Julie Golob one of the hardest working people in the firearms industry. She’s a top world-class competitor, a shooting sports ambassador, RKBA activist, media maven, and mother of two.
Julie started her path to success as a teenage competitor. She continued to excel as a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and, once back in the civilian world, became the first Six-Division USPSA Ladies Champion. She’s currently Captain of Team Smith & Wesson and a member of Team Federal Premium, Safariland, and Benelli.
Rob Reed: Let’s talk a little about your background. Did you grow up ina family of shooters? How did you get your start in competition?
Julie Golob: I have been around shooting all my life. My parents often had a weekly date night at the range with a local bullseye league. As a kid I spent a lot of time at the range with my dad. He started competing in practical shooting matches and I enjoyed it so much that I became a range officer and then began shooting too.
When I was teenager, instead of idolizing musicians or actors, I was a pro-shooter groupie! I had my collection of autographs and photos of all the big name shooters.
RR: Your success as a teenage competitor led to your recruitment by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. What was that experience like and what did you gain from it?
JG: Getting recruited by the Army was my golden ticket. When I was teenager, instead of idolizing musicians or actors, I was a pro-shooter groupie! I had my collection of autographs and photos of all the big name shooters. I had read about the Army’s shooting team in Front Sight Magazine and had a chance to meet them at the Area 7 Championships. Getting that offer to join the team after my first Nationals was quite literally a dream come true.
What I really wasn’t prepared for was how hard it would be. It was a peace time Army and going into the service was looked down on by many. Most of my friends and educators didn’t understand why a straight-A student would enlist to shoot guns instead of going to college. I truly felt I was leaving one life behind. From that first day of Basic Training to the last day at the Army Markmanship Unit, it was a constant learning experience. There were hours of dry fire, thousands upon thousands of rounds down range, and I also learned a lot about leadership. I experienced both extremes, incredible leaders and poor ones. My time in the Army helped me become the shooter and the person I am today.
My time in the Army helped me become the shooter and the person I am today.
RR: What kind of adjustments did you have to make when you returned to competitive shooting as a civilian?
JG: When I got out, I was burned out. The constant pressure to win combined with an intense demo travel schedule took the fun out of shooting for me. I thought I was done and completely stepped away… for a couple of months.
On a whim I decided to go shoot a club match near Atlanta. I fell in love with the sport all over again. I didn’t have the time, funds or the ammo that I had as a soldier, but I so enjoyed spending time with shooters and pulling trigger that I knew I wanted to be a part of it all again.
RR: Why do you think you have been as successful as you have been? What attributes does a champion need?
JG: I think it comes down to hard work and honesty. Some are ridiculously talented, but they don’t put the hours in. I am by no means the most talented shooter, but I have always been able to be honest with myself. I am a critic and know my strengths and weaknesses. I play to them as I need to. That and there’s a fine line between ego and confidence.
I am by no means the most talented shooter, but I have always been able to be honest with myself. I am a critic and know my strengths and weaknesses.
RR: What is your practice regime like? What do you do to stay fresh during the off season?
JG: Having a two small children has made training challenging because things come up. Kids get sick. Travel schedules get crazy. There are sponsor obligations and let’s face it, life happens. My training has been somewhat sporadic over the past couple of years, but I am slowly getting back on track. My goal right now is to get to the range three to four times a week and dry fire 10 to 15 minutes, five days a week. I work short drills and fundamentals because that’s what I need most right now. As for staying fresh, I love hunting so there’s a little trigger time there, but breaks are also good. They give you time to reflect, analyze your past performances and develop a plan to improve.
RR: What is the best advice you can give to a new competitor?
JG: The first is obvious, be safe. Never sacrifice safety for speed. Second, use what you have and work your fundamentals. They are your foundation and when the pressure is on, they will carry you in competition.
RR: What would you tell a more experienced shooter who’s hit a plateau to get him or her over the hump?
JG: If you reach that plateau, it might be time to change things up. Take a mini-break from your sport and shoot a different discipline for a month. You’ll probably pick up something new that helps you with your game. Taking a step back can be like hitting the refresh button.
RR: In the time you’ve been in the industry how has it changed for women?
JG: There have been huge changes in the industry, especially for women. My first SHOT Show I remember seeing women in tight or small amounts of clothing working in the booths. We see very little of that now and even more exciting is the number of women you see in leadership positions at companies who are subject matter experts on product lines. There’s more gear designed for women now then ever. It’s an exciting time and I am so proud to be a part of it!
