Third Century | Jessie Duff

posted on July 26, 2015
jessie-duff.jpg
Yamil Sued

If you saw Jessie Duff walking down the street, you’d probably be surprised to know she makes her living with a gun. Recognized as one of the most accomplished competition shooters in the world, Jessie competes—and excels—in five different shooting disciplines. And she has won both world and national championship titles, including the prestigious Bianchi Cup and the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships.

When she isn’t shooting competitively, Jessie is most likely either hunting or hosting an episode of “NRA All Access,” which just began its fourth season on the Outdoor Channel.

As team captain for Taurus International’s shooting team, my job is to be on the range and competing. But my mind wasn’t always set on being a professional shooter. I grew up around firearms and loved to go to the range with my dad, a World Champion Cowboy Action shooter.

It wasn’t until I was 15 that my dad encouraged me to try my hand at competition. I’ve been hooked ever since! 

Aside from cheerleading, I didn’t get involved in competitive sports in school. But through competitive shooting, I found my niche—a place where I could grow outside of the typical “athlete” mold. 

I first started competing in Cowboy Action Shooting, a sport where you get to dress up in period-correct clothing and shoot guns like you see in old cowboy movies. You even get to give yourself an alias—mine is Jasmine Jessie, and my dad is Easy Rider. Getting to dress up and accessorize, and still getting to shoot, was one of my favorite parts! My first match was the Georgia State Championship, where I won my first state title. Granted, there were only a few shooters, but it showed what I could do with some actual training. 

I had an amazing coach from the start, through my dad and some other accomplished shooters, as well. I set realistic, achievable goals for myself. And through the help of my father, I reached every one of those goals!

After shooting in the cowboy world for about six or seven years, I was introduced to more modern guns and shooting sports. Along the way, I became fascinated with firearms, their history and the role they’ve played in helping shape our country. The technology that has gone into them and how it’s still sufficient today amazes me. I compete mostly with a 1911 pistol—which earned its name because it was invented in 1911. It is essentially unchanged from a century ago. 

You could say the same thing for our freedom that protects gun ownership. Our country’s laws were written more than 200 years ago, but they still hold American freedom together. Growing up, I never really thought much about the Second Amendment or how it affected me. As I’ve grown, and with shooting being my passion and way of life, I realize how truly important the Second Amendment is. 

But now, with that right under heavy attack, it’s like the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” The right to keep and bear arms was put in the Bill of Rights for a reason: to protect us as a country, to protect us as individuals, and to protect the freedoms that make America the greatest country in the world!

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