearms, and they were sick of shooting with the boys.

Now the women-only shooting club is 120 strong after its launch in 2013.

Corie Dursteler founder of Women of Caliber, said the group welcomes shooters at any level and reach out to women who may feel overshadowed or intimidated by shooting with men. They aim to teach, train and show women how a gun can be used as a tool and not a weapon.

“Women want to take responsibility for their own protection so they are coming out and trying to get more involved in shooting sports and getting concealed weapons permits,” Dursteler said.

Kelly Hoover, a member of the club, said an embarrassing experience of putting the wrong ammunition into a gun led her to shooting group.

“I got made fun of pretty badly, so I decided that I needed to learn more about guns,” Hoover said.

Since then Hoover has shot every week and competes in shooting competitions.

Pete Italian, CEO of Guns and Gear, supports Women of Caliber by teaching members and providing them use of an indoor shooting range.

“I’ve been supportive of all the programs (Corie) does,” Italiano said. “Not all the programs are with us. Sometimes they do stuff with other stores. I don’t stop that, I actually encourage that because they have so much stuff that they have to offer.”

Over time he’s observed the transformation in the shooters along with the growth of their group.

“It’s a chance for them to meet other ladies who are interested in some of the same thing. Some of them are interested in guns, some (have) shot guns, some (have) other types of training,” Italiano said.

The group doesn’t teach courses directly, but instead finds a variety of local shooting classes and covers the costs through its membership fee. Dursteler said women are able to participate in multiple activities throughout the month.

Women of Caliber hold one meeting per month. Last week on Jan. 13 they held their largest meeting ever with 65 in attendance. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3, and women who shoot at any skill level are welcome to attend. Find out more on its website.