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Take aim 

“OK, so now that we’ve taught you all these techniques, if you’re ever in a home invasion type situation, just tell your husbands, ‘It’s OK, I’ve got this, get behind me and try not to weep too loud,’” CEO and instructor of Spartan Training Resources, John Marrs, quipped.

click to enlarge LINE UP :  Instructors John Marrs and John Odom teach safe gun techniques to (l-r) Suzanne Russell, Maeva Considine, Kelly Fontes, and Stephanie Ross. - PHOTO BY STEVE E MILLER
  • LINE UP : Instructors John Marrs and John Odom teach safe gun techniques to (l-r) Suzanne Russell, Maeva Considine, Kelly Fontes, and Stephanie Ross.

The group of women present for Spartan Training’s Women Only Handgun Course got quite a few chances to laugh with the easy-going Marrs and Co-CEO and instructor Steve Odom, in between reloading breaks. But once Marrs or Odom gives the fire command, all eyes are at the front of the class.

You would never be able to tell that this is the first Women Only gun course the two men have taught. Their patience seems to know no bounds, even when my finger keeps slipping off the trigger of the borrowed M&P Smith & Weston I’m using.

It may be the first time the two instructors are teaching a range full of women, but they are old hats at teaching folks how to shoot straight and safe. Combined, Marrs and Odom have 40-plus years of law enforcement experience and have taught everyone from private citizens, to other law enforcement officers, proper gun control and technique.

“Now just keep pressure on it; trigger control is key,” Odom tells me for the fifteenth time, but I detect no annoyance or thinning of his patience.

For the first couple of hours prior to hitting the range, the women of the Women Only Handgun Course hit the books. The class comes complete with a binder of information from tactical self-dense techniques to dry practice targets. Marrs and Odom haven’t missed a detail in their course, and if it weren’t for the mugs of coffee and purses scattered across the tabletops, you’d think you had been called up to enter some sort of cool, specialized private citizens’ defense academy.

The classroom portion covers everything from the mechanics of a handgun (complete with cool animated PowerPoint slides) to how to determine if a situation calls for a higher level of readiness and alertness (turns out color-coding danger isn’t just for TSA).

The classroom portion is perfect for those first-timer gun handlers and nervous Nellies who duck whenever a truck backfires. Marrs and Odom possess that perfect balance between cool, friendly, and controlled. Their demeanor was so reassuring that by the end of it even the most novice first timers will be ready to smoke targets.

The range portion of the course gives women an opportunity to practice the fundamentals of marksmanship, handgun manipulation, and safety. 

After emptying my first few mags I realized that shooting is great fun ... loud, but great fun. But more than fun, the course teaches that safe gun handling is paramount. Marrs and Odom seamlessly lock the basics together in a way that’s thrilling, but also leaves you with a deeper, philosophical understanding of gun ownership. “If you own a gun or are planning on owning a gun, you should ask yourself those ethical questions now, because when the time comes and you’re in a bad situation—a potentially life-threatening situation that involves you or your kids—you won’t have time to ask yourself those questions,” Odom explained.

And if you’re going to own a gun, you need to take a handling course. Spartan Training Resources provides the Central Coast with expertise, knowledge, and two instructors that make learning how to handle a handgun much less likely to end in pain and a higher insurance premium.

Spartan Training Resources teaches courses for all skill levels. They also partner with Budo Ryu Gym in San Luis Obispo for training in hand-to-hand combat. You can register for courses online, check the schedule, and see what kind of equipment will be required for class at Training is held at the Santa Lucia Sportsmen’s Association. You can reach Spartan Training Resources by phone at 440-0614 or on Facebook.

Fast fact

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is presented by the Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center of SLO County. Join the international men’s march to end rape, sexual assault, and gender violence by busting out a pair of heels, Sat. April 28 in the Mission Plaza in SLO. There’s a family fun fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the walk begins at 11:30 a.m. For additional information visit or call 545-8888.

Contributor Maeva Considine compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to [email protected].


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