The law in Australia states you have to be 12-years-old before you can obtain a junior firearms permit. So, as soon as Cherie Blake turned of age, she was shooting rabbits with a .22LR at the farm she grew up on. Blake’s father and sister were both already involved in handgun competitions, so it was only natural that Cherie join them. She says she began competing to beat her sister, who is five years older. “Even if I was only practicing at our local range, in my head I was competing against my sister.”
Recently, Blake has turned to shooting action matches, having represented Australia six times at the Bianchi Cup and World Action Pistol Championships (WAPC). She won eight Australian National Championships. 2016 was a year of seconds—she finished second in the Ladies Division at the Bianchi Cup and the WAPC, and additionally second place overall at the SSAA Australian Action National Championships.
She competes with a STI 2011 that has been customized by Australian gunsmith Ray Pulver. It has a compensator, shroud with wings, mover mount and an ML3 Aimpoint red dot. This handgun shoots under an inch at 50 yards. For ammo, she uses Hornady HAP 115-grain projectiles.
Blake uses an Eagle Industry Range bag that has a handy insert that she can take out and use as a small bag on the line at matches. In it she carries mags, spare ammo and one Allen key. Thanks to this bag insert she doesn’t have to carry spare mags on her belt, which allows her to get into the prone position quickly.
For Blake, it’s important to train the same as how she competes. She always carries Areoguard (insect repellent), the rule book, sports tape (for her gun) and wet wipes to keep the lead on her hands as low as she can.
For those interested in getting into the shooting sports, Blake suggests heading right to your local shooting club. Shooters are very helpful people and will offer advice and equipment to anyone interested. Blake suggests, “Pick the advice you listen to.” She points out that new shooters get a lot of advice, especially juniors and women. Everyone wants to tell you how to shoot, what to do and what to buy, but be critical of all this new advice because, although well intended—sometimes it’s just wrong.
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