As more women are gaining an interest in the shooting sports, we are finding more female gun-store staff at the retail counters and in management positions within these organizations. I wanted to talk with some of these ladies whose profession is in the retail firearms industry. Since I am the female owner of a firearms store, AZFirearms, along with my husband Danny, I decided to ask my 3 female staff members about their experiences as girls who sell guns.
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This is the first in a series. In each part of the series, you will meet a different “Girl Who Sells Guns,” and each one of these ladies is as impressive as the next, and each comes from a unique life-perspective and background. Over the course of the series you will meet Jacqueline Carrisoza, “The Veteran”; Kaitlyn Lentz, “The Consultant”; and Tiffany Villalvaso, “The Next Generation.”
First up is Jacqueline Carrizosa. Jacqueline is a Navy veteran, a gunnersmate and a rescue swimmer, achieving the rank of E5 with Air Warfare and Surface Warfare pins. Currently, Jacqueline teaches firearms courses, such as advanced concealed carry, kids introduction to firearms, basic pistol, rifle and shotgun, as well as NRA Range Safety Officer. She also has worked on a few Hollywood films and TV shows. Jacqueline grew up mostly in California, graduated high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, and relocated to Arizona in early 2018 in order to expand her knowledge through continuing education, enjoy more time in the shooting sports and increase her family. She is an ISSA Certified Athletic Trainer, Rocktape Functional Movement Techniques Certified, and in her spare time enjoys racing dirt bikes, working on trucks and cars, building guns and watching history documentaries.
Cheryl: Thank you for your service, Jacqueline! How long have you been interested in firearms and the shooting sports? Were you raised with firearms, or are guns something you decided to be involved in as an adult?
Jacqueline: I was not raised with firearms. I grew up shooting a BB rifle at oranges in the backyard for fun, then joined the US Navy at 17 years old where I became a rescue swimmer and a gunnersmate.
Cheryl: What is your main interest in the firearms industry? The tools themselves? The aspect of self-defense? Hunting or perhaps competition shooting?
Jacqueline: My main interests are the shooting sports as a whole. I’m an enthusiast in all aspects, mostly self-defense, competitive shooting, machine guns, and hunting. I encourage and speak for positive Second Amendment rights.
Cheryl: The firearms industry has made huge strides in recent years in serving the female market. Can you think of any areas where there is still room for improvement?
Jacqueline: They have indeed made huge leaps in supporting the female consumers. I would love to see more women, especially moms, offered educational courses designed specifically for them. I believe most moms are the root of all households and will help change the world. I also believe in bringing a firearms familiarization course back to ALL high school programs and sports. I would love to see more women personally innovating firearms, testing and being a major part of research and development groups.
Cheryl: What would you say makes you different in your approach to customers who visit our store? And does being a woman impact your approach?
Jacqueline: I think my unique experiences help me to keep my focus, first and always, in customer service, as opposed to “selling” the equipment. I have walked out of stores because men will try to belittle me before knowing anything about what I do or who I am. So, I like to treat my customers with respect and ask them a lot of detailed questions in respects to their visit and how I can help direct them to a section of firearms that will suit their needs. In addition to helping them understand possible options for upgrades, ammunition types and specific accessories that would complement their investment. I genuinely want them to pick a firearm they will be happy with for a long time.
Cheryl: What are your long-term goals (whether in the firearms industry or elsewhere in life)? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jacqueline: I am continuing my education in school towards a Sports Medicine Doctorate while diligently tackling my career in the shooting industry. I hope to have a successful competitive career to last my lifetime and to break more stereotypes for females. Hopefully, have a championship for Heavy Metal Division.
Cheryl: Do you have a favorite gun or 2 and why are those your favorites?
Jacqueline: I love my JP Rifles LRP-07 .308 rifle. It’s a stereotype breaker for a heavy-duty AR platform and I shamelessly plugged my multi-gun rifle sponsor. As far as my overall favorites, they are the M14 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) and my main girl is the M2HB that I used in the Navy, and I took care of tirelessly.
Cheryl: I am proud to have Jacqueline Carrizosa working side by side with my husband and me in our family business. She is representative of tens of thousands of other fine young women in the firearms industry. If you ever get in the area of Avondale, Arizona, where our shop is located, please stop in and say hello to Jacqueline, Kaitlyn, Tiffany and the rest of the team!
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