[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]I [/su_dropcap]recently had the pleasure of watching competitive shooter Brian Schrock in action. I’ve known Schrock for years, but had never actually watched him shoot. Schrock is an unassuming-looking guy from Arizona, but he is a dynamo on the range. His shooting and reloading speed is a sight to behold, and he shoots exclusively with revolvers.
Everyone who knows Schrock likes him, and this is because he always has the positive mental attitude, pure talent and sheer determination to make it to the top. We conducted his ﬁrst-ever interview on his road to glory in the competitive shooting world.
American Shooting Journal Brian, how long have you been shooting?
Brian Schrock When I was about 7 or 8 years old I started shooting a .22. I came from a family of hunters, so that was my ﬁrst introduction to ﬁrearms. I started squirrel hunting and then graduated to deer and elk. I’ve taken a javelina with my S&W 500, as well as an elk at 103 yards. I started competing in August 2011 east of Phoenix in Mesa, Ariz., at the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club during their Tuesday night steel shoots, and in March 2012 I started shooting in the United States Practical Shooting Association.
ASJ What sparked your interest to start competing?
BS I was working at Sportsman’s Warehouse, and one of the associates who worked there competed. I had a S&W 627 and a Glock 21 at the time, so I ﬁgured I would just try it out. Before I actually started competing, I attended a couple of matches and just learned by watching what and how people shot. I noticed that there were very few people shooting revolvers, so I decided to use the 627. I fell in love with competing by the second match, and that’s when I started looking for a broader outlet, like the USPSA. I love it, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.
ASJ Is USPSA the only type of competition you shoot?
BS I also shoot International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts, or ICORE, and am rated as an A-Class shooter (75 to 84.999 percentile).
ASJ What is your current class in USPSA?
BS I made Master class on March 14, 2015, and Grand Master in the USPSA revolver division on October 16 (top 95 to 100 percentile).
ASJ A congratulations is in order. The USPSA has over 25,000 members, so being in the top ranking is not an easy feat.
BS Thank you. I appreciate it.
ASJ What are some of your best accomplishments and accolades in competitive shooting so far?
BS Well, I came in ﬁrst place of C-Class at Revolver Nationals in 2013. After that I took ﬁrst place in revolver in the 2013 Area 2 Desert Classic, and then I went on to win ﬁrst place in the A-Class for the Midwestern regional ICORE shoot in Nevada that same year.
I didn’t do much shooting in 2014 because of school, but so far in 2015 I came in fourth overall in the Area 2 Desert Classic for USPSA.
ASJ Obviously you are a dedicated revolver shooter. What are you shooting in competition?
BS For competition I use only Smith & Wesson. I started out with the Model 627, which is an eight-shot .357 Magnum, but when I switched to USPSA, an eight-shot revolver was not legal for their sport at the time, so I bought the model 625, which is a six-shot .45 ACP. I shot that for about a year and then the USPSA made eight-shot revolvers legal, so I switched back to my 627. As of October 2014 I’ve been shooting the new Jerry Miculek Signature series S&W 929 eight-shot 9mm.
ASJ Do you do work on your own revolvers, or do you send them off to have work done?
BS My ﬁrst two competition revolvers, the 627 and 625, I sent to Apex Tactical Specialties, Inc., in California. They do excellent work, but on my 929 I did my own work except for chamfering the titanium cylinder.
ASJ How often do you shoot?
BS For practice, about once a week, and I shoot about 200 rounds. I usually compete twice a month, and shoot about 150 rounds in each competition.
ASJ Did you follow competitive shooting at all before you got into it?
BS No, I honestly didn’t know about the world of competitive shooting until I started working at the sporting goods store.
ASJ So you never had any heroes or people to look up to who were in the shooting world?
