Missy Gilliland grew up in a hunting family. The competitive shooting bug didn’t bite her until she attended a 2012 match in Tennessee with her husband, retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant James Gilliland. Missy went to spend some quality time with James, as well as get some photos of him in action.
“It looked like so much fun. At first I thought it was just for law enforcement and military folks,” Missy said. “I went out to the range with him two weeks later, and it was so much fun plinking little things at a distance."
“I did a team match with him and I was just hooked on it. When you’re hearing steel ring and you can’t see it with your naked eye. It was something I wanted more of.”
Missy started her competitive shooting career in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. Precision Rifle Series matches require competitors to hit multiple long-range targets in a short time from a variety of firing positions.
The science of long-range shooting appealed to Missy just as much as the challenge.
“I’m a nerd at heart. All the factors that go into shooting long range – the wind, the environment, hitting tiny target at distance – it’s not just point and click,” Missy said. “There’s so much more that goes into it than just pulling the trigger. That’s the thing that excites me about it.”
Missy has also seen women’s participation rise since she began her shooting career, She welcomes the opportunity to help introduce shooting sports to more women, whether its through competitive shooting or being an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
“Shooting is fun. And if you’re able to safely manipulate your rifle or any firearm in an unforeseen instance, you can protect yourself,” Missy said. “It’s exciting to see more and more women come out and get involved.”
“It was 2015, and it was a Know Your Limits (KYL) stage in Florida. They had us up in a tower, with the targets 640 yards out. KYL starts with a line of targets, and they start large and get smaller. You get points for each plate you hit, but if you miss, you lose your points and you’re done. I went through the first three, no problem.
Then I went for the 4-inch plate, because I felt good and kinda cocky that day. As soon as I pulled the trigger, I saw it going right at it and hit it. That one sticks out because I was being recorded. I forgot, and I got excited when it hit. I put my hand up and screamed ‘HECK, YEAH!’”
- No. 2 female shooter in Precision Rifle Series 2015 final rankings
- Top 100-ranked shooter in 2015 Precision Rifle Series season