Mallory Stanton has been a force in trapshooting for more than a decade, and the tireless competitor shows no signs of slowing down. The Dearborn, Michigan, native has racked up an impressive record of top finishes in state, regional and national Amateur Trapshooting Association events going back to 2003. Yet by her own admission, she’s not even halfway to her ultimate goal—and is also pushing herself to excel in other shooting disciplines as well.
Stanton’s love of shooting began while growing up in the shadows of the Motor City.
“I didn’t have any brothers or sisters,” she recalls. “My parents arranged their schedules to work opposite days, so one was always off to spend time with me. When it was Dad’s day, we did a lot of outdoor things, including fishing, hunting and shooting.”
Young Stanton tried her hand at archery and rimfire, but didn’t discover her true calling until she stepped to the line of a trap range.
“I was about 10 when Dad finally let me shoot trap,” she says. “I loved the challenge, and still do to this day.”
Stanton’s father was a competitive trapshooter, which also helped fan the flames of her passion for the sport.
“I went to a lot of shooting tournaments with him,” she says. “When I was little, I’d sit on the bench and ask anyone who looked like grandpa for ice cream. But as I got older I started shooting, too.”
School-based shooting programs were lacking in Stanton’s hometown, so she focused on larger state and regional events.
“Schools in the county where I grew up didn’t condone the shooting sports,” she recalls. “In fact I couldn’t even wear a Federal Ammunition t-shirt to class. We ended up going to various shoots in Michigan and traveled to other states including Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.”
Stanton quickly become an accomplished and decorated trapshooter. In 2003 she claimed the Class D Doubles Championship at ATA Central Time Zone Shoot. The following year brought a flurry of team and individual titles at Michigan events, and her list of singles, doubles and handicap accomplishments grew with each passing season.
Along the way, she has earned Lady Champion titles at the ATA Grand American and been named to either the first or second ATA All-American team each season since 2010.
Trophies and accolades are rewarding, but Stanton also enjoys the opportunity to test her skills against shooters from all walks of life, including the likes of trapshooting legends Ray Stafford, Stu Welton and Phil Kiner—who she faced off against in a shoot-off at the 2015 ATA Western Grand.
“I love the opportunity to compete, not just against the ladies but with the boys, too,” she laughs.
Other top memories include breaking her first 200 straight in singles. “I also remember breaking a lone 99 from the 27-yard line at the Grand, and the only person to beat me was the legendary Leo Harrison, who shot a 100,” she says.
Stanton also savors trapshooting’s straightforward nature. “I was really into competitive figure skating before I got involved in trap,” she says. “Skating has so many subjective judgments, but trap is simple: whoever breaks the most targets wins. I like having a measureable standard of competition.
“I also like the camaraderie of the shooting sports,” she adds. “Even on the days you can’t hit the broad side of a barn, there are other great things to enjoy about being with your friends, having a good time. Shooting never gets old, because there’s always another challenge you can set for yourself.”
Looking ahead, Stanton’s goals include 100 straight from the 27. “I also want to increase my averages and consistency,” she says. “And travel to new places. In the end, I’d like to have shot in all 50 states. I’m about halfway there right now, and was just able to get to Hawaii.
“I also want to become proficient at other shooting disciplines,” she continues. “Right now I’m working on skeet, and that’s definitely a challenge.”
Stanton also hopes to continue striking the perfect balance between her full-time job as an intensive care nurse and her shooting career. “I’m going back to school for anesthesiology, so that will add to the balancing act,” she says.
Advice For Others
Given her experiences, Stanton encourages hunters and other shooters who have never tried trap to give it a chance.
“I’m grateful for all the memories, and for companies like Federal Ammunition for helping the sport grow into what it is today,” she says. “I definitely recommend trapshooting to anyone. It’s helpful if you have someone to introduce you to the sport. But there are so many resources available now that it’s easy to do on your own, too.”
She advises aspiring shooters to contact their local gun club and gun shop to get started. “Shooting lessons and clinics are great, too, because they can help you avoid picking up any bad habits,” she adds. “And don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This is supposed to be fun.”
Whether she’s shooting a local tournament or a national event, Stanton keeps that mantra in mind. “I’d like people to remember me as a tough competitor,” she says. “But at the same time as someone who didn’t take themselves too seriously.”