Competitive Shooting

Cheaper Than Dirt! Interviews Julie Golob

Julie Goloski Golob began her shooting career at a young age under the careful tutelage of her father in upstate New York. Always a bit of a daddy’s girl, she soon took to the sport and began participating in matches. She has since rocketed to the top of the sport after proving herself on the US Army Shooting Team, and later again as a sponsored shooter. Julie has long been a role model for Junior Shooters and always takes time to talk to them and encourage their participation in the shooting sports.

We recently were able to interview Julie on her background in shooting as well as learn some tips and tricks for new shooters.

You began shooting with your dad when you were younger. Tell us a little about how that led you to begin shooting competitively. I started shooting at 14, but I can remember going to the range with Dad as a youngster. We had a lot of fun. I picked up brass, taped or helped him call shots with his spotting scope. By the time I was 10, I was working as a range officer with him at USPSA matches. Every August we worked the Miller Invitational. The Miller was one of the top matches on the circuit. Back then there were just a few major matches and all the top shooters came out. Seeing the pros every year and getting their autographs was very inspiring. On our way home from one of the Millers, I can remember telling my dad that’s what I wanted to do. When I turned 14, we both decided that I was ready to shoot my first match.

Sheila Brey used to shoot at the Pathfinder Fish and Game Club and was the first Master classed Ladies shooter. How did she influence your move into competitive shooting? Pathfinder was one of my home clubs in upstate New York. When Sheila shot at the monthly matches, she didn’t just win High Woman, she was in contention to win Overall. She worked very hard and the entire club was pulling for her to win nationals and make master. When she achieved master class it was very big news in our area. She was definitely one of my idols. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when she offered to take me to my first USPSA Nationals in 1994.

What prompted you to make the decision to join the Army? I had been competing all throughout high school. I met the Action Shooting Team’s coach at the 1994 Nationals and received a letter of acceptance to the Army Shooting Team. It was an opportunity of a lifetime that I just couldn’t pass up. The Army gave me a chance to achieve a goal – win a national title, pursue my education and gave me time to decide on a career. WIN-WIN-WIN

In 1999 you were named US Army Athlete Of The Year. How did that award affect your decision to push forward and go pro? Being named an Army Athlete of the Year is very special to me. I had an outstanding competition year and when I was told I had been submitted for review, that in itself was an honor. At the time the US Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) was very Olympic driven. To have the AMU’s endorsement as a non-Olympic shooter was both a surprise and honor. Actually getting receiving the title, I felt like I needed to be pinched.

Athlete of the Year itself didn’t really have an affect on going Pro. In fact, I never even really thought about it. At that point I had some time left on my enlistment and I wanted to stay in to work on my degree. By 2002 though I didn’t feel I was getting the training time and support I needed and I was ready to get out to pursue other things. The chance to work and shoot for GLOCK popped up. I was happy to be back shooting and be a part of the industry. Then Smith & Wesson debuted the M&P and offered me a wonderful opportunity to both shoot and do what I love to do – promote the shooting sports.

Oddly enough, my first few year’s in the Army is really what I consider my “Pro Career” time. With GLOCK and now Smith & Wesson I have a “day job” that keeps me busy. I work in productive training hours, but those first 5 years in the Army, shooting was truly my job.

I’m constantly searching for a training regimen that works well. Give us an idea of what one week’s worth of training looks like for you. I train for specific events. In the off-season I set my goals for the season and establish my schedule. I train based on the matches that I will be shooting. My first major is always the Single Stack Nationals followed by Bianchi Cup and the International Revolver Championships. After that it’s Steel Challenge and USPSA Nationals. Some years are different based on World Championship events like this year’s Action Pistol World Championships.

With my work for Smith & Wesson and being a mom, my training is much more limited than it was when I was in the Army. I spend a lot more time analyzing the areas I need to work on and make sure I incorporate them into my training. The less time I have, the more I know I have to focus. I work to make every round count in practice. I try to get to the range 3-5 times during the week and shoot between 250 and 500 rounds per 2 hour session. The skills I focus on are specific for the event I am training for. For example, if I am training for Single Stack, I work on difficult target arrays, challenging set ups and lots and lots of reloads. I also know there will be an all steel stage and a standards so I make sure I spend time on working the skills needed to excel there.

How important is overall physical fitness such as weight training and cardio in competitive pistol shooting? Physical fitness is very important, especially as a female shooter. I certainly want to win the ladies category, but I also want to do well overall. I know that I am competing against men who have a lot more mass behind the gun, more upper body strength and bigger hands. Spending time in the gym helps me level the playing field. Right now I work out 6 days a week in doing yoga, running and CrossFit. The more I work out, the better I feel on race day.

