Home - TRENDING ON SHOOTERS UNION: TARGET SHOOTING - ‘Alpha Addy’ is the next shooting sensation and ‘NRA darling’ as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook profiles grow

‘Alpha Addy’ is the next shooting sensation and ‘NRA darling’ as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook profiles grow

“AS LONG as you’re out of the stroller and can show that you can handle firearms safely then there really is no age limit for them.”

Addysson “Addy” Soltau is nine years old. She is pictured in a lot of bright colours, notably pink and purple, her long, blonde hair usually in pigtails or a plait underneath her bright pink cap.

She’s a cheerleader, practices karate and horseback riding. She wears jewellery, including charm bracelets and earrings.

But there’s one thing about Addy that sets her apart from the rest of most young girls; she shoots guns. And those earrings? Fashioned from bullet casings.

In the three years since she first stumbled upon a video of 17-year-old female competitive shooter Katelyn Francis, who currently has more than 200,000 fans on Facebok, “Alpha Addy”, as she is known online, has become a “YouTube superstar”, of her own.

Hailed as a trailblazer for girls and young women in a time where gun control and gun culture is a sensitive issue in the United States, families flocked to see familiar faces like Addy at the annual NRA convention’s NRA Youth Day in Dallas last month.

This is a video It's FN FRIDAY with @fn_america The FN booth was super popular and it took me all weekend to get a picture with the SCAR. Fun fact the SCAR 16s was my first ever time using a semi auto rifle and something that was not a 22. We rented it from @lonestar_handgun as a reward for surviving my first karate summer camp. I was away from home for over a week. This was before I was a few months before I was alpha and before I was shooting competitively. I was just 7 yrs old. The SCAR is my absolute most favorite rifle ever. Both shots were hits on a steel target at 100yrds. #chicksdigscars @jm4_tactical @sureshotsmag @seal1_ @snakeeatertactical @rangeallies @lonestar_handgun @onyour6designs @rykerusa @thortargets @liberty_safe @triggersafe_team @tandemkross @aguilaammo @smithwessoncorp @rugersofficial @leapers_utg  @trooper_clothing @f1firearms #likeagirl

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Addy started shooting when she was six and last year, joined the Austin Sure Shots women’s gun club youth team. There are only a dozen spots for girls aged 5-12 and there’s a waiting list, too, according to founder Niki Jones.

“There are minimum age requirements to shoot at some of the ranges in our city. Her home range that she goes to now that she was going to since she was six, their rule is as long as you’re out of the stroller and can show that you can handle firearms safely then there really is no age limit for them.

“I think there are a lot of people shocked by how young she is, I guess there is really an initial shock seeing her do what she does at her age with a live firearm.”

Addy has been slowly growing her fan base since she shot her way onto the scene in 2006; A video of her reloading a hand gun has more than eight million views on Facebook alone. Add 14,000 Facebook followers, nearly 6000 Instagram followersand hundreds of subscribers on her YouTube channel.

“I thought it was cool and I just wanted to try it out, I liked how active it was,” Addy tells news.com.au from her home in Texas.

“I get to meet new people and make new friends, I get to hang out with the other junior shooters, it’s just a fun, out there activity I like doing.”

But it was her “youth celebrity” appearance at the National Rifle Association convention on May 6 this year that introduced Addy to the world and transformed her into an “NRA darling”.

US President Donald Trump attended the same convention in which he pledged gun owners “will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president”.

The youth movement is a burgeoning market for the gun movement in the United States.

Even Donald Trump Jr. was pictured holding a “POTUS .45 rile” at the Keystone Sporting Arms booth in front of a banner reading: Never too young to understand freedom”.

Staff told the Los Angeles Times that they sell “as many pink and turquoise guns as the traditional colours”.

“It really depends on the parents, I’ve seen three-year-olds on YouTube shooting rifles, rifles that don’t fit,” Addy’s godfather and shooting coach, Johnny Campos, tolds news.com.au.

