If you haven’t yet heard of competitive shooter Katie Francis, you likely don’t follow the shooting sports. By 13, Katie had taken the world of 3-gun shooting by storm, traveling the nation to compete in the sport she loves.
3-gun is a demanding competition that requires shooters to address targets with pistol, rifle and shotgun. And Katie is proving that being young and small are certainly not barriers to success in this exciting shooting sport.
I am a 16-year-old who enjoys shooting 3-gun competitions around the country. I shot my first gun when I was five (a .22 Ruger single-action revolver) and shot my first 3-gun match in 2012 at the Rockcastle Pro Am in Kentucky. That’s when I got hooked.
3-gun competitions are unlike any other shooting sport. Most shooting sports have standard courses of fire and use only a single firearm. In 3-gun, you use a rifle, pistol and shotgun, and the stages are different each time. The stage designers use their creativity to come up with many different types of shooting problems, and it’s up to the shooters to solve them.
Shooting has done several things to enrich my life. First and foremost, it has taught me to respect guns and to handle them safely. It has also taught me responsibility, both at home and at school. Several of my teachers have commented and sent my parents emails about how much they’ve seen my behavior mature since I’ve started shooting competitively. My computer technology teacher even emailed my parents, saying, “I had a conversation with Katie the other day about how much she has matured this year, how much more focused she has become and how her positive behavior has influenced her friends.”
Shooting competitively has also allowed me to travel to many new and interesting places around the country. If I hadn’t started shooting, I would not have had these experiences. I’ve been fortunate to get to interact with people of all walks of life. It is so cool to see how different people react to different things during competition. And watching the way different people break down the stages and try to figure out how to do them the fastest at the competitions is really neat!
3-gun has provided me with a great, safe sport with lots of physical activity. I would much rather go out and shoot real guns with my dad and family than play some video game. A lot of kids my age play “Call of Duty” and “Halo,” where they go around shooting people with virtual guns. I believe that playing these games doesn’t give the player any understanding of real-life gun safety. It also doesn’t give kids a healthy fear of guns.
One last thing shooting has provided for me is a safe environment free from negative influences, like alcohol and drugs. My parents have always told me, “Stay involved in sports and school, and you’ll stay out of trouble.” Since being involved in shooting, I’ve experienced that sports are a good way to keep kids out of trouble and off drugs. Other than shooting, I also participate in other sports like basketball, cheerleading and track.
Shooting has been very good to me, and I hope to continue with it as long as I can. The 3-gun community is so helpful and nice to everyone. If your equipment fails, if you forget anything or something goes wrong during the competition, they are right there for you.
I really love shooting and can’t wait to see what future 3-gun has for me.