From politics to athletics to guns, women are accepted and they are taking responsibility for their own personal protection and stepping outside their comfort zone to give shooting a try.
RR: Why do you think more women are becoming interested in guns and shooting? What does this mean for the shooting sports?
JG: We see it everywhere. The “strong is the new sexy” line motivates women to take charge of their bodies, to step outside their comfort zone. Today’s woman embraces her femininity and strength. Our culture empowers strong women who are willing to speak out and stand up for what they believe in. Traditional thinking that certain activities are only for males is going away. From politics to athletics to guns, women are accepted and they are taking responsibility for their own personal protection and stepping outside their comfort zone to give shooting a try. This is a great thing for the shooting sports.The only negative is that these sports have effectively done very little to reach to this demographic.That has to change.
RR: As a mother and a shooter, what advice do you have for parents with firearms and children to establish safety and encourage responsibility?
JG: I recently partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation on a video on how to talk to kids about guns and firearm safety. I truly believe in the message that we need to educate kids about firearms and remove the mystique around them. (Link to “Talking to Kids About Firearms Safety”)
I truly believe in the message that we need to educate kids about firearms and remove the mystique around them.
RR: Your first book, “Shoot:A Guide to Shooting and Competition” was published a couple years ago. Who will get the most out of it?
JG: “Shoot: A Guide to Shooting and Competition” is a primer for those interested in getting started in the shooting sports. It’s a one stop shop that describes the 411 on guns, safety, and a large variety of shooting disciplines. Anyone who wants to get started or wants to explore different shooting sports will find a lot of great info in the book.
RR: Do you have any other books planned?
JG: [Laughs] Yes, but the challenge is finding the time! I have a children’s book I have been working on. Because I love to hunt and cook, I hope to one day put my favorite wild game recipes together in a cook book as well.
RR: You’re very active on social media. How does new media help gun owners?
JG: I truly believe that social media is the most effective method to reach potential new shooters right now. With limitations on advertising and policies TV networks and mainstream publications have against guns and ammo, it’s a great frontier for the industry. What I love about it is that it provides a way for people to share their passion for guns and shooting on their own terms and with their friends and family. Sharing that group on a target or video from a range session has allowed gun owners share shooting at a grass roots level with people who are close to them in an easy, effective way.
I truly believe that social media is the most effective method to reach potential new shooters right now.
RR: What’s with #SHOOTFIT ?
JG: #SHOOTFIT is a hashtag that gives shooters a way to share their fitness progress and goals. I’ve interviewed a few shooters on my blog about how fitness plays an important role in their competition success. It’s so inspiring to see the number of competitors out there who are working to get in better shape in order to improve their shooting. It is indeed a sport!
RR: You were named the 2015 SHOT Business Person of the Year. What does that recognition mean to you?
JG: I am so proud of this recognition. The shooting and hunting industry is jam packed with super stars who dedicate their time and money to promote gun safety, shooting sports, and conservation. Just to be nominated was huge for me but to receive the honor solidifies that what I am doing is right and motivates me to continue working hard to share and hopefully inspire others.
RR: How do you balance your busy schedule with your family life? What has changed since before you had kids?
JG: I mentioned it early, but training has been tough at times. My husband has a very demanding job too. It feels like I am juggling too many balls sometimes and it’s very hard to travel and be away from special moments. Kids are only little once and so I really try to balance sponsor obligations with my personal shooting goals so that I can be the best mom I can be too.
RR: How did you get into hunting? What type do you enjoy most?
JG: Not only did I spend time on the range with my dad as a kid, I also went hunting with him. I started out hunting whitetail deer but since then I have enjoyed turkey, mule deer, elk, and waterfowl hunting. Just like how each shooting sport is different, hunting different game offers its own challenge and fun.
Just like how each shooting sport is different, hunting different game offers its own challenge and fun.
RR: What’s the best thing about working in the firearms industry?
JG: It sounds cheesy but it’s really the people. From shooters, to those making awesome products, to the leadership, and our industry’s media, we are all connected with a passion for the Second Amendment, conservation, and shooting. It’s really an amazing thing to be a part of.
RR: If you could go back and tell new shooter Julie (or teenage Julie) one thing, what would it be?
JG: Take more photos and document the journey! [Laughs] I’ve been so many places and have experienced so many things because of shooting. I would love to be able to look back through photos and video, but I will always cherish the memories even without them.
Julie Golob’s website and blog is at www.juliegolob.com