BS Not particularly. I remember seeing videos of Jerry Miculek shooting revolvers. He was my inspiration to pick the S&W 627 over the Glock when I started. I was watching videos of guys shooting semiauto pistols who were basically pretty slow. They couldn’t shoot that well either. When I ﬁrst saw Jerry shooting, I thought, “Man that guy can shoot fast!” It wasn’t until I started shooting revolvers that I realized how much talent, blood, sweat and tears you had to put into it to become halfway decent. Jerry was my ﬁrst inspiration, but if I had to pick my shooting hero, it would be Rob Leatham. I had an opportunity to shoot with him in a couple matches, and have even taken a class with him. He is a good guy. One day before a revolver nationals match, Rob and I showed up at registration at the same time. He changed out of his single-stack rig and into his revolver rig. We shot the match together, and I thought it was really cool that a 20-something-time national champion and umpteen-time world champion would switch out his gear and shoot with a C-class revolver shooter.
ASJ Brian, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
BS You’re very welcome. I’ll see you at the range.
Brian is currently attending school for manufacturing and engineering technology at Arizona State University. He wants to be on the top of the mountain, and he will get there. I’m calling it right now, people: 2016 is going to be the year of the Schrock. ASJ
[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”7″]S[/su_dropcap]ome people are larger than life. They are rare. Even more rare are children whose accomplishments would make any adult proud. Alexis Welch of western Kentucky is one such kid. If a writer used Alexis as a book character, most of the readers would have accused them of being unrealistic – nobody is that multitalented, at least in the mundane world where most people live. And yet, Alexis is quite real and keeps getting more impressive by the day.lexis started shooting at age five. Her grandfather Tryce “PaPa” Welch had already raised one competitor, his daughter Stephanie who became a professional motorcycle racer. Her career was cut short by an injury after a very promising start. Unlike her mother, Alexis had little interest in riding dirt bikes, but a keen desire to shoot guns. The competitive aspects of marksmanship were a mystery to Tryce, so he educated himself and started training Alexis.
Her first rifle was an S&W MP15-22, initially fired off the bench and later unsupported. Alexis is small for an 8-year-old, so gun weight has been a concern. Constant physical exercise and good technique have allowed her to run adult-size firearms effectively. After she attended several rimfire matches, Tandemkross, a New Hampshire company specializing in parts for customizing competition guns, sponsored her. In the summer of 2015, I was introduced to the Welch family, who live in Owensboro, Ky., which is along the Ohio River across from Indiana, and have been following Alexis’ progress ever since.
This girl’s main talent goes beyond pure shooting ability: she’s enthusiastic, effective and friendly. Articulate and unaffected, Alexis can work with adults, as well as play with kids. Picking up where Tryce started, firearm coaches Gary Welborn and Bob Sanders volunteered their time to train her, and during her first public shoot, Dani Bryan, a female firearms instructor and competitive shooter, took the time to coach her too. Alexis is very popular with teen marksmen as well, many of them treating her as an honorary little sister, and helping her learn more about the sport. She’s recently gained the affectionate nickname “Monkey,” and ran with it.
After Tandemkross, she was discovered by many sponsors to include Volquartsen Custom, Leupold Optics, Striplin Custom, Owensboro Rifle and Pistol Club, Sound Gear, Beck Defense, Gemtech, Weapon Shield and, unofficially, Trijicon. Besides institutional sponsors, Alexis has also been supported by the Bragg family, Richard and Carol Stokes and over 1,750 other fans who hail from as far away as Brazil and Russia. A custom rifle maker, Fighting Sheepdog, just joined in with a truly unique, pint-sized AR-15 that has a hydraulic-recoil compensator and other personalized features to make it just right for this diminutive shooter. Tryce supplies the chauffeuring and the ammunition.
My first photo shoot with Alexis was a pleasant surprise. There aren’t too many adults, much less preteen kids, who can keep focused and enthusiastic about work for over 10 hours with only a few short breaks. Alexis could, and she did it with good cheer. Her images proved to be marketing gold, equally for promoting shooting sports, the right to bear arms and her increasingly numerous sponsors. Her eagerness to surmount every available challenge energizes her fans and supporters.
