Women On Target® Distinguished Experts

Distinguished Expert MedalCongratulations, Women On Target® Distinguished Experts!

Women who participate in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program using the Women On Target® qualification patches are recognized and honored for their Distinguished Expert rating on this webpage.

Find out how to become a Women On Target® Distinguished Expert!

Cherie Sheahan

Cherie Sheahan
Ormond Beach, FL
Pistol (May 1, 2015)

"If someone would have told me I would someday earn a Distinguished Expert award in marksmanship at the age of 65, I wouldn't have believed them. I didn't even learn to shoot a gun until I was 62! My older brother bought a revolver for self defense and he took me to the local range one day for target shooting after giving me safety instructions. The long hard trigger pull of the revolver made it difficult for my weak wrists, so I was only able to shoot three shots. I decided to try again the following week until I could build up my strength, which I did gradually over the next few months. I purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 and a C.O.R.E 9mm so I could do some local club steel challenges.

I heard about a new chapter of The Well Armed Woman starting up in my community. I wasted no time signing up to become more educated and gain more shooting experience. The chapter leaders gave out books about the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program for those who wanted to try and develop the skills needed to participate in NRA action pistol competition. I liked that the marksmanship program improved my shooting speed and accuracy. I couldn't wait to get to the next level. The award pins and patches were an added bonus and I proudly wear them when I shoot. I encourage other women of all ages to get involved and participate in this great program to improve their confidence and shooting skills, while having fun at the same time."

Diana L. Hong

Diana L. Hong
Bowie, MD
Pistol (January 19, 2015)

"I was introduced to firearms by my boyfriend a few years ago. He is a Lifetime member of the NRA and an experienced hunter. He mentored me in the safe and proper handling of handguns, shotguns, and rifles. As I became more accustomed to shooting, I found myself in a rut with no goals in front of me. Then I discovered the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. Its format made each level interesting and progressively harder to attain as you moved up. I was hooked. There is no doubt for me that this program helped me to improve on my form, technique, and accuracy. I heartily recommend this program for youth and adults alike that might wish to challenge themselves. Many women are initially uncomfortable handling firearms, finding them intimidating. With proper introduction, dedication, and practice, I believe there is no limit to what women can achieve and this program supports just that. I plan to work on the last levels of Defensive Pistol I, to better my score on the skeet range, and to continue having fun with the program."

Susan-Leslie Williams

Susan-Leslie Williams
San Jose, CA
Pistol (October 1, 2014)

"It's the 1950's. I am 4 years old sporting a Daniel Boone coonskin hat, baby doll under my arm and a toy Kit Carson revolver strapped to my side. That, was the sum total of my personal gun exposure.

Fast forward several decades. My husband, Mark, and I attended a day-long NRA Basic Pistol class to determine if we wanted to obtain a gun for home protection. At the conclusion of the day, I was allowed to fire a variety of handguns, including a 44 Magnum. Talk about fun, empowering and exhausting. The instructors, to my surprise, told me I was a natural. I left that day with the Women On Target literature, my Basic Pistol certificate and a newfound hobby my husband and I could share.

Mark had been steadily nudging me towards starting the Women On Target qualification shooting challenge, and I was ready.

I was allowed to conduct all my courses of fire at the range operated by the Santa Clara County Rifle Club. The RO's and club members were supportive, always inquiring about the level I was working on that day.

I moved through the program steadily. The awards began arriving and were proof of my accomplishments. I was thrilled, and my husband was proud. The Expert and Distinguished Expert levels offered the most challenge. Timed firing, shooting one-handed, the distance requirements. Before I knew it, I had achieved my goal!

Women On Target qualification shooting provides a great venue with specific goals and parameters. The overall time spent handling a loaded gun helps to reinforce safety, safety, SAFETY!!

I encourage women who are firearms novices to work towards participating in this program."

Nancy Merrell-Robertson and Liza Kirby

Nancy Merrell-Robertson
Roswell, GA
Pistol (October 1, 2013)

Liza Kirby
Cumming, GA
Pistol (August 10, 2014)

Nancy writes:

When the Bulls Eye Marksman Sisters in Arms Chapter decided to work on Women on Target qualification shooting, many of us were experienced or semi-experienced shooters. I remember thinking that the first level was pretty easy. We were Pro-Marksman and had a cool rocker right off the bat!

But the second level, Marksman, involved sending a lot more bullets downrange. I started noticing little things that needed work, and the effects that fatigue had on my accuracy.

My friend Liza Kirby and I usually shot together and we gave each other valuable insight and advice about what we observed in each others technique. It was great to have a friendly and helpful shooting partner and we both learned more than if we'd been shooting alone. Also, it was just terrific fun to have the extra support as we completed those last two challenging levels, timing each other, checking scores, and celebrating when we succeeded!

Liza and I are both NRA Certified Instructors, and one of the main things we urge our students to do is work on and complete Women on Target qualification shooting. I often hear new shooters say "I'm really figuring some things out!"

That may be the most valuable part of this program -- figuring things out. When you shoot that many bullets over and over, you certainly do figure some things out, and the sense of achievement is pretty powerful.

Thank you, Winchester and NRA, for this truly remarkable program.

Suzette Volkmar

Suzette Volkmar
Amelia, Ohio
Pistol (November 14, 2013)

"My husband of 45 years is a Life Member of the NRA and has been target shooting since he was a boy. This was always his hobby, but not mine. After we bother retired, I would occasionally accompany him to his gun club, but his guns were too heavy for me to shoot comfortably. Last year, my Mother’s Day gift was a Walther P22 (pink). In September, my husband introduced me to the Women on Target program. To my amazement, I completed the Pro-Marksman, Marksman, and Marksman First Class in just four trips to the range. This gave me the confidence to continue. Thanks to my husband's patient instructions, one month later I completed the Distinguished Expert rating. I am encouraging my friends to try this program. It has certainly improved my shooting skills and built my confidence level. My husband and I plan to do the Defensive Pistol program next. Thanks to the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, shooting is now my hobby, too."

