Cat and Whitney Potgeter provide a powerful representation of firearm skills being passed down from one generation to the next. The mother and daughter are both NRA-certified instructors and range officers who teach classes at Silver Bullet Firearms in Wyoming, Mich. They also run their own training business called Applied Firearms Defense Skills, with Whitney’s sister Abbey assisting as photographer.
Cat and Whitney provided a fantastic series of training videos for “Tips & Tactics” on NRA News—links to be found below. We reached out to Cat about her background and her unique family business, and she graciously responded.
A1F Daily: Yours was an interesting “arc” on “Tips & Tactics,” particularly because you talked about what motivated you to become proactive about personal security in the first place. Would you care to address that briefly for our readers?
Cat Potgeter: I made the transition from recreational shooter to self-defense firearms instructor following a robbery at my home. While that experience left me feeling violated and vulnerable, it also gave me the chance to take a closer look at my personal security plan. I could either choose to live with a “victim mentality” or empower myself through proper training. Having raised my daughters to rise in the face of adversity, this was another opportunity to put my words into action.
A1F: With your daughter Whitney working with you as an instructor at Applied Firearms Defense Skills, are there unique challenges and opportunities for you in approaching firearms training as a family business?
CP: After I began formal training, my daughters went along with me to the range more often than not to watch and begin to learn, too. Whitney expressed a keen interest in shooting and had a natural affinity from the get-go. Although adept with a handgun, Abbey has always preferred “shooting” with her camera. Whitney later began her formal training with the expressed interest in teaching alongside me, while Abbey began documenting classes with photos.
Early on, our “dynamic duo” became known for offering practical self-defense training in an approachable and relaxed environment. Being an anomaly, one would think it difficult to find our niche, but quite the opposite has held true! Men and women alike seem drawn to the nurturing approach that competent, female instructors can offer.
A1F: Every now and then we hear the argument from anti-gun activists and pundits that women shouldn’t have guns, that they can’t handle them and ultimately they just make things worse for themselves. From your experiences and those of your students, what have you seen about women’s ability to empower themselves through skill with guns?
CP: Yes, I’ve heard some of those same ignorant and incorrect remarks. The practical reality is that women are at a greater risk for becoming the victims of violent crimes. Firearms are the great equalizer among the sexes.
In a society where firearms are prevalent, a functional knowledge makes more sense than denial. It is our goal to positively empower our students with a newfound strength that comes from replacing fear with practical knowledge and life skills. Women should not live in fear, and pundits should not use empty statements not founded in fact to further their personal agendas.