With a problematic ex (who’d stalked her) and a job running a non-profit finding work for the homeless in Phoenix (a gig that regularly took her into more than a few sketchy neighborhoods) Carrie Lightfoot began to wonder what she’d do if she found herself in serious trouble. That was back in 2012. About then, a friend took her shooting for the first time…and like so many other first-timers, she liked it. Having later bought her first gun, (a Kimber 1911) she ran smack dab into a problem. She had a hell of a time finding information, training and gear designed for women.
For a born entrepreneur (she’d run an art gallery, a landscaping company, the non-profit serving the homeless and she had started the first charter school in Arizona) the solution was simple: in 2013 she opened an online store, The Well Armed Woman, selling holsters, clothing and other gear aimed specifically at the double-X set. Even four short years ago, that was a market segment of the firearms business that was sorely under-served.
She added some training tips and other resources to the online store, but Lightfoot realized that wasn’t really enough. Through her web site she was hearing from women who were clamoring for live training in gun safety, gun handling and personal defense skills. In the mean time, she’d become an NRA certified pistol instructor. And that was the genesis of The Well Armed Woman’s non-profit chapters.
TWAW’s chapter program “organizes local groups of women around the country that meet monthly to practice, learn and grow as shooters. Creating opportunities for women to be introduced to issues important to women shooters, learn safe gun handling skills and train together.”
Four years later that idea has blossomed into an organization of 340 chapters in 49 states (what’s up with South Dakota?) and 12,000 dues-paying members. They meet each month to develop their skills, get in some trigger time, have fun and grow the shooting sports. And they’re all run by dedicated volunteer local leaders who are certified and trained in firearms safety and education. And they “bleed purple,” too.
Lightfoot now leads the e-commerce and chapter programs with her husband, Bryan Detwiler, from their expanding base north of Phoenix. She’s aiming to more than double the number of chapters, bringing thousands more women into the fold. Maybe they’ll even add a South Dakota chapter to the roster.
So for spreading the gun culture, promoting safety and evangelizing the fun of guns to women shooters nationwide, Carrie Lightfoot is our Gun Hero of the Day.