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Preview – Zeroed In Julie Golob

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Renaissance Woman
Julie Golob Wears Many Hats — Mother, Author, Military Vet, Shooting Champion, Among Others. But What Makes This Smith & Wesson Team Captain So Good at These Things Is Hard Work.

Photography by Quoc Ha

“It’s hard for me not to smile,” says a grinning Julie Golob amidst the low winter sun permeating the landscape near her remote Montana home. Julie’s referring to her struggle with maintaining the alpha pose expected of a world-class shooter during a photo shoot, but an afternoon spent with her and her family reveals a deeper meaning to the phrase. Anybody with a trigger-pulling résumé like Julie’s would probably be grinning ear to ear based on her achievements alone. But those shooting-sports triumphs are far from defining her as a person, who lives the fullest part of her life beyond the range.

While she is known for her shooting prowess — including being the only shooter, male or female, to win all six division titles in the USPSA Nationals — Julie is a mother, a wife, a military veteran, and one hell of a cook. While the home she shares with her husband is adorned with the expected gun safes and hunting trophies, it also contains a play area she dubs “Baby Alcatraz” and a shelf rife with cookbooks, which vary from The Asian Kitchen to George Lang’s Cuisine of Hungary. Clearly, she is a woman of many muses, with shooting of another kind being a huge part of her life: photography.


RECOIL: How did you get involved with shooting when you were growing up?

Julie Golob: I’m a daddy’s girl. I used to go to the range with my father as a kid. I didn’t shoot much until I got older, but I was always at the range with him volunteering and working at matches. I started shooting when I was 14. We were a father-daughter team, and we hit the road. My dad’s a schoolteacher, so we had the luxury of travelling during the summers and hitting all the state matches in the area. I went to my first national championship in 1994, and that’s where I met the coach of the U.S. Army Action Shooting team. I was offered a place on the team, and Halloween of that year I signed up in the delayed entry program and joined the Army.

Were you nervous or intimidated to join the Army?

JG: Yes. I was a straight-A student. I was into drama and singing, so I wasn’t really athletic. It was a really big leap of faith to join the military, and I was apprehensive about it. But I wanted to become a national champion, and I knew the only way I was gonna do that was if I invested the five years I signed up for. I figured that, at the minimum, the benefits of it would be receiving college money and using the G.I. Bill to pursue my education.

How was the experience? Was there ever a time that you wanted to quit?

JG: When I signed up, I came in as an MP because I didn’t have a choice. I had to go in as an MP or I couldn’t come in at all. All females had to come in as military police to go straight to the Army Marksmanship Unit and all males had to go to the infantry. Fort McClellan, Alabama, is where I did my basic training. A lot of enlistments carry a two-year obligation, and with mine being five years, I took it very seriously. I made it to staff sergeant and was in just shy of eight years total. It was tough in a lot of ways since it was the first time I had been away from home, but I grew some thick skin and said, “If I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it right.”

You were named the 1999 Army Female Athlete of the Year, which is the first and only time in history an action shooter ever received the title. What was the experience like?

JG: The Action Shooting team at the Army Marksmanship Unit was pretty new when I went in. They started in the early ’90s, and I joined in ’95. By 1999, I was becoming pretty dominant in winning competitions. Still, the AMU has always been very Olympic heavy. I was shocked to even be nominated by the unit over shooters in the Olympic disciplines and floored when I was actually selected. Due to the award, I travelled to D.C. and got to meet generals and admirals — it was really cool.

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