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How to achieve success in the shooting sports

Millisecond Molly: Molly Smith describes how to visualize success when competing in shooting sports. 


Can you visualize success?

We’re in an age where people have a preconceived notion of what success looks like. At times, it’s wealth. Then, on the other hand, it’s the tableau of struggle.

There’s another place where success can be seen at highly concentrated levels: the range.

Here are 4 components that lead to success in the shooting sports.


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Molly at the Bianchi Cup, next to World Champion and Smith & Wesson Team Captain, Julie Golob.


The strive

With any profession or talent, there are undoubtedly times of plateau, where progress seems to halt.  It’s this situation that’s the ultimate test of patience and dedication – a business startup not working per plan, an equation that won’t work out, or a revolver-draw that you cannot bring down past 0.7 seconds. It’s at that point where the question becomes, “Can I do better?” Many people would accept the difficulty as a permanent barrier, while those who find and create success will strive to make it through rough days, weeks, months and years, in order to obtain an achievement sought.

For the competitor, this means dealing with the trials of relentless practice where progress is not seen immediately. Randi Rogers, Team Smith & Wesson member and inspiration, often tells me, “Take your weakest point, and make it one of your strongest skills.”

For the student, this means to capitalize on talent and work hard to make the challenging subjects a success. It’s never a guarantee that the challenge will go away, but that the effort can bring far more to an individual than neglecting those weaker elements.


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Randi Rogers and Molly at the Bianchi Cup, showing how they placed in Ladies’ Production!


The potential

To see the capabilities, not only in yourself, but also in the environment surrounding you, is a profound ability that will drive you to an accomplishment. The innovative nature that grows within a successful person carries over to all elements of life – to see the possibilities in studies, relationships, even the seemingly trivial activities of practices or rehearsals. The interesting thing about potential is that it’s not about someone “having” it or “not having” it; rather, it’s something that’s always built upon, growing and changing. Every person is a product of his or her experiences, and from those experiences, potential is found.


The contribution

It’s through potential and striving that a meaning is discovered – an ultimate goal in the sights. This varies greatly depending on the person, on the product of his or her unique experiences. To some, it’s charity – seeing the misfortune around, or even the beginner standing in the same position you once stood. To others, it’s a pursuit of excellence, of accomplishment, of achieving something previously thought impossible. The result of that – of the pursuit, is to serve as an inspiration for those to come.

I see various contributions again and again in the shooting sports – for example, the kindness of seasoned shooters to the newcomers. To be a contributor, willing and prepared, is a key to success, found not only at the range, but at all walks of life — from collegiate halls to outdoor adventures.


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Molly explaining parts of a Smith & Wesson revolver at the NRA Annual Convention. Photo courtesy of Bob Price


The maturity

One trait that leaps out for many people at the mention of a competitive shooter is maturity: that is, being capable mentally and emotionally to manipulate a firearm regularly and safely. Maturity is vital for any person of success – to maintain level-headedness during all wakes of pressure and difficulty. To handle any situation with fearless grace enables the feat of further growth and expansion. Beyond that, the ability to have an open mind toward new ideas is a hallmark-attribute of a successful person; an open mind enables more knowledge, more experience, and with that, even more maturity to embark into the world valiantly.


Finally … success!

While it’s so much more, success is the white picket fence, the first dollar earned, the gold trophy, the acceptance. In all scenarios, these traits often overlap each other and build on one other in progression toward betterment.

My advice, as a young competitive shooter, is to do all that you can to reach success by surrounding yourself with those people who embody the aforementioned qualities.


  • About Randi Rogers

    Randi Rogers is a shooter from the top of her head down to the tips of her toes. Working as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the holster manufacturing company Comp-Tac, Randi dabbles in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors but at the end of the day she wants to have a gun in her hand. For the last 18 years as a Smith & Wesson and Compt-Tac pro competition shooter, Randi has won over 50 world and national titles in action shooting sports such as Cowboy Action Shooting, IDPA, IPSC, USPSA and 3Gun. Randi fills her days concealed carrying in a Comp-Tac Holster, spending time practicing at the range, writing for different outdoor publications and finding new ways to help other women enjoy the recreation and entertainment of target shooting.


The Conversation

One Comment
  • Army Dave says: April 17, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Are you a 60 year old philosopher trapped inside a pretty teenage girl?

    What a inspirational article!