Smith and Wesson

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Raychel Shaw

Firearms Instructor

Grapeland, TX

Who or what got you into shooting?

My dad is retired Air Force and ever since I was old enough to remember I was his shooting partner at the range! After I became an adult my husband and his father introduced me to hunting after they figured out my dad had already taught me to shoot and we've been enjoying the outdoors as a family ever since!

Do you shoot handguns, shotguns, rifles or all of the above?

I shoot all of the above but I shoot rifles and handguns on a more consistent basis.

Why are you involved with the NRA or how do you support their efforts?

I have always been pro Second Amendment and with the controversy over gun laws in our country now the desire to stand up for that right as well as exercise and educate others became so overwhelming that I became an NRA member and then an instructor.

Tell us about the first gun you owned or your favorite gun.

The first gun I ever owned "and still have" my dad got me when I was about 10. It was a Daisy Model 8 single shot .22LR. I still remember him bringing it home! After I mastered shooting it without a scope then he mounted a little scope on it and at that age I was "BIG TIME!"

What's your current go-to gun?

I'm pretty attached to my Beretta PX4 storm compact 9mm BUT I really like the Smith & Wesson Airweight .38 revolver too! I'm one of those that thinks you should get to have a different concealed carry gun for every season. I tried the every outfit idea and got shot down!

What's your favorite shooting range or place to hunt?

I LOVE shooting little "Top Shot" competitions with our family and friends here at home, it’s so fun. Last year we had the opportunity to go Elk hunting in Colorado and I'd have to say that was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives!

Do you have a favorite accessory or clothing item you won't go shooting or hunting without? What makes it so important?

At the range I usually just always have my pink ear muffs, and glasses, first aid kit, cell phone, you know basic safety stuff, for hunting. I'm not real picky, appropriate camo, cell phone, firearm and or bow!

What's your most unusual gun-related item?

I always get asked why I have three of the same rifle. People always think I should sell or trade so I don't have three of them. I intentionally collected three of the same rifles to leave to each of my 3 kids (2 boys, 1 girl) one day to start a sort of tradition or legacy with them.

What's your best or most memorable moment as it relates to firearms?

Jennifer Blake struck the primer with the firing pin reminiscing instructing in SHOOT LIKE A GIRL'S shooting trailer at the 2013 NFR in Las Vegas. Nearly 900 women shot a pistol & rifle on the military grade firearms system as well as a compound bow. To see those women leave feeling empowered and making shopping plans for firearms or bows as well as joining local groups and ranges for further instruction was exhilarating!

I own a gun because:

My firearms help me protect my family, put food on the table, enjoy fellowship with my friends and family, they help me relax and unwind, they give my husband and I a hobby we can do together, and they allow me something to collect other than animals!

Tell us the best (or worst) gun advice you've ever been given.

I heard someone say to a friend that we have a gun problem and guns kill people. She very calmly said "before there were guns Cain killed Able with a rock, it's not a gun problem it's a heart problem!" I'm sure she got it from somewhere but too IT STUCK with me!

What's your easiest gun to handle and shoot? Hardest?

I started out with a Ruger Mark I and we have upgraded to a Ruger Mark III. When I have ladies with little or no experience and timidity I always start them out with the Mark III. It's an amazingly easy one to acquaint new shooters with!

What would be your recommendation for best entry-level gun?

For target practice Ruger Mark III. For concealed carry it would depend on the person’s strengths, weaknesses, hand size etc.

Your ideal shopping trip: the mall or an outdoor outfitter?

Eeeeek! I don't do the mall!!! Take me to an outdoor outfitter PLEASE!!!!!!!!

What do you think is the best home defense — firing or fleeing?

Home defense is the question what part of defense and flee are synonymous? So firing, however it should be done with much thought, practice and preparation.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired everyday to be a better person than I was yesterday.

What's your favorite holiday? Why?

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving I love love love the family baking and cooking time with my kids!

What do you do to relax and unwind — watch TV, listen to music, go to movies, catch a game, exercise, something else?

We HUNT!!! I do love to curl up with a good book on rainy days and my husband and I exercise several times a week. We love going to the movies with our kids and goofing off, having dance parties to catchy music!

Your greatest accomplishment?

Personally I was just accepted into Texas' Concealed Handgun Instructor Academy in addition to being an NRA certified Instructor as well as a youth leader at our church, but my greatest accomplishment is MY FAMILY whom I love more than life itself!!