Tanya Gorin says that her romance with firearms began at the early age of five. “My father is a firearms enthusiast and as a way to control curiosity, taught my sisters and me gun safety via Eddie Eagle while we were young. Plinking with Dad turned into a passion that led me to competitive small bore, air rifle, and high-power shooting.”
This led her to the TCU (Texas Christian University) rifle team. “Years of honing my skill as a junior shooter for the state of Arizona brought opportunities to compete at Junior Olympics and Nationals. While high power was my passion, there was an opportunity for a college scholarship in small bore and air rifle. My grandmother went to TCU and the head coach, Karen Monez, actively recruited me.” Tanya credits that experience with teaching her life balance, persistence and patience.
And it was an experience full of great memories. “The camaraderie and life-long friendships built, the travel (Fairbanks, Alaska at 20 below, West Point in the fall, and Oahu are a few favorites), and the surreal feeling of shooting a personal-best yet not remembering it because auto-pilot took over,” she remembers.
“As I neared graduation, I reflected back on my life and realized I felt most at home on the range, around other gun people. It was then I decided that I wanted to get into the industry. Not really sure what I wanted to do, I began networking and cold calling. I found a few great mentors, absorbed what they had to share, and worked persistently to find success.”
Now Tanya is the Commercial Sales Manager at XS Sight Systems, coming to the job because of a love of firearms, a desire to work with “gun people” and networking. It was those interests that led to her connection with A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League. “I believe I first met up with Julianna at a tradeshow. It’s all about the networking!” she explains.
“I support the aftermarket sales channels for XS Sights. While this begins with strong relationships with our wholesale partners, it also requires an understanding (and willingness to learn) what each level of distribution needs from us as a manufacturer, then creatively finding a way to meet those needs,” Tanya says.
Tanya further explains, “I feel my job is important because XS Sights is all about providing precision American-machined products that fit the needs of the GOODGUY. Their flagship line, Big Dot Tritium Express Night Sights, is a solution to a problem that all too many consumers don’t realize they have. Defensive shooting is a dynamic event; the human body goes through physical changes that make it difficult to focus on the sights like you do at the range. Small, black factory sights disappear, especially when you add an imperfect lighting condition. The Big Dot is a highly visible sight, in any lighting condition, which helps the shooter place an accurate round on target under stress. I work with our aftermarket distribution channel to get our sights into local gun stores, so customers can see the Big Dot advantage first hand before they purchase.”
Thinking about her greatest challenge and greatest joy as a woman in this industry, Tanya says they are intertwined. “Being taken seriously, especially with technical information, can be a challenge. In my few short years in the industry, I’ve seen the trend change of doubting information from a female. There are many amazing women who’ve helped pave the way that I should thank for that! Age, experience, and confidence have helped overcome some of those challenges. While there are plenty out there who dismiss my comments because I’m a woman, the dichotomy is shifting. As women grow their segment of the consumer base, it’s such a joy to see the leaders of our industry embrace the shift and look to provide solutions and products that are designed for us.”
Media bias is one of the things that concern her the most in the industry right now. “There’s a large media bias that is constantly showing the negative view of firearms, breeding ignorance among our citizens, while rarely highlighting the positive. So many times I’ve had conversations with individuals who are largely against letting individual citizens exercise their Second Amendment rights, be it campus carry, concealed carry, or just owning an AR. Every time, the conversation ends with them telling me, ‘Well, you make some valid points, I wouldn’t mind you exercising that right.’”
But she has hopes and plans for the future. “I’d love to see the growth of new shooters continue, especially within the categories of women and young shooters. I was lucky enough to fall in love with firearms at an early age and I look forward to spending my career within this industry, sharing this passion with as many new faces as I can.”
Tanya’s advice to women who want to work in the industry? “Just like with any other industry, treat yourself with respect, be confident, and let your passion show.”