My first time at Sure Shots is one to remember. Not only was it my first time shooting guns with GIRLS (instead of guys), but it was literally my first social outing as a new Austinite. Before moving to Austin from Georgia, I had lunch with a good friend who happened to grow up in New York with this girl named Niki--who now lives in Austin. He pulled out his phone to show me the Sure Shots Facebook page and said I would love Niki because she is a “girly-girl gun-toting glamorous badass”. He insisted that I take her contact information and check out Sure Shots when I get to Austin, because he knew I owned a gun, and was a total “girly-girl” as well. I am so thankful for that connection. When I finally got the courage to go to Sure Shots and meet Niki, I was so glad I did. She was so welcoming and went over all the basics of shooting and gun safety, and assisted me as I tried out shooting different guns. Ironically the girl in the lane next to me was there for her first time as well, and later on in the night we discovered that we were both new to Austin, live in the same apartment complex, and in need of friends! I had a blast unloading my whole box of ammo and improving my aim, all the while making my first friend…needless to say my first time at Sure Shots was meant to be!
This is what is sounds like when the Doves fly (continued from cover)
We rotated around the clays, shooting in pairs, playing "cleanup", where one person shoots and if they miss, the other person shoots and "cleans up" their shot. The problem with that game with this group of girls was that no one missed the first shot! hese ladies casually bring those shotguns up as if they don't have a care in the world, which is actually a great technique, as Renee had taught us in one of her Sure Shots Shotgun clinics. Don't overthink it. Don't wait and line up the sight. Just trust your instinct and shoot as soon as you get that gun up to the clay. We spent an hour or two shooting clays, and it couldn't have been more fun.
Soon, the sun got low, and we set out once again in the Ranger, down to a beautiful field lined with thick woods. We split up into two groups—Janna and Nicole about a half a mile from Renee, Barrie, and me. Slowly but surely the doves started flying overhead, usually in groups of about 5-7. They usually came from the woods behind us, so we had to be quick. Renee and Barrie took shots at the first group that flew over, and they each got one right off the bat. We could hear the gunshots of Nicole and Janna alternating with our own. Janna and Nicole got 17 doves, and we got nine.
As the sun began to set and dusk was upon us, Janna and Nicole joined us at our spot. Suddenly, tons of people began to appear, one truck by one. These were all friends of these ladies—men, women, kids—and they parked, lowered their tailgates, and began setting out food. BBQ! Smoked salmon with onions and capers! Deviled eggs! Cheese! It was AWESOME.
And then, right before the sun disappeared for good, Nicole stepped out into the field and took aim at the ONE last dove in the sky. One shot, and she took that dove down. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
Renee was shooting a custom-fitted Perazzi MX2000s 12 gauge. Nicole was shooting a SKB 605 Ducks Unlimited Limited Edition 20 gauge. Cindy was shooting a Franchi Instinct SL 20 gauge. Barrie was shooting a Beretta AL391 12 gauge. Jana was shooting a Benelli Ultra Light 12 gauge.
Spotlight on a Sure Shot
This issue's Spotlight is on Sure ShotStephanie Branson!
Sure Shot Stephanie has been making family birthday cakes for many years, and claims they were "extremely beginner".
But then, two years ago, Stephanie expressed interest in learning more about cake decorating, so her husband surprised her with a cake decorating kit on Christmas. After that, she began researching and brainstorming with a friend who was interested in the same thing, while also experimenting with and adjusting recipes to achieve the perfect cake.
Stephanie says she not only finds inspiration and great ideas online, but also in everyday life, and she's become amazing at translating them into delicious works of art.
AR-15 Build Project
The Sure Shots AR-15 Build Project is an ongoing project where the ladies of the Sure Shots build our own rifles—basically, our "dream guns"!
Meet Becca's build, "Frankie"!