Starting with Steel Challenge in May, Alexis has participated in NSSF Rimfire Challenge, USPSA and multi-gun competitions. She’s had a good start on her future titles by winning the Indiana State Steel Challenge Champion Ladies 12 and under open category. Most recently, she was a guest at an event organized by Hunter “Nubbs” Cayll, known for shooting competitively even though he does not have hands, and shot her first event with a full-sized AR-15. Just prior to that, she helped in the production of a video for a veteran fundraiser, competently running M249 and M60 machine guns, as well as firing a 7.62mm SVD sniper rifle that intimidated some of the adult participants. She’s a member of Ozark Mountain Lead Slingers youth group, USPSA Juniors and a noncompeting member of 4-H Shooting Sports. Not limiting her interests to gunfire, Alexis plays soccer and softball, sings, plays music and practices gymnastics. Proving wrong many who perceive kids who shoot as hillbillies, she’s also a straight-A student. She’s already giving back by helping her 5-year-old brother learn gun safety and marksmanship, and often helps instruct adult novices as well.
Alexis’ plan for the future is to excel in shooting sports, get a college education and serve in the military. She will probably do well with it, given a history of challenges such as being born deaf and having to do speech therapy after successive surgeries. She’s already an effective ambassador for gun rights and shooting sports. To expand on the saying that the mind is the weapon and everything else is just a tool, I would estimate that the personality and mind of Alexis Welch will play a large role in the next generation’s work to retain our firearms freedoms. ASJ
Editor’s Note: You can follow Alexis on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alexisnicolefanclub.
The American Shooting Journal was proud to have Alexis Welch on the cover of our February 2016 issue.
Posted in Shooters Tagged with: 4-H Sports, Alexis Nicole, Alexis Welch, Beck Defense, Blackhawk Axxiom Stock, Bob Sanders, Carol Stokes, CMore Sight, Dani Bryan, Fighting Sheepdog, Gary Welborn, Gemtech, Hunter "Nubbs" Cayll, Leupold Optics, M249, M60, NSSF Rimfire Challenge, Oleg Volk, Owensboro RIfle and Pistol Club, Ozark Mountain Lead Slingers Youth Group, Richard Stokes, S&W MP15-22, Sound Gear, Striplin Custom, Tandemkross, Trijicon, Tryce Welch, USPSA, Volquartsen, Weapon Shield, Youth Shooter
Most athletes start young to maximize their potential. Shooting sports are no exception, and an increasing number of competitive 3-gunners are starting out early. Learning to shoot used to be common for American kids, especially in rural areas, but actually training for performance with parents or professional coaches is a more recent phenomenon. As with musicians and gymnasts, starting marksmanship training early yields immeasurable benefits later on.
While attending the NRA Annual Meeting gathering in Nashville in April 2015, I was able to meet a group of such young shooters, along with their parents and supportive friends. We spent a day at a private range, shooting guns and photos. The six girls ranged in age from nine to 16, and every one of them demonstrated an unusual level of maturity. This was less surprising once you considered the degree of parental involvement with their education and activities.
All of these young ladies impress the world with their breadth of interests and talents, which include everything from shooting sports and music to excellent academics and public speaking. They all have a degree of dedication and earnestness that they use to perfect their skills, and this drive, partly innate, partly imparted by closely involved family members, also caught the attention of industry sponsors who, in turn, have flocked to support these young shooters.
Watching them shoot reinforced the value of fitting guns to individual shooters. The adjustments to the length of pull, balance and grips to fit smaller hands and shorter limbs allow for the individual shooter to demonstrate their absolute best. Since most of these ladies are musicians, they also often use suppressors to safeguard their hearing.
For almost all of them, the parents were their first trainers. But most have gone beyond a single source of training. For example, Shyanne Roberts trained with Todd Jarrett, a world-renown competitive shooter and instructor.
Besides being an inspiration to other kids, these young ladies are a challenge to adult shooters. It’s one thing to be outshot by another experienced adult, but quite another to be shown up by a preteen. Watching their progress illustrates the value of quality training and also shows the rewards of dedication to learning and practicing new skills. Having excellent people skills, these juniors are ambassadors to the shooting sports and gun owners all over America. And last but far from the least, they prove that there’s much more to girls in shooting sports than pink pistol grips. ASJ
Vanessa Aguilar, the youngest of this group that we interviewed, is also the youngest member of the San Antonio Sure Shots Pistol League. She shoots rimfire rifle and pistol, both customized for her. Despite a hearing impediment she’s been able to make TV and radio appearances, in addition to extensive training in preparation for IDPA and Steel Challenge competitions planned for next year.
