S&W: When did you start shooting? Did you know you immediately caught the shooting bug?
JG: So, I have a bit of a unique story because I grew up around shooting. It’s just always been a part of my life and something my dad always did… Whether he was hunting or shooting matches or just plinking, all that good stuff, I was around it all the time. I was his little buddy and I went everywhere with him. It wasn’t a matter of catching the shooting bug because I enjoyed being on the range with him at such a young age.
S&W: What was your first competition like?
JG: After all those years of being on the range, when I turned 14, my dad and I felt that I was big enough, strong enough, old enough, and mature enough, to actually start competing myself. That was kind of how it all came into play. We planned for me to start competing in the summer. Leading up to that, we spent the winter getting my gun handling skills up to par so I would be able to be safe and competent for my first match. As we prepared, I remember going to this little indoor range and it was so cold in there and there was no heat. My first competition was a USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) match. At that time, in order to compete in your first match, you had to complete a practical shooting checklist. You had to show that you were able to understand the safety rules, that you were proficient with shooting and able to draw from a holster. Being a girl, a young girl, there was nobody else my age. With no young ladies at the range shooting at the time, I definitely had some big shoes to fill and there were a lot of expectations.
S&W: Was there anyone that you looked up to in shooting?
JG: Growing up going to local clubs and all of the ranges in New York, a woman named Sheila Bray was a regular and she was also the first Lady Master Shooter in USPSA. She was just phenomenal shooter. I also loved that when she would walk in to the clubhouse she was one of the guys. She had goals and she had this confident air about her too, so I really looked up to her.
S&W: You were in the military, what was that like? Did it shape your shooting style?
JG: I was recruited to shoot for the Army’s Action Shooting Team. I had been competing a few years and went to my first nationals as a Junior in high school. I caught the Coach’s attention and was recruited to shoot for the Army Marksmanship Unit right there. Looking back on my time in the Army, you know, it was definitely challenging; being the only woman on a male team and being the first woman on an all-male team. I would say that I rely on the skills and all of those rounds down range even today. It was really a foundation building; I mean, I think about years I shot more than 100,000 rounds. My time in the Army is really what took me to the next level.
S&W: And how long have you been shooting for Team Smith & Wesson? Can you tell us a little about what it’s like shooting on a team with shooting being such an individual sport?
JG: I started shooting for Smith & Wesson back in 2006. So that's yeah, that's a long time. I've been with Smith & Wesson longer than I was with the military. It’s the longest team I've been on in my career. Being on a team is more about comradery and pride as much as shooting is very much an individual sport. As shooters we do have the opportunity to compete together in teams when we're representing Team USA at the world level for example. But even in as a team, everybody is still working on their individual score first, because if you don't shoot well yourself, you're not going to be able to shoot well for your team.
S&W: Shooting has taken you to all around the world, where are some of your favorite places you have gone to shoot?
JG: It’s such an honor to say that I've been able to shoot on six continents. That’s not something a lot of people, have done in their lifetime, much less with a gun on their hip. So it's been such a neat, neat journey. Some of my favorite places? Hmmm…. I've been to Moscow, I've been to New Zealand, I've been to Greece. All of it has just been amazing. Trips to the Philippines... It’s so hard to pick a favorite event because there are so many neat memories from all of them. Even in the U.S., I really enjoy traveling within the United States just to meet new people, find little restaurants in obscure little towns. It's been really, really neat to travel around and see different styles of shooting and meet different people. And it's funny, we may come from different walks of life and we may speak different languages, but when you're a shooter, there's just this connection.
S&W: With as many firearms as you have shot and own, if you could only own one, what would it be?
JG: Oh, my goodness I hate this question! I get this one all the time and I tell people it's like asking a girl what her favorite pair of shoes are. It all depends on the outfit, right? If I could only have one, it would probably be, and this is just me being completely practical, I would probably choose my Performance Center® C.O.R.E™ M&P® 9MM. I can take my red dot off of it and shoot iron sights. I can attach a laser to it. I can put a light on it. I can use it for target shooting, it works for home defense if I need it too; it's of one of those great all-around pistols, standard capacity at seventeen rounds, all that jazz. That said, I would severely miss my rifles, my M&P 10 in particular. I'm also such a 1911 girl I love my 1911's too and even my revolvers; I have revolvers from competition and some from my dad when he was young. Then there’s my new Shield Plus for concealed carry… I think they would be very hard to part with. Yeah, it would be brutal.
S&W: What are you working on these days?
JG: You know, I’m in a different phase of my life in a lot of ways. With everything going on in the world it's been really fun to just shoot for fun lately. Many competitions were canceled last year as we all try to adapt. So, my range days look a bit difference compared to training for matches. I also have two daughters, one just turned thirteen and the other is eight. My husband and I are having a lot of fun spending time on the range with them too. It's neat to be able to share shooting, obviously with my own family and then working with GunSmarts and then working on projects and videos, that sort of stuff. I do look forward to getting back to matches, but it’s been nice to take a different approach to shooting too.
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