I grew up around firearms but never wanted to shoot them. When I would go hunting with my dad, I went mainly to hang out with him. He constantly had to remind me to be quiet. And if you know me personally, you know that that's a challenging task for me to accomplish. So, hunting wasn't the right fit for me. Throughout my teenage and young adult years, I almost feared guns. Looking back now, I realize that my fear arose from a lack of knowledge and education.
When I met my husband Kyle in 2011, he started to slowly introduce me to firearms. I would go to the shooting range with him and rarely pull the trigger. I wasn't comfortable with myself handling a gun.
A few years later, he decided to build an AR-15. Around this time, he was also interested in competitive shooting. I remember going to the range with him and being very hesitant to shoot that kind of firearm. I usually just watched him practice.
We started to go to the range more often. I was getting more comfortable around firearms. I was also getting more annoyed with myself for just sitting on the sidelines. I really wanted to overcome my fear of firearms.
I think Kyle was surprised when I asked him if I could shoot his AR. Up until this point, he was usually asking me if I wanted to shoot a particular gun. It was never the other way around. I give Kyle a lot of credit for being so patient with me!
So, Kyle prepared the firearm and showed me how to safely handle it. I brought it up to my shoulder, put the sights on target, and pulled the trigger. With practice, I overcame my fear of firearms. Now, the AR-15 is my favorite gun to shoot, and I am the most confident and comfortable with that specific firearm.
This was the turning point in my firearms journey. I was empowered! I was hooked and never looked back.
In 2015, shortly after shooting Kyle's AR, he gifted me some components to build my very own AR-15. I decided to build a bubble gum pink rifle. To this day, I still miss that gun.
Also around this time, I completed a concealed carry course. Before this, I had very little handgun training and wasn't very confident handling one. The instructor did a fantastic job helping me gain the confidence I needed to feel comfortable enough to purchase my first handgun, a Smith & Wesson SD9 VE.
Since I had an AR and a handgun, I felt I was ready to try competing in 3-gun. Kyle and I planned on sharing a 12-gauge shotgun.
Life had different plans. In May 2015, I tore my ACL, while playing sand volleyball, and had to have surgery. So, my 3-gun career got delayed by a few months.
The surgery and recovery didn't stop me from going to the range though. On June 30th, 2015, I managed to hobble myself on crunches, with Kyle's assistance, to the range for some much-needed trigger therapy. Little did I know, I was battling an infection in my knee and Kyle decided it was a good time to propose - with a Smith & Wesson Shield vs. a diamond ring. Smart planning on his part... I couldn't run away, and he had the keys. He didn't make it very easy for me to say yes though. I had to aim at a yes/no target and shoot the correct answer. I said yes and only missed a couple of times. I had to keep him on his toes for making me go through all that work just to say yes.
My recovery was very slow after getting the infection taken care of. I couldn't compete in my first 3-gun competition until the end of the 2015 season. It was only one stage. I could only walk. And I took dead last. But hey, at least I did it!
2016 was a building year. I went to the range frequently and competed at the monthly local match. I suffered another knee injury in 2017, again from playing sand volleyball, and had to recover. 2018 was another building year. Kyle and I also got married that year - at a gun range!
2019 was a big developmental year. I started participating in the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) pistol competitions and we started to travel to other ranges that held monthly 3-gun competitions. I was starting to see improvements in my accuracy and scores, and I was slowly moving up the leader board. Kyle attended his first national 3-gun competition and that's how we got connected with Pete, the Founder and President of the United Shooting Sports League (USSL).
While going to the various monthly matches, I noticed that a lot of ranges lacked staff and thought I could help. I became NRA - Range Safety Officer (RSO) certified before the start of the 2020 season.
In 2020, I staffed and attended my first national 3-gun competition - the Wyoming Magpul Governors Match in Cody, WY. This competition was very eye-opening. I didn't shoot very well and took last place in my division. But I met so many amazing people, started networking, and got even more involved in the gun community. I finished the year attending the Colfax Season Finale and finally didn't take last place in my division!
With the increase in new gun ownership between 2020 and 2021, Kyle and I started Roble Defense to teach our neighbors and friends how to properly handle firearms. Our first curriculum was Wisconsin Conceal Carry. Our mentor, Gene, helped us kick start our firearms training and education business. This is where I found my calling. I pride myself on being a relatable and encouraging instructor. My goal is to empower individuals to gain confidence in handling firearms. It is so rewarding to watch novice shooters become more avid with every shot they take.
On top of teaching concealed carry classes in 2021, I managed to attend five large 3-gun events. At one of the events, Nordic Vortex Tri-Gun, I met the founder of the DC Project, Dianna Muller. She asked if I'd be interested in being the Wisconsin State Director. Of course, I said yes!
"The DC Project raises awareness that firearms safety and violence prevention are achieved through education, not legislation; encourages the preservation of America’s gun culture; and highlights the diversity and rising demographic of female gun owners through ongoing advocacy because gun rights are women’s rights." - dcproject.info
Through the DC Project, I met the Executive Director of A Girl & A Gun, Robyn Sandoval. After doing some research on AG & AG, I decided to become a Chapter Facilitator and opened a chapter in Central Wisconsin.
"A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League is a ladies-only organization established by women shooters for women pistol, rifle, and shotgun shooters! The league is designed to take beginners to whatever skill level they wish to achieve and provide experienced shooters with more opportunities. The objective of some is to improve their skill levels for self-defense and competitive shooting. Others also are interested in learning how to choose the right guns, gear, and accessories for long-term participation in the community." - agirlandagun.org
If I never faced my fear and asked my husband to shoot his AR-15, I doubt I would be where I am today with my current accomplishments. Roble Defense probably wouldn't exist. I wouldn't be the State Director for DC Project. And AG & AG Central WI would be someone else's dream. Everything to this point has happened for a very specific reason and has put me on this path of success. I couldn't imagine my life turning out any other way and I can't wait to see where I go from here.
To those of you who fear firearms, take it from me, face those fears. You will be empowered!