Interview With a Gunwoman: Becca Spinks on Coming Up Through the Ranks

Becca Spinks competitive shooter gunwoman

Elaine D for TTAG

This is the first in a series of interviews with Serious Shooting Women and the first in a series of interviews with Becca Spinks, RUDY Project team shooter, writer for guncultmag.com, athlete, run – and – gunner, and mom.

ED: Hi there Becca! Thanks for sitting down and do this for TTAG. The first thing I want to do is acknowledge not only how happy I am to have you here, but also how we met, which was basically by you pounding the stuffing out of me in a ground fighting class taught by Central Texas Combatives. What a great way to meet another gunwoman!

RS: I agree, right?

ED: Since this is our first interview I’d like you to tell us about your background. How you became a competitive shooter. How old are you? How did it all start?

RS: Well, whoa!

ED: Tell us whatever you want, let’s start there.

RS: I’m in my early 30s. I started shooting with my dad when I was really young, rifles out at the ranch, stuff like that. I always had an interest in guns, and my dad taught me a lot of respect toward guns from a very early age.

This was the age when he had a shotgun mounted above his bed and a loaded revolver in the top drawer, and I didn’t touch it. I knew that, I was a good kid, and I always had that respect. It was ingrained in me from the very beginning, that I never touched a gun without my dad.

When I got older, I got really curious and wanted to shoot more. So my dad took me to the range when I was pretty young with a .357 revolver. I’ll never forget it, because it shot .38 specials and .357 magnums, and he put in three .38 specials and two .357 magnums and spun it.

That was a lot to handle. But I loved it. He always said, “I was trying to scare you away from guns. I was trying to scare you and show you the power of a gun.”

Now, we did all of this in a very safe way, my dad is not a reckless person at all. I was familiar with guns and it wasn’t like I was going to smack myself in the head or anything. But what he really wanted to do was show me how powerful guns were, and to “scare” me enough to know that they’re dangerous. Now he jokes that that backfired, because after that, all I did was ask him to take me to the range.

I was always into guns and shooting, really interested in that. When I was in my early 20s, I bought my first handgun and got into taking it to the range. I got a shotgun, too and was also taking that out.

I met my best friend/mentor/spirit animal Jonathan Foo, who is still my best friend to this day, at a range, just in kind of a random way. He started talking to me about competitive shooting, which I never knew was a thing. I was immediately interested and wanted to do it.

So, I showed up to a Steel Challenge for my very first match. I borrowed somebody’s gun – I think it was a double action H&K. And I shot phenomenally well, which we call “beginner’s luck.” The story doesn’t stay this great. But I realized how much I enjoyed it.

I immediately went and sold the gun I had, which was – don’t laugh – a Smith & Wesson compact M&P .45 — not very well suited for competition. But it was what I had, because I was a kid and wanted a .45 because I thought it was cool. I sold that, and bought an H&K USP because I had liked it so much. I shot that USP for a while.

I was young, and just out of college, and didn’t have any money to buy guns and ammo. So it was slow going at first. I would shoot a match, and then stop for a long time because I didn’t have the money to do more. It was really hard after I graduated college with a science degree in 2008. The economy was terrible, so I was taking contract jobs out in the desert, at Fort Irwin in the barracks, weird government contract work like that, and struggling to find a permanent job.

I think that’s something that happens to most people that come into the sport young, without the support of their parents. They struggle to get involved. People don’t realize, it takes a lot of money to get out there and buy all the gear you need and really compete. It’s taken me this long, probably 10 years, to get to the point where I have all the gear and necessities to compete at the level I’m at now. It’s a really slow process for most people for that reason.

So, it was off and on, off and on. I got into IDPA, which is where a lot of people start out because it’s scenario-based. Women really like to get into scenario-based training where they feel they’re replicating real life scenarios, because most women get into guns for self-defense. That’s why most women who own guns and are interested in competing tend to gravitate toward IDPA first and foremost.

From there, being young and athletic, I went toward a more athletic sport for shooting, which is USPSA. USPSA is more gear-heavy, gamey, and competitive. That’s where I really thrived, in the competition environment.

ED: When was that, if you can remember?

RS: It’s hard to pin down timelines. It happened over about a five-year period. I shot maybe three matches that first year. Now I shoot about three matches a month. It was hard training in the beginning, because I didn’t start out with all the stuff I needed. The guns were the bare minimum, not ideal. The clothes and shoes were not the right thing.

You go out to these matches and you see people with everything they need, perfectly situated. That stuff is not cheap. It’s like an arsenal you build up over time, both the guns and the gear. Back then, I was shooting with stuff I bought at Academy. It was frustrating, because you can’t really be competitive that way. But I just really enjoyed the sport.