If there was one thing you’d tell an aspiring shooter to focus on to shave a few seconds off their time, what would it be? One thing I would tell shooters to shave off time is to work on their non-shooting skills too. Competitors often think they need to shoot faster to be better. They rush their shots and that’s when the penalties rack up. Shoot only as fast as you can control the sights. Work on pushing when you move and how you move. Learning the most efficient way to move into a position, to shoot from it and how to exit can make a huge difference in what’s on the timer. Conservation of movement is critical in action shooting sports.

I love shooting, and I love competing in USPSA, IDPA, and 3-Gun, but it’s difficult to be able to afford the amount of ammunition I’d consume if I trained and competed as much as I’d like to. What advice do you have for shooters who want to train more, but can’t afford tons of ammunition? I hear you! It’s all about being smart on how you train and make your bullets count. Everyone is feeling the ammo crunch. Even shooters with the money to buy all the ammo they want and more have faced some challenges this year. Airsoft and .22 training are good options, but you also can’t beat dry firing. Work all the skills you can in dry fire and leave the shooting skills to the range.

You’ve achieved a lot in competitive shooting, becoming the only 5 division Ladies National Champ and the only Triple Crown Ladies National Champ. Tell me, what was it like to grow and develop over time until you became good enough to compete with, and beat, some of the all time greats like Sheila Brey and Kay Miculek? Thanks so much! I am very proud of all that I have been able to accomplish. I have been very fortunate to have had all the right opportunities pop up at the right time and some great role models. I have had so many wonderful shooters to look up to, both men and women – Rob Leatham, Todd Jarrett, Jerry Miculek, Doug Koenig, Kay, Sheila, Kippi Leatham, Sharon Zaffiro (Edington), to name a few. They were my idols growing up.

In my teens I wanted to be like a sponge and take in as much as I could. When I was in my 20’s and shooting for the Army, I shot Open almost exclusively (we didn’t have as many divisions back then). I was putting lots of rounds down range and I wanted to win and dominate. Later, when I started to shoot the other divisions like Production, Single Stack and Limited-10, there were so many things to learn. Being able to shoot different platforms has helped me to become a more well-rounded shooter.

What’s your favorite Smith & Wesson revolver, and why? That’s a tough one! I love my competition revolvers/”>revolvers but I have to say my favorite is my J-Frame, S&W Model 442. It’s my carry gun and I know I can depend on it when I need to.

The shooting sports is often viewed as a traditional “males only” sport. How do you think we can help change this perception and bring more women into the world of competitive shooting? That’s something near and dear to my heart. The biggest thing we can do is to share our sport and change the mentality that guns are just for guys. Kippi Leatham, Sharyn Cohen and I founded to celebrate the women of practical shooting. There are so many talented women who have paved the way and we have showcased many on the website. We congratulate the winners and commend our hard working volunteers through our blog, Facebook and Twitter. We hope that by featuring the diverse women who shoot the action shooting sports, we encourage others to give it a try. Let’s not be shy about sharing the sport and celebrating shooters!

You recently returned to competition after giving birth to a baby girl back in 2008. How has your new role as Mom affected your schedule and ability to train and travel? Being a mom is certainly my priority. The number of matches I compete in has drastically reduced and I don’t get to shoot many state or area championship. The matches on my schedule are world and national events with very few exceptions. As a mom, I have less time to train too. When I do get to shoot though, I give it 110%. I also strive to set realistic goals. Being a parent makes your realize that life happens. Sure, I want to win every competition I enter, but I also shoot because I love the challenge, setting goals and spending time with great people.

Do you plan on getting your child involved in the shooting sports when she gets older? I would love for my daughter to be a shooter. Both my husband and I love hunting and shooting. I can only hope that she does too, but if she doesn’t, that’s ok too. Most of all we want her to know how important our 2nd Amendment rights are and to always defend them with her vote.

How do you respond to people who think that pistol shooting sports should be banned or made illegal, as has been done in the United Kingdom? I ask them to try shooting before they condemn it. Chances are if they have a great experience at the range, they forget their fears and become open to a fun and exciting sport. I am convinced there is a shooting sport out there everyone can love whether its breaking clays, running through action courses or tearing out an X-ring. The trick is getting them to give it a try.

Thanks for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to answer a few questions. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Thanks so much for the opportunity to chat. I enjoy reading the interviews posted here. Thanks for promoting the shooting sports!

Julie Golob makes her home in Glasgow Montana with her husband and baby girl.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. Julie. We are thinking about setting up a gun range on our farm, 1st a handgun and later a rifle range. I’m wondering if you have a private range at your home and if so what kind of targerts do you use? I’d like something I can re-hit to set it back up. Is there one that will work with .22LR as well as center fire? I don’t want to do alot of walking to and from the target as I am handicapped.

  2. I have met Julie and find her to be a dedicated and sincere person. She has given me suggestions on my shooting and they have raised my level in compitition. But mostly it is refreshing to meat a famous shooter that is friendly enough to help a fellow competitor.

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