Gabby Franco is a renowned competition shooter, firearms instructor, speaker, former Olympic competitor for Venezuela and author of Troubleshooting: Mastering Your Pistol Marksmanship. Her private life is full, as a wife and mother. Her husband serves in the US Army, so she also is an “Army wife.” As a brand ambassador for Walther Arms, she can be seen around the country at local and national pistol shooting competitions. We thought you’d like to know about what Gabby is doing these days and how COVID has affected her career and family’s life.
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You’re on the move! What’s happening with your personal life these days?
I wish I was on the move, but family and I are in limbo. As you know, my husband is in the military and he received PCS orders to move to Virginia. We sold our home, packed our stuff with a moving company and then, COVID-19 restrictions happened. Since then, we have been living out of a suitcase at the house of family members. While the situation is challenging, we are blessed to be with caring and loving family members during these difficult times. We are all trying to adapt to a new way of doing things, considering that my 3-year-old son [David] stopped going to his school and the state restrictions due to COVID-19. However, such a challenge has also brought other blessings. David is now interested in learning how to ride his bike. He learned to use the scooter, play frisbee, and much more. I don’t like it when David is attached to a tablet for hours, so every day, I play throughout the day with him.
What’s going on with your college and continuing to finish your degree?
College is good and challenging! As of today, I have managed to maintain a GPA of 3.96 with 45 credits. I have had 2 or 3 weekends free of school work since I began this journey last year. Nevertheless, continuing my education and pursue a degree is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Continuing my education is part of what I believe is my journey to bettering myself. I believe life is all about making my best with the tools I have: my body and my mind. In the end, those are the only things that are truly mine and infinitely valuable. Without them, I am nothing; with them, I am everything I want to be.
How has COVID affected your lifestyle so far?
Well, I assume that no different than the rest of the country. I leave the house when I have to. I stopped taking my son to the park to play with his friends. I stopped going to the range for a couple of months. I stopped giving shooting classes. Due to the Army travel restrictions, we are stuck in limbo without our home, and with the uncertainty of where we’ll be in a month or 2. In short, it is all different and strange. But, we are healthy, in good spirits, and hopeful that we will be back to our normal activities soon.
We see you dry firing a lot on social media … why?
Shooting is a perishable sport. Anyone can make a firearm shoot by pulling the trigger, but not many can shoot consistently well. The difference comes with practice. A couple of weeks ago, I shot at my first local match since the beginning of the pandemic. I made several mistakes. I was hesitant, indecisive and sloppy. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of fun with friends at the range, but I was not on top of my game.
This sentence keeps me grounded. It is a lot more fun to go to the range and put rounds downrange, but not having that option is not an excuse for not training, especially if doing your best is your mantra like it is for me. I wake up around 5 a.m., 4 to 5 days a week to study, workout and dry fire. By 9 a.m., I am done and ready to care for my son, continue studying, working, until 10:30 p.m. My husband says our son gets his energy from me. I think he is right!
When will you be back in the competition world?
I am already shooting at local matches almost every weekend. However, air travel will be on hold until things settle down a little bit more. My father-in-law has a medical condition that compromises his immune system. Hence, we are very careful where we go and interact with during these times. Luckily, we still live in the wonderful state of Texas, which everyone knows as a Second Amendment loving state. We have tons of matches around here, and they all follow all the recommended health guidelines. So, it is awesome!
The Second Amendment — it will be a major focus for this year’s November election. What do you tell people who ask you about it and why it matters?
I tell them that history has shown over and over again that after gun control comes more government control, more crimes, and more law-abiding citizens turn into criminals. The second amendment matters because it is the very right people that live under tyranny wish they had. The second amendment matter because it is the right that saved many would-be-victims. It matters because it is our God-given right!
Your little prodigy — your son — what’s his latest interest?
My three-year-old David is still very interested in space. He probably knows more about space than most adults. He can name the most popular moons of Mars, Jupiters, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. So, we are very excited about the NASA launch on Saturday. David is an avid reader and before he goes to bed, we have to negotiate with him how many children’s books he can read at night. So, we settle into 4 books of his choice that he reads. But that is not all, every night before David reads his books, he dictates to my father-in-law a story that is to be typed and then read out loud. He is extremely active and it’s difficult for him to stay in 1 spot to complete an activity. But, what can I say? He is a 3-year old and I love that he is super active!
When will we see you in public again?
Well … come out to the range!! haha In all seriousness, I hope we all go back to a normal life. That said, I am afraid that such ‘normal’ might not feel the same. It is fascinating, and at the same time, scary how the human brain can be conditioned in a short period of time. Only time will tell, how such ‘normal life’ will be.
Learn more about Gabby Franco at her website, GabbyFranco.com.
Gabby shoots Walther’s Q5 Match Steel Frame firearm.