Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

Our Story

A Girl & A Gun began as a simple idea to bring women together at the range. In 2011, Julianna Crowder was a Firearms Instructor near Austin, TX. Her bright and vibrant personality, along with her knowledge of marksmanship, was the perfect catalyst for what would become the nation’s largest women’s shooting league.

Although she was raised around firearms and was married to John, a Marine and life-long gun enthusiast, it wasn’t until 2004 that Julianna developed an interest in competitive action shooting and self-defense. She participated in IDPA and was often the only woman at matches. She would see women there with their husbands, but always sitting on the sidelines.
She thought it was strange that she didn’t have a high number of women coming to her concealed carry classes, so she began to investigate why women were not interested in self-defense and firearms education. Julianna identified all of the negative excuses that kept women from the range, and then turned them into positives. She decided to make armed self-defense not only a fun experience but an approachable pathway to learning this necessary life skill. The name ‘A Girl & A Gun’ popped into her head. Julianna says, “I loved it because it was me — an everyday girl and her gun sharing the love for the shooting sports.”
Julianna hosted the first Girls Night Out (GNO) at the Range on February 28, 2011. She brought her firearms, ammo, and a welcoming attitude for anyone that wanted to just “check it out” with no pressure. Five ladies attended, and they spent a couple hours at the range and then visited at a nearby restaurant afterwards. They asked when the next get-together would be, and Julianna excitedly said, “Let’s meet in two weeks!”  The idea was a success, and A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League was born!
Julianna decided to host GNO every other week, on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month. She reached out to other instructors in the area to collaborate because some were already hosting their own events. Renee Blaine agreed to help Julianna teach new shooters and get an LLC established.

Two weeks later Robyn Sandoval attended the third GNO. She was a fervent anti-gunner for most of her life, but had recently become a gun owner for the first time. Her husband, Mike, learned about the GNOs, and encouraged Robyn to go. Robyn nervously attended and embraced the opportunity to learn. She found a new circle of friends, explored different ideas, and grew as a marksman. Like other women in the group, Robyn began volunteering at events and helping the club grow.

Attendance began to increase organically with more women showing up to GNOs each time. Soon a fledgling Leadership Team was established with Julianna (President and Founder), Renee (Vice President and Co-Founder), Jennifer Galle (Membership Director), Auristela Moctezuma (Secretary), Christy Ross (Member Service), Wende Juarez (Vendor Partners), Marcie Thiessen (Leadership Coordinator), Krystal Kincell (Finance), and Robyn (Marketing & Technology). When IDPA featured Julianna in its newsletter, other instructors around the country reached out to learn how they could get on board. From the start, A Girl & A Gun was special, and women wanted to be a part of it. By September 2011, A Girl & A Gun had become a membership organization and had opened 3 chapters in Texas, and shortly after the 1-year anniversary, chapters began opening in other states, too!
During this time, the club was in need of business development support, and Julianna asked Robyn to build the A Girl & A Gun program. Robyn created the membership infrastructure by building the technology platform and procedures from the ground up to enable the organization’s rapid growth (650% in 26 months). She was instrumental in expanding the organization’s reach, improving member communication, and developing a chapter onboarding program. She established strategic partnerships for merchandising, public relations, membership management, and omnichannel marketing. She oversaw branding, social strategies, digital marketing, email communications, web properties, and print marketing collateral. Soon she also directed the organization’s finance, member service, and training initiatives, as well.
Julianna was ready to take things to the next level: host a big gathering where women could have modular training to try different sports and learn from different instructors. She had trained with Kathy Jackson, Tom Givens, and Massad Ayoob, and wanted other women to have experience in a professional setting, so that they, too, could have the confidence to jump into high-caliber classes. Julianna asked Smith & Wesson to be the Presenting Sponsor, and the little team pulled together to get instructors, logos, equipment, signage, and prizes. The first National Conference welcomed 100 women near Waco, TX. Except for the weather changing the schedule and destroying the main tent, Conference went off without a hitch!

By 2013, AG & AG was a growing national entity and required more than part-time volunteers could provide. Renee was retired and ready to enjoy life free from commitments, and Robyn was at a crossroads in her career able to make a jump into the firearms industry. Julianna and Robyn formally became 50/50 partners, both excited to build the club full-time. That is when the magic really started to happen!

Together, Julianna and Robyn formed A Girl & A Gun into the nation’s largest women’s shooting league. Hundreds of instructors across the country began offering the program as a way to welcome women to the range. They were a force at industry events like SHOT Show, making a name for A Girl & A Gun and building corporate relationships to support the mission. Julianna was always on the lookout to bring new/innovative products to the organization. She was able to brainstorm possibilities on the fly and creative ways that A Girl & A Gun could work with corporate partners, whether it was through a product offering or event.
National Conference was such a successful large-scale event that they also hosted 3-Gun University and Fall Fest, which stemmed from Julianna’s passion for the competitive shooting sports. Julianna designed 3GU with workshops presented by pro shooters that introduced new concepts relating to the platforms, props, and skills used in matches. Making education fun was always a key component of Julianna’s vision to increase participation and bring new competitors to the range. She also had ideas for stage designs that would be fun and challenging for competitors of all levels. Her concepts attracted sponsors and enabled prize tables like no other!

“I was told a woman’s organization would never thrive because of drama,” says Julianna, who was determined to debunk that stereotype. She invited Kelley Moore, a professional performance coach, to speak to the Leadership Team. Kelley provided positive communications skills for women in business and strategies for fostering emerging leadership styles. In 2015, Kelley developed the A Girl & A Gun value statements that would later become the heart of the Shooting Journal.

The league continued to grow and Robyn wanted to elevate and standardize firearms training across all chapters. In 2017 Julianna invited Tatiana Whitlock to become A Girl & A Gun’s National Director of Training. Tatiana was aligned with the mission and culture of A Girl & A Gun, and was on board to help facilitate consistent, quality instructor development. A Girl & A Gun published the Shooting Journal, training courses, and other programs to raise the bar for women’s firearms training nationwide.

By 2022, A Girl & A Gun was the leading women’s shooting organization in the United States, and Julianna felt that she had fulfilled her goals in the firearms industry. She wanted to give others the opportunity to live their dreams as she had done. She sold her half of A Girl & A Gun to Robyn, who was honored to continue the mission, vision, and culture that Julianna had envisioned and that they together had created over the previous decade.

Robyn established a National Advisory Board comprising qualified, knowledgeable women that would bring diversity of ideas and experiences to the executive level. Along with Tatiana, other incredible HQ volunteers, and Julianna’s inspiration, they offered guidance to help the organization grow and achieve its goals.

"Women like you pave the way for women like me, and for that, I am grateful."

Armed with more than a decade of experience, strong relationships in the firearms industry, and a cadre of talented instructors, A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League will continue its growth and success far into the future.