May 12th, 2021

Kirsten Joy Weiss — Annie Oakley for the 21st Century

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

Talented sharpshooter Kirsten Joy Weiss is featured in an episode of NRA All Access. The show covers Kirsten’s development as a competitive shooter, and her success as a trick-shot artist with her own popular YouTube channel. Here’s the All Access segment featuring many of Kirsten’s most famous trick shots.

During the video Kirsten also talks about her background in shooting and how she wants to be a good ambassador for the shooting sports, “spreading the positive reality of shooting”. Kirsten explains: “The fun challenge and joy of shooting is important to me because I really wanted to be a positive example. So when the media says the ‘guns are a bad thing and nobody does anything good with guns’, they can say ‘Well, what about her [Kirsten]’?”

Kirsten: “I think that it’s important for young girls to have somebody that they can look up to… I feel responsibility to show young shooters coming up, especially females, that you can respect yourself and shoot a gun as well.”

annie oakley kirsten joy weiss trick shot YouTube channel

Kirsten Joy WeissA gifted “natural” shooter, Kirsten started shooting fairly late — at age 16. Despite her relatively late start, she learned very quickly, and managed to earn a place on the University of Nebraska shooting team. That literally opened up a new world for Kirsten: “During the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone to World Cups… in Zagreb, Croatia, in Munich, Germany. I’ve won National Championships, and got on to the U.S. Olympic short list, so it’s been a good career.”

Kirsten tells us: “A lot of people don’t think of shooting as a sport, but it absolutely is, and I would even go so far as to say that it is an art form.” We don’t know if this is art, sport, or magic, but very few shooters have the skill or flexibility to make this upside-down shot…

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

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November 4th, 2020

Annie Oakley — America’s First Shooting Superstar

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Profile by T. Logan Metesh
Annie Oakley learned to shoot at a young age. It started as a skill developed to help feed her family when she was still known as Phoebe Ann Mosey (or possibly “Moses”). Annie began shooting and hunting by age eight, to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She honed her skills, adopted the stage name Annie Oakley, and earned the nickname of “Little Miss Sure Shot” for her expert marksmanship.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley’s trick-shooting and marksmanship skills were so good that she toured the world as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for more than a decade and a half. It was rumored that she was one of the highest paid performers in the show. Annie was known for making some truly astounding shots: hitting dimes in midair, aiming backwards through a mirror, and more. She traveled overseas with Buffalo Bill and performed for royalty in England, France, Italy, and Germany. Annie even shot the ashes from a cigarette held by Kaiser Wilhem II!

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill
Biographers say Annie met her husband, Frank Butler, at a shooting competition when she was just 15. Young Annie beat Butler in a one-on-on shooting match, and they later married.*


Here is rare 1894 footage of Annie Oakley shooting, filmed in the Edison Black Maria studio.

“Annie Oakley was arguably America’s first female superstar, touring the U.S. and the world in the late 1800s and early 20th century and demonstrating her legendary Wild West sharp-shooting skills.”
— Tom Slater, Historian for Heritage Auctions.

Annie Oakley’s Favorite Firearms
Annie Oakley’s sharpshooting feats were impressive in their own right, but the equipment she used to accomplish these things made them even more impressive. Annie favored basic, commonly available firearms. She didn’t need modified guns to make her shots.

She enjoyed shooting her Parker Bros double-barrel shotgun, but it wasn’t fancy in appearance. It had just standard grade wood and, aside from the standard scrollwork on the locks, it was just a normal gun.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

She also owned a Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 revolver. The gun was nickel-plated and had mother-of-pearl grips, but those were options that anyone could have had on their own revolver. Another one of her pistols, a Stevens single-shot tip-up, was gold-plated and had mother-of-pearl grips, but it had not been modified or accurized in any way to improve its performance. Annie simply didn’t need the help.

Annie’s firearms may not have been modified for trick shooting, but she did own a number of one-off specials. For example, she owned one of the 800 Remington Beals rifles made between 1866 and 1866, but hers is the only known example to bear factory engraving.

Of course, many arms makers saw Annie’s fame as a way to promote their guns, so a large number of engraved and/or gold-plated guns were gifted to her. Some of these include a Winchester Model 1892 carbine and a Stevens Model 44 rifle.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Continued to Perform at Age 60+ during the 1920s
A consummate performer, Annie continued to wow crowds even as her craft took its toll on her body. A lifetime of exposure to gunpowder residue and smoke led her to experience repeated eye infections. Despite the advent of smokeless powder, she had spent years using blackpowder beforehand. Even if it had all been smokeless, the quality we know today was not the quality they had back then. Plus, the sheer amount of powder she encountered certainly added up.

