Shooting has for quite a long time been seen as a male pursuit by society, one wherein man and cold steel are in harmony with the goal of either food, conquest, protection or indeed sport. However this notion of male dominance is an outdated one as women have been discovering that you can compete at just as high a level as men, firearms are after all a great equaliser and shooting sports here in the UK is in the middle of a resurgence.
So I decided I would put a call out on my Facebook page and interview some female shooters to see what it is that drew them to the sport, what it was that kept them going and is the welcome trend for an increase in women in shooting going to continue?
Part one in a series of interviews focusing on women in shooting is……
LAURA SHINN (UK)
Laura is relatively new to shooting sport as she has been on the line for a year but that hasn’t stopped her from gaining a growing social media following, I wanted to know what she found attractive about the sport, does she feel any pressure as a female shooter and what her thoughts were on the future.
Mike “What attracted you to your current discipline?”
Laura “I have a few disciplines but my favourite is Olympic trap. Hard fast targets that challenge you but fair as all shooters get the same target, unlike automatic ball trap where it’s all random, I love a challenge and jumping in feet first!”
Mike “When did you first pick up a firearm?”
Laura “I picked up an SA80 in 2009 but a shotgun last year, I bought my first shotgun in June when my certificate arrived but I was introduced into clay shooting as part of a military sports recovery program for wounded, injured and sick personnel.”
Mike “Wow so would you say Shooting has aided your recovery?”
Laura “Absolutely! I tell people shooting has changed my life and they think I am being dramatic, but it honestly has! It’s helped me become more active and more social!”
Mike “It’s definitely a fantastic way to get up and active. Have you many other female shooters in your club?”
Laura “I’m a member of many clubs and there is a strong female presence across all generations. One of the main reasons I love clay shooting is it’s a great leveller no matter age, gender or physical ability you can find yourself on a competition line with veterans, colts, juniors, male and female, disabled and able. All shooting at the same targets, I do however think more women need to get involved.”
Mike “I have found the same myself, that shooting is the ultimate equaliser and attitudes are definitely changing in the community…. it seems to be more inclusive. Do you see yourself doing this ten years from now?”
Laura “Oh yes! I came into this world late and plan on staying round for a long time yet.”
Mike “You seem to be getting attention on social media, do you see it as a possible way of getting more women shooting?
Laura “Define attention? (laughs)”
Mike “(Laughs) Well I mean Instagram etc…..and the fact I’m interviewing you now of course. I guess what I want to know is if your following was to keep growing, could it be a good way of showing other women that the sport is out there and is actually fun?
Laura “Social media is a powerful tool if used correctly, I think with the correct management it can be used effectively and in conjunction with introduction days run by ladies clubs – like Premier Girls and other groups like Chelsea Bun club and Femme Fatales. When you see your first clay bust into a million pieces you’re hooked.”
Mike “I can relate to that, the competition is a fuel for me in shooting as well. Have you been seriously competing much yourself or is it more for fun?
Laura “I don’t do things lightly it’s not my mentality! I compete in country championships, inter counties and recently England selections for experience”
Mike “That’s fantastic , are the Olympics a goal?”
Laura “I’d be lying if I said no, they are a dream but I’m realistic! I do have a goal to compete for team England or team GB in some capacity. Some may think it’s unrealistic but I’ve always been told to remember that if your dreams don’t make people laugh or doubt you they aren’t big enough.”
Mike “When people say something is impossible in sport they just mean they can’t do it, I don’t think it is unreasonable to aim high if you excuse the pun. It was great talking to you Laura and I wish you big success in shooting sports in the future.
Laura “Thank you for asking me to be part of this.
Mike “No, thank you for taking the time.”