SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Women across San Diego are giving a night-on-the-town a whole new meaning as they head to the gun range, trading their purses for pistols.
At the gun range, it seems more women in San Diego would rather spend their girl's night out shooting a gun with their girlfriends than spending time at a coffee shop, a bar or club, or even doing yoga.
Not only is spending time at the gun range helping women build friendships, but they are also learning to protect themselves by packing heat.
"We have guns in the house that I don't know how to use," said Donna Holman.
At Poway Weapons and Gear, ladies shoot for free during "Ladies Night", which happens every second Wednesday of the month. Female membership has gone up 30-percent since "Ladies Night" began, according to spokeswoman Natasha Sweatte.
"It's empowering and it's bringing more women to come here and try it out," said Jessica Colby who was at the gun range for the first time.
For Sweatte, a former television news reporter, gun ownership is more personal. She said a man tried to break into her home three times.
"You don't have to be defenseless. I can't expect someone else to save me," she said.
Since the year 2000, 148 women still have their concealed carry weapons permit, according to a San Diego County Sheriff's Department report.
A spokesperson for the San Diego Chapter of the Brady Campaign and advocate for gun control said, in regards to self-defense, statistics show in very few cases a criminal with a gun is successfully incapacitated by a so-called "good guy with a gun." (The full statement can be read here)
The women members at Poway Weapons and Gear understand that the decision to carry guns is a big responsibility, but also say they find it to be liberating.