Lower receiver: Aero Precision milspec
Lower parts kit: Stag Arms milspec Stock: Magpul CTR Barrel assembly: BCM 16" midlength lightweight Bolt carrier group: Rock River Arms Charging handle: BCM Rail system: Troy Alpha Battle Rail 13" Foregrip: Magpul MOE Pistol Grip: Hogue w/ storage compartment Scope: EOtech 512 BUIS: Magpul Gen 2 Front and Rear Flip Sights Extras: Crosstac dual point sling Weight (unloaded): 8.0lbs
Women in the Industry by Nikki Raye
This month in our spotlight of Women in the Industry, we would like to introduce you to Public Relations powerhouse Megan Holly of White Raven Communications. Megan is a mom, wife, business owner, shooter, and all around badass! I had so much fun getting to know this hard working women that I hope you enjoy getting to know her as well. Although this is only the second piece in this series, I have had the opportunity to talk with so many amazing women who contribute to our community in many ways and I couldn’t be more honored to an outlet to share these ladies stories with you. With that said please meet Megan Holly:
SSM: How long has your company been in business?
Megan: White Raven Communications was established in January of 2012.
SSM: Oh wow! Almost to the 1 year anniversary mark…Congratulations! How did you get involved in the shooting/tactical/firearms community?
Megan: I was introduced into the “SHOT” community through GLOCK (talk about feet-first right?!). In 2010, I was assigned as GLOCK’s Public Relations’ rep., having to quickly learn and download (mentally) everything I could about the firearms industry. What better way to learn about firearms than to work for one of the world’s largest pistol manufacturer! I was immediately swimming in a world of information from what the different caliber bullets were, to the difference in reticles in optics. I was and have been fortunate enough that over the years, I have made some very close friends and colleagues who not only have some of the most innovative minds and products, but continue to develop new technologies. This industry is always growing and evolving – so staying and working in this circle always seems like something new.
SSM: Could please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Megan: I’m a wife and a mother – first. Something I am so grateful for every day. I love what I do in life and work – and rarely consider what I do a job. I’m constantly surrounded by friends who are always trying to make life better through innovation and intellect. I’m an athlete – a musician – and a child at heart. I love my family and crave the sight of my breath in the winter. I grew up on a sailboat in NY, so water is my favorite place to be – there’s a simple peace about being on the open ocean – where all you’re forced to be with is your thoughts. Our lives are so littered with technologies that people don’t remember what it’s like to just disconnect. Sometimes I do that by going to the range – putting on some ears and focusing on one thing.
SSM: Ahhh… The gun-friendly state of New York. With being raised in an anti-gun state did you grow up around firearms?
Megan: I didn’t grow up around firearms – my first experience shooting was in college when some friends took their shotguns to shoot skeet. While it wasn’t a true learning experience for me, it definitely was an eye-opening one. After that, I had always had an interest for what firearms were, but never pursued the thought of learning/buying any until I was introduced through GLOCK. After that, there’s been no looking back! I was given my first lesson by Chad Mathis, VP GLOCK, Inc., and William Charmichael, GLOCK, Inc. – and that lesson has stayed with me today.
SSM: What made you choose to start WRC?
Megan: It wasn’t a what, and more of a, who – helped me to start WRC. In 2011, I was pregnant with my daughter Noah, and due to some disconnects at the agency I was working at at the time, chose to leave to be able to be close to her. At the same time, my husband, Buck, encouraged me to start my own company, knowing that I recognized a capability gap among many of the companies in the industry. The issue was that there were smaller companies with smaller pockets – who needed to get the word out. Because their pockets weren’t as deep as some of the larger companies, they couldn’t afford the fancy agencies who could help them to reach media and audiences they needed to get to. Through WRC, we are able to help those smaller companies gain exposure through media and PR that wouldn’t have normally been accessible to them. This in turn, helps to grow the versatility of the industry, offering new and innovative approaches to products and technologies.
SSM: What is the best part of your job?
Megan: I am constantly in a state of versatility and change. While most of the companies I work with revolve in similar circles and industries, they are vastly different at the same time. I could be on the phone one minute, discussing the importance of a 1-8X optic, and a moment later be writing a story about the latest and greatest head-lamp. This wide scope of clientele also allows me to be better well-rounded, so that I can utilize my knowledge to help others through work or outside of it.