Moriah Combs is the oldest of this group, and came to the shooting world through extensive involvement with her 4H club. Shooting since the age of six, she holds over 20 grand champion titles. She’s now a national 4-H Shooting Sports Teen Ambassador for Ohio, representing 3,000 youth shooters. Her other passions are photography, choir singing, hunting and running a cake-baking business.
Cheyenne Dalton has been shooting since the age of five. She competes in the USPSA and NSSF Rimfire Challenge and holds a state championship title. She is planning on competing in 3-Gun competitions next. Outside of the range, she fishes with line and bow, hunts and plays numerous musical instruments with her band.
At 11, Maddie Dalton sings and plays musical instruments when she isn’t winning the youth title in the Limited category of the 2014 NSSF Rimfire World Championship. That’s pretty amazing progress for someone who had only shot their first gun a year prior. She’s a two-time winner of the Oklahoma junior fiddle championship as well. How is that for talent?
Shyanne Roberts has already participated in 3-Gun, IDPA, USPSA, action rifle and steel silhouette events. She also makes frequent TV appearances, making a strong and well-articulated case for gun ownership as part of our individual freedoms. Shooting is just one of her many passions – academics, music and other sports round out her personal development. In addition to rifles, rimfire and centerfire pistols, Shyanne also runs a 12-gauge shotgun quite effectively – even though it’s taller than she is!
Editor’s note – The American Shooting Journal’s Patriotic July 2015 issue features Shyanne Roberts on the cover. Look for copies nationwide!
Sydney Rockwell is a 14-year-old competitive shooter who began shooting rifles with her dad at age nine. Serving as the vice president of her school’s student council, Sydney is also an avid hunter, golfer and competitor in several action-shooting sports, including Steel Challenge, 3-Gun, IDPA and USPSA competitions. This past October she was selected for the prestigious US Army Marksmanship Unit’s Junior Shooters’ Clinic, and received training from some of the most elite competitive shooters in the world.
Editor’s note: Oleg Volk is a professional photographer specializing in the shooting industry around the nation. Feel free to contact him at olegvolk.net.
Author’s note: A big thank you to Eric Saperstein for the introduction to this awesome crew.
Posted in Shooters Tagged with: 3-Gun, Action Steel, Cheyenne Dalton, IDPA, Kids, Maddie Dalton, Moriah Combs, new generation, Oleg Volk, Shooting, Shyanne Roberts, Sporting Clays, Steel Silhouettes, Sydney Rockwell, USPSA, Vanessa Aguilar
The media is singularly transfixed on youth issues that present a very disappointing and negative impression of kids today. The truth is that well-raised and properly focused youth produce much less interesting TV, movies and articles, compared to dysfunctional families, parental relationships in crisis and troubled adolescents that have been presented as the new norm. However, since that is what America is usually exposed to, it is almost surprising to find terrific, moral and hard-working kids. What is even more surprising is how many of those outstanding youths are in the shooting sports. One of those well-nurtured young shooters is Emily Robinson, a daughter of Rodney and Belinda Robinson, who are both active-duty officers on the Cramerton, N.C., police department.
I asked Robinson how she started shooting competitively, and she said, “I was raised shooting .22 rifles, but the first competition I attended was a Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) match in Columbia, S.C., in 2009. Both of my parents were competing; I only watched that day. Later that year, I shot in my first GSSF match and was completely hooked!” She continued, “My older brother also started competing, and together with my parents, helped teach me to grow in the sport. The following year, my parents gave me a Glock 34 for my birthday, and in 2012 I got into USPSA action shooting and really loved it.”
