A 13-year-old honor-roll student, Max Friedman is concluding his second year of competitive shooting, and his fascination with shooting only began at age 10. Max’s regular circuit includes matches at his home club, South Jersey Shooting Club in Winslow, N.J., where he competes in the Pennsylvania Steel League. In 2014, Max won High Junior at the New Jersey State NSSF Rimfire Challenge. In 2015 Max had the opportunity to experience true competition and camaraderie when he gained support and sponsorships from a plethora of people and companies and truly stepped outside of his comfort zone when he competed in the US Steel Nationals, World Class Steel Speed on Steel where he finished as second junior, Pennsylvania State Steel Challenge Championship and the New Jersey State NSSF Rimfire Challenge, where he also finished second junior.
Max has been a regular attendee of the Area 8 USPSA Junior Camp for the past two years, and is a member of the TacSol shooting team. Among his prized equipment is a Ruger 22/45 Lite with a Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite barrel and a Tactical Solution X-Ring 10/22. The fall of 2015 brought him the opportunity to begin formal training with his Walther PPQ M2 9mm, because he is looking forward to entering USPSA competitions this year.
When not competing, you can find Max computer coding, enjoying time with his dogs and playing video games or watching movies. He has chosen to give back via his shooting efforts by supporting the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. ASJ
This young lady began enjoying the sport of target shooting at the age of five under the close supervision of her father Dan Roberts. Engaging in sanctioned matches at the age of seven across a wide variety of disciplines and even participating in events such as IDPA, USPSA, 3-Gun, Action Rifle, NSSF Rimfire and Steel Silhouette, Shyanne is a rising star among today’s youth competitors.
In 2015 she joined the TacSol shooting team, which earned her a new signature custom purple TacSol Ruger Paclite and X-Ring 10/22. In addition to these, her other personally owned guns are her tricked-out Rock River Arms and Gun for Hire ARs, a Beretta 12-gauge semiauto and a custom Glock 19. She immersed herself in the sport by training with Todd Jarret, a competive shooter and instructor, and competing at the Brownells Lady 3-Gun, bringing home the “tough-as-nails” award, USPSA matches and an assortment of rimfire challenges to include the New Jersey State NSSF Rimfire Challenge where she finshed as First Lady.
This little lady has been featured on CNN, Fox & Friends, Nightline, Chasing NJ, News 12 NJ, as well as the covers of American Shooting Journal’s July 2015 issue and Junior Shooter, an assortment of newspaper articles, podcasts and radio mentions. There’s no doubt the nation has noticed that Shy’s generation is shooting for their future.
This new generation of shooters has been well mentored, and can now – most certainly – take the reins. ASJ
Tactical Solutions looks for good kids with great personalities and school ethics.
When we discuss kids, many jump in and shout “Let them just be kids!” We couldn’t agree more! Let them be kids, but there’s absolutely everything right about creating an experience that is fun, educational and develops them for success in life. I had the opportunity to engage with a man at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits who is, let’s say, handling some logistics behind the front lines of the youth shooting movement. His name is Chet Alvord, vice president of marketing at Tactical Solutions, a Boise, Idaho-based firearms manufacturer specializing in perfecting the .22-caliber rifle and pistol for competition shooting.
When we met, I was introducing a young lady named Shyanne Roberts, an up-and-coming competitive shooter who was simply melting with interest when she got the chance to check out the TacSol lineup. Chet quickly engaged her and took a commanding role in the conversation; I was (humorously) brushed aside, giving Shy her first opportunity to negotiate on her own. I smiled and gave her a quick pep talk as I patted her on the back and walked away; I knew he didn’t stand a chance!
Let’s talk with Chet now about his philosophy on the next generation of shooters, the nature of supporting professional youth and how they play a critical role in our nation:
Eric Saperstein When we first met you immediately focused the conversation directly on the youth shooter. Can you explain how this is beneficial? What characteristics stand out that inspire you to support a specific shooter?
Chet Alvord It is very simple. Our country’s youth hold the future for all shooting sports. They are our next voting base to protect our Second Amendment rights. Rights that are under attack daily. When I look at a potential team shooter, I look for good kids, not great shooters. I want positive representatives for our industry. Safe, courteous, humble, appreciative and good students who have a smile on their face whether they win or lose. I will never look at how good or accomplished a shooter they are.
