Generation HC Member: Jacob “Jaco” Hetherington

“Generation HC,” or the “High Caliber Generation” is what I’ve begun calling young people I’ve come into contact with in the world of shooting sports.  These “kids” are extremely focused, mature, and disciplined – but they have a lot of fun, as well.

You can read about previous Gen HC members Allie Barrett and Leslie Cernik below, but now it’s time to hear from our first male shooter, Jacob “Jaco” Hetherington, a 14 year-old IDPA and USPSA/Steel Challenge competitor from Prescott, Arizona.  And Jacob doesn’t just compete in these challenges, he wins.  He has achieved Master class in Stock Service Pistol in IDPA, “A” class in single stack, and Master class in Production in USPSA.

He told me of his love for all types of shooting, and of his family, by saying, “My family is really supportive.  I have an older sister, Madeline, 16, and a younger brother, Craig, who is 11.  My dad shoots with me sometimes, but it is mostly only me.  My mom doesn’t shoot anymore, but when she did she was a good dove hunter.

My sister doesn’t shoot competitively, but loves to shoot, and is really good with bolt-action rifles.  She also shot shotgun clays with me when we were younger for two years.  My younger brother loves to shoot also, and is a beast with an AR 15!  He shoots with me in steel challenge rarely.

My entire family hunts and has been successful.  My brother, though, holds the record for longest hunting shot, 346 yard perfect vital shot on his first deer.”

As with many young competitive shooters, Jacob’s entry into the world of shooting began early.

“I shot my first gun when I was two years old.  My dad had a 10/22 on a bench rest with a red dot sight and I shot frozen gallon jugs.  I was pretty much born into shooting. When I was nine, I started dry-fire practicing with my mom’s Glock 19, and when I was ten and a half, I started shooting competitive pistol. I shot an IDPA match and was hooked.”

Jacob’s location in Prescott is practically ideal for any shooter, as he is within close proximity to some wonderful shooting venues.

“I live 30 minutes from my local shooting range (Whispering Long Tree Range/Prescott Action Shooters) and shoot almost every weekend.  They hold a sectional match for USPSA called the “NAZC” (Northern Arizona Classic).  I live two hours from PRGC (Phoenix Rod And Gun Club), which is an IDPA range, and they hold a sectional IDPA match and the Arizona State Championships.  I also live two hours from Rio Salado Sportsman Club, which is a USPSA club.  It is also the local range of Rob Leatham, Nils Jonasson, and Cody McKenna, who are all [Grand Master] shooters and always try to help me out.  All in all, I would not want to live anywhere else.”

I asked Jacob the same questions I asked the ladies, and here are his answers:

Q.  What three life lessons have you learned from shooting?

A.  “I have learned to take extreme amounts of pressure, and make it disappear. I am more mature, because I have more responsibility, and I have high confidence, because you can’t doubt yourself when you shoot.”

Q.  How has shooting played a part in how you relate to your peers?

A.  “My friends think my shooting [is] awesome.  Most of them don’t really know about competitive shooting, but I try to teach them.”

Q.  What is your favorite type of shooting competition?

A.  “I don’t have a favorite type of shooting, but USPSA and IDPA are the most common types I shoot. All shooting is great, so it is hard to choose one. I also hope to shoot 3-gun someday.”

Q.  What is your favorite firearm?

A.  “I have shot tons of firearms.  I have shot M&P’s, Springfield XD’s, Ruger SR9’s and 1911’s and shot very well with them, but right now my Glock 34 is my favorite. I am happy with it, but I look forward to competing with other guns, too.”

Q.  How has your schooling affected your shooting “career,” if at all?

A.  “Well, I think shooting has made me a better person, overall.  It has helped my attitude toward school. I am a 4.0 student, and it is hard to keep [that level] when I leave for major matches. Homework holds back my practice, but I have to do it.”

Q.  What is it like to compete against people older than yourself?

A.  “Well, when I first started out, I thought that I was at a super disadvantage, but I now realize that it was just an excuse. I have won many matches against adults. I only have two years of USPSA experience, so I don’t have as much experience and confidence as older shooters. I enjoy learning from better shooters, and take what I learn from everybody and combine it with what already works for me.

I also like it when I meet a person that thinks that I am not a good shooter because of my age, and I blow their mind, and I get instant respect.”

Q.  What would you like to tell new shooters – young people who are just getting interested in shooting?

A.  “I would tell them that if you want to be good, you need to dry fire; and that reading books on competitive shooting is a good idea. Also, that you are going to hit bumps in the road, but if you are determined you will bounce back up.

