From tiny pocket pistols to long range rifles, from arrows to shot shells, I've tried out lots of ways to shoot and enjoyed them all. Competitive shooting is in my blood. Or maybe it's just a genetic love of guns and I happen to also be uber-competitive in everything. Either way, I've been shooting for over two decades (aka most of my life). I got my start in target shooting at a competitive level in the sport of international rifle. I've also competed in IDPA, biathlon, and air pistol and tried out several additional shooting sports like archery, long range precision shooting, trap, and hunting. But let's start at the beginning.
I'm the daughter of a competitive shooter and the daughter / granddaughter / sister / cousin / niece / daughter-in-law / you-name-it of people who own firearms. Guns and shooting are fundamentally, undeniably part of my heritage. When my dad started taking my brother to shoot with the Acorns Junior Rifle Team in Fairfax, Virginia, I begged for a year to be able to join them. When my parents finally consented to me learning to shoot, I was eight years old. That was the first step into the competitive shooting sports, and I was hooked for life.
The fundamentals of great rifle shooting and safe range behavior were coached into me week after week by the other kids on the team and by the adults who dedicated their time to helping us learn the sport. As I grew in stature and in technique, I picked up more difficult skills. By the age of 10 I was shooting the three positions of smallbore rifle: prone (with a sling), offhand/standing, and kneeling. I shot in a few local matches with my dad, brother, and teammates. With each practice and each match I was building confidence and meeting more folks who shared their love of the sport.
Fast forward a few years and I started acquiring equipment, including an Anschutz 1912 smallbore rifle and a Feinwerkbau P70 Junior air rifle that had been beefed up for competition. In 1999 I went with my family to compete in the national matches at Camp Perry, and in 2002 I qualified for the Junior Olympics for the first of what totaled five times. Over the course of my years competing there were several goals that I kept in mind:
- I wanted to be a national champion (checked that off in 2003 when the Acorns won at Camp Perry, and in 2006 I won an individual title in the NRA three position air rifle national championship)
- I wanted to shoot in college. Rifle is a sport in the NCAA, with Division I schools competing with Division III and club teams (checked this off!)
- I wanted to shoot internationally (checked this off too!)
Rifle is also an Olympic sport, and though I wanted to go to the Olympics initially (what kid doesn't?) I realized in high school that I wasn't willing to dedicate myself like I would need to so I would qualify for one of the two to four spots on the USA Olympic Rifle Team that becomes available to an American woman every four years. Several friends and former teammates have achieved this honor, and I'm so proud to know them and cheer them on. If you're interested in reading more about my journey and the ups and downs of competitive shooting, there's more details available here.
I did get a chance to shoot in college, and that was a pivotal experience for me. Competing for my university's rifle team allowed me to be a part of a community of like-minded people outside of class. I went to MIT, which can be a stressful place. The rifle range was my safe zone, where I could have some semblance of control over the outcome of all my hard work. On the range there are no curved grades, no killer tests. It's just me and my rifle, one shot at a time. Learning that mindset as I simultaneously earned a bachelor's in mechanical engineering helped set me up for a lifelong love of all forms of the shooting sports.
Fast forward to 2016. I am now employed in the firearms industry as a manufacturing engineer. I am a licensed hunter with two turkeys tagged last year in New Hampshire. I am a concealed carrier trained with a defensive mindset. I am learning archery and will try my skills bowhunting this year for turkey and deer. I am a wannabe biathlete - I can shoot, but I'm slow as molasses in the winter on skis. I will not claim to do it all, but I have and will continue to try out various shooting sports. I will write about my experiences and give advice where I feel qualified to do so. Thanks for reading, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.