So then, I dabbled in 3-gun, but really it was 2 gun. I would go to 3-gun matches but I didn’t own the right shotgun. There was one match where I borrowed a shotgun, but mostly I went out with two guns to 3-gun matches that were 2-gun friendly.

I built my AR-15 around 2012 when we were having a Sure Shots build class. Because of price gouging at the time, my lower receiver was like $300. I literally built the most expensive AR you can imagine because of the gouging. When I built it, I was super excited to go to 3-gun matches, but still didn’t have a shotgun.

I did that for a while, started to get into it and to think about buying a shotgun. I started shooting steel matches out at a local club, which improved my game tremendously. It’s just a fun local match, but the falling steel, the spinners, plate racks, par times and all that super technical pistol work, made me a much better pistol shooter. I shot a Springfield XD(M) in competition for years.

Then I got pregnant, had my baby, and stopped shooting for more than a year. After that, I decided I was ready to get back into it and do what I wanted to do, which was 3-gun, get sponsors, and go to major matches as a competitive shooter. My life and finances had come together in such a way that I could finally do what I wish I could have done 10 years ago.

ED: You would have needed a sponsorship back then?

RS: Yes. It was a hard time economically, and I had to build my career. I didn’t have the time either. But I eventually did land a full-time job in biopharmaceuticals. The focus was on my career a lot.

Now I’m in a way more laid-back job. But I have two other jobs, as armed security and a private investigator. And I have a toddler. I’m busy! I’m a single mom, so I rely heavily on my mom and sister to watch my daughter for a few hours when I shoot matches. They get time with her, and I get time for myself. It’s been therapeutic for me in a lot of ways, and has enhanced my enjoyment of the sport.

So, I’ve started shooting 3-gun, got hooked up with a shotgun and new parts for my rifle. I’ve been borrowing Jonathan Foo’s CZ since last May and am really into that gun. It’s a CZ SP 01 Shadow, which is kind of a unicorn now that the Shadow 2s are out. It’s the gun equivalent of the Hatori Hanso sword in “Kill Bill.”

Foo had three people work on the trigger to get it to where it is. That gun and I flow together really well. Strangely, I had a decrease in performance before I started to improve with the metal platform, just because I was so used to wrestling that polymer XDm. I’m finally getting used to the flow of this gun and getting to where I want to be with it.

I’ve also got my Hayes Custom Benelli M2, which is really sweet. I’ve got all my gear, and I’m out there shooting 3-gun matches. I’m also doing run-and-gun biathlon-style competitions now, which is really becoming my bread and butter.

ED: We’ll do a full interview on run-and-gun. Plus, gear, training women, self-defense training, how you manage competitive shooting with being a single mom, and about a hundred other things I want to ask you about, if you’re OK with that.

RS: Looking forward to it!

comments

  1. avatar B says:

    Wow! Hot photo 👌…and a badass. Doesn’t get much better than that.

  2. avatar Michael says:

    Hope for the future, wish you all the best.

  3. avatar Jeremy D. says:

    What, you couldnt get another interview with “Male Concubine”?

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      Not nearly as photogenic.
      🤠

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      I can, but I figured y’all were tired of him for a minute. They actually know each other, he and the lovely Ms. Spinks, so I can toggle back and forth if you would like.

      1. avatar bob says:

        No thanks.

        That dude is almost as bad as whoever TTAGs go to FFL guy is.

        1. avatar Broke_It says:

          Would that be Firearms Concierge you’re thinking of Bob? I agree, dude is a complete tool. The kind of sad pathetic asshole that can only make himself feel better by glorifying his role in the purchase process while lording it up over the poor customer that either didn’t know better or had no other options. I sincerely doubt he is anything beyond words on a screen. No way a guy like that could maintain repeat customers, people like him are whats wrong with the LGS scene.

  4. avatar J.P. says:

    Where’s the sign-up list for single dads who want to meet her now? 😂

    1. avatar Geoff "A cranky 'Mad Mommie' makes me happy" PR says:

      Down, boy! Down!

      (Geeze, almost as bad as that Olde English Sheepdog I had years back… 😉 )

  5. avatar MouseGun says:

    Can we keep thirst traps out of the gun community, please.

  6. avatar Dude says:

    Sweet gun!

  7. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Becca, good for you! I don’t shoot matches anymore, but consider them a great training forum. The adrenaline dump can approximate the real thing. Speaking of which, shoot matches that require street guns and street leather. Gamesmanship is fun I guess, but I never understood the point.

