Book review: Shoot! Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob
Julie Golob is one of the most recognisable female target shooters in the world today, and with more than 20 years experience in competitive shooting, she has a lot of helpful information to share with those starting out in the sport. For me, taking up shooting as an adult, Julie was one of the first personalities on my radar. I've always admired her open and welcoming demeanour, and the endless enthusiasm she has for her chosen sport.
This book is principally targeted (hehe) at newcomers to the shooting world. It's primary audience is women, but apart from a section on women in shooting early in the book, it's relevant for anyone new to shooting.
At 248 pages, it might seem like a long read, but the content is arranged in a very accessible way. There are 15 chapters, and each section is set out with descriptive titles, so it's easy to quickly locate the information you're after, and is therefore valuable as a reference manual. There are loads of instructional diagrams and colour photos that do a great job of illustrating her advice.
The first four chapters introduce you to the world of shooting, firearms and the common terminology used. Julie's descriptions of various components of different firearms and ammunition are straight-forward and use minimal jargon - perfect for the layperson who isn't familiar with shooting 'lingo'. Julie makes reference to a number of American training programs designed specifically for women - sadly there are very very few equivalent programs available in Australia.
Chapters 5 to 10 provide brief outlines for of the major disciplines (styles of shooting) practiced. Special attention is given to handgun action shooting in this section, and throughout the rest of the book. The list is reasonably comprehensive, and even though some of the disciplines are not shot in Australia because of restrictions mandated by our firearm legislation, it provides a good overview of the types of shooting sports available. Julie provides some interesting commentary on the history of the development, rise and fall of different disciplines and events, so all of these chapters are still interesting to read, even if you have no interest in participating in a particular style.
The remainder of the book focuses on the practice of shooting itself, and covers general information like what to expect at your first day on the range, and understanding fundamentals such as stance, grip, trigger control and sight alignment. The step-by-step photos are brilliant. There's also advice on range etiquette and preparation for competition.
In all, this book provides a succinct, instructive and easy-to-read introduction to the shooting sports, and although it's (understandably) written from a United States-centric perspective, it's a worthy addition to any new shooter's library. It's also definitely worth a look for more experienced shooters seeking to pick up more advanced skills to enhance their shooting practice.
From her opening narrative, relating heartwarming memories of bonding with her father as teenager at the shooting range, to her closing words, inviting us to "Be safe and have fun!", this is an engaging and enjoyable read from beginning to end.