We had a quick chat to none other than Gemma Dunn, one of Australia’s top-level shooting athletes. We think she’s great, and wish her, and the rest of our elite-shooters all the best:
FOU: Hi Gemma, tell us all a little about yourself:
GD: I’m 21 years old and grew up in the Blue Mountains, Sydney. I currently compete in Women’s Olympic (ISSF) Trap, and I study a Bachelor of Business majoring in Sports Management at Western Sydney University. I am also am the fastest female over the land speed mile, clocking my fastest speed in 2015 at 376.5kph in our Lakester (purpose build race car) out on the Salt Flats at Lake Gairdner, South Australia.
I love animals and have owned a few in my short life, I enjoy all forms of sports and enjoy my job thoroughly.
FOU: How old were you when you started shooting?
GD: I was 13
FOU: What got you into it?
GD: I met Clive Barton and Tom Turner (who are both Olympians, Skeet and Double Trap, respectively) at a holiday park we went to for Christmas/ New Years’ in 2007 and hearing the stories of their shooting taking them all over the world had me hooked immediately. I then went with my Dad to a Beretta open day at Newcastle Gun Club where I got to shoot for the very first time. Prior to this I had never seen let alone touched a gun in my life.
FOU Why did you continue it?
GD: I continued because all the people were so welcoming and friendly and I discovered I was quite good at it from the very start hitting my first 4 out of my first five ever clay targets. I felt safe and walked away from my first ever day at the range buzzing! The whole two-hour trip home was consumed with talk about what shotgun I’m going to get and what we need to do to get our licenses.
FOU: What would she say to any females who haven’t thought about shooting?
GD: It is one of the most exhilarating and empowering things you will ever get to do in your life. It teaches you respect: respect for yourself, respect for others and most of all respect for your equipment and safety. I believe all females, no matter where you come from, should be able to feel empowered and exhilarated whilst also feeling safe and enjoyment from what you are doing.
The other thing is I have met friends for life in this sport, people that I will always be able to rely on. I have even found love (crazy I know), and have been happily with my Boyfriend for 4 years after meeting at the gun club.
FOU: What advice could you give the junior shooters (and those junior at heart?)
My advice would be; always stay strong, work hard and believe. Shooting can be a very heartbreaking sport at times, but the feeling I have gotten from standing upon a podium at the world’s second largest multi-sport event or simply enjoying a day with friends at the range far outweighs any heartbreak from missing out on that final or losing by just one target at the National Titles.
Also, when you get to my age and things like jobs, study, life start to take priority over your shooting make sure you sit down and reflect on why you do it and whether are you still getting this out of shooting. Make sure you re-examine your goals as life changes. If you don’t, before you know it you haven’t been to the gun club in months and will wonder how this happened.
FOU: What’s next for Gemma Dunn?
I am planning on finishing my University degree, then I’ll be planning to see how I can get my butt on the plane to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
FOU: If you could change one firearm law in Australia, what would it be?
You know what, having being introduced to Shooting Sports after the major overhaul of our laws and the buy-back, I don’t know a time that is any different from now. However, personally I do not mind our laws as they stand today. They still allow me to do what I love to do whilst also making it a little safer to do so. I understand that this is not the view of many, which is absolutely fine, but it is mine. I would, however, like to see each state working together harmoniously to have a nationally regulated system as it gets very confusing when I compete interstate and have to know the laws of each state and territory I go to so I do not get arrested.
Something I would like to see change though is the lack of public awareness about our sport and the fact that here, in Australia, we have it pretty good when it comes to gun control and public safety. The media and particular government parties need to stop vilifying and discriminating against Law Abiding Firearms Owner’s like we are the criminals. I am a young, hard-working, tax paying female who so happens to love Shooting Sports and actively treats safety as my number one priority whilst at the range, always. I am not a criminal and I’m getting tired of being represented as one because I own firearms.
FOU: What is your favourite brand and size of shot?
I absolutely love Fiocci, it is an Italian made shotshell and patterns really nicely with my Perazzi. For my discipline we must use 24 gram loads and I prefer 7 ½ size shot.
As Fiocci are hard to get my hands on in Australia, I also love Clever Mirage and Winchester and frequently train and compete using these shotshells.
FOU: What is your preferred barrel length and choke combination?
My chokes are Full and ¾ Full, with 30inch barrels- which is pretty standard for my type of shooting and my build.
FOU: What was the first firearm you ever fired?
It was an U/O Miroku shotgun, was heavy and booted the hell out of me but I loved it.
FOU: What are some of the technical aspects to the sport you’ve had to master.
Oh, so many! The major ones for me are: the way I swing to a target, especially since I have major balance issues from being partially deaf. Eyes and how I focus before calling for the target. And finally, mental toughness in competition.
I will probably never master all of these (most people never do) but rigorous training and confidence in my abilities will certainly help me be the best I can be, when I need it the most.
FOU: Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
If you ever see me around, feel free to come up and introduce yourself. I love to chat and I am always excited to engage with fellow shooters out there. If you want to join in on the fun (I’m talking to you, girls), or you want to get your wife/girlfriend/daughter into shooting I will be happy to help out! The more, the merrier, I say!
Gemma Dunn is one of Australia’s talented Olympic-level shooters, and regularly represents Australia on the Junior Trap team. Her favourite shotgun is her Perrazi MX2000, and is partial to Muddy Girl camo and smashing clays.