Carrie Lightfoot entered into the firearm industry later in life and distinctly remembers the first time she went shooting. Although slightly scared at first, she quickly fell in love and began seeking information geared towards women. Although she acknowledged that the firearm industry was male dominated, she was disappointed in what was available. “If I found anything, it was really condescending and it frustrated me so I started to do my own research, gather information and decided somebody needed to do something for women, to talk to them respectfully and answer the questions we have and that is what sparked the birth of The Well-Armed Woman.”
After she began the organization in 2012, the response was overwhelming. By 2013, she had started the shooting chapter program which is in all 50 states and she also started an instructor program that now has 300 certified women instructors. Lightfoot succeeded because she recognized the distinct differences in men and women. “We learn differently and our brains function different and women are very relational beings that go through life in community with other women…the industry had the belief of ‘shrink it and pink it’ to meet the woman’s needs but the industry didn’t go beyond that. So what we tried to do was go well beyond that and really address the differences and needs of women.”
With a media that pushes their own agenda and bias, Lightfoot ensures that her website has a wide variety of accurate and informational resources because she believes that “ignorance and lack of knowledge because people fear what they don’t know.” Along with news articles, content, tips, and products, Lightfoot has pages of stories that highlight women who have successfully defended themselves with a firearm. “We need to get better at sharing the realities of what a gun in the hands of a woman or any law-abiding citizen mean through stories.” She has come to the conclusion that a woman’s story is the most powerful thing she is in possession of. If female gun owners explained why they carry and what it means to them, people will be less likely to try and violate that right.
When discussing threats against female gun owners, Lightfoot stated that other women are among the biggest problems. “The ultimate war on women is when you have women telling other women that it’s not safe for them to own guns, or that they are too weak or that they will get hurt or are too emotional…that is really bold.” She continued, explaining that these feminists are subjecting women to a life of victimhood by attempting to disarm them. “Nothing equalizes the battlefield like a firearm, nothing. A woman who has the right equipment and the training to use it, levels that field.”
As the world has progressed, the role of women has changed from dependent on men as their “knights in shining armor” to being their own self-protectors. “Women are incredibly committed to training. They are perfectionists and they like to do things right. So if you take a woman who wants to learn something to save her life or that of her family, she will take it really seriously.” When she began to shoot, as a single mom, Lightfoot loved the challenge and overcoming the fear to become proficient in handling firearms. With The Well Armed Woman, she aims to make sure that every woman is knowledgeable, well-trained and in a community of other like-minded women. Only second to her enthusiasm for educating women is her love of the sport, and she has her organization to ensure that women can know the feeling of being well armed. “The greatest thing about shooting and gun ownership is independence and confidence… And it is really a heck of a lot of fun!”