We think you will be surprised to read Beth Walker’s comments and answers to questions we posed to her regarding the shooting sports. This 15-year-old appears to be laying a firm foundation to rise to one of the shooting industry’s most respected and grounded competition shooters. Find out how and why in this interview.
NRA Family: When people ask you what you do, what do you say? Elevator speech length.
Beth Walker: I am a competitive shooter and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I compete with a lot of talented people with a rifle, pistol and shotgun through five to 10 courses-of-fire per match/competition.
NRA Family: What’s your history in the shooting sports?
Beth Walker: I was involved in other sports until 8th grade, but had two fairly severe concussions in 4th and 6th grade from basketball. Because of this, we had decided it was unsafe for me to continue playing sports through high school, but I played volleyball until my last year of middle school. I was introduced to the shooting sports through watching Katie Francis and Becky Yackley on YouTube and Facebook in 2014. We could not find much information about the sport and how to get started until I was introduced to TacTissy at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. She invited me to come watch one of her matches and afterwards, showed me a few shotguns and we talked about the different gear needed and did some shooting. A few months later, I started up with local matches, then progressed to doing majors. I have been competing for a little over a year now and I have seen a lot of growth. My family has always been very firearms friendly; my dad is a law enforcement officer and I have several family members who were in the military, but none of them have shot on the competitive side of things. I was taught to shoot starting with a .22 Ruger when I was about 8, then moved to a Glock 19 and have progressed from there!
NRA Family: Do you primarily shoot 3-Gun and why?
Beth Walker: I primarily shoot 3-Gun, though I am starting to do a bit in USPSA. The reason I shoot 3-Gun has a lot to do with the community. There is a wide variety of people involved in this sport and seeing the different backgrounds and life stories is amazing. We all have a common interest that centers on defense of the Second Amendment. I also find that the people I am competing with are extremely helpful and kind. I have played lots of sports and I have never witnessed a sport in which someone will hand you the key to preforming better than them and coach you on how to grow to your full potential...until I entered the 3-Gun community. 3-Gun is also a very physically and cognitively challenging sport. One of the things that I love about it is being able to push every aspect of yourself, both physically and mentally, to perform at the top of your game.
NRA Family: You have a lot of sponsors (please name them). What types of commitments do you have with your sponsors?
Beth Walker: I am currently sponsored by Lancer Systems, Girls with Guns Clothing, Generation III Gun, Modern Spartan Systems, Gunfighter Targets, Indy Ear Pro, Cry Havoc Gear Holsters and Urban ERT Tactical. I have a very good relationship with the people who sponsor me. A lot of what I do for them stems from social media. Having a presence and being able to provide reviews and honest opinions about their products has a great importance to me. Being able to tell someone about a product and knowing that you can be 100 percent honest about what you are saying is a great feeling. For example, Lancer provides a rifle and magazines. In return for these products, I give feedback, am able to be an ambassador of their products on social media, and to compete in matches and shoot their products in competition to show their high level of performance.
NRA Family: Do you consider yourself to be an ambassador for the shooting sports? Why?
Beth Walker: I do consider myself to be an ambassador for the shooting sports in everything I do, both on and off the range, by promoting the lifestyle that I live. I would go further than saying I am an ambassador for the shooting sports, but I also strive to be an advocate for the Second Amendment. This plays into the shooting sports. I have a love for what I do and I try to represent that well to my family, classmates, followers and even the other competitors on the range any given day. I try to be an example of all of the traits that shooting has instilled in me as a teenager – such as responsibility, work ethic, strategy and teamwork. I have had a lot of opportunities to share these things with people, including my Indiana Senators and my district’s Congressman when I went to Washington, D.C., with the DC Project. I also try my best to promote the sport positively on social media and sports-related events that I attend.
NRA Family: Have you encouraged or inspired other young women whom you know to try shooting? Do you have any stories about that?
