I first met Sarah Fontyn, Staff Sergeant for the US Army Reserve, at the Brownells Pro-Am 3-gun match this summer. Sarah shoots for the Task Force Dagger Foundation (TFD) team. TFD is dedicated to providing immediate assistance to wounded, ill, or injured soldiers and their families, and the families of casualties from the United States Army Special Operations Command. It was during our first 3-gun match together that she told me her story of being wounded when her vehicle was hit by an IED during a deployment to Iraq in 2004, and how shooting has become a method of recreational therapy for her. In October, we were able to meet again, this time at the Brownells Lady 3-Gun match, where Sarah won High Lady Amateur in the law enforcement/military division. Below are her thoughts on how TFD and 3-gun have helped boost her confidence and heal through spending time with likeminded people.
Britney: What’s your background with guns, shooting, and so on?
Sarah: Until I joined the Army 16 years ago, I had never fired a weapon. Since joining the Army, I have done a lot of shooting for military purposes, but we don’t really shoot as much as most people think—unless we are about to be deployed, then we shoot a lot. We shoot 9mm pistols, M4 rifles, M249 SAWs, and M240B machine guns for work.
Britney: How long have you been shooting 3-gun?
Sarah: I have only shot three 3-gun matches; my first was the TFD match in 2013, the Brownells Pro-Am earlier in 2014, and lastly the Brownells Lady 3-Gun in October.
Britney: How were you introduced to 3-gun?
Sarah: The organizers of TFD sent me to SCUBA diving events as a form of recreational therapy, and then they called me and asked if I wanted to go shooting. I had no idea what 3-gun was, and never shot a competition of any kind before—but it’s shooting, how could I say no? So, I went to Blakely, Georgia, for the TFD match and I had a blast. I shot terribly, but it was fun. They had a great group of coaches and support there to help me not make too big of a fool of myself.
Britney: How has 3-gun helped you?
Sarah: It’s hard for me to talk about 3-gun without talking about TFD. The organization introduced me to competition and has supported me every step of the way. The recreational therapy events are an amazing way for soldiers to heal. Its great to be around other soldiers and just talk and laugh. TFD believes in not just supporting the soldier, but also the family, so our families can come with us to the events. The combination of TFD and shooting has helped me gain even more confidence in not just shooting, but other aspects of my life. I kind of felt like I was thrown to the wolves with the level of difficulty at the TFD match, but I finished it, and had a great support system to help me through. It just reiterated that in life, you are never alone; people are always there to encourage and support you, and to help you persevere through tough situations. Sometimes you forget that with all the things going on in life and you just need a gentle reminder. And I had fun. It motivated me to get better at shooting so I could compete in other events.
Britney: What are your biggest challenges when shooting 3-gun?
Sarah: Speed and accuracy! It’s mostly mental, I just need more experience.
Britney: What’s your favorite part of 3-gun?
Sarah: Shooting! Ha! How do you not like shooting a couple hundred rounds with great people? Trigger time is always a good time, but the people are awesome, too. They loan you equipment, help you plan stages, fix your guns, and make you laugh when you need it. The people really make it fun—Keith David, Becky Yackley, Lisa Marie Judy, Clay Martin, Eric Eckhardt, John Harris, Pete Jones, and Mike Cassidy, just to name a few, have been especially supportive to me and many others. I cannot thank TFD enough, without them I never would have started shooting 3-gun.