Vera Koo describes her outlook on the future of women in shooting sports based on her time spent at SHOT Show 2014.
Everyone has something that could make our world more extraordinary. People spend their entire lives perfecting that skill; ask any athlete, any diplomatic leader, Nobel Prize recipient or Oscar winner. As much as we would like to believe that we could compete on their stages (the armchair quarterback does not just play football,) do not presume that we could achieve their levels of success. Whether you dream of competing on their stages, or your own, I firmly believe in discovering these experts, wherever they may exist.
In between Super Bowl Sunday and the Winter Olympics, some of the world’s greatest marksmen, shooters and hunters gather in Las Vegas, Nev. for the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show). SHOT Show invites more than 67,000 professionals involved in the world of shooting sports, hunting or law enforcement. For anyone who has not been to SHOT Show, or a similar tradeshow, the venue contains aisle-upon-aisle of friendly people, sharing their livelihoods and life passions with those in attendance. Some are there with goods to sell, and others are there with ideas to share. More than 1,600 exhibitors are there, ranging from ammunition manufacturers and gunsmiths, to people selling scopes, glasses, shooting apparel and more. If you are seeking custom-fit ear protection or someone to explain the difference between tactical scopes and sport-shooting scopes, then you are in the right place … surrounded by experts.
At this year’s SHOT show I visited with many of my sponsors and friends who have sponsored me throughout my professional career, including Pro Ear/Pro Fit, AimPoint and Lapua Vihtavuori.
Pro Ear/Pro Fit has exceptional electronic hearing protection ($799 to $1,599) that is comfortable and efficient with 3 different selections of sound enhancements. I also have an awesome set of earmuff-style hearing protection ($299.99) by Pro Ear in white and pink colors, of which I will be wearing during the Bianchi Cup National Championship in May. I use AimPoint’s CompC3 scope ($460) for the Bianchi Cup and all other action pistol competitions. The brilliant intensity and clarity of its red dots help me see the impact point clearly on my targets. Also, Vihtavouri N320 ($35.49 to $118.99) gun powder shoots cleaner than most powder and is softer in my hand, which makes a significant difference when you are my size.
Our sport has changed dramatically. Today, you can purchase pink holsters, purple shell pouches, tailored vests and other items categorized by age, gender or interest.
Even a few years ago, I can recall struggling to find appropriate, flattering and comfortable shooting attire. To be honest, I found myself wearing Michael Kors orange and Ralph Lauren black. But today, we’ve moved beyond the heritage of oversized camouflage.
Turn on the Outdoor Channel or the Travel Channel, and you will see more and more women promoting outdoor sports, from skiing and snowboarding, to fishing and hunting. As was apparent at this year’s SHOT Show, I believe that the future for women in the sport is progressively getting better by the year. I see more women joining the ranks of competitors at the Bianchi Cup, attendees at industry events, conversationalists in the media and as certified firearm instructors.
In fact, many extraordinary women attended the Second Annual Women’s Outdoor & Shooting Industry Dinner, hosted by Britney Starr and Jacquelyn Kelly, More than 200 female shooters and hunters, industry members, Olympians and media professionals gathered to glamorously celebrate women in the industry. Because of the event, we are reminded of how much our industry has grown, and how it continues to develop. I will continue do my best to join the ranks of those promoting the sport to women. We all have an expertise that can better our world.
© Vera Koo with Elizabeth Clair.