Janet L. Behrle

Janet L. Behrle
East Wenatchee, Washington
Light Rifle (March 14, 2013)

Janet has been disabled since she was a teenager. It wasn't until she obtained a means of mounting a scope on the left side of her rifle that she began to excel in her shooting ability. Although limited thus far to benchrest style shooting, her Women on Target Distinguished Expert achievement in marksmanship shows she has the potential to become a top shooter in her class.

Jacqui and Julie Richardson

Jacqui Richardson and Julie Richardson
Lakewood, Illinois
Pistol (Julie: November 19, 2012; Jacqui: December 11, 2012)

"My daughter, Jacqui and I completed our Distinguished Expert ratings in Pistol together, along with husband & father Larry. We started the program because it gave us structured goals to improve our competency with firearms. Neither Jacqui nor I had experience before. I can't tell you how much fun this was for all of us. We thoroughly enjoyed the hobby and time together at the range. We loved the program for its manageable goals, which allowed us to improve and feel like we were making progress. The challenges were fun and inspired some competition, which gave us a reason to go to the range and practice often. We initially started with Women on Target so that we wouldn't be intimidated by firearms, but now we've found a hobby our entire family enjoys together. We have met some pretty great people and families at the gun range, and have inspired interest in friends who would not have tried target shooting on their own. We have found this program builds personal confidence in other aspects of our lives as well. We have already started the program for Rifle and are aiming for Triple qualifications!"

Anne Valdes Roberts

Anne Valdes Roberts
Charlotte, North Carolina
Pistol (November 24, 2010)

"My husband was a life-long shooter when we met. Honestly, I initially took up the sport because it intimidated me so badly and I'm not the kind of person to back down from a challenge. Since then, I've shot everything that he's put in my hands over the last 24 years. Shooting has been a wonderful way for our family to enjoy time together and the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program has been a real encouragement to me to develop my love for the sport. As my skills improved, my personal confidence followed right along. The Second Amendment is a great American freedom and I encourage all women to support this individual right and to participate in this very fulfilling sport."

Nita Williams

Nita Williams
Gainesville, Texas
Pistol (June 19, 2010)

"I have truly enjoyed each course of fire in obtaining my Women On Target® Distinguished Expert ranking with my pistol. Now that I have finished with this, I plan on improving my skills with the rifle! My husband and I shoot together and really appreciate the time spent encouraging and challenging each other."

Tracie Buckaloo

Tracie Buckaloo
Gainesville, Texas
Pistol (June 18, 2010)

"I just loved getting to spend time on the range, especially with my husband as the instructor. We went through each course together, and occasionally I posted a better score! This course helped me hone my skills, and I enjoyed the structure of each level. It was just enough shooting to keep it fun and exciting, while not wearing you down. The certificates and medals were proof of my work and accomplishments. I want to obtain my Women On Target® Triple Distinguished Expert as soon as I can."

Belinda Petit

Belinda Petit
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Pistol (June 17, 2010)

"I'm proud to say, I hold NRA Instructor Certifications in Pistol and Refuse To Be A Victim. Following up with the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program just seemed like the next logical step for me. I must admit that I had a ball earning the Distinguished Expert Certification and would recommend it to anyone. I am very optimistic and hopeful about helping women explore the shooting sports and other NRA programs."

Susan Langford Jones

Susan Langford Jones
New York, New York
Pistol (June 6, 2010)

"Practicing, using the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program is so much more fun than just throwing lead down range. The discipline is good preparation for NRA Competitions. This structured routine adds quality to your practice of the fundamentals, and it really works. At my range in NYC, all our competition winners followed the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program to get ready. For me and my Buckmark, it took a year and three months to go from scoring in the 30's to scoring in the 90's. I accomplished this with the help from some great pistol instructors and coaching obtained at the Women's Wilderness Escape, 2009. I really wish I had discovered all this decades ago. When I teach now in NYC, NJ and PA, I make sure my students know all about the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification program."

Suzette Volkmar

Margi Constantino
Montezuma, Iowa
Rifle (June 9, 2009)
Pistol (September 9, 2009)
Shotgun (April 27, 2010)

Congratulations, Margi, on achieving Triple Distinguished Expert Rank!

"I am honored to receive the Women On Target® Triple Distinguished Expert Award from the NRA, in shotgun, pistol and rifle. I did what I set out to do!"

Cynthia Norris

Cynthia Norris
Penn Laird, Virginia
June 29, 2009

"I enjoyed completing each course of fire. The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program is challenging, exciting and fun. I now plan to complete an NRA Instructor Program. My goal is to teach and share this wonderful and challenging sport with others in the Shenandoah Valley."

LD Hartman

LD Hartman
Fritch, Texas
Pistol (June 14, 2009)

"I am so grateful for the NRA program. If you think you can't shoot … think again and just go for it!"

Karen Wright

Karen Wright
Louisville, Kentucky
Handgun - .22 caliber semi-automatic (April 21, 2008)
Rifle - .22 (May 2009)
Openrange, Inc.

"I really enjoyed completing the courses of fire and improving my skills while obtaining the Distinguished Expert rank in both pistol and rifle. I hope to continue to improve my shooting skills competing in the Women On Target® Postal Matches and promoting Woman On Target® programs wherever I can."