Firearms have always played an intricate role in the life of Danielle Shuster.
“When I started shooting it was a family affair,” explains Danielle. “My mom, dad, and I would go to the range on the weekends and practice. It wasn’t so much about shooting as it was just spending time together. As I started to get better, my dad and I started shooting local competitions.”
Local competitions quickly turned into out of state events and even JR Worlds. She competed on her high school’s rifle team, but her true passion was first and foremost clay shooting. Danielle soon became the most accomplished female shooter from Western Pennsylvania.
In 2005, she dominated the state championship in Shenecoy Field in Huntingdon County, earning eight titles at once. She won 28 gauge junior, 12, 20, 28, .410 gauge lady, doubles lady, high overall lady and high all-around lady, including doubles.
To Danielle, competing when you’re young is very different from when you’re an adult. “You don't have all the stresses and the reality you have when you are an adult,” she explains. “You're just carefree, and I didn't think about the crowd and everyone watching or if I missed. It would be a different story now, for sure.”
In the following years, she went on to study at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she majored in art history with a minor in classical studies. Throughout school, Danielle continued to shoot and worked at local gun clubs. After graduating from GMU, she decided to pursue an education in gunsmithing to expand her knowledge of firearms and develop new skills.
For the next two years, Danielle studied the art of gunsmithing at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado. “My Bachelor’s degree is in Art History so it shouldn’t have been surprising when I started concentrating on making firearms beautiful. I enjoyed scrimshaw, engraving, checkering, and stock-making. My passion was the artistic side of perfecting firearms, not so much the technical side of making them.”
Having completed her training, Danielle now works at NRA Headquarters as a Merchandise & Firearms Coordinator. It’s clear firearms have been more than a sport, a part of her education, and now a career for Danielle. They’re her passion.
Interested in turning your passion into a career? Watch the video below! Then check out the NRA Gunsmithing Schools to find the program that rights for you!