Rising Shooting Stars: Morgan Leonhardt

She may not be old enough to drive, but this New Orleans phenom is racing to the top of the competitive shooting world!

posted on February 1, 2023
Morgan Leonhardt Lede

Love or hate social media, it has a purpose. Several weeks ago, competitive shooter Kenzie Fitzpatrick posted about a young woman the world should be aware of. “You know what no one is talking about right now?” she wrote. “The fact that @morganrose3gun is the YOUNGEST Lady to win a World Title in IPSC! At just 15 years old, she has won and earned a World Title. Want to know what she did it with? A Glock.”

With so many specialized competitive shooting guns on the market, it’s especially nice to see someone winning with an affordable firearm many already own, not to mention a junior doing so. Fifteen-year-old Morgan Leonhardt of New Orleans, Louisiana has been competing since she was nine years old. She grew up around guns and learned about firearm safety at a very young age from her father, who shot a 3-gun match every month. One day Morgan tagged along to watch, and the match director let her shoot one of the stages with her .22 LR. This was the beginning of the beginning.

Morgan has now traveled the world and claimed several large titles in USPSA and IPSC, all before being able to drive. She’s grateful for the friends she has made and the maturity shooting has given her. “Shooting has taught me life skills that most other sports don't have to offer,” she said. “First off, all other sports I have participated in are widely accepted by all. Shooting is not, so I had to be knowledgeable about the sport to explain to my school, friends and the critics of guns what all is involved and that guns in and of themselves are not dangerous.” Ambassadorship and Second Amendment advocacy are critical to the future of the shooting sports, especially among youth. There is a flip side to this.

“Since there are not many competitors my age,” Morgan explained, “I also learned how to have conversations with adults. It has taught me to be responsible and mature because safety is number one. I've also learned that if you want to be successful at something it takes a lot of hard work, but you get out what you put in.”

While her list of achievements is long, Morgan is most proud of winning the 2022 IPSC World Shoot (Production Optics Lady) in Thailand. Besides claiming a gold medal in Ladies Production Optics, she earned a silver medal for Family Team with her father and a bronze medal for the Production Optics Ladies Team. She also won the Ladies Production Optics Shoot Offs. A world title speaks for itself, but the 2021 Carry Optics Lady national title is also near and dear to Morgan—she had only been competing in USPSA a few short months before winning it. Looking towards the future, Morgan aspires to continue to perform at a high level in area matches, reclaim her Carry Optics National title (she placed second lady in 2022), and represent the U.S. at the 2025 World Shoot.

Competing at this level doesn’t often happen without support. Morgan is especially grateful to Primary Machine, who has been with her from near the beginning of her shooting career, as well as Walkers, Hunters HD Gold, Taran Tactical, Johnny Glocks, Birchwood Casey, Goutdoors Products, Trijicon and Valhalla Customs. She also has considerable enthusiasm for the gear she depends on.

“My Glock [G17 Gen5] is my favorite gun in the whole wide world,” Morgan declared. “All of my slides are milled by Primary Machine, this is always my favorite part of my guns, my triggers are done by Johnny Glocks, my grips are done by Valhalla, and I use Trijicon red dots. I always keep my safety gear with me, Walker’s ear-pro and Hunter’s HD Gold glass in my GPS bag. I love my bag so much; it keeps me organized and it fits all of my gear!”

Morgan cautions others not to expect major wins overnight. “Shooting is a challenge,” she says. “Don’t worry about beating others, just focus on improving your skills. There will be days that you feel like you’re not getting better, this happens to me too, but don't give up, the next level is right around the corner.”






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