NRA Pistol winner started his military career in high school, learned pistol later
Port Clinton, Ohio - Patrick Franks didn’t start with a love for pistol. Probably an odd thing to hear when referring to NRA’s 2014 National Pistol Champion, but that doesn’t make it any less real.
“My father started me shooting smallbore when I was a freshman in high school,” Franks explained from the Hough Theater stage in Camp Perry, Ohio. “I got older, less interested, joined the military and became more interested.”
Probably a familiar tale.
As a young man in Las Vegas, Nevada, Franks grew up with the idea of joining the military. Marksman or not, he simply had the desire to serve.
“I joined the Army National Guard when I was in high school.”
“Yes,” he said with a smile. “I went through Army Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the summer between my junior and senior year. They were kind enough to release me soon after graduation so I could join the Marine Corps.”
The talent, however, was not immediately appreciated. It wasn’t until Franks won a bronze medal during a division match in Quantico that a team came calling. The Marine Corps Pistol Team. Unfortunately the timing was off.
“My son was about to be born. I didn’t want to miss the first summer of his life.”
When revisiting the idea a few years later, he was told he door was closed. His career as Marine would close soon after.
But the call to serve still beckoned. Joining the Virginia Army National Guard, Franks took part in the All Army Small Arms Championships soon after returning for a successful overseas deployment. Winning the Novice Category turned some heads.
Offered a spot on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit team, Hh’s been placing near the top ever since. It wasn’t until this, however, that his true potential sprung forth.
“This year I had a real fire in my belly and wanted to win. I was shooting pretty well.”
Well enough to edge out the competition by 16 Xs. Well enough to stand alone as the 2014 National NRA Pistol Champion.
From here it’s back to training. Training for Franks and training by Franks. The concept of becoming a troop multiplier - making better marksmen out of our fighting men and women.
“This is how I can really put my skills as a National Champion to work. Not only training our war fighters to be better for themselves and the country but to showcase the skills the Army Marksmanship Unit has passed on to me.”