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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.”

TWAW’s 2016 National leadership conference held in Jacksonville

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. 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.


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  1. How often does TTAG carry a “Gun Hero of the Day” article? She might be the gun hero of the week here, or of the month.

    (“Beneath Me” section: I was going to add that I have liked a lot of the songs written by her cousin, Gordon Lightfoot — but I won’t mention such a thing, because I have seen no indication that those two people are related.)

  2. Schweet! Female customers are always my favorite – no pesky Y-chromosome to get in the way of following instructions. And frankly, far too many tend to vote the wrong way every other year, so the more inthe party, the better.

  3. I had to carefully scrutinize the link to her site, because based on the huge quantity of random advertising links throughout TTAG, you never know when it’s actually going to be something useful. I understand that you are a business and need to make money, but the in-text advertising links are really annoying.

    • Adblock Plus + Ghostery = pleasant TTAG experience. I didn’t have ABP until all the “links added by Viglink” crap started appearing here. ABP blocks those but allows real links to be visible. Robert, if you get your advertisers corralled somewhat I’ll whitelist your site.

  4. Carrie and her TWAW organization are top notch!

    The Illinois contingent, last I heard, has the most TWAW chapters. Guns Save Life is a strong supporter, promoting these chapters and their mission for women across Illinois. I’ve met a lot of their chapter leaders. We comp advanced training for their leaders as a “thank you” for their volunteerism and work. They are all great women with a passion for empowering ladies.

    Yes, imagine that: In a deep-blue state like Illinois, we have the most chapters of women looking to learn how to protect themselves and their families. It’s outstanding.

    If you’re a trainer or involved in activism, partner with your state and/or local TWAW chapters. They appreciate guest instructors coming in to provide hour-long training sessions in the classroom and experienced instructors can help bring a fresh set of eyes to the range portion of their meetings.

    Gun rights advocacy groups can help introduce TWAW to family and friends and TWAW can return the favor by introducing your group to their members.

    Everybody wins. Except Bloomberg and his Everytown circus.


  5. Recognized that bridge as being from my old hometown, could imagine what it had to do with Phoenix, so I had to click.

  6. Great! Having two daughters, I know from experience that sometimes women are more comfortable learning from women instructors.

  7. shannon watts is jealous of the actual grass roots movement this woman started. And she’s got 11,500 more actual members than kapo bloombergs bought and paid for monsanto mommy .org.

    • In fact, I DO take advice regularly from people who urge me to investigate all the options and then make a decision for myself. That type of person understands that there is always more than one correct way to do things, and that the right thing for one person doesn’t work for another.

      You are welcome to take advice from people who tell you what to do rather than work with you to find a solution. Whether that advice be “You need an 870 12 ga, an AR-type in .223, and a GLOCK 19” or if that command is “You don’t need a gun at all, just dial 911 and urinate on yourself,” this is a free country and you may make your own decision.

      “Send all your money and guns to Button Gwinnett and he’ll take care of you.” Would you take that advice?

  8. Bunko with pistols, bowl of m&m’s by each shooting station, bust five ables and you hold the teddy bear. Whatever it takes ladies.

  9. Just bought their 4 inch bellyband after trying the five inch in a size up and returning it. Have to say, it’s one of the most well-made and comfortable bellybands I’ve worn. For the moment, I use it over the pajamas in the morning. Oh, and I’m a dude.

  10. Now, if only there was a chapter for women that demand being disarmed and defenseless, because there is such a low chance of ever being attacked……………(no matter how slim the chances in general, dead victims, men/women/children, are still dead. Safety of the herd does not apply).

  11. Carrie Lightfoot is a guiding light for men and woman alike. Her willingness and brave spirit are quite remarkable. Carrie is a survivor a witness and a great leader. The Well Armed Woman is a place where woman can ask any question and feel welcome to share with other woman their “why?”. Find a chapter in your area or start one. Join other woman by creating a strong populous of educated pro 2nd Ammendment woman who enjoy the use of firearms for sport or even self defense. Carrie Lightfoot is a great mentor and a female role model for all to learn from. As the Nevada state representative for TWAW I’m proud to know Carrie and her amazing crew along with all the Sisters I now have across the country. Thank you Carrie Lightfoot for being a Blessing to our country. You are a national treasure in my book. 🙂 <3

  12. Carrie is certainly one of my heroes! If not for her, I probably would have never found my passion for teaching women to shoot and learn to protect themselves. She is an inspiration to all who know her, not to mention a damn fine shot and a good friend.

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