Walther Team

Team Walther has taken the shooting sports by storm, winning at the highest levels of USPSA, IDPA and 3-Gun competitions around the United States. Also, competing in IPSC competitions around the world. Hours upon hours of practice, thousands of rounds fired, multiple trophies acquired, but Team Walther’s best attribute is their ability to communicate and show how great the shooting sports community can be by helping others at matches and being great people to squad with.

Walther Team Gabby Franco - Photo by Steve Loker

GABBY FRANCO

Originally from Venezuela but now living in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Gabby was first introduced to shooting at a young age by her dad, who taught her firearms safety and shooting technique. Since then Gabby has competed in dozens of countries, won national and international medals, competed in the Olympics, became the first woman to advance to the final phase of Top Shot, given classes on the mental aspects of shooting and written her first book, ‘TroubleShooting: Mastering your Pistol Marksmanship’.

For the past 28 years, Gabby has continued to practice in multiple disciplines, including air pistol, sport pistol, USPSA, 3-Gun competitions, and IPSC. Currently, Gabby competes in USPSA Carry Optics and IPSC Production Optics, but aims to begin shooting 2-Gun competitions with pistol and rifle. The one piece of advice that she carries with her is: “Always visualize what I want to achieve.”

Gabby’s competition set up includes a Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame in 9mm, topped with Vortex Venon 6 MOA, loaded with Armscor 124gr and reloads. She also uses a CR Speed belt, Red Hill Tactical Holster and Blade-Tech mag pouches. What makes Gabby proud to be part of the Walther Shooting team is that 20 years on, after using her first Walther GSP .22LR – her first firearm, and the one she took to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney – she’s not only using a Walther pistol again, but part of the team, saying: “It is like having one of my dreams as a teenager come true. I love the attention to quality, performance, and design that Walther puts into their guns.”

HWANSIK KIM

Based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Washington state, Hwansik first started shooting competitively in 2014, but before he shot rifles recreationally and while in the military. Today Hwansik competes in IPSC and USPSA matches and the competition he’s most proud of winning is the 2019 IPSA Extreme Euro Open.

Not only does Hwansik compete, but he also runs teaching sessions online at pstg.us and offline, saying that he likes to analyse and help others get better at self-analysis. One piece of advice he likes to share with his students is to: “Stop criticizing and just analyse”, after dishing out the advice once, it has stuck with him ever since.

Hwansik has been shooting Walther pistols since 2017 and says: “My Q5 was the perfect optic ready pistol to shoot both Carry Optics and Production division”. His Walther Q5 is a Match SF model in 9mm, fitted with a Trijicon SRO 2.5 MOA, which shoots PMC 124gr ammo and is fitted via a Ben Stoeger Proshop Boss holster. He added: “I am proud to shoot Walther Q5 Match SF. This pistol has all the modern features like its optic ready mount, fiber optic front sight, replaceable grip panel, and ergonomic design.”

Walther Team Hwansik Kim
Walther Team Bobby McGee

BOBBY McGEE

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Bobby McGee first started target shooting at the age of seven-years old and was taught by his brother a retired SWAT Sergeant, who explained all about firearms and firearms safety. Today Bobby is a professional action pistol shooter, who has been shooting competitively for 21 years. He comes from a military background and is currently the Vice President of Engineering for The Safariland Group.

<>When he’s not competing in championship and state matches, Bobby enjoys teaching and passing on his wealth of experience, which he does through his training business Bobby McGee Shooting, focusing on competition shooting and teaching law enforcement for The Safariland Group. He says: “In our sport talent and speed can get you so far however accuracy wins matches. You have to shoot about 95% of the stage points in order to do well. Accuracy is key and I was told to shoot accurately over speed and then speed will come.”

Bobby competes with a Walther Q5 SF 5” with Q5SF grips and a Trijicon SRO optic, fuelled by handloaded Hornady ammunition. What makes him proud to be part of the Walther Defense Division is that the difference between success and failure lies in a good team, saying: “I am proud to be part of the team and to represent the Defense Division. I feel I have so much to offer and I am proud that Walther sees my ability and knowledge in the commercial market, competition shooting sports, military and law enforcement categories.