Her public appearances required lots of travel, which wasn’t without its own dangers. She underwent spinal surgery from a train accident in 1901 while travelling with the Wild West Show. Years later, she had to wear a steel brace on her leg due to a car accident in 1922, but she got back to performing and continued to set records in 1924 at the age of 64. By this time, though, her health had begun to decline. Annie Oakley passed away in 1926 at the age of 66. Her husband, Frank Butler, was so fraught with grief that he stopped eating and died of starvation just 18 days later.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Championed Women’s Rights
While most of the world remembers Annie for her accomplishments with a firearm, she used her fame in a different way during her lifetime. She was an advocate for women’s rights and shooter education. She is quoted as having said, “I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” It’s believed that she taught some 15,000 women how to shoot during her lifetime. Today, educational shooting experiences geared towards women often use her name to their advantage. After all, what shooter wouldn’t want to be as well regarded as Annie Oakley?

About Author T. Logan Metesh
T. Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Logan has more than a decade of experience working for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the NRA Museums. Logan has been a frequent guest on the “Curator’s Corner” program for NRATV and has served as an historic firearms facilitator for American Rifleman TV and other shows.

*On Thanksgiving Day 1875, the Baughman & Butler shooting act was performing in Cincinnati, Ohio. Traveling show marksman and former dog trainer Frank E. Butler, an Irish immigrant, placed a $100 bet per side (equivalent to $2,300 in 2019) with Cincinnati hotel owner Jack Frost that Butler could beat any local fancy shooter. The hotelier arranged a shooting match between Butler and the 15-year-old Annie, saying, “The last opponent Butler expected was a five-foot-tall, 15-year-old girl named Annie.” After missing on his 25th shot, Butler lost the match and the bet. He soon began courting Annie and they married. They did not have children.

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April 12th, 2020

Amazing Accuracy — Kirsten Cuts Cards with Rimfire Rifle

Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

With all the grim Pandemic news these days, here’s something to take your mind off the Coronavirus. We offer some some mighty impressive trick shooting by a very talented young lady. In this video, Kirsten performs a classic Annie Oakley trick shot, cutting a playing card in half with a bullet. We hope this display of marksmanship brings a smile to our readers on this Easter Sunday 2020.

Kirsten Joy Weiss is a phenomenal off-hand rifle shooter. Splitting a playing card would be hard enough with a scoped rifle shot from the bench. But Kirsten makes this amazing shot from standing position, shooting over iron sights, with an inexpensive rimfire lever gun. Trust us, that’s not easy. It did take Kirsten three tries, but we’re still impressed.

To accomplish this trick shot, Kirsten’s horizontal aim had to be ultra-precise. A playing card is only 0.25mm thick (about 1/100th of an inch). That leaves almost no room for error.

GIF Animation Shows Bullet Slicing Card in Half:
Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

We know top benchresters can put five shots in one ragged hole at 100 yards, used a scoped rifle sitting on a stable rest. But make those folks stand on their hind legs, hold the rifle, and aim over primitive iron sights, and some of those benchrest aces would be lucky to hit a dinner plate at 100 yards. Kudos to Kirsten for making this great shot.

Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

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September 19th, 2018

Modern-Day Annie Oakley — Kirsten Joy Weiss

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

Our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss is featured in an episode of NRA All Access. The show covers Kirsten’s development as a competitive shooter, and her success as a trick-shot artist with her own popular YouTube channel. Here’s the All Access segment featuring many of Kirsten’s most famous trick shots.

During the video Kirsten also talks about her background in shooting and how she wants to be a good ambassador for the shooting sports, “spreading the positive reality of shooting”. Kirsten explains: “The fun challenge and joy of shooting is important to me because I really wanted to be a positive example. So when the media says the ‘guns are a bad thing and nobody does anything good with guns’, they can say ‘Well, what about her [Kirsten]’?”

Kirsten: “I think that it’s important for young girls to have somebody that they can look up to… I feel responsibility to show young shooters coming up, especially females, that you can respect yourself and shoot a gun as well.”

Kirsten Joy WeissA gifted “natural” shooter, Kirsten started shooting fairly late — at age 16. Despite her relatively late start, she learned very quickly, and managed to earn a place on the University of Nebraska shooting team. That literally opened up a new world for Kirsten: “During the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone to World Cups… in Zagreb, Croatia, in Munich, Germany. I’ve won National Championships, and got on to the U.S. Olympic short list, so it’s been a good career.”

Kirsten tells us: “A lot of people don’t think of shooting as a sport, but it absolutely is, and I would even go so far as to say that it is an art form.” We don’t know if this is art, sport, or magic, but very few shooters have the skill or flexibility to make this upside-down shot…

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

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August 21st, 2016

Kirsten Joy Weiss Shoots Pop-Its Miniature Exploding Targets

Kirsten Joy Weiss trick shot pop-its Volquartsen YouTube Video

Our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss is a modern-day Annie Oakley. A very successful competitive shooter in the collegiate ranks, Kirsten now produces a popular YouTube Channel focusing on the “Joy of Shooting”. In her videos, Kirsten offers shooting tips and performs a variety of trick shots — such as splitting cards with a .22 LR rimfire. This young lady can shoot, that’s for sure.

In this video, Kirsten shoots at some tiny reactive targets — “Pop-Its”. These pea-sized targets “pop” audibly when hit. They make a very challenging target, even when bunched together. Kirsten secured three (3) Pop-Its with a clothespin, and then placed the clothespin in the ground.

