A decorated ladies shooting champion captured the bronze medal at one of the world’s biggest shooting competitions as Julie Golob of Team USA finished third in the ladies production pistol division at the recent International Practical Shooting Confederation’s World Handgun Championships in Frostproof, Fla.
Golob, captain of the Smith & Wesson shooting team, competed with a Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P Pro pistol, similar to those used by law enforcement officers across the country, when she faced off against women representing more than 80 nations. With her final score of 1557.9669 points she led her Team USA teammates to a bronze medal in the team competition as well.
“The World Shoot is like the practical shooting world’s Olympic Games,” said Golob. “To be chosen to represent our country both individually and as a member of Team USA is such an honor.”
Originating in the United States, practical pistol shooting is a fast-paced sport with competitors drawing handguns from holsters, changing magazines and maneuvering through obstacles all while shooting at paper and steel targets set at varying distances on the clock. Unlike many other shooting sports, practical shooting has no perfect score or set time. A competitor’s hits on targets are divided by the time it took the them to shoot a single course of fire and shooters are ranked accordingly.
Held every three years, the 2014 World Shoot kicked off with an Olympic style opening ceremony with a parade of nations followed by an intense six days of competition. The final day featured a head-to-head style shoot off on all steel targets followed by the closing ceremony where medals were awarded for both individual performances and team events.
Golob is no stranger to World Shoot competition and this marks her fifth event. Despite taking time off from the sport since 2011 to add to her family, her experience and numerous medals earned her the US Team Manager’s pick to represent the United States in the Ladies Production Division, a category that features stock guns that are common in most gun stores. She joined professional shooter, Maggie Reese, Navy veteran and firearms instructor, Cindi Thomas, and Phoenix, Ar. police officer, Sara Dunivin to form the four-person US Ladies Team.
The Team Smith & Wesson Captain’s last World Shoot was in 2011 in Rhodes Greece where she was a favorite to medal. She brought home the silver, finishing behind World Champion Maria Guschina of Russia. Her score helped secure a silver medal for Team USA as well.
Where her fellow competitors have been training hard for the past three years for another shot to win gold, the mom of two young girls, 6 and 18 months, has taken time much of that time off.
“It’s tough going into a competition where you were once a favorite to having no expectations of medaling. With so much time off the gun, I knew this match would be different than those in the past. My goal was to put in a solid score for our team and to help my fellow teammates give it their best. Honestly, with the level of competition both here in the US and internationally, I would have been thrilled with a Top 10 finish,” she explains.
The veteran began the event strong and in medal contention, but a series of missed targets and slow times found her out of the top rankings by midweek.
“Every shot counts, each hit or miss. When you add them up it’s over 600 rounds. There are also strict safety rules in the sport we have to follow or face disqualification, but a huge part of being successful at this level is knowing you will have highs and lows. You cannot dwell on them. Instead you have to trust in your training and your gear.”
Golob adds that, “Shooting is just like other sports. You have to dig deep and give it your best every time that buzzer sounds.”
By the last day of competition, Golob’s strategy paid off. She fought her way to the bronze behind Russia’s Gushchina who defended her world title and Switzerland’s Christine Burkhalter in second. Golob’s scores also helped secure a bronze medal for the US Team. Golob attributes her success to a supportive network.
“None of this would have been possible without my loving husband, family, talented teammates and incredible sponsors. They believe in me even with taking time away from the competition circuit. With support from Smith & Wesson, Federal Premium, Benelli, Rand Innovations and Warren Tactical Sights, I know have the guns and gear I can rely on for every single shot. I can’t thank them enough,” said Golob.
The next IPSC World Handgun Championships will be in France in 2017 where Golob hopes to make the US Team once again and go for gold.
Image courtesy Julie Golob