The Couple Who Trains Together...

posted on January 27, 2020

“We continue to see increases in couples and families attending courses together or at the same time,” said Ken Campbell, CEO of the famed Gunsite Academy in Arizona. “We have had requests for the return of the Team Tactics for Two course, so it is back on the 2020 schedule.”

Across the country, SIG Sauer Academy has also noted the trend. Tom Taylor, chief marketing officer & executive vice president of Commercial Sales for SIG Sauer, notes one of the primary reasons they’re seeing couples, “Especially for new shooters, as many are,” is because, “they want to protect their home.”

“The secondary reason is that it’s just a good/fun event to do together,” he quickly added. “At the SIG Sauer Academy we see many couples sign up for our introductory and beginner courses together because for the most part this is one or both of their first experiences with firearms and they find it more comfortable to take the class with a friend or partner.”

North Carolina’s Triangle Shooting Academy (TSA) has quickly grown into one of the region’s premier indoor ranges, earning a five-star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation last year. “In the 4 years that Triangle Shooting Academy has been open, I have witnessed steady growth in couples shooting on the range,” said Casie Bennett-Eaddy, TSA director of marketing. “The majority of our couples visit the range periodically, mainly for recreational purposes. I believe that our special events such as Thursday Date Night, Bowling Pin Shoots and our Valentine’s Day Shoot attract these couples.”

Couples who shoot together reap serious benefits according to “Doc” Laura Torres-Reyes, who shoots IDPA, USPSA and 3-gun. “Your partner is who you spend the majority of your time with. Bad things happen at home, on the road, out shopping, etc.,” she explained “You probably have an earthquake drill or tornado drill for home and work—you need to have that with your significant other for home, shopping, traveling, etc. The time to decide what your plan is should not be when the ‘feces [is] hitting the oscillating cooling mechanism.’ You also need to know how your partner’s firearm works in the event you must pick it up and use it.”

Torres-Reyes—a physician who retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Colonel after 30 years—was introduced to the shooting sports by her husband. Their love and dedication shows in 31 years in matrimony. The best way for a woman to remain feminine on a tough shooting stage? “Shoot like a girl,” she said. “Seriously, a competitive woman is bada** on the range.” 

“I have had the pleasure of coordinating two marriage proposals on the range,” said Bennett-Eaddy. “One of the couples are Raleigh Police Department Officers who often shoot on the range and the other couple are firearm enthusiasts. Even I met my husband while working at Triangle Shooting Academy. Firearms require respect and understanding, much like relationships. I think that is why you see couples who actively shoot together exhibiting these traits within their relationship.”

“Believe it or not, Gunsite is a wedding destination,” Campbell said. “On Valentine’s Day a few years ago, a couple from Wisconsin—who met shooting—came and took a 250 Pistol Course and were married in front of the Gunsite monument. They have been back several times since. I suppose our five-star campground could be the honeymoon destination as well! My wife Shari and I and Buz and Sonja Mills (owners of Gunsite) and Jane Anne Shimizu (Gunsite marketing director) and husband Bob have taken several courses together. The family who shoots together stays together.”


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Colonel Rex Applegate

For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.


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