Walther pro shooter Gabby Franco recently made a big jump – a move from Texas to northern Virginia. We knew that throughout the pandemic, she remained actively training, even though she couldn’t get on a range. We wanted to catch up with her to see how the move went, how the training is going and what she thinks about the political climate in relation to the Second Amendment this fall.
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So, you made it to Virginia safe and sound! Congrats! Now, that you’ve settled in, what’s the plan for your future workload?
This was by far one very challenging move. We didn’t have a home for months due to COVID and lived out of a suitcase at my in-laws’ house. But, my family and I are finally settled in Virginia and my son started school 25 days ago.
The new norm changed the way I do things and many of my plans, but not my motivation. I became member of an indoor range because it is close to my house, and I will get a membership at an outdoor range to practice for matches. In other words, I am making Virginia a real home!
The shooting sports is my passion. Luckily for me, there are a lot of shooting competitions in Northern Virginia and nearby states. I will continue not only competing, but also training, to improve my skills while seeking excellence. I was moving my way up the ladder last year and the Covid, the move and health issues – I resolved – felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders. Thankfully, most of those challenges are in the past, and I am already aiming to be my best at the range.
Living in a military installation will help me achieve one of my goals: a shooting club for military wives. I am very excited about this project. I am still finalizing details on how the meetings and trainings will look like due to Covid restrictions. But, I am looking forward to having a final plan by the end of the month. The idea is to provide virtual and live shooting trainings and classes for all military wives at no charge. I am also considering doing the same for wives of police officers. The LE’s wives project should be implemented in the next few months.
In the immediate term, I am working hard to promote the right to vote and the Second Amendment through the #gunvote movement. More importantly I am empowering people to remember that we live in an amazing nation. For that reason, we need to continue protecting and defending our values and our way of life to pursue happiness and our dream.
What do you notice different about the culture in Virginia as compared to Texas?
Perhaps, the most notable difference is that it is easy to engage in small talks with most people in Texas. Northern Virginia is a bit different. People are busy and keep to themselves like in all big cities. The weather is another big change for me! Every September in my life I have lived in areas where temperatures surpass 90 degrees.
But, this September in Virginia forced me to wear a jacket. Low temperatures of 55. I know it might be funny for you, but my body was expecting a whooping 105 in Texas!
Unfortunately, I have not been able to visit many places or meet many people due to the pandemic. I hope soon I can explore more and provide an update to this answer. I truly look forward to getting to know and enjoy more my new home state and its people!
You mentioned that you hadn’t been to the range in a while … we know you continued to dry fire. When you went to the range, did you ease back into shooting? How so?
Yes, and no. If that makes sense … Dry firing helped me keep my skills with the red dot current. One of the fears was to begin to “lose” the dot if I did not practice. I also did athletic workouts during my dry firing sessions to improve my footwork and movements through a course of fire. However, I felt I lost a bit of my confidence in my speed after several months of not shooting. It was like my mind and my body were not synchronized. My mind was processing information and sending commands at 1 speed, while my body was performing at a different speed. To that I add that my conscious mind, did not help much. Anyway, my first few local matches felt odd and I was a bit sloppy. Finally, last weekend I came to a consensus within myself and I was able to get back on track. I know there is more work to do, but I happy that my hard work (in mind and body) is starting to show.
For someone who maybe has been away from the range and wants to get back into shooting handguns, what advice would you give?
Go back to the fundamentals. Being away from the range does have a positive side. It is a good opportunity to start from the beginning to reinforce strengths and improve weaknesses. The only way you do that effectively is by embracing the fundamentals of shooting. Take the opportunity to challenge what you know and your shooting abilities after a long time of not shooting. For example, I began to question the movement of my red dot after each shot. I paid more attention to the position of my trigger finger and how it affected my accuracy while shooting fast. In other words, take the time to reevaluate and slowly improve your skills.
Any tips for what to look for when someone wants to invest in range membership?
Yes! And I did it because the range is very close to my house. I am also committed to my training and I know that the membership is the a logical financial move that is a part of my strategy to become a better marksman.
I believe these are trying times for our country. I appreciate everyone’s messages and support to what I do to protect our rights. But, it is time for everyone to be more vocal and bold to support our rights as well. I know that being vocal in politics bring consequences that might affect me in different ways. However, I am firm and clear in my support for our constitutional rights and my rejection for socialism. I believe it is instrumental to preserve freedom and the values of our great nation. I have once left everything behind seeking freedom. Now, I am willing to do the same to preserve it.
Read Gabby Franco’s 4 Tips on How to Choose the Right Firearm here.
Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com. View all posts by Barbara Baird