ALBERT SALINA

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Albert purchased his first pistol the day he turned 21, while in college studying criminal justice. Knowing he wanted a career in law enforcement, his aim was to become familiar with firearms and from that moment he was hooked. Starting his career as a municipal police office in 1993, he moved to a state police agency in 1998 and has been there ever since. Albert is currently a lieutenant in his agency and holds a Master Peace Officer certificate.

Albert started competing in USPSA matches in 2006 and primarily competes in USPSA Production Division, where he’s a Master Class shooter. He also enjoys shooting Steel Challenge and competing in law enforcement pistol and rifle competitions. One piece of advice Albert would like to share with other shooters is: “Always do your best to help out new shooters. Take your time to answer a question or offer some helpful guidance. Often a new shooter’s first impression of the competition shooting community will determine if they decide to stickaround.”

His current competition set up includes a Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame in 9mm, fitted with a Sprinco competition trigger spring kit and LOK aftermarket grips. He also runs Taylor Freelance base pads on his magazines and shoots Precision Delta ammunition. Discussing being part of the Walther shooting team, Albert added: “I am honoured to be able to represent a great company like Walther Arms and privileged to shoot alongside some outstanding people.”

Walther Team Albert Salinas
Walther Team Chad Stanton

CHAD STANTON

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Chad first started taking self-defense and tactical shooting style classes in 2005, as he wanted to learn how to shoot and protect himself while carrying a firearm. This eventually lead him to competing in USPSA in late 2019, where he’s currently a Master in three divisions; Limited, Open and Production. Chad has since won multiple Oklahoma State Championships in Production and has also won Limited and Open Divisions as well. However the competition he’s most proud of is his overall Production match win at the 2018 Louisiana Gator Classic.

Although he doesn’t teach, Chad runs USPSA matches at his local ranges and really enjoys getting people involved in shooting sports. One piece of advice that has stuck with him throughout his shooting career is: “Do not try and compete at another person’s level, shoot your own game.”

Today Chad shoots a Walther Q5 Steel Frame in 9mm and reloads his own ammunition, using 125gr Gallant bullets, VVN320 powder and CCI primers. Included in his gear set up is a Red Hill Tactical Holster with a BOSS Holster Hanger, Ghost 360 mag pouches, Springer Precision base pads, Double Alpha belt and Rudy Project Rydon shooting glasses. What makes him proud to represent Walther is: “I am thrilled to be a part of a team with so many other great shooters and competitors. The guns and gear that Walther produces are among the best available for performance and reliability.”

LOREN PENDERGRASS

Living in Central City, Arkansas five minutes from Walther’s North American headquarters, Loren first started competing with pistols in 2012, but before that had tested and got his concealed carry weapons permit and carried every day. When he realized his pistol skills left a lot to be desired, he began competing to help speed up the learning curve. Now Loren competes in USPSA, Steel Challenge and F-Class rifle matches. The competition he’s most proud of winning is the 2016 Arkansas Production overall winner.

Although he doesn’t formally teach, Loren works with many different people who are just getting into pistol shooting or looking to improve, as he believes in the mentality of paying it forward. One piece of advice that’s stuck with Loren his whole shooting career is: “Don’t shoot faster than you can see your sights. See your sights and call the shot, as once you master these techniques in real time, they are really your throttle to how fast you can shoot.”

Loren currently shoots a Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame pistol in 9mm, loaded with 135 to 145gr bullets over 3.4-3.7gr of Sport Pistol powder, which typically gives him around 135 to 140 power factor. He also runs a RLN holster and magazine pouches on a Safariland belt. What makes him proud to be a part of the Walther Shooting team is: “Having the opportunity to travel to many places around the country and shoot matches that I typically wouldn’t have been able to shoot. In recent years, Walther has gone above and beyond in their commitment to the sport shooting industry. They are the only manufacture that I know of, who have offered money for placing at big matches while using their pistols. But what a lot of people don’t know is the generosity that Walther has when it comes to contributing to big matches. I have helped run several big tournaments over the last few years in Arkansas, and Walther has made big donations to these matches so they could be a success.”