Robinson clearly enjoys competing, and we talked about what intrigues her. She said, “I shoot at several clubs (Robinson shoots two or three matches per month between USPSA and GSSF) and enjoy the personal challenge, but it also gives me the opportunity to shoot a variety of courses designed by different people, as well as shooting against other competitors. I have a lot of friends in this sport and enjoy going up against different shooters.” As a result of her commitment to the shooting sports, Robinson is a lifetime member of the USPSA, GSSF and the NRA. She is a Glock-certified advanced armorer and a certified range officer for the National Range Officers Institute.
“I try very hard to live and compete in a way that I can be a role model for other girls.”
Robinson’s favorite pistol is the one that she wins with, her Glock G34. “In competition, I use a G34 because it fits my hand perfectly and has a natural point of aim for me. I’ve had it for five years now and it’s been reliable, accurate and a very controllable pistol,” she said. When asked about other types of shooting Robinson noted, “I love to shoot a variety of other pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns and have been practicing with AR-15s and semi-auto shotguns. I want to get involved in 3-gun and am trying to decide what type of gear I will need. I use Atlanta Arms ammunition for pistol competitions and action shooting, as well as CR speed-mag holders along with a Blade-Tech holster.” Robinson also receives a lot of support. “I’ve been very fortunate to have so much help. Ed Turner and Don Anderson with Ed’s Public Safety in Stockbridge, Ga., believed in me and gave me a sponsorship. Danny Wisner at Atlanta Arms were very supportive too, and when Jason Koon took over, he continued to help.” Robinson also acknowledged, “I have to give a lot of credit to friends who shoot with me on a regular basis and share advice.”
Based on her steep learning curve I asked Robinson what she has gained during the last few years of shooting competitively. She said, “The number one thing is safety with firearms and that they aren’t toys. You have to be responsible and know that your actions have consequences. I have also learned that competitive shooting is more than just shooting well. Like any sport, it’s about good sportsmanship, honesty, concentration and physical fitness (Robinson spends almost two hours a day, four days a week in the gym). I know how to be serious and focus, but it’s still exciting and fun. I’ve made a lot of great friends and there are always new opportunities to learn from other competitors.” She continued on about her attitude towards the sport: “Competitive shooting is also about strategy. I love that part because there are so many ways to accomplish a course of fire. I recently had the opportunity to help with a female-only clinic last year, and it was great. I found that I really like to help others who are new to the sport. The response was so good they are doing another one this summer.” I mentioned that due to her ability and success, she is being watched by other girls who would like to shoot like her. Robinson said, “That is a big responsibility, so I try very hard to live and compete in a way that I can be a role model for other girls.”
Robinson continued to explain her love of the shooting sports: “I’ve been lucky enough to attend the US Army Marksmanship Unit’s Junior Action Shooting Clinic in 2013 and 2014, and learned so much. It was great to be able to shoot with some of the best juniors in the country. I would love to be a professional competitor, but first I want to earn a spot on the USAMU Action Shooting Team. I’d be able to serve my country (like her brother Justin who just enlisted in the US Army) and compete. It’s a huge goal and I will be working hard for it.” I asked where her ability to shoot successfully and at such a consistently high level came from and she said, “The success I have comes first from the support of my amazing family and friends.” Robinson continued to explain how her family has provided the foundation for her success: “My parents provided equipment, support, traveling, gave up weekends and challenged me. My older brother Justin even helped teach me to shoot.”
“My parents provided equipment, support, traveling, gave up weekends and challenged me.”
More than anything else, Robinson is a normal teenage girl who enjoys every aspect of growing up in the great community of Cramerton. She is homeschooled and works two part-time jobs, but unlike the kids highlighted by the media, Robinson is a bright, happy, well-raised teenager with a great attitude who has achieved a lot already due to her focus and discipline. Unfortunately, like most kids, her achievements are seldom televised or publicized, but that is OK with her. She would rather be at the range, at work or at home with her family learning more and strengthening an already brilliant future that is unrolling before her. ASJ
Posted in Shooters Tagged with: Andre Dall'au, Belinda Robinson, Columbia, Cramerton PD, Danny Wisner, Ed's Public safety, Emily Robinson, GLOCK, GSSF, Gunny, Jason Koon, NRA, R lee Ermey, Rodney Robinson, S.C., USPSA