ES While many of us are actively battling a society that is treating shooting competitions as malevolent and pushing to regain the competitive spirit, you presented a code of conduct that included emphasis that winning is not an expectation. What is your position on the pressure to compete and win?
CA Interesting choice of words you just used – battling. I strive to look at educating, rather than battling. What’s a better nonthreatening way of education than letting our youth demonstrate the positives of shooting sports? It is hard to argue with an articulate 10-year-old. Shyanne has an upbeat personality and winning smile, all while sporting her purple pistol and rifle. She is exactly what I am looking for to promote our industry. To answer your question, I believe in competition and that there should always be a winner and nonwinners. I hate to use term of loser because that is not the same thing to me – both are character building. Winning requires work and commitment and character is tested when you don’t win. In terms of building shooting sports, winning is not as critical as many aspects of the competition. I look at competition as a vehicle to teach valuable life lessons. Tactical Solutions holds one of the country’s largest National Shooting Sports Foundation .22LR shooting events every summer. Our attendees are comprised of world and national shooting champions who shoot unbelievable custom pistols and rifles, and yet on the same course of fire we have young families sharing the same stock Ruger 10/22 and pistol. What is fantastic is that you will see these champions willingly helping these new shooters and provide valuable tips and strategies.
ES Kids and politics are a treacherous topic; the mental landmines explode in people on all sides of the subject. Your philosophy is that we are creating the voters of tomorrow. How do you navigate this subject?
CA It does not have to be treacherous, nor should it be. Sometimes we have to look at how we present our sport to the non-shooting public. As an example I use the word firearm rather than weapon. To the layman a weapon is for killing. The word firearm is a less threatening term and does not have the assault-gun stigma. Little things like this are important in discussions about shooting and youth. We have no reason to make excuses about our industry, however, we do need to spend time educating the nonshooters in our country. It is important to state that this is not passive education; we have to be proactive rather than reactive.
ES What is your most inspirational moment in youth-shooting sponsorship, or better yet, which of your shooters influenced you the most and how?
CA I hope I take away or learn something from every individual I sponsor. I know they put a smile on my face. We have a growing team of great people like kids from age eight to a kid age 73. Honestly, I am proud of each and every one of the shooters we help. I don’t know if there is one who has influenced me more than another. I have sponsored juniors who have gone on to become world champions and some have careers in the shooting-sports industry. I am happy to say that all the people we sponsor are or will be successful and happy in life.
ES What is your vision of the shooting sports in 20 years? What are the most relevant steps you are taking today to help ensure that we reach that goal?
CA I pray we still have shooting sports in 20 years. I have fears that if we, the current shooting population, are not proactive in educating the public about our industry shooting sports, we may be doomed. We can’t be complacent and believe that the NRA alone (while they do an amazing job) is going to get it done. We need to get off our collective fannies and educate everyone in a positive and nonconfrontational manner. We are facing a well-financed powerful lobby that states every firearm is for killing. They do not understand our industry. I hope that the shooting base of great kids we are building will help the long-term effort to protect our Second Amendment rights.
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A pragmatic takeaway? I find myself caught in the mindset that we are entangled in a war, a revolution, fighting for our rights. Mr. Alvord challenged my terminology, embodying the methodology of education and the exchange of knowledge over the more combative verbal tactics. As we study the field on which we campaign for our liberty, let’s formulate a plan where we educate our families, friends and neighbors. While I just paraphrased from the Art of War, Sun Tzu understood the value of diplomacy. The Youth Shooters of America are our ambassadors; it is incalculably valuable that they represent the shooting sports and our rights with poise, integrity and tact. Preparing them for this challenge is the responsibility of the firearms industry. ASJ
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Eric M. Saperstein is a master craftsman who owns one of the nation’s premier handcraft studios. He is gaining ground as a photographer and filmmaker, and works with AOV-TV to provide creative services to the shooting community, artists, corporations and individuals. While he is amongst the last of the 18th-century craftsmen, a modern artist, author and creative director, he is also accredited in the information technology arena, with experience in process engineering, change coordination and software development lifecycle management.
He is a lifetime shooter, pro-Second Amendment advocate, county coordinator for NJ2AS, a life member of the NRA and author. He is the social media/PR director for Shyanne Roberts and General Defense Outfitters. Saperstein brings nearly three decades of firearms, small business, corporate and marketing experience to the board of Youth Shooters of America, a newly formed organization dedicated to “Leading our nation’s youth shooters to embrace and achieve a lifestyle that embodies liberty, discipline, values and success.”