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!

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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!

 

Summer Camps for Junior Shooters

Summer is the time for kids to head out the door and have fun at camp, and junior shooters are no exception.  Summer camps designed especially for young marksmen are a great opportunity for kids who are already experienced shooters to get together with others in a fun and safe environment and brush up on their skills.

I will focus on four camps in this post: The MGM Targets Junior Shooters Camp, NRA National Junior Pistol Camp, NRA National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic (the only one not held in the summer).

MGM Targets will host their 2012 Junior Camp on July 21st through 23rd, in Boise, Idaho.  Cost of the camp is $260 per junior shooter, which also includes lodging for a parent or guardian (parents/guardians will also receive two half days of instruction).  A limit of 60 campers ensures optimal training time by some of the nation’s best shooting instructors.

Campers must be an active member of USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association), or SASS (the Single Action Shooting Society aka Cowboy Shooting), and have competed in at least four pistol matches, and possess good handgun handling skills.  This is NOT a beginner’s firearms safety class.

Junior Competitor, Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, who I previously interviewed and wrote about HERE, has been accepted to the camp again this year and has said she is really looking forward to the fun.

The National Rifle Association also sponsors camps for young shooters.  The NRA National Junior Pistol Camp and National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp are the intermediate events held during NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio.  Pistol camp is held from July 10th through the 15th, and rifle camp is held July 21st through the 26th.

Intermediate to advanced shooters must be 12-18 years of age, and enrollment is limited to 50 students for pistol camp and 72 for smallbore rifle camp.  Standard registration is $225 per student, plus housing, food, and other expenses.

This year the 5th annual U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic will be held August 13-17, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.  Cost for the camp is only $35, and it is limited to 32 shooters.  This advanced, smallbore rifle camp is open to shooters 14-18, and accompanying parents are welcome to attend classes with their children.  Shooters must have participated in NRA or USA Shooting matches and acceptance to the camp is based on previous matches shot.

If your child is a pistol or rifle shooter, or may be interested in learning to shoot, one of the best ways to get them into the NRA or USA Shooting matches is through an organization such as the Venture Scouts or the county 4H clubs.  Both of these organizations offer shooting sports and make participation in these matches available to their members.

Contact the individual host organizations for each camp for exact details or more information.

“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.”

Interview: “Allie Cat” Barrett, A Top Junior Shooter

As stated in a previous blog post, I have become very impressed with the young people I’ve met through the world of shooting sports lately, the ones I call the “High Caliber Generation.”  These young shooters seem to be extremely mature, focused, dedicated, and disciplined – and I know they have a lot of fun, as well.

Recently, I read more about Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, a 15 year-old, Stockton, Missouri, high school sophomore, who is on her way to becoming one of the top female shooters in the country. Allie placed 3rd in the Ladies 2011 World Champion Ruger Rimfire Competition and came in 4th overall in the Junior Competition. And besides her many other accomplishments (and there are many), she is an NRA Certified Apprentice Pistol Instructor and helps her parents (Tim and Heather, along with her brother, Andy) at their family-owned shooting range, Midwest Tactical Firearms Academy.

During the 2011 season, Allie was sponsored by Sportsman Paradise Gun Shop, MTFA Range, and recently, Volquartsen Customs in .22 rimfire competitions. She is also sponsored by Hodgdon Powders, Dan Burwell Gunsmithing, Strader Solutions, Rudy Project Shooting Eyewear, and Zero Bullet Company.

I asked Allie some questions recently, and thought I would share her answers with you from her own pen. I think you will see why she qualifies as a member of “Generation HC.”

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

A. Three life lessons would be to try your hardest, even when it might not work out; just because you’re smaller than the rest, it doesn’t mean you can’t win; and live life to your expectations.

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

A. Shooting does get in the way of a social life, but its way worth it in the end. My friends support me in everything I do.

Q. What is your favorite type of shooting competition?

A. My favorite type of competition is USPSA [United States Practical Shooting Association] and Ruger Rimfire.

Q. What are your favorite firearms?

A. My favorite firearms are my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Pro that I shoot for USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA [International Defensive Pistol Association], and other centerfire matches. I love my Volquartsen firearms. They are pretty sweet! Volquartsen has been an amazing sponsor, and they have given me awesome support.

Q. How has school affected your shooting career, if at all?

A. Shooting does get in the way of some school activities sometimes, but I always seem to work everything out. School does come first, but I always catch myself day dreaming about shooting matches when I’m in class. 🙂 On some weekends I feel the need to get out and practice, but sometimes I can’t, because I have a mountain of homework, or my mom and dad need help on our family’s gun range teaching CCW or junior shooting lessons.

Q. What is it like to compete (and win) against people older than yourself?

A. I think it’s fun shooting against adult shooters. It challenges me to shoot the best I can and makes me want to win even more. I get more satisfaction winning High Lady Overall than High Junior.

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

A. I tell new shooters that come out to work with me, to just try their best and just have fun. I emphasize that safety comes first, that they need to learn the fundamentals of shooting first. Speed comes later, with experience.

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

A. The world is full of opportunities, and if you have the drive and the right attitude you can accomplish anything. In 20 years, I will be 35; I see myself following in my Dad’s footsteps and going into Law Enforcement, be on a SWAT Team, and still competing in USPSA competitions. Firearms will always be a part of my life. I am very thankful for the 2nd Amendment. It seems that kids my age don’t even realize what freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and how some people want to try and take away those freedoms. I plan on living my life to the fullest and taking it just like shooting a match – one stage at a time.

* Photos courtesy of Allie Barrett

Generation HC (High Caliber)

I was just telling my sister the other day how impressed I’ve been with the young people I’ve met at the range over the past few years, and then I read a great post today on Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett that I am compelled to pass along – and thanks to Beth at  Sass, Brass, and Bullets for sharing it.

Allie is a 15 year-old USPSA tournament target shooter from Stockton, Missouri, and she is a stellar example of the quality of young people involved in shooting sports today.  A Barrett family friend, and author of the Wee Five Family blog, wrote about his impressions of this young lady in “Just Another Blonde Girl With A Gun.”

I hope to publish an interview with Allie sometime soon, as well as other members of her generation that I’m equally impressed with, such as her brother, Andy; and Western Rose, a Project Appleseed rifle instructor over at The Little Adventures of Western Rose.

These young ladies, and many young men, are members of the under-20 group I choose to call the High Caliber Generation, the ones that we can be proud to entrust future generations of shooters to.

So check out these posts and blog sites, and I hope to be posting my first interview with a young shooter soon.  Oh, and check out Allie’s facebook page for more info on her amazing shooting accomplishments.

Happy shooting!