Julie Goloski-Golob is a kind and gentle mother of two. She posts photos of delicious homemade food on Facebook and shoots for Smith & Wesson in competition, having won three Bianchi Cups (and a lot of other stuff) along the way. She is one of America’s finest shooters, male or female.
In one of the finest examples of how bad my memory is, I started talking to her about a year ago regarding her book SHOOT. I read the book when it came out and found it to be an easily accessible introduction to firearms and the shooting sports. I wanted her opinion on a number of topics, so I sent her a list of five questions relating to shooting. She responded to my questions an embarrassingly long time ago, and I forgot to post her answers. One of my questions wasn’t worded very well (it had to do with competition vs. military trainers), leaving us with only four; without further ado, here are my questions and her answers.
Andrew: Do you think competition shooting is relevant to those who have no interest in actually participating in competition shooting? Why or why not?
Julie: I think competition shooting is definitely relevant to those who choose not to compete the same way Olympic swimmers and chefs are relevant to those who swim or cook recreationally. Whether it’s Michael Phelps or Julia Child, those who practice and excel at their craft have much to offer enthusiasts. The same can be said for those who work diligently to improve their shooting skills in competition.
Competition shooters are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to speed and precision. These shooters are doing things with firearms that would be considered an incredible run twenty years ago. An example would be the El Presidente drill (http://www.uspsa.org/classifiers/99-11.pdf). Back in the day a 10 second El Prez run was considered top notch. Today, using a Production Division gun (a striker fired or double action gun with few modifications from stock) and scoring all A-zone hits, a 10 second run today would be a C-class level score, a national percentage between 55 and 60%.
Competition shooters also have a lot to offer when it comes to intense durability testing as well as research and development. Let’s face it. Shooters tend to send a lot of rounds down range! If something doesn’t work well, or doesn’t hold up to the rigors of an intense day of training, a competition shooter is likely to discover it. Look at red dot optics as an example. Use of these little wonders were introduced into shooting sports and at first were plagued with reliability issues. Competitors started out with heavy, bulky dots, some as large as soda cans. Putting them through the paces in matches, shooters proved that this sort of sighting system is faster than using traditional iron sights.
Andrew: If you could identify one element of pistol shooting as being more important than any other, what would it be?
Julie: Taking speed out of it and just assessing pure shooting down to the fundamental level, the ability to shoot an accurate shot with a pistol comes down to being able put the sights on the target and keep them there until the shot breaks. You can have a horrendous grip and be standing on one foot and still shoot an accurate shot, but if the sights aren’t on target when the gun goes bang it won’t happen. So the most important aspect of being able to score a good hit comes down to the ability to engage the trigger in such a way that the sight picture stays on target until the bullet exits the barrel.
Andrew: Do competition shooters mostly use the same styles and techniques, with victory in competition coming down to an individual’s skill (or luck), or are there an array of techniques/styles/stances/etc which some shooters find give them an edge?
Julie: At first glance, to some it may appear that competition shooters use all the same styles and techniques. Most competition shooters in practical shooting sports are using the isosceles stance and the basic skills of draws, reloads, one-handed shooting, etc. all look very similar when you break things down to that level. There are subtle differences in style though based on athleticism, strength and body type.
Travis Tomasie and Dave Sevigny, with their athletic backgrounds in soccer and hockey, are especially good when it comes to footwork. Todd Jarrett and Max Michel have incredible twitch reflexes and their hand-eye speed make them super fast on draws and reloads. Bob Vogel and JJ Racaza are strong and flexible and that allows them to be both aggressive and controlled. Then there are the legends like Rob Leatham and Jerry Miculek who have worked so hard for so long, they can draw on hundreds of thousands of rounds of experience. Unlike other sports where the majority of successful players are close to the same height and build, shooters represent a much wider spectrum. The best shooters play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses in order to win.
Andrew: Do you call it a “slide stop” or a “slide release” – and if someone calls it a “slide release,” are they in the wrong?
Julie: I never really thought of it! I think I probably use both terms depending on what I am describing. I use “slide release” when I am talking about slide-lock reloads. I refer to the part as a slide stop when I talk about the slide locking to the rear. I don’t view one as being correct or incorrect. To me, both terms are interchangeable.
Thank you, ma’am, for your patience and your well-thought-out answers.