SSM: Have there been any lessons has your work life taught you?
Megan: Communicate early, communicate often. Don’t leave people in the dark with things. That actually makes it worse. My husband is an entrepreneuer, and was the biggest advocate for White Raven’s conception – he is a constant reminder to make sure communication lines are always open and full of information. Even if it’s not what everyone wants to hear at the time – at least there are no questions. That, and edit, edit, edit!
SSM: If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
Megan: I’ve been very blessed in my life to have worked with extremely smart, creative and innovative minds in the PR industry. People who not only inspire you to think out the box, but to always keep thinking…regardless of the direction it takes. My former managers, Todd Brooks and Marc Altieri are two of those men. Also, as “typical” as it sounds, my husband. He’s a 24-7 thinker and worker. He’s a wealth of knowledge and I’m lucky to be privy to that daily.
SSM: What is your primary weapon and why?
Megan: For carry – my FDE GLOCK 17, Gen4. Glocks are simple choices because they’re proven, safe and I have a loyalty to the brand. I’ve never had any issue with them, and that’s what I like to maintain with a firearm that I may need in an emergency. For hunting though – my baby is my FNH SCAR light (5.56). I love her
SSM: You have fantabulous taste! My baby also happens to my FNH SCAR-L. I call her Natasha. Lol! What are some important lessons you have learned while running WRC?
Megan: Balance. Balance of life, work, clients, time…everything is about balance. And within that, you will always be thrown off that balance with a client’s change in objectives, bad reviews or cancellation of contracts. SO with that, comes preparation. While you can’t always be prepared for things that get thrown your way, you certainly can be prepared for how to receive those curveballs. The Marine Corps have it right – “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome,” otherwise we’d just be sitting around waiting for someone to hand us the answer…and that’s not how anything gets done.
SSM: What do our readers have to look forward to in the future from WRC...new products? Training opportunities? WRC shoot?
Megan: White Raven has a LOT of things coming down the pipe. With the expansion and ever-growing product list of “Range Swag” through our online store, to hosting Hog Hunts and pistol classes, we’re always finding ways to help people and companies in the industry grow, connect and educate. We’re always updating our Facebook and Twitter with new and exciting things from both WRC and our clients - so be sure to always keep an eye out for anything new!
SSM: Oh boy! I can’t wait hear more about this Hog Hunt. It is on my bucket list! What is the best shooting advice you have been given that you feel might be important to share with our readers?
Megan: Breathe! I still have an issue from time to time of just holding my breath. It sounds so simple, but when you concentrate so hard on something, you end up holding your breath. That not only hinders your ability to relax, but it actually can throw you off quite a bit when it comes to stance and position. It’s like anything – take a deep breath, and continue to do so…it’s amazing what air can do!
SSM: Where do you see WRC in 5 years?
Megan: In 5 years, I hope to see WRC still kicking ass for the companies who need it! I hope that budgets become what they once were in our industry, so that people can begin to show their support for each other and continue to develop and create new and exciting things. White Raven will be the voice behind the curtain, helping to promote and educate the masses about these new innovations and cool things that are going on. We’ll also be the folks selling super fun swag!
SSM: Ok so finally the hard-hitting question that everyone is dying to know the answer to… If you could be any character in a movie to be who would it be & why?
Megan: I have two (I know – but this is a hard one!!)… First, Merida from Brave (can you tell I’m a mom?). That chick is not only super badass, but she’s fearless, family oriented, one hell of an archer…and let’s be honest, who WOULDN’T want that hair!? Second, Evey, from V for Vendetta (Played by Natalie Portman). Her main weapon is her unwavering will to fight oppression; and her courage to follow each of her convictions. We are in a world surrounded by strong-willed women…and through the worst of times, Evey keeps her feed grounded and maintains her moral grounds.
For more information on White Raven Communications you can visit them on Facebook or on their website at www.wrcomm.com
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