While the mainstream media tries to pigeonhole gun owners into offensive stereotypes, I know the shooting community is much more diverse than New York’s penthouse progressives would have you believe. As a whole, gun owners are well-educated, hard-working folks that come from all walks of life.
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with an interesting and inspiring member of The Armory Life community, Brynne McIsaac. Brynne is an accomplished young woman with almost two decades of experience as an accomplished figure skater. She is a college student, originally from Virginia. However, she has had the opportunity to live, skate and shoot all around our nation. She is also an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys everything from hiking in the mountains to SCUBA diving in the deep.
The Armory Life (TAL): Brynne, thanks for taking the time to field some questions from me. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Brynne McIsaac (BM): I am a nationally and internationally recognized competitive figure skater. I skated as a soloist for 15 years, and as a partnered skater for the last three years. This has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world to represent Team USA, and live in various areas across the country! My hometown is in Virginia where my parents still reside with my two dogs. I am an only child and am so fortunate to have their endless support as I chase my passion! For education, I graduated from a private online high school, and am attending university full-time online through Liberty University. I am hoping to graduate in 2023 with a degree in General Psychology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Development.
TAL: When you aren’t at the shooting range, how do you spend your time?
BM: I am a very busy individual. Unfortunately, I have not spent much time at the range due to my full schedule! I am training all day every day; I skate about two to three hours a day, with one to two hours of workout up to six times a week. I also work part-time as a figure skating coach, and do some side-jobs at remote locations as an independent contractor. As a full-time student, I also fill my spare time with studies.
TAL: How did you become interested in firearms? Were there any specific life events that motivated you to learn about guns?
BM: Growing up, firearms were frequently discussed by my family. My grandfather was a Naval pilot, and my dad was a Lt Col. In the Air Force! I was always aware of gun safety, and the idea of guns at home seemed normal to me. When I became old enough, my parents even let me hold a gun at home and taught me basic gun safety long before I ever went to a range.
TAL: Tell us about the first time you went shooting? What was it like?
BM: The first time I went to the range, I was somewhere in my teens. My dad took me to a local indoor range to shoot some of the smaller handheld pistols and revolvers. The first few shots were a bit scary, but it was exhilarating. I was hooked! The smell of gunpowder and the thrill of hitting the target were addictive.
TAL: As a college student do you find any challenges with living a Second Amendment lifestyle?
BM: As a college student in a very liberal social circle, I don’t often speak about my hobbies and preferences when it comes to Second Amendment lifestyles. When I find someone else who shares my values we bond very quickly! Sometimes, I find the occasional person who hears about my gun ownership, and they are super excited to learn more. Ultimately, I feel that the right to carry should be normalized; I don’t feel the need to rationalize my opinion, nor do I feel the need to brag to the whole world. I find it more special to share my opinions with those who will respect me, regardless of whether they agree with me or not.
TAL: When it comes to concealed carry, do you find yourself dealing with any particular challenges? Holster selection? Limits of where you can carry? Acceptance of your concealed carry lifestyle by others?
BM: I am a very small and sporty individual. I don’t like to carry handbags and am worried that a handbag will be the first target in a burglary attempt. I also wear tight-fitting athletic clothes, so carrying on my body would be difficult with a gun too large. I ended up deciding on a basic waistband halter, but I’m still looking for other alternatives! Conversely, a gun too small is difficult to control due to the lighter weight, smaller barrel, and bigger recoil.
TAL: You are obviously a talented athlete. When you compare skating to shooting, are there any lessons you learned through the years of skating that helped you as a new shooter?
BM: When shooting, I learned that the best thing to do is practice. This is true in skating, as well. So repetitive practice of shooting technique at the range came naturally for me. I also have a tendency to be a perfectionist, so I often analyze my spread to see what corrections I need to make on my shooting technique.
TAL: Although the largest growing group in shooting is women, the sport/hobby tends to be dominated by men. Have you experienced any gender-related challenges on your journey as a shooter? What were those challenges and how did you overcome them?
BM: Surprisingly, I haven’t really experienced any gender-related challenges on my journey as a shooter. If anything, I feel like I have been very fortunate to encounter men and women in the range who are excited to share the same hobby as me. I’ve had couples come up to me to help me with my shooting technique, and I’ve had men approach me to help me decide on a gun to choose. I’ve even had individuals ask me about my preferences as a shooter and have allowed me to try their guns. I realize that this might not be the norm, but I am really thankful that I have encountered such supportive and welcoming individuals.
TAL: What do you think the shooting industry could do to best welcome someone like you as a new shooter?
BM: Firearms and shooting ranges are pretty intimidating for a new shooter. That’s just the nature of the sport, and I don’t think there’s really anything that you can do to change a first impression. The most important thing to do for new shooters is to ensure that they feel safe, welcome and cared for. It’s important that these individuals learn that firearms and the people who handle them aren’t scary. I think the most important thing the shooting community can do to help a new shooter would be to teach them the basics, and show them how safe it is. Maybe ranges or manufacturers could offer a free class to those who have never handled a firearm – not a class to shoot, but to learn about the firearm so they can see how shooting can be a safe and exciting hobby.
TAL: If you had one piece of advice for a young woman thinking about learning to shoot and live the concealed carry lifestyle, what would it be?
BM: If a young woman approached me and asked me about my experiences with shooting, I would advise them to give it a try to not be afraid to walk into a range and ask for help. As I mentioned before, guns and ranges can be intimidating at first. Shooting has a very welcoming community, and once you join it you realize how empowering it is to be able to say that you can properly handle a firearm.
TAL: Brynne, thank you so much for taking the time to share about yourself and your experiences as a shooter!
As a longtime shooter, I have always been impressed by the people that are attracted to the shooting lifestyle and the Second Amendment. In contrast to society in general, those that carry guns as a lifestyle tend to be a welcoming and giving group of people.
The mainstream media tends to portray those that live the firearms lifestyle as a homogeneous group of people. Folks that look like me. Male, middle age, white. The reality is much different. Shooters come from all walks of life. In that way, maybe we aren’t all that different.
The next time you are out at the range and you see someone you think might be a new shooter, keep our friend Brynne McIssac in mind, and welcome them into the fold!
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