Hello friends! Welcome to my series Coffee Date With. Each month I will be interviewing inspiring, badass, and self-reliant women to share their story, to inspire you, and to keep growing this community of women that are kicking ass and taking names. I've got some great women lined up for 2018 and want to bring you along to hang out with us. So in coffee date form, get those cups ready.
While the name Niki Jones might not ring any bells to some, I know Sure Shots Magazine does. If not, let me introduce you to her. She's the badass founder and editor-in-chief of the only online women's firearm and fashion magazine around. It has something for everyone and is full of a lot of helpful and inspiring information. A lot of work goes into publishing each issue from the Sure Shots team and they never disappoint.
I was fortunate to be turned on to Sure Shots when Niki reached out to me and asked me to contribute to their magazine. She's been a supporter of SMT from the beginning and I'm lucky to know her. Our message and vision is on the same path and it's been a fun ride. Niki and her Sure Shots crew also throw one hell of party at SHOT Show. It's a great time because everyone attends and I've met so many "Instafriends" in real life at this party.
And before we get into this coffee date, can we just take a moment to be in aww of her mani?! I'm obsessed. Anyway, grab your coffee and join us for our Coffee Date with Niki Jones.
SMT: Congratulations on Sure Shots Magazine turning 5 this year. What was your motivation to start the magazine and how has it evolved over the past 5 years?
Niki: Thank you! Sure Shots Magazine was originally focused on the ladies of Austin Sure Shots, to show the world what a diverse and interesting group we are. Then, as we met more and more women in the firearms industry from all over the country, the magazine expanded its reach and now we have contributors and writers all over the world.
SMT: The Sure Shots Magazine covers and photography are always so impressive. How do you get the inspiration for the cover story?
Niki: Carrin (our Associate Editor) and I are art-school girls; she is a working sculptor and photographer and I am Creative Director for a women’s lifestyle magazine in Austin, TX. Conceptualizing covers is always really fun for us, and we love to present cover women who are positive role models and bring something unique and unexpected to the world of firearms.
SMT: Issue 22 was focused on young female shooters and as part of your women’s club you also host a young sure shots training day. I think this is such a great thing to do for young girls. How is it working with them?
Niki: Our “Mini Sure Shots” program evolved organically as the daughters of our Sure Shots members expressed interest in coming to weekly practices with their moms. Once there, they would see other young girls ages 5-12 and friendships were formed. Many of these “Mini Sure Shots” are now sponsored by national brands and competing regularly. We are approaching our sixth year of my favorite event—Sure Shots Youth Training Day, where up to 14 girls between the ages of 5 and 12 attend an all-day training course, running drills and absolutely killing it. These girls are impressive! This kind of training is a huge confidence-boost for these young ladies, especially since traditionally shooting and hunting was more geared toward boys. Nothing is better than watching an 8-year-old girl keeping up with and on the same squad as SWAT guys!
SMT: You founded the Austin Sure Shots women's gun club prior to the online magazine. What benefits do women's gun clubs provide female shooters, especially for women who are new to firearms?
Niki: In 2005 I had gotten my concealed handgun license and knew the responsible thing to do was to practice with the gun I was carrying, but I found myself constantly alone at the gun range, and honestly I was a bit bored, so I looked for a group or league to help “push” me. None seemed to exist, so I made my own, and made it everything I wanted it to be: non-political, super-inclusive, and FREE. Women are supportive of each other by nature, so a group like ours is great for newcomers and even those who aren’t yet sure how they feel about firearms. We are always happy to explain the mechanics of how a firearm works, and it’s totally cool if someone just wants to come hang out and never even shoot. For those who do want to expand their shooting repertoire, a group like Sure Shots is perfect for those who want to get into shooting sports (there is always a Sure Shot competing somewhere every weekend), hunting, unarmed defensive tactics… we even had an AR-15 projects where 12 Sure Shots assembled their own unique rifles.
SMT: What other self-defense training do you do outside of your firearms training?
Niki: Carrin and I are both Personal Protection Officers commissioned by the state of Texas, which means we can be hired to protect a third party while armed and in plain clothes. To get this commission, we had to complete 55+ hours of intensive training, plus successfully complete the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). We also often give seminars to groups of women and young girls on personal protection, self-defense and situational awareness.
SMT: Besides shooting, one of the things we have in common is a love for shoes. What's your favorite pair in your closet?
Niki: I can’t pick just one—that would be like choosing a favorite child! I will say I have a lot of classics, and I take great care of my shoes, so there are a LOT of shoes in my closet.
SMT: So I see a mix of guns on your Instagram page. What’s your home defense gun and what is your every day carry gun?
Niki: My Sig TacOps .45 is my favorite home-defense pistol, and in my house there is always a rifle handy. My EDC is a Sig P938 Equinox.
SMT: I’ve heard the Texas heat is no joke. What tips do you have to keep your hair and make-up looking fresh all day? Got any good beauty secrets for this?
Niki: It is NO JOKE, the Texas heat. I hate it, actually! I’ve found that in lieu of foundation in those face-melting summer months, Elta MD’s tinted physical sunblock protects your skin and stays on, nice and dry, on even the hottest range days. And then it stays on in the pool, post-range!
SMT: If we were to get coffee in person (or better yet a cocktail), what would you order?
Niki: I love craft-cocktail culture and will try anything—the more ingredients I don’t recognize or haven’t heard of, the better. My go-to is a nice reposado tequila, neat.
SMT: When you're not running Sure Shots Magazine, hitting the range, or self-defense training what do you like to do with your free time?
Niki: I volunteer for Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue, as both a foster and a transporter. My greatest dog-day was when I rescued four Pyrenees from the same shelter scheduled to be euthanized later that very day. The three males and one female had never met each other until they were thrown into my Suburban. I hadn’t bothered to bring any crates because I thought I was just pulling one dog, but when I got there, that changed. So I just tossed all four giant dogs in my truck, hoped for the best, and it was a huge success!