It’s no small feat being a woman breaking into the world of professional shooting. In recognition of International Women’s Day, we asked two of our favorite women in the firearms industry to share a bit about how they got here, how the industry has changed, and what they hope for the future generation of female shooters.
Julie Golob, Pro Shooter & Captain of Team Smith & Wesson®
I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for shooting sports and this industry. Growing up around competitive shooting, there weren’t many women on the range and certainly very few teenage girls like me. The women I encountered, inspired me. Whether it was a kind word of encouragement and fun atmosphere from female shooters at the local level or watching the incredible skills from the top women in the sport, there was so much to learn and appreciate. Champions like Kay Miculek, Kippi Leatham, and Sheila Brey proved how to take shooting even further.
Thanks to shooting, I’ve learned so much about goal setting and leadership, as well as useful life skills. As a young competitor, I put countless hours and over a million rounds down range. As a wife and mother, I have learned to make the most of less time and resources. Being a part of the industry and connecting with fellow gun owners as well as those who are looking to purchase their first firearm, has helped me better address their concerns and needs as shooters. The different roles I’ve played throughout my career have helped me develop empathy and an understanding I am grateful for.
When I think of all the newcomers to shooting, women and girls of all ages, I can’t help but smile. It’s no longer rare to see a teenage girl pushing the envelope in competition. Women feel confident that they can learn about firearms and concealed carry methods, so much so that they aren’t intimidated to hit the range or visit a gun shop. It has taken some time to get here, but I feel honored that I play a part in it. Helping motivate, guide, and teach others useful skills on and off the range is one of the best parts of what I do.
Ava Flanell, Firearms Instructor & Host of Gun Funny Podcast
Even though I only shot my first gun in 2012, I was raised around guns. My mom was a firearms instructor and assisted me when I shot my first gun. Thinking back, my mom was somewhat of a pioneer because even when I became an instructor in 2013, I was the only female in all the instructor credential courses that I took. As I started teaching my own classes, females made up for about twenty percent of the class. With each year, female attendance continues to grow. Now I have women coming up to me saying that my path has encouraged them to become an instructor.
Before I chose my current career path, I spent the first eight years of adulthood living in New York City. Owning a firearm was never a consideration. I lived in Manhattan with over twelve million people living on top of each other. I thought surely if anything ever happened there were plenty of people to help. What a small-minded thought. As I’ve grown older, wiser and have seen the reality of the world, I realize that not even law enforcement is required to protect you. Self-protection is our responsibility and right.
Learning how to protect myself has been one of the most empowering things I’ve done. I can live alone, go hiking, and go about my day freely knowing that if I’m ever in danger I’m equipped to have a fighting chance. When obtained lawfully, guns are a tool that level the playing field of surviving someone or something that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Training the next generation of female shooters, it’s important to emphasize that gun ownership doesn’t have an image. You don’t have to be a man or look like the next Laura Croft. Race, gender, politics, and religion shouldn’t deny or dissuade someone the right to protect themselves and loved ones.
|Follow Julie at:||Follow Ava at:|
|IG: @juliegolob||IG: @avaflanell_ and @gunfunnypodcast|
|FB: @JulieGolob||FB: @gunfunnyshow|
|TW: @julieG1||YT: youtube.com|
|YT: youtube.com/JulieGolob||Website: www.gunfunny.com|