SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Mention the phrase "girls' night" and most people think of the local bar scene and the age old ploy designed to attract women patrons - not to mention the men who are inclined chase them.
But girls' night is taking on a whole new meaning at a number of area gun clubs, where women are dropping their designer purses and picking up pistols instead.
Managers at the Scottsdale Gun Club say concerns over personal safety have women flocking to their establishment.
What was once a monthly event is now held bi-monthly, as part of "Ladies for Liberty" night. The gun safety classes have become so popular they're now booked through the end of the year.
Valley resident Tanda Siragusa is one of the women who has trade in the traditional girls' night out in exchange for a little peace of mind. She says the course is just what she needed to feel more secure. "I'll now know how to handle a weapon if ever in a defensive situation," she said.
Range Master Joe Bridgeman leads the "Ladies for Liberty" class. He says by making women more comfortable around firearms they'll be better suited to protect themselves or loved ones should the need arise.
Bridgeman also says he finds it personally rewarding to watch the women shooters grow in confidence as they buck the stereotypical image that only men know how to handle firearms.
"It's just a lot of fun to see the metamorphosis from ‘I'm the man, I have to do this', he said, to, ‘Oh my God, my wife just kicked my butt on the gun range.'"
Not only that, he finds it kind of … sexy.
"Whenever I see a woman out there just knocking the snot out of a bull's-eye, yeah, to me, that's hot."
On an average "ladies'" night," 20 to 30 women take part in the "Ladies for Liberty" classes.
Range owners say not only are the classes a popular draw, they're also seeing more couples take part in so-called date nights.