Best of the West hosts sharpshooter during International Firearms Festival
By SEAN SHAPIRO
Kirsten Joy Weiss is bringing her sharp-shooting skills to Liberty Hill.
Weiss performs trick shots on a YouTube channel that has more than 32,000 subscribers.
She also talks about gun safety and precautions, and she said she is looking forward to talking with other gun enthusiasts at the Texas International Firearms Festival Nov. 8-9 at Best of the West Shooting Sports on State Highway 29.
“(Shooting) is one of the nicest industries I’ve ever encountered,” Weiss said this week in a phone interview with The Independent. “It’s a real tight-knit community. Everybody kind of helps everybody out and this event will be just like that.”
Weiss is one of several big names, along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will be coming to Liberty Hill for the festival, which will feature more than 30 gun bays run by manufacturers for festival goers to test and fire.
“A gun can look, feel or fit you great, but you don’t really know how it performs until you shoot it,” Weiss said. “That’s something that I’m really excited about for this event. Not only trying new guns, but it also gives an opportunity to try these things before dropping hundreds of dollars.”
Weiss used to compete in Olympic-style rifle events, but started shooting and filming trick shots in 2013, an effort she started because she felt people were looking at guns the wrong way.
“If you looked at the country everyone seemingly had a fear-based need for guns, both those on the pro and anti-gun side,” Weiss said. “I started my (YouTube) channel because I wanted to look at the positives – like how spending time at a range with my family was a great experience.”
In her videos, Weiss talks about the fun, challenge and joy of shooting. Some of her videos range from well-known trick shots – like splitting a card, the “Annie Oakley trick,” – to more creative, thought-out shots where she fires shots from a moving helicopter.
Weiss said she wants to get all of her attempts into the video, even the misses, and she usually produces a new video “once a week or every other week.”
“Sometimes when I don’t miss I surprise myself, but it’s important to show those misses,” Weiss said. “I want to encourage people to have a good time and try things, it helps to know that not everyone hits the target every time.”
While YouTube views and subscribers are one barometer for success, Weiss said one of the most rewarding moments came when an 8-year-old girl sent her a trick-shot video.
“That was really cool, and trick shots are a fun way to really enjoy the sport,” Weiss said. “Sometimes (shooting at) paper gets boring.”
One thing that hasn’t been boring has been how Weiss has traveled the country working with firearms — something she never truly envisioned when she first started shooting.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania, which is a very gun-friendly state, but it’s not like we were on the range all the time,” Weiss said. “When I was in high school I started getting into competition shooting, and it all sort of snowballed from there.”
In addition to the festival, Weiss said she is looking forward to her trip to Central Texas and she wants to encourage women to come out to the two-day event.
“The event is very welcoming and open to women, this is a great chance for them to come out and test some guns,” Weiss said. “This is a pretty cool event and it’s a pretty inviting community.”