Striving for excellence does not mean that you must be perfect. It means that you use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible and get ahead of others by giving that little extra to be the best that you can be. You also have to be willing to pursue what you think or know is your passion and then drive yourself hard to make your dreams and passions come true. Jalise and Justine Williams are doing just that. They are impressive young women who show each and every day that hard work and commitment to something they love will reap rewards and help them to be excellent in their field of competition shooting.
I have taken several courses at TPC (Tactical Performance Center) at the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range in Washington, Utah. My second class in October of 2018 there involved some great instructors – Glen Wong, JoAnn Bradley and two young ladies Jalise and Justine Williams. I had heard of them but had never met them until I arrived at this course. My daughter Chandra went with me and we couldn’t believe that they were going to be a big part of teaching this class. We were both very excited.
These young ladies were 14 and 15 years old. The class was pretty big and along with us ladies there were men of all levels of shooting along with some that were from law enforcement and military background. I remember thinking, “This is so cool, but is this a joke or are these youngster really going to teach us something we don’t already know?”
Well, I for one become quickly impressed with what they knew how they demonstrated what they knew and how they taught us. I’m sure all of the men that were in that class were quickly impressed as well. These young ladies are pretty well known in the competition world but I wanted to know more about them and so I thought what better way to find out than to have them help me do a story about them with a good Q&A that I hoped would cover a good share of their lives growing up in the shooting world. Therefore, I know you will be impressed as I was after learning more about these two fascinating young women in our shooting world.
Who got you interested in shooting and at what age?
- Jalise = 4, Justine = 3
- Our dad got us interested in guns (rifles and shotguns) and hunting.
- Our mother further supported it by taking us to a Ladies Clinic and seeing that we needed to learn to shoot pistols.
What were your first guns?
- Our dad did not have a 22, so he cut off the stock on his Marlin 357 lever action rifle and loaded down some ammo for us and that was our first gun.
- It was great because when it came time for us to shoot pistols, they weren’t loud at all compared to the guns we were used to shooting. A lot of people have a hard time with the pistol going off, but it didn’t seem like anything to us.
Did you love it from the very first shot?
- Yes, we loved it! We always were excited when our dad took us shooting and hunting with him. He started taking us hunting when we were still in diapers. He would carry Justine on his back and Jalise would barely walk, he also carried her most of the time. All while carry his hunting gear and the diaper bag.
What were your thoughts when you started shooting and did you do it for fun or was competition on your minds?
- We shot for fun and to hunt. When we started shooting pistols, we also started just for fun, but as soon as we found out about competitions, it was on our minds and we started right then determined to start competing.
How many days and or hours do you practice and what are your best practice strategies?
- We practice 3 to 4 days a week and each practice is 3 to 4 hours long. We also shoot Tuesday Night Steel every week and shoot a match almost every weekend.
- Practice Strategies: Start with 25 yard head shots every single practice. No matter what drill we do, it always comes down to fundamentals. We do 3 or 4 drills. We always end with a game.
Where do you practice and how often on average?
- We practice at the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range.
How much do you practice dry practice and do you think it improves your shooting?
- When we first started competing, we dry fired every day for 30 min. to an hour. Dry fire is how we learned to reload so fast at such a young age.
- We now only dry fire a couple times a week or more if we are switching guns or have a big competition coming up.
- We think it improves shooting to a certain point. There is no substitution to live fire, not everything is fixed in dry fire, but it definitely helps.
When and what was your first competition shoot and at what age?
- Our first Tuesday Night Steel was when we were 9 and 10.
- Our first big pistol match was Berry’s Steel Open and we were still 9 and 10 years old.
- But, our first 3-gun was Hard As Hell and we were 10 and 11. After shooting that, all regular 3-gun matches seemed easy. A funny thing was, that particular HAH was very difficult and a lot of grown men were dropping out and our parents didn’t think we would make it through the match, but we did! Even though we timed out on every stage, but 1, we made it through. Last year at HAH, we didn’t time out on any stages. What an improvement!!
Who taught you or mentored you in the beginning?
- Our dad first taught us to shoot rifles and shotguns and a little pistol. However, our mom took us to a Ladies Night at SUPS and it was really the men there that taught the class that helped us and taught us all the safety rules of the range and got us interested in competition. They were all very supportive.
When was your first win and how did it make you feel?
- Justine: 2014, my first Nationals was my first Big Win. I got 2nd Place D Class Production. I was so excited!
- Jalise: 2014, Utah State: 3rd Place Junior. I was excited until after the match, I looked at the scores and noticed there were only 3 Juniors. LOL!
At what point did you realize that competition shooting was what you wanted to devote your time to?
- We were used to competition because we competed in Karate, so we liked competition.
- At Ladies Night they would split the group into two and the more advanced women would go and shoot competition and when we realized what they were doing, we knew right then we wanted to do it too.
- After a month or so, we told an instructor that we wanted to do that. He asked us if we thought we were ready to run with guns. Justine replied, “Oh No! My dad doesn’t let us run with guns!”