  8. avatar Very Cool says:

    I really enjoy that she tells her story so honestly: how hard it is for people who aren’t already loaded to take on an expensive hobby competitively. Whether it’s bass-fishing, motocross, hunting – a lot of these young folks with extensive exposure out there are bank-rolled by a father who has serious cash. This is much more real and honest. I also like that she can be forthright about her motherhood and fitting all this in. She certainly looks like she has brought it all together well. We should be exalting these kinds of women, the ones who aren’t just a bikini bank-rolled by dad, because they are what we want in our sport. Interesting and neat to learn about someone I’d never heard of before.

  9. avatar Fully Involved says:

    I never considered doing any matches because I never thought I’d have the time or money to do it, but now I’m seriously reconsidering that idea.

    Excellent work Elaine, I’m really looking forward to more.

    Also I’d generally love to see more interviews on TTAG. Getting kind of tired of those “The 3 best whateverthefucks you must own!” articles.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Thanks! Interviewing gunwomen is what I really want to be doing, but serious gunwomen are actually not that easy to find. Working on it, you will be seeing more in this series as well as another interview with a different gunwoman who heads up Girl and a Gun down here. Soon.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        I look forward to your next interview. Keep them coming! I really do enjoy hearing from women. I also got my daughter into guns. So a female perspective does interests me.

        1. avatar Fully Involved says:

          ^ What he said 🙂

    2. avatar bxbullet says:

      I’m so glad that my openness about time and financial constraints has inspired you to compete! Even if you just go out once a year for fun, you will still be growing as a shooter! Thanks for the kind comment 🙂

      1. avatar Fully Involved says:

        And thank you for sharing!
        Like you I’m also a left-handed shooter so any pointers you have for us sinister folk or lessons you learned along the way would be greatly appreciated 😉

        1. avatar bxbullet says:

          I believe there is an interview in the works on that very topic! 🙂

  10. avatar possum says:

    Wow, sometimes being a possum sucks. My girlfiend likes to shoot but her appearance is that of the buzzard won the fight over the road kill pizza.

    1. avatar James Tompkins says:

      LMAO, thanks Possum I have not laughed like that for a long time!

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Wow, sometimes being a possum sucks.”

      Possum, as the song goes –

      “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly Possum your wife…”

      1. avatar possum says:

        Poor dumb hillbillies, would a chose a deer but deer run to fast and *beep * too high

  11. avatar Bitter says:

    Wow!! Pharmaceuticals,security and private investigator plus finding time to shoot!!
    I am married have one job and barley make time to shoot once every few months. I admire her dedication to the sport with all that going on.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      There will be a future interview about that – on how she finds the time. It’s a mindset. Stay tuned.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        The happiest I have been in my life was when I was the busiest, with nearly zero free time…

  12. avatar Edward Rogers says:

    Great interview. I hope to see many more females profiled, of all ages and abilities.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      that’s the plan. You know any serious shooting women who want to be interviewed, have ‘em email Dan and I’ll take it from there!

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Elaine, I’ve trained hundreds. Always enjoyed the women most. Not for the obvious reasons. The men often had the attitude that they were taking the class because they had to so they could get a CCW. There was nothing I could possibly teach them. After all, they had seen every John Wayne movie ever made. The ladies, on the other hand, were receptive, enthusiastic and often shot better than the men in the class. Much to my delight!

  13. avatar Widdler says:

    Any reason why she uses a RH receiver?

    1. avatar bxbullet says:

      Hi! I use a RH receiver because it was all that was available at the time of my build. As you can see, I am a left-handed shooter, but the RH receiver doesn’t bother me so I have had no need to change it. My JP adjustable gas block does a great job of ejecting shells at the perfect angle so that they don’t hit me in the face! There will be more about my handed-ness issues in a future interview, I believe 🙂

      1. avatar Widdler says:

        Answered by the young lady herself? Thank you, I asked cause the lefty in our group couldn’t wait to get his. He used ours (we’re all righties) till he saved up enough and bought a stag, been a year and he still has the biggest grin when he mag dumps. Doesn’t know he dose, it’s priceless (we wait for it). Looking forward to the rest of the interview, really like these “how it began” stories. Nice benelli by the way, i’m officially jealous.

  14. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    I would love for my daughter to meet her and take a few lessons from her! Does she ever get to Charlotte NC?

  15. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Great article
    Interesting subject
    Keep these coming!

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      I agree. Thank you Elaine D. Your articles are actually a breathe of fresh air!

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        You’re very welcome. I figure the gear, comparisons and political stuff is all pretty well covered on TTAG already, so I get to write about fun niche stuff – plus I love doing interviews, as y’all have already figured out!

  16. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    Anyone who doesn’t hit up that instagram is a Gillette man.
    You’re welcome.

  17. avatar BluesMike says:

    Elaine D – if you are looking for serious women shooters, look up “Babes with Bullets.” The teachers are quite accomplished.

  18. avatar Bob says:

    The
    Shoes…
    mmmmph…

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