Robin Evans is a National Rifle Association instructor who does firearm training and self-defense classes for women.
In the past year, she has trained more than 1,500 women, helping them feel confident in handling a weapon. Evans says she wants to show women how to be their own first responders.
“There wasn’t anybody in the industry that looked like me. I didn’t know any female instructors, let alone any Black ones,” said Evans.
Evans runs Greenville-based Chicks With Triggers, a booming self-defense course for women who want to learn to take safety into their own hands.
Growing up, Evans’ father was in law enforcement, instilling in her from an early age the importance of self-defense.
“My first gun was a revolver that he gave me. He told me to go learn how to use it; he taught me how, I’d go to the range and practice all the time. Then I decided to make it into a business,” said Evans.
Horrified by stories of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and violence against women, Evans’ full-time business was born in 2021. She says most of her clients are Black women.
“Greenville County, where I live, is ranked third in the state for sex trafficking. That doesn’t work for me, so, I’m here to help women level the playing field. Absolutely nothing will level the playing field between a 120-pound woman and a 300-pound man, like a gun,” said Evans.
Evans developed a safe space, offering “Ladies Night” group classes and one-on-one instruction, creating a comfortable and safe environment for women to learn, ask questions, and share stories.
“I don’t have a lot of women who come ‘just because.’ They come because they’re afraid of crime and violence, not just domestic violence,” said Evans.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the sale of guns to Black Americans rose 58% in 2020. Another report by the same group shows that in the first quarter of 2021, 90% of gun retailers reported an uptick in Black customers, including an 87% increase among Black women.
And according to the FBI, anti-Black hate crimes rose nearly 40% in 2020. Evans says a likely reason for the driving numbers.
“Start putting your safety in your hands because the cops won’t always make it there on time,” said Evans.
Evans also says that it's not enough to have a permit; you also have to study the laws in your state, and practice, so you feel comfortable.
She travels across the state of South Carolina training women. Her advice for someone just starting out, find a qualified instructor who you trust and can relate to. She says you have to feel comfortable with who is training you.