In this article by NRA Women, champion shooter Vera Koo’s athletic career is highlighted in a special series titled “Second Acts,” since Vera did not start competing in the shooting sports world until she was in her 50s. Written by Barbara Baird for NRA Women.

Vera Koo admits that after she turned 70, she saw a drop-off in her performance. Age has not stopped this champion action pistol shooter from competing in challenging matches, though. If anything, she trains smarter, not harder. 

Vera holds the record for the most wins by a woman at the NRA National Action Pistol Championships, also known as the Bianchi Cup. She holds multiple national and international titles, including eight Bianchi Cup women’s titles and two World titles. She was the first woman to place in the overall top 20 at the 2001 NRA Bianchi Cup. 

At 71, she competes not only in the women’s category but also in the senior/super senior category, where she vies for titles as the lone woman going against men. People who don’t know Vera might think she has been in the shooting sports for 50 years. They are surprised to learn she did not start competing in the Bianchi Cup until she was 50, after getting serious about shooting competitions a few years earlier—truly her second act. 

This year, she saw her memoir, The Most Unlikely Champion, published by Balboa Press. She is revising the book for a second edition and considering authoring another book. The book details her rise to stardom, but also scenes from her “first act”—as a 12-year-old girl emigrating to San Francisco from China, who falls in love, gets married, has a bustling family and works in real estate development—until the loss of an infant child and a devastating life event involving her relationship with her husband—causes her to seek the solace in and challenges of the shooting sports. Training to become a world-class pistol shooter forced her to focus on becoming a professional athlete, which allowed her to heal and recover, and find her faith.

Currently, she is training to compete in the shooting sports’ most prestigious match, the NRA Bianchi Cup, held at the end of May in Columbia, Mo. So how did Vera arrive at this level of shooting, and claimed the women’s championship title again and again?

Continue reading this post from American Rifleman here.