After SHOT Show, Susan Hansen contacted us at The WON and told us about her story. We asked her to send it to us, and we are delighted to kick off this new series titled “Her Story.” Thank you, Susan, for giving us the idea and of course, for your inspiring story.
We all have a story. I am intrigued and inspired by asking others about “their stories.” I’m always in awe of what I hear. Our stories are what makes us who we are.
This is my story …
My name is Susan Hansen. I live in the Upper Left USA, aka the Pacific Northwest, in northwest Washington state. I am a (rookie) competition shooter in USPSA and 3-Gun. I am female. I am 51-years old and a Nana.
I am a trailblazer in these parts, as there are not many women that shoot, nor compete in the shooting sports.
Ten years ago, I had a horrible, life changing, second-chance-at-life, horse accident. I broke my back in 2 places, 5 bulging disks and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I remember waking up on the ground, not moving, and with an overwhelming thankfulness to be alive. I promised, right there and then, I wouldn’t waste this “do-over” gift I was given. I hit the ground running!
I lost 132 pounds, healed from the accident and started living life to the fullest – except for one thing: I was no longer able to participate in my life’s love – horses – after the accident. A bit of a hole was growing in me. As time went on, I felt like I was sliding down into a deeper, darker scary place. Depression is a scary thing. I needed to fill the void. I needed out.
On a whim, I went to a local range with a friend. I liked it! I started shooting their indoor league. I joined The Well Armed Woman (TWAW); I became a TWAW instructor and chapter leader. I went to NRA training. I became an NRA Instructor and Chief Range Officer. I started shooting USPSA and last year started shooting 3-Gun.That was 2 years ago. I went “all in.”
My focus, as an instructor, is to educate and inspire women – from first-timers who are scared beyond scared, to working with more confident shooters. I’m not sure who gets more out of our classes – me or them.
I recently obtained my certification to be a custom-hearing protection provider. I’m looking forward to helping others get the hearing protection that is so important in our sports.
As a shooter, I travel all over our wonderful nation shooting different venues and matches. I have been blessed to have met and found a group of women that are just like me! Women older than 50 and competing in 3-Gun. We call ourselves the “Lady 3 Gunners” and are coming to “invade” a match near you. We even have t-shirts! We are serious about our shooting, but it’s much deeper than that. It’s the comradery, the unity, the sisterhood.
Three of us, from 3 corners of the United States, squadded together at the Brownell’s Ladies Multigun Fall Festival event at Rockcastle Shooting center in Kentucky last October. We got together again in January and shot the Shot Show 3-Gun match. In a February, we meet in Atlanta to shoot another 3-Gun match. The match director and friend, Christi Conner Tate, has worked hard to get 2 full squads – roughly 40 women of all calibers, skills, sizes and ages – to shoot this match.
In May, I will be in Louisiana; July in Fairbanks, Alaska; and October I will be in Kentucky – along with these wonderful women.
At the end of July, I am helping my friend, Lisa Munson, and new friend, Deb Ferns, put on a Babes with Bullets Handgun Camp (sponsored by Smith & Wesson) here, in my neck of the woods, in Washington state.
What a story. What a life! I wouldn’t change a thing. I am beyond blessed and humbled with life.
To quote the well-known American mythologist Joseph Campbell: “You are a hero of your own story. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are!”