Shooting talent and academic prowess come together in 16-year-old Lucy Kores. Curiosity spurred Lucy’s original interest in shooting at the age of 13. Her grandfather paid for an introduction class, and she quickly took to marksmanship. “After the proper introduction,” she said, “I was really invested into getting tighter groups so I attended private lessons. Ironically, I had a pistol teacher teach me about rifle disciplines— so in the end, we both learned a lot.”
Lucy shot first at 25 yards and trained with a private coach, Skip Clarkin, to work her way out to 1,000 yards. She doesn’t compete formally in long range, and moving from a bipod and high magnification scope to sling shooting with a 4.5x optic has presented its own unique challenge. Lucy is currently a member of the Arizona High Power Scorpions junior team and traveled to the National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio with the team in 2021. Her greatest accomplishment in service rifle is placing high woman in the 129th annual Washington’s Birthday match, the oldest running high power match in the U.S.
Over the last few years of her marksmanship training, Lucy has had some constants. “I’ve consistently worn my turquoise Impact Sport headphones and usually wear a navy U.S.S. Arizona shirt. However, since the start of my High Power activity (1 year ago), I’ve gotten accustomed to wearing the red sweatshirt that was given to me from Camp Perry alongside my yellow glove and blue jacket. It’s quite a strange color combination but I don’t mind. At bare minimum, my must-haves are my dope book, gun, ammunition, glasses and headphones. However, I usually like to bring a water bottle to keep myself hydrated given the intense heat of Arizona.”
Keeping a dope book is a staple for many shooters, to record conditions, zeroes and performance. Tracking improvement is especially important to Lucy, who aspires to shoot the tightest groups she is able. She stressed that the definition of a tight group is somewhat subjective and changes with your skill level. “I’m always proud of a tight group because it shows progress … It’s that drive for self-improvement which makes it more fun with others, who understand your progress and can share advice. This environment always allows for growth for any level of shooter, something which I’ve always enjoyed about shooting.”
In her list of greatest accomplishments, Lucy lists her assistance with rifle classes. While not a quantifiable score or title, it shows just how much firearms education and training means to Lucy, tracing back to her first experiences. “Marksmanship has taught me a range of things, which include discipline and mental fortitude. Much of shooting is dry fire trigger practice and not live fire, which is how I’ve advanced over the years.”
Reflecting on her own experiences, Lucy advises new rifle shooters to start with the prone position and focus on marksmanship fundamentals. She says it’s a “personal” thing. In other words, the learning process is different for everyone and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. “As you get better,” she said, “You’ll learn to apply those fundamentals to different positions as you have a reference idea to what a strong position feels like.”
Poor shots and scores are part of the learning process, and happen to the best of shooters. The important part is not giving up. “Whether you’re calm or frustrated, it’s always important to breathe because it keeps your body and mind relaxed.” Lucy attributes most improvement to time behind the gun. “It may take a long time, but the ebb and flow of progress cannot and should not be rushed. So, take pride in your progress even if it's small—because shooters are here to become better at their field, not to compare with others.”
Lucy’s positive mindset and zest for learning will serve her well in her goal to attend the Coast Guard Academy and work in a science-related department. While balancing concert band, jazz ban, and the responsibilities of drum major of the Spirit of Arcadia Marching Band, Lucy also finds some time to draw and paint with watercolors. Despite her busy schedule, shooting will always have a place in Lucy’s life. “I hope to continue my shooting career as it’s given me such an eye-opener into the world and much joy.”