Smith and Wesson

Welcome to the NRA Women's Channel

Presented by Smith & Wesson

NRA Women is designed for female gun enthusiasts. It's a resource for news, education, events and more. And we're telling more stories of empowered women like you. Come explore, connect, celebrate and unite with the women of NRA.

Melinda Neff


Toledo, WA

Who or what got you into shooting?

My father started me on 22LR rifle and pistol when I was five years old. Then after that I shoot .38 special snub nose and .357 revolver. Between shooting and reloading it was a great time spending with my dad. 

Do you shoot handguns, shotguns, rifles or all of the above?

I shoot pistol, rifles, shotgun and little muzzleloaders.

NRA member since:

I have been a member for five years.

Why are you involved with the NRA or how do you support their efforts?

I support NRA by contribution in NRA Golden Eagle member to support and keep our Second Amendments to have right to bear arms.

Tell us about the first gun you owned or your favorite gun.

The first gun I bought was a .410 gauge shotgun. That was my first shotgun starter. As for favorite gun I have a lot but most favorites are my AR-15 that is pink, Charter Arms Pink Lady .38 special, and two single action Ruger Vaqueros .357 SASS approved Revolvers.

What's your current go-to gun?:

My go-to gun is my P22 Walther and Charter Arms Pink Lady .38 special when I am home. For conceal carry is the Charter Arms Pink Lady.

What's your favorite shooting range or place to hunt?

My favorite range is my personnel range, Cowlitz Public Shooting Range, as well as Tri-County Gun Club and Rainier Rod and Gun Club.

Do you have a favorite accessory or clothing item you won't go shooting or hunting without? What makes it so important?

Most of my accessories for shooting or hunting have some pink in it. As long its pink I am ready to go hunting or shooting.

What's your best or most memorable moment as it relates to firearms?

I most memorable moment is my husband and mine honeymoon hunting trip. I shot an Ankole-Watusi, my first large game, with a .30-06 rifle in 2012.

I own a gun because:

It’s my second amendment right and for personal protection. Also for hunting, teaching, and competitions.

Tell us the best (or worst) gun advice you've ever been given.

My best advice I been giving is learning safety and fundamentals equal survival and empowering.

What's your easiest gun to handle and shoot? Hardest?

Most guns are easy to handle. The hardest to handle are pistol calibers that are bigger than .45s, rifle calibers .45-70, and .300 win mag. 

What would be your recommendation for best entry-level gun?

For learning, I use in my classes the .22LR caliber. Low recoil helps you learn and refresh fundamentals. As a female I recommend up to 9mm caliber pistol and rifles up to .30-30 & .308 calibers. For a shotgun, I recommend a 20-gauge, and for a brand new shooter, up to 12-gauge.

Your ideal shopping trip: the mall or an outdoor outfitter?

My favorite shopping trip is anything that has to do with firearms, fishing, western and outdoors. 

What do you think is the best home defense — firing or fleeing?

I think the best home defense is firing. But I recommend to all of my students to find out what the gun laws and self-defense laws are in their area to protect them legally.

Who or what inspires you?

My whole family and my loving husband are my strength and inspirations to me. They give me a lot of love, support and encouragement to keep shooting and educate public safety and fundamentals of owning firearms. I thank my husband and family for their supports.

What's your favorite holiday? Why?

My favorite holiday is Christmas time. It’s time where I love being with my family and cooking our famous signature dishes. Plus, most of us receive guns as gifts. Also, Christmas 2010, my husband proposed to me. I also have weakness for Christmas trees and outdoors lights.

What do you do to relax and unwind — watch TV, listen to music, go to movies, catch a game, exercise, something else?

I like to watch TV program-NCIS, Reba, Criminal Minds and hunting/shooting shows, listen all genre of music, cook, photography, yoga, walking, weightlifting, and working with my bird dog.

Your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment is doing what I love to do and overcoming my hearing loss. I was born with a hearing loss and remember school saying that I will not achieve much in my life. I achieve the most impossible goals and enjoy what I do.