What do you shoot now and why?
- For USPSA, Jalise shoots Single Stack, L-10, Limited and PCC. For IPSC, Jalise shoots Single Stack. I like the 1911 platform. It is my favorite gun to shoot.
- For USPSA, Justine shoots Production, Open, Carry Optics and revolver. I worked really hard at Production to become a GM, but always had my eye on Open. Now, I get to shoot both!
After pistol, what is your next most favorite firearms to compete with?
- We like rifle. We love our Robinson Armament Rifles. They are great rifles and when we first started shooting, we weren’t strong enough to pull back the charging handle. Robinson’s have side charging handles and so, we were able to start when we were 9 and 10 even though we didn’t have a lot of strength.
What is your most favorite type of competitive shooting?
- USPSA is our favorite because you get a lot of variety. You have lots of hard shots and fast stages, it a great variety.
With the time that you devote to shooting how do your fit school and homework in and other non-shooting activities?
- We had a hard time fitting in school and shooting until we started on-line high school because we would go to school all day and then we would go to practice, but not have a lot of time to practice because it would get dark.
- We usually practice in the morning and do our school work in the afternoon.
- We only fit in non-shooting activities when we do not have big competitions coming up. When we are on trips for shooting, we always try to make time to explore new places. We like to go to museums.
Where do you go to school?
- Jalise just graduated from High School at 16 from Whitmore High School. I worked really hard. Every extra minute I had, I was working on school. I took my school work on all our trips and worked on it before and after matches, while riding in the truck, etc. Basically, whenever I could.
- Justine is currently a sophomore.
What are some of the other things you like to do in life?
- Jalise: I like to read, exercise, hunt, cook.
- Justine: I like riding and training horses. I like to bake.
What are your plans for the future?
- Jalise: I would like to go into the Army Marksmanship Unit. I plan to start college and continue shooting.
- Justine: I want to win an overall at Nationals.
What are your suggestions on how young shooters can get started?
- They should go to the range and watch what takes place. There are also a lot of classes to get people started and a lot of individuals willing to help.
What should be their first priority?
- Make sure they are mature enough. Not just mature enough to shoot a gun, but to also volunteer, carry their own gear, load their own mags and make sure they are helping the squad tape and keep ahead of the game.
- Also, learn proper safety and techniques from the beginning so you do not have to break bad habits later.
Do you suggest getting professional instruction and learn safety and range rules?
- Absolutely! Either get professional instruction or instruction from the range and the individuals there. We learned all about safety and range rules long before we stepped on a stage.
You are both pretty small young women – what do you find that are your challenges over taller, older females and males?
- We have a hard time running as fast as they do because their legs are so much longer. We struggle with Tall ports and often have to have a box.
What are your advantages?
- Low ports are for sure an advantage since we don’t have to bend down as far as a tall person.
Do you instruct classes and where?
- We instruct for Tactical Performance Center (TPC). We have mostly instructed classes in Saint George and Mesquite.
Do you find that some people – men and women tend to judge you because you are so young if they don’t know you and how good you are and know of the skills you have?
- Some judge us, but they get over it once they see us shoot, move and hear our knowledge and what we bring to the class. They also trust that TPC has us for a reason.
What happens after they see you in action?
- Most are quite at first and then almost always give us, our parents and TPC feedback that they were skeptical, but blown away at our knowledge and abilities.
Who has been the most influential person in your lives?
- Glen Wong, our coach. He not only coaches us with shooting, but he teaches us a lot of life lessons and is a great role model.
You can watch just how incredible these two sisters are by pulling up their videos on Youtube or join them on Facebook. What a joy it is for me to know these great young ladies.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: AMONG MANY NOT MENTIONED HERE:
Justine and Jalise are the youngest females to win USPSA National Titles.
Jalise the oldest sister won 2 USPSA National Titles in 2018 and 1 USPSA National Title in 2019 along with 1 IPSC National Title.
USPSA HIGH LADY SINGLE STACK
USPSA HIGH LADY L-10
USPSA HIGH LADY
IPSC HIGH LADY SINGLE STACK
USPSA HIGH LADY LIMITED
Justine won 1 IPSC National Title in 2018 and 1 IPSC National Title in 2019 and 2 USPSA National Titles in 2019
IPSC HIGH LADY PRODUCTION
IPSC GOLD, HIGH LADY PRODUCTION
SILVER FOR THE PRODUCTION TEAM WIN AT THE PAN AMERICAN GAMES
USPSA HIGH LADY OPEN
USPSA HIGH LADY CARRY OPS
About the Author
Coni Brooks is the previous owner of Barnes Bullets and avid hunter and competitive shooter in USPSA and 3-Gun. She is an NRA Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for Personal Protection Inside and Outside the Home. She has hunted in numerous countries around the world and in approximately 25 different states. She is the Chapter Facilitator of the Central Utah chapter of A Girl & A Gun.