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Saudi female weapons trainer breaks boundaries in male-dominated field

Published: Updated:

Mona Al-Khurais has loved guns ever since as a young girl her father took her on hunting trips in Saudi Arabia and taught her how to shoot.

Five years ago, she turned that passion into her profession, receiving coaching in Saudi and abroad to become a licensed firearms trainer.

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Saudi female firearm trainer Mona Al Khurais teaches a Saudi woman on safe usage of weapons at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)
Saudi female firearm trainer Mona Al Khurais teaches a Saudi woman on safe usage of weapons at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)

The 36-year-old now teaches shooting at Top Gun firing range in Riyadh, with more and more women joining her classes.

“I am so happy to practice my passion and my hobby as a coach and a range safety officer,” Khurais said.

“Hopefully, I can share my experience with Saudi girls, to encourage them to enter this difficult field that was previously reserved for men.”

Saudi female firearm trainer, Mona Al Khurais, takes aim with her long-range rifle during her target practice at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)
Saudi female firearm trainer, Mona Al Khurais, takes aim with her long-range rifle during her target practice at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)

Khurais was one of the exhibitors at the Saudi Falconry and Hunting show, an annual exhibition in Riyadh showcasing manufacturers specializing in hunting weapons.

Exhibitors displayed pistols, sniper rifles, hunting rifles and semi-automatic weapons as well as hunting paraphernalia.

Visitors with gun licenses can buy the weapons on show.

Saudi female firearm trainer Mona Al Khurais takes aim with her pistol at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)
Saudi female firearm trainer Mona Al Khurais takes aim with her pistol at the Top-Gun shooting range in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021. Picture taken October 28, 2021. (Reuters)

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

“The difficulties that I faced were the criticisms from women, which was surprising to me as I was expecting it from men,” she said.

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

“My goal is one day to participate in the Olympics,” she said.

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