Texas Christian University rifle shooter Kristen Hemphill made a name for herself in collegiate shooting after winning the 2019 NCAA Air Rifle Individual National Championship as a freshman. Following up in 2020, she earned first-team NRA All-American honors in both air rifle and smallbore. Find out what Hemphill keeps in her range bag.
Hemphill as a 4-H competitor in her youth.
Tell us how you began in competitive shooting. When I was nine years old, my dad spurred my interest in shooting. He encouraged me to join the 4-H shooting program. After my first spin with a rifle, I was hooked.
Please share with us some of your major shooting accomplishments. In 2018, I won a silver team medal for smallbore rifle at the Suhl World Cup. That same year, I earned another silver team medal for smallbore at the World Championships in Changwon, South Korea.
Some of my fondest memories come from the 2019 NCAA Rifle Championships. I was the NCAA Individual Air Rifle National Champion, and my rifle team—the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs—won the Team National Championship. In addition, last year I finished in sixth place for overall individuals at the USA Shooting Air Rifle Olympic Trials selection match.
What firearms and other gear do you use for competition? For air rifle, I shoot a LG400 Walther and for smallbore, I use a KK500 Walther. In high school, I was active in a few different sports. My basketball coach passed away in 2016, and in his memory, I have a sticker with his name on it on my air rifle. He was always very supportive of my shooting career and wanted to see me do big things. I know he would be proud of where I am today.
Hemphill preparing to shoot her Walther KK5500 smallbore rifle.
Tell us about your range bag and what you carry in it besides your firearms. I use a L.L. Bean travel bag as my range bag. It’s built from a flexible, lightweight material that allows me to fit all of my shooting gear, plus extra clothes if I need them. Plus, it all stays under the 50-pound limit for airline travel. Inside, I always keep extra TSA locks in case one breaks on the trip, extra tools and firearm parts for fixing my guns, and extra copies of essential documents, such as my passport, along with firearm permits for when I’m traveling abroad.
What do you do in your free time? The little free time I have as a college athlete is spent with the rest of my teammates. They are like sisters to me and always know how to make a stressful day better.
Any tips for new shooters? For those new to shooting, I strongly suggest investing in good equipment. Then, practice, practice and practice some more. It takes a long time to master this sport because of the level of perfection that everyone strives to achieve at the higher levels. To reach that level, spending time with yourself and your gun is the best way to advance your shooting career.