FAITH & JENNA COLLIER
As shooting sports ambassadors go, Federal Premium’s Faith and Jenna Collier are some of the youngest guns around. But the straight-shooting sisters from Austin, Texas, are quickly making their mark on the sport as they explore the exciting realm of steel and multi-gun rimfire competition.
They aren’t making their journey alone. Through ambitious social media campaigns that include a series of serious yet undeniably heart-warming YouTube videos and Facebook posts, the girls are taking the world along for the ride—and recruiting other new shooters in the process.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Faith, 11. “There are so many positive things about competitive shooting, from the chance to learn and improve your skills in practice to the excitement of the matches and the social side of the sport. We also really like the mental aspect of figuring out how to achieve the best combination of speed and accuracy.”
“We enjoy getting to meet new people, too,” adds Jenna, 9. “And it’s a great way to spend time together as a family.”
The girls’ shooting pursuits are definitely a family affair. Their father, Anthony Collier, introduced them to firearms at an early age and is actively involved in their training and competitions. Their mother was equally supportive and recently began shooting competitively as well.
“Safety came first, and still does today,” says Anthony, who is an Army veteran and avid shooter. “We waited until the girls were old enough to memorize and understand the basic rules of gun safety before taking them shooting for the first time.”
When the girls passed their parental safety exam after weeks of practice, the family headed for the range. To ensure the experience was a success, Anthony conducted extensive research on potential guns for the big event, and eventually settled on a petite 22 caliber pistol that would fit their small hands. Faith was 9 at the time, Jenna was 7.
“They loved it,” Anthony recalls. For the next 18 months, both girls regularly accompanied their parents to the range, and quickly became proficient in the fundamentals. They were also encouraged to become intimately familiar with firearms. “Having the girls clean and maintain their own firearms helped them comprehend the mechanics of their guns, which in turn enabled them to identify problems or malfunctions on and off the range.”
At first, Faith exhibited a bit more passion for the firing line than Jenna. Anthony fanned those flames by encouraging her to try her hand at competition, and in March of 2016, Faith attended the Texas Steel Competition in Bulverde, Texas. “Everyone there was very welcoming and supportive,” she recalls.
While at the event, Faith struck up a friendship with another young shooter, Vanessa Aguilar, who in turn introduced her to the Austin Sure Shots shooting club. Faith soon began practicing with the group, which she found extremely helpful in building her confidence and advancing her shooting skills.
That May, when Faith was unable to attend a regular match due to a school trip, Jenna surprised her parents by asking if she could go to the match instead. They enthusiastically accommodated her request and Jenna, too, was quickly hooked on the thrill of competition.
“She had a blast,” says Anthony. “On the way home from that match, Jenna asked if she could start practicing with the Sure Shots, too. Shortly after that, she followed in her sister’s footsteps and became an official junior competitive shooter.”
The girls have been active competitors ever since, working practices and matches into busy schedules that include a variety of other activities including dance, choir and band—all while maintaining straight A’s in school. They currently participate in steel challenges and two-gun matches, and look forward to trying a variety of other shooting disciplines in the years ahead.
Social Media & Beyond
To document the girls’ journey, Anthony helped them start a Facebook page, “Faith & Jenna Collier – Junior Competitive Shooters.” Their posts and videos drew such positive responses, they created the YouTube channel “Collier Gun Girls” a short time later. “Our YouTube channel offers a variety of videos including match highlights, ‘sister shootouts,’ training drills, gear reviews and anything related to guns and shooting,” Faith explains.
“We really enjoy making the videos, and a lot of people have told us they enjoy them, too,” adds Jenna. “We’ve also had parents tell us they use the videos to help introduce their children to the shooting sports. So we plan to do more geared to new shooters.”
Not surprisingly, shooting industry manufacturers including Federal Premium have taken notice of these efforts, and the girls now have the backing of a number of sponsors. “Having a company like Federal Premium sponsor us was both an honor and a huge accomplishment,” says Faith. “We’re very thankful for all the support everyone has shown us.”
Looking ahead, the Collier Gun Girls hope to continue honing their shooting skills while encouraging non-shooters of all ages to give the sport a shot.
“We want people to know that if you’re physically and mentally prepared, and have someone who is properly trained show you how to shoot, there’s nothing to be apprehensive about,” says Faith. To which Jenna adds with a contagious smile, “And instead of being scary, it will probably turn out to be really fun—just like it did for us.”