Beth Walker: I try my best to encourage and help other young ladies when they are looking to get into the shooting sports. My 11-year-old sister is starting to show interest, so I am helping her out little-by-little as she becomes more comfortable handling different firearms. Here are two stories that I really love! At the beginning of March, a girl named Cheyenne (around my age) contacted me. I was shooting my second major match at the end of that month in Missouri. She lived in the area and wanted to know if it was possible for her to come tag along with my squad for the two days of shooting. She showed up on the first day and I started talking to her and along with Becky Yackley, Katie Francis, Cheyenne Dalton and Maddie Stewart, we helped her get an idea of what the sport is from a ladies’ viewpoint. She shot some of our firearms in a sight-in bay the next day. Seeing the look in her eyes after she got done shooting reminded me of when I first started, and that has been one thing that I will never forget.
Another story I have is about a young girl named Avery. Her mom messaged me before NRAAM 2017 and asked where I was, because Avery wanted to meet me. She came over, we talked, I introduced her to the Girls with Guns ladies, whom I was working for, and Julie Golob, a fellow [GWG] team member, who happened to be there hanging out with us. She was so excited and loved every second of it. After the show, I kept in close contact with her and her mom and I was able to help them get Avery started to the best of my ability. I loved passing on the little tips that had been passed around to me by other ladies in the sport. It really showed me the importance of helping people find ways to be involved in the amazing community that has been, and is still being built. One thing that it also presented to me is the importance of role models for the young women in the community. We are a quickly growing demographic in the firearms industry and it is important for us to all help, teach, and raise each other up.
NRA Family: What does the future hold, and what are you interested in doing when you get older?
Beth Walker: There are three different pathways that I am considering, two of which are military related. I have wanted to join the Army since I was a little girl. If I joined, I would most likely go to college before (I am considering Texas A&M or applying to the United States Military Academy), as far as an MOS goes I would like to either be an intelligence officer or do military operational law. I am also interested in doing marketing with a firearms company. In all of these options I would have the ability to continue shooting, though with a military career it may be limited. I want to keep up my shooting career because it is something that I love and can see myself doing until my body doesn’t allow it anymore.
NRA Family: Is there a particular discipline in shooting sports that you’d like to try?
Beth Walker: I have always been interested in trying Precision Rifle Shooting. I have a few friends who know the sport well. I love the accuracy element of shooting. It all is dependent upon you. Once you fine-tune your gear to the point of near perfection, any failure you have falls directly on what you as a shooter are doing. I would also like to do some sporting clays and trap shooting!
NRA Family: Usually, young people get tremendous support from family members … what’s your story?
Beth Walker: My family is definitely my greatest support group. As I previously mentioned, I come from a Second Amendment family. Before I officially joined the shooting sports, we spent a year or two doing research and seeing what it was all about. My parents wanted to make sure this was something I was going to take seriously, because it is a very big thing to take on, especially with siblings in other clubs, athletics and school. My dad and I have always been very close, and this has just brought us closer. All of the hours spent in the car and the bonding that we have done is a huge blessing to me. It has also been really cool to see how my mom has taken a love for the shooting sports. She was never anti-gun, but she had never really had a full introduction to shooting, safety or the community in general. Going to local matches and having her tag along with me and my dad to major matches is always really fun. Having them there supporting me gives me a lot of motivation because of the sacrifices that they are making to help get me to where I am.
NRA Family: What else do you like to do when you’re not training or shooting?
Beth Walker: When I am not shooting, I am likely at school, reading or with my family. One thing that I have been very thankful for is my school’s cooperation with absences due to major matches. They are very supportive of me and the sport. They even did a feature on me in a section of the school yearbook! I love to read about America’s history and its participation in conflicts both here and abroad. One of the most interesting topics, in my opinion, is the Civil War and the way that the United States dealt with splitting apart and over time, becoming united again. My favorite Civil War figure is Stonewall Jackson! The thing that I enjoy most though, is spending time with my family. We are very close-knit and any given day I am with my immediate and extended family.
NRA Family: How can people follow you through social media?
Beth Walker: People can follow me on Instagram @3gunbeth, Facebook @Beth Walker- Competitive Shooter, and YouTube @3GunBeth.