Walther Team Loren Pendergrass
Walther Team Luke Cao

LUKE CAO

Living in southwest Ohio, Luke started shooting pistols in the spring of 2015 for self-defense purposes, but as his interest grew he became serious about shooting sports and eventually started competing. Today Luke competes in USPSA, IPSC and IDPA. Last year, he had huge success winning the 2019 USPSA Ohio State Championship in Carry Optics, Indiana Section Carry Optics Champion, Virginia State Championship in Carry Optics and fourth overall in the USPSA Carry Optics National, saying: “I am very proud of the fourth place score, as that’s my best overall finish in my shooting career so far.”

Outside of competition, Luke teaches both new and competition shooters. He takes pleasure from sharing his understanding of pistol shooting, to help others improve their skills and one piece of advice he always shares is to: “Call your shots”.

Luke competes with a Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame in 9mm, topped with a Trijicon SRO 5 MOA, loaded with Atlanta Arms Match ammo, as well as reloads. He also chooses Red Hill’s Tactical holster and Hunters HD Gold shooting glasses. Discussing representing the Walther Shooting team, Luke added: “Shooting is not only a sport but also an art. It’s a way to compete and win, and it’s a way to unite the body and mind. Walther Arms is the performance industry leader who make the best competition and service firearms. Our team are composed of world class professional shooters, committed to winning and for that I am proud to shoot Walther guns and be one of the team.”

LUIGI LI

Based in South Florida, Luigi bought his first handgun when he turned 21-years old, while living in California. It wasn’t until three years later, when he moved back to Florida in 2012 that he started shooting recreationally. After a year of practice, he found a local USPSA club, became a member and began to get more involved, helping out with matches, joining the local board of directors and traveling and working at major matches.

Luigi primarily competes in USPSA, IPSC, Steel Challenge, IDPA, Pro-Am and Multigun, winning a few level II USPSA matches and his first level III in Texas in 2019. In IPSC, Luigi has achieved top three finishes at national level and regional level wins in Steel Challenge and Multigun, but his proudest achievement is winning the Doubletap Championship in 2018. Luigi also carries out some individual coaching and has held training events in Florida, where he reverts back to primarily reinforcing fundamentals and basic movement. The one piece of advice he would like to pass onto other shooters is: “Don’t get in your own way. It doesn’t matter how everyone else is performing, you are the only person who can have an effect on your score.”

For the past two years, Luigi has been shooting Walther’s polymer Q5 Match, but has recently changed to the Walther Q5 SF chambered in 9mm. He is currently using a Leupold Deltapoint Pro optic, but testing an Aimpoint ACRO P-1 which he may adopt for the current season and for ammunition, he sticks to Atlanta Arms Elite 124gr for matches. Luigi is proud to represent Walther, as: “The brand makes great reliable firearms and supports the shooting sports. Without companies taking an interest, our sports wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as they currently are.”

Walther Team Luigi Li
Walther Team Michelle Waldran

MICHELLE WALDRAN

Born in Seoul, Korea, but now calling Tulsa, Oklahoma her home. Michelle was first introduced to handguns at the age of 14-years old, when visiting her uncle on summer break. Fascinated by his handgun collection, he taught Michelle all about the components, safety and mechanics of pistol functions and when he asked if she wanted to go shoot, the answer was a no-brainer. Years later, when Michelle turned 21, she returned to pistols as a way to protect herself.

Now a certified NRA pistol instructor, Council on Law Enforcement and Training (C.L.E.E.T.) handgun instructor and Oklahoma self-defense act instructor, Michelle teaches ladies to shoot proficiently, as well as running a local chapter with the Well Armed Woman in 2015-2016. She added: “I found it very rewarding to see the smiles on their faces as they make their hits. It’s very rewarding to share the knowledge that I have obtained over the years.”

Michelle shoots a Walther Q5 Match SF, housed in a Dara Holster, with Taran Tactical Innovations base pads for holding extra rounds in her Walther PPQ magazines. For everyday carry and competition, she uses Tacbeltz and her sight option for competition is Daweson Precision and for night sights on her everyday carry, she chooses XS Sights. Commenting on being part of the Walther Shooting Team, Michelle said: “Walther Arms is well known as a globally respected firearms company. I am so honored to be part of the shooting team and hope I represent them well.”

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