Paving The Way
In January, LALO Tactical and LALO Women were fortunate enough to meet Bree MacHaffie a.k.a “GunGirlBree” at the 2016 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Bree struck us as an incredibly motivated and kind person, and someone who we wanted to get to know better as well as share with the world. Once the dust settled from all things SHOT, we were able to catch up with her to get an inside view of how she continues to seamlessly juggle being a single mom of three boys, working as a substitute teacher to special needs children, and playing a large role in paving the way for current and future competitive female shooters. Her dedication to a happy life is unmatched and certainly a fine example and inspiration for all!
LW: What led you to become a professional competitive shooter? How long have you been shooting-competitively or not?
GGB: I had been to the range a few times right out of high school but didn’t really start shooting until 2012. I shot my first match, a ladies only match, and was hooked.
LW: What was the biggest fear you had to overcome when learning how to shoot?
GGB: The fear of failure. It’s something that everyone has in the back of his or her minds but it really jumped out to me when I realized this was completely unknown territory.
LW: There is an obvious gender gap in the world of competitive shooting-how do you explain this and what is your viewpoint on changing that?
GGB: Although there is a gender gap, women are the largest growing section of the outdoors industry. I want to change that, I am always inviting women to the range or to participate in matches even when they are just watching their significant other shooting. I’m working hard to change the face of women in the industry by “keeping it classy”. You will never see me post a picture that’s overly sexualized, there’s enough out there already that turn women away and I don’t want to be a reason why they don’t get involved.
LW: What are some of the challenges you face being a female in a predominately male dominated profession? How do you handle those challenges?
GGB: I try to take it one step at a time. There are some men that still see this as the good ole’ boys’ club and women are coming crashing in. I hangout with the guys during and after matches, have a drink with them, and show them I’m not just another woman looking to find a guy on the range.
LW: Before becoming a competitive shooter, what was a day in the life of Sabrina?
GGB: My days are jam-packed. I have 3 kids, I work as a substitute special needs teacher, I write for Bearing Arms, and I do volunteer work with a local hospice
LW: How has competitive training changed that for you?
GGB: Training doesn’t happen with live fire as much as I like. I’ve substituted with a lot more dry firing. My kids come first.
LW: What are some of your biggest goals-personal and professional?
GGB: I am hoping to finish my bachelor’s degree so I can teach full time within the school district. I’m also in the pursuit of furthering my shooting by making the jump to higher rankings within the different disciplines.
LW: What types of activities do you incorporate into your days and weeks for stress relief and happiness?
GGB: You’d be shocked to know how much playing with my boys relieves my stress. Going outside and running around seems to help the stress melt away. I’m also trying to get back into yoga.
LW: To be a competitive shooter you obviously have to be in shape. What does your exercise regime look like and what is your favorite way to stay in shooting shape?
GGB: If you’ve never chased 3 boys, lifting them up, and throwing them around it’s a work out all by itself. I also get on my elliptical as often as possible.
LW: Favorite moment(s) at SHOT 2016?
GGB: Making new friends and seeing old ones are my highlights from most of the industry events. Sitting down to dinner with them and having dinner and drinks is amazing. It’s a break from my normal chaos.
LW: You are a contributing writer for bearingarms.com. What is your favorite article you’ve written to date and why? Where is your favorite place to get your writing done? Where do you draw your inspiration?
GGB: My favorite article thus far has to be the one on “Gun Bunnies”, I caught a lot of flak for it but it’s something that I have strong feelings about. I often find myself in my bedroom laying down listening to Lindsay Sterling when I write. I am their competitive shooting writer so if there is a match I’ve attended or gear I find interesting or maybe a new gun on the market I’m more than happy to take that and run with it.
LW: What is your advice to people to help them achieve their goals? What advice do you live by/give yourself?
GGB: Don’t quit! No matter what negative things people say you’ll regret giving up. If I had quit the first time I had an inkling of doubt I wouldn’t have found this joy and success in this industry. There is no better feeling to me than the “I told you I could” moment.
LW: How have you overcome adversity in your life?
GGB: I’ve been through quite a lot. I lost my first husband very young a month leaving me a single mother, a month and a half later lost the house I was living in (my mother’s) to a tornado, and followed that up with a marriage that went south. In all that I learned who supported me the most and the strength I have. I know I can go through hell and keep on swinging.
LW: Being a school teacher, I am sure you get to see many young kids grow up right before your eyes in this ever changing world. What are your hopes for young girls & boys today?
GGB: My hope for my students is that they learn responsibility, perseverance, and their own strength. There is so much doubt and anger in the world it is easy to get sucked into it.
LW: You’re a mom—How many children do you have? Tell us about them!
GGB: I have 3 wonderful boys, 11, 7, and 5. They really keep me on my toes and I couldn’t be prouder of them. My oldest is in a national honor society and volunteers with me at Hospice. My two younger ones read at grade levels well above their ages and have A’s. I have great sons.
LW: Favorite downtime activity?
GGB: Reading quietly away from everything. I also love going to the local park.
LW: Coffee or tea?
GGB: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.
LW: Morning person or late night owl?
GGB: Morning person and it drives people on the range nuts. LOL. Lots of people ask how I can be so perky in the morning? I say the day hasn’t exhausted me yet.
LW: Do you have a motto you live by? What is it?
GGB: Don’t give up just because someone says you can’t/won’t. Use that motivation to push harder and go further.
LW: Beer or wine, or liquor or none?
GGB: Yes! Haha. I usually drink wine with dinner and liquor while just hanging out with friends.
Follow Sabrina @gungirlbree on Instagram and be sure to check out her articles at bearingarms.com