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.”
Earlier this year Robinson won “High Lady” in the production class at the Extreme Steel Targets Alabama Sectional.
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.”
The US Army Marksmanship Unit holds youth clinics each year and Robinson honed her skills two years in a row by attending these events.
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 has been competing in the Glock Sport shooting Foundation matches since 2009 and has never looked back.
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
Story and photographs by Robin Taylor
Three Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters wheeled over and roared in low, setting up for a mock gun run. Below them, youth teams from every corner of the country looked up in wonder as the helicopters accelerated to attack speed and hissed overhead. Between the mini air-show, the 105mm start cannon and the blend of prestige and industry support, the 2015 Scholastic Pistol Program (SPP) Southwest Regional competition, highlighted the growth in the industry.
The SPP has exploded onto the national stage
SPP has more or less exploded onto the national stage in the last few years, with youth teams popping up everywhere. The junior high/high school nationals drew more than 300 competitors this summer and the Southwest regional (one of several such events) drew more than 100. Those two matches alone put SPP on par with the largest speed-steel-shooting organizations in the United States. With support from the NRA and the Boy Scouts of America, its current thousand-plus membership, represents what one might call “openers.” The near-term growth potential for SPP has no equal.
My youth group, “Team Gotta” of Custer, Wash., flew down to the Southwest Regional for a chance to shoot against the two top-rated high school teams in the nation, the South Texas Juniors and Red Dawn Marksmanship Academy; both hail from Texas. Many top college teams were present, including the US Military Academy from West Point, Southeastern Illinois College and the Naval Academy. These teams were all there to test themselves against our hosts, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.
According to Kevin Jimmerson, match director and Texas A&M coach, the Southwest Regional started three years ago with just 40 shooters. It doubled to 80 the following year and grew to just short of 120 this year. Sponsorship and sporting excellence has tracked that growth, and with more industry support, high-skill athletes are turning fresh eyes to the sport.
SPP is sending kids to college on the strength of their skills with a handgun.
Coach Bruce Hering, from Southeastern Illinois College (SIC), showed up at the Southwest Regional with a four-person squad, all shooting on scholarships. Hering is known for coaching shotgun competitions, but he and team captain Alex Aguilar, made no bones about it; they were here to recruit action-pistol shooters for SIC and had a two-year, full-ride scholarship, for the right candidate. “This is our first match as a (scholarship-level) team,” says Aguilar, who’d been tasked by Hering to form the pistol squad. “What SIC is doing, it’s really an opportunity of a lifetime for me.”
Hering’s current crew is made up mostly of top shotgunners who have picked up the pistol, but they’re looking for someone to come the other way – a national-level pistol shooter who can learn shotgun. Hering sees value in cross-training shotgun with speed-pistol and it helps him maximize his scholarship dollars. “I think we’re going to stick with this model,” he says.
Action-pistol scholarships were not available just three years ago; and combining shotgun with pistol was considered lunacy. Now, talented young pistol shooters have suddenly become valuable assets to a growing number of school teams. Let’s be clear: Most shooting teams don’t cross-train the way Hering does, nor have scholarships, but thanks to SPP, young pistol shooters are looking at college programs in a whole new way.
The Competition Breakdown
Scholastic Pistol Program Trophy
If you’ve never heard of steel shooting, it’s simple. Steel shooters start from a “low ready” position with their pistol aimed at a flag on the ground. On signal, they raise their pistol and engage five steel plates of various shapes and sizes until they each shoot one, ending on a “stop plate.” Your score is the time it takes to shoot all five, even if extra rounds are required. Each person shoots the arrangement of plates five times and calculates the best four runs. There are four specified courses, so in all you will shoot 100 targets in a match.
It’s fast, feedback is instantaneous and everyone can tell whether a shooter is doing well or not. On top of all this, there are even endowment prizes available.
Awesome Industry Support
I’m not sure what magical powers SPP directors Scott Moore and Tammy Mowry have, but they’ve managed to bring exceptional support to SPP. Glock’s Ed Fitzgerald and Smith & Wesson’s Tom Yost not only support the sport in material ways, but they appear in person at many of the big matches – corporate reps literally doing the heavy lifting to help make the sport a go. In a few weeks, I will attend the NRA Level I coach school, dedicated to the SPP competition. The idea that this highly conservative organization would adopt a new program into their coaching school was simply amazing. The weekend schools are elevating the prestige, safety and overall quality of the program, coast to coast.
Ferocious Junior Teams
One would expect college-age teams to dominate the sport, but instead freelance gun-club teams, made up of middle and high school students, have moved into the forefront of the competition. These teams are out shooting, out-competing and out growing all comers to the sport, particularly in rimfire. For example, the Red Dawn Raiders Marksmanship Academy boasts more than 30 members, all of whom focus on action-pistol sports. South Texas has a similar number. When these two teams show up, accompanied by coaches, parents and friends, you would think a tour bus had arrived.
