In the world of elite pro shooters, Julie Golob stands out not only for her very impressive array of national and international titles, but for her approachability, enthusiasm for the sport and the sheer joy she finds in shooting. Find out how she maintains her edge on and off the range.

How long have you been shooting?

I actually started going to competitions with my dad when I was very young. It gave me a chance to spend time with him. I started helping out, sweeping up brass, eventually became a safety officer, but I didn’t take my first shot until I was 14. My professional shooting career began when I became a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in 1995. I stayed with the Army for nearly eight years.

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You’re captain of the S&W shooting team, are sponsored by Benelli, Safariland and Federal Premium, and also help promote the shooting sports. How do you juggle these commitments and competitions while also being a wife and mom?

My sponsors are very supportive. I plan my year based on the matches I want to attend. But I couldn’t do it without the caring support of my wonderful husband, who keeps the household going when I’m on the road.

Do you have a training routine to prepare for competitions?

I focus my training on the specifics of the next match. Whatever the requirements of that competition are, that is what I work on to get ready. I enjoy shooting as much as I can, but when I train, I tend to focus on the particular skills needed for the next match in order to do my best.

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Julie Golob demonstrates her winning form during a match, reloading on the run.

What is your favorite type of match?

I really enjoy shooting “stock” guns. I like using the same equipment that the general public has—if I have to replace something, it can be found quickly. I use a Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P Pro Series 5-inch gun with Federal Premium American Eagle ammunition. I prefer to shoot 9mm, a very popular caliber in stock divisions. I used to shoot .45 ACP, .40 S&W and .38 Super, but find I can shoot more with less fatigue with 9mm.

What other categories of competition do you enjoy?

I’ve dabbled in 3-Gun, but the Smith & Wesson team has some amazing 3-Gun competitors. Staying within our strengths, I stick mostly with stock handgun divisions for most shooting sports. But, I’ve never found a shooting sport I didn’t like or didn’t want to do again.

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Do competitions prepare a shooter for real-world defensive shooting?

This question comes up often, and I think it is largely overthought. Any type of training that helps develop safety and handling skills makes you a better shooter. Too many people underestimate the importance of safety. Competition shooters are amongst the safest shooters because they are constantly monitored by range staff for safe handling when they are shooting.

Do you have any advice for a shooter who is considering competition?

To get started, look around your area, check the local ranges and clubs. Many of them have programs for new competitors, such as matches just for novices or a mentoring program. Also, read everything you can find, from books on the basics of shooting to help build your foundational skills to more advanced material. My book, Shoot, explains the different types of competition and what you can expect.

One thing that comes up a lot is the fear of being watched and judged. But truly, the other shooters are more interested in what they are doing than you. Some experienced shooters, particularly instructors, are nervous about competing because they think there are expectations of them. Again, the other shooters are focused on what they are about to shoot or what they just shot. Also, if you are nervous shooting in front of other people, competition will cure that!

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What was your experience as a featured guest at the 2015 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits convention?

I’ve been going to the NRA Annual Meeting for 12 years now. One thing I’ve noticed is there are a lot more women, which is great. The other thing is that NRA is one convention where you see a lot of families. This year I really took notice how safety conscious the youngsters were when handling firearms. They knew not to point a gun at someone, keep their fingers off the trigger, etc. That was great. Firearms safety [and constantly preaching it to all ages] can never be taken for granted.

In addition to competition, is it true you are also an avid hunter?

I am. I love being outdoors, and every time I bring home an animal, that is food for my family. I really enjoy coming up with new ideas, and you can find links to my #FieldtoFork recipes at my website,

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If you had to sum up how you feel about shooting into a few words, how would you describe it?

That’s a tough one. I love shooting because it is such a personal experience. You set goals for yourself, then work to accomplish them. And the people—the shooting community is full of really friendly, supportive people!

Aside from being an elite shooter, you’re also known for being approachable and easy to talk with.

Thank you. I try to stay grounded. I think that is important. I want everyone, especially kids, to be comfortable coming up to say “hi,” get an autograph, take a picture, ask questions. It is important to remember to stay humble and love what you do every day.

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Laser focus helps keep Julie Golob at the top of her sport.

What’s your favorite Carry Gun?

I carry a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm. I’ve added Warren Tactical two-dot night sights and an Apex Tactical Specialties carry trigger, but otherwise it is stock.

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What about your holster?

Holsters can be tricky for women, because how we carry depends so much on what we are wearing and if we can wear a belt that will support a gun. My go-to holsters are an IWB Bianchi belt holster, the SmartCarry holster and my new favorite is the Can Can Concealment Sport Belt. It is very flexible and allows you to carry in a variety of positions under different types of clothing.

What is the most important factor in EDC to you?

Safety. I cannot say it too often: You need to know what you are doing. Practice with your gear, be aware of your surroundings and be very safety conscious. Never get complacent.


Julie Golob

Smith & Wesson



Federal Premium Ammunition

Warren Tactical



Can Can Concealment

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