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.

Patricia Suzan West

Fraud Investigator, Firearms Instructor & Baker


Catonsville, Maryland

Who or what got you into shooting?

My significant other, Michael Bruzdzinski (an NRA Training Counselor too). He convinced me to attend one of NRA Women On Target Clinics sponsored by Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club. Now I have come full circle as I have been the Women On Target Clinic Director for the past 3 years and now the Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club club instructor!

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

All of them!

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

I enjoy shooting and encouraging others, especially other women, to come out and learn to shoot or at least become familiar with firearms. I am an advocate of getting more women involved in the shooting sports.

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

My first gun I owned is my Browning Buckmark. I also own a Savage Mark II rifle (left handed model).

What's your current go-to gun?

For home defense, it would be the Mossberg 500 shotgun. For self-defense pistol, I prefer the Ruger LCP.

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

I use the range facilities at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, located in Marriottsville MD and the ranges at Elk Neck State Forest in North East MD.

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

I have several! Depending on what type of shooting I am doing, I will pack either my MidwayUSA Full size range bag or my G.P.S. Medium Range bag. Both are great range bags! If I am shooting semi-automatic pistols, I always make sure to pack my UPLULA loader to make loading the magazines easier.

What's your most unusual gun-related item?

My new concealed carry handbag made by Gun Totin' Mamas (a gift from Michael at Christmas 2013)!

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

Passing my first NRA instructor class! Michael recommended a great TC, Eric Shuford. Eric is a great instructor and very supportive of getting more women involved as instructors!

I own a gun because:

It is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

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

Easiest is the Browning Buckmark

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

Any .22LR

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

Outdoor outfitter (Cabela's is one of my favorites).

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

Firing but as I tell my PPITH/PPOTH students, you need to practice!!!

Who or what inspires you?

Seeing my Women On Target attendees make their first shot and hitting the target!

What's your favorite holiday? Why?

Thanksgiving as it is a holiday all Americans can participate and bring food from their culture. It is a time to celebrate our heritage and reflect upon the many blessings we have by living in the USA. We can share foods from our diverse cultural past!

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

I love to bake, read, knit/crochet, listen to music, and DIY projects around the house!

Your greatest accomplishment?

Being a mother followed by being an active NRA firearms instructor and the club instructor for Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club!