How My Journey Began Into The Shooting World

By Julie Loeffler

This may sound like a punch line to a bad joke, but my husband gave me my first gun instruction, just not in the context you’d think. As a matter of fact, at the time he wasn’t my husband.

Fresh off a divorce and a move from Cincinnati to Columbus (OH), I found that it was up to me to provide for my self-defense. Sure I had my unarmed skills from my martial arts training, but luckily my father off ered another choice for self-protection. He gave me a gun with only one stipulation: I was to find a shooting range, get some instruction and practice.

At the time, I didn’t have much of an opinion about shooting, concealed carry or home protection. So I was going into this experience with an open mind. I happened to find a shooting range less than 5 miles from my apartment. I scheduled the private instruction on evening aft er work, carried my old Charter Arms revolver wrapped in a light blue towel and crammed into a shoe box under my arm and into the shooting range. I must have looked unsure or confused, because my instructor spotted me right away. He was pleasant, polite, well spoken, and he knew quite a bit more about shooting than I did.

The hour-long instruction flew by as I learned the basics of my gun; how to load, hold and fire. With rented eye and ear protection, a new box of ammo and a couple “vanilla” targets (bulls-eye type targets), I took my first step onto a live shooting range. Of course, my instructor went with me, but I did all the work. When my box of ammo was emptied and my targets had (some) holes in them, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and empowerment. I liked it so much that I bought my first soft gun case that night in order for my old Charter Arms gun to have a fitting home.

After such a positive experience, I decided to practice my shooting skills two or three times a week. It was fun, and I could go right aft er work, empty a couple of boxes of ammo and be home at a decent time. Occasionally, my firearms instructor would be checking on me to see how I was progressing, or so I thought. Turns out he was smitten!

After two months of me coming to the range, he finally asked me out (I said yes, naturally). And the rest, as they say, is history. We dated for 5 years, married in 2007, and it’s been an adventure all the way. And, of course, the training continues.


Julie Loeffler, owner and operator of Mid-Ohio IMB (Delaware, OH), is an Associate Instructor in the IMB Academy, the school founded by Richard “The Iron Dragon” Bustillo, which continues to teach the concepts of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, and also a brown belt Under Supreme Grand Master Cacoy Canete in Filipino Eskrima. She also teaches handgun basics to women and is a published author for The Personal Defense Network. Julie believes that empowering individuals to identify and adopt what works best for them in armed and unarmed defense is the most practical approach to personal safety. Contact information: /