Saudi women take up gun training after law change

Mona Al-Khurais is aiming to change attitudes in Saudi Arabia.

She’s turned her passion for shooting - once a male dominated field – into a profession, by teaching it.

And an increasing number of women are joining her classes.

"My passion for guns and shooting began when I was a child by going with my father on hunting trips. I started officially five years ago as part of training inside and outside the Kingdom with both Saudi and non-Saudi coaches."

In order to become a licensed firearms trainer Khurais had to get training in Saudi and abroad.

She now teaches here - at the Top Gun firing range in Riyadh.

Khurais says the pivotal point in her career came this year after the government allowed women to own weapons.

Attitudes towards women have been changing in the conservative kingdom, with women making steady gains in the work force by taking up jobs in a range of professions.

Khurais, however, initially faced problems working in a male-dominated environment.

"The difficulties that I faced were criticisms from women which was surprising to me as I was expecting men to oppose it more than women. I think the reason behind the criticism was because it's odd for them that a woman joining the field of guns and men which is unlike the women's nature. But thank God, I was determined and secured qualifications from the Saudi Shooting Federation and the IPSC organization. Now as you can see most of the visitors of the shooting range are mostly women."

As more girls and women learn to handle guns, Khurais hopes their attitudes will change and that she can inspire them.

Her goal she says, is to form a team and participate in the Olympics