Story by Andre Dall’au • Photographs by Rodney Robinson
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