Girls night at the gun range

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In Lexington some women are turning a "girls night out" into something that could save their lives.

They're heading to the gun range, where they're being trained to take aim and fire back.

Its Monday night where some ladies are looking for a good time.

In fact every Monday is Ladies Night at the Gun Warehouse on Industry Road.

Classes are full each week and have been since May, many of the women are interested in packing a little heat.

"My husband thought it was a good idea for me to come out here, he always leaves and I thought I needed to be protected," said Danielle Stratton.

Stratton is one of thirty women loading up and taking aim at a growing trend nationwide.

"There is a huge growth among female handgun owners in the U.S.," said Tony Pignato, the Director of Training with Velocity Training Group.

The FBI says the number of applications for Conceal and Carry permits jumped in 2011, and experts say many of those were for women.

Pignato says Ladies Night Out is a direct result of that growing statistic.

"The thing is when they are purchasing more if nobody is spending the time to teach them how to use them well guess what that is an absolute shame," said Pignato.

Its not just about shooting, most of the two and half hour night is spent in the classroom away from the firing range.

The women take part in a self defense course learning about how not to be a victim.

Things like knowing their surroundings and using situational awareness when they are out by themselves, all of it is discussed.

While its meant to be a fun night, it can also be eye opening.

Connie Curry is one of several women from Winchester who learned she could be an easy target.

"Circling the parking lot looking for a good parking place closer to the door, you know someone might see you circling the parking lot and you are a target," said Curry.

Back on the range, there are women who have never handled a gun, including me.

I found that practice is key when it comes to shooting.

I was apprehensive to say the least, but I learned I wasn't alone.

Michelle Stamper of Winchester told me she was really nervous before picking up the gun, but the more she shot the more confident she became.

And that is the target that folks with Ladies Night Out want women to hit.

"Of the ladies who come to this Ladies Night 80% come back and buy a gun, they come back confident," said Pignato.

The course is $15 and lasts about two and half hours. Women get the chance to shoot five different guns during their time on the range.

Because of privacy laws surrounding gun ownership its hard to know just how many women in Kentucky actually own a gun.

Kentucky State Police say in 2011 they received 25,582 applications for Conceal Carry Permits, they actually granted 24, 908.

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