SPP focuses primarily on centerfire (9mm) handguns, but shooters are allowed to use a .22 pistol for up to two years. For many reasons, the very young have flocked to the rimfire division and no college has been able to catch the juniors (yet).
This year South Texas Shooters fielded young Ethan Inocando, who shot the fastest score of the match with a blistering 41.59-second round. Team Gotta’s Adam Thomas (a high school senior), was right on his heels with a 42.26-second round (winning “senior” division). Both far outpaced the leading collegiate competitor, Chandler Lewis at 50.86.
Shooting as a team, the A&M Corps of Cadets won the collegiate rimfire category (with a score of 246 seconds) but were dramatically out shot by the younger guns. Team Gotta set a national course record with a score of 183.85 seconds, followed by the South Texas Juniors with 194 seconds.
Centerfire is another game altogether and here the colleges run slightly ahead of the juniors. College student Anthony Vieth, for example, laid down a truly impressive 43.31-second run for the individual win, and the Texas A&M team posted an excellent 204.45. “That was pretty good,” says Jimmerson, whose cadets set the centerfire record last year with a score of 186 and hope to do it again.
Jordon Castro – The fastest Rimfire kid!
Growth And Change
SPP is changing fast and the shooters with it. The sport is so young, some of the youth teams and coaches enjoy an experience advantage. However, this current crop of high school marksmen will soon graduate and join college teams like the Aggies. When they do, they’ll take that experience with them and the colleges should then dominate the centerfire side of the sport. High school senior Jordon Castro from Bellingham, Wash., holds the record at 39.32 seconds. That’s under 1/2 second per target, making him an excellent candidate for any college competing in this sport.
Right now, top-flight competitors are able to engage all 80 steel targets (SPP Course) in just over 40 seconds. Remember that when you throw away the four slowest runs, you have 80 targets left.
“The sport is maturing so fast, it won’t be long before we’re looking at whole teams with (individual) scores in the 30’s,” predicts Moore.
It’s a changing landscape for youth sports. In a world where liberal politicians want to label our schools as “gun free zones,” SPP is sending kids to college on the strength of their skills with a handgun. And that’s an encouraging thought. ASJ
Posted in Competitions Tagged with: Adam Thomas, Bruce Hering, GLOCK, Jake Overstreet, Jordon Castro, Kevin Jimmerson, Robin Taylor, S&W, scholarship, Scholastic Pistol Program, Southeastern Illinois College, Southwest Regional, SPP, Team Gotta, Texas A&M
SMYRNA, Ga – (Mar. 20, 2015) – Today GLOCK, Inc. announced the release of the new GLOCK single stack slimline 9mm pistol, the GLOCK 43. The G43 is the most highly desired and anticipated pistol release in GLOCKs history. Designed to be the answer to everyday concealed carry needs, the G43 is ultra-concealable, accurate, and comfortable for all shooters, regardless of hand size.
“The G43 is the most exciting product release to date because it addresses a variety of issues that many shooters face with pistols in the concealed carry category,” stated GLOCK, Inc., VP Josh Dorsey. “It will be the pistol of choice for law enforcement and civilians. The G43 sets a new standard for concealed carry pistols.”
A true slimline pistol, the frame width of the G43 is just over one inch and the slide width measures only 0.87 inch. The overall length is 6.26 inches. For those who have smaller hands, the trigger distance is only 2.6 inches, making it ideal for functionality.
The single stack magazine holds 6 rounds and is the perfect concealed carry pistol for both duty and civilian use. The G43 is engineered to the same superior standards as all GLOCK pistols and the reliability instills confidence for all lifestyles.
The G43 will debut at the NRA Annual Meeting, April 10-12, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn., at the GLOCK booth (#633). Shipments of the product will begin directly following the convention.
The GLOCK Group is a leading global manufacturer of pistols and accessories. GLOCK’s superior engineering has produced a pistol with only 34 parts and a rugged polymer-frame, providing industry-leading reliability shot after shot. GLOCK is renowned for its pistols which are safe, featuring three safeties; simple, offering a low number of components to provide reliability; and fast, with no encumbering parts to slow the speed to fire. This combination makes GLOCK pistols the first choice among consumers and law enforcement, with approximately 65 percent of agencies within the United States choosing to carry GLOCK. Austrian-engineered, the group has manufacturing facilities in the United States and Austria. Based in Smyrna, Ga., GLOCK, Inc. is an advocate for our nation’s law enforcement and military personnel, as well as all citizens’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. For more information, please visit http://us.glock.com
Posted in Firearms Industry Showcase Tagged with: 9mm, Concealed carry, G43, GLOCK, New release