Sarah Webb receives hands-on instruction from Svetlana Paegel, a Russian immigrant who specializes in range instruction.
By Matt Schepeler
When officials decided to jump start a chapter of The Well Armed Women in Brooklyn, they had no idea how they would be received. A year later, Brooklyn has perhaps the most successful chapter of The Well Armed Women in the state with “just shy of 100,” said Marcy Jankovich.
“We are the biggest chapter,” she said.
In fact, in June the state meeting will be held in Brooklyn, and Carrie Lightfoot, owner of The Well Armed Woman LLC, is coming to address members.
“We are real excited about Carrie Lightfoot coming. She is well-known in the gun world,” said Jankovich. Lightfoot will be conducting an instructor’s class that weekend.
The need for women to have their own instructors and group to gather with are many, noted Jankovich.
“Our bodies are different, our mindset is different, not wrong, not better, not worse, but different. Our approach to problem solving is different, our thought process is different. And [Lightfoot] goes into all of that,” said Jankovich.
Member Sarah Webb noted that she joined the club to learn to shoot better. “I didn’t want to be intimidated [from] carrying because I didn’t know how to shoot.
“They train us how to draw, shoot, carry, and [address] our mental state . . . it is just really helpful. I really like it. To me, the whole women aspect of it made it less intimidating.”
Jankovich said that some women opt to get a concealed weapon permit, while others do not. She noted that two members have not even taken the step to actually fire their guns because they are scared.
“But they keep coming because they are going to. They are just working up to it.”
She stressed there is no pressuring members, but that the club is there to take people “from where they are to where they want to go.”
One leader who is helping members “go where they want to go” is Svetlana Paegel, a Russian-born woman who immigrated to America four and a half years ago. Paegel noted that in Russia, women are not allowed to own firearms, but since coming to the United State she has gone from novice to instructor. “I never shot a gun when I got here.” Now she teaches women how to safely handle firearms, including everything from loading to carrying to drawing to accurately firing.
“And she is especially good with brand new shooters,” noted Jankovich of Paegel.
“I couldn’t understand English when I got here,” she said. Being instructed in firearm safety not only taught her how to shoot straight, but how to speak English as well.
Together, along with administrator Vanessa Mulnix, the three women make a great team, noted Jankovich.
“I am good at getting speakers,” she said, while Paegel is good on the range and Mulnix excels at organizing.
“Our motto is to educate, equip and empower,” said Jankovich.
Typical meetings include one hour for education, and another hour for live fire. The meetings also provide a great setting for women to make new friends and socialize.
“Now we are planning extracurricular activities as well,” said Jankovich.
Contact Jankovich at 517-782-0433 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.