As Rob Leatham said to me “Shooting is simple, aim shoot aim shoot move aim shoot,” and I would add that shooting is 95% mental, in my opinion. Also, major matches really help you improve fast.”

Q.  How do you see yourself involved in shooting 20 years from now?

A.  “I see myself as a great shooter that is really trying to help others win matches. I would like to be more of a contributor to the sport of shooting, than just a competitor. I hope I have a good reputation as a good shooter, and [that I’m] very helpful to my sponsors.”

As for his future career plans, Jacob said he hopes to get into a military college, or to get a scholarship to another college/university; but that if those plans do not work out, he will enlist in the military and then use the GI bill to get his college degree.  He plans to major in law enforcement and become a Police Officer, then a SWAT officer.

“That is my plan, but it is always changing; and if the military and law enforcement aren’t for me, then I want to go into the hunting guide business.”

From the sound of it, Jacob should have no problem achieving whatever goal he sets his sights on.

You can read about our previous Gen HC’s by clicking on:  “Allie Cat” Barrett, or Leslie Cernik, aka Western Rose.  I know you will enjoy meeting all of our High Caliber Generation members, and we wish Jacob all the best in his future endeavors!

Great Post and New Interview

Head over to The Well-Armed Woman for a great post on the issues female gun owners face.  You can find the story, “The Problem With Women,” by clicking on the title.

And check back here in the next day or so for another High Caliber Generation interview – or better yet, subscribe as an email follower and get the notification.  This Gen HC interview is with our first male junior shooter, Jacob Hetherington.  Jacob is an awesome shooter and I know you will enjoy getting to know him better.

In the meantime, live life outdoors this weekend!

Gabby interview in the works – as well as others!

For those who have asked, Top Shot contestant, Gabby Franco, has been kind enough to answer my initial interview questions, but has not had a chance to get back to me on the followup questions yet.  I know she was shooting in a USPSA match last weekend and that she has many things on her plate these days, so as soon as she gets back with me on those, I’ll get the story posted.

I am also waiting for answers to questions from two top junior shooters for the High Caliber Generation series – and hope to have another Dangerous Women story for you soon.

Lots of good content to come, so stay tuned!

 

“Allie Cat” Barrett on USPSA Shooting

Guest writer and junior USPSA shooter, Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, explains her favorite sport for us – USPSA practical shooting.  Thanks, Allie, for giving us your perspective on this exciting shooting sport!

By Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett

Shooting has been a major part of my life.  USPSA is one of the most exciting sports to shoot in the industry.  There are so many challenging stages in USPSA matches.  Whether it’s shooting from behind, under, or around a barricade; or shooting low, shooting a Texas star, or avoiding no-shoot targets, it’s action packed from the sound of the timer, to when the Range Officer gives you the command to “Empty and Show Clear, Hammer Down, Reholster.”

“USPSA” stands for “United States Practical Shooting Association.”  It’s not like IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association), where you have to wear a vest and stay behind concealment.  To me, it’s less about the Tactical aspect and more about scoring the best possible score in the shortest amount of time – hopefully, without any procedurals!

In the Course of Fire, you may have to duck down to shoot through different ports, or step on activators to engage swingers.  It really makes you think about your timing.

There are different divisions in USPSA, such as Production, Limited, Open, Limited 10, Single Stack, and Revolver.  Each division has its own rules that you have to go by.  Also, there are other divisions you can enter, such as Lady, Junior, Senior, and Super Senior; for example, I enter each match as a Junior Lady in Production.

This sport is really easy to get into.  The best place to start is www.uspsa.org.   The website is full of information that list clubs, matches, rules, and most importantly, how to join!  Phil Strader is the new USPSA President and is really a great guy!

Hope to see you on the range!

Note:  Check out the Women of USPSA Blog to read more about Allie in Junior Journeys, as well as many other junior and women USPSA shooters – and check out my previous profile of Allie in “Interview:  “Allie Cat” Barrett, A Top Junior Shooter.”

Magazine for young shooters

For those that still have members of the under-18 crowd at home, or who know of young people in that category, did you know the NRA publishes a monthly magazine just for junior shooters?  You and/or your junior can view the February issue online, as well as previous issues, by clicking here:  NRA InSights:  News for Young Shooters.

Each month the magazine brings news, contests, stories, games, and more to young people interested in hunting and the shooting sports.  There are also tips, conservation news, podcasts, camp listings, tons of photos, and too much more to list.

Check it out, and don’t miss this month’s feature story on Cool Jobs:  Exhibition Shooter – Ramping It Up! by Linda Hoff.