Cyndie Norman, 18, of Bennion, is one of a growing number of young women who are taking up handgun shooting as a hobby.

A senior at Taylorsville High School, Norman started shooting a year ago and now owns her own Colt .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. She said she went hunting with her father for several years, but had not had much experience at shooting guns until her boyfriend, Ryan Nell, introduced her to the sport in the spring of 1987.Once she became accustomed to shooting the .45 Colt, she said, she liked trying to hit bull's-eyes in paper targets and trying to knock down steel plates and other targets. Last summer she went shooting nearly every day and joined the Salt Lake Practical Pistol Shooting Association.

She now competes regularly in matches and is becoming well-known as a competitor.

"I've learned how to take pistols apart and reassemble them, clean them and fine-tune triggers and actions. I have spent a great deal of time polishing the action on my own pistol."

Norman wants to be a dental hygienist after she graduates from high school and she expects to continue shooting as a hobby. "It is a good self-defense skill and a great sport and one that I will probably be able to compete in and enjoy all my life."

She said there are several other girls in her shooting club and many women shooters along the Wasatch Front. She is hoping to interest some of her girlfriends in the sport. "Physical size and strength don't have much to do with success at shooting. The most important thing is concentration, mental conditioning and lots of practice.

"I think girls could do as well as men in shooting sports. There are a number of national shooting champions who are women."

She said young men and women and adults can learn to shoot handguns at several ranges and clubs in the area. "My club shoots at a range at 78th South and 65th West in West Jordan. The next match at the range is at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 16. Anybody who would like to come and watch the shooting is invited. It is really an interesting spectator sport."

Those who would like more information about her club can contact club representative Dave Nell at 974-5415. Other clubs and their representatives are David Boshard of the Utah Handgunners at 226-1319 in Provo, and Greg Sprinkel of the Summit Shootists, 942-0101.

Norman said club dues are nominal and club members will be glad to show beginners how to get started.