Better known as the “Pineapple Shooter,” 15-year-old Raegan Hearn of Martin County, Florida has built quite the name for herself in the Steel Challenge world stemming from an early introduction to firearm safety. She started in by learning how to properly and safely operate a BB gun. “When I was about 5 or 6, my dad would lay a BB gun on the table and ask me what was wrong with the BB gun and ask me how I would fix it or make it safe. After a about a year or so of doing that, I was able to go out and shoot my first gun. A Ruger Bearcat .22LR revolver and I had a total blast!”
Though many successful junior shooters start young, Raegan’s story truly demonstrates how seriously parents and adults should take firearm safety when introducing youth to shooting sports. Raegan began officially competing four years ago at age 11 after watching a video online of a young girl dry-fire training in her home. That Christmas she discovered a Riggers belt and Ruger SR22 under the Christmas tree—starter equipment for Steel Challenge. A few months later she shot her first match.
Learning marksmanship, not just plinking, early on has lent Raegan extra focus during matches and helped her to develop her own mindset catered to each style of competition she shoots. Raegan competes in USPSA, Action Steel, Rimfire Challenge, Steel Challenge and ELR.
“My favorite thing about marksmanship,” she says, “is the thrill of shooting a stage! It’s something that I enjoy because being able to exercise my Second Amendment rights and shoot a competition stage is something that I think more people need to experience.”
No matter how new a person is to shooting, Raegan emphasizes the importance of dry-fire practice and a positive mindset. The year 2021 proved stellar for the Pineapple Shooter, claiming four titles she cites as her greatest accomplishments: RFPO Florida State Champion, RFRI Florida State Champion, RFPO Ladies Florida State Champion and RFRI Ladies Florida State Champion. She aspires to win “something” at the 2022 World Speed Shooting Championship, a dream she has had since she first started in Steel Challenge.
Sponsored by Athlon Optics, Raegan is also a brand ambassador for TANDEMKROSS, Energetic Armament, Charger Arms, Wilder Tactical, Hunters HD Gold, Ryker USA, Snake Eater Tactical, NEO Tactical Gear, FSTactical, Class 3 Creative and Seal1.
The real question—why “Pineapple Shooter”? According to Raegan, it all started during a family dinner and a discussion of other juniors’ social media pages. “I looked up and saw a pineapple on our kitchen counter and it just hit me,” Raegan said. “They symbolize friendship and pineapples were a major crop in our area of South Florida years ago, so I thought it was a good way to honor something I think is important and where I am from. And on the funny side, it is the only plant my mom is able to grow and they are tasty!”The Pineapple Shooter is also a competitive archer, a member of her high school’s Army JROTC, eight-year Girl Scout and is Dual Enrolled at her local state college. At the “ripe” young age of 15, Raegan has certainly proved a positive ambassador for the outdoors and shooting sports while paying attention to her roots. Follow her on Instagram at @pineapple_shooter and on Facebook @Raegan Hearn Competitive Shooter.