Editor’s note: This exclusive OutdoorHub interview is one of a many focusing on the amazing females who are challenging society’s norms and breaking down gender barriers in the process. Niki Jones is one of three diehard shooters featured in CarbonTV’s “Women Who Shoot” online special (below).
This original “Women Who“ series explores a woman’s take on typically male-dominated pursuits. Whether it’s shooting, hunting or farming, these women make no apology for who they are and aim to inspire the same passion in others.
OHUB: Were you introduced to firearms and shooting at an early age?
Niki: Yes. My dad was a police firearms instructor, and my parents were both competitive shooters. They’d bring me to matches when I was as young as 4 years old, and I probably took my first shot around age 5. My dad had a shooting range in our basement, so I spent a lot of time down there as a kid, with my tiny EarPro earplugs, just watching him practice. I got my first gun, a .410 shotgun, at the age of 10.
OHUB: You’re the founder and president of Sure Shots: Texas’ Women’s Pistol League. Tell us more.
Niki: Back in 2010, I found myself at the range, practicing with my carry gun, but I wasn’t feeling challenged, so I looked for a league—any league—to join. Sadly, I couldn’t find any within a 100-mile radius, so I decided to start my own. This meant I could make it everything I wanted it to be: free (no membership fees, ever), and inclusive of women from all walks of life and all skill levels. The original focus was on defensive shooting, but over the past 6-plus years, we’ve expanded to every discipline and type of shooting out there.
OHUB: You compete regularly in IDPA, Steel Challenge and 3-Gun matches. Do you have a particular “proudest moment”?
Niki: I compete in matches purely for fun and to support the other ladies and young girls of Sure Shots, so my proudest moments in competitions wouldn’t necessarily be my own personal bests. I’m most proud when our Sure Shots make great strides in attaining their shooting goals. Truth be told, my proudest moments in competition are when our junior shooters ROCK IT!
OHUB: Is there one “So close you could taste it” moment during a shooting competition that sticks in your memory?
Niki: While I don’t have any real “So close I could taste it” moments, there have definitely been a million “Can’t believe I did that!” moments!
OHUB: You’ve been featured on ABC News’ “Nightline” and CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” Which is more stressful, being on TV in front of millions, or shooting in competition?
Niki: Having that timer beep at the start of a stage at a match is way more stressful than being on TV. When I’m on TV, I’m usually teaching or coaching, or speaking on a topic I’m very comfortable speaking about. The very first few TV appearances were a bit nerve-wracking, but after doing so many (all of which were positive, I’m happy to say), I’m pretty comfortable.
OHUB: What is your conceal carry gun of choice?
Niki: If I’m carrying on my person, I carry a Sig Sauer P938 Equinox. If I’m road-tripping, I’ve got my Sig Sauer TacOps .45. Those two models work so well for me, and the fact they have almost identical functions (single-action-only, carried cocked and locked) is a big advantage.
OHUB: You’re the founder, editor-in-chief and creative director of Sure Shots Magazine, the Premier Resource for Women Shooters. It’s a fantastic online magazine. How have the shooting industry and the public responded to your magazine?
Niki: Sure Shots Magazine has been SO well-received! Our goal was to bring really solid content to ALL women, so we’ve truly got something for everyone. Our tagline is “Where Recoil Meets Vogue”—you don’t have to sacrifice style for a lifestyle that includes firearms. A lot of women really see themselves in our demographic, and our readership has skyrocketed!
OHUB: Readers of this article might be surprised to learn that you have extensive training in unarmed defensive tactics. Where did you receive this instruction? Is it difficult?
Niki: A couple years into Sure Shots, as we began to branch out into different areas of self-defense, I became interested in pursuing a commission as a Personal Protection Officer. Carrin Welch (Sure Shots Magazine’s Associate Editor and my co-leader in Sure Shots) and I received the instruction from Kent Morrison of BSG Security Services, who had stepped in at the very beginning of Sure Shots and opened the door to a lot of training opportunities and shooting disciplines. While the physical aspect of being a Personal Protection Officer can be difficult (Carrin and I had many a bruise from our training sessions), there is also a HUGE part of being a PPO that involves thinking versus acting.
OHUB: You were recently featured in CarbonTV’s “Women Who Shoot” film along with Dianna Liedorff-Muller and Becky Yackley. Do you see yourself as a role model for other females who are interested in shooting?
Niki: The thing I am proudest of is beginning our “Mini Sure Shots” training program back in 2012. It started organically, where the ladies of Sure Shots would come to me and ask if their daughters could come shoot with us, and from that I developed a whole program—curriculum and courses for girls as young as 4! If those girls would choose to see me as a role model, I’ll gladly take it, but there are TONS of amazing females in the firearms industry and shooting sports that would deserve it more than me.
OHUB: Final question: If you could take part in only one more outdoor adventure, where would you go, what would you do, and who would join you?
Niki: It would be a girls’ trip that incorporated horseback riding, whitewater rafting, skydiving, swimming, shooting . . . and an exotic petting zoo. Can y’all make that happen for me, please?