It took a couple tries, but Kirsten did manage to light off a Pop-It or two. Kirsten reports: “Basically a small exploding target, Pop-Its, also known as ‘Bang Snaps’, snaps, snappers, party snaps, etc., are a fun firework trick noisemaker — but will they make a good target? Let’s put it to the test to see if these poppers are gun range-worthy targets. These little Pop-Its make for some challenging shots with reactive targets.” Enjoy the video:

Kirsten Joy Weiss trick shot pop-its Volquartsen YouTube Video

Equipment Report: For this video, Kirsten shot Lapua .22 LR ammo in a Volquartsen Ultra-lite semi-auto .22 LR rimfire rifle, fitted with a C-More Red-Dot sight. She was using Oakley eye protection.

Kirsten Joy Weiss trick shot pop-its Volquartsen YouTube Video

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October 23rd, 2014

Kirsten Weiss Cuts Cards, Annie Oakley-Style

Kirsten Joy Weiss is a phenomenal off-hand rifle shooter. In this video, Kirsten performs a classic Annie Oakley trick shot, cutting a playing card in half with a bullet. Splitting a playing card would be hard enough with a scoped rifle shot from the bench. But Kirsten makes this amazing shot from standing position, shooting over iron sights, with an inexpensive rimfire lever gun. Trust us, that’s not easy. It did take Kirsten three tries, but we’re still impressed.

To accomplish this trick shot, Kirsten’s horizontal aim had to be ultra-precise. A playing card is only 0.25mm thick (about 1/100th of an inch). That leaves almost no room for error.

GIF Animation Shows Bullet Slicing Card in Half:
Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

We know top benchresters can put five shots in one ragged hole at 100 yards, used a scoped rifle sitting on a stable rest. But make those folks stand on their hind legs, hold the rifle, and aim over primitive iron sights, and some of those benchrest aces would be lucky to hit a dinner plate at 100 yards. Kudos to Kirsten for making this great shot.

Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

Kirsten Joy Weiss Annie Oakley Card Playing shot

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December 16th, 2013

Kirsten Joy Weiss Makes Trick Shots with .22 LR Target Rifle

Kirsten Joy Weiss is one of America’s top smallbore shooters. Her many titles include the 2012 NRA National Women’s Smallbore 3P Championship. Using her Anschütz target rifle and Lapua ammunition, she has competed at top-level national and international events. To help demonstrate the fun of shooting, Kirsten has started her own YouTube Channel, Facebook Page, and her own website, www.KirstenJoyWeiss.com. There you’ll find shooting tips, gear reviews, and videos. Each week Kirsten does a new trick shot video. Here are three of our favorites.

Here Kirsten Drills the Center of Two Apples with One Shot:

In this Video, Kirsten Shoots from Pilates Position with Rifle Held Upside-Down (Wow!):

For this Trick Shot, Kirsten Shoots the Lead Tip off a Pencil without Breaking the Wood:


Kirsten Joy Weiss Competition Highlights
Kirsten is from Pennsylvania. A 3-time All-American in smallbore, Kirsten led the Univ. of Nebraska Cornhuskers to a 4th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Weiss was an NRA Second-Team All-American and was named to the CRCA All-Collegiate Team twice. In 2012, Kirsten was the top USA athlete-shooter at the Munich World Cup. She won the 2012 NRA Three-Position Women’s Smallbore Championship and also won the Standing Position, while finishing as the National Overall Woman Champion.

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June 21st, 2012

Annie Oakley’s Shotgun Fetches $143,400 at Auction

Annie Oakley AuctionAnnie’s grand-nieces got her gun and they got big money for it. About 100 items owned by sharp-shooting legend Annie Oakley and passed down to Oakley’s great-grandnieces were put on auction in Dallas recently. Auctioned memorabilia included Annie’s Stetson hat, many letters, and of course, a collection of firearms. The item bringing in the highest bid — $143,400 — was Oakley’s Parker Brothers 12-gauge shotgun. The total take on the auctioned Annie Oakley collection was nearly $520,000 according to Heritage Auction sources.

The collection of Annie Oakley guns and personal items was inherited by Oakley’s great-grandnieces from their mother, Billie Butler Serene, who died at age 95 three years ago. According to AP reporter Chris Sherman, one of the grand-nieces, Terry Holcomb, “remembers shooting the guns for target practice on Sunday mornings in California’s Santa Monica Mountains and wearing Oakley’s Stetson hat — which sold for $17,925 — for Halloween.”

In addition to the coveted Parker Brothers shotgun, two of Annie’s prized Marlin .22-caliber rifles fetched big prices at auction. One sold for $71,700 and the other for $83,650. The high-bidder for one of the Marlins had Annie’s grandnieces sign his catalog, and he told Holcomb that “his kids couldn’t wait to shoot” the historic rimfire rifle.

Annie Oakley Auction

“Annie Oakley was arguably America’s first female superstar, touring the U.S. and the world in the late 1800s and early 20th century and demonstrating her legendary Wild West sharp-shooting skills.” Tom Slater, Historian for Heritage Auctions.

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