“I didn’t want to put her into something that doesn’t fit because then it’s just reinforcing bad shooting habits that you’re just going to have to reteach later.”

Addy’s current rifle, according to her Facebook profile, is a Davey Crickett .22l but she told news.com.au she “has a few” firearms in her collection, including an M & P 15-22 rifle.

“I like all of them,” she answers when asked which is her favourite gun.

Initially, Addy’s mum was “apprehensive” about her shooting because “you never see anything good about guns in the media normally,” Mr Campos told news.com.au.

“But after seeing how strict the safety rules are everybody started feeling better about it. Of all the sports she does, competitive shooting is the safest, she’s never been hurt in competitive shooting, but she’s been thrown off a horse horseback riding.

“There are just so many rules that you have to go by before you even pull the trigger so while she’s shooting on the course of fire, she has people following her and making sure that everything she does is safe.

“I think a lot of the stuff that I’ve heard out there is that parents are unsure whether their kid is ready to do that kind of stuff, if they’re ready to be introduced to firearms. That’s really based off of individual maturity of the kid.”

Working on some new skills. If I do this the normal way where the magazine is pointing behind me I end up slamming the pistol grip into my shoulder hard and the rifle just gets bounced back to my front. I am also a lot faster on my draw but I'm being told to go SUPER slow. It's really annoying bit with new skills I need to learn the actual skill and what my gear does between each step. Going slow also lets you see where you are moving more than you need too. Wasted movement means wasted time. @jm4_tactical @sureshotsmag @snakeeatertactical @seal1_ @rangeallies @lonestar_handgun @onyour6designs @thortargets @rykerusa @liberty_safe @leapers_utg @tandemkross @smithwessoncorp @rugersofficial @triggersafe_team @magpul

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Addy takes part in what is known professionally as “practical” shooting; where competitors manoeuvre through courses and move around obstacles to shoot the various targets.

Addy receives a course layout and course description a few days before the actual match, usually it’s about five stages. Each stage she’ll fire 20-25 shots at various targets.

According to Mr Campos, it highlights “safe and responsible firearm usage and ownership” and “is really no different to a bowling club or club sports”.

“There’s a lot of moving from one firing position to another, engaging different coloured targets, shooting from around barricades, around obstacles, shooting one handed.

“She’s doing really good, she’s getting better every single match.”

Mr Campos is no stranger to firearms; he was a competitive indoor Olympic shooter in high school and with his time serving in the Marine Corps, he is well versed.

He is now teaching Addy’s younger sister, Trystan, to shoot. The six-year-old got a jump on her big sister, she started shooting when she four-and-a-half. Trystan shoots with a .22 long rifle because her hands are physically too small to handle a handgun like Addy.

“If it was up to her she would have been shooting a lot sooner than that,” Mr Campos said.

The statistics on young female shooters in the United States are barely there; an NRA spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the organisation “doesn’t track the number”.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation did note to the publication that there had been a 77 per cent increase in female gun ownership since 2005 and credited 5.4 million women for participating in target shooting.

Meanwhile, Mother Jones, which tracks mass shootings in the US from 1982-2018, found only two instances where female shooters were the perpetrator.

The mass shooting in San Bernardino on December 2nd 2016 was the only instance in which both a male and female were the shooters.

Earlier this month President Trump privately met with the families of some of the 10 people killed in the May 18 Santa Fe school shooting in Texas, Addy’s home state.

Eight students and two substitute teachers were shot dead and sparked even more calls to change gun laws, echoing the student-led gun control movement that demanded action after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day this year.

– Find out more about Alpha Addy by visiting her YouTube channel, Alpha Gun Girls or Facebook page.

Article first appeared on www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting on 4 June 2018 at 7:32am. Written by Matt Young

 

“I think there are a lot of people shocked by how young she is, I guess there is really an initial shock seeing her do what she does at her age with a live firearm.”

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