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I am from the small town of Milwaukie, Oregon, located on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. I came from a background with no firearms experience growing up. While dating my boyfriend (now husband) he took me shooting for the very first time at a sporting clays event at the Big Horn Gun Club. I can remember picking up that 12 gauge shotgun and feeling awkward, yelling “PULL!”, then lining up the bead sight with the clay pigeon and as I was getting ready to pull the trigger, closing my eyes in anticipation of the recoil. Then much to everyone’s surprise, BAM! I hit it!!! That was the best feeling in the world and I have been hooked on shooting ever since!

I ended up moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2009 to be closer to my boyfriend (now husband). After he graduated the Law Enforcement Academy we got engaged and later were married in 2010. Throughout those years he took me shooting several more times. When he decided to take me pistol shooting, he had me start out with a little .22 cal, and I shot it a few times and said, “Well that was fun, but easy, give me the next one!” So, with a surprised sound in his voice, he said, “ok, try this one!”, as he brings me a .9mm. So again, I shoot it a few times, and say, “ok, that was fun but I want to try the next one”. So, he hands me a .40 caliber Glock, I shot it a few times and said, “I hate that one, but let me try the next big one!”. So, he hands me a 1911, .45 cal. and I absolutely loved it! He had the biggest grin on his face when I told him that, so he called his Step-Dad on the way home and said, “You will never guess which one was her favorite?” So, for my wedding present, my Father-in-law endlessly searched for the perfect 1911 for me, which was a nickel plated, government issued, pre-series ’70, and he even found me hot pink grips to go with it!

In 2012 we had our first born child, which changed my entire world! I quickly became a protective Mama Bear and the instincts kicked in. I had decided I would do anything to protect my family and the ones I loved. So, feeling the need to protect my family while my husband was away at work, I decided to get my concealed carry license in 2013, and have been carrying a firearm ever since.

After watching my husband and father-in-law shoot in multiple competitions I knew I had to get in on the action and wanted to give it a shot myself. That’s when I got in contact with my Range Mom & Dad, Jim and Nanci Lambert, who took me under their wing and taught me what I needed to know, to be able to shoot competitively. In 2015, I started shooting competitively in USPSA pistol matches.

The Christmas of 2016, I was surprised by my In-laws with a membership for A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League and a shooters slot to attend the AG&AG 3-Gun University held at the NRA Whittington Center. It was an amazing experience, being able to get hands on 3 gun training from other women shooters and instructors.

Over these wonderful years of shooting I began to be approached by other women who also wanted to learn more about shooting sports. In 2018 is when I obtained my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Certification, so that I would be able to train women in a safe and non-judgmental environment, how to shoot a firearm proficiently.

I am currently a sponsored shooter for Firebird Precision and Ergo Grips and am so grateful for all the opportunities they have given me, in being able to do what I love in the shooting community. It will be exciting to see where the ladies who join A Girl and A Gun, will take their own path in the 2nd Amendment community. We have an amazing group of ladies already, and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to help guide them, alongside our A-team Instructors and coaches, to where they want